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Fast Track

Fast Track

4.2 107
by Julie Garwood

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A corrupt congressman, a mother’s secrets, and a sizzling romance ignite passion and suspense in the new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood.

Cordelia Kane has always been a daddy’s girl—her father raised her alone after her mother died in a car crash when Cordelia was just two years old. So when he has a


A corrupt congressman, a mother’s secrets, and a sizzling romance ignite passion and suspense in the new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood.

Cordelia Kane has always been a daddy’s girl—her father raised her alone after her mother died in a car crash when Cordelia was just two years old. So when he has a serious heart attack, Cordelia is devastated, and the emotion is only intensified by the confusion she feels when he reveals the shocking truth about her mother.

Cordelia can’t suppress her curiosity about the woman who gave birth to her, and when she discovers the answers to her questions lie in Sydney, Australia, she travels there to get them.

Hotel magnate Aiden Madison is Cordelia’s best friend’s older brother. He’s oblivious to the fact that she’s had a crush on him for years. When he gets railroaded into taking her along to Sydney on his company jet, he unknowingly puts her life at risk. He’s recently angered a powerful congressman by refusing to purchase overvalued land. Congressman Chambers is not a man to let such an offense slide, and he has the resources to get even and to get what he wants.

In Australia sparks are flying between Cordelia and Aiden, but multiple attempts on Aiden’s life are made while Cordelia is with him, and he realizes he must put a stop to the madness before he loses the thing he values most.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Garwood goes off the rails with this unintentionally creepy sequel to Hotshot, starring a saccharine rich girl and the controlling, possessive man she’s inexplicably loved since she was a child. Cordelia Kane always believed that her mother died in a car accident, but Mrs. Kane actually walked out on her child and mechanic husband. Fortunately, there are men nearby who know how to run a web search and solve the trivial mystery of her whereabouts. Aidan Madison—the “ultimate alpha” high-powered businessman Cordelia loves—demands that she accompany him on his private jet to Australia in pursuit of her mother; then he buys her ball gowns and looms possessively. The pieces are all there for a corporate thriller or a story about a woman discovering herself, but readers might well miss them as Aidan takes control of Cordelia’s life, restricts her movement and actions, and demands sex from her. This unsettling exploration of flat characters and gender stereotypes lacks both romance and chemistry. Agent: Jane Rotrosen, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Cordelia has convinced hotel magnate Aiden Madison, her best friend's older brother, to take her to Sydney, Australia—not because she's always had a crush on him but so that she can meet the mother she never knew she had. Unfortunately, Aiden has angered a corrupt politician, which puts them both in (romance-inducing) danger. A fast-track novel.
From the Publisher
Praise for Julie Garwood

“A trusted brand name in romantic suspense.”—People

“Whoever thinks romantic suspense is dead should read a Julie Garwood book.”—USA Today

“Julie Garwood creates masterpieces every time she writes a book.”—The Kansas City Star

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof***

Copyright © 2014 Julie Garwood


Some deathbed confessions are expected, others surprising, but this one . . . well, this one was a real doozy.

It was Andrew Kane’s third heart attack, and he wasn’t going to come back this time. Too much damage had been done to the anterior wall to hope for a recovery. He knew it, and so did his daughter, Cordie, who sat by his side in the critical care unit and prayed for a miracle.

Her father was hooked to a plethora of machines by a series of tubes and IVs. The constant beep from the heart monitor was a comfort to Cordie because it assured her that, even though his eyes were closed and his breathing was shallow, he was still alive. She wouldn’t leave him, not even for a minute, fearing he would take his last breath alone in the cold, sterile environment while machines sounded his passing with wailing alarms.

Cordie’s life had come to a screeching halt at eleven o’clock Friday night when she got the news. She had just arrived home from a charity event at St. Matthew’s High School for Boys, and she was exhausted. Her day had started at six fifteen in the morning when she left her brownstone to go to work. After teaching three chemistry classes and two biology classes, she graded papers during study period, supervised two lab experiments, broke up a fight, and filled in for a math teacher who was home with stomach flu. Then, once the students had been dismissed for the day, she, along with most of the other underpaid teachers, helped transform the gymnasium into a Monte Carlo atmosphere for the annual charity auction. The remainder of the evening was spent serving soft drinks and smiling at donors until her face felt frozen.

