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Spotlight, Excerpt, Author Interview & Giveaway : Tristan (A Kendall Family Novel, #1) by Randi Everheart

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Book Blurb & Info

Five years ago, Tristan Kendall left home and the woman he loved to prove himself on the sport bike racing circuit. With his career briefly on hold, he’s come to realize everything - and everyone - he ever wanted was right at home all along. Now he’s determined to win back her heart no matter the cost.

But Victoria Lane’s been through more than Tristan knows since he broke her heart. No longer the girl he once knew, she has a life to live, and a heart to give, but only to someone who’s planning to stick around. And she’s sure that isn’t him. Can he convince her that she’s the only victory lane he wants to be in?


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Book Excerpt

Tristan Kendall wove his blue Yamaha R1 motorcycle in and out of traffic on I-270 in Maryland at over 140 mph. His sport bike was a marvel of engineering that allowed a rider to aggressively mate with it like two lovers in spoon position. Speeding up as he neared his hometown, he glanced in the rearview mirror. The cop behind him had grown smaller and smaller with each mile, but Tristan knew that if he didn’t get off the highway soon, police reinforcements would arrive. They’d never catch him, but one picture of his license plate and he’d get more than just a speeding ticket. Assuming he didn’t wreck and end up dead.

When he pulled off onto the winding back roads and slowed down, the cop didn’t see him exit. Familiar sights caused memories of home to return. He hadn’t been back in five years and more houses had sprung up. The plague of suburbia seemed to crowd in a bit more on the rural town of Comus, creeping up from D.C. to the south. One day there’d surely be a skyscraper in his backyard, but for now rolling farmlands dotted the landscape. Despite his familiarity with the roads, he rode them cautiously, his green eyes alert for patches of dirt or leftover road salt from winter storms. They could send him skidding off the pavement.

As if to prove his point, he came around a curve to find that another sport bike and its rider weren’t wrapped around each other anymore. The bike was upside down against a sapling. The rider stood with hands on hips, staring at the flipped-over Suzuki Hayabusa that no one would be taking for a spin anytime soon by the look of the chain, which had disengaged from the rear sprocket to drape near the ground. The clutch lever on the left handlebar hung loose as if snapped, paint had scratched off, and small dents had damaged the body work. Tristan quickly dismounted, running into the tall grass beside the rider.

“Hey, are you all right?” he asked.

The rider turned and Tristan stopped short, his gaze riveted on the rider’s brown eyes, which reminded him of melted chocolate, long lashes framing them. A spark of anger gleamed within. Her posture was defiant. His pulse raced faster now than in the last hour. Even with her helmet still on, the visor up, her face radiated beauty, though he couldn’t see more than those eyes and cheekbones, making him desperately curious to see more. Full breasts strained at the form-fitting leather suit of red and white. Her zipper was down enough to reveal magnificent cleavage pushed up like two mountains of fleshy delights that Sugarloaf Mountain behind them could not compete with; not all of Mother Earth’s mounds were created equal.

“I’m fine,” said the woman, hardly sparing him a fiery glance.

“Are you sure? Maybe you should get checked out.”

“I’m standing, aren’t I?”

He nodded, wondering if her bravado was covering for her being shaken up. By the look of the scene, she’d likely tumbled through the grass and that was all. They silently gazed at the Hayabusa together. “That was a nice bike.”

“Was being the operative word.”

He shrugged. “I’ve seen worse. It can be fixed.”

“Yeah,” she said, not sounding convinced.

“What happened?”

“Deer.”

He cringed. “Ouch. That could’ve been a lot worse. Fatal, even. Whatever move you pulled to avoid colliding was worth it.”

She cocked an eyebrow at him, her face softening. “Thanks,” she said, noting the blonde hair peeking out from the back of his helmet. He hadn’t lifted the mirror visor, which hid his face. All she could see under the helmet were a sexy neck, Adam’s apple, and stubble, besides broad shoulders on a lean frame. He wore faded blue jeans, black boots, and a blue t-shirt under a white-and-blue summer riding jacket. “You always leave your visor down?”

“Sorry. No. It broke this morning. If I get it up, I won’t be able to get it back down, and catching a bug in the face sucks.”

“You have trouble getting it up?”

He hadn’t expected the joke and laughed, exaggerating the motion of looking her up and down. “Not at the moment.” Thinking she seemed amused, he added, “Well, you’re gonna need a ride. Can I take you somewhere? Like my place?”

The look in her eyes wavered between mirth and annoyance. “Does that line work on anyone?”

