One of my aims for 2013 was to broaden my reading experience. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of page turning, thrilling crime fiction. However, I do feel there is much to learn from venturing into other genres. To this end, recently I have read Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote, God Save Us All by Tammy Maas, and The Rustler’s Daughter by M E Franco is currently on my Kindle.
Today, I would like to share with you a new writer that has caught my eye. Amy Gregory took the romance genre by storm when she released her first novel Racing to Love, the first in the Carter’s Treasure series last year. She quickly followed it up with the sequel, Jesse’s Soul, and I believe another release is planned soon. We are always told to write about what we know and as a ‘motor cross mum’, she has embraced this wholeheartedly. I’ll admit, I’ve never been a huge romance reader but I really enjoyed her first novel. Amy has a wonderfully engaging and clean writing style that brings her characters to life in front of your eyes. You can learn more about Amy at www.amygregory548.com .
In the meantime, she has kindly agreed for me to include an excerpt of Racing to Love on my blog for you all to enjoy:
Emery crossed her arms. “What are the odds of you two getting off my ass?”
Jesse grinned bashfully at her, his attempt to look innocent purely to try to lighten the mood. “If you don’t go? Not very good. Come on. I’ll help you change the oil and the gas and whatever else you need to do.”
“Did you ever help Shawn with the bike?”
He sheepishly shrugged, embarrassed to be called out on that fact. “Well, not really.”
“So what makes you think I’d let you touch my bike?”
“You mean my bike?”
Her hands went to her hips, with her head cocked to the side, and Emery narrowed her eyes. “No. My bike.”
Watching her pink lips over-enunciate the last two words sent a jolt straight to the lower half of his body. Jesse snickered, welcoming the teasing, loving her smartass retorts much better than the haze of darkness that had washed over her only a moment ago. The pain she caused between his legs…he could definitely live with it.
“I race it.”
Emery jerked her shoulder. “Not without me keeping it running.”
“Son.” Jesse looked over at Reid who was shamelessly grinning. “You’re not going to win that argument with her. Just ask Riley.”
“Okay,” Jesse said, trying not to give in and laugh, “if I help you fix our bike, will you come?”
“It doesn’t need fixing.”
Reveling in every minute of their back-and-forth exchange, Jesse smirked and tilted his head to the side. “Okay, whatever it needs.”
He threw his hands up in the air in mock frustration and rolled his eyes. Jesse hadn’t had this much fun with a woman in…never. Her wit was quick and her tongue was sharp, a combination that could easily get a simple country boy like him in trouble. He smiled at the challenge.
“See.” Emery crossed her arms.
Jesse bit his lip. She was dead serious and he was about to bust out laughing.
“You don’t even know”—she waved him off with the flick of her hand like he was a bug—“you’re not touching my bike.”
Then she slipped, and Jesse saw her trying her damnedest to hold it in. “You can do it, Em.”
He heard her dad quietly snicker off to the side. “Come on, Em. It makes you even prettier when you smile.” Jesse put his arm around her waist.
Her cheeks went pink instantly, and she wiggled out of his arm like he was made of fire.
“No. Business only.” Her words were steeled, the joking over.
Jesse’s heart sank, and he lowered his voice. “Em, I’m just playing around. I’m sorry, honey.”
“No. Playing around is personal.” Her words held finality to them, but suddenly her voice wasn’t nearly as strong.
Reid shook his head. Turning, he took one step into the bike trailer, but stilled to glance over his shoulder at them. “He’s one of the good ones, Em. You should give him a chance.”
He disappeared through the doors, but not before Jesse saw the disappointment in Reid’s eyes.
Emery walked over to the large toolbox on casters that stood by Jesse’s bike. She appeared to need something. She opened a couple of drawers, then rifled through the top section, but never took anything out. Moving to the small table where she had her most used items laid out on, she picked up one tool and laid it back down, then repeated with another. After the fourth time, Jesse watched as she it put both hands on the table and lowered her head.
Jesse let out a slow breath and walked over to her, putting his hand on her back. He heard the sharp breath she sucked in at his touch. Keeping his tone soft and his voice low, he took a chance. “Emery, talk to me.”
She didn’t say anything for the longest time, but finally let out a sigh. “Jesse, can you just let me do my job…and you do yours?”
He took a bold risk and slid his arm around her waist, trying to pull her close to his side, even though her head was still down. Standing close, their bodies touched from foot to hip.
With a slight shake to his head, he whispered the truth, “I’m sorry, I don’t think I can do that.”
Her voice was barely audible. “Please, Jesse. Don’t make this harder than it’s already becoming.”
That was the glimmer of hope he needed. Now he knew he was getting somewhere with her. “It’s like D told me, it’s all chemistry, Em. I am attracted to you.”
He tucked her hair behind her ear and saw her eyes were shut tight, and then he saw her swallow hard. Call it a gut feeling or intuition, but either way, Jesse knew she had to have been put through the ringer to be this shut off. With the warmth of her body next to his, he would have given anything to be able to pull her tight and make all the hurt go away. They weren’t there yet, though, and he could tell he was going to have to take baby steps with her or risk her putting up a wall so tall he couldn’t ever hope to scale it.
“I think as hard as you’re fighting me, there may be a slim chance you feel the same way.”
For a couple of minutes, he held her close to his side, letting her get used to his warmth, silently telling her he wasn’t going anywhere. After several moments, he placed a light kiss to her shoulder.
She shivered in his hold.
“I’ll meet you at your motorhome at six. We’ll go eat at the bar, have a drink, and I’ll walk you back at eight. Give me two hours. It’ll be fun. Our whole group is going, and I know you like Molly. It’s my way of saying thank you for what you did to the bike. If you want, you can join us for lunch and hang out until then. Otherwise, I’ll see you at six.”
The tone he used had been low and sensitive, sweet even, but she was to make no mistake, it brooked no argument. Turning on his heel, he left, walking in the direction of his friends sitting by Brody’s trailer. Jesse could feel her eyes on him, and God, how he wanted to pull a one-eighty, go to her, and hold on as tight as he could.
He knew what that would get him—nothing.
Reading people wasn’t much harder than reading terrain to him. Taking in every bump, rut, and roadblock was just the same as watching every sigh, raised eyebrow, or sharp intake of breath. There was going to be a fine balance, a thread so thin it could snap at any given moment with the wrong word or a hastened push to win Emery’s trust and ultimately—her heart.
What he had figured out within moments of being with her was something he didn’t think she even knew about herself. As strong as she was, as strong as she thought she needed to be, the pain that was so incredibly visible in the clear dark green of her eyes told him everything.
Emery needed him to be stronger than her—strong enough to pull her out of the dark.
Thanks, Amy, for sharing that excerpt with us. You can buy Racing to Love here: