Sara Butler Zalesky
Publication date: July 4th 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance, Sports, Suspense
Known as the Ice Queen of the peloton, pro cyclist Loren Mackenzie rarely shows emotion in the heat of competition; she leads her team with quiet strength and determination. But her successes have not come without suffering, and her tragic past is hidden inside tarnished armor.
While out on a training ride with her cycling team near Enfield, England, a chance meeting quickly develops into an unexpected whirlwind romance. But a relationship with an A-list celebrity brings with it the microscope of tabloid-media attention, which expose jealousy and rivalry that threaten to undermine Loren’s leadership of her team.
The new romance also reveals a dangerous obsession, culminating in a terrifying confrontation with someone from Loren’s past. Her injuries not only put her chances at the World Championship in jeopardy but also bring forth memories of a life she had long buried – for good reason.
Can Loren open her heart to the love she has held at a distance, or will her fear ultimately defeat her?
The follow up novel in the Wheeler series is coming soon.
Sara was born in the wee hours of a November night in New York City. When her family moved to a small borough in northwestern New Jersey, she had little choice but to move as well. Self-sufficiency is a tough thing for a toddler.
The dichotomy of being the middle child of three, but the only girl, was difficult, as typically no one really pays attention to a middle child. Mostly, Sara spent her time creating fanciful stories in her head when she should have been focused on other things, an issue that continues to this day.
Most of these stories have never been shared, let alone completed. This all changed in the spring of 2015, when Sara was encouraged by a friend to expand upon a short story she had accidentally emailed to him. The result is ‘Wheeler’, a romantic, women’s fiction/sport novel, which combines the author’s romantic inclinations and her passion for cycling.
Sara currently resides in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA, with her loving husband and their son. She is a paralegal for a boutique law firm in Chester County, Pa, an avid road cyclist and indoor cycling instructor at a national chain.
Follow the author’s blog at sarabutlerzalesky.wordpress.com or on Twitter @sarazalesky. She does a little dance every time someone ‘follows’ her on Twitter. Really.
Why is there so much Shakespeare?
As was pointed out in a recent review of Wheeler, there’s a lot of Shakespeare in the story. Graham Atherton was inspired by a mix of personages that are all classically trained actors of a particular ‘type.’ When I close my eyes, I can hear his voice disturbingly clear, and that voice speaks fluent Shakespeare. Thing is, it fits his personality.
Can you imagine Aaron Eckhart spouting Shakespeare? Nope. But you sure can Colin Firth. Definitely James McAvoy. And so, it is how my Muse speaks.
I’ve read every single word The Bard has written. In the original English and Modern English thanks to SparkNotes’ No Fear Shakespeare and the Complete Works compiled by Jeremy Hylton, an alum at MIT.
Seriously. I dug deep.
There’s the familiar:
‘This above all: to thine own self be true’ from Hamlet
’But soft, what light through yonder window breaks‘ from Romeo & Juliet
The obscure stuff:
‘Beshrew your eyes, they have o’erlooked me and divided me‘ from The Merchant of Venice
‘I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle‘ in Henry V
’One fire burns out another’s burning. One pain is lessen’d by another’s anguish’ from Romeo & Juliet.
In the story, since Loren and Graham spend a good amount of time apart, often with a 9 hour time difference (he’s in Cali, she’s in Europe) and there are a lot of late night emails. Now, you know what happens when you’re in love, it’s late and the object of your desire is out of reach. You ruminate. You reveal things about yourself you might never say in person. Such is the way with our modern society.
I am not a poet. My brain doesn’t work that way, or so I thought. Enter Pinterest and it’s many wonderfully amazing beautiful poets. Then this happened.
I struggle with the contradiction of wanting you to see me, to love me, yet I am paralyzed by the fear that you will look at the destruction and turn away.
But you already know the darkness that hides in the corners of my soul.
You have seen the wasteland of my spirit.
You have touched the broken pieces of my heart with your gentle hands.
In spite of all that you have seen in me,
you have uncovered the still burning embers of my heart.
You have breathed upon them, tended to the spark and turned it
into an inferno that consumes me.
You, bright Apollo, have melted my heart of ice, and have set me ablaze.
See, Loren’s known as The Ice Queen in the peloton and Graham was Apollo in his last movie. Granted, this email from Loren didn’t make the final cuts.
Every day we spend apart is a day I do not feel the sun on my face.
Hearing your voice and seeing your smile is as a balm to the ache.
Knowing I will soon hold you in my arms, feel your soft skin under my hands,
Your tender lips against mine, steels me from the longing of my soul.
AND THIS?! (Sonnet 28 – Who reads ALL the sonnets anyway? Oh wait, I did.)
Mon étoile brillante :
‘But day doth daily draw my sorrows longer, and night doth nightly make grief’s length seem stronger.’
If it were really possible to bend time and space, I would risk all to be near you tonight. I hold you close in my mind, and I see your smile in my dreams.
They have this thing about Cleveland – it’s hard to explain unless you read the book, which by golly you can get here!
As you read Wheeler, your mind might conjure up a tall, svelte, aristocratic Englishman, with dark, purposely tousled hair and painfully blue eyes. But Graham is also nowhere near perfect. He has ugly feet. His eyebrows are lopsided. He can be selfish and insensitive. When wounded, he lets his anger fester until it blows up in everyone’s face. He is the ultimate White Knight. He will avoid his own problems in order to save those around him.
In his world, relationships are intense and short-lived. During film shoots, especially dramas, the actors are steeped in heavy emotions and become close quickly. It’s why a lot of relationships develop between co-stars, but it’s also why these relationships break up in just a few months. Real Life is not exciting and it takes both people to be all in to make a relationship work.
Graham is isolated even though he’s often surrounded by people. While he might not admit it to himself, he’s lonely and when he feels a connection with Loren and sees it reflected back, he’s like a Golden Retriever: he’s all over the place excited. Like his past relationships, his desire to love and be loved sometimes blinds him to the real person with whom he’s infatuated. Without something else to focus on, his world becomes Loren – or his perception of her.
Loren also has an intense personality, as well as being isolated, but for completely different reasons. She is focused on rising to the challenge of leading her team and her relationships with her teammates are close. They have to trust each other and put aside their personal desires to work together to win. If they don’t, the team falls apart.
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