Title: Alaska or Bust
Author: Rhonda James
Cover Designer: Taylor James
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Tucker Winslow was twenty-four, and the only son of a 4-Star Navy Admiral. His Father always expected that Tucker would follow in his footsteps, but he had other plans. He had his sights set on moving to Alaska and following his lifelong dream of fishing for king crab on the Bering Sea. He was charming, witty, and his Mom was always his best friend. Then she became ill, and his whole world was turned upside down. They spent her last month’s laughing, and singing the wrong lyrics to 80's music, just like they'd always done.
Gracie Madison married the man of her dreams when she was only twenty-two. Now, thirteen years later, she was a widow, trying to figure out how to get by without her best friend. She loves 80's music, driving with the top down, and snacking on greasy food. Her sister's family lives in Seattle, and they've finally persuaded Gracie to throw caution to the wind and leave Boston behind.
Both hop in their cars and head for the Northwest Territory. But, when Tucker's car breaks down he is forced to hitch-hike the rest of the way. When these two meet, the bond is instantaneous. Their losses connect them in a way that's impossible to ignore, and they form a friendship that helps soothe wounds that go far too deep to heal. They laugh, they cry, they blast 80's music and sing off-key, and they stop at every tourist trap they can find along the way. Then, as it always does, one night their laughter turns to lust and they both give in, knowing it will change everything they've come to rely on.
Losing someone you know and love can be the hardest thing in the world. So why does losing someone you've just met, yet have come to depend on, hurt twice as much?
Join Tucker and Gracie as they embark upon the adventure of a lifetime, and end up on a journey toward finding happiness in a world that was once filled with pain.
“How did you know this song always makes me happy?” She turned to me and flashed the most breathtaking smile I’d seen her produce. She really was quite striking. There was something about her eyes that always seemed to lure me in. There was an innocence to her, yet I could tell there was a wildcat lurking just beneath the surface. Since we were going to be together for the next week, I was going to make it my mission to bring that cat out of hiding. Yep, by the time we reached Seattle, I had every intention of showing Gracie Madison just how much fun it could be to cut loose and remember how to have fun. Hell, God knows we both could use a little taste of it.
“No one can resist Rebel Yell. Remember the video?” I did my best Billy Idol impression, complete with lip curl and growl, and that made her laugh. She had a beautiful rich laugh. I vowed then and there to make her laugh more often. After all, this trip was about chasing our dreams and finding our happy place. Right now listening to her laugh as she sang along with Billy, I felt pretty damn happy.
“More, more, more. Owwww!” Her little fist pumped into the air as if to punctuate each word.
“You ever call that out? During sex, I mean.” I asked casually, not expecting her to answer, but still hoping to make her blush. I’ll admit I was surprised when, rather than getting all flustered like she usually did, she actually answered.
“You mean beg for more?” She stole a quick glance in my direction and I gave a single nod. “Oh yeah,” her voice went really husky, and I could tell she was playing along, “all the time.” She flashed me a sexy wink, then threw my question right back at me. “What about you, stud? You ever beg the girls for more?”
“Only when they’re doin’ it right, sweetheart.” I chuckled softly, enjoying the fact that I could still make out the flush on her cheeks, despite it being dark outside. My eye caught the sight of flashing blue and red lights in my side mirror. I twisted in my seat, seeing that the cop was not far behind us, then cast my eyes toward the speedometer. Fifteen over. Shit. This did not look good. “Um, Gracie, you planning on stopping anytime soon?”
Gracie & Tucker Interview
Hello Everyone!! I’m Melissa with Alpha Book Club and I’m here today to interview the amazing Gracie and Tucker from Alaska Or Bust!! I’m so excited to dig deep into their brains and really get the answers we’ve all be wanting to know. So hang on and let’s go!
What's your favorite thing about Gracie??
No brainer - It's gotta be her killer smile. Have you seen it?
I have and it is breathtaking!! I can see why you fell in love with her. (I won’t lie, Tucker does make me blush like a 2nd grade girl!! He’s gorgeous)
What would your mom love about Gracie??
(I give him a look) Really?
What? You want me to narrow it down to just one?
Well, then I guess it would be her love of 80's music. I always thought my Mom's love for the stuff ran deep, but Gracie could have given her a run for her money.
There’s really nothing better than 80’s music. So I have to agree with your mom and Gracie there!!
(He winks at me, I think I just melted!!! Swoon!)
How has being a dad changed your life?
I think it's given me a deeper appreciation for my parents, especially my Dad. My Mom always had what I would now call an "in your face" method to parenting. She was always there and she always had a kind word to offer. But my Dad, he was the silent one in the background. His words weren't always what I wanted to hear, but they were what I probably needed to hear. And he was always there for me, even when he was absent. I never understood that until I had kids of my own.
