GA reporter looking for a big break gets involved with a race car driver with a secret that could destroy his entire team if they find out.
Crossing the Line by Audra North
Series: Hard Driving #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication: June 14, 2016 by St. Martin's Press
Length: 52k wordsu
Digital ISBN: 978-1-4668-8904-0
He wanted her the first time he saw her. It didn't matter that he was on stage in front of a room full of reporters, or that his publicist was telling him to move on, or that she was asking him a question about racing. One look at her "just been bedded" hair — completely at odds with her deliciously prim appearance — and Ty Riggs is hooked.
Corrine Bellows is one of the woefully few women in a male profession: sports reporting.
In a field where "Hey, sweetheart, can you fetch me a cup of copy" is part of her job description, she's determined to keep things professional. And while interviewing Ty Riggs, the hottest new driver on and offcoop, Corrine knows that she is in major trouble when it becomes clear that Ty wants so much more and is determined to get it. As things heat up between them, Corrine finds herself on shakier ground. Her big secret just may destroy everything.
A Bookish Talk with Audra North
For this stop, I was able to have a little Q&A with Audra North about the book, sport journalist and feminism, check what she have to say about it!
Welcome, Audra to my blog and congratulations for a new book, I'm sure all the readers are curious to know about Ty and Corrine and how they would conquer all the odds to be together.
Been this your 3rd Hard Driving novel, do you think cars racing is the sexiest sport to write about?
I think most sports figures are pretty sexy, especially when they require men and women to be in phenomenal shape, to move at superhuman speeds, or do anything at the top of their game. Extreme competence is really attractive, and sports often add a lot of interesting action to stories. But I do have a soft spot for racing! In high school, I loved to watch races, and had a huge crush on Jeff Gordon. Back then, he was still relatively early in his career and he had a lot of fight. I loved watching his intense determination on the track. The amount of control required to race is impressive; it’s a sport where a lot of technical knowledge, talent for getting the feel of the track, and knowing when to make a move are all important. Those skills are definitely sexy!
What are the best qualities of Corrine and Ty?
Both Cori and Ty are passionate: they have a lot of drive and when they want something badly, they go after their goal with a vengeance. That means that they love deeply, too. It’s their shared intensity that makes them so perfect for one another and helps them through their darkest time together.
Modern car racers have a long legacy of old playboys figures, like James Hunt, so we can expect a Ty influenced by that?
Women love Ty, no doubt about that! But his mother has been too influential in his life for him to be a playboy. The media loves to talk about how good-looking he is, and he’s even been on the cover of a fashion magazine! But in the end, he’s a loyal, respectful partner looking for just the right woman to be faithful to for the rest of his life.
Sport journalist is very difficult for women as you state but what Corrine has that makes her stand out in this male world?
It might sound kind of strange, but Cori stands out because she’s willing to break the rules! She isn’t above a little subterfuge, and she has laser focus and works toward what she wants even if it means doing something shady. But in the end, she has a strong conscience and always does the right thing.
We all hope Corrine and Ty end up together but, how difficult was for you to handle the line Corrine must have draw acording to her profession and her desires and not make her look like a failure to feminist in a position where she makes a big statement as a sport journalist?
It was pretty tricky to write about a journalist who crosses a few ethical boundaries. It isn’t even as though she’s straddling the line; she’s pretty well over it at many points in the story. However, she does it in order to overcome the gender discrimination that so many female sports journalists are subjected to. In a sense, she’s damned if she doesn’t cross the line, and damned if she does. It’s getting involved with Ty—a relationship that seems like it would contradict feminist ideals, but actually ends up supporting her—that helps her succeed in journalism and keep her sense of self at the same time.
Thank you Audra for be with us today; once again congratulations for your book and the best of luck for you!
"And Riggs makes another attempt to—yes! He grabs the lead with only ten laps to go! Ladies and gentlemen, keep your eyes peeled because this will no doubt be a finish y’all don’t want to miss!”
Cori Bellowes pressed her face against the glass wall that overlooked the track.
Throughout most of the race, the announcer’s voice had barely cut over the din in the press box. But now that they were getting close to the finish, the race was becoming more intense. All the reporters had grown quiet, barely breathing as they watched the drivers jockey for position at over a hundred fifty miles an hour.
One of the series’ newer drivers—Ty Riggs—had just overtaken a veteran racer and was pulling away from the pack. It was his second year in the Intercomm Cup, the highest level of stock car racing, but he’d come up through the ranks over the past dozen years and made a name for himself in the sport and in celebrity news.
It certainly didn’t hurt that he was gorgeous, too. But his very fine looks were secondary to his racing abilities.
So it wasn’t a surprise that he was tearing things up down there, but that didn’t make it any less exciting. Cori had been following Riggs in the news for years, well before she’d gone to college, then on to journalism school to become a sports reporter. He was known for being intense and focused on the track, but the most laid-back, affable guy off of it.
Except for the knock-down, drag-out fight with Dave Gilroy that he’d gotten into after last week’s race, that was.
Poor Ty was driving today with a not-quite-healed shiner from that scuffle. Of course, the fight—and the subsequent gossip swirling around about the reasons why he and Gilroy came to blows—was one of the main reasons why Cori was here, in the first place. She couldn’t feel too sorry about it.
“And there’s Gilroy in third, trying to make a move up but—no! He’s blocked by Colt!”
