Karen’s review of Madly by Ruthie Knox Contemporary romance released by Loveswept on March 14, 2017
Allie Fredericks isn’t supposed to be in Manhattan, hiding in the darkest corner of a hip bar, spying on her own mother—who’s flirting with a man who’s definitely not Allie’s father. Allie’s supposed to be in Wisconsin, planning her parents’ milestone anniversary party. Then Winston Chamberlain walks through the door, with his tailored suit, British accent, and gorgeous eyes, and Allie’s strange mission goes truly sideways.
Winston doesn’t do messy. But after a pretty stranger ropes him into her ridiculous family drama with a fake kiss that gets a little too real, he finds out that messy can be fun. Maybe even a little addicting. And as the night grows longer, Allie and Winston make a list of other wild things they could do together—and what seems like a mismatch leads to a genuine connection. But can their relationship survive as their real lives implode just outside the bedroom door?
A few weeks ago I read The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers, it was great, and because it has been a while since I’d read m/f romance. I then asked for suggestions with strong contemporary female leads. Along with some others, Ruthie Knox’s name came back time and again. I noticed she had a really recent book out, and so I bought it!
I have to say that this was one of the best romances I have read in a very long time, I was hooked from the first page and I couldn’t put it down.Continue reading →
My dears, it is April. I am not ok with this. I need a pause and rewind button. But! No pausing or rewinding today – we’re barreling forward with Ruthie Knox! She’s here, and she chose to do an author interview, and we’re excited about that! Whoo! Yes! 😉
Really she’ll be much more entertaining – so here you go.
1. Your next life you come back as a dog. What breed do you come back as and why?
I come back as a mutt. Scrappy, medium size, with a slightly too large head. I never learn to walk on a leash, chew through collars, escape to roll in dead squirrels, steal pizza off your plate, and find and lick your panties when you are away from home. But I’m good-tempered, and the kids love me.
I’m not sure there is a why. Because that is the most awesome kind of dog to be?
2. What badass female character from TV (or books/movies) do you most want to be?
I will admit to a fondness for Sidney Bristow from Alias. Jennifer Garner’s just so cute, with her dimples and her Serious Spy Face and her badass disguises. Cannot resist her.
3. What would your superhero name be? What if you were an anti hero? What would your “anti super hero power” be?
My superhero name would need to include the suffix “licious.” Probably “Bootylicious,” because I have the booty. If I were an antihero, I would be Madame X, and my power would be to shrink people and make them live in tiny elaborate dollhouses of my own devising.
4. Chocolate covered strawberries, salted caramel chocolates, or chocolate covered chips? Which do you go to?
Salted caramel chocolates. But I only have six, and then I switch to the chocolate-covered chips because mmm, sugarsaltfat.
5. You have a one way ticket to any place in the world you want to go – outside the United States. Where do you choose to go and why?
I would need more than one ticket, because if you gave me one and I couldn’t come back or take the people I love, I wouldn’t go. But if I can take all my people with me, and they are all perfectly compliant to my wishes, I think maybe I take them to Spain. I spent a couple weeks there as a teenager and liked it enough that I can imagine being happy there. Toledo, perhaps. Or somewhere in the hot, dry middle of the country.
6. What is your favorite food? Why? And what is your “signature dish”?
I’m terrible at favorites, but if I had to pick one food to eat over and over again forever, it would probably be refried bean and cheese burritos. So I guess that is my favorite food? Or, failing that, milk chocolate.
7. You have a pet rock. What do you name it and how do you decorate it?
I name it Thomasina, and I decorate it with rhinestones, frosty pink lipstick, and a short blond shag.
8. What celebrity is your “spirit animal?” Why?
Jodie Foster is my spirit animal. She’s wicked smart, sharp, generous, courageous, and curious. She is extremely beautiful in a way that is genuine and unthreatening. And she has a refreshingly low tolerance for bullshit.
9. Sports – do you prefer participating, or spectating? And which?
I’d rather participate than spectate, but team sports are not my thing. I like all the ones you can do solitary or with a partner — running, hiking, yoga, biking, etc.
10. Do you speak any other languages? What [other] language would you most like to learn and why?
I don’t speak any languages other than English. I took a lot of Latin, which, yeah. I’d like to learn Spanish. It would make me feel like less of a privileged asshole.
11. You have to listen to the same song to 72 hours, or your family gets it. What song do you choose to listen to on repeat?
