In the Groove

( 31 )


She wouldn't know a NASCAR star if he hit her with his car...and he just did.

Sarah was a kindergarten teacher until a sleazy ex-boyfriend got her fired. Now the only job she can find is driving the motor coach for racing star Lance Cooper. She doesn't know a thing about NASCAR--and she's off to a rocky start when she doesn't recognize her ultra-famous boss.

Lance can't help but notice Sarah's sweet smile--and how seriously unimpressed she is ...

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She wouldn't know a NASCAR star if he hit her with his car...and he just did.

Sarah was a kindergarten teacher until a sleazy ex-boyfriend got her fired. Now the only job she can find is driving the motor coach for racing star Lance Cooper. She doesn't know a thing about NASCAR--and she's off to a rocky start when she doesn't recognize her ultra-famous boss.

Lance can't help but notice Sarah's sweet smile--and how seriously unimpressed she is with his fame. Her reaction piques his interest--and he's convinced she's a good-luck charm. But Sarah has no interest in Lance's jet-setting life; she'd rather deal with spitballs than one supersexy race car driver. Too bad whenever he comes near her she turns hot as race fuel.

Soon things begin to heat up on the track, and Sarah begins to wonder if she might be able to teach one famous race car driver a few lessons about love.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Start your engines: Harlequin kicks off a line of NASCAR-themed romance novels with this unlikely love story between a ordinary kindergarten teacher down on her luck and a famous, handsome race car driver whose best time was in distant memory.

Sarah Tingle and Lance Cooper meet with a crash, literally, when he hits her in his driveway with his car. Although Lance naturally mistakes her for one of his rabid female fans, Sarah has been hired to be the new driver for his motor coach. So their journey together begins. Gradually, Lance starts to wonder: Is she a lucky charm? And Sarah starts to wonder: Why is she falling so hard for a guy who could never love a girl like her? And while the love story is revving up, bestselling author Britton delivers big-time on the atmosphere and details about the racing circuit, and the drivers and the lives they lead. Ginger Curwen
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786288038
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 8/2/2006
  • Edition description: Large Print Edition
  • Pages: 407
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Bestselling author Pamela Britton blames her zany sense of humor on the amount of Fruity Pebbles she consumes. Not wanting to actually have to work for a living, Pamela has enjoyed a variety of odd careers such as modeling, working for race teams--including NASCAR's Winston Cup--and drawing horses for a living.

Over the years, Pamela's stories have won her numerous accolades. In 2004 alone, her novel, Seduced, was named one of the best romances of 2003 by the staff of Barnes and, The Oakland Press, RT BOOKclub Magazine and Romance Readers at Heart. Seduced also won a National Reader's Choice Award for best long historical romance, and was nominated for a HOLT Medallion. One might think this would give Pamela a very big head, but, in fact, she's kept humble by doing laundry, scooping manure and caring for a precocious four-year-old who's not impressed that mommy "colors books."

Pamela feels privileged to write full-time from her ranch in Northern California where she lives with her husband, daughter, and--at last count--fifteen four-legged friends.

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Read an Excerpt


Legends and the Fall
Q&A with Lance Cooper
By Rick Stevenson, Sports Editor

There are certain names in motor sports that are, in some people's eyes at least, nearly as sacred as certain Popes. Names like Earnhardt, Petty, and Johnson. Men like the late Davey Allison and Fireball Roberts.

It used to be people spoke about Lance Cooper in such hushed tones, but not so much anymore. I caught up with Lance Cooper at the start of this year's racing season when he was testing at Daytona. I asked some hardhitting questions that for the most part Lance was kind enough to answer.

RS: Lance, you used to be the man everybody talked about, but now some people have written you off as a "has-been." Can you fill us in on why they think your days as one of racing's brightest stars are over?

LC: A has-been? Come on, man. That's what you call those older guys. I'm not even thirty yet — I've got a lot of years ahead of me, as many of my longtime fans will tell you.

RS: Yes, but you've got to admit, it's been awhile since you've won a race. Care to tell us why you think that is?

