Drive to Thrive (Formula Q #1) by C.D. Rachels

Closeted racing driver has a meet cute with his nurse and comes to terms with his sexuality in Drive to Thrive.

From the blurb:

Formula Q is the fastest motorsport in the world. Only the highest-performing athletes can make it to the grid. They drive fast, work hard, and play hard, but off-camera, anything goes.

The public knows me as Damon ‘the Speed Demon’ Davidoff, eligible bachelor and winner of FQ titles around the world. Fans adore me and my team supports me. They don’t need to know I’m so deep in the closet I intend to bury myself there.

Then my poor health catches up to me and my world comes crashing down. I could bounce back easily if it weren’t for one little complication: my male nurse is attractive as hell.

I can suppress these feelings during the season break—I have to. I’m not going to expose my secret just because I feel a fire coursing through my veins when Rocky puts his hands on me.

As the weeks go by, I somehow let Rocky under my skin and into my heart. He’s smart, sweet, and everything I never knew I needed.

I thought I wanted a clean bill of health and to keep winning my races. Now, for the first time in my life, I want so much more. I want him, and damn if that isn’t the scariest thing I’ve ever felt.

Drive to Thrive is a male/male motorsports romance novel. It involves Christmas karaoke, New Year’s Eve parties, Las Vegas swimming pool dates, and yes, lots of racing action worldwide. It is book one of a series, has a HEA, and can be read as a standalone

Sheena's Review:

This is a new to me author, and I picked it up as I don't remember seeing a book set in motor racing before, at least not in top echelon racing, and I was so intrigued by that premise. This wasn't what I expected, in the very best way.

The story starts with Damon not in a good place, health wise. Turns out he has an ongoing health condition and requires regular treatment. Enter Rocky, his nurse, and the two connect over the course of Damon's treatments. I liked both Damon and Rocky, even when Damon was being a bit difficult when he first met Rocky - I get it. He wasn't out and was terrified of the effect on his career. I can't think of any top tier racing drivers who are out, and I understand his reluctance to be first, given all the attention on his life already.

I loved the connection between Rocky and Damon. It was pretty instant, and I loved seeing them hanging out together and becoming best friends along with navigating whatever it was between them. It's kind of a slow(ish) burn, medium heat but a nice development. I loved seeing Damon with Rocky's family, too. That was a nice scene.

Overall, this was far sweeter and gentler than I expected - that is a good thing, definitely not a criticism. I loved all the side characters too. Damon's friends and colleagues were all great and I'm in for the next one in the series. Motorsports, romance, what else could be better?

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Heather's Review:

I'll admit, I didn't start CD Rachels previous series because I was swamped when the first book came out and it's still on my TBR, but since I've been in his group and learning more about the author, I've been intrigued so I jumped at the chance to read this first book in the Formula Q series and I was not disappointed!

This book is a sweet, slow build to a relationship and follows Damon's journey back to health and back to competing, although his worlds collide and shift as he tries to maintain a connection to Rocky while not acknowledging his sexuality, creating the angst and crisis in this story...

I also love Rocky's family and the interactions with the other drivers!  I can't wait for the next book in the series!

Rating: 5 Stars

Jacqueleen the Reading Queen's Review:

Drive to Thrive is the first book in the new Formula Q series by CD Rachels. Though the story did deal with issues of coming out in the motorsports world, the story was relatively low angst on the most part. Kudos to the author for the chronic illness representation as well. It was done respectfully and realistically, and that is being said by someone with a medical background. Now onto the MCs. Rocky was such a sweetheart, and I really liked him and his big Filipino family. They reminded me of mine where get-togethers are noisy, boisterous affairs where everyone is always up in your business or giving their unasked for opinions on your life.

Damon was a tad more sedated than Rocky and I think it was due to the fact that he had to hide such an important part of himself. He doesn't have many friends, though by the end of the book it turns out that may not be as true as he thinks. Rocky was the first person he ever felt comfortable being himself around and it made me sad that it took him until his late twenties to feel that way. Damon had a lot of self-reflection to go through before he and Rocky could get the HEA they deserved. Thankfully, he smartens up after he gets some pretty important advice I think we could all do with and is a perfect ending to my review.

"Don't wait too long to prioritize the ones who make you happy. We only get one shot at life. Find out who really makes it work it and hold onto them."

Rating: 4.25 Stars

Drive to Thrive is available to buy as an ebook, paperback, or to read with Kindle Unlimited subscription.