Hi, I’m Vanessa North, and welcome to the blog tour for Roller Girl! Follow along and join the discussion in the comments to be entered to win a Lake Lovelace Rollergirls swag pack, including a signed copy of the book. Thanks for reading!
Roller Girl, by Vanessa North
Series: Lake Lovelace, Book 3
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: July 25, 2016
Recently divorced Tina Durham is trying to be self-sufficient, but her personal-training career is floundering, her closest friends are swept up in new relationships, and her washing machine has just flooded her kitchen. It’s enough to make a girl cry.
Instead, she calls a plumbing service, and Joanne “Joe Mama” Delario comes to the rescue. Joe is sweet, funny, and good at fixing things. She also sees something special in Tina and invites her to try out for the roller derby team she coaches.
Derby offers Tina an outlet for her frustrations, a chance to excel, and the female friendships she’s never had before. And as Tina starts to thrive at derby, the tension between her and Joe cranks up. Despite their player/coach relationship, they give in to their mutual attraction. Sex in secret is hot, but Tina can’t help but want more.
With work still on the rocks and her relationship in the closet, Tina is forced to reevaluate her life. Can she be content with a secret lover? Or with being dependent on someone else again? It’s time for Tina to tackle her fears, both on and off the track.
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When we get back to the house, Elvis’s tongue is lolling out and the plumber’s van is parked outside. Early. Wow. That’s . . . unexpected.
“Sit,” I order as the van door opens, and Elvis drops his back end to the ground.
A woman hops out of the van, and I do a double take. Petite, with short black hair that flops in her eyes, and a pierced nose. Baggy, cutoff camouflage cargoes hang low on her hips, and a white ribbed undershirt shows off swirls of colorful tattoos on her arms. Holy shit, she’s cute. She flashes me a quick smile and starts talking, fast.
“Hey, I’m Joe Delario. Joanne, actually, but everyone calls me Joe. I’m sorry I’m early, but since it’s Saturday and you’re the only appointment I’ve got today, I figured we could knock it out, get it done, get on with our lives, right?” Her voice is raspy, like that of a lifelong smoker. Her cheeks dimple as she grins at me and extends her hand.
“Tina Durham.” I clasp it in my own. It’s delicate but callused, and bright blue polish is chipping off her nails. “I’ve um, never met a female plumber before.” I immediately blush, because God, I should know better than to say shit like that.
She laughs, a hoarse chuckle that lilts up in pitch at the end. “Yeah, it’s such a sausage fest in this industry, but the money’s good. Can’t let the boys get it all. Plus, my dad is a plumber, and he never wanted me to have to depend on a dude for anything, so he taught me and I kind of inherited the business. Not that he’s dead. Just retired.” She lets go of my hand and holds hers out to Elvis. He sniffs, glancing at me out of the sides of his eyes.
“Hey, buddy, what’s your name?” When he doesn’t show any signs of aggression, she drops to a squat and starts scratching his ears. “Okay if I give him a treat? I like to make friends with the pooches on my jobs. Makes life easier.”
“Sure. He’s Elvis.”
“Hiya, Elvis.” She reaches into one of the cargo pockets on her cutoffs and fishes out half of a dog biscuit. “You’re a good boy, aren’t you? Yeah. You like that? Who’s a good dog?”
My heart lurches as I watch her make kiss faces at Elvis, fishing out the other half of the biscuit and handing it over. After he crunches it to pieces, he butts her hand with his head, begging for more scratches, which she delivers with good-natured efficiency. I’m getting a little emo—it’s not only that she’s nice to dogs, it’s that she plans ahead to be nice to dogs.
Humming “Suspicious Minds” under her breath, she stands and opens the back of her van and starts pulling out tools. She buckles a belt around her waist, then grabs a bucket full of other tools and calls over her shoulder “So, are you a big Elvis fan? I mean, you named your dog after him. Presley, not Costello, right? I mean, it could be Costello, but you strike me as a Presley kinda girl.”
I have no idea what a “Presley kinda girl” is, but she nailed it. And she was just humming one of my favorites. “Yeah, Presley. How could you tell?”
“The rhinestone leash and collar. Okay, let’s do this thing.” She slams the back of the van shut, and Elvis jumps. “You told our dispatcher it was the washing machine? You have kids?”
I follow her up the steps of my house, then unlock the door for her. “No. I’m not married. I was, but my—” I take a deep breath, then muscle through the coming out like it’s no big fucking deal. “—my ex-wife and I didn’t have any kids.”
“Gotcha, okay.” She nods briskly. “Baby clothes can be a culprit in these cases. Well, I guess I gotta work for it this time.” She flashes another megawatt smile. “Where am I headed?”
To celebrate the release of Roller Girl, Vanessa will be sending one lucky winner a special gift basket!
Gift basket will include an autographed copy of Roller Girl, a purple Lake Lovelace Roller Girl t-shirt in your size, a pair of waffle earrings, some derby stickers, and more! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 30, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
Author of over a dozen novels, novellas, and short stories, Vanessa North delights in giving happy-ever-afters to characters who don’t think they deserve them. Relentless curiosity led her to take up knitting and run a few marathons “just to see if she could.” She started writing for the same reason. Her very patient husband pretends not to notice when her hobbies take over the house. Living and writing in Northwest Georgia, she finds her attempts to keep a quiet home are frequently thwarted by twin boy-children and a very, very large dog.