- By Juliette Jones
- Editions: eBook
- Published: February 21st 2014
- Source: Review by Request
- Genre: Erotic Romance
- In a Flutter: Short & Steamy
For Lacey Callihan, things couldn’t get much worse. She’s working a dead-end job, living with a dead-end boyfriend and stuck in a dead-end town. When Lacey’s boyfriend steals her life savings and hits her for questioning him, it’s the last straw. She skips town in her rust-heap of a car – which she can only pray will get her as far as Texas. And it does. Spluttering to a final stop just as she crosses the border. But when two ultra-hot cowboys pull up in their convertible red Mustang and offer her a ride, Lacey has a feeling her luck is about to change …
What’s better than a sexy Cowboy?
TWO sexy cowboys!
As a reviewer, there are moments when you just want to shout some excited expletives, then throw a book at someone hoping that they’ll read it. It’s hard to speak in coherent sentences when you’re drooling and squirming in your seat…
All I really want is to say “OMG sooooo HOT”, but I’m supposed to be more articulate than that…
So I took several cold showers and sat down to write this review, because on top of the panty-melting hotness of this book, it also surprised and delighted me with its characters and story-line.
It’s time for Lacey to start over. She wakes on her twenty-first birthday to discover that her deadbeat boyfriend has stolen her life savings. When she confronts him about it, he lashes out with violence.
Time to leave her shitty waitressing job in her small Oklahoma town and take a chance at a new life. Her plan to drive down to Austin comes to a smoking halt when her car breaks down on the side of the road.
She has nothing but the cash in her pocket, a small suitcase, and a bottle of whiskey… She’s not turning back, and she has no idea what’s about to happen next when two gorgeous cowboys save her from the side of the road.
Nate is the tall, dark, handsome, strong, silent type. He pulls his red Mustang convertible over to the side of the road to pick up the damsel in distress.
He and his cousin Riley are driving to Dallas and agree to take Lacey with them.
Riley is Nate’s polar opposite – Friendly, flirtatious, blonde, and talkative. He gets Lacy to open up on how she wound up on the side of the road and about her crummy relationship with her ex-boyfriend.
As the miles drag on and the whiskey bottle is drained, their flirtatious banter has Lacey hotter than the Texas sun. Nate and Riley are determined to make sure that her birthday is one she’ll never forget.
Lacy has never done anything like this before, but she’s ready to take a chance on a wild ride with these two cowboys. It’s all fun and games when they make it to their Dallas hotel, but Lacy has some choices to make once the morning comes…
This book went from sexy to sweet as the story progressed. Lacy doesn’t want to come between two cousins – well, not in the same way she did last night 😉 but she’s falling hard and fast for one of them…
I awoke feeling happy, God knows why. I’d had little sleep, the day was already hot as sin, and I had another long shift ahead of me at a job that I hated with every fiber of my being. I’d had waitressing jobs before that I’d half-enjoyed, but The Rusty Nail was hardly a choice establishment. The clientele were a seedy, drunken, desperate bunch who never tired of groping and grabbing as their beer-on-tap was liberally, endlessly served. By me. A dead-end bar on a dead-end street in a dead-end town, that’s what it was. The tips were good enough, though, so I’d stuck with it for eight and a half months so far, saving every penny I could get away with, stashing my wadded bundles of cash in an empty peanut butter jar I hid at the back of the kitchen cupboard where I kept the herbal teas, the organic rice, the walnuts, when I could afford them: it was a cupboard Cal avoided.
I’d thought of quitting my job more than once, God knew that. Every day, in fact. But it helped that I could walk the mile and half from the house we were renting – a glorified shack with one bedroom and the smallest kitchen I’d ever seen. My car was a rust heap that ran, but barely. It needed some stuff done to it that Cal had promised he would take care of, especially after the mechanic said the repairs would cost more than the car was worth. Cal wasa mechanic, so I’d thought he might make it a priority. Take it to work with him, or something. Fix it when he had a spare hour or two.
That hadn’t happened. His motorcycles needed fixing. There was always a part that had to be replaced or a spark plug to tune, or whatever.
