Monthly Archives: March, 2013

Strangers on a Train – Big Boy – Ruthie Knox – 4 stars

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The Blurb:

He’ll be any man she wants–except himself.

Strangers on a Train story

Meet me at the train museum after dark. Dress for 1957.

When Mandy joins an online dating service, she keeps her expectations low. All she wants is a distraction from the drudgery of single parenthood and full-time work. But the invitation she receives from a handsome man who won’t share his real name promises an adventure—and a chance to pretend she’s someone else for a few hours.

She doesn’t want romance to complicate her life, but Mandy’s monthly role-playing dates with her stranger on a train—each to a different time period—become the erotic escape she desperately needs. And a soul connection she never expected.

Yet when she tries to draw her lover out of the shadows, Mandy has a fight on her hands…to convince him there’s a place for their fantasy love in the light of day.

Warning: Contains sexy role-playing, theatrical application of coal dust, and a hero who can rock a pair of brown polyester pants.

My Thoughts:

This is the fourth of the Strangers On A Train set of stories that I am going to review.  The full set releases on April 2, 2013 so go out and grab them.  If you are reading this before April 1 then go check out my stop on the blog tour for a chance to win all of the stories in this set by clicking here.

This story was a bit more serious in some respects than the others in that both the main characters are trying to escape from their real life by using a series of fantasy dates where they stay completely in character and don’t really talk about who they are outside the fantasy.  They do give away bits of their true lives in the stories they tell but it is all kept hidden behind the characters they play.

Mandy just wants to have time to be someone else and what better way than a series of dates with a man that she doesn’t know other than the character he plays when they meet.  They always meet at the local train museum for their “dates” and are immediately in character from the moment they see one another.  She has developed some real feelings for the man she meets and wants to potentially develop this in to a real relationship but isn’t sure how to broach the subject with him.  When she runs in to him at an event and he acts like he doesn’t know her the blinders come off and she sees this for what it really is a series of hookups that only means something to her.  She pushes the issue a bit more than he is comfortable with and I was proud of her for finally deciding this half-life with him isn’t really what she wants or needs no matter how much she thinks she feels for him.  She decides to stop things and then the wonderful thing happens….  He decides to show her who he is behind the games and I adored seeing the true person behind the games.  Both of them are real people with real issues so it is a wonderful thing  to see this addressed in such a short work.

I definitely love Ruthie’s voice and even in this short work you feel a connection to both characters and want them to truly have a chance.  She could give me a follow-up to this and I’d read it in a heartbeat.  I want to see them happy and making a real life together.

I have to thank Ruthie Knox for giving me the chance to be a part of the fun surrounding this release and giving me the chance to read all of the wonderful stories…  Stay tuned for more between now and April 2nd.  To get buy links for all the stories click the link in the first paragraph of this section to go to the main tour post.

Hero of my Heart Blog Hop – Great Prizes!!

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In support of this upcoming read Loveswept (Random House Publishing) is doing an amazing blog hop with a chance to win some great prizes.   For your chance to win please click here to fill in the Rafflecopter entry form.  Visit the other stops on the tour by clicking here for more chances to win one of the following:

  • 5 eBook copies of HERO OF MY HEART! by Megan Frampton (on sale 4/8)
  • 3 eBook copies of A VAMPIRE SALVATION by Virna DePaul (on sale 4/22)
  • 2 eBook copies of Taking Shots by Toni Aleo (on sale 4/23)
  • AND . . . . . one (US only) prize winner receives a BOX of books! INCLUDING, Debbie Macomber’sSTARTING NOW!

 

 

The Blurb:

In this emotional and powerfully erotic tale of love and redemption, a tender vicar’s daughter and a tortured war hero discover that sin may be their only salvation.

When Mary Smith’s corrupt, debt-ridden brother drags her to a seedy pub to sell her virtue to the highest bidder, Alasdair Thornham leaps to the rescue. Of course the marquess is far from perfect husband material. Although he is exceedingly handsome, with a perfect, strong body, chiseled jaw, and piercing green eyes, Alasdair is also too fond of opium, preferring delirium to reality. Still, he has come to Mary’s aid, and now she intends to return the favor. She will show him that he is not evil, just troubled.

