From the Marbles - NASCAR

Okay, everybody knows about the NASCAR Harlequin romances, right? They're kind of like Lifetime movies, except the NASCAR drivers don't steal the babies of the good and virtuous female heroines, and the NASCAR drivers don't end up shot dead in a rainstorm either.

But that doesn't mean they're not damn fine entertainment. And so we introduce an occasional series, "Love and pit stops," where we highlight a passage from one of these fine novels. Today's selection comes from "Speed Dating," by Nancy Warren. They were giving these things out for free at Daytona -- really, I swear -- and so now I bring it to you, to continue as you see fit.

Our scene begins as Kendall, a shy-but-beautiful insurance adjuster, meets her new boyfriend, NASCAR up-and-comer Dylan Hargreave. Gather your Snuggie and your Haagen-Dazs, ladies, it's time to grab yourself a big sweaty hunk'a NASCAR:

She watched Dylan run his morning practice and only bit through one fingernail.

When he pulled in, he climbed out the window, the same way he'd entered the car. She still wasn't used to cars with no doors, stick-on decals for headlights or peel-off wrap instead of windshield wipers. It was weird.

Dylan walked up to [crew chief] Mike Nugent and they talked technical, so the few words she caught made no sense. However, Mike soon had a couple of the guys on the team fiddling with the engine while Dylan got ready for qualifying.

She wasn't sure if he'd kiss her, since it was, first, a qualifier and, second, no media were near. He seemed to hesitate. She felt the eyes of the entire crew on them, and she thought that was what made him move toward her and smack her soundly on the lips. The feeling of relief from the crew was palpable. Amazing. They actually believed the flawed kiss-equals-good-luck equation.

Dylan had the fifth fastest time of the forty-three drivers who'd compete tomorrow. That put him in the front group and he seemed pretty jazzed about that ...

All right, your turn. Continue the scene here however you like. Remember, though, this isn't poor-gnaw-graphy; subtlety and doubletalk rule the day here.

And since we're getting so much entertainment from Ms. Warren's book, it's only fair that we plug the Amazon link if you wish to get a copy of your own.

Now, have at it, romantics!

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