Cal’s promises had never been something I could reliably hinge my hopes on. Even in the beginning. Now, after almost two years of living together, our relationship had taken on all the glitter and glamor of the dingy windows the sun was feebly trying to shine through. And it wasn’t having much luck. Looking around the stuffy, messy bedroom, I couldn’t quite place the reason behind my unwarranted spark of optimism. Beyond the dirty panes of glass, the sky gleamed a bright, incandescent blue. Outside this house, it was a masterpiece of a day and one that I wanted to make the most of.
And I remembered: today was my birthday. My twenty-first.
I’d already planned to stop in at a swanky shop I passed on my way to work, to treat myself. There was a handbag I’d had my eye on for a whole month. It was red and orange, made of leather. Expensive. Just last week, it had been put on sale. Thirty percent off. And if a girl couldn’t buy herself a present on her twenty-first birthday, then what was the point? I worked hard and I figured I deserved it. God knew Cal wouldn’t buy it for me. I’d be lucky if he even remembered it was my birthday.
Before I could rise from the bed, Cal’s burly arm wrapped around me. I could smell the sweat and grease of yesterday’s workday. He hadn’t even bothered to shower before coming to bed. Nice. He pulled me closer, and started kissing my neck, but I struggled, pulling away from his grasp. “Let me go,” I said. “I’m getting up.”
His grip on my arm tightened. “Let’s have some fun,” he murmured.
It was the last thing in the world I felt like doing. Fun with Cal, I realized at that moment, wasn’t fun anymore. It had been, once. A long time ago.
I wriggled free of him and heard him swear. “What the fuck’s up with you, Lacey? Are you screwing around on me or something?”
“No,” I said, instantly relieved to be out of his reach. “I just have to get into work early today. There’s a new girl starting and I have to train her.”
“Why do you have to work so much? You should spend more time here. With me.”
I didn’t bother telling him that I was specifically avoiding doing exactly that, or that I had some other stuff I wanted to do before work. If he knew how much money I planned on spending on the bag, he’d go apeshit, plus he’d wonder how I made enough to buy it. At first I’d felt a little guilty about skimming off of our shared income. Hiding it away for myself. I’d been saving since I got the job at The Rusty Nail. I must have known I wouldn’t be here forever. Even then, without even realizing it, I’d been hatching an escape plan.
I took a quick shower and put on a pair of white cotton panties, a white sundress and my favorite sandals. Drying my long, wavy, white-blond hair until it was smooth, the way Cal preferred it – out of habit more than any inclination to please him, I left it loose. I guessed it was already ninety degrees outside and it wasn’t even ten o’clock. Checking to make sure Cal wasn’t up yet, I went to the kitchen and put the kettle on, to muffle the noise I was about to make. Reaching to the back of my cupboard, I pulled out the jar. But when I pulled it out, it felt light. Opening it, I could see that it wasn’t stuffed full with the $2,314.00 I’d saved. There was only a small roll of wadded-up tens and twenties. My stomach did a weird little flip and I reached back into the cupboard, searching. Maybe it had tipped over, and spilled. But no. It was tightly sealed, well-disguised. Aside from a few forgotten tea bags and some rice grains, the back of the cupboard was bare. I counted the money. A hundred and fifty-eight dollars. My fist balled around the crumpled bills. Anger bristled in me, and a sadness that felt more like grief. Tears pricked at the back of my eyes.
I stormed into the bedroom. Cal was awake, lying on his back with one arm slung behind his head. His other hand was gripping his erection, rubbing it. “Come here for a minute, baby. Come and give me a little love.”
“Where’s my money?” I accused, having no intention of doing any such thing.
“I needed it to pay the rent,” he said, increasing his pace.
“I already gave you my half. Last week. Besides, the rent’s only seven hundred. Where’s the rest?”
“My Harley’s havin’ a few issues, honey, you know that. I just needed a new exhaust pipe. And the clutch was rusted.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “You used my money to fix your Harley?”
“Yeah. I figured you wouldn’t mind. You got plenty there.”
“What about my car?”
“I’ll do that next. Oh, fuck,” he gasped, using both hands. “Come on, Lace. Come sit on me.”
“Fuck off,” I said, shocking even myself. I never swore. I always thought it sounded crass. Trashy. Never mind that I was trash, I mused, surprising myself again with the errant realization. I’d never thought of myself that way before this minute, not even once. But now that my money was gone I was back to square one. Back to The Rusty Nail and the endless, bottomless pit that was my life. Why had I ever even bothered to scrimp and save and dream? Maybe this was all I was destined for. Maybe he was my destiny. As I considered this possibility, my spirit kicked up defiantly. No way. No fucking way. “I want my money back.”
