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?
She turned to look at him full on, her eyes like brown velvet. His pulse kicked up a few hundred beats.
“Would you like me to go with you tomorrow? As your trainer?” He held her gaze for a long moment.
She shook her head, her lips moving up in a slight smile. “No. Thanks, but no. This is my problem, and I’m going to deal with it.”
His hand moved to the side of her face, almost without any conscious design on his part. Her skin felt like satin, soft and warm. Velvet eyes, satin skin, a smile like…Ronnie. He didn’t have any metaphors for that. He rubbed his thumb across her upper lip, feeling it pucker slightly beneath his touch.
His cock was straining, heat throbbing in his veins. She’s vulnerable. Don’t take advantage of her, you jerk.
Ronnie stared at him wide-eyed, almost like a child. Defenseless, exposed. Leave her alone.
And then she moved forward swiftly, bringing her hands to the sides of his face, and kissed him.
For a moment he was too astonished to do anything except kiss her back. His brain seemed to be cloaked in a red haze of lust. He drank in her scent, that mixture of Salt Box and the Blarney Stone, sweet willows and malty beer, that added to the aroma of pine sap and ancient wood smoke that seemed to linger around his cabin.
He pulled back slightly, staring into those great brown eyes, the color of cinnamon coffee now. Then he bent his head, running his lips in a line along her throat, to the joining of neck and shoulder.
Meg Benjamin: Why I Write What I Write
My books are all contemporary or contemporary paranormal. There are a lot of reasons for this, including my own laziness (historicals require a lot of research), but it’s also because of my own snarkiness. My characters tend to be a little sarcastic and a lot cynical, sort of like me.
That’s not necessarily true of the heroine of Running On Empty. Ronnie’s a sweetheart, but even she can occasionally be annoyed into sarcasm.
“Yeah, you look like you could endure a hell of a lot,” Constance sneered.
This time Misty snickered.
Ronnie raised her chin, but she kept her smile in place. Aunt Dolly had been on the pageant circuit for years—she’d taught Ronnie a lot about dealing with competitive jerks. She widened her smile in Constance’s direction and let her accent slide down south. “Bless your heart, don’t you worry about it. I’m sure you’re doing just fine for your weight.”
I like being able to use contemporary language and attitudes, and I love being able to work popular culture into my stories. The Salt Box Trilogy—Running On Empty is book 3—is all about the clash between reality shows and a Colorado resort town. The townies always win, but part of the fun for me has come in working in reality show rules so that the good guys can either subvert them or comment on them.
Like most romance genres, contemporary romances have conventions, but that’s not such a bad thing. You’re working within some boundaries, but they’re boundaries you recognize. Happy endings don’t bother me, and I love finding ways to make the hero and heroine overcome difficulties that might spell the end for real life couples.
My younger son once suggested our family motto should be “Peace, Love, and Sarcasm.” That’s not a bad description of my romances. Contemporary, snarky, but ultimately all about love.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
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
Meg Benjamin will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.