“Gotta Have You” by The Weepies.
12. Tell us two truths and a lie. (The catch is you’ll have to tell us which is what in the comments.)
I’ve never taken an antibiotic.
I went to college when I was sixteen.
I gave birth at home.
13. You have to be part of a reality show. Which one do you pick? Which one do you absolutely refuse to be part of? Why?
I’ll assume I can be part of any reality show ever — I’d pick The Real World. I’d also choose to be twenty years old for this exercise. It would be fun to learn exactly what brand of crazy I turned out to be in that environment. I would refuse to be on Survivor, because I am intensely noncompetitive, and I would suck at every conceivable aspect of that contest.
14. You’re only allowed to read one book for the next year. Which book do you choose and why?
I’d choose Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles in Love, which is cheating because it’s more than one book. I’d like to read and reread those books, because they’re great, but also perfect genre fiction, absolutely perfect and brilliant. I’d learn so much.
15. What’s the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you at school? How about at a conference?
Once in high school, I went to the bathroom during lunch and came back to my regular (mixed-sex) lunch table to find everyone giggling and casting me furtive looks. I knew they’d been talking about me, but I couldn’t get them to tell me what for the longest time — and then finally one of them confessed that they’d been talking about what I would be like if I ever received oral sex, and one of the guys had done this firetruck siren noise and lifted both arms in the air like he was on a roller coaster.
Then I died.
At my first RWA conference, I met Miranda Neville and knew I’d read one of her books but couldn’t remember the name. Had her confused with Meredith Duran. Then went to the room, looked her up, still confused. Met her again later, told her which book, she pointed out that it was Meredith Duran’s book. Then I stared at her cleavage speechlessly, then left. She was very nice about it.
Isn’t Ruthie adorable? Ruthie is also very generously offering someone a copy of Roman Holiday: The Complete Adventure. (And yes – swear I will fucking pick winners! And you know … it’ll HAPPEN.)
My friends, Ruthie Knox is pretty much the best ever. And I mean ever. I am absolutely certain she thinks I’m not all there – like if it weren’t attached to my body, my head would float away. >.< She’s also a rockstar because she has been totally accommodating and chose one of the [in]famous ALBTALBS interviews. 😀 [To our new friends, that means an off the wall totally random unprofessional set of questions.] And remember Ruthie also shared an exclusive excerpt with us earlier this month. Really, it’s like the month of Ruthie, not Lime. 😉 Whee!
1. If you were told the only way an evil entity could be imprisoned forever was if it lived in a boil behind your ear, would you agree?
If it was a really evil entity, and the boil was fairly small, yes. And I would probably enjoy fondling the boil, truth be told. But if it was only a moderately evil entity and/or a large boil, then no, thank you.
2. What is one question you always wish as an author people would ask but nobody ever does?
“How many months has it been since you wrote [current release]? How much awesome is the book that you’re currently working on, which won’t be out until [far-off future date]?”
3. You have to be on a reality TV show. Which one do you pick? Why? Which one would you absolutely refuse to go on?
Oh! I would like to be on one of those living-in-a-cool-house ones, like Real World or Big Brother. Something with high levels of interpersonal drama not only possible but encouraged. I would SO unleash my inner drama queen. I couldn’t bear to be on The Bachelor. Firstly, because I’ve never seen a season where the bachelor himself wasn’t a total d-bag. And secondly because I have no feminine wiles and don’t wish to pretend I do, much less be judged on that basis against other women.
4. If you could switch places with someone for 72 hours, whose life would you want to live?
I would like to live the life of eighteen-year-old me. I would tell myself to break up with my nice-but-not-worth-this-much-of-my-time boyfriend and sleep around like a fiend. Because otherwise, what is the point of college?
5. What’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you at school? How about at a conference or author/reader event?
In eighth grade, a boy who I had never noticed before delivered a note to my classroom for me. The teacher gave it to me, then asked me after I read it if I was okay, because apparently I looked mortified and like my grandmother had died or something, but actually it was because IT WAS A LOVE NOTE. FROM A BOY I DIDN’T KNOW. Then that same day he called me at home and I was kind of mean to him, because I don’t deal well with love being foisted upon me, apparently. I would make a highly ungracious Regency romance heroine.