Uh oh. A similar move was how the fight started last week. Ty was in the lead and managed to shut out Gilroy on the last lap.
Gilroy accused Ty of cheating and, to everyone’s surprise, it was Ty’s fist that flew first.
Cori contented herself with the assumption that, since it was Kerri Colt who had blocked Gilroy this week, he wouldn’t dare hit a woman, even if she threw the first punch.
She hoped, anyway. Gilroy wasn’t exactly a model citizen.
The cars seemed to pick up speed and even from up in the box, she could hear the scream of the engines on the track below. Ty was still in the lead, hanging on to his position by a narrow margin of distance. She wondered how he felt, knowing that if he won, fans would probably be hoping he’d get into another fight. A driver like Ty, who’d never publicly lost his temper before? It was too sensational not to.
Of course, she didn’t believe the accusations of cheating that Gilroy had slung at Ty. But she could see how, once suspicion was raised, people would begin to wonder. Ty had been on a winning streak at the end of last season, and last week he’d won the first race of this season by a significant margin.
Fans were starting to talk. People would probably want answers.
The orange and white of Ty’s car—the trademark color of his biggest sponsor—was nearly a blur from above.
To have a sponsor like that was what teams dreamed of. It was impressive. But then, so was the team’s founder, Bobby Riggs—a retired racer and Ty’s dad. Bobby had started his own racing team twenty years ago after leaving Youngtown Racing and had built it into a multi-million dollar operation with eight drivers on the payroll.
It would be almost too perfectly tragic, to bring down the biggest names in racing based on a single post-race throwaway insult.
On the track, the pack whipped around the curve, Ty in the lead.
She tried not to let her plans for Ty bother her. Despite the matching black eye he’d given Gilroy, which the other driver definitely deserved, she knew from years of watching his career that Ty was a good guy. She didn’t like the idea of deceiving him.
That’s not your problem. This is your only chance.
Right. She couldn’t allow her misgivings to get in the way of getting the information she needed.
If he won today, he’d give the reporters ten minutes of Q&A in the press room after the race. Either way, tomorrow during Media Day, she would have a chance to interview him one-on-one.
A one-on-one with Ty Riggs. She allowed herself a small, excited smile.
“Keep your eyes peeled, honey. It’s about to get good.” The reporter standing next to her, a man in his mid-forties—who’d been standing way too close to her all day—nudged her with his beefy shoulder. She tottered on her heels, but pressed her palm against the window, steadying herself before she toppled over.
She didn’t even care about the nudge as much as she did the comment. Only a complete idiot wouldn’t realize that the race was about to get good. It already had, in fact. She knew racing. She loved racing. And she was a damned good journalist. She’d waited for too long and worked too hard to give up the chance to actually report on something, instead of fetching coffee and answering phones.
Even if that chance had come at a price.
She suppressed the urge to nudge the guy back…with the spike of her heel. He wasn’t the first man to think that blond hair and a pencil skirt merited condescension and inappropriate come-ons. She was used to male reporters being assholes. She worked for one, after all. And her boss had already asked her to do something that was outside her comfort zone. Something that the wire service she worked for should never have even considered, in the first place.
But what was done, was done. And she was about to deceive one of the most genuinely good people in the racing business.
That was why she was feeling so nervous beneath the excitement.
She wanted to release some of those nerves by inflicting bodily harm on the condescending reporter, but responding to the jerk at her side would only draw undue attention to her. And she already had enough, being the lone woman in the press box. She didn’t want too many eyes on her in the coming weeks.
So she nodded her head just slightly in acknowledgment, then focused on the track below. As soon as it was over, they’d be rushing to the press room, and she wanted to be sure she didn’t miss a moment of the race.
The announcer’s voice echoed through the box. “Going into lap one-ninety-five, and Colt is working her way through the pack. She’s moving up behind Riggs…she’s challenging him…but Riggs blocks! Colt is forced to drop back with only five laps to go.”
Cori watched Kerri Colt’s car as it chased Riggs’s around the next lap. The two were famous for their friendly rivalry on the track and their close relationship off it. Not that there was anything romantic going on between them. Colt was formerly Kerri Hart, the only woman driver in stock car racing, who had married her team co-owner, Ranger Colt, last year. Kerri and Ranger seemed like the happiest couple Cori had ever seen—at least, they did in the photos of them online. Cori had followed Kerri for a long time, too, starting back when Kerri had still been racing on the Indy circuit. Colt was only a couple years older than Cori, but she’d already accomplished so much, and in one of the toughest sports imaginable.
Cori might faint if she actually got to meet the woman in person.
Of course, that probably wouldn’t earn her any points as a serious journalist.
Then again, considering that Cori was about to perpetrate the most ethically questionable act of her life, a little fainting might not matter at all.
About the Author
Audra North is a contemporary romance author of more than twenty romances, including the Stanton Family series from Entangled Publishing, the Hard Driving series from St. Martin’s Press, and the Pushing the Boundaries series from Samhain Publishing. She is the owner and publisher of Pink Kayak Press, which focuses on the publication of diverse romance works. Winter Rain, a Pink Kayak Press anthology, won a gold medal in the 2015 Independent Publisher Awards. Audra enjoys speaking to writing groups and at industry conferences. She is also an avid jogger and loves running marathons. She has three children and lives with her family outside of Boston.