Cal jumped up and strode over to me, grabbing me. He pushed me against the wall, pinning me with the heavy weight of his body. “What the fuck did you just say to me?”
I’d never been afraid of Cal before that moment. Irritated, disappointed, mildly repulsed, yes. But never afraid. The rage in his eyes terrified me. Even so, I refused to cower from him. I was done with him, I knew it right then and there. All I wanted to do was get away from him. Desperately. And I wasn’t thinking straight. “I said give me my money, you useless, low-life loser. Give it to me!”
It was then that Cal slapped me, right across the side of the face. Hard. So hard that I fell, bumping my head against the wall. And in that split-second of white, star-flicked brutality, I took my chance. I crawled through the open bedroom door before he could react, and I rose to my feet, running to the front door. He ran after me but I was quicker. I pulled the door open and ran across the unkempt lawn to the driveway, where my old car was parked. The keys were in it. It wasn’t a car that someone would want to steal. He was searching for his jeans, or something to put on, in the messy bedroom. I had seconds, and I prayed with every ounce of religious tendency I possessed, which – until then – wasn’t all that much. I prayed as though my life depended on it, and maybe it did.
I pumped the gas and turned the key. The car spluttered but didn’t fire. I did it again. And again. On my fourth try, the engine roared to life. I gunned it once more, then jammed it into reverse. I backed right out onto the road, not even looking or caring. I think I would rather have died a sudden, violent death than have stayed in that house even one second longer.
A car swerved and honked but I barely even noticed it. He was coming.
Slamming the car into drive, I floored the accelerator and lurched out into the path of oncoming traffic. I didn’t care if I hit him or if someone else hit me. I gunned that piece-of-crap-turned-beautiful-chariot to speed, manoeuvering my way between a few cars, whose drivers were waving their fists and yelling. I barely noticed.
Glancing in the rear-view mirror, I could see him. Standing there in the middle of the road, shirtless and barefoot. Getting smaller in the glorious distance.
I was twenty-one years old and had a hundred and fifty-eight dollars to my name.
And I was free.
Q&A with Juliette Jones
If you were to describe your book in only one word, what would it be?
What would you say inspired you to write it?
I have no idea. It just appeared in my head one day and poured out. I wrote it in a couple of days (editing took a little longer).
What was the source of inspiration for Lacey Callihan?
She’s not really based on a character I’ve read or someone I know. The idea for Wild Ride just sort of landed in my head and Lacey’s voice was fully-formed before I started writing.
What about the sexy cowboy cousins Nate and Riley?
Have you ever hitchhiked like Lacey does in this book?
Yes, a long time ago, with a friend. I wouldn’t recommend it! Looking back, it was a wildly risky thing to do.
Ever ridden in a red Mustang Convertible?
Yes! I would love to own one.
What is your all time favorite book?
I know this is a terrible answer but I have many, many favorite books! I read a lot. My first love is literary. I read romance and of course erotic romance. I read women’s fiction, historical fiction and historical romance. I don’t read a lot of YA but love the big-hitters in that genre. I’m team Edward, all the way. I read some NA but not a lot. I guess if I had to name an all-time favorite book it might be The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons.
What made you decide to become an Author?
A high school English teacher gave me an A+++ on a short story I wrote and told me to keep writing. So I did.
Would you say becoming an author has changed you? In what way?
It’s made me much more thick-skinned! The whole experience can be a real roller-coaster ride of emotion.
What would you say was the toughest part?
You can’t please everyone.
Have you ever been hit by the infamous “writer’s block”? What did you do to escape it?
Not really. I have around five book ideas floating around in my head at any one time and I write in several different genres. If I ever do get stuck, I take a walk. Or do yoga. Or travel, if I can. Taking walks is my best way to get unstuck. It works every time.
Was there ever a time, during your work for this book, when you felt like giving up? What made you change your mind?
Not with Wild Ride, no. I wrote it too quickly to think about anything but the story. There have been times where I’ve felt discouraged, but that feeling never lasts long. I’d write even if no one ever read my books. I love the process. I love the wordlust. And I’ve had enough really positive feedback to feel inspired and to dream big.