That’s really beautiful Tucker!! I agree, you never really understand until you have kids of your own!
What was your favorite memory of your road trip?? (Besides the obvious)
Sex in Seattle. Ow! Why'd you just hit me? (rubs the back of his head).
(I can’t help but chuckle, I sort of set him up for that answer….oops)
Geez, babe, you can't just blurt that out. She said 'besides the obvious'. There have to be other moments that stick out in your memory. (Gracie quietly admonishes him)
Fine. I have a lot to choose from. Hmm… Let me think…
Oh, yeah. Spud's Drive-In because we joked about my big and juicy wiener, and it was where I kissed her for the first time, with my lips AND my tongue. It was pretty amazing.
I have to admit, I think Spud’s was my favorite part as well!! And well, the wiener banter was hilarious!!! I still laugh when I think about it!!
What song reminds you of Gracie the minute you hear it??
That would have to be Rebel Yell by Billy Idol. Yeah, most people would automatically think of the Toni Basil song, because of our wedding, but Billy is where it's at. It was the first time she showed me her wild side, and I loved it.
Billy is definitely where it’s at!!! I will agree to that!! But I may be biased since I’m a huge fan and all!! Can you do the lip curl for me?? (I almost fall over when Tucker obliges and does the Billy Idol lip curl for me)
If you could change anything about your trip what would it be?
Whoa, that's a tough one. I loved our trip, and I wouldn't change a thing about where we stopped, or what we did. I guess if there was one thing I sometimes wish could have been different it would have to be that I told her I was going to Alaska. You know, I used to think that if my sign had said Seattle or Bust she never would have left me, and I wouldn't have missed a whole year of holding her in my arms and telling her that she's the only thing I ever needed. But, I can't change the past, and I have some pretty awesome memories of my time in Alaska, so I guess that things happened for a reason.
I just make sure to hold her extra tight now, because there's no way in hell I'm ever letting her go again.
I don’t blame you she’s quite a catch!!! You got lucky with her!!
Are you and Gracie planning on more kids??
I don't know, we have sex an awful lot, and we already know my guys can swim up that stream. Ow! Stop hitting me! (rubs his head again)
I'd love to have more kids, but Gracie says her eggs are getting too old. (he laughs wickedly, ducking this time to dodge her swinging hand)
You two are so damn cute!!! I just can’t get over how perfect you both are together!! Okay that’s all my questions for you (for now) Tucker!! You’re not off the hook yet!! Ha!
Now on to Gracie! I have so many questions for you and your trip! And I’m so happy to finally meet you, I feel like I know you already after reading your story!!!
What's your favorite thing about Tucker??
Well, seeing as how he's being a poop-head right now that's a hard one.
What? You are being a bit of an ass.
(she looks over and he gives her a playful wink, eliciting the million dollar smile he was referring to earlier, and now I understand)
There are many things about Tucker that made me fall in love with him, but one of my favorites would have to be the tender way he treats me. From the moment we met he just had this way about him that screamed "good guy." You know? When he looked at me, it was almost as if he could see right through me, and then he would hold me as if he were trying to heal all of my scars.
I think I knew that he loved me long before he ever figured it out, and the funny thing was that I now know that I loved him too. It was kind of like that insta-love, but the fog of our lives hadn't cleared enough for us to figure it out.
Tucker definitely gives off that good guy vibe!! And nowadays that’s a rarity!! Good find you got there Gracie!! I know a lot of girls would love to have what you have!!
What would Matthew love about Tucker?
Matthew Madison was someone special. He was my first love. Tucker's okay with that. He knows that he is my forever love.
It was always important to Matthew that I was happy. In fact, he would go out of his way to put a smile on my face. Tucker is that same way. He would go to the ends of the earth to make me smile, anything to make me laugh. He used to call it his mission. Now he just calls it his normal.
When I lost Matthew it felt as though my entire world was tipped on its axis, and no matter how much time had passed I still felt this hollow feeling inside of me, and it chilled me to the bone. That first night we met, when I had that breakdown on the side of the road, Tucker held me in his arms and the cold just sort of disappeared.
Matthew would love that Tucker is taking care of me, picking up where he left off.
Oh my gosh that’s so beautiful!!! (grabs tissue to dab my eyes) It’s almost as if Matthew picked Tucker for you, at least that’s the way I see it!! And he did a great job picking, if you ask me! Which brings me to my next question……
Do you believe Matthew sent Tucker to you?
Without a doubt. That's part of the reason it was so easy to fall in love with Tucker. The guilt I felt was of my own making. Matthew and Lana both had their hands in getting us together, and once we both accepted that the rest was easy.
How has your life changed since you've become a mom?
