NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author
1. Driver who has the most past wins among active drivers at a particular track; is the quickest in qualifying, and is favored to win at that track.
2. Gorgeous footwear.
This Thanksgiving, Sgt. Audrey McNeil Watson is thankful for wine. Lots and lots of wine. And her closet of hot shoes. Together, they help her deal with the return of her sexy ex-boyfriend, the now famous NASCAR Champion she left after 9/11 to join the National Guard and make a difference. Too bad he still manages to accelerate her pulse and drive her crazy.
Professional stock car racing driver, Matthew “Stone” Bennett returned home to meet with the Wyne brothers to discuss a recent encounter with their estranged brother Keiffer, to face the reality of his cousin’s suicide, and for the wedding of his buddy, Ethan Wyne.
Volunteering to draw the paparazzi away from the happy couple, he and Audrey agree to spend time together with purely platonic intentions. But he soon discovers their old flame never died, as well as old hurts and resentments. Matthew must face the pain of his past in order to sort out his future.
Once again I read a book that is part of series and not at the beginning of it. I would have gone back to read the others first, but this is a story around Thanksgiving so the timing is perfect.
NASCAR Champion, Matt ‘Stone’ Bennett is home for Thanksgiving and also the secret wedding of his best friend Ethan Wyne. Secret to try to keep paparazzi from invading the event.
Audrey McNeil is Matthew’s ex. She left him to his racing and the limelight to go to college, but after 9/11 she joined the National Guard and served two tours overseas. She met and married a fellow soldier but he never made it back from their second deployment. Now a widow, she works with her family in realty as she finishes out her obligation to the National Guard. She runs into Matthew as she’s rushing out to meet with the girls, where Phoebe is planning to spring the secret wedding on her friends.
After Thanksgiving dinner they all meet up for the annual touch football game at the Wyne’s home.
This is a favorite scene.
“Before we play,” Ethan said, capturing everyone’s attention. “I’d like to talk about the wedding. We’re holding it in my back yard in order to keep it private.”
“Then I should stop you there.” Audrey stepped in front of him to block the happy couple from the guy taking pictures across the street. He could be there for photos of Phoebe and not Matthew.
“Why?” Phoebe frowned.
“Because of the camera already trained this way,” she replied. “I don’t know if he has one of those cone-shaped listening device things.”
“He doesn’t.” Matt stepped to her side again. “Neither does the female parked two doors down.”
Shoot. “There’s two?”
He nodded. “Been there the whole time, but they both only just have cameras.”
“Well, provided it doesn’t snow,” Ethan continued. “Like I said, we’re going to hold the ceremony at one o’clock in my back yard. We’ll have big space heaters. It’s a little more private than the resort gazebo and we’re hoping to keep the paparazzi out.”
Matthew grimaced. “Good luck. If they get wind, they can be very creative.”
Audrey shifted, and held back her own grimace. If the news got out, she could imagine the hordes of reporters descending like flies. It happened on more than one occasion when she’d traveled with Matthew the year before she left. Heck, it was one of the reasons she had left. The lack of privacy was a huge pain, but the blatant lies plastered all over tabloids were taking a toll on her parents.
Phoebe nodded. “True. We already know we won’t stop them all.”
“Yeah.” Ethan pulled his fiancée in closer. “But, we’ll cut it down to a few photos taken from the lake or the woods, not assholes rushing up and sticking cameras or phones in our faces. Now, if we could just keep them off our trail over the next few days, that’d be great. I don’t want them harassing Tyler.”
Matthew slid his arm around Audrey’s waist and pulled her in close to his side, sending a jolt of awareness all the way to her toes.
“Maybe we can help with that,” he offered. “As you can see, we already picked up a tail just by walking up the sidewalk together.”
She turned her head to frown at him. “You think they’re here because of us?”
“Yeah.” He nodded, blue gaze contrite. “Sorry, but we’re probably going to make the papers tomorrow.”
Her stomach tightened with a familiar, unhealthy tension. “Some things never change.”
“I know, but I think we can use that to help Ethan and Phoebe out.”
Ben nodded. “I see where you’re going with this. Great idea.”
The others echoed his sentiment.
Brandi smiled “So, if they think Stone Bennett is rekindling with an old flame, then they’ll keep an eye on you and off Phoebe, Ethan, and more importantly, Tyler.”
Matthew nodded. “Exactly.”
“I appreciate it, but are you sure?” Uncertainty clouded Ethan’s gaze. “I don’t want either of you doing anything that makes you uncomfortable.”
“Nah, it’s cool.” Matthew shook his head and glanced at her. “Right, Audrey?”
Donna Michaels. Wine and Hot Shoes (Kindle Locations 557-584). Donna Michaels. Kindle Edition.
As these two keep the paparazzi away, they also discover there is still a lot of chemistry between them. But the past is something that must be dealt with and it’s very painful.
The death of Matt’s cousin Greg by suicide the year before, is a hurdle Matt needs to conquer, as well as bringing the uncomfortable knowledge that his friend’s youngest brother, Keiffer, doesn’t appear to be doing well to the Wyne brother’s attention.
Rebuilding a relationship that went wrong, and resolving the misunderstandings that went with it, under the watchful eyes of paparazzi is quite an adventure. Yet they manage to keep the attention off the bride and groom during the wedding and for the honeymoon too.
Hot shoes by both definitions, and definitely plenty of heat and sizzle elsewhere. This is a wonderful Thanksgiving read!
Now I have to go back to read the rest of this series, and maybe find the one for Christmas too!
5 Contented Purrs for Donna!
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It’s all my mother’s fault.
She read to me before I could read and opened up that magical world where I still reside today. Then came television and movies. Now I had three avenues that fed my imagination…and boy could I eat! As you no doubt figured out, this lead to my writing career. I’m a NY Times, USA Today, and Amazon Bestselling Award winng author. Phew, that was a mouthful! Multi-published in e-book and print with several publishers, I certainly have a ton of voices in my head.
I’m happily married to a military man for 28 years. We have four children and several rescued cats. Michael’s been in the Army National Guard since before he graduated. The Guard has been a part of our lives right from the start. It was only natural for the military to spill into my writing. God bless the military and their families. Thank you all for your sacrifices. ♥
You already know my mom inspired my love of reading,but it was my dad who got me hooked on movies. Even now, if I had the time, I could happily go from one movie to another all day long. They are the reason I love mixed genre and why I can’t just stick to just one in my writing, although, as you can tell, I have a soft spot for cowboys and the military.
Well, that’s about it. Thanks for getting to know me a little better. Remember, keep reading to your children. The journey you’re igniting is precious. And the next time you’re at the movies, turn around. I just might be the person sitting behind you. No, not the one throwing popcorn (it’s too expensive to waste). I’m the one already imagining the sequel.
Have a great day and thanks for reading!