At my first RWA, my editor introduced me to Miranda Neville. I told her I’d liked her book but then couldn’t remember which one I’d read. Then I looked her up in my room, except I think I had her confused with Meredith Duran, and I saw the title of the book I’d liked. Then I ran into Miranda again at a party and told her which book I’d liked, and she said it wasn’t her book. Which, yes, because she’s not Meredith Duran. Then I stared at her boobs, turned red, and fled.*
*I have since read a book by Miranda Neville. It was excellent!
6. Why do new crystals self-organize into a lattice that is matched by all subsequent crystals of that type everywhere? [Or uh, how do you feel about Chemistry? Did you excel in science?]
They don’t get a choice, those crystals. They just do their thing.
[I can’t say that I have any chemistry feelings one way or the other. I got As in science because it was my job to get As in everything, lest the world explode, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me beyond the surface level of memorizing stuff. I do have a chemist sister-in-law who, when drunk, will wax on about chemistry in the most adorable way.]
7. Who are you choosing for your zombie apocalypse team? [Real, then fictional?]
My husband. He’s the only one I would need, because he puts the “P” in preparedness, and also he has given a lot of thought to the apocalypse.
If I had a fictional team, I would choose the father from Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD. Because (a) I have a little bit of a crush on him and (b) when the world blew up, he immediately filled the bathtub with fresh water. And that is the kind of intelligence one needs to survive the zombie apocalypse.
8. What would you put in your ideal candy bar? What would you put bacon on?
My ideal candy bar is like a really fresh, awesome Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, except in little candy-bar squares. Probably this already exists.
I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time, so I guess I’d put bacon on my first meal, post-apocalypse, because why the hell not?
9. What was your first job? Your most interesting one?
My first job was bussing tables at a Chinese restaurant in a strip mall. Most of the staff was Chinese and I had nightmares for weeks in which I bussed tables badly while being yelled at in Chinese (although this never happened in real life).
My most interesting job was as a camp counselor in Colorado. I became a certified rafting guide, rappelled, learned riflery, became life guard and first aid certified, got a great tan, figured out the meaning of exploitation, cleaned trash by the side of the road, and bruised my tailbone, all in the space of one summer. (Note to my ninteen-year-old self: This would also have been an excellent opportunity to sleep around.)
10. Which would you most like to go to? Ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, China, Mesopotamia, Africa, or South America? Why?
Hmm. Is it okay if I don’t want to go any of these places? Because that is my actual answer.
11. If you had to be turned into a flower, what kind would you choose to be?
A small, not-so-smelly one. Clover?
12. What’s the first type of alcohol you ever tried to drink?
I think maybe beer? I’m pretty sure the first time I ever got drunk was on one of those spiked fruit punch things at a party that makes your gut hurt and turns half-naked dancing into a brilliant idea.
13. Do you collect anything? If yes, what is it, and why?
No. I don’t like to have things. The smallest number of things, please, for me.
Annnd because it’s my birthday bash month. 😀
14. What is something awesome that has to do with the number 2, or 20s. Either something that happened to you in your 20s, a 20th book milestone, etc.
At 20, I started grad school. At 29, I had a baby. In the middle I got a Ph.D. and got married. That’s a lot of awesomeness for one decade.
15. What’s the best birthday present you’ve ever received? What about the best birthday present you’ve ever given? How would your ideal birthday go?
When I turned 16, I got an ancient used Volkswagen Fox from my parents. That was a pretty awesome present — I drove that car for years. I once gave my husband 10 pounds of ginger candy for his birthday, which turns out to be a LOT of ginger candy. I’m not sure he appreciated it as much as I did.
On my ideal birthday, I get left alone to do whatever I want all day long, and also I have $500 in cash that I have to spend on something, and then at the end of the day there is informal drinking on a stoop and a lot of laughter that turns to cackling, and probably someone has a choking fit. Sex would be nice, too.
Ruthie is giving away a very special, signed paperback copy of Flirting With Disaster to one person who comments! How do you enter to win? Ask Ruthie a crazy question. The craziest you can think of. (Or you know, one relevant to her as an author and her books. Whatever. And feel free to ask as many questions as you like! There are no limits!)
So come on, that’s my challenge to you. Ask crazy fun questions, try to one up each other! Let’s have some fun and entertainment!
My friends! It’s Teaser TuesdayThursday! Because we’re in June! And that’s fun! We’ve got the ever fun and fabulous Ruthie Knox sharing with us today! I know you don’t want to hear what I’ve got to say when Ruthie’s on deck, so here we go!