LC: Heck, Rick, I wish I knew what it was, but the truth is I can't say it's any one thing. Certainly our engine program needs a bit of work. A few of these teams have an engine program that puts them at the top of the field week after week. Also, we've got some new people going over the wall and so that's a factor. And, too, part of it's my fault. I need to focus better. Keep my mind in the game. Avoid distractions.

RS: And you think you can fix all that this year?

LC: Without a doubt.


It was the worst day of her life, and that was saying a lot.

Sunshine dappled the blacktop that Sarah Tingle walked upon, causing heat to radiate up through the soles of her sandals. It was late June, so walking on a narrow, two-lane road in North Carolina wasn't a good idea. But thanks to her continuing streak of rotten luck, her car had broken down a half mile back, and in the latest episode of "Sarah Tingle's Life Goes to Hell," said road appeared to be deserted. She'd stood by the side of her car for almost an hour and nobody, absolutely nobody had come by.

No cars. No trucks. Not even a cyclist.

That was probably a good thing because right about now she'd tackle a four-year-old for his tricycle. Instead she pulled her red tank top away from her body (the hue no doubt matching the color of her flushed, sunburnt face), using her other hand to clutch her ankle-length skirt as she fanned the material in an attempt to get some air flowing to her lower regions. Didn't help.

How had it happened? she asked herself, dropping her skirt when all she'd managed to do was entice more gnats into dive-bombing her body. How had her life spiraled so out of control? A week ago she'd been on top of the world — dating a good guy, enjoying a great teaching job, a nice apartment, and now . . . nothing.

She closed her eyes, ostensibly against the sunspots, but in reality against the sting in her eyes.

No time to cry, she told herself, resolutely prying her lids open. She had to deal with the fact that her car, everything she owned stuffed into the back of it, had died a splendid and dramatic death involving a loud clank, lots of noise, and clouds and clouds of smelly black smoke. Right now what she needed to do was find the address she'd been looking for. Too bad she couldn't seem to locate it, which meant she might have been better off walking back toward the main road instead of hoping for her new boss's house to appear between the tall pines, Lake Norman sparkling in the distance.

Her new boss's house.

Sarah Tingle, bus driver. She still couldn't believe she wouldn't be walking into her kindergarten classroom next week. And as she recalled the twenty precious little faces she used to teach every day, Sarah felt like closing her eyes all over again. Instead she pushed on, shoving her curly auburn hair over one shoulder as determination set in.

A half-hour later she was determined to throw herself into the lake. She'd even made a deal with herself that if there wasn't a house around the next bend she'd do exactly that.

God must have finished torturing her for the moment because right at the sharpest edge of the turn stood a mailbox, sunlight spotlighting the thing like a biblical tablet. She ground to a halt, feeling almost giddy upon recognizing the address. Two brick pillars stood to the right, an elaborate wrought iron gate between them.

A gate with the cutout of a black race car in the middle of it.

She'd arrived. Finally.

She walked forward a few more steps — well, limped, actually; her big toe had a blister on it — so excited that she didn't look left or right as she stepped into the road, just blithely assumed no one was coming (because, really, no one had in the forty-five minutes she'd been walking).

Tires cried out in protest, their screech loud and long. Sarah looked left just in time to see the front end of a silver car coming toward her. She leapt. The car kept coming. She went airborne, then landed, rolling up the hood of a car.

It took a moment to realize she'd come to a stop.

She opened her eyes. Her head — still attached to her body, miraculously — had come to rest against something hard and cool. A windshield, she realized. Her cheek and the front of her body pressed against the glass.

Oh, great.

She was now a human bug. How appropriate.

Lance Cooper saw cleavage — and that was all — a large valley of flesh where moments before there had only been open road.

What the . . .?

He jerked on the door, knowing full well what had happened. He'd hit somebody.

"Am I alive?" he heard the woman mumble.

Relief made his shoulders slump. "You are." For now, he silently added, because if she turned out to be okay, he was going to kill her.

The woman shifted, rolling away from the window like a mummy unfurled from bindings. Damn crazy race fans, he thought, trying not to panic. What'd she been doing in the middle of the road like that?

