Running On Empty
by Meg Benjamin GENRE: Contemporary Romance
Ronnie Ventura has every reason to distrust Fairstein Productions: she’s had run-ins with their shows before. But Fairstein’s newest reality show offers Ronnie a chance to redeem herself from looking like a blonde bimbo. All she has to do is win a modified triathlon. Simple, right? Except this is Fairstein, and nothing is ever simple with them.
Ronnie’s boss at the Blarney Stone bar and café, owner Ted Saltzman, is a lot less convinced that another Fairstein show is just what Ronnie needs, particularly when he’s head over heels about Ronnie himself. But she’s determined, and he’s a man in love.
Ted becomes her running coach, which fans their budding romance to a fever. But can Ronnie’s newfound confidence stand up to the usual Fairstein plots? And can Ted find a way to keep his true love in Salt Box if Hollywood tries to steal her away again?
Ted watched Ronnie circle the high school track. It was always a bit easier to train here since the track had quarter-mile markers and he could time her more accurately. Saturdays were the only time they could use it, though, until school was out.
They’d switched to two minutes of running followed by a minute of jogging for the warm-up, rather than the one-minute run, two-minute walk that he’d started with. Ronnie’s stride was really developing.
As he’d watched her over the past few weeks, he’d come to a surprising conclusion. Dick was right—Ronnie was a natural athlete. She loved to run, just like she loved to bike and swim.
He was a little embarrassed about how long it had taken him to realize the extent of her abilities. He was willing to bet that he would have wised up a lot sooner if she hadn’t been, well, Ronnie in all her Ronnieness. He wasn’t sure why the idea that a gorgeous woman could also be an athlete seemed so revolutionary. Probably more evidence of his troglodyte side.
Now she was sprinting down the stretch, knees pumping, arms swinging at her sides. She seemed to be enjoying herself, but lately she always seemed to be enjoying herself. The sight of Ronnie running full-out in shorts and T-shirt did predictable things to his libido.
Of course, the sight of Ronnie doing just about anything did predictable things to his libido these days. Even when he caught a glimpse of her bent over her bike, which was about as unsexy as you could get, he still found himself watching her long legs spin the pedals, her blonde hair steaming behind her helmet.
God she was lovely. And God he was a horny, lust-filled idiot around her.
Meg Benjamin is an award-winning author of contemporary romance. Her Konigsburg series for Samhain Publishing is set in the Texas Hill Country and her Ramos Family Trilogy is set in San Antonio’s King William District. Her Salt Box trilogy takes place in her new home the Colorado Rockies. She’s also the author of Going Up In Flames, part of the Sapphire Falls Kindle World series. Meg’s books have won numerous awards, including an EPIC Award, a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Holt Medallion from Virginia Romance Writers, the Beanpot Award from the New England Romance Writers and the Award of Excellence from Colorado Romance Writers. Meg’s Web site is http://www.MegBenjamin.com.
Meg’s books are also available through iBooks and other venues.
Venus In Blue Jeans ISBN 9781605043692
Wedding Bell Blues ISBN 9781605046303
Be My Baby ISBN 9781605048437
Long Time Gone ISBN 9781609281083
Brand New Me ISBN 9781609283070
Don’t Forget Me ISBN 9781609288259
Fearless Love ISBN 9781619212404
Hungry Heart ISBN 9781619222274
Salt Box Trilogy
Finding Mr. Right Now ISBN 9781619229570
Love in the Morning ISBN 9781619230729
Promise Harbor Wedding
Bolted ISBN 9781619214293
Ramos Family Trilogy
Medium Well ISBN 9781101599648
Medium Rare ISBN 9781101622575
Happy Medium ISBN 9781101622568
Sapphire Falls Kindle World
Going Up In Flames ASIN B01FV7OAYI
What are your top 10 favorite books?
1. Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase. I think this is every romance author’s favorite book. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard authors cite it. I moderated a workshop at RWA with the wonderful Sherry Thomas (see #6) and she cited the moment when the heroine shoots the hero as the most perfect moment she knew.
2. The Vanished Child by Sarah Smith. Technically, this isn’t a romance novel or at least it wasn’t marketed that way. But it really is, and it’s one of the best, most complex mysteries I’ve ever read. It’s actually book 1 in a trilogy and the second book, The Knowledge of Water, is more clearly a romance. But the first book sets everything up.
3. Open Season by Linda Howard. I love most of Howard’s books, but this one is particularly fun because she strips back a lot of illusions about a small town. The chapter where she introduces the mayor is one of the most skillful pieces of writing I know.
4. Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh. Balogh’s historicals are always good because her characters are so strong. This is the final book in the Bedwyn Family Saga and it might help to read the others first, but it’s just a delight. You wait through the entire series to see what kind of woman Wulfric will end up with, and then she’s such a surprise.
5. Somebody Else’s Music by Jane Haddam. Haddam writes mysteries rather than romances, but they’re so well plotted and the characters are so well worked out that she’s wonderful to read. This one is my favorite in her long Gregor Demarkian series.
6. Ravishing the Heiress by Sherry Thomas. Thomas is simply the most stylish writer I know, and I loved this story. It’s actually book 2 in her Fitzhugh Trilogy and I read it in a day while we drove from Texas to Colorado.
7. Dream a Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Everybody has their favorite Phillips novel. This is mine.
8. Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie. Everybody has their favorite Crusie novel. This is mine.
9. The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne. A terrific series about Napoleonic spies. This one has so many twists and turns in the plot you’ll be dizzy.
10. Darius by Grace Burrowes. You can get lost in Burrowes world—all her books and characters are intimately interconnected and it’s hard to know where to start. This hero is unique, and it’s where I started after a recommendation from Mary Balogh.