Hi, Lime! Thanks for inviting me to visit today.
I’m sharing an excerpt from Flirting with Disaster, which is the third book in my Camelot series. I call it, with fondness, my “stuttering hacker” book, because the hero of this one, Sean, is just that—a (sort of) former hacker with a stutter he’s tried to ditch, with some success . . . until he returns to his hometown and the past hits him upside the head. Here’s the blurby thing:
In the latest eBook original novel in Ruthie Knox’s scorching-hot Camelot series, a no-strings fling looks an awful lot like falling in love—or flirting with disaster.
Fresh out of a fiasco of a marriage, Katie Clark has retreated to her hometown to start over. The new Katie is sophisticated, cavalier, and hell-bent on kicking butt at her job in her brother’s security firm. But on her first assignment—digging up the truth about the stalker threatening a world-famous singer-songwriter—Katie must endure the silent treatment from a stern but sexy partner who doesn’t want her help . . . or her company.
Sean Owens knows that if he opens his mouth around Katie, she’ll instantly remember him as the geeky kid who sat behind her in high school. Silence is golden, but he can’t keep quiet forever, not with Katie stampeding through their investigation. It’s time for Sean to step up and take control of the case, and his decade-old crush. If he can break through Katie’s newfound independence, they just might find they make a perfect team—on the road, on the job, and in bed.
And here’s an exclusive excerpt. Sean’s just gone for a run, at night, in Buffalo, in February—because yeah, he needs to get distance from Katie that badly. Unfortunately, she’s waiting for him at his hotel room when he returns. Poor Sean. There is very little hope for him at this point.
He passed through the parking lot and let himself in the side entrance, peeling the traction cleats off his running shoes and trying to knock most of the snow out of the coils before he came fully indoors. The Mansion hosted wedding receptions in its plush downstairs rooms. It was no place for a smelly, irritable guy to be dropping chunks of ice and snow.
On the way up the stairs, he pulled his jacket over his head, knocking off his hat in the process. The lightweight wool shirt he’d worn as a base layer was soaked with sweat, and he barely had the strength left in his legs for the second flight.
He definitely didn’t have strength for the sight of Katie knocking on the door to his room with a bottle of wine tucked awkwardly under her arm and two mugs dangling from her free hand.
He’d just have to find some.
“What do you wuh-want?”
Focused on the door, she hadn’t heard him coming. When she turned, her free hand went to her throat. As he approached, her eyes raked over him, head to toe and all the way back up.
“Sweet Baby Jesus,” she said. “You were running? Outside? It’s, like, minus two hundred degrees out there.”
According to the outdoor thermometer, it was 3 degrees, not counting wind chill. The sight of Katie’s smooth, bare shoulders was nearly enough to make him break a sweat.
She wore her flannel pajama pants and the sleeveless top she’d had on in the car. What the hell was she doing with bare arms in the middle of the winter?
Sean brushed past, careful not to touch her, and opened the door to his room. “Go away, C-Clark.”
“Don’t be rude,” she said. “There’s a Jackie Chan marathon on, and I brought wine.”
“Chicks don’t like Jackie Chan.”
“I do. You want me to tell you all my favorite parts of Rumble in the Bronx to prove my credentials?”
“No. I wuh-want you to g-go away.” He walked into the room, leaving her in the doorway and hoping she’d take the hint and quit torturing him. The red bra straps weren’t peeking out from under her top anymore, which could only mean one thing.
Sean dropped his jacket, hat, shoes, and cleats on the towel he’d left inside the open door to the bathroom. Katie walked in like she owned the place, setting the wine bottle and mugs down on the table by the TV.
“Hey, no fair. Your room is bigger than mine.” She peeked into the bathroom. “Your shower is bigger, too.”
When she looked back at him, he was staring at her, hoping she’d be intimidated by the glare he sent her way.
“What?” she asked.
“Are you ffflirting with me?”
“Maybe. Would that be really bad?”
She stepped closer, giving him a view right down her shirt. She had small breasts. Soft swells on either side of her sternum. Shadows and valleys, a dozen places where his mouth would fit.
He closed his eyes.
He hated this. This weakness. The sound of his own voice, choking on feelings he didn’t want to have. The sound of him losing his grip.
“Okay,” she said. “Then I’m not flirting with you.”
