Iris Fleming has had the trip from hell. Not only did her flight to Atlanta resemble a disaster movie, but her audition for a career-changing TV role turned into a wrestling match with a handsy, entitled director. Frustrated and disillusioned, she flees the city hub and seeks sanctuary at the Hideaway Haven, a small, family-owned hotel off the beaten track.
Taylor Finn has one great love: cars. Biding her time, she works as a limo driver shuttling Atlanta’s spoiled playboys from club to club. It pays the bills while she saves money to make her way to California to become a stunt driver. After she punches a drunk for forcing himself on his date in the back of her limo, she finds herself without a job and retreats to her parents’ hotel where she currently has her own cabin.
Iris and Finn meet under less than perfect circumstances, striking up a tentative friendship after Finn dispatches a bear rooting around Iris’s cabin and they start spending time together. With an expired driver’s licence, Iris can’t get back on a plane to return to Los Angeles and Finn realizes that perhaps they can help each other out. Finn can drive Iris home while making her own way to a stunt driving school in LA that she’s had her eye on.
Making their escape from Atlanta, the two women set off on a road trip full of unexpected adventures both on the highways and in the motel rooms. Will these two women from very different backgrounds find love along the journey?
Victoria: I like’em! Iris and Finn immediately made themselves comfy in my imagination, and I was happy to have them there.
I enjoy celebrity romances, and I think Chasing Sunset is original because Iris is barely a B-level Hollywood star. Having just turned thirty, she’s beginning to question the viability of a successful career in film and television. She’s at her lowest when she’s thrust into Finn’s life. Perhaps this is why she’s willing to let things naturally evolve with Finn. I most certainly think it’s why she has no qualms about getting intimate with her sexy driving companion. Of course, her head never quite stops throwing negative self-talk at her, which ends up being one of the reasons why she and Finn part ways.
Finn is such a sweetheart. Vaun writes the most appealing butches, and Finn is no exception. She’s gallant and sexy, but the way she falls for Iris is sweet as can be. There is something slightly naïve about her, and that’s not a criticism. She has big dreams but something is holding her back. This is a great dichotomy. She plays it cool like nothing affects her, but inside she’s frightened of leaving her comfortable world. Iris is the catalyst that finally gets Finn to pursue her dream. Finn’s got her own insecurities to work through. Most prominent is her fear that she won’t fit in with Iris’s friends and lifestyle. So, it’s no wonder she bolts as soon as she perceives she’s got a reason.
Tara: I totally agree with all of the above. Additionally, I was so glad to see how Iris’s bisexuality is handled. It’s real and Finn’s insecurity about Iris’s ex-boyfriend is understandable, but there’s never any whiff of her sexuality being a bad thing. As a bi woman and lesfic reader, this makes my heart very, very happy.
I also thought it was interesting how they’re both on similar paths to figuring out what they want to do with their lives, so that they’re each evaluating their priorities and what their futures might look like. I may not agree with how they handle everything, but I’m very happy with where they end up.
The Writing Style
Victoria: Missouri Vaun makes it look like writing is a breeze. (Don’t worry. I know it isn’t.) Her books flow from page to page with grace and charm, and I found minutes disappear into hours while I was reading. Chasing Sunset is a character-driven story, and I felt like I got to see into Iris and Finn’s minds, learning what makes them tick.
I loved how Vaun turns the environment into a third character in this book. Iris and Finn begin getting to know each other in the sleepy town that Finn calls home. In the lush foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, life moves at an easy, slow pace. As Iris and Finn drive west, the temperatures rise reflecting the building passion between the two of them.
Tara: I hadn’t even considered how the setting is a character and how it reflects the nature of their relationship, but you’re SO right and I’m glad you called it out!
Chasing Sunset is a sweet, fun read. I found it very easy to sink into and it makes me want to go on a road trip of my own, stopping at diners for pie and fried chicken sandwiches along the way.
