Toeing the Line
by Allyson Lindt
Riley tends to fall hard and fast for the guys she dates, and it never ends with the wedding bells she expects. Tired of the heartbreak and unsure if she even knows what love is, she swears off unreliable things like dating and trying to find that elusive happily-ever-after spark. Focusing on her art seems like the perfect distraction, except she’s missing the physical side of being half a couple. Fortunately, her best friend, Zane, is happy to model for her drawings and tie her up in the bedroom with no expectations.
Zane’s granddad raised him with the belief that people who bring joy to the world should be protected at all costs. For Zane, his best friend Riley is one of those people, and he definitely doesn’t mind when making her happy involves helping her pursue her creative dream and some sport sex with a hint of kink. They can have fun, and he can keep her from falling for the next idiot who comes along while she searches for her Prince Charming.
Regardless of her resolution, as things heat up between them, Riley finds herself falling again. She needs to decide if she’s in love with the idea of being in love, or if—despite Zane’s insistence that she deserves someone better—what she feels for him is the real thing. If she can’t learn to trust her heart and convince Zane he’s exactly what she needs, it will obliterate a lifelong friendship.
“You didn’t answer my other question.” Zane smirked and slid from his seat. Coming around to Riley’s side of the table, he dropped to one knee next to her and took her hand in his again.
What is he doing? He’s teasing me, right? Blood rushed in her ears, making it hard to hear. They’d been catching up for all of half an hour, and he was talking about love and marriage?
“Riley Ann Carter.” He locked his gaze on hers. “We’ve known each other forever.”
Oh jeez, he is really doing this. Panic and hope churned in her gut, making her regret the extra shot of espresso.
“You’re the sexiest, most intelligent woman I’ve ever met.” He licked his lips.
Riley’s heart stopped. He’d twitched. The corner of his mouth had pulled up for the briefest moment.
He continued. “With your sister being a close second.”
Her stomach plummeted, relief and disappointment warring for attention. He was yanking her chain. Trying to distract her.
“Would you”—his serious expression faltered again—“and she make out while I watch?”
Was that really relief flooding her or just the tiniest bit of hurt and disappointment? She exhaled, pursed her lips, and then smacked him on the arm. “You’re an ass.”
Hello and welcome!
Hi Harlie – thanks so much for having me here, I love the look of the place! Thanks. Spring cleaning and all… 🙂
Welcome, Allyson! Please start off by telling us a little about yourself.
That always feels like such a loaded question, and it summons memories of sitting in an interview chair, staring down a potential employer, and thinking “Which little trinket of information is more likely to get me the job?”
Fortunately, the environment is much friendlier here ^_^ Let’s see, I’m a slave to corporate America (see above), I’m a pretty hardcore geek, and I love me some intense, explicit, and sexy romance.
Is Toeing the Line a single title, or part of a series?
It’s the third book in the four book Bits & Bytes series. There are times when I joke that I should have just named the series after the heroine, Riley, since she’s an impetus in so many of the stories.
What were your inspirations for the story?
I can’t say exactly why, but my favorite trope has always been friends to lovers. When Riley and Zane first popped into my head as characters, they didn’t know each other at all. Except they just kind of clicked as I started to figure out their story. I realized they’d probably known each other a lot longer than I’ve known them, and that was the perfect excuse to give them a history, and then bring them together in the now. Its my favorite trope, too. Love it. My husband and I are the typical friends to lovers. No kidding…it took me 4 years to figure it out. *sigh* And no, he doesn’t let me forget it either.
Please share your setting for Toeing the Line. Have you ever lived or visited there? If so, what did you like most?
Toeing the Line takes place in Salt Lake City, mostly because I do live here, so it’s an easy setting for me to write about. The coffee shop where at least a couple scenes happen doesn’t actually exist, but there’s a place around the corner from my office that served as the inspiration. I love the mountains here, and how gorgeous and temperate the entire town is in the spring and fall.
When did the writing bug first bite?
I’m not sure I remember that far back. Seriously, though, it’s been a long time. I remember writing stories when I was six, and I wrote what I thought at the time was my first novel when I was about twelve. It was really only about twenty pages long, and I entered it into a contest. It came back with judges’ feedback that said “This story reads like it was written by a child.” Which I suspect would be devastating to me to hear now, but back then I just said “Well, duh?”