He exhaled and searched for some kind of response. Some way to get Katie out of his room before he fucked up irrevocably.
“I’m n-not sssleeping with you.”
She narrowed her eyes and parroted back the line he’d given her a week ago. “I didn’t ask you to.”
The challenge in her eyes was unmistakable, though. She would play it this way, I just stopped by braless in my jammies with a bottle of wine, as buddies do, and anything that happened would be an accident. It would be his fault for not being able to keep his hands off her.
Damn it, he wouldn’t play along.
“You d-did, c-coming over here d-d-dressed like that.”
She looked down at her flannel-clad legs. “It’s not like I’m wearing a French maid outfit.”
“You haven’t g-got a b-bra on.”
“I hardly have any boobs. What’s the big deal?”
“The b-b-big d-deal is I c-can ssee your arms and yuh-your . . .” Sean gestured at the expanse of her chest and her neck.
“My arms, Sean?” Her voice sliced at his composure. “You think I’m trying to seduce you because you can see my arms? Is your virtue that easy to compromise?”
“That’s n-not what I m-m-m—”
“You seem like a civilized guy. Can’t you control your animal impulses?”
Because he wanted so badly to grab her and kiss her until she shut up and glazed over and turned into an animal, too, he grabbed two fists of shirts at the back of his neck and pulled it over his head. Then he edged even closer, so he was breathing right up against her, his bare skin separated from hers by a millimeter of empty space charged with sweat and sex.
She didn’t say anything, but her eyes jumped around, flitting from his chest to his shoulders, his neck, his face. His cock grew heavy and began to ache.
“Want to watch a m-movie, ssweetheart?” he asked. “Want to ssit on the c-couch, getting drunk and not t-t-touching each other for a few hours?”
Katie raised her eyes to his. “Holy shit,” she said. “Sean. Oh my gosh, Sean, look at you.” She placed one palm flat on his chest, over his heart, and he knocked it away.
“Don’t p-p-play with me,” he warned her. “We’re going to be p-partners. That’s all.”
A perplexed frown knit the space between her eyebrows. “You were hitting on me in the car.”
“And at my house, right? I didn’t just make that up?”
He shook his head, disgusted with himself. “I wuh-was. Buh-but I sh-shouldn’t have. We’re not g-going to watch m-movies together, and we’re not going to ffflirt, and we’re not g-going to sleep together.”
Katie’s gaze slid below his waist and held there for a moment, then meandered its way back up. When she met his eyes, hers held a single question. Why not?
He looked away from her and counted to twenty. It didn’t help. “I’m luh-leaving t-town.”
“Ssoon. When we ffinish the c-c-case.”
“I have a juh-job b-back in C-c-california. A c-computer sssecurity c-company I ruh-run. I nuh-need to g-get b-back to it.”
The furrowed forehead again. “I thought you’d moved back to Camelot.”
Sean shook his head. “N-no. I’m juh-just . . . It’s t-temporary, the juh-job with your brother. I’m luh-leaving. So I d-d-don’t wuh-want to . . .” He raised his arms out to the side, palms flat, a gesture that encompassed his bare-chested self and her compromising outfit. The room. The bed. The entire situation. “I d-don’t wuh-want to.”
Katie flinched, but Sean couldn’t think of any way to take it back without actually taking it back.
“You’re being a gentleman.”
“Don’t. The last thing I need—the absolute last thing—is for you to be a gentleman. You know, people do have meaningless flings. It’s a thing. I keep hearing about it from, like, every form of popular culture ever.”
She crossed her arms and took a step back. The confidence had drained out of her, and she looked younger. Smaller. “You’re confusing.”
“I know.” He sighed. “I’m ssorry. It’s c-c-complicated.” He clenched his hands into tight fists. It was even harder to keep from touching her when she looked so bewildered and hurt. Hard not to comfort her, but he knew where that would lead.
“It’s really not.” She fiddled with the ties to her pajama bottoms. “The way I remember it, it’s super simple. Kind of an Insert-Tab-A-into-Slot-B thing. I might be remembering wrong, though. I haven’t had sex in almost two years.”
Two years. She hadn’t been with anyone since Levi—which meant she probably hadn’t been with anyone but Levi—and now she wanted him, and he was turning her down. He was out of his fucking mind.
“Fffind someone else.” Even as he said it, the thought of her having sex with another man made him homicidal.
She lowered her eyes to the carpet. “No,” she said, crossing her arms over her chest. “I think I’m all tapped out.”
