Run to You
Avon / September 24, 2013/ $7.99 print, $6.99 digital
Stella Leon's bartending gig was going fine until gorgeous ex-Marine Beau Junger decked her mob-connected boss, spirited her out of the city, and claimed that Stella's half-sister—the one with the perfect life—sent him. Now Stella has no choice but to go along for the ride . . . and seduce
Beau's military-issue socks off . . .
The Marine Corps was Beau's escape from his old man's legacy of naval heroism and serial philandering, but no amount of training could prepare him for the day he looked in the mirror and saw his father staring back. The answer: swear off meaningless sex. Oh, and find a way to make Stella Leon quit being so damn hot . . .
I’ve read romance novels with virginal heroines, and I’ve read romance novels, albeit considerably fewer, with virginal heroes, but Rachel Gibson’s Run to You is the first romance novel I’ve read that features a heroine who is a “technical virgin” and a hero who is in the midst of a self-imposed period of celibacy.
Estella Immaculata Leon-Hollowell is twenty-eight years old and still a virgin—if one considers a sexually experienced woman who has chosen to refrain from coitus a virgin. A bartender at a gay bar whose former jobs include lead singer in a band and selling photographs to tourists, Stella’s romantic and sexual history has consisted mostly of short-term relationships with skinny, sensitive metrosexuals whose skills at oral sex have been limited. The product of a brief affair between a wealthy Texas rancher and the Hispanic nanny of his young daughter, Stella was brought up by her abuela to be a good Catholic girl who didn’t swear, didn’t wear red nail polish, and didn’t take off her shoes—or anything else—at parties.
And she didn’t have sex before marriage. She was a twenty-eight-year-old virgin by choice. At first she’d remained a virgin out of fear. Fear that her grandmother would take one look at her and know she was one of “those” girls. Out of fear that she’d have a baby like her mother. Even after she moved out and lived in Vegas, her grandmother’s cautions and rules still played in her head. . . . She’d discovered ways of intimacy while technically keeping her virginity. . . . she’d waited this long, and if she wanted to save sexual intercourse for marriage, she would.
Beau Junger, former Marine, trained sharpshooter, and an international favorite with ladies looking for a good time, decided eight months ago that “the last time he woke up with a woman he didn’t know was the last time.” At thirty-eight with two decades of wild-oat sowing behind him and a stable future as the owner of a successful private security company, Beau is ready to settle down with one woman and raise a family. And he is determined to remain celibate until he finds the woman he wants to marry, the one to whom he will be faithful, unlike his father, a chronic philanderer.
Beau never expected when he agreed to do a favor for an old friend, Vince Haven and his fiancé Sadie Hollowell (Rescue Me, 2012), that he would end up rescuing Sadie’s half-sister from a sexually harassing boss and from a couple of mobsters and driving her from Miami to Lovett, Texas. He certainly never expected Stella Leon, who is too young and too scatty to be his type, to tempt him to break his vow of celibacy. Stella is grateful for Beau’s help, but the thick-necked, tank-shouldered ex-Marine is a far cry from the poets and singers to whom she is usually attracted. She can’t imagine getting naked with Beau until that’s all she can imagine.
A stop in steamy New Orleans so that Beau can visit old friend Kasper Pennington (Blue by You, 2013) provides the setting for the tough-talking Beau to break all his own rules.
He let go of her hand and held up one finger. “Don’t have sex until you’re married or at least headed in that direction.” He held up another finger. “Never get involved with a buddy’s sister, wife, or girlfriend.” And one last. “Don’t mix business and pleasure. I broke all three with you.”
Stella’s definition of sex may be a match for Bill Clinton’s, but Beau knows that they had sex in New Orleans even if Stella remained a technical virgin a while longer just as he knows she captured his heart that night even if it takes even longer for him to say the words Stella needs to hear.
For readers who count on Gibson for sizzling scenes, I promise she does not fail you, even in a story that starts with a virginal heroine and a celibate hero.
Learn more or pre-order a copy of Run to You by Rachel Gibson before its release (September 24, 2013):
Janga spent decades teaching literature and writing to groups ranging from twelve-year-olds to college students. She is currently a freelance writer, who sometimes writes about romance fiction, and an aspiring writer of contemporary romance, who sometimes thinks of writing an American historical romance. She can be found at her blog Just Janga and tweeting obscure bits about writers as @Janga724.