She had been teaching at St. Matthew’s for three years while she finished her PhD. The school was located on the edge of Chicago’s south side, a rough area of the city, to be sure, but thus far she hadn’t had any real trouble. A ten-foot-high wrought-iron fence that had been there since the school was built surrounded the property and the parking area, and she had to drive only two blocks from the highway exit to get to it. There was always a guard at the gate. An anonymous benefactor had made a substantial contribution to the school with the condition that there would be a guard on duty at all times, and ever since the principal had hired the highly recommended security firm, the number of slashed tires and smashed windshields had plummeted.

Although her father wouldn’t admit it, Cordie suspected he was the benefactor. When she started working at the school, he became a staunch supporter. He even took over the auto shop classes when the regular instructor quit in the middle of the semester. The boys could be difficult. Most of them were high risk, but her father didn’t have any problem controlling them. He’d grown up in New Jersey and, even now, after all these years living in Chicago, still had a bit of a Jersey accent and a tough-guy façade. He treated the boys with respect, and they responded in kind. His gruff, no-nonsense attitude and his enthusiasm won them over. The fact that he had built a national chain of auto repair shops from the ground up didn’t hurt. In the eyes of his otherwise cynical students it gave him credibility. While he was teaching the class, attendance was one hundred percent.

She knew it couldn’t have been easy for him raising her alone. It had always been just the two of them. There weren’t any relatives on either side of the family. Her mother had died when Cordie was a baby, so of course she didn’t have any memories of her. Her father told her she looked like her mother, but he never shared any stories about her. Cordie believed it was too painful for him to talk about losing the love of his life.

She wasn’t ready to lose him. He was her dad. He had always been . . . indestructible. Until his first heart attack six months ago, he had never been sick, never missed a day of work. Cordie depended on him for strength when times were difficult, and he was always there for her. Always.

When she had first entered the ICU room, the shock nearly undid her. A priest was standing over him administering the last rites. She barely recognized her father, and she stood there paralyzed with fear. He was a big man, almost six feet, with a muscular frame, but he looked so much smaller in the hospital bed, so weak and vulnerable.

Now, sitting next to him, she was overwhelmed with the need to help him. Tears streamed down her cheeks, and she impatiently wiped them away. It took several minutes for her to gain control of her emotions. If he opened his eyes, she didn’t want him to see her crying.

A senior cardiology resident came in to check on her father and assured her that he was resting comfortably. He couldn’t tell her how long it would be before his heart stopped beating.

“The heart is an amazing organ,” he told her.

“Then he could get better,” she whispered, clinging to the possibility.

Snatching her hope away, he shook his head. “No,” he said. “Dr. Platte explained the severity—”

She interrupted. “Yes, he explained.”

“The damage—”

“I know,” she interrupted again. “He’s dying.”

She couldn’t let herself believe it, though. Oh God, please don’t let him die.

She knew she wasn’t being rational, pleading for the impossible. She was a fully grown woman, yet sitting there watching him she felt like a little girl again. And she was so scared.

She took hold of his hand. She wanted him to know she was there and that he wasn’t alone. Gradually her panic began to ease. The initial shock wore off, and she was calm once again.

As she sat there hour after hour, she thought about her father’s life. He really was a remarkable man. When she was just a toddler, he went back to school to finish his college degree in business. To support them, he worked as a mechanic in a tiny auto shop. By the time she was five years old, he owned that shop and four more. Then he expanded to sixteen shops in neighboring cities. By her tenth birthday, Kane Automotive was nationwide, and her father was a multimillionaire. Last year he’d sold the company, which had grown to more than twelve hundred shops around the country, but he still tinkered in his garage rebuilding old cars just for the love of the work.

There was never a time he wasn’t busy. Yet he was always in the front row for any of her school events. He took her to dance classes and piano lessons and never missed a recital. He was at every parent-teacher night as well. And how many times did he put up with all those sleepovers with her two best friends, Regan and Sophie? Three little girls who giggled over everything must have driven him crazy, but he took it all in stride. The countless trips to the art museum, the zoo, the science exhibits, and the children’s movies she wanted to see again and again—her dad had the patience of a saint. W hen he wasn’t teaching her how to rebuild an engine or change the oil, he was monitoring her schoolwork. Smiling at the memories, she realized how very blessed she was to have such a great father.

Around two in the morning she dozed off. She awakened with a start when he squeezed her hand.


She jumped up and moved closer to the bed. She thought his complexion wasn’t quite as gray, and he seemed surprisingly alert.

“I love you, Dad,” she whispered.

“I love you, too.” He took a breath and said, “This one wasn’t like the other two. It snuck up on me and grabbed me from behind. It felt like my heart was being squeezed by a vice. Dropped me to the ground.”

