Posted in Books

Chained, Hitched and Blindsided, Ruthie Knox’s Roman Holiday Begins!

Reviewing Roman Holiday parts 1-3!

Roman Holiday will be published starting November 11, 2013 in two seasons of five episodes posted weekly. The first season will end December 4, 2013 and season two (episodes 6-10) will publish weekly starting March 3, 2014.

If you haven’t read my previous post about this serial novel, you can find it here. It includes a fun interview with the author.

Blurb (for the whole novel, all 10 episodes)

Ashley Bowman is having a bad week. Reeling from the death of her beloved grandmother, she returns to the Florida Keys only to learn that a heartless Miami developer has gotten hold of the crappy vacation rentals she calls home. Ashley has one day to clear out before Roman Díaz destroys the only place in the world that matters to her. Chaining herself to a palm tree in the bulldozers’ path seems like a good way to stop him . . . until she realizes she should’ve brought food and water. And pants. Also, it would help if the evil developer weren’t so ridiculously hot.

The last thing Roman Díaz needs is some sun-kissed blond protester getting her picture in the newspaper and messing up his plans. He bought the property fair and square, and the resort he wants to build on the site is the key to realizing his highest ambitions. But when a hurricane blows through, Roman has to hustle Ashley to safety if he wants to protect his reputation—and that means giving in to her unreasonable demands.

Roman needs to learn a little compassion, and Ashley’s decided to teach it to him . . . even if she has to drag him all over the Eastern Seaboard to do it.

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I feel so lucky I was offered to read these 3 chapters pre-publish. Ruthie is a favorite author and this serial novel is pretty high up on my favorite romance novels list. A big thank you to her and Random House publicist, April Flores, for the advanced copies of the episodes .

RH1-chained-webIn Chained, the first episode, we get acquainted with Ashley Bowman. Raised by her grandmother from her pre-teen years and on, she is (not so well) dealing with losing her parental figure and best friend. Having been notified after the funeral her grandmother sold the vacation resort in Miami where Ashley grew up, instead of giving it to her as promised is one blow to deal with. Finding out the resort is destined to be demolished in favor of a modern resort/hotel complex.

Panicking, she chains herself to a tree on the bulldozers’ path. Without water, food, a plan – however general – of how to stretch, relieve herself… you get the point.

That’s where we meet Roman Díaz, the land developer. I will not neglect to mention he is drop dead gorgeous with a sexy accent. He also doesn’t quite know what to do about Ashley. But, he watches over her and makes sure she’s shaded, fed and hydrated – positive she will tire and leave by morning.

In that setting, this couple couldn’t be more opposite. Ashley is pretty together, knows what she wants, knows who she is and more her true self than not. Roman on the other hand is outwardly very together, cool, calm and collected. He’s got a big shot businessman persona, and can see a clear path to his goals. 

So Ashley is chained to the tree, supposedly gone soon. Only she isn’t, and in order to get her off the property, Roman is forced to give in to a demand, possibly one of many made by Ashley.

In this intro episode to the novel, we mostly get the surface of both MCs and a little bit of what’s inside, and there’s a lot of promise. I loved it.

RH2-hitched-webAnd then we’re hit with Hitched:

Ashley made her first demand: a ride to her friend’s place. She needs to take a breather and figure out what to do. Naturally, she’ll go to someone who knew her grandmother, as well as knows her. However, she doesn’t tell Roman her friend lives a day ride away, in the Georgia swamps. 

On this “joy” ride we get to know a little more about both Roman and Ashely, mostly from their inner musings. We learn that Roman needs order, precision and rarely loses his calm. He shows no emotion, if he can help it (and more often than not, he can), he has a fiancé, Carmen, whom we get the sense he doesn’t even love, but is with her because it makes sense.

Ashley’s loose and carefree demeanor is the obvious opposite. She seems to live life the way she wants to, and take things easy, but there are tiny cracks in that emotional façade. She seems determined to get Roman to understand her and convert him to her side.

There are swoons, I won’t say there aren’t, they’re subtle at this point in the story, and were probably 90% in my head, but what got me in their interaction was how hilarious it was, mostly due to Ashley provoking Roman. And the fun just begins, when they get to the swamps. 

RH3-blindsided-webThat’s where he realizes he’s been Blindsided by Ashley and the whole situation. Ashley has spent the drive up to GA trying to understand Roman so she can plan better, but I’m pretty sure she feels a sort of kinship, there, too.

Arriving in the swamp, surrounded by Ashley’s very unique friends, Roman is without a doubt a fish-out-of-water. His car is stuck  in the deep mud, he’s irritated and he’s threatened by a pet alligator. And that was the scene where I completely fell for him. His thought process afterwards, combined with him starting to feel some sort of attraction to Ashley is beautifully simple and complex, and when Ashley’s second demand comes soon after, Roman understands this seemingly sun-kissed, blond, sweet young woman, is more than he bargained for. But he’s going on a Roman Holiday with her.

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I’m very excited for this novel and the way it’s serially published, and I know I’m going to suffer through the intermission between the first and second seasons. But I know the wait will be worth it.

My rating: 5

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USA Today bestselling author Ruthie Knox writes contemporary romance that’s sexy, witty, and angsty—sometimes all three at once. After training to be a British historian, she became an academic editor instead. Then she got really deeply into knitting, as one does, followed by motherhood and romance novel writing.

Her debut novel, Ride with Me, is probably the only existing cross-country bicycling love story. She followed it up with About Last Night, a London-set romance whose hero has the unlikely name of Neville, and then Room at the Inn, a Christmas novella—both of which were finalists for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award. Her four-book series about the Clark family of Camelot, Ohio, has won accolades for its fresh, funny portrayal of small-town Midwestern life.

Ruthie moonlights as a mother, Tweets incessantly, and bakes a mean focaccia. She’d love to hear from you, so visit her website at www.ruthieknox.com and drop her a line.

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I read, review, flail and swoon.

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