This Time, Forever: Over the Top\Talk to Me

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Overview


Over the Top by Pamela Britton

Geared up to make his triumphant return to racing, NASCAR legend Linc Shepherd can't afford any mistakes. Any Marley Sizemore is trouble with a capital T. No longer the tomboy with a major crush on him, his boss's baby sister is now an alluring woman. Will their relationship jeopardize Linc's chances of victory on the track? Or can Marley help him show the world he's still got ...

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Overview


Over the Top by Pamela Britton

Geared up to make his triumphant return to racing, NASCAR legend Linc Shepherd can't afford any mistakes. Any Marley Sizemore is trouble with a capital T. No longer the tomboy with a major crush on him, his boss's baby sister is now an alluring woman. Will their relationship jeopardize Linc's chances of victory on the track? Or can Marley help him show the world he's still got what it takes?

Talk to Me by Dorien Kelly

Veteran NASCAR star Ben Edmonds has one driving goal: to get his career and marriage back on track. He adores his wife, Susie—their family means everything to him. But somehow life has put distance between them. If Susie will cheer him on, anything's possible. And Ben's more determined than ever to take back the prize. Because everything's riding on this one….

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373185412
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 11/16/2010
  • Series: Harlequin NASCAR Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 219
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 11.70 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Dorien Kelly is the award-winning author of The Last Bride in Ballymuir, the first novel in her captivating trilogy set in Ireland from Pocket Books. She is the recipient of both the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Award and the Georgia Romance Writers' coveted Maggie Award. A frequent visitor to Ireland, Dorien has followed the coast from Dublin to Dingle and north to Dungloe, and tracked the River Shannon from beginning to end. When not traveling the Irish byways with her family, Dorien can be found in Michigan. For a bit of flavor from her journeys, visit her website at www.dorienkelly.com.

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Read an Excerpt


"He's here."

Marley Sizemore glanced up from the document she'd been studying and resisted the urge to shake her head. There was no need to ask who he was. Linc Shepherd, Double S Racing's newest driver was slated to arrive today, and she knew for a fact that Emma-Lee Dalton was one of his biggest fans, something her new boyfriend, Holt Forrester, seemed to put up with.

"Well then, what are you doing up here?" Marley teased. "You should be downstairs, asking for an autograph."

Emma-Lee looked like a cat who'd just seen the world's biggest mouse. "Oh. Do you think he'd mind? I've always wanted to get his autograph. I even have one of his die-cast cars at home; the first car he drove. The one he won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in. Shoot. I should have brought it with me today."

Marley couldn't keep herself from chuckling. Emma-Lee was her boss's personal assistant, a dynamo of energy that could make even the grumpiest of individuals smile.

"Take heart," Marley said. "He's going to be around for a long time." Well, as long as most drivers stuck around—which wasn't long…normally. "You can bring your die-cast to work tomorrow."

"You're right," Emma-Lee said with an answering grin, blue eyes as bright as a Christmas morning. "I've got all the time in the world. This is going to be so great. I can't believe Linc Shepherd is actually going to drive for us."

At least one of them was happy, Marley thought, her smile fading a bit. She'd wanted to kill her brother for hiring the famous driver. But that was the problem with working for a family member—in this instance, the owner of Double S Racing—sometimes you reverted right back to childhood and the days when you were good at ignoring each other—even when you knew the other person was right.

Linc Shepherd should retire.

Everyone in racing knew it. Sports Scene magazine had even written a piece about it. After the plane crash that had nearly taken his life two years ago, he'd been out of it. But Linc seemed to think he was as good as new. Unfortunately, one only had to watch Linc walk to know that wasn't true. He'd been in a wheelchair for six months—and it showed. But Gil was convinced Linc still had what it took. Her brother saw "confidence in the man's eyes," whatever that meant.

"You coming down?" Emma-Lee asked, glancing back down the hall as if Linc might be right behind her.

"In a minute or two," Marley said. "I've got something I need to finish."

Emma-Lee nodded, the blond curls she could never seem to tame jiggling around her like birthday ribbons. "I better get going before your brother notices I'm gone," she said. "I just thought you should know Elvis is in the building."

She ducked back out the door before Marley could form a retort. Elvis, indeed.

Sure there'd been a time back when her brother had first gotten into racing when she'd thought Linc Shepherd was a god. She'd been a naive teenager back then, so consumed by racing that she'd pestered her brother into letting her accompany him into the garage. He'd finally given in, but only because she wouldn't let the matter drop: she'd had a massive crush on Linc and nothing was going to keep her from meeting him. Not anymore. Lord, she still couldn't believe how idiotic she'd been. After everything she'd done to gain his attention, she wouldn't blame Linc if he took one look at her and ran in the other direction—like a trophy elk eluding hunters.

But that was in the past. Time to focus on work.

That proved impossible. If she were honest with herself, she could admit that she was as worked up about Linc's arrival as everyone else at Double S Racing, albeit for different reasons.

"Guess I should just get this over with," she muttered to herself.

"Get what over with?"

Marley just about shot out of her chair.

What the hell was he doing in her office?