Mary was a damsel in need of a hero, but Alasdair’s plan is shortsighted. He never foresaw her desire to save him from himself. Alasdair is quite at home in his private torment, until this angel proves that a heart still beats in his broken soul. The devil may have kept her from hell, but will Mary’s good intentions lead them back to the brink—or to heaven in each other’s arms?

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as excerpts from these Loveswept titles: Along Came Trouble, The Notorious Lady Anne, and Unforgettable.

 

Forbidden Fires – Jodie Griffin – 4 stars

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The Blurb:

A year ago, Detective Delia Robinson and Fire Marshal Colin Butler got up close and personal while working a case. But their sizzling relationship didn’t last. Now there’s a serial arsonist on the loose, and it’s up to Delia and Colin to bring him down—if they can resist their attraction long enough to concentrate on the investigation.

Delia quickly sees the connection between the crime scenes: elements of BDSM. Though she denies it, Colin is stunned by the realization that his former lover is aroused by the idea of bondage play. And suddenly he can’t stop fantasizing about being the one to bind her…

Unsure how Colin would react, Delia never revealed her desire to be dominated in the bedroom. But she’ll finally have the chance to find out when they go deep undercover—as a married couple at a B&B offering classes in domination and submission…

My Thoughts:

This was a very spicy read.  The heat between the main pair hits you from the moment they see one another again and doesn’t let up through the whole read.  These are two people who really do belong together but need to let things go in order to do so.  They need to talk and really listen to what the other is saying and not let their tempers and stubborn ways mess things up.

Delia is shocked when she has to work with the man who still holds a huge portion of her heart even though she doesn’t want to admit it.  She’s also aware more than ever that she wants to know more about the world of BDSM as she feels drawn to the submissive side of the lifestyle but never felt comfortable enough in their short relationship to tell him that was something she wanted to check out.  This case brings her the chance to work undercover and explore that lifestyle but also forces her to confront her feelings for this amazingly compelling man.  She wants to not feel anything for him but there is such a current of attraction and lust between them that giving in is all but certain.

Colin has requested to work with Delia again to uncover who is setting these fires and has killed multiple individuals.  He needs her help as he knows from their past case she can bring a new perspective in and maybe help them solve this before more people have to die.  He’s also drawn to her from a basic, primal level and knows that he will have her again in hopes that the attraction will die.  They’ve both hurt each other severely with the way the relationship ended a year ago but there is still something there that he can’t deny.  Finding out that she is turned on by the world of BDSM shocks him but he’s also floored by how natural it feels to be her Dom.  He also has to learn how to pay attention to what she is really saying and not have a hair-trigger when she pushes his buttons.  They may work well together but they both have to figure out how to not ruin what is sparking between them plus decide what is really important.

I enjoyed how strong both characters are in this.  They both have very fiery personalities but it works when they both understand where the other one is coming from and actually show what they really think/feel towards one another.  This openness is what works and the past tendencies to keeping things/feelings in are what could doom them.  I swear this story is smoking hot but I enjoyed that you did get a good feeling for their past which is what made the fairly quick resolution believable.

Thanks to NetGalley.com and Carina Press for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.  As always if you want to go grab this one and other Carina titles please use the link on my sidebar.

 

One final note- A bit of an inside joke but just for Jodie I can’t resist sneaking in a stealth mah-na-mah-na…..

Strangers On A Train – Thank You for Riding – Meg Maguire – 4 stars

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The Blurb:

The last train of the night might just be the start of something good.

A Strangers on a Train Story

Stung ego or not, Caitlin’s relieved her fizzling relationship is over, even if she’s just been unceremoniously dumped between the copier and a dead ficus tree. At least she has an excuse to ditch the lousy office Christmas party in time to catch the last subway home…to her cat, and early-onset spinsterhood.

Instead of a lonely, chilly ride, she gets an unexpected holiday treat in the form of a nearly familiar face—a handsome stranger she encountered last week at the blood drive.

At the end of the line, neither can seem to let their chance meeting end—until their extended flirtation finds them facing the prospect of spending a frigid winter night locked in an unheated subway station. And they wonder if keeping each other warm is merely a delightful form of rebound therapy…or a memorable first of many more dates to come.

Warning: Contains dorky, harmless flirtation that heats up into some spicy, third-base action.