"I think I broke a rib."

She deserved a broken rib. He'd had women do some strange things to get his attention, but this took the cake.

"Don't move," he ordered, figuring he better get her to a doctor before he had a lawsuit on his hands.

"No," he thought he heard her murmur. "No doctor."

Lance reached for his cell phone before remembering service was spotty this far off the beaten path. Sure enough, no bars. "Damn," he murmured.

"No, that would be damned," she groaned. "As in I'm damned. I can't believe you just hit me."

He bit back a sarcastic retort. "Let me go call an ambulance."

"Because why should I get off with just my car breaking down?" she continued. "Why not add getting struck by a car to the list?"

"Look, don't move. I'll go call 911—"

"No," she said, sitting up and groaning.

"Hey," he cried in irritation. "I told you not to move." And wasn't it ironic to be the one saying that when most of the time it was him getting yelled at by rescue crews.

"Don't call 911," she said, ignoring him, which made Lance instantly angry all over again — another irony given the fact that he always tried to refuse infield care, too.

"Lady, I just hit you with my car. I'd be an idiot not to call 911."

"I'm fine," she said, swiveling on her butt ever so slowly so that their gazes met.

Lance froze.

She'd managed to shock him.

Not a speck of makeup covered her face. Usually fans were a little more overt in their attention getting techniques — bared midriff, strategically located body piercings, even a tattoo or two. This woman didn't have any of that. Zero. Zip. Zilch.

She slid off his fender, wincing as she did so.

"Look, I'd appreciate it if you'd hold still for a moment."

"I'm fine," she said, swiping reddish-brown hair out of her face.

"You don't look fine," he said, steadying her with his hand, a hand that landed in a mass of abundant curls too soft to be fake, or permed, or heated into submission.

"I am," she reassured him, straightening. "Believe me, this doesn't feel any worse than the time Peter Pritchert ran me down."

"You've been hit before?"

"No, not like that," she said, wincing again, her flat vowels proclaiming she was from out of state, probably California. "Peter is — was one of my students." And he could have sworn her brown eyes dimmed for a moment, something he wouldn't have noticed if he hadn't been observing her so closely. "He had the stomach flu," she added, "and I didn't get out of his way fast enough."

"You're a teacher?" And as her words penetrated, something else she'd said earlier also sank in: broken car. Lord, that was her hunk of junk he'd passed a mile or two back. She wasn't some crazy out-of-state fan.

"I was," she said, rolling her shoulder a bit. "I recently underwent a change of career." She straightened, giving him a brave, everything's-all-right smile. "You're looking at Lance Cooper's newest bus driver — well, motor coach driver. I'm supposed to bring his fancy new RV to Daytona for him."

For the second time that day, she managed to shock him. She was his new driver. And she didn't know who he was.

"I was supposed to have a meeting with him, actually, which means I should probably get going before a meteor lands atop my head."

"A meteor?"

"Sure, why not?" she asked. "I mean, everything else has gone wrong today. Why not a meteor, or a swarm of locusts or a plague?"

He almost smiled. Obviously, she was hanging on by a thread. "Look," he said, deciding to hold off telling her who he was for the moment. "I think you should see a doctor. I have a friend—"

"No doctor," she said impatiently.

"Why not?"

"Because I don't have health insurance."

And there it was again, that look. Disgust. Disappointment. Dismay. Lord, but the woman was an open book.

It fascinated him.

He didn't know why, but suddenly he found himself studying her face. It wasn't a particularly beautiful face. He would venture to say she was even plain with her reddish brown hair and brown eyes. But there was something pleasantly endearing about it. She was cute in a sweet-faced kind of way. And maybe that was what fascinated him. That sweet face didn't go at all with her hot, hot body, one perfectly outlined by her red tank top and pretty floral skirt.

"Don't worry about the health insurance," he said. "I'm sure my car insurance will cover it."

"No, thanks. Mr. Cooper's waiting for me."