What does your day-to-day life consist of? What else do you do, aside writing?
I’m married to the love of my life. I have a day job as a freelance academic editor. I have a lot of friends. I absolutely love to travel. I’m an introvert. I’m not at all addicted to the Internet and have to make an effort sometimes to put in the time I should put in to promote my books. I could never live online, like so many people seem to. It’s just not me.
How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other authors to that effect?
Bad reviews sting, there’s no doubt about that. If I feel discouraged by a bad review, which does happen, I’ll read the one-star reviews of my favorite books. It works! Every book gets bad reviews. Mostly, I focus on the good reviews. Reading is such a personal thing. Everyone brings something completely different to their reading experience. So everyone’s going to have a different reaction to each book. It’s the risk you take as an author or performer or artist or anyone who puts themselves in the public eye in any way. You have to take the good with the bad and not worry about it too much. I’m writing for myself and for the people who enjoy my books but I’m very aware that I can’t please everyone so I don’t try to.
Without giving us spoilers, of course, what can we expect from your next book?
I’m working on book 3 of the Billionaire series right now, although it’s really more of a spin-off from the series than a continuation since it centers around a different couple. The hero is Jake Wolfe, the younger brother of Alexander, the hero in Billionaire and Honey Girl. Jake is a badboy of sorts but he’s a complicated character. I’m enjoying torturing him a little (or a lot) before he gets (and this isn’t a spoiler since all my erotic romance books have a happy ending!) an HEA of his own. I really love his character so I’m having a lot of fun writing his book.
What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next?
My next book will involve a rodeo hero from Montana with a secret talent, and a city girl. They both have something the other one needs, but neither one is about to give in easily.
How long did the production part take, from the moment you began working on the manuscript to when you hit ‘Publish’?
For Wild Ride, which is a novella, the writing was relatively quick – about a week. That book just poured out, which doesn’t always happen. The editing and revising took a couple more weeks. Then I formatted the book and made the cover. So, probably around four weeks in total.
What’s the longest time you’ve spent working on a project?
Billionaire took the longest, so far, to write. I was working full time and that’s why I published the book in installments, so I could get one chapter out at a time and not have to wait until I’d finished the entire book. Serialized books are great for authors, but as a reader I don’t like to wait! Some of my readers said the same thing, which is why I published Honey Girl as a complete book.
Did you hire professionals for editing, cover design, formatting?
No professionals. I did it all myself!
Where is your work being distributed (Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, etc)? How did you decide which one(s) to go with?
Amazon, mainly. It’s by far the biggest source of sales. Billionaire is on B&N. Billionaire and Honey Girl are also on Smashwords. And Honey Girl is currently on NetGalley.
If you could wish for any one thing, and it would immediately come true, what would you wish for?
To win the lottery.
If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one item you’d absolutely wish to have with you?
Name your favorite fruits.
Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries.
That’s easy: summer.
How about favorite time of the day?
Were you a Girl Scout?
Favorite food for breakfast?
What is the latest book you’ve bought and read?
Black Lies, by Alessandra Torre.
What was the last book you absolutely fell in love with?
The Bronze Horseman, by Paullina Simons.
Is there a book you keep meaning to read, but haven’t gotten around to it? Don’t worry, we all have ridiculously long TBRs!
Do you recall the first piece of Erotica you ever read?
I read a lot of literary novels, and only discovered erotica within the past few years. At that time I started reading Sylvia Day, Maya Banks, Lorelei James, Bella Andre, E.L. James, Sara Fawkes, Charlotte Stein, Alessandra Torre, to name a few.
Do you collect things, like stamps, or key chains, or shoes?
Favorite color, you know you want to tell us!
Coffee or tea?
Both. I drink two cups of coffee before I even get out of bed, then the rest of the day I drink water and green tea (until wine time).
Sweet or salty?
Drama or comedy?
Both. I love a good romcom.
Cats or dogs?
Do you have a favorite quote or personal motto?
Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing?
Dinner by candlelight.
Do you have a favorite Book Boyfriend/Girlfriend?
Alexander Barrington in The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Reading. Drinking wine. I don’t feel guilty about either, actually!
Favorite Swear Word?
About the Author
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