 

My Thoughts:

This is the third of the Strangers On A Train set of stories that I am going to review.  The full set releases on April 2, 2013 so go out and grab them.  If you are reading this before April 1 then go check out my stop on the blog tour for a chance to win all of the stories in this set by clicking here.

Caitlin has a very busy life that isn’t completely fulfilling but she hopes that after this holiday break she and her office fling can make the fling in to something more.  She’s using one of her rare times off to donate blood when she sees a very intriguing man across the clinic.  They engage in some harmless flirting and gamesmanship but she writes it off as being too wound up for attention after a long dry spell due to work.  While at the company Christmas party she is surprised by her office fling dumping her by the copier so when she is heading home after this humiliation she is surprised to see the man from the clinic on the train.  I liked what we saw of her and enjoyed that she was in most respects a very practical person who didn’t let the jerk from the office completely get her down.  Of course who wouldn’t have been upset by being dumped so close to the holidays and after you had already bought a monogrammed item for their present… She handled it better than I would have that is for sure but she gains something that might just prove to be real and stronger than what she loses.

As far as the him in this story…  I’m not going to give away much about him as I think the fun I had with this story was getting to learn about him just like Caitlin does.  Suffice it to say that he was smart, sexy and a very sweet man who I would love to be the one he took an interest in and spend time with.  I think not telling us much about him in the blurb above helps this be a very intriguing story as normally we learn about the hero and start to develop a bit of an idea on how they will behave before we even read it.  Take a chance on this one as it is fun to have that air of mystery when going in.

I have to thank Ruthie Knox for giving me the chance to be a part of the fun surrounding this release and giving me the chance to read all of the wonderful stories…  Stay tuned for more between now and April 2nd.  To get buy links for all the stories click the link in the first paragraph of this section to go to the main tour post.

Strangers On A Train – Tight Quarters – Samantha Hunter – 3 stars

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The Blurb:

Two hearts converge…until fear runs love off the rails.

Strangers on a Train Story

In the years since a horrific car accident left her with a long list of phobias, Brenna Burke has overcome them all except one. Crippling claustrophobia—not a good trait for an aspiring travel writer.

With an interview for her dream job looming, Brenna forces herself to board a train for a weekend tour through New York State…only to find her berth has been double booked.

Retired NYPD detective Reid Cooper isn’t happy about the mix-up, or his attraction to his petite, sexy roommate. But as their up-close-and-personal weekend progresses, something remarkable happens. Being with Reid makes Brenna feel normal, unafraid of anything.

After one passionate night, both are thinking beyond a mere weekend fling. But when Brenna’s last phobia pounces at the worst possible time, she could miss the last boarding call for happily ever after.

Warning: This book contains a hot-to-the-touch hero and sizzling sex at high speeds.

My Thoughts:

This is the second of the Strangers On A Train set of stories that I am going to review.  The full set releases on April 2, 2013 so go out and grab them.  If you are reading this before April 1 then go check out my stop on the blog tour for a chance to win all of the stories in this set by clicking here.

Brenna is attempting to conquer a major fear of hers caused by a traumatic incident in her past.  She’s supported by the staff of the train as they really want her to succeed on this attempt but when she finds out there was a mistake with booking and she will have to share the berth with another passenger or try this again later.  She can’t try this again later because if she wants to become a travel writer she has to overcome this fear of enclosed spaces so she decides to make the best of it.  What she ends up finding is a man who is incredibly supportive of her fight and also gives her another reason to want to succeed in this fight.  She opens up to him in more ways than just sexually and not only helps herself but also helps him in opening up.

Reid has just retired from the NYPD after being shot on the job.  He’s from a line of cops but after that incident he realizes that he wants to open a B&B or do something else with his life where he isn’t afraid all the time.  Not that fear rules him but being shot made him realize he wanted more than what the NYPD could offer him.  He’s not happy with being made to share a berth with this uptight woman but as he gets to know her and spend more time around her he realizes how brave and strong she is.  He wants more than just this weekend but isn’t certain if this means as much to her as it has come to mean for him.  He’s at times a bit brusque and rude but ultimately this is what they both need to realize what matters in life.

I’d love to see more of these two just because it was a lovely story even with the quick resolution.

