Love on Track, Rivals of Love Book Three –
Releases September 17, 2019
Good news for readers of the other Rivals in Love books – there is finally a wedding. In this, the third of the series, we get to know Stone as he races the Indy 500. The race events coordinator turns out to be Tara, his oldest sister’s best friend, and he sees her in a new light – but she is a distraction from the race, as are his family who’ve descended, her family with all their tensions, and his own sudden popularity. I’ve binge-read the books to date; I need more!” ~Amazon Review
Childhood history between a race car driver and an event coordinator collide at the Indy 500. He can’t be distracted by romance. And she can’t trust love will last.
Stone Crandall wants more than anything to win the Indy 500, but as the race approaches, other things begin to distract him. Not only has his family descended on Indianapolis, but a schoolboy crush in the form of his sister’s best friend appears and changes his focus. Tara Hartman grew up with the Crandall family as her safe haven from a broken family. As an adult she’s grown a successful business planning events for major corporations. Stone’s race car team hires her for the two weeks of the big race, which is a surprise to Stone.
At the start of the activities, Tara and Stone make a pact to remain single when they discover neither of them has ever fallen in love. Then when Tara’s father and stepmother invade the festivities, along with her mother, Stone provides her a strong shoulder for comfort.
When comfort turns to passion, the two are caught in an embrace by all the parents, and Stone’s concentration on winning is all but destroyed until he tells Tara she’s a distraction. He also starts to let the attention of the media expand his ego. Tara is convinced all men are attracted by shiny objects just like her father when he left her mother for another woman. Tara ends things with Stone, just as his career soars.
Once the parents and Crandall siblings see how much the two care about one another despite their stubbornness, efforts are made to show them that love is worth the risk, no matter the outcome. It’s up to Tara and Stone to figure out whether they want to take the leap and find out for themselves.
CHAPTER ONE Excerpt
Wednesday, May 15
Eleven days to the Indy 500
STONE ENDED THE CALL then threw his cell phone on the hotel bed. The pressure mounted. His family would be arriving in Indianapolis on Monday. It was his second year at the Indy 500—the first year with a solid chance at qualifying, and some even said he was in contention to win the Borg-Warner Trophy. His concentration couldn’t be on anything other than the race, but with his mother calling two or three times a day for the past week, and his sister, Jude, texting just as often, he found himself far too distracted. At least his brothers knew better than to hound him while he prepared himself physically and mentally for what lay ahead.
The qualifying trials were in three days on Saturday and Sunday.
To make matters worse, the public relations component was making demands on his time and attention. When he’d learned about the mandatory appearances at scheduled cocktail receptions each evening, he’d been slightly annoyed. But Julie, the PR rep for his Gaspar Racing team, had just informed him about a last-minute addition by some sponsor for an energy drink. The company—Fast Track based in Chicago—demanded he attend and charm the executives. Even though it was last minute, Julie had told him his presence was non-negotiable because of the Chicago connection. So much for the rock-climbing session he’d planned in a few hours.
When he entered the hospitality room for the beverage company event a few hours later, he felt like bolting right back out again. Men in suits and women in sparkly blouses with billowy skirts or silk pants stood around tall tables sipping cocktails, just as he had imagined. The chatter was still quiet. He estimated another round of drinks before the volume was raised on the laughter and small talk. Julie, the PR rep from Gaspar Racing, spotted him and made a beeline for him.
“Stone, you finally made it.” She gave his arm a squeeze. “This sponsorship is very important to Mr. Gaspar.”
“How come I’ve never heard of Fast Track Energy Drink?” he asked. “I’ve never seen any of their ads.”
“Haven’t you heard? They bought out Super Charged Liquids last month.”
Stone whistled. He’d missed that bit of information. Super Charged Liquids had been one of the biggest energy drinks in the business. They were also visual participants in the events on the IndyCar scene.
“That’s big,” he admitted. “All right. Show me around the place, so I can do the dog and pony show thing. I need my beauty sleep, you know.”
Julie gave him a big smile. “You don’t need to worry about that, but you could work on the charm a little bit more. When does your family arrive?”
“The Crandalls start descending on Indianapolis on Monday, but I’ve told them they have to fend for themselves until after the race.”
“Do you really have five siblings?” Julie asked.
“I do, and they’ll all be here along with our parents.”
“Senator Nolan Crandall. You have a famous family from your father to the one I’d most like to meet.”
“Let me guess. Diamond, right?” Diamond could be seen during prime time every weeknight, so he was a recognizable name.
“You got it,” Julie said. “I love his show.”
“Stone!” Tara Hartman descended upon them before Julie could whisk him away.