He was the equivalent of a male panther, right down to the sleek black hair and aloof gray eyes. Those eyes always seemed to smolder whenever gazing at women. In her youth she'd mistaken that gleam as male interest. Now she knew better. Now she recognized what she saw was nothing more than the feral glimmer of a stray cat. Rumor had it he'd had more girlfriends than a male Siamese. When she went to the track these days, she mainly stayed in the sponsor suite, but the few times she'd bumped into him in the garage, he'd always had a gorgeous woman on his arm.

"Linc," she said in what she hoped was a normal voice. "What a surprise," she said.

He had not, she admitted, lost one iota of his sex appeal.

Not one.

"Gil said I should come up and see you. Said you had a big fish on the line."

Big fish? What big fish? What was he talking about?

"That'd be great if you could solidify a sponsorship deal before my first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race next week."

Sponsorship. Duh. God, what was it with her? Two seconds in his company and she was already losing brain cells. Did his male testosterone suck it right out of her? Was she the equivalent of a stepped-on sponge?

"Um, yeah…" She looked at her computer screen for a moment and tried to recover some of her intellect. "I'm going to try."

It had been years since she'd seen him, she realized. He'd been at the top of his game back then. On the verge of winning a second championship. And then—tragedy. The plane he'd been flying in had crash landed. All on board had been killed, including his best friend.

And yet he claimed to be ready to get back to work again. In vain she searched his eyes for evidence of the killer instinct Gil had talked about. All she saw was a man who seemed just the tiniest bit nervous, maybe even a little scared. That took her aback for a moment.

"Who is it? If you don't mind me asking."

"Actually," she said, "I'd rather not say. At least not until I talk to them some more."

He came into her office then, and the minute he stepped through her door, it was as if a comic book character had entered the room. One of the big ones— like The Incredible Hulk or Wolverine. He made her feel all small and diminutive, the same, damn way she'd felt when she'd been a teenager and she'd crossed paths with him. Over the years she'd attributed that feeling to pubescent hormones.

Guess not.

"Why?" he asked, pulling a chair out and sitting down.

"Shouldn't you be cutting the ribbon on your new car or something?" she asked, trying to maintain her composure. Her gaze found the door, a part of her contemplating the distance between her desk and the exit and how long it'd take for her to get there.

Calm down.

You're acting like a moron. He's just a man. A washed-up race car driver who'd limped as he'd walked toward her. A man who apparently recognized how important she was to him, judging by the anxiety in his eyes.

"I thought it was more important to speak to you. If you've got a potential sponsor interested in financing the No. 459 car, I'll do anything you want. Anything. You just say the word."

I'll do anything.

Had he used the words on purpose? Did he remember when she'd said pretty much the same thing to him? Albeit she'd been trying to get him to notice her and had come up with the brilliant idea of being his personal assistant in order to do so. She would never forget the look on his face when she volunteered for the job.

"Anything? " she repeated softly.

Something in his eyes flickered. He did remember.

"Yeah, anything."

It was deja vu. Only this time she had the upper hand. Back then he'd brushed her off as if she were no more than a summer mosquito that happened to land on his arm. She'd been crushed. Not many days later, Gil had insisted she stay home on race days. She wondered now, as she did back then, if Linc had lodged a complaint about Double S Racing's gawky teenage mascot.

She stood up suddenly, held out her hand. "Good to know, Mr. Shepherd. I'll be certain to take you up on that offer should the need arise. Thank you for stopping by."

Atta girl. Show him who's boss…and that you're no longer a seventeen-year-old girl consumed by puppy love.

"You never answered my question," he said, ignoring her hand and continuing to sit.

She should have recalled then just exactly who this was. A man who made his living by keeping his cool. Someone who was dark and dangerous and predatory toward women. Someone who was good at maintaining the upper hand, despite the fear she saw in his eyes.

How had her brother missed that?

"What question?" she asked, her hand dropping to her side.

He slowly stood, those feral gray eyes of his narrowing a bit. "Who's interested in sponsoring me?"

"And like I said, Mr. Shepherd, I'd really rather not say. At least until the deal progresses a little further."

They were at a standoff, Marley wondering when the last time was someone had stood up to him—specifically a woman. He was such a good-looking man, she would bet he was notoriously spoiled where women were concerned. But she refused to be a doormat. Not again.

"I see," he said.

"Although it's nothing personal," she said, part of her wondering why she was being so secretive. It wasn't like her to withhold information like this, especially from a driver. "I just don't want word to leak out. You know how it is. Someone might hear we're talking to so-and-so and the next thing you know, so-and-so's phone is ringing off the hook with a million other people trying to convince so-and-so why their driver is the one they should sponsor. It can get crazy."

"Did you tell him about Shelter Home Improvement?"

Marley nearly groaned out loud. What rotten timing.

"You know," her brother added. "I think it'd be great if he went down there with you." At six foot three, Gil Sizemore was a big man and so he filled the doorway much as Linc did, her brother stopping alongside Linc's chair.

"Shelter Home Improvement, huh?" Linc said, his eyes twinkling.