I have to thank Ruthie Knox for giving me the chance to be a part of the fun surrounding this release and giving me the chance to read all of the wonderful stories…  Stay tuned for more between now and April 2nd.  To get buy links for all the stories click the link in the first paragraph of this section to go to the main tour post.

Strangers On A Train – Back On Track – Donna Cummings – 3 Stars

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The Blurb:

What’s a little lie between strangers?

Strangers on a Train Story

Allie Whittaker is in a dating slump, too busy getting her fledgling marketing company off the ground to have a personal life. All that could change, though, if she can get baseball superstar Matt Kearns on the cover of a charity calendar. Except Matt won’t even talk to her.

Matt is in a slump, worried his career might be over. A Napa Valley wine tour isn’t enough to take his mind off his troubles–until sexy, funny Allie plops into the adjacent seat and tells him three things about herself. One of them, she says, is a lie.

Matt can’t resist playing along, and soon the afternoon getaway becomes an interlude with lies, truths, and desire flowing as fast as the wine. Then Allie lets slip one truth too many…and they both realize they’re playing for keeps.

Warning: A handsome hunk, a determined lady and a few glasses of wine. Throw in a little on-the-run action, and what more do you need to while away an afternoon?

 

My Thoughts:

This is the first of the Strangers On A Train set of stories that I am going to review.  The full set releases on April 2, 2013 so go out and grab them.  If you are reading this before April 1 then go check out my stop on the blog tour for a chance to win all of the stories in this set by clicking here.

This was a fun story about a woman who needs to get a life and a man who needs to find his way back to life.  Allie is working extremely hard to get her new marketing company off the ground that she hasn’t bothered to let herself have a social life.  Dating?  Who has time for that when you want to make this new venture succeed.  She’s persuaded to take a train ride that also includes a lot of wine tasting when her friend talks her in to walking up to a strange man and playing a little game of guess the lie.  What ends up happening is something neither of them expected and that is to find someone that they could really build something real and lasting with if they would only give it a chance.

Matt is at a crossroads in a lot of respects.  He’s getting older and is recovering from a major injury that could keep him away from his first love of baseball.  He’s talked in to coming on the tour but is also trying desperately to stay incognito when Allie surprises him with her game.  He’s intrigued by her playing like she doesn’t know him and drawn to her fun, quirky personality.  Unfortunately things come to light that cause conflict and to be honest I was not too happy with the way this happened.  It was a bit contrived but I still enjoyed the story overall.

 

I have to thank Ruthie Knox for giving me the chance to be a part of the fun surrounding this release and giving me the chance to read all of the wonderful stories…  Stay tuned for more between now and April 2nd.  To get buy links for all the stories click the link in the first paragraph of this section to go to the main tour post.

Thrill Ride – Julie Ann Walker – 4 stars

Thrill Ride

 

The Blurb:

He’s Gone Rogue

Ex-Navy SEAL Rock Babineaux’s job is to get information, and he’s one of the best in the business. Until something goes horribly wrong and he’s being hunted by his own government. Even his best friends at the covert special-ops organization Black Knights Inc. aren’t sure they can trust him. He thinks he can outrun them all, but his former partner—a curvy bombshell who knows just how to drive him wild—refuses to cut him loose.

She Won’t Back Down

Vanessa Cordova hasn’t been the team’s communication specialist
very long, but she knows how to read people—no way is Rock guilty of murder. And she’ll go to hell and back to help him prove it. Sure, the sexy Cajun has his secrets, but there’s no one in the world she’d rather have by her side in a tight spot. Which is good, because they’re about to get very tight…

 

My Thoughts:

Sigh…  I want a sexy Cajun of my very own!  I guess I will just deal with not getting one of my own by living vicariously through books.

Rock has disappeared from Black Knights Inc and with that a mystery starts.  He’s been listed as a rogue agent and there is an order to capture him or even kill him by the government.  What he is accused of is being a murderer which BKI knows can’t be true.  He’s really hiding to try to get to the bottom of the mess plus keep his family safe.  He really doesn’t have a biological family but the gang at BKI is his family in all the ways that count.  If he also has a soft spot for one of his coworkers then we just won’t talk about it.  He’s always kept himself away from anything that speaks of love because of things that come to light in this book.  My heart broke for him as you learn more about his history and then find out exactly what he has done.  I personally wanted to kill those responsible for the sheer amount of pain he’s had to go through and was very happy when this incredible woman manages to get him to really start to live again.  He’s such a wonderful soul hidden under this majorly tough exterior and seeing it break made me tear up a bit.