What was his oldest sister’s best friend, and an honorary member of the family, doing at the event? He hadn’t told anyone in his family his schedule for the week, and no one was even supposed to be in Indianapolis until after the qualifying trials—the most grueling but in some ways the most important part of the whole week. If he didn’t qualify during the upcoming weekend, he wouldn’t be racing in the big one—the Indy 500. He’d known Tara for as long as he could remember, since Jude and she had become best friends in kindergarten. He’d worried his mother might show up early, but instead it looked as if they’d sent Tara. His fears had been justified.
Stone gave her a peck on the cheek. “What are you doing here? Did my family send you to check up on me? I asked them to stay away until after the trials, but I guess you and Jude concocted this scheme.”
“You know Tara?” Julie asked. “And what scheme? Tara is the event planner for Fast Track. And she’s doing some work for Gaspar Racing. This gathering is her event.”
“What a lovely greeting, Stone,” Tara said. “You might have heard about my company, JH Events. Believe me, I have much more important things to do than check up on you for the family. I have a business to run. Besides, I don’t need your family to tell me how to torture you.”
“That’s for sure,” Stone said. In his outburst of anger, he’d forgotten what Tara did for a living. “So, this is one of your gigs? I should have known you’d plan something like this. It has your mark all over it, and I can’t wait to escape.”
“I’m going to ignore your snide comments because I have work to do,” Tara said. “Julie, let me know if there’s anything I can do for you and Gaspar Racing. You two enjoy yourselves while I go check on the wait staff. And I’ll catch up with you later, Stone.”
Then she was gone as quickly as she’d come. He watched her weave through the crowd. She was always dressed like she was getting ready to chair a board meeting, and this evening was no different. She wore. heels, a dark navy skirt and jacket, white blouse, and gold earrings. Her softly curled short blonde hair bounced as she strode away. His heart beat a little faster. He’d never told a soul, but as a kid, as much as she had irritated him, he had developed a crush on her. Seeing her brought back all those silly boyhood thoughts.
“How do you know Tara?” Julie asked. “And why were you so rude?”
“Tara grew up with us. She’s almost family and just as annoying. I thought she and my sister concocted a plan for her to crash the party and taunt me like they did as kids.”
“Maybe she’s grown up since then, Stone. She’s one of the most respected event planners in the business, and I couldn’t handle this week without her expertise. Several of her clients are here, so she’s doing events this week and next. And family friend or not, don’t let Mr. Gaspar catch you talking to her that way. He wouldn’t understand.”
“Don’t worry. I plan on ignoring her now that I know she’s here. Now take me around and introduce me, and I promise to make nice, if you let me off the hook by nine.”
He followed Julie dutifully around to different clumps of people while he pumped hands and talked about the Indy Circuit, the drivers, and the cars. Stone could talk cars and racing anytime. It was the phoniness of the banter that made him uneasy. He had learned to keep his answers short and to the point. If he insulted a sponsor with a careless comment, his career could be over. There existed a symbiotic relationship between sponsors and the teams, and no one—not even the best drivers in the world—was allowed to tamper with that.
Tara flitted in and out of his sight as she surveyed the room and kept a tight watch on all the proceedings. She didn’t converse with the attendees, but she always had a smile and a quick word if someone spoke to her. Her professionalism impressed him, but then, he’d never seen her at work before. Very few would even suspect she was working the event because she seemed at ease and simply friendly to all those in attendance. If he hadn’t been aware of her presence, he probably wouldn’t have noticed her, or if he had, he wouldn’t have known she was in charge. She made herself a part of the background, not the star of the event. He admired that quality in a person, but his feelings for Tara from their younger years didn’t quite jive with the woman here in front of him. His complicated emotions about Tara grew out of a contentious past.
It still rankled him when he thought about the time he’d managed to put together his first go-kart with money saved from mowing lawns and delivering papers as a kid. The two older girls had come out of the Crandall house and asked to take it for a spin. Stone had refused, and Jude had punched him in the stomach while Tara got behind the wheel and attempted to start it up. She’d never been in a go-kart before, so she failed. But the laughter from both Tara and Jude as he lay on the ground writhing in pain from Jude’s fist had haunted him for weeks. To make matters worse, Tara had gotten out of his kart and kicked one of the wheels, declaring it worthless.
He vowed then to seek revenge, but before he could manage it, Tara had changed. She’d grown into a teenager, and Stone found himself daydreaming about her soft blonde hair and stunning figure. Her body rivaled any of the teen idols of the day. His brothers taunted both Jude and Tara whenever they brought dates around to the house, but Stone managed to keep himself occupied with his race cars at those times.