"Down where?" Marley asked, ignoring him.

"Down to Atlanta," he said, "to meet with Shelter Home Improvement."

Linc's gaze settled on her. Was she imagining things, or was that a smile hovering on his lips? She hated when he looked at her like that—as if he was recalling the world's greatest stand-up comedy act, but he wasn't going to share that information with her. It was an expression she remembered from her younger years, although back then he'd looked at her like that after she'd offered to wash his race car. She noticed, too, that some of his anxiety had faded. No doubt he was pleased that such a big fish was willing to talk to him about sponsorship.

"Go down to Atlanta with you," Linc said. "That sounds like a great idea."

"Actually, I think it might be better if I do that meeting alone."

"Nonsense," Gil said. "Just think what a thrill that'll be for the bigwigs at Shelter Home Improvement. I'll get Emma-Lee started on the arrangements right away."

And then her brother was gone, leaving behind a quiet akin to the stunned silence that followed a pistol blast.

"Ah, yeah. So," she said, taking a deep breath and then immediately wishing she hadn't. She could smell his aftershave—a sort of lemony-pine scent that Marley couldn't help but think smelled nice.

Nice?

She swallowed, trying hard to appear unmoved by his bright, gray eyes. They were a combination of flint and candy. Hard and soft. How was it that after all these years he could still make her gooey inside?

"I guess we'll be attending a meeting together," she finished when she realized he was waiting for her to say something.

"Yeah. I guess we are."

"I was slated to go down tomorrow. Will that work with your schedule?"

Please, God, don't let it work.

"I'll have to move some things around, but it'll work."

"Great. I'll see you there," she said with a false smile.

"Actually, why don't you let me drive you there?"

She tried to control the escalating beat of her heart. An impossible feat, especially given she had no clue as to why she was suddenly on edge. She wasn't the type of person to let a man's looks affect her, no matter how handsome he was. At least not anymore.

"I don't know if that's a good idea," she said, trying hard to keep her voice even. "It might be better to take separate cars."

"Why? Seems like an awful waste of fuel if we drive down separately." He sat there, looking as smug as a man who knew the woman sitting opposite him still had the hots for him. Which she did. Still.

"I know, but I might take the CEO out to dinner," she said, snatching an excuse out of the air. She aimlessly toyed with a pencil on her desk, the sound of its flat sides a rhythmic click that he seemed to notice, given the way he glanced down at it.

"Then I'll go to dinner with you."

"You don't have to do that."

"I want to," he said, standing suddenly. "No ifs ands or buts about it. I'll pick you up tomorrow. Just have Gil's assistant send over an itinerary."

"No," she said.

"No?" he asked, brows lifted.

"I mean, you can go, but I'm going to drive."

"Marley—"

"Meet me here tomorrow," she said, not giving him time to finish. "In the morning. Early."

He frowned. Marley wondered if he was one of those control freaks who insisted on doing everything for themselves.

"Tomorrow, then," he said, turned to leave the office, Marley feeling as if the strings that held up her shoulder had been suddenly cut, like a marionette in the hands of a nefarious puppet master. What the hell was it about the man—

"By the way," he said, his head popping back into the doorway. "We can share a hotel room, too, if you want."

It felt as if Marley had been deposited on the surface of the sun, that's how hot her face suddenly flamed.

"Well, I—" She took a deep breath. "I mean—"

He burst out laughing.

Marley wanted to sink beneath her desk.

"I'm just kidding, Martian Girl."

She blanched at the use of the nickname he'd given her as a kid.

"See you tomorrow."

Only when he didn't return did Marley put her head in her hands and groan. Martian Girl.

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 16, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This Time, Forever Harlequin NASCAR Library NASCAR: Family Secre

    This Time, Forever
    Harlequin NASCAR Library
    NASCAR: Family Secrets Book 7
    Over The Top by Pamela Britton
    After a plane crash that took his friends life and rehabilitation for him, many thought that Linc Shepherd was a washed up driver. Lucky for him Double S Racing had more faith in him than that. The only problem with working with Gil Sizemore was his younger sister, Marley. That crazy girl had a crush on him when she was only seventeen and was somewhat of a stalker back then. Now….well know she’s a gorgeous adult that Linc wouldn’t mind so much if she stalked him. If only she hadn’t promised Gil to stay away from him.




    Talk To Me by Dorien Kelly
    Ben and Susie Edmonds had the real thing, a marriage with love. Once the kids wanted to go to school rather than home-school and they stopped traveling together their lives got busier. Ben’s driving wasn’t helping to ensure a ride or a sponsor, adding more stress. Communication broke down and they started drifting. Susie was not a quitter though and took it onto herself to bring their family back to together and to keep their Edmonds family motto intact. Have fun. Great view on how not giving up and communication is everything in a marriage. 




    Hilton Branch continues to write in his journal while in prison. His daughter Penny finally came to see him so he could pass on the information he needed to give her. Even if that information made his daughter hate him more. It’s hard for this once very proud man to have lost everything. Too late he realizes that the treasure was not in the power and money he craved. It had been within his reach all this time, his children.

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