“You’d be surprised,” he said. Sensing that maybe his repartee hadn’t gone over well, he added, “Sorry. Not a great time for jokes. I was just trying to lighten things up. I know a fall can scare the crap of you.”

She nodded. “Crash much? Maybe I should get a ride from someone else.”

“You might be out here a while if you want to wait. You got a phone to call someone?”

Shaking her head, she said, “Didn’t bring it.”

“Mine died earlier. Forgot to charge it at my last stop. I can run by Clarksburg Motorsports and tell them to come get you. It’s about fifteen minutes away. They’ll need to come anyway to get the bike unless you want someone else to haul it.”

She turned to him and sighed, seeming resigned. “No. I know the place. That’s where I bought it. And they service it. I don’t feel like standing here for the time they’ll take to get here. Let’s go.” She headed toward his bike and he followed through the tall grass. He lowered the rear foot pegs and got on the front seat.

He had a knack for making suggestive remarks that were technically innocent, so he said, as if unaware of the double-entendre, “I don’t usually let a woman ride my crotch rocket so soon after meeting.”

“I find that hard to believe,” she said, smiling wryly. She stepped on a peg, grabbed his shoulder, and easily lifted herself behind him, sitting down gracefully. She squeezed her legs against his, her crotch against his ass. “Take me to the strip mall in Comus. I work there.”

“Okay.” Over one shoulder, he advised, “Try to find something hard to hold onto.”

“I’m afraid to ask what you had in mind.” She put her visor back down and wrapped both arms around him from behind.

“You’re gonna want to grip harder than that,” he said, starting the engine, which came to life with a loud growl due to the aftermarket exhaust system he’d installed. When she didn’t hold tighter, he smirked and took off with a small wheelie that caused her to yelp in surprise and squeeze hard with both arms and legs, her head pressed against his back. He let the wheel down softly and noticed she didn’t lighten her grip as he continued more safely, the heat of her warming him through his back, legs, and ass.

He was no stranger to women mounting his crotch rocket, whether that was his bike or not. Those who rode one were willing to ride the other. The lone exception had been Victoria, his high school sweetheart. Her father had been killed in a motorcycle accident, making her deathly afraid of them and for Tristan once they’d fallen in love. His high-speed shenanigans had caused no end of fights. When she found out he wanted to be a pro rider, she’d freaked. He’d certainly never gotten her onto the bike, which had bothered him. If you can’t share one love of your life with the other love of your life, something’s amiss. For him, it had taken some of the steam out of their bond and ultimately made it easier for him to leave town, even though he understood her fears. He hadn’t seen her in the five years since or learned what became of her except that she’d left town, too, but he was hoping to find out something about that now that he was back, however briefly. Maybe he’d even go looking for her.

The girl currently on his bike—and he only now realized he hadn’t gotten her name—distracted him from the thought when she unzipped his jacket some and slid one hand inside. Tristan’s pulse raced, his hand inadvertently pulling on the throttle so the bike revved like his heart. Her hand caressed his chest a few times, giving him a squeeze before dropping to his belly, running over his six-pack abs slowly, as if counting the ripples under the shirt. He struggled to keep his mind on the road and half-wondered if this is how she’d crashed. Had she been riding with some other guy and made him leave the road, his body nowhere in sight among the wreckage?

The thought brought him to his senses, but not for long. Her other hand slipped down to his inner thigh, close to his growing erection, and she playfully squeezed his ass with her legs, making him wish he was facing the other way and buck naked. This woman would be the death of them both, but if he got her back to her place and got her to mount his other rocket, the sex just might be worth the risk of bodily harm now. He’d give her a lift-off worthy of a Space Shuttle launch and all the media coverage that came with.

By the time they pulled into the only strip mall in Comus, where four businesses lay in a row, with parking out front, his visor had begun to fog up. His passenger pointed at a shop that said “Pilates” above it, and he smiled to himself as they parked before it, hoping she was an instructor. Flexibility in a woman was a good thing.

Looking for an excuse to get inside, he asked, “Can I use your bathroom?”

“Sure,” she said, turning toward the door and pulling her helmet off with her back to him. A tumble of silken brown hair fell out over her leather-covered back. She unlocked the door and went in without looking at him. He followed, fumbling with his helmet strap, finally getting the whole thing off just as she turned to face him. He barely saw her face before she slapped him.

“You bastard!” she screamed. “Get out!”

The color drained from Tristan’s face before anger brought it back in a flash. Then he got a good look at her and his mouth fell open.

“Victoria?”
Interview

Hi Randi,

Thank you so much for sitting down with Toot's for an interview. If you don't mind, I have some questions for you about your new book, Tristan and your process for our budding authors as well as fans.

