It’s a real pleasure today to welcome Kathryn Freeman to Being Anne. Just between you and me, she’s one of my favourite Choc Lit authors, and always a wonderful supporter of the blog and her fellow authors – and it’s a real frustration that I can’t manage to read and review her books as often as I’d really love to. Today I’m delighted to feature her latest paperback, Before You…
When life in the fast lane threatens to implode …
Melanie Hunt’s job working for the Delta racing team means she is constantly rubbing shoulders with Formula One superstars in glamorous locations like Monte Carlo. But she has already learned that keeping a professional distance is crucial if she doesn’t want to get hurt.
New Delta team driver Aiden Foster lives his life like he drives his cars – fast and hard. But, no matter how successful he is, it seems he always falls short of his championship-winning father’s legacy. If he could just stay focused, he could finally make that win.
Resolve begins to slip as Melanie and Aiden find themselves drawn to each other –with nowhere to hide as racing season begins. But when a troubled young boy goes missing, everything is thrown into turmoil, including Aiden’s championship dream.
Here’s Kathryn to tell us more…
I’m thrilled to be a guest on Being Anne – thank you so much for hosting me on your very special blog. To celebrate the publication of my latest paperback, Before You, I’ve chosen an extract to share. I picked it for several reasons, mainly because I hope it gives you a glimpse into the characters of my lead protagonists, racing driver Aiden Foster and the team press officer, Melanie Hunt. Aiden is smooth and cocky but there’s another side to him. One he doesn’t allow others to see. Down to earth and extremely sharp, Mel Hunt isn’t quite so easily fooled by him.
Another reason for choosing this passage is that it gives a sense of how tired Aiden is after finishing a practice session. When I did the research for this book I was stunned by how fit the drivers have to be. Most of us associate driving with sitting on our backsides (!) but for the Formula One driver, each race is the endurance equivalent of running a marathon. If road driving was like that, I’d be taking the bus far more often…
During the next practice session they made adjustments to the suspension, aerodynamics, tyres and engine settings. When Aiden finally climbed out a few hours later the balance was better, but they weren’t there yet. Feeling as if he’d gone twenty rounds with Mike Tyson, he wearily peeled off his helmet and safety collar. It was a fact few outside the sport were aware of – driving a racing car was both mentally and physically knackering. Of course he stayed in shape, running long distances to keep up his stamina and spending time in the gym to build his strength, but being stuck inside the heat of a cockpit while being thrown around a racetrack at high speed was pretty demanding on even the most conditioned body.
‘Are you okay to do the press briefing now?’
He turned to find Melanie, dressed in a crisp white team shirt, tailored trousers and sensible loafers. ‘Give me a moment to towel down?’ Sweat was dripping off his face and, call him vain, he hated facing the media looking like he’d been dunked in a bucket of water. Plus his head wasn’t in the right place yet to field a bunch of questions on his car’s performance.
She moved away to give him some privacy and he almost smiled. Most of the women he came into contact with were only too keen to do the opposite. Stare at him.
‘How did the practice go?’ she asked, her eyes looking everywhere but at him.
‘It went.’ He peeled down his overalls, struggling to get his mood into a better place. Melanie might have figured his press persona was different from his real one, and after his latest outburst Frank probably had, too, but the media hadn’t. He wanted to keep it that way.
Mel tried not to watch as Aiden wiped his face with his towel and secured his sponsor hat on top of his damp hair. Tried and failed. Tired and sweaty from driving, he was still better looking than most film stars on a good day. It was so hard not to simply ogle him. Really, really hard. ‘Are you okay?’ she asked finally when he looked set to go.
‘Sure.’ To prove it, he grinned and even though it was a dynamite smile, complete with gleaming white teeth and sexy grooves, she knew it wasn’t real. His grey eyes might have crinkled, but deep inside there was no sparkle.
She sighed. ‘Look, I know you’re not okay, but if you don’t want to talk about it, forget it. I understand.’
She started to walk towards the waiting press but he put out a hand to stop her. ‘Sorry, I’m not used to being so transparent. To be honest, your ability to read me scares the shit out of me.’
It was probably the first truly honest thing she’d heard him say and Mel had to smile. ‘Well, you shouldn’t worry. I don’t actually have a clue what you’re thinking. Only that you’re not as one-dimensional as you like to appear.’
‘Okay,’ he drawled. ‘But for now can we put this one dimensional version in front of the cameras?’
Thanks Kate! Before You is now available to purchase as an eBook and paperback. Visit the Choc Lit website for buying options or type the title into your chosen book supplier’s website or eBook provider of choice.
About the author
Kathryn started her working life as a retail pharmacist but soon realised trying to decipher doctor’s handwriting wasn’t for her. Next she joined the pharmaceutical industry where she spent twenty happy years working in medical communications, doing a lot of writing – about medicines. What she really wanted to write about though, was romance. In 2011, backed by her family, she left the world of pharmaceutical science to begin life as a self employed writer, juggling the two disciplines of medical writing and romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero…
She lives with two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to bother buying a card again this year (yes, he does) so the romance in her life is all in her head. Then again, her husband’s unstinting support of her career change goes to prove that love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes can come in many disguises.