Sunday, May 5, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Everything Changes by Shey Stahl

I knew a boy once.
He was a boy that changed everything.

I didn't know Parker O’Neil outside of the occasional smile and wink. The AMA Supercross racer came to our small town one winter, and I had no idea what he was capable of. How could I have known that he would change my life forever that summer? Eventually, the occasional smile became a smile I grew to love and longed to see. The occasional wink became a gesture that made my soul sway and my heart ache. In the canyons of the desert, he showed me his lifestyle and his love.

What I didn't see was the control he had over me. It was a power the glitz and glamour of his professional lifestyle had and eventually what tore apart any life I thought I knew. In his world of banging bars and soaring jumps, there was no room for someone like me. But for five years, every time he called or touched me, everything changed again. It was a touch that could heal anything and a smile that could light even the darkest nights.

I am standing in the underbelly of Reliant Stadium in my hometown of Houston, TX. It’s a practice day before the Championships tomorrow night and you can feel the excitement in the air. Leaning against the wall waiting for Parker O’Neil to show up for our interview, I take in the sounds and smells of Supercross. I can see why people say it’s addictive. I’m new to Supercross/Motorcross and  hope that I don’t come off sounding too stupid while talking to Parker. 

As I look up, I see Parker come around the corner down the long corridor. It’s not hard to miss him. His signature brown mop of hair and piercing blue eyes. He is walking hand and hand with his wife, Rowan and his adorable twins are talking headily behind their parents – looks like they are arguing about something.  

As I walk towards them, Rowan catches a glimpse of me as she lets go of Parker’s hand and moves towards me with an extended hand. “Becca, we are so glad you could make it down here today!” Rowan and I have chatted on FB and she is a fan of my page, so she knows a little about me. As Parker walks up to us with that heart melting smirk, I extend my hand “Thank you Parker for agreeing to talk with me. I promise not to make it too painful.”  “When Ro told me you wanted to interview me, I was taken aback a little.” he says with a small laugh. “Well there has been a book written about you and Rowan’s love story and I thought it would be nice to talk about it from a man’s point of view.” He nods and leans down to give Ro, as Parker called her, a small kiss. “We can head in here to get a little privacy”. “You’re not coming in Rowan?” I ask. “No, I have some mini-war to rule over. I will catch up with you later.” Winking at me, as she walks away with the kids.

Parker, a true gentleman, gets a drink for me and we settle in to talk about the new autobiography – Everything Changes.

Ok so some technical stuff out of the way. What is the difference between Supercross and Motorcross?

Supercross is technical jumps and turns and whoops. You wanna be smooth and consistent. Motocross is a beast. It's wide open, high speeds laying' on the pipe, grueling hills, off camber turns and ruts with holders in them. Motocross is also done on Sundays and the race format is considerably different.

You have an awesome career and it started so young. But by the time 2001 had rolled across you had 4 back to back Supercross Championships, 3 back to back Outdoor Motorcross Championships, a gold medal from the X-Games plus an Australian Supercross Championship. But then there was the accident. Did you ever think that you would make it back into the sport after that fall?

If you would have told me after the accident that I would have eventually throw a leg over a bike again, I would have laughed at you with a few choice phrases. It wasn't advised for me and though I understood, I wasn't accepting it. I had to come back and my family understood that.

What do you think helped you succeed in coming back to win another Championship(s)?

I think it was Rowan. She's been there all along. Since I told her I wanted to come back and race, she's given me nothing but support.

Do you see a future for Jensen in Moto? He is about the same age as you were when you raced your first race at Perris Raceway.  I noticed he looked just like a miniature version of you (wink). 

(Laughs) yeah, Jensen is anxious to get out there. He's tellin' all his buddies he's racin' soon. And that's cool if he wants to. It's not something when i'll ever tell him he can't and I will give him the advice he needs.

You and Rowan have an amazing love story. It took a while for both of you to come around, to see the big picture. What do you think you learned the most out of those trying times?

I think what we learned the most was that shit changes and sometimes instantly. After Anaheim, and Ro leaving me, it was for good. I know it was. I probably would have went on with my career because she wasn't the only that was scared of what we had. I was too. And then the accident happened. I honestly think that was life's way of making me slow down and see our situation and my career for what it was. Easily taking away if you're not careful. So I fought for her. And I fought hard to come back.

If you could give advice to any budding super stars in the Motor world. What would it be?

Be thankful for what you have.and.know that your career is what you make it. Be the best you can be because you never know when your time is up on the podium.

Where do you see you and your family in 5 years? (As I ask the question, Rowan  walks back into the room and comes to sit next to Parker)

I see myself racing still. Maybe not in supercross but I've been doing a lot of enduro riding and I really enjoy that. One of my buddies did The Last Man Standing and I'd like to do races like that.  I enjoy that style because it tests your body, mind and sanity just to finish. It's something I've always wanted to try. I see myself in the sport for another few years but motocross is hard on your body. (He gestures to his knee and the brace on it.)

Rowan, one question for you. What was the last book you read that you just couldn’t put down?

Oh, um, the last book I read was about a submissive guy and a girl. (Parker gives her a grin knowing what book it was).

Thank you both for taking a little bit of time to talk today. Hopefully that wasn’t too bad was it Parker?

Nah, it.wasn't to bad.

Oh and thanks for the tickets for tomorrow night. My son is so excited. Can’t wait to see Parker O’Neil in action!

First off let me just say that Shey Stahl...OMG...I adore her and her novels! I will drop just about anything to pick up one of her new books. For me, she is one of those authors I crave more from. And I was not disappointed with Everything Changes. 

"When the ground shifts beneath you and everything you thought you once knew changes, can you handle it or do you collapse?" ~ Rowan Jensen

Rowan Jensen was working for her dad. Things were good. She had her best friend. Life was good. Rowan wasn't prepared for him to walk into her life. But he changed everything. 

Parker O'Neil. Shy. Loner. Sexy. Skilled. Sigh. I loved Parker from the moment he appeared on the page. He was mysterious. He was broody, didn't talk much, had this smirk and this look. What was his deal?  

Parker and his brother Justin, are hired on as mechanics at Rowan's dad's shop. Rowan (Ro) and her best friend Addy worked at the auto shop/coffee house. Parker is a Super/Motorcross Racer. But he lost his sponsorship last year and so he finds himself taking a break with his brother in the Northwest. Although Parker doesn't talk much, Ro notices him and he notices her. But it's not until Addy decides that the two of them should go with Parker and Justin to Utah for a couple of weeks during the Summer that things change. Parker and Ro connect. They can't get enough of each other. But then things change once again. And so it goes. For not one, not two but 5 long years. Both are afraid. Afraid of hurting each other, of holding each other back. But the journey that they make changes it all. And it proves that love can conquer all and that love is worth fighting for. 

I loved Ro and Parker's story. It is full of fun, love, angst, sadness and joy. I give this 5 HUGE stars and I can't wait to hear more from Ms. Stahl!

 Shey Stahl is a romance writer who enjoys writing about racing and a good love story that will sweep you off your laughing ass. Growing up she was surrounded by racing watching her dad at the local Northwest tracks.

Writing wasn't something she thought she would ever do but when a rough pregnancy landed her on bed rest three years ago, a passion was discovered. Now, aside from chasing around her little princess with magical powers, it's rare for her to put down the pen.

Currently Shey is finishing up her series, Racing on the Edge, that follows a dirt track racer on his rapid rise to the glitz and glamour of NASCAR and the family who supports him.


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