Vanessa knows what they are saying about Rock can’t be true.  He can’t be a murderer but there has to be more to the story.  She takes on the tough task of finding him and getting him to come in to BKI for help.  She also is incredibly attracted to him for more than just sex.  She is drawn to this sexy Cajun and the way he makes her feel more than any man has ever managed.  She pushes him to do things he swore he would never do but she also pushes herself to overcome major fears she has had due to a traumatic event from her childhood.  She’s strong and yet is willing to make a major sacrifice in order to keep the man she loves safe.  I enjoyed her strength and yet also enjoyed that she opened up to him in ways she never has been able to.  They both are able to overcome so many things together that their love story is just an awesome page turner that you won’t easily be able to put down until you are finished.

 

Read the rest of the series so you get to know the rest of the BKI team and then read about our sexy Cajun.  Thanks to NetGalley.com and Sourcebooks Casablanca for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

Too Hot to Handle – Victoria Dahl – 3.5 stars

Too Hot to Handle

 

The Blurb:

This good girl’s going bad…. Merry Kade has always been the good girl. The best friend. The one who patiently waits for the guy to notice her. Well, no more. Merry has just scored her dream job, and it’s time for her life to change. As the new curator of a museum in Wyoming, she’ll supervise a lot of restoration work. Luckily she’s found the perfect contractor for the job.

Shane Harcourt can’t believe that someone wants to turn a beat-up ghost town into a museum attraction. After all, the last thing he needs is the site of his dream ranch turning into a tourist trap. He’ll work on the project, if only to hasten its failure…until the beautiful, quirky woman in charge starts to change his mind.

For the first time ever, Merry has a gorgeous stud hot on her heels. But can she trust this strong, silent man, even if he is a force of nature in bed? When Shane’s ulterior motives come out, he’ll need to prove to Merry that a love like theirs may be too hot to handle, but it’s impossible to resist.

 

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this story because I really do understand where Merry was coming from when she feels like she is always the buddy.  As a fellow friend zone  female all the way through high school I felt her pain in that regard.  I was happy to know that she ends up getting the HEA she deserved with a man who wasn’t perfect but really did belong to her in the end.

Merry has been floating through life but really has always just wanted to find somewhere she could prove her worth and really do something.  She finds this place when she is offered the chance to restore and preserve an old ghost town.  She also finds a man who makes her want to end her drought if only he could be interested in her.  When she finds out she was just hired to act as a way for the trust to win a lawsuit brought by the grandson of the trust creator to get the money that was slated to go to it from the estate , she’s understandably devastated.  Being Merry she picks herself up and decides to push forward by hiring a carpenter to start fixing up the town and by deciding to go for it where the hunky neighbor is concerned.  I mean not like he’s really going to be interested in her as anything other than a pity fling but hey why not scratch the itch if he’s willing to play along.  She’s sweet, cute, quirky and definitely someone you want to protect from all the ugly in the world but not because you think she’s weak or silly but because everyone needs one of those people who can make you smile just because they are so nice.

Shane has an agenda when he meets Merry and discovers that she is working for the trust wanting to save the ghost town he just wants to be forgotten.  He’s the person holding up the money but isn’t ready to tell her exactly who he is.  He starts off just working out on the town to see what the board is doing out on the property but as he spends more time around her he starts to see what she sees in the town and also that she pushes all the right buttons in him.  He’s drawn to her and as he spends more time with her has a harder time telling her the truth about himself because he just wants to have her still like him and not hate him.  He’s convinced that he’s never going to fall in love or be able to be a true partner in a committed relationship because of his family’s history but as well all know…. in romance land these are the men that fall the hardest…  😉

 

This was a nice sweet read with a good amount of heat but I enjoyed the heart behind their actions and that Merry really isn’t what she seems to be but is stronger than even she realized.  She and Shane are such a good match that you will root for as they work through their issues.