Slowly, it sank in.
First Levi, then Judah, now him. The third man in a row to tell Katie she wasn’t good enough. She’d gathered up her courage and come over here, maybe not throwing herself at him but at least open to the possibility. She’d done it because he’d encouraged her to, the way he’d talked to her at her house, and in the car. And now he was turning her down.
Not gently, either. Badly. Clumsily.
“I’m ssss—” He couldn’t make the word come out, but he had to. She deserved a decent apology. He tried again. “I ap-p-p—”
She flapped a hand and turned her back on him. “Don’t worry about it. You want a drink?” She popped the cork out of the wine and poured two measures into the mugs. “Hope you don’t mind, I already started the bottle. Liquid courage and all that.” Turning toward him, she lifted one mug in invitation.
“I n-n-need a sh-shower.”
“Yeah, I noticed. Well, it’ll be here.” She put one mug down on the table and settled onto the couch with her own drink. The remote was on the coffee table, and she lifted it, turned on the TV, and began flicking through channels.
“Go shower, Sean,” she said after a moment.
He didn’t move. He couldn’t figure out why she was still in the room, much less talking to him.
Katie raised the mug to her lips and drank down the contents in four long gulps. She wiped the back of her hand over her mouth and sighed.
“You don’t want me,” she said without turning around. “It’s not a crime. I know I’m not, like, centerfold material. It’s fine. We’ll watch kung fu movies and work our way through this bottle of wine. You’ll stay on your side of the couch, I’ll stay on mine, and by the time I go to bed after three or four hours of Jackie Chan, we’ll be friends, and I’ll be able to sleep.”
He stared blankly at the back of her head.
Balls. Katie had balls.
She went through life with her heart on her sleeve, saying what she meant, telling people how she felt, what she wanted, what she needed, and she got slapped for it. But she didn’t let it set her back.
He couldn’t remember ever having been like that. Not one day in his life had he been that unguarded.
She found the right channel, and the screen filled up with a young Jackie Chan wearing a tank top, high-waisted jeans, and what looked like a woman’s belt while he beat the crap out of three bad guys.
“Take a shower,” she said flatly. “I don’t want to sit by myself in my room feeling like a complete waste of space, okay?”
He didn’t know what to say, so he grabbed some clothes from his bag and headed for the bathroom, leaving her alone, bathed in the flickering light of the television.
Fun, huh? If you like torturing characters. Which I do. Very much.
Speaking of torture, who’s your favorite flawed hero? The flaw can be physical, mental, or both. Tell me, and I’ll give away an ebook copy of Flirting with Disaster to one random commenter in the format of your choice!
About Ruthie: USA Today bestselling author Ruthie Knox writes contemporary romance that’s sexy, witty, and angsty—sometimes all three at once. After training to be a British historian, she became an academic editor instead. Then she got really deeply into knitting, as one does, followed by motherhood and romance novel writing. Her debut novel, Ride with Me, is probably the only existing cross-country bicycling love story. She followed it up with About Last Night, a London-set romance whose hero has the unlikely name of Neville, and then Room at the Inn, a Christmas novella—both of which were finalists for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award. Her four-book series about the Clark family of Camelot, Ohio, has won accolades for its fresh, funny portrayal of small-town Midwestern life. Ruthie moonlights as a mother, Tweets incessantly, and bakes a mean focaccia. She’d love to hear from you, so visit her website and drop her a line.
Did you love it?! 😀 No need to wait long because Flirting with Disaster will be available on June 10! Whee! You know the deal – what’d you think? (Answer Ruthie’s question for a chance to win! To remind you: who’s your favorite flawed hero?)
What woman can resist a hot man in a hard hat? Beloved author Ruthie Knox kicks off her new Camelot series with this deliciously sexy original novella, in which a good girl learns how to misbehave . . . with all her heart.
As program director for the Camelot Community Center, Amber Clark knows how to keep her cool. That is, until a sudden tornado warning forces her to take shelter in a darkened basement with a hunk of man whose sex appeal green lights her every fantasy. With a voice that would melt chocolate, he asks her if she is okay. Now she’s hot all over and wondering: How does a girl make a move?