So first off, Tristan Questions.......

In your own words, what is Tristan about?


TRISTAN is about a sport bike racer who has been suspended for fighting with another racer. He’s returned home hoping the girl he loves is still there. And she is. But he broke up with Victoria to go start his career and she’s not eager to rekindle a relationship that he’ll just end again anyway. But maybe his career will be the thing that loses this time. And she wins?

There’s a subplot about stolen motorcycles in the area, which they get involved with the hard way. When they start investigating what’s going on, trouble begins to mount and puts their lives in danger.

How did you come up with the title of the book and can you tell us its significance?

I’d read a few other romance series about families, where each book was simply named for the lead character, so I did that, too, using a different color on each book, based on their personalities. Being a motorcycle racer made Tristan cool, and therefore blue.

Is Tristan a standalone book or will it be part of a series?

TRISTAN is volume one in the Kendall Family Series. Each book will focus on a different one of the six siblings (four brothers, two sisters). I might write other books about their cousins, some of whom already appear in books one and two, especially Sheriff Ryan.

What genre would you say Tristan is and what sets your book apart for fans of the genre?

TRISTAN is contemporary romance and suspense, though it takes a few chapters for the latter to kick in before it overtakes the story. Since I know motorcycles from riding them, there’s more realism with issues related to this and it’s a big part of the story. Not only is Tristan is a professional sport bike racer, but there’s a stolen bikes operation in the book and a motorcycle pursuit.

Since I also write fantasy, where plot is king, I always have a good story in addition to the smouldering sex scenes and interpersonal tension, which I also try to make realistic. Some romance is escapism and a fantasy, and while that’s good, I like to show romance that is real enough that you can feel hope that this could be you one day, hopefully soon.

What are some of the elements of the world you created?

When the series starts, the family owns a winery, bed-and-breakfast, and stables, and at least one business will be added before long. These form the setting, along with the real Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland. Everything is built on the slopes or nearby and gives me everything I need for romance!

If you had to pick one thing, what is your favorite thing about the world you’ve created?

All of the business and places in the Kendall Family Series are real, though I’ve taken creative license and renamed businesses, but I like having made each of them a property owned by the same family. This connection adds cohesion to the area and anchors most of siblings to each other and something their dreams are bound up in. I also like the way business support each other, such as the winery providing wines to the bed-and-breakfast, which offers horseback riding excursions from their family stables. This made the area a nicer place to visit and I sort of which it was actually like that for real!

What was your favorite scene to write for either your hero or heroine in Tristan?

I think it was date scene, which was quickly improvised. It takes place in Little Italy, Baltimore, where my spouse and I used to go for dinner quite a bit. This brought back some memories, but I also really liked the interaction between Tristan and Victoria. The sex scene at the end was great for being outside in the moonlight – and because Tristan says what she most wants to hear but at the worst time – and then doesn’t even realize he’s said it.

What was the hardest scene to write?

The plot climax. I have to avoid too many details to avoid a plot spoiler, but there are a number of physical actors attacking each other – five different groups of people, three of them pairs, one group of three, and one individual. And the cops are on the way. Figuring out who does what and when so that my leads are active in saving themselves was difficult. I also needed someone to die and figure out who it is and who does it.

What's your favorite line or quote from Tristan?

When Tristan says to Victoria, “I can live in the moment, as long as that moment includes you.”

Writing.......

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated and what made you decide to pursue it as a career?


I’ve often watched shows and movies and just felt something was predictable, so I’d find myself thinking “wouldn’t it be funny if so-and-so happened?” I guess you could say I was editing what I was watching. And since I can’t just get a TV show made, I turned to writing books. I fell in love with doing it and would love to spend all my time on it!

What inspires you to put the pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard?

I’ve always been interested in how and why people act the way they do and writing gives me a chance to show or explore things that I either like or dislike. Sometimes I almost want to show how things could be, or even how they are and why this is not good. I don’t preach, but I do like it when you can learn something about all of us as people from a story.

What are some of the elements in/of your writing process?

My focus is on dialogue, which I usually improvise at fairly high speeds. I can always tell, when editing my work later, which conversations did not happen like that. I tend to add characterisation, like gestures and other physical movements, after the fact. I also want the sex scenes to be caused by what’s happening between people, not just thrown in there. If they have sex but it doesn’t move the story along, I don’t show it.

Are you a Plotter or a Pantster?

Definitely a plotter. I like knowing where most things are going, at least the big picture. Otherwise I don’t feel like I know where to draw the line in a scene. My characters would flirt their way into nudity straight off. Hmm, maybe I’d be a “no-pantster” if I tried that!

