Today I'm happy to be the host for the Strangers on a Train Blog Tour. Author Ruthie Knox is visiting my blog again today to help showcase this book. Ruthie is also offering up the chance to win a digital copy of her story Big Boy to one lucky person. Welcome Ruthie!!!
Romancing the Rails
There is romance in train travel—the rhythm of a train moving over the tracks, that rocking movement, the muffled noises of the world outside. There is the deep history of steel laid over prairie grass, bridges built, towns made and destroyed. There are stories of other journeys along the tracks, both dramatic and mundane.
The other passengers carry on their secret selves, their life stories, as luggage. A woman on your commute smiles at her phone, and you wonder if she’s texting her husband. If he said something cute. A man in the seat next to you has a lap full of flowers, and you wonder who they’re for. Maybe he has a date. A daughter who needs cheering up. Maybe he’s falling in love.
Maybe that other man standing by the door, bracing his hand on the luggage rack—the handsome one with the dark hair and the shoulders that strain the back of his suit jacket—maybe he’ll speak to you. You’ll drop your notebook on your way off the train, and he’ll retrieve it, then strike up a conversation.
Maybe you’ll talk as you walk off the platform, into the station. Maybe you’ll linger outside, go for coffee, make a date.
Maybe he’ll love you.
Maybe you’ll love him back.
Train rides are excursions of limitless possibility, and this is what we celebrate in Strangers on a Train, a collection of five romantic short stories. From the wine excursion tour trains of California to a gritty Boston T stop, we imagine what might happen when two lives collide on a train car and love sparks.
My own story, Big Boy, piles on an additional layer of history (and weirdness) by taking as its setting the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where a man and a woman who met online get together one night a month after the museum goes dark to pretend to be strangers. New strangers every month. “You can be anyone you want,” he tells her. “Just stay in character.”
So our heroine curls her hair just so, finds the right dress, the right shoes, and arrives every month for her date with the past. She doesn’t know his real name, but she knows his face. She knows how he moves, the curl of his hair at the nape of his neck. She knows the stroke of his tongue into her mouth, the heat of their naked bodies gliding together in a darkened berth.
She knows how she feels when they’re together, and that she wants to feel that way more often.
But she doesn’t know—is it real, this thing they have? Or is it just an illusion midwifed into being by train wheels, shadowed corners, shared flasks and storytelling and the romance of the past? For this is the constraint of the train romance: the journey takes you somewhere, but then it ends, and then where are you? How do you find your way from there?
Do you have a favorite train romance, or even a train ride that you found fascinating or somehow transformative?
Answer in the comments for a shot at a copy of Big Boy in the digital format of your choice. (Ebooks only.) Please include your email address in your comment to be included in the drawing. The contest will be open from March 27, 2013 to April 2, 2013. I’ll forward the winner’s email to Ruthie and announce the winner here as well.
About the Stories
Strangers on a Train, available April 2, 2013, from Samhain Publishing
Big Boy by Ruthie Knox
Mandy doesn’t want romance, but monthly role-playing dates with her stranger on a train—each to a different time period—become the erotic escape she desperately needs. And a soul connection she never expected.
Tight Quarters by Samantha Hunter
Reid isn’t happy about the mix-up that saddles him with a claustrophobic roommate on his New York train tour. Then his weekend with Brenna progresses to a weekend fling, and so much more.
Ticket Home by Serena Bell
Encountering her workaholic ex on her commuter train is the surprise of Amy’s life. Especially since Jeff seems hell-bent on winning her back.
Thank You for Riding by Meg Maguire
At the end of Caitlin’s commute, her extended flirtation with a handsome stranger finds them facing a frigid winter night locked in an unheated subway station.
Back on Track by Donna Cummings
A wine tour isn’t enough to take Matt’s mind off his baseball slump—until sexy, funny Allie plops into the adjacent seat and tells him three things about herself. One of them, she says, is a lie. Then Allie lets slip one truth too many…
Ruthie Knox graduated from Grinnell College as an English and history double major and went on to earn a Ph.D. in modern British history that she’s put to remarkably little use. These days, she writes contemporary romance in which witty, down-to-earth characters find each other irresistible in their pajamas, though she freely admits this has yet to happen to her. Perhaps she needs more exciting pajamas. Ruthie moonlights as a mother, Tweets incessantly, and bakes a mean focaccia.