Building contractor Tony Mazzara was just looking to escape nature’s fury. Instead, he finds himself all tangled up with lovely Amber. Sweet and sexy, she’s ready to unleash her wild side. Their mutual desire reaches a fever pitch and creates a storm of its own—unexpected, powerful, and unforgettable. But is it bigger than Tony can handle? Can he let go of painful memories and let the force of this remarkable woman show him a future he never dreamed existed?
Amber is good girl. She’s just out of a religious college, where she even did a mission trip to an impoverished area. She just moved out of her parents’ home, but she’s only across the way from them and she talks to her mother very often.
Tony is a construction worker, a high school/college# dropout. He’s the far side of thirty. He has a history. He has the kind of reputation that would scare any parent.
This setup is a well-loved romance trope. An older more experienced man is loved by an innocent young girl.
But in Knox’s hands this story takes twists and turns that are as surprising as they are satisfying. Amber is a squeaky clean good girl, but she’s no virgin waiting to be seduced. Amber just, in her own words, “got used to being good.” She actively, if hesitantly, pursues Tony. She’s neither uninterested nor afraid.
Her mother Janet isn’t an evil, oppressive character. She’s hovering and maybe a little controlling, but Amber pushes back good naturedly and they have a very real and wonderful and flawed relationship. The subtlety and complexity of their relationship was one of the real joys of this book.
Tony is the one who has fears, demons chasing him. He tries to be responsible and tells Amber he’s protecting her since he’s not looking for anything permanent. Amber’s reply?
Her expression hardened as he spoke, her mouth flattening out. “That’s so insulting.”
His conflict is heart wrenching, not something easily solved in 30K words or in the compressed timeline of this story. But again Knox’s storytelling instincts are sharp. The story doesn’t resolve the conflict so much as present us with the knowledge that these two wonderful people are better off together. Tony looks down at a smiling Amber just before their first kiss.
Nobody looked at him like that, with such open, boundless optimism.
At 30,000 How to Misbehave is a super quick read which worried me a little when I started it. As a rule, I don’t like novellas because they’re, well, short. But I love Ruthie’s stories, so I dove in. I’m so glad I did. The story is short but in no way did I feel the conflict or the character arcs were short changed. This is a full story that had me checking how much was left in the book as I was on the edge of my seat desperate that things work out for Tony and Amber.
If you’ve never read Ruthie Knox before, this is little bite of a story is a great way to check her out. The good news? The novella is the first in a new series. The next two full length novels star Amber’s siblings Caleb and Katie.
Another Blog Tour Stop! Earlier this week, we were the end. Today, we’re the first stop! First = the best, right? We’re winning on both sides! 😉 Anyway, we’ve got debut author Ruthie Knox here today! I really enjoyed her post, and I’m sure you will too.
My debut novel, Ride with Me, releases in eleven days, and I’m excited to be kicking off my blog tour with Limecello! Because my novel has a bicycling theme–the hero and heroine are cycling across the United States along the TransAmerica Trail–here’s a list of Five Things I’ve Done on a Bike.
(5) I’ve Cursed Mormon Founder Joseph Smith. You may have heard of Smith, but did you know that he was born in Vermont? And that his birthplace is at the end of the steepest motherfrakking series of hills in all of creation? Yeah, me neither. But then one day, my family was riding in Vermont, and my husband suggested we out the spot where Smith was born. We’d already covered sixty exhausting miles that day, but how bad could it be?
When we finally got to the visitor’s center, I’m fairly sure I collapsed in a heap of spent muscle fibers and wept. I (mentally) shook my fist at the heavens and (silently) rained curses down upon Joseph Smith, officially disqualifying myself from ever becoming a member of the Mormon Church.
But on the plus side, I hit 40 mph on the way back down to the main road.
(4) I’ve Hit a Dog. Yes. It’s true. When I was about thirteen, I was on a ride in rural Ohio somewhere, flying downhill, and there was a dog in the road right in my path at the bottom of the hill, barking its head off. Now, common sense says I should have swerved, right?
But see, I had this science teacher in the seventh grade–an incredibly stridentman who would go off on these tangents during class and end up screaming impassioned directives at us–and he’d made quite an impression on me with his speech titled “When You Get Your Driver’s License, You Must Never, EVER Swerve When There Is An Animal In the Road.” Run that animal down, he’d told us. If you swerve, you will DIE.
I didn’t intend to run the dog down. I put on my brakes and slowed to a crawl. But I did feel pretty confident that if I headed straight for the dog, it would move out of the way.