Tara: Keira Grace is a new narrator to me and I thought her performance was okay. I didn’t love it or hate it, and I did listen all the way through the audiobook even though I’d already read it on my Kindle. She did a great job of differentiating Finn and Iris, which is the strongest part of the narration.
Honestly, I’ve spent some time considering my lukewarm reaction and I think I’ve just grown accustomed to how amazing some of the other narrators Bold Strokes Books contracts like Lori Prince, Brittni Pope, and Melissa Sternenberg. They’re not just reading or narrating, they’re full-on acting, which pushes it to the next level and takes a great book to an amazing experience (Want examples? Check out Falling by Kris Bryant or Party of Three by Sandy Lowe in audio to see what I mean).
Chasing Sunset is still a great book and it’s totally fine to listen to the audio, especially if that’s your chosen format. Just expect the narration to be more in line with what you’d get from Hollis Elizabeth than Lori Prince.
Victoria: There’s a nice amount of humor in this story, and it keeps the angst from gaining too much momentum. The running Doritos references made me smile and they made for a perfect reconciliation gesture on Finn’s part.
Tara: The chemistry and relationship building between Finn and Iris were the best elements for me. Their first kiss is very sweet and some of their sex scenes are pretty hot too!
Victoria: I would have liked a little more time in the conflict that derails their relationship, but once I took into consideration Iris and Finn’s states of mind, I was able to let their communication misstep slide.
Tara: Yeah, I wasn’t super thrilled with that either, and I found the story dragged a bit as I waited for them to get back together. I may have had less patience with it because I don’t like breakups that could be prevented by a grown-up conversation.
Victoria: This book gave me a whole lot of happy. I genuinely liked Iris and Finn, so much so, I wasn’t sure which of them I could fall for. Would I be greedy if I said both? I love road trips, and I’ve never read a romance centered around one. The journey Iris and Finn embark on is the perfect backdrop for a love story, and I enjoyed every mile. This romance definitely fits in the “feel good” category. Vaun is about as reliable an author as you can get, and Chasing Sunset lived up to my expectations.
Tara: A sweet story told well. What more could I ask for? I haven’t read many road trip stories either (Infinite Loop by Meghan O’Brien is the only other one that springs to mind), so it was fun to spend time with Chasing Sunset. Missouri Vaun continues to prove herself to be one of our more versatile authors and I’m looking forward to seeing what she has in store for us next.
Excerpt from Chasing Sunset by Missouri Vaun
Finn considered kissing Iris. What did she have to lose? Iris was leaving so it wasn’t as if she could totally screw something up. There was no something at this point. Unless she was completely crazy, during the day, Iris had definitely at times been flirtatious. She took a deep breath and looked around to see if anyone was about. Just do it. When she turned back Iris had stepped closer, invading her personal space.
Iris rested the palm of her hand against Finn’s torso. She closed the space between them, almost in slow motion, and their lips lightly made contact. Iris sank into Finn and allowed her lips to linger on Finn’s. Iris pulled back just a little and ran her tongue over her lower lip. Finn let her hands drift from her pockets to the curve of Iris’s hips.
She gently drew Iris close and kissed her tenderly, letting the soft connection of their lips deepen. Iris broke the kiss, pulling away to study her. They stood looking at each other for a moment, their faces only inches apart, and she wondered if Iris was as surprised as she was by the kiss. Not just the kiss, but the unexpected intimacy of it.
She wanted to say something, anything to make the encounter last.
“Good night, Finn.” Iris turned partially toward her cabin door.
Words failed her.
“Good night, Iris.”
There was nothing else to say as she watched Iris close the door. Her brisk pulse made her flesh tingle as she walked back to her cabin. Only a short walk that might as well have been two thousand miles, the distance from Georgia to California.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781635554540
- Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
- Audiobook Publisher: Bold Strokes Books Inc
- Narrator: Keira Grace
- Missouri Vaun Online
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