Ohmygosh, it's like nothing I could have ever planned for. You spend your entire life looking out for yourself, then all of a sudden your needs seem as insignificant as dandelion weeds that fly through the air.
Finding out that I was pregnant was pretty scary, knowing that I was going to go it alone, but I loved every minute of my pregnancy. Seeing her face after she was born, it took my breath away. Having Tucker by my side when I was pregnant, and giving birth, to J.T. was something I will treasure always.
But holding our kids, watching them grow up, and teaching them about joy and love, it's the best feeling in the world.
Being a mother myself, I couldn’t agree with you more!!! It changes everything!!
What is your favorite memory of your road trip with Tucker?
Like Tucker, I have so many…
I can't choose just one, so I won't.
Hey! No fair. Why does she get to cheat? (Tucker straddles the chair Gracie is sitting in and covers her mouth, trying to prevent her from speaking - but it's no use because she always gets what she wants and he loves her)
Singing together in the car
Tucker teaching me how to shoot a gun
The Giant Ball of Twine in Cawker City
Why Cawker City? (Tucker interrupts. He drops his hand and gives her a look)
Because, that's where you dry humped me, and got me all hot and bothered for you. And you've been doing it ever since.
Aww, thanks Oakley. I feel the same way about you too. (mushy kissing starts up)
I swear you both are so adorable!!! I hate to interrupt the kissing but I have more questions
What song reminds you of Tucker the minute you hear it?
Heaven by Bryan Adams. Something about the lyrics to that song just scream Tucker Winslow.
Oh my gosh, that is my favorite Bryan Adams song!! This is scary……we have way to much in common!!! (laughs) The lyrics are pretty perfect and I can see how it screams Tucker Winslow!!
Would you change anything about your trip?
Hmm… Two things come to mind.
I really think we should have backtracked to Dorothy's House of Oz while we were in Kansas. I’m dying to see those flying monkeys.
Aww, baby, I've got your flying monkey right here. (he gives her another jaunty wink. He’s so cute…..I can really understand why she fell in love with Tucker!)
Tucker! Stop it! Sorry…
(Laughs) No it’s fine……I’m enjoying this banter between you two!
But the part I really wish I could change would have been when I told him to stop at the drive-in. Because my telling him no led us to that ridiculous dinner date in Couer d'Alene, and ultimately my walking out of that hotel room without saying goodbye.
I’m a firm believer in everything happens for a reason!! So there was a reason that all happened and look you and Tucker still found your way back to each other!!
It's okay, Oakley, it all worked out.
(he gives her a squeeze while placing a soft kiss on her temple. It's clear these two are very much in love and happy).
Are you planning on having more kids??
You heard the man earlier, I think I'm ready to kick back and enjoy what I have right now. But let's just say that if one of his boys did break through to the other side I wouldn't be disappointed. The more the merrier, right?
I would agree but I have three……and I love them to pieces, but they are a handful at times!! Thank you for your time Gracie, now if you don’t mind I have questions for the both of you and then I’ll let you guys get back to your babies! Ha
Out of all the states you visited which one was your favorite??
Gracie: Definitely Arkansas
I love that you both loved Arkansas. (They both look at each other smiling)
Which stop was your favorite?? You can only pick one!
Tucker: Diamond John's
Gracie: Ball of Twine
Have you sat and watched The Longest Ride, since that night at the drive in??
Tucker: Yep, only this time I got to put my arm around her shoulder and we made up our own love scenes (waggles eyebrows)
Gracie: Yeah, what he said (giggles uncontrollably)
That’s great!! (laughing)
If you could have a date night anywhere (without kids) where would you two go and do?
Tucker: I'd take her out to a club in Downtown Seattle. I hear they have an awesome 80's night.
Gracie: I think I'd enjoy a quiet dinner at home, followed by a hot bath and a relaxing night in bed.
Tucker: Can I change my answer? What she said.
Nope your answer stands Tucker!!! I think those are both great dates and ones you should both definitely try to set up for each other!!!
Are we done here? Come on, Gracie, your sister still has the kids for another two hours and I'm suddenly in the mood to take a bath…
Yeah we are done. Thanks again Tucker and Gracie for the fun and dare I say unpredictable interview!! You’ve definitely answered all my questions and then some! Enjoy that bath!!!
Gracie & Tucker’s
Rhonda James is an Amazon best-selling romance author who strives to create a book boyfriend for all her readers. Rhonda is married and lives in Michigan with her family. In her spare time you can find her talking to readers, cooking some new creation in her kitchen, or just spending time with her family.
Some of her guilty pleasures are mastering such things as Twitter and indulging in chocolate, she may do one more than the other.
Come find her on her social networks and don’t be afraid to say Hi!
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