I usually know what’s going to be the point of contention in a scene and have those separated so it’s one per scene. If you see two or more in a book, that’s one sign that the scene took on life of its own because things came up as I was writing.

Have you released anything under a different pen name, and if so, is there any difference between them?

No, though I do write fantasy, where the focus is much more on plot. This is why I’m a plotter. There’s more action and dialogue is typically about what problem needs to be solved – you know, how to save the world kind of stuff, though I actually avoid clich├ęs like that. Still, the romance books are so much more about interpersonal stuff and I do find that really interesting and fun to write.

What's next for you?

I just finished writing volume two, CONNOR, and am plotting volume three, RILEY, for this series. I’m also writing the first novella in a new series about a fictional company full of geeky IT people who end up having all sort of office affairs with each other. Some of that is based on my own day job, but I’ll let readers figure out which naughty act I’ve actually done!

Is there anything you’d like to add or say to your fans?

I would love to hear from them! Since this is my first book, at the time I’m writing this, I don’t really have any, to be honest. No one’s read the book except beta-readers, my spouse, and my editor! I’m very curious to find out more about them and what they like about my work, and what they’d like to see next.

Personal questions......

Now I know this is like asking you to choose between your own children, but out of all your amazing characters, who is your favorite and why?


I like Larry from TRISTAN because he’s secretly a much different guy than you think he is. Actions speak louder than words. I’d love to say more but don’t want to spoil things. I just think he’s presented one way and then rises to the occasion later, and in a way that I think is noteworthy and memorable. I wasn’t expecting it myself but understood what was really going on with him. The contrast between him and Rick is also stellar, and I think their respective fates are not necessarily what each one deserves, which only serves to make their stories more interesting.
Are there any of your stories or characters that hold a special place in your heart?

More often than not, it’s my minor characters that I really love. I don’t really know why. I tend to have them suffering in some ignoble way that they rail against and which causes an outcome that is tragic or heart-breaking, and since I’m empathetic and compassionate, I feel bad for them but also see their fate as instructive. If they die, I want it to mean something larger than life.

Some specific characters from TRISTAN would be both Larry and Rick. They have interesting but different fates, and both are brought about by internal struggles. I love how Larry has protected Victoria and the way this comes out in the story. I love how the state of Rick’s marriage and his inability to really do anything about it causing his entire future, and has set him up for coercion that comes with a horrific price. I even like Jane, who is almost a scene stealer with her blunt revelations about her own misgivings and the futility of her life.

There’s more of that sort of thing coming in CONNOR, where the minor characters (the ones who try to kidnap Sophia) cause my favourite scenes.

If the book had to have a theme song, what would it be?

Maybe “I Can’t Drive 55”, by Sammy Hagar. Or “Radar Love”.

Lastly, What 5 things do fans not know about you and 5 they don't know about the book?

Me:

1. I’m over six feet tall

2. I’ve been to every town and place mentioned in the book, unless it doesn’t exist

3. I’m very philosophical

4. I married a Russian

5. I watch every TV show on DVR so I can skip the much-hated commercials

Book:

1. The book originally ended right after breakfast between Victoria and Tristan, but I made it longer to match the length of volume two, CONNOR, when that went much longer than intended.

2. Every town in the book exists, as do all the business, except for the motorcycle shop and the bed and breakfast south of Skyline Drive, though there are some B&Bs there. I renamed every business, however.

3. This is the first romance book I’ve ever written.

4. Kris is the only sibling who doesn’t appear because I had no scene for her.

5. I deleted the scene where Tristan gets into the fight that gets him suspended from racing because I didn’t like the way he came off in the scene. It was a possible start to the book but I didn’t like the first impression it created.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for taking time to answer some questions. Congratulations on the new book and I can't wait for everyone to read it! – Toot’s

Author Info

Randi Everheart is an avid author of romance, due in no small part to being a diehard romantic. After all, Randi once wrote a song for the object of a crush and penned a fifty page love letter for another! The same spirit now flows into these stories – hopefully to win your heart!

Randi has a Bachelors of Music in classical guitar but has always been more of a rocker, having released several albums under another name. Tendonitis in both arms ended career plans in music, leading to a new career as a software developer. Today Randi co-owns a software consulting firm and lives in the Maryland suburbs north of D.C., is married, and loves spending time with son Ryan when not writing, playing guitar or golf, or writing smut.

AUTHOR LINKS
http://www.RandiEverheart.com
http://twitter.com/RandiEverheart
http://facebook.com/RandiEverheart
~Giveaway~
Randi is offering e-copies to 5 winners
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