“Are you in pain now?” Fear made her voice quiver.

“No, no pain at all. I didn’t think I would go like this . . . or so soon. I thought I had more time, but I guess everyone thinks that.” He closed his eyes, took another shaky breath, and called her name again.

“I’m here,” she answered.

“You’re going to be okay. You know I don’t want to leave you all alone, but you’ll be okay.”

She thought he needed her assurance. “I know.”

“The lockbox at the bank. The papers are there. Jared Newton, my attorney, will help you. You remember him.”

“Yes. Please don’t worry about me. You taught me how to take care of myself.”

Several minutes passed in silence. His grip had loosened on her hand. She watched him struggle for each breath, and she could feel the fear catching hold once more.

She thought he had fallen asleep, but suddenly he spoke again. “It’s all in your name. She won’t be able to get her hands on it.”

What? Was he hallucinating? “Who are you talking about?”

He didn’t answer her. “When you fall in love with the right man, I won’t get to walk you down the aisle. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t worry about such things now, Dad.”

“Just don’t make the same mistakes I made. Don’t long for what you can never have. Before you know it, you will have wasted years waiting. And then it’s too late. I should have remarried, but I couldn’t let her go.”

“Do you mean Mother?”

“Yes,” he said, his voice weaker now, his eyes closed. “It’s all there in the box. I waited too long.”

His words came slowly and were whispered between labored breaths. “When you were little I didn’t know how to tell you. And when you grew up it didn’t seem important. There was never the right time.”

She softly stroked his hand. “Tell me now.”

“There was no accident . . . Your mother didn’t die in a car accident.”

Cordie was confused. Why would he lie about that? They never talked about her mother, so why was he focusing on her now? “Then how did she die?”

His last words were faint but unmistakable. “She didn’t.”

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
Praise for Julie Garwood

“A trusted brand name in romantic suspense.”—People

“Whoever thinks romantic suspense is dead should read a Julie Garwood book.”—USA Today

“Julie Garwood creates masterpieces every time she writes a book.”—The Kansas City Star

Meet the Author

JULIE GARWOOD is among the most critically acclaimed—and popular—romance authors around, with nearly forty million copies of her books in print. She is the author of numerous bestsellers, including Hotshot, Sweet Talk, The Ideal Man, Sizzle, Fire and Ice, Shadow Music, Shadow Dance, and Slow Burn. She lives near Kansas City.