He opened his mouth to tell her he was Mr. Cooper, only something stopped him. He had a feeling if he told her he was Lance Cooper it might just be enough to push her over the edge.

"C'mon," he said. "I'll give you a ride. That's a long drive."

"Is it?" she asked, looking puzzled, as well she should because you couldn't see his house from the road and so there was no way to know that, unless . . . "I've been there before," he said.

"You have?"

"Lots of times."

"You're friends with Lance Cooper?"

Okay, time to confess who he was. "I'm his pool boy."

Now what the heck did you go and say that for?

"You're his pool boy."

Because he had a feeling when she realized who he was, humiliation just might make her do something crazy — like run off shrieking, hands flailing. He almost smiled at the image.

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Interviews & Essays

Heart to Heart Interview with Pamela Britton

Heart to Heart: Race cars and romance -- who knew? It looks like you did! Can you tell us about your background with racing and NASCAR, including your work for race teams? And why do you think racing and romance make such an explosive and natural combination?

Pamela Britton: Well, I've been a fan of the sport since the early '90s, thanks to a couple of friends of mine who are intimately involved with the circuit (one being a Nextel Cup crew chief). Those friends were responsible for putting me to work at the track. I would sometimes do what's called "scoring," which can be [either] a really boring job or a really stressful job -- depending on the track. Basically, what you're doing is tracking your car's lap times. But sometimes it's not easy to spot your driver in a pack of cars, especially at the smaller tracks -- or under fluorescent lights -- and so I was always on edge until the end of the race. NASCAR is such an exciting sport that it seemed only natural to want to write a book about it. There are 75 million race fans, 40 percent of which are women. I used to see those women in the stands and think, Wow! I wanted to try and capture some of that "wow" feeling within the pages of a book. Harlequin thought it was a good idea, too. They did some research and it showed that female NASCAR fans are 26 percent more likely to read romance novels than non-fans. From that point on it seemed obvious that this would be a win-win situation for both Harlequin and NASCAR.

HtoH: Did you do any special research beyond your own background? We were amazed by the detail about the racing life and the amount of obligations that come with the life of a top driver.

PB: I've been a "gearhead" my entire life, and I thought I knew everything there was to know about racing. Boy, was I wrong. When I started writing the book, I realized how much I didn't know. Both NASCAR and my friends within the industry were instrumental in helping me fine-tune the details of my story. And I'm delighted you were intrigued with the behind-the-scenes action. That was one of my goals: to give people an accurate and exciting look at the world of racing.

HtoH: One of the appealing things about In the Groove is the romance between two people who are in the worst slump of their lives -- the race car driver who is down on his luck, and the ex-kindergarten teacher who needs a job, badly. Did anything special trigger the idea for this plot and this couple?

PB: I loved writing this book, and I think that was due in large part because I identified with both characters. I, too, have been down on my luck (haven't we all?). And I, too, know what it's like to think your career is over and to want to throw in the towel. But like my characters, I've learned that things are never as bad as they seem, and that sometimes all you have to do is keep your chin up. That's the message I wanted to send out with this book, and I truly hope I accomplished that goal.

HtoH: From your web site ( it's clear that you've got a bone to pick with people who put down romance novels. Could you share that point of view with Heart to Heart readers? And, do you think the NASCAR Library Collection publishing program will expand readers for the genre?

PB: You know, I've been writing books for almost ten years, and I still hear the same old stereotypes used to describe the genre. I have to scratch my head over this because many of my fellow romance authors are amazing writers. As proof, one can simply look at the many mainstream fiction authors who have their roots in romance. Those authors didn't suddenly learn how to write -- they've always been terrific. And so it got me to thinking: Why? The only thing I could think of was that the naysayers have never actually read a romance novel, and instead of reading the books and formulating their own opinion, they'd rather use someone else's outmoded label. It's too bad, too, because those people are missing out on some great stuff. And, yes, I have every confidence the NASCAR Library Collection will expand readers for the genre. Can I just add how thrilled I am that In the Groove is NASCAR's first officially licensed work of fiction! Actually, it's the first any professional sports organization has licensed a book. Wow!