Who are you favorite authors, book/series?
My standby answers are Neil Gaiman and Richelle Mead, for pretty much any of their books. But I think people are getting tired of that answer, and I promise I read other things. One of my current favorites for both contemporary romance and paranormal is Sofia Grey—she’s the reason I read shifter books (Yup, she popped my shifter cherry 😉
Do you have any hobbies or special things you like to do in your spare time?
I never really talk about this, and I’m not sure why, it’s not taboo or odd or anything, but it never comes up. I love to cook and bake. Even if there’s nothing in the cupboards, I have fun throwing together random ingredients to make an actual meal. Sweet, savory, whatever. I’ll experiment with pretty much anything in the kitchen.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve heard or seen?
Umm… tough question. I’ve seen lots of odd things in my life, but I have to wrack my brain to see if any of them fall on the “really super strange” spectrum… I mean, most of the truly odd, you can just Google or find on YouTube these days.
I’m going to go with a matter of perspective. When I was in my early twenties, I hadn’t travelled much outside the state of Utah at all. And I was just hitting a point where I got to fly places for work. After a hellish series of flight cancellations, I had a layover in the Las Vegas airport. Slot machines everywhere, entire wings that looked like shopping malls. Now, it’s not a big deal, but back then, it was the strangest, and most amazing thing I’d ever seen.
Anyway, thanks again for having me here today, you conduct a wicked fun interview, and since I like to share the spotlight, I’d like to know what the strangest thing is your readers have heard or seen?
*warning to all readers*
This isn’t your typical friends to lovers story. Oh no…Ms. Lindt took a couple of steps forward. Throw in an ex-boyfriend that is bordering on stalkerish, a perfect twin sister and her perfect boyfriend, enough snark from the heroine (Riley) and a hero (Zane) that I could eat with a spoon. Plus, there is sex outside, on a table, sexting through messaging on the computer (hawt) and eventually a bed. Oh and did I mention heavy flirting and touching between friends?
Yes, this pretty much sums up Toeing the Line. What made it different for me was the relationship and respect that Riley and Zane had for each. Best friends since high school, through college, Zane’s stint in the Air Force and Riley’s off/on relationship with Zane’s best friend Archer and feelings that they had but never admitted to each other back in high school. In fact when they both talked about that, it was the sweetest moment for me. They laid it on the line…
Again, their friendship and the way they were together made the trope work for me. Sure were there misunderstandings, crying and overall “What are we doing? Damn, I need to fix this but how?” But Ms. Lindt made me cringe, cry with them and pray that it all worked out in the end. I loved Riley and Zane in all of their craziness with each other. Payoff…watching Riley finally figuring out what love is and could be. And realizing that Zane had been there all along.
Did I mention that Zane and Scott (the perfect boyfriend of the perfect twin sister, Kenzie) had a history of sorts? You must read the book to find out what it is and the scene at the restaurant? Priceless between them, too. I wish I could talk all day long about the little nuisances, thoughts, feelings and action between Zane and Riley. I swear I could write the companion novel to their story. I was so engrossed and caught up with them that I literally read this book in one afternoon with one break. Yes, one break and then I was sad when it ended. This book has so much of my husband and I in it that it was like looking at a mirror and saying…did we really do that?
I have Archer’s book next to read and I can’t wait. He’s going to be a hard nut to crack I’m afraid but I think Tori will be up for the challenge.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Allyson Lindt is a full-time geek and a fuller-time contemporary romance author. She prefers that her geeky heroes come with the alpha expansion pack and adores a heroine who can hold her own in a boardroom. She loves a sexy happily-ever-after and helping deserving cubicle dwellers find their futures together.
Find Allyson Lindt
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/allysonlindt
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Allyson will be awarding prizes as follows:
* Grand prize at the end of the four week tour – a Kindle paperwhite to one randomly drawn winner.
* Each week, one randomly drawn commenter will win a $10 Amazon GC
a Rafflecopter giveaway Kindle giveaway only!