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Fast Track 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 107 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all of Julie Garwood's books and all I can say is I can't wait to read her next creation. I've read some of the other reviews and I have to ask the people who gave "Fast Track" 1, 2 or 3 stars if they read the same book I just finished. Some say that Aiden was cold and all business, and that would be a correct, but if you knew the history behind Aiden Madison the peaces of that puzzle would fit. In most cases Men are Stupid! They don't know what's good for them until it hit's them in the face and Aiden is no different. Cordelia Kane is a great character even at 5 years old. Like I've said, you need to know the history of these characters, and to know them is to love them. Sarcasm is plastered throughout this book, I found myself laughing out loud to where I dog's thought I lost my mind, and most of the time I had to stop reading until my eyes and vision would clear up. I also had a hard time sleeping, because I couldn't stop thinking what would happen next. Overall I liked the romance of it but it was predictable and I've read much better by Julie Garwood.
Barb-TRC More than 1 year ago
Fast Track by Julie Garwood is the 12th book in her Buchanan/Renard series. I have read the last few books in this series, and have loved them. However, after reading this one, I need to go back and see which of the earlier books have the characters from this story. I totally loved them all. Unless you want to read the other books, it is not necessary as these books can be read as standalones very well. We are introduced to our heroine, Cordelia (Cordie) when she was just 5 years old. She lives alone with her father, as her mother died not long after she was born. When she attends her first day at kindergarten, she meets her friends, Sophie Rose and Regan Madison. The three girls, would remain inseparable friends for life, as well as the other members of their families. Even at the age of 5, Cordie developed a crush on Regan’s older brother Aiden, but she hid her secret well. We switch to current day, where Cordie, now in her twenties, is sitting by her father’s bedside in the hospital, as he is near death. Andrew Kane was a simple auto mechanic in the early days, who rose to be a multi-millionaire, owning all the Kane Automotive stores he built. Before he takes his last breath, he tells Cordie that he has protected her in his will, so that “she” cannot touch it. Confused, Cordie asks “who”? In his last breath, he tells her that her mother was still alive. After the funeral, with her friends (Regan and her husband Alec; Sophie and her husband, Jack; both of whom we met in earlier books, Aiden and the other brothers) there to give her support, Cordie confides to them the shocking truth about her mother. She shows them the goodbye letter her mother wrote her father when she left him, saying she it was mistake, she wanted a better life, and did not want custody “You can have her”. With that statement, Cordie wants nothing to do with her mother. Only after a bit, she decides she would just like to see her once, to see if she got everything she wanted in life, with no feeling about her betrayal of her heartbroken father. What follows is a great story of finding her mother with the help of her friends (Alex and Jack are FBI agents). Aiden, who begins see the grownup Cordie in a different light, finds himself being attracted, as well as protective of her. The story becomes very exciting, as she reveals to her mother who she is, and the repercussions are escalated. Her mother is part of a wealthy powerful family, and Cordie is deemed a threat. Her life is now in danger, and Aiden protectively guards her and brings her home. It is her friends and family that will stand by her and help her fight against the threats that follow her home. Besides this suspenseful storyline, the romance between Aiden and Cordie is wonderful to watch. Cordie may have had a crush all her life on Aiden, but she never thought that there was ever any hope. This romance built with each passing day that they spent together, with Aiden taking control. The sparks flew over the pages, as their chemistry together was sizzling. I loved the humor between them Fast Track is a fun filled story, with a wonderful couple, super secondary characters, and an exciting climax at the finish. The romance was a sweet and delightful one, and I adored the friendship of them all. Being a true romantic, I love when there is a nice epilogue, giving us a peek at our heroes at the end. Julie Garwood has another winner.
ssdl More than 1 year ago
I really like Julie Garwood's books, but I feel like the last 4 or 5 have been the same plot line with just the names of the main characters changed.  Men who don't want to fall in love, don't have time for a serious relationship and women who love them hopelessly anyway. I can't figure out why these smart, on the ball women would put up with the way the guys treat them. Case in point, Adrian can't be bothered to call Cordie. Even after they start sleeping together he never calls her, even to see how she is doing over the death of her father. When she is living in his suite he doesn't bother to talk to her for days. What the heck? Why would you  still be hopelessly in love with someone that acted so rudely. This is why I no longer buy the books. I check them out from the library.  
Yellowsam More than 1 year ago
I hate to give this Julie Garwood book a low star rating, but I just have too. As posters pointed out, I just didn't see the attraction between the two main characters. Also to much time was spent on the other characters also. All of her recent books are becoming wash, rinse, repeat. I also have trouble with the main female characters. How can such smart and intelligent women be so stupid when it comes to their safety. ***POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT** Cordy knew that she was targeted to be killed but yet left her door unlocked TWICE!! Also, refusing to let her friends protect her was a dumb move. I can go on, but I was exhausted after reading this latest book. This was not good in my opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely nothing special about this book. Totally predictable. Aiden was not mucho he was just rude. These characters never connected except with sex and even that was boring. There was no emotional interaction at all. She was a door mat and had been in love with him most of her life. He decided at nearly the end of the book that he loved her. How does anyone find that appealing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I have in a long time. I didn't want it to end. :)
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"Your name?" I ask, looking sceptical.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*walks in* "Who's ready to die?"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Hey" ;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can you come to liam res four from drew
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi Bailey!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey can I join u guys
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks in
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So happy Cordie got her story, I enjoyed each story that was written about the 3 girls (Regan, Sophie & Cordie). I enjoy reading all her books both the historicals & her contempory storys --FBI series is my favorite. I like that she has brought the Buchanans, Claybornes, MacAlisters etc. Into her Contempory books!! I am hoping Wired is released pretty soon (I pre-ordered it way back in January, but for whatever reason the release date has been delayed--bummer) sounds like it will be another great read. I loved reading her Scottish Historicals, but I also love reading her FBI's
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PeniA More than 1 year ago
Another terrific story. I have been waiting a long time for this story and was not disappointed. This is probably the most straight on story from Ms Garwood to date. Usually I find unexpected twists and turns along the way that I could never have imagined. Or now that I think about it, maybe it was that the story is told so well, it just flows and feels natural. In any case it works. Before reading Fast Track, I 'had' :-) to reread the stories leading up to it. Just for my pure pleasure. This is a stand alone story in which the other stories simply enrich the overall experience. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the read. Love this series among her others...
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book read it twice. Hope she writes about Spencer.