HtoH: What books are you working on now?

PB: NASCAR, NASCAR, NASCAR! My next NASCAR book, On the Edge, comes out in September [2006]. After that comes To the Limit in February 2007. There'll be a few historicals thrown in there, too. It's fun to switch between the two genres, although it's sometimes difficult for me to capture the appropriate tone and language of the Regency historicals. But that's what I like about writing two such different stories. Never a dull moment! In closing, I just want to thank all of my readers for sticking with me no matter what type of book I write. I'm so, so, sooo grateful to them! And I would encourage anyone who's interested in Harlequin's NASCAR Library Collection program to visit
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 31 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2014


    Great book for nascar fans

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 30, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    In The Groove by Pamela Britton NASCAR #2 Sarah Tingle is most c

    In The Groove by Pamela Britton
    NASCAR #2
    Sarah Tingle is most comfortable with kids, she loved being a kindergarten teacher until her ex went out for revenge, causing her to lose everything. Off to North Carolina she heads hoping to teach, instead she finds herself getting a job to drive a race car drivers bus. Sarah don’t have a clue about the racing industry and wouldn’t even know her famous new boss if he hit her with his car.

    Lance Cooper was intrigued with his new employee. She could car less about his fame and fortune, she didn’t even know who he was and somehow that didn’t bother him. When she bakes him cookies and gives him a pep talk like he’s one of her students, it changes his losing streak. You don’t let go of things that bring you good luck, but how can he hang on to her?

    The readers met Lance Cooper in the first book, Dangerous Curves. Blain Sanders young new driver who was flirtatious and full of wise cracks. I really enjoyed the way the author brought the previous characters back into the book, showing how their lives have moved ahead as well. Looking forward to the next five books in this series.
    **Sensual content and language

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2010

    Highly Recommended

    I loved this book, as well as all Pamela Britton books. She is an amazing author.

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  • Posted September 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Didnt do it for me

    Too mellow.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2006

    The Bestest book ever

    this was the bestest book ever. i started reading it at 4 p.m. today and didn't put it down till i read the whole thing at midnight. this book had the perfect amounts of what makes a romance book. there was still heat and passion in it, but gladly not to the point it would be considered soft core porn. this book has the best characters i have ever read about. i would recommend it to everyone, even non nascar fans would love it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2006

    really hot book

    i couldnt put this book down i have read it like several times and i just bought it last week

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2006

    A fun book

    This book was so much fun to read. I read it in one day. I recommend it for anybody who is a NASCAR fan. It gives details into what it must be like to live as a NASCAR wife or girlfriend.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2006

    She has done it again!

    Pamela has outdone herself with this one! I did not think she could get to me, but this book was even better! I laughed, cried and even sympathized. Her books about NASCAR are stunning and I cannot put them down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2006

    The Best Book Ever

    This book is so exciting and captivating! It held my attention throughout the whole thing! I recommend this book to anyone who loves a romance with a twist!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2006


    This book was such a page turner that I read half the book in one day. I even had the NASCAR race on with the sound off so I could finish the book. This is a book for every women out there who think that all drivers date are models.This book makes you fell like you were at the track or that this is happening to you. I can not wait for the next book in this line of NASCAR-themed romance novels.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2006

    This is a keeper

    In The Grove by Pamela Britton drives your heart and soul into the winner¿s circle. Sarah Tingle¿s life has gone to hell in a hand basket. An ex boyfriend spreads risqué pictures of her causing her to lose the teaching job she loved. Now her car breaks down on her way to her new job as a driver for a Nascar star. Next thing she knows she is hit by a car driven by her new boss. Lance Cooper stellar Nascar driver is smitten by his new driver. She has no clue who or what he is and it¿s refreshing. Lance¿s racing career needs his full attention right now but Sarah in on his mind on and off the track. Lance and Sarah start a relationship but will Sarah be able to let go of the past and let Lance love her. In The Grove delves into their relationship with insight and deep feelings. You really feel and understand the in and outs of Nascar after reading this book. I actually watched my first race the weekend I read this book and enjoyed both. This book is a joy from beginning to end. I hope there are more racing books by this author to come.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2006