 

Thanks to NetGalley.com and Harlequin for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

Cover Reveal – Laura Kaye – Hard As It Gets

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Tall, dark, and lethal…

Trouble just walked into Nicholas Rixey’s tattoo parlor. Becca Merritt is warm, sexy, wholesome-pure catnip to a very jaded Nick. He’s left his military life behind to become co-owner of Hard Ink Tattoo, but Becca is his ex-commander’s daughter. Loyalty won’t let him turn her away. Lust has plenty to do with it too.

With her brother presumed kidnapped, Becca needs Nick. She just wasn’t expecting to want him so much. As their investigation turns into all-out war with an organized crime ring, only Nick can protect her. And only Becca can heal the scars no one else sees.

Desire is the easy part. Love is as hard as it gets. Good thing Nick is always up for a challenge…

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About Laura Kaye:

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Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of nearly a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

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Strangers on a Train Blog Tour & Contest

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Welcome to the Strangers on a Train blog tour! Strangers on a Train is a series of five short, sexy romance novellas that take place on (or near!) trains. It was born when authors Samantha Hunter and Ruthie Knox started riffing on a “Hot Guys on a Train,” a Tumblr featuring photos of unsuspecting (hot) male subjects as they ride the rails to work. Serena Bell joined the conversation, we roped in Meg Maguire and Donna Cummings, and the five of us brought the series to life. A big part of the fun has been seeing how different steamy love stories can be, even when they start from the same idea!

Today, we’re thrilled to be visiting Bookaholic Anon (Thank you, Steph!) to talk about our favorite real-life train experiences, just a sampling of the way that a train ride can stick in your head and get under your skin.

Donna Cummings: My favorite train ride has to be when I toured Europe on the Orient Express … oh, wait. That hasn’t happened yet! While I’ve been on several trains in the U.S., I have to admit my favorites were in England. I remember taking a train from London, enthralled with the hustle-bustle excitement of the train station, feeling like I was on a movie set. And I was impressed with the booth-like chairs with tables in the train cars—they were designed for writers! But who could write with such beautiful scenery to watch the entire four-hour ride? The best part was arriving at Edinburgh, at night, and stepping from the train station to see Edinburgh Castle looming over us, lit up in welcome. So far no other train trip has come close to that for magnificence. Just one more reason I need to give that Orient Express a try.

Samantha Hunter: I’ve never traveled on a train, unlike the heroine in my novella, Tight Quarters, but I love riding them around cities.  I have some fond memories of traveling on city trains, since I usually do it as a tourist, not a commuter (that takes the fun out of it, from what I hear). One of my fondest experiences of riding subways was when I went to Boston with my husband and he was on a business trip, leaving me to amuse myself during the daytime for several days. It was the first time I was on my own in a city, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but I set out on the adventure, starting with learning the subway.

The Boston T has to be the most user-friendly train system I’ve ever used. It’s so clean, bright, and easy to navigate (versus the NYC subway, which I love with a special kind of love, being a native New Yorker, but it’s not easy to get around in). In Boston, I went everywhere—Harvard, Fenway, museums, parks, and stores. I sat on the steps of Harvard Library, read a book in the Public Garden while watching the swan boats, and rode the trains while looking over the landscape of the city. I may have missed a stop or two, but I could find my way back quite easily. By the end of the two days, I felt like I knew the train system like the back of my hand. One of the best moments was coming home from a Red Sox game on the train, awash in a wave of boisterous Red Sox fans…it was awesome. I was already a Red Sox fan, of course, but touring Boston solo on the T really helped me form a bond to that city. Definitely a great experience on a train!

Meg Maguire: As much passionate love/hate as I have for Boston’s T, my best train ride took place nine thousand miles away, in New Zealand. After a week in Wellington, I took a ferry to Picton and boarded the TranzCoastal train that winds through the South Island’s absurdly beautiful surrounds en route to Christchurch. I was traveling solo, and I spent the journey soaking up the nature-porn that streams past the windows, and sipping flat whites and cans of Speight’s. I remember an American family boarded, and the father slung a Red Sox duffel onto the luggage rail. But I kept my mouth shut. As some new friends had explained to me, Kiwis of my generation and older grew up with very few channels, and one the most popular things shown on one of those few channels was Cheers reruns—hence Bostonians are very well received in New Zealand. I had begun to feel rather popular. So I chose to ignore the Red Sox family, content in imagining I was the lone ambassador for my city currently touring the most beautiful country on Earth.