After Julie gave him permission to leave the Fast Track event, Stone escaped to his room. His phone rang just as he slipped his card in the slot to open the door.
“Tara says you were rude to her tonight,” Jude said when he answered. “Can’t you just get over yourself for one moment?”
“I didn’t think I was rude. I was surprised to see her, that’s all.”
“You thought she crashed the party because we sent her. That’s pretty egocentric, little brother. Not everyone in the world spends their time trying to come up with ways to make your life miserable.”
“Does that include you?”
Before Jude could go off on one of her big sister rants, he ended the conversation with promises to meet up with her and her fiancée, Malik, once they’d arrived on Monday. The two planned to marry later in the summer, and Stone had only met him a few times. What he’d seen, he liked. Anyone who could tame the controlling Jude had to be an all right guy. To avoid further admonitions from his sister, he didn’t mention how little time he’d be able to spend with them.
Other books in the series:
Love on Trial, Rivals of Love Book One – https://amzn.to/2B2z9iz
“When two dog-lover lawyers happen to meet while walking their pets in the park then later that day have to fight each other in court, it’s the start of a compelling book. More than that, this story is about how tough adversarial personalities can soften as love grows. And in Ms. Zick’s typical way, besides delivering a great romantic tale, she also includes a whole host of themes that manage to dive straight into your heart. ~Amazon Review
Two lawyers on opposite sides of the aisle despise one another. . .at first.
When Jude Crandall fights for justice, she is a formidable opponent. Malik Moore may hate his job as an attorney for a prestigious Chicago law firm, but he stands up to the force of prosecutor Jude in the battle of opposites.
They disagree on most everything, except the love they both feel for their dogs, a Boston terrier and a Jack Russell terrier. When their mothers meddle, Jude and Malik find it impossible to avoid one another.
But his Persian heritage and her father’s political aspirations and biases throw the biggest barrier of all between them.
Their dogs, Clyde and Suzanne, show them how to love. It’s up to the two lawyers to overcome culture, religion, and their families to find happiness.
Love on Board, Rivals of Love Book Two – https://amzn.to/2vyVS0m
“This is the second of PC Zick’s Rivals in Love series, and it’s as good as the first, again integrating contemporary issues into the characters’ lives and relationships. This time it’s the next Crandall sibling’s turn, and Rock meets his match in Sabrina, who is also a pilot. One of my favorite elements of this book is the way in which both casual and overt sexism are identified and shown to be inappropriate.” ~ Amazon Review
He worries he’ll never find love. She fights to follow the career of her choosing. Flying across the Atlantic, love and careers collide.
Rock Crandall returns to the Rival in Love series as he contemplates why he can’t find a lasting relationship. Sabrina Holiday has never wanted to be anything but a pilot, but many obstacles stand in her way, including the handsome pilot who takes her for the flight attendant on his international trip to Paris. Sabrina manages to forgive Rock after a romantic dinner on the Seine, but the peace is short-lived when Rock attempts to control her career.
They share a love of old movies and flying, but Sabrina must learn to trust Rock, who struggles not to take care of Sabrina and all her needs. Turns out she can take care of herself.
Bestselling author P.C. Zick describes herself as a storyteller no matter what she writes. And she writes in a variety of genres, including romance, contemporary fiction, and creative nonfiction. She’s won various awards for her essays, columns, editorials, articles, and fiction.
The three novels in her Florida Fiction Series contain stories of Florida and its people and environment, which she credits as giving her a rich base for her storytelling. She says her, “Florida’s quirky and abundant wildlife—both human and animal—supply my fiction with tales almost too weird to be believable.”
P.C. writes both sweet and steamy romances. The sweet contemporary romances in her Smoky Mountain Romances, are set in southwest North Carolina. Another sweet romance series, Rivals in Love, contains seven stories about finding and keeping love alive. The novels follow the Crandall family of Chicago as the siblings find love despite their focus on successful careers.
Her steamy romances go from Florida to Long Island. The Behind the Love series, set in a small fictional town in Florida, feature a community of people who form bonds as they learn to overcome the challenges of their youth. Her Montauk Romances are set in and around Long Island and feature simple, yet sophisticated beach houses designed with romance in mind. The two books in this set are filled with steamy scenes as love grows and thrives.
No matter the genre of novel, they all contain elements of romance with strong female characters, handsome heroes, and descriptive settings. She believes in living lightly upon this earth with love, laughter, and passion, and through her fiction, she imparts this philosophy in an entertaining manner with an obvious love for her characters, plot, and themes.
Stay in touch with P.C. Zick by signing up for her newsletter by clicking here. She sends out the newsletter only when she has an announcement about a new release or a promotion coming up.
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