Today we welcome Donna Cummings and the gang to our blog as we celebrate the Strangers on a Train Series blog tour!
This collection was inspired by the Tumblr “Hot Guys on the Train” (http://hotguysonthetrain.tumblr.com/).
Enjoy a brief synopsis of each book below as well as a guest post from Donna below!
3.5 STARS!!! I have never read a compilation done by 5 authors before and truly enjoyed each individual story. Though the theme was similar – taking place on a train – each story had its own uniqueness and shows how different writing styles can vary by each author. I have added little snippets of my reviews below. Full reviews to come.
Back on Track by Donna Cummings
A wine tour isn’t enough to take Matt’s mind off his baseball slump—until sexy, funny Allie plops into the adjacent seat and tells him three things about herself. One of them, she says, is a lie. Then Allie lets slip one truth too many…
Christine’s review: This was my favorite of the Strangers on the Train Series! I had a smile on my face the entire time reading. It was a unique way to meet a guy – tell me three things and one is a lie – can you figure out what is true and what is not? I loved the easy bantering between the characters and that Matt was a good sport and playing along the entire time. When Matt finds out the truth, will he still want to pursue her even when the train stops? You will have to read this novella to find out!
Big Boy by Ruthie Knox
Mandy doesn’t want romance, but monthly role-playing dates with her stranger on a train—each to a different time period—become the erotic escape she desperately needs. And a soul connection she never expected.
Christine’s Review: I have been a Ruthie Knox fan for a while now and this did not disappoint. I enjoyed the way that these two characters met – each trying to escape from their real life for a while and go to a place to be free and to enjoy themselves – and they certainly did! When they finally stop the role playing and get back to reality – will they give their love that is so plainly seen by the reader a chance?
Thank You for Riding by Meg Maguire
At the end of Caitlin’s commute, her extended flirtation with a handsome stranger finds them facing a frigid winter night locked in an unheated subway station.
Christine’s Review: This is a cute romantic story of you never know where you will find love. Caitlin is donating blood when she meets the Mark, the hot guy (who reads!) and is scared of needles 🙂 I enjoyed the funny bantering between these two characters very much – it put another smile onto my face. And without giving too much away, there is a locked subway station and a MELTING kiss! This short novella is worth the read!
Ticket Home by Serena Bell
Encountering her workaholic ex on her commuter train is the surprise of Amy’s life. Especially since Jeff seems hell-bent on winning her back.
Christine’s Review: Amy has left Jeff because his job became the number one in his life. She moved across the country to NYC to take a job to advance in her career. Six months later, Jeff comes and does everything he can to win her back. I felt the love between these two characters and wanted them to work out. Will Jeff FINALLY realize what’s important in his life and will Amy realize that he is not the only one to blame – that running to NYC wouldn’t solve anything and that she should have talked first so he realized that there was a problem to begin with. Will this couple make it?
Tight Quarters by Samantha Hunter
Reid isn’t happy about the mix-up that saddles him with a claustrophobic roommate on his New York train tour. Then his weekend with Brenna progresses to a weekend fling, and so much more.
Christine’s Review: I enjoyed this short story of two characters who have faced hardships in their past overcome and find love. Reid is a retired cop who was shot and re-evaluating his life. Brenna suffered in a car accident when she was younger causing her to be claustrophobic. Not fitting when she is a travel editor, doesn’t like tight spaces and can’t do her job! I truly enjoyed the character of Reid who I thought showed tough love, patience and did not back down. This was a sweet read that definitely had some added heat!
GUEST POST: Icebreakers written by Donna Cummings
I love the first meeting of the hero and heroine. Everyone is all shiny and brand new, and we don’t know for sure how they’re going to react to each other. They’re probably opposites in many ways, wanting different things out of life, filled with opposing goals. Or maybe they’re people who would never rub shoulders, let alone other body parts, with each other in their daily lives.
An icebreaker can help them make that transition from complete stranger to “hmm, I kinda like you”. Other times. . . well, the icebreaker turns into something that brought down the Titanic. (And yes, there was PLENTY of room for Rose to scootch over on that driftwood and let Jack get on there. Talk about making somebody sleep–permanently–in the wet spot. But I digress. . .)
The heroine in my story, Back on Track, is a little rusty in the dating department, thanks to working a zillion hours on her new marketing business. Her best friend has dragged her onto the Napa Wine Train for some much-needed R&R. Allie’s icebreaker is to tell the hero three things about herself, and then he has to guess which one is a lie. Well, that’s the plan:
“I’m going to tell you three lies about myself.”
Allie watched his eyes widen, as if she’d just confessed to murdering someone in the dining car and needed his help throwing the body off the train.
“Well, that’s a good way to start out,” he murmured, chuckling.
She flushed. God, she was worse at this than she thought. “I meant to say I’m going to tell you three things, and one of them will be a lie. You have to figure out which one of them it is.”
She took a gulp of the wine she’d brought with her, wishing she could knock back the whole glass. Why had this seemed so easy when she and Sandra had plotted it?
“Okay. I’m game.” He smiled, and it was such an unexpectedly warm expression that she instantly relaxed. She could do this. It was a three-hour train ride, and she was capable of loosening up and having some fun. If it gave her a chance to improve her outdated dating skills, all the better.
She wished she had picked someone a little friendlier, though. Despite the killer smile, everything about his body language said “go away”.
She would have to pretend he was a potential client and win him over, like she did every day.
“Okay. Here goes.” Allie should have asked Sandra to help her out with her spiel, but she’d been too distracted by the thought of avoiding the stripper-pole lessons. “I was born in California, in the back of a taxi.”
His lips twitched, but before he could say anything, she plowed on. “I have a bachelor’s degree in hotel management, but I’ve only lived in hotels, never worked in them.”
She wracked her brain, trying to think of a lie. Lying didn’t come naturally to her, so she was searching for something that could pass as the truth. She couldn’t think of anything, and when his fingers started to tap against his chair, she blurted out the first thing that came to mind.
“My name is Allie. Which is short for Allie Kazaam.”
She wanted to cringe, but he surprised her by laughing. “Well, it’s obvious which one is the lie.” He finally uncrossed his arms, adjusting his hat so she could see his eyes were twinkling. “Nobody in California uses taxis.”
She joined in his laughter, relieved that he had a sense of humor. This might work out just fine.
“Your turn,” Allie said. “Tell me three things. And I can guess which one is the lie.”
“Sounds good,” he said.
She sat forward, her chin on her fists, waiting for his answers. He picked up a glass filled with a pinot or merlot and spent a minute or two thinking, as if he was trying to decide where to start.
He glanced at her a couple of times, and then a huge smile brightened his face, and Allie could swear his eyes were twinkling again. Or maybe they were sparkling. It was hard to decide. She was definitely mesmerized, so much so that she almost missed what he said next.
“I’m Matt Kearns.”
“Have you heard of him?” he asked casually, swirling the wine in his glass while he studied her face.
Heard of him? She’d been trying for months to convince Matt Kearns to pose for her client’s celebrity calendar. Unfortunately, his manager made sure she never got to talk to the baseball superstar, even though she had called every couple of weeks to make her pitch. But Allie couldn’t let this guy know about that.
Especially since she’d realized about five seconds ago he really was Matt Kearns.
What’s your favorite icebreaker? Or maybe it’s a cheesy pickup line you’ve heard. Share it with us by leaving a comment after the post, and you will have a chance to win a copy of Back on Track. Winner to be selected tonight!