Serena Bell: It’s possible the reason I chose to write Ticket Home about a train commute is that I love the experience of learning a route so well that all its minor features become significant. My favorite train ride was my commute from Salem, Mass to Boston on the commuter rail out of North Station. I knew all the scenery by heart, but I also knew the soundtrack through and through. The individual conductors recited the stop names in their deep Boston accents, and it was a lovely incantation: Chelsea, Lynn, Swampscott, Salem, Beverly (sans “R”), north Beverly (ditto), Hamilton-Wenham-and-Ipswich—which is pronounced all as one sing-song word,  “hamiltonwennumunIPswich.”

Then sometimes my husband and I took the train in the other direction, past Salem to Singing Beach, a white sand beach where the sand makes a squeaky singing sound, and that was a treat because instead of heading south through the grittier parts of the North Shore, you’d go north past gorgeous seaside territory. It was as if someone had magically inverted my commute so I could literally retreat from work.

Ruthie Knox: When I was in my early twenties, I spent most of a year living in London doing research for my dissertation. I lived in Greenwich, but during the week had to go to all these different archives—a month or two at the London Metropolitan Archive, a few months at the newspaper archive, and so on—which meant that most days I spent between forty and ninety minutes waiting for trains, riding trains, switching trains. My favorite was the Docklands Light Rail, which I often took from Greenwich to its stop at Bank on the London Underground.

One fun thing about the DLR was that a lot of men who worked in the City of London got on at Canary Wharf and rode the train in to work. I liked to ogle them in their fancy suits with their mobile phones. In my fantasies, I ended up meeting and dating one of these perfect English bank-working train men, and we had a lot of excellent sex and stayed together forever. This never actually happened, so I wrote a book about it instead—it’s called About Last Night.

But my *best* train ride took place when a male friend was visiting me during that year in London. We flew to Glasgow for the weekend and took the train into the city from the airport. We had a lot of fun on that train, and somewhere along the way I mentally tripped over that friends-to-lovers line that I thought only existed in books. Later, there was physical trippage, as well. Reader, I married him.

Strangers on a Train

April 2, 2013

Samhain Publishing

 

Romancing the rails…

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Tight Quarters by Samantha Hunter

Reid isn’t happy about the mix-up that saddles him with a claustrophobic roommate on his New York train tour. Then his weekend with Brenna progresses to a weekend fling, and so much more.

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Ticket Home by Serena Bell

Encountering her workaholic ex on her commuter train is the surprise of Amy’s life. Especially since Jeff seems hell-bent on winning her back.

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Thank You for Riding by Meg Maguire

At the end of Caitlin’s commute, her extended flirtation with a handsome stranger finds them facing a frigid winter night locked in an unheated subway station.

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Back on Track by Donna Cummings

A wine tour isn’t enough to take Matt’s mind off his baseball slump—until sexy, funny Allie plops into the adjacent seat and tells him three things about herself. One of them, she says, is a lie. Then Allie lets slip one truth too many…

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Big Boy by Ruthie Knox

Mandy doesn’t want romance, but monthly role-playing dates with her stranger on a train—each to a different time period—become the erotic escape she desperately needs. And a soul connection she never expected.

Preorder/order links:

Strangers on a Train at Amazon 

Strangers on a Train at Barnes & Noble

Strangers on a Train at Samhain

Other links

Serena Bell website

Serena Bell on Twitter

Serena Bell on Facebook

Serena Bell on Goodreads

Ruthie Knox website

Ruthie Knox on Twitter

Ruthie Knox on Facebook

Ruthie Knox on Goodreads

Samantha Hunter website

Samantha Hunter on Twitter

Samantha Hunter on Facebook

Samantha Hunter on Goodreads

Donna Cummings website

Donna Cummings on Twitter

Donna Cummings on Facebook

Donna Cummings on Goodreads

Meg Maguire website

CaraMcKenna website

Meg Maguire on Twitter

Meg Maguire on Goodreads

Tell us about your favorite train ride, or just comment to be entered to win. One lucky commenter will be randomly chosen to win a full set of all five Strangers on a Train stories. Good luck to all!

Contest closes on 4/1 at 11:59 pm CDT.  If you are experiencing any difficulties in getting your comment to save please tweet me @sac402 to get entered.

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