Traveling companions. That’s how it began. She was a widow, alone after a long and happy marriage, struggling to rebuild around the hole in the center of her life. He was at loose ends after retiring from a successful business and a string of unsuccessful marriages. All they had in common were empty days to fill and an urge to tour the open road, but as they travel side-by-side, their feelings grow. Serendipity brought them together, but every journey has to end. What happens when they reach the end of the road?
Find out more about our hero, Ben.
Charm. Some people are born with it. You know the type. In high school, teachers always let him get away with turning assignments in after the due date. He never gets a speeding ticket, just a warning. Nobody complains when he’s late; they’re just happy he’s there. A few rules get bent or broken here and there, but nobody really minds, because he’s just so darn likeable. The trouble with charmers is that it’s too easy for them to drift through life, taking the easy route, and never getting anywhere.
Ben was a natural charmer, sincerely interested in people, and who could resist someone who wanted to know all about them? Fortunately, he grew up on a ranch with a mother who brooked no nonsense. She instilled in him a strong work ethic, and he and his brother founded a business that brought prosperity for the whole family. An incident when he was a young man gave him something to prove, and a workaholic was born. However, this work ethic never applied to Ben’s love life.
Ben always had a weakness for beautiful women. Every time there was a lull in Ben’s business, he would look around and some gorgeous creature would catch his eye. Turning on the charm, he would sweep her off her feet, marry her, and then go back to work. The high-maintenance women he tended to favor didn’t appreciate the neglect, and another marriage would bite the dust.
After selling the business for a huge profit, early retirement found Ben fit, healthy, rich, and lonely. He was intelligent enough to know that his loneliness was his own fault, but he wasn’t sure what to do about it. Now that he had time on his hands, he found that a pretty face was no longer enough. He wanted a real wife, a true partner, and he had no idea how to find her.
He decided to fill the time traveling. The nostalgia of a trip along the old Route 66 appealed to the romantic in him. He enjoyed the trip, taking his time to explore the sites, meet the local people, stay in historic places, but he was still alone. That all changed when he dropped in on his favorite ex-wife. She had a friend there, quite an ordinary-looking woman, and yet there was something about her …
Ben, the charmer, was charmed. Marsha was funny, intelligent, and enthusiastic. The lure of the road ran just as strong in her as it did in him, but she was fragile. She had been shattered when she lost her beloved husband and was just starting to put the pieces of her life back together. Ben couldn’t let himself put her emotions at risk. He held back, afraid of hurting her, afraid of hurting himself.
Still, he couldn’t resist inviting her along on his road trip, just as a travelling companion, “no funny business.” She agreed, and the journey began for this unlikely couple. Recalculating Route is their story.
Author Beth Carpenter is going to be giving a gift pack highlighting the various places her characters traveled.
**Giveaway limited to mailing addresses in the 50 United States. Must be 18 years or older to enter.** Entries accepted from 9/26/13, 12:am through 10/13/13, 12:am. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Prize worth $50. Winner will be chosen at random and notified by email. If winner does not respond within 7 days, the prize if forfeited and another random winner will be chosen. Contact information will only be used to contact the winner and will not be shared.
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I recently discovered Beth Carpenter’s Recalculating Route and Detour on Route 66. This is a tender love story between a vulnerable widow and a lonely retiree. There are two very unusual things about this tale. First, that the characters are retirement age and are portrayed as vital, interesting people. Second, the relationship evolves naturally, as it should.
The unexpected friendship draws Marsha out of her self-imposed isolation after the death of her husband. Their relationship and attraction builds as they tour Route 66 together. Research is evident by the involved descriptions of their various stops. The author even goes as far as detailing shopping in Nordstrom’s Rack and the intricacies of cooking on the road. For a credibility constable, her efforts are greatly appreciated.
As a reader, I was on guard against the wealthy love’em and leave’em Ben, but subtle acts reveal his true character. Marsha proves herself ready to explore life with Ben by her side. With a woman closer to his own age, Ben experiences what it is to be liked for who is as opposed to his net worth.
All I could think when I read Ms. Carpenter’s gentle romance is how much I wished I had written it. Two thumbs to Ms. Carpenter for giving the over thirty set a second chance at love. This is book to be savored and considered long after reading it.
Beth believes that romance has no expiration date, and people of all ages deserve their chance at happily ever after. She loves to hear from readers. Drop by her blog at http://www.bethcarpenterbooks.blogspot.com/ to leave a comment, or click on the “About Beth” tab to email her.
Recalculating Route is available at these fine booksellers.
Amazon link: http://amzn.com/B00F4KL1WM
Barnes & Noble link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/recalculating-route-beth-carpenter/1116892125?ean=2940148565888
iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/recalculating-route-choices/id685079206?mt=11