    This book was awesome, if you like romance and nascar, definetly worth reading, I could not put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2006

    Love Romance Books and Nascar

    I am not going to go into the story line here because the above two reviewers did all ready. There are two things I have loved in my 60+ years (1) Reading Romance (2) Nascar. I have been reading for 45+ years and watching Nascar since the first televised race in Daytona on CBS. I love the action, tension, the thrill of my favorite Nascar Driver winning. Pamela has combined all of this into this book. It was just a fantastic, emotional,and romantic story and accurate as far as Nascar rules and regulations are concerned and she gets the Checkered Flag also for a powerful and romantic love story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2006


    Back IN THE GROOVE for a sequel to her DANGEROUS CURVES, Pamela Britton weaves a tale of romance set in the face paced world of NASCAR. Former Kindergarten teacher, Sarah Tingle, gets the ride of her life literally when she agrees to work for NASCAR driver, Lance Cooper. What she doesn¿t plan on, is falling in love with her boss, a very own larger than life celebrity in his own world¿a world that Sarah feels very much out of place. But Ms. Britton proves once again, that love can indeed conquer all, to overcome the odds and that our hero and heroine can indeed live happily ever after. IN THE GROOVE is a story that you won¿t want to put down, it will keep you up late into the wee hours of the night, turning pages to find out if Sarah does indeed get her man, and how she does it. Once again, Pamela Britton¿s description of the NASCAR world is superb, it is so amazing, in fact, that you feel right there like a part of the Sanders Racing team. Her characters are real and down to earth, making you fall in love with them instantly. Also true to her style, is the underlying wit and laugh out loud humor that Ms. Britton is so famous for. Don't miss out on this one, or you will be sorry!

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    fabulous sports romance

    Due to the publication of semi-nude pictures she took to pay off her college tuition several years ago, Sarah Tingle loses her kindergarten teaching position. Needing money, she obtains a job to drive NASCAR racer Lance Cooper¿s RV to Florida from North Carolina. When her vehicle breaks down, she begins walking towards his house on an isolated road only to have Lance run her over. She suffers no injuries, but he is concerned for her though he pretends to be a worker and not the racing star. When she learns who he is she wants to leave, but needs the money so agrees to complete the job. --- Lance, who has been in a slump, is attracted to Sarah who tingles all over when he seductively looks at her. As they fall in love while she learns what a driver and his crew do, Sarah has doubts as she feels her already negative PR will only hurt Lance. However, her leaving him hurts him much more as he wants to share a life of driving with her. --- IN THE GROOVE is a fabulous sports romance that is better than most entries into the athletic arena because Pamela Britton brings to life the milieu of the car racing world from an insider¿s view of the pit and not just as a convenient backdrop. The romance between the lead duo is warm and tender, enhanced by the exciting NASCAR circuit. Fans of car racing will enjoy this driving look inside the sport as much as readers who appreciate a strong love story. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2005

    IN THE GROOVE takes you on a wonderful ride and doesn't let go

    Sarah Tingle is a kindergarten teacher until a set of circumstances leaves her down and out. She doesn¿t know anything about the lifestyle of a NASCAR Cup racer, but she¿s about to find out when she¿s literally run over by one of them, Lance Cooper. From there, the story sucked me in and led me on a ride I didn¿t want to stop. There just can¿t be a better book that captures the nuances of the NASCAR lifestyle, combined with a compelling romance, than IN THE GROOVE, by Pamela Britton. I had the honor of reading an ARC of this book and was amazed by the realistic imagery Pam gives of the difficult racing sport, shared with an equally wonderful romance between two brilliantly written characters. This book touched my heart it made me laugh, cry, and finally let out a satisfied sigh when I finished it. Pam¿s characters are rich in personality and determination, they won¿t let you go until you turn page after page to see what happens next. Simply put... I ABSOLULTEY LOVED THIS BOOK. Please, please don¿t miss this book, you won¿t be sorry.

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    Posted January 16, 2010

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