Trading Paint | Matt's Smut Vault

It’s here, it’s finally here…. It’s the last Smut Vault post of 2019. We’ve had one hell of a journey. We didn’t expect to go 52 weeks with at least one heavy romance/erotica review, but we’re so glad to have made it. While the Vault is not going away, this is still the close of a very important chapter as we take the segment into a new direction in 2020. But for now, we still have one more thing to cover. It’s time to mix my first love with my current obsession. Join me for one last romp in the vault before the calendar flips over. Gentlemen, let’s start her engine!

Trading Paint: Racing on the Edge Vol 3 by Shey Stahl is a prequel in a racing romance series pegged around the legendary Jameson Riley, and his sexy friend for life, Sway. While we probably should be starting with the first book in the series, the prospects of book three were too much to turn down. Jameson’s racing roots are also shared by many of NASCAR’s greatest drivers: Dirt track racing. No less driven by his father, one of the greatest dirt trackers of all time, Jameson’s early success won’t break him out from the shadow of his father…nor help satisfy that one other urge in his life. Jameson is a hot head, cocky, and fairly arrogant son of a bitch, but tends to back most of that rep while on the track, and has a very important person in his corner. Sway has been “the girl” in Jameson’s life for as long as he can remember. With her own dirt track roots, Sway knows cars, knows the grind of a grassroots racing life, but more importantly, Sway knows Jameson. As Jameson cuts out a career for himself, it seems Sway is the one to truly know what’s beating deep inside him. It’s only a pity they’ll never pursue this natural chemistry and throbbing biological urge between them…they wouldn’t want to lose what they have, would they?

It’s careful to note that the author warned us of the sexual content of this one when we mentioned we were going to review it…but not in the way we expected.

Well…Damn

Nevertheless, what drives this novel is the sexual tension more than the actual sex itself. Jameson is just out of high school, has the hottest girl from school as his best friend and running mate…and then let’s not forget the sexual prowess of the pit lizards. If you’re unfamiliar: pit lizards exist at all forms of motor racing and basically act like groupies. Some are looking for a good time for the night, some are looking to snag a man on the way up to their fame and millions of dollars. Jameson can, and some times does get plenty of skin-on-skin action, but his heart is never quite in it. Jameson and Sway begin to grow apart physically due to their career paths, but that only makes their intimate needs grow ever closer. Every chapter adds another layer of want, need and/or desire that simply can’t be solved with a little cuddling or friendly semi-platonic kissing session. Something’s going to give soon enough, and hopefully it won’t lead to any comparisons of Jameson to Wilt Chamberlain or worse, Tim Richmond.

The finest point of the book to my mind is the way Sway sees Jameson from her internal monologue. We get a good mix of perspective changes during most chapters, and when we read from Sway’s perspective, Jameson becomes a far different character. In her eyes, he’s much less flawed and much more focused. Sway thinks the world of Jameson, almost to a fault. Normally I’d say there was something wrong with Sway as a character, but I actually get it. I understand her better than I do the male lead for once. This is so self-serving, but a great deal of this novel has been an interesting personal journey. Racecar drivers, (particularly dirt track racers) while in their cars, are beyond human, defying my comprehension. I fail to think about the people in those cars, and that there might be more to them than just this hobby or profession. I know their names, often times a little about their background, but I don’t think about them as people that are on my mere mortal level whenever the helmets are on. It’s unfair to call them all heroes, but to a mild degree it’s not pleasant to meet your idols. It’s a sizzling and real examination from the author, intended or not, but I can’t help but think I build these guys up too far in my mind. Over the years I’ve put a lot of myself into appreciating what a young man can do with a racecar. I think fondly about the ability to swing a 410 sprint car around the tight corners at Williams Grove…but never considered his intention to have anonymous emotionless sex in a men’s room with that night’s trophy girl afterwards. Jameson is coming of age with the whole world in front of him, and with that comes a lot of mistakes both on the track and in his personal life. Without Sway, I’d hate to think about the kind of man he’d end up becoming. We all want Sway’s version of Jameson, and with the couple finally together, maybe they can start making that into a shared reality.

Verdict: Trading Paint by Shey Stahl is a detailed, exciting trip to the past to examine how one of NASCAR’s greatest heroes got his start, and found the most important person in his life. There’s passion on the track, passion on the road and in the pits, but the greatest passion comes from the author’s pen. This isn’t merely a “setting” for a dynamite piece of slow burn romance, there’s a lot of love put into the details of the universe itself. The cars, the tracks, the tours and the life of these racers is beautiful in its realism, and comes from someone who knows their stuff about America’s greatest sport. I didn’t take the right way around with this series, but I’m beyond delighted to go back to the start and see what these two racetrack romancers have to offer once the life becomes more than a simple passion. Buckle up!

Author’s Twitter: @dirtgirllover
Purchase link: Amazon

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