(3) I’ve Checked Out the Unabomber’s Digs. Ted Kaczynski, aka the Unabomber, was living in remote cabin outside Lincoln, Montana, when he wrote his famous manifesto and mailed it to the New York Times. Because I rode there on my mountain bike, I can tell you just exactly how remote that cabin was: Reeeemote.
The Unabomber’s shack had long since been removed by the FBI by the time I visited, so I can’t speak to its many charms. But I can tell you that the ride past where it used to be was one of the most apeshit insane descents I’ve ever done in my life. Fun, though. Or it was, until my husband ran off the road going downhill on a gravel “road” at thirty-odd miles an hour. He managed not to kill himself, but it was a close thing.
I suppose we all have our own personal brand of crazy.
(2) I’ve Achieved Inner Peace. Speaking of insane descents, I rode downhill along this logging road on that same Montana trip. Or it had once been a logging road anyway, before some of it fell off the hillside into an abyss. By the time this road and I met up, there were trees growing up in the median and two sketchy, now-they’re-here, now-they’re-gone lanes on either side. And rocks. Lots of rocks. Plus the aforementioned abyss.
Flying downhill, hands on the brakes, dodging tree branches, weaving from lane to lane, there was no headspace to think and no time to do anything but react. It was exhilarating. Ecstatic! The closest thing to pure being I’ve ever felt. It was my own personal moment of zen.
(1) I’ve Discovered What I’m Capable Of. At the age when most kids put their bikes aside and start yearning for their driver’s licenses, my parents bought my brother and I really excellent bikes, and we spent quite a few weekends riding as a family, some of them on organized rides in other parts of the state. The one I remember best was called the Top of Ohio Hundred. It was famous for being among the hilliest, most challenging routes in the state.
About fifteen miles into our sixty-odd-mile day, I was ascending a hill and psyching myself out. My dad was riding beside me, and I remember telling him that I might not be able to do this. I’d ridden up a lot of hills before, sure, but they weren’t Top of Ohio Hundred hills. I was out of my league.
My dad told me his philosophy of hills, honed over thousands of miles in the saddle: They’re all the same. You shift into a lower gear, you keep pedaling, and you get to the top. There’s no magic to it, and nothing to worry about. I had strong legs and a good bike. If I could climb one hill, I could climb all of them.
It was an astute observation, for riding and life, and it stuck with me. Since then, I haven’t encountered a single hill I couldn’t climb.
Ride with Me, available from Loveswept on February 13, 2012! (And I’m including the cover one more time just for good measure… ;))
In this fun, scorching-hot eBook original romance by Ruthie Knox, a cross-country bike adventure takes a detour into unexplored passion. As readers will discover, Ride with Me is not about the bike!
When Lexie Marshall places an ad for a cycling companion, she hopes to find someone friendly and fun to cross the TransAmerica Trail with. Instead, she gets Tom Geiger — a lean, sexy loner whose bad attitude threatens to spoil the adventure she’s spent years planning.
Roped into the cycling equivalent of a blind date by his sister, Tom doesn’t want to ride with a chatty, go-by-the-map kind of woman, and he certainly doesn’t want to want her. Too bad the sight of Lexie with a bike between her thighs really turns his crank.
Even Tom’s stubborn determination to keep Lexie at a distance can’t stop a kiss from leading to endless nights of hotter-than-hot sex. But when the wild ride ends, where will they go next?
BIO: Ruthie Knox figured out how to walk and read at the same time in the second grade, and she hasn’t looked up since. She spent her formative years hiding romance novels in her bedroom closet to avoid the merciless teasing of her brothers and imagining scenarios in which someone who looked remarkably like Daniel Day Lewis recognized her well-hidden sex appeal and rescued her from middle-class Midwestern obscurity. After graduating from Grinnell College with an English and history double major, she earned a Ph.D. in modern British history that she’s put to remarkably little use.
These days, she writes contemporary romance in which witty, down-to- earth characters find each other irresistible in their pajamas, though she freely admits this has yet to happen to her. Perhaps she needs more exciting pajamas. Ruthie abhors an epilogue and insists a decent romance requires at least three good sex scenes.
GIVEAWAY: One lucky commenter will be randomly chosen to win a digital copy of Ride with Me. Winners will pick up their copy through Net Galley. Good luck to all!
How about you — ever done anything interesting on a bike? Or ask Ruthie your own question, and she’ll drop by to answer.