Speaking of sharing...today I do just that with the talented Marin Thomas! Her Rodeo Rebels sound like the perfect read for a lazy Saturday! And I'll be giving y'all a sneak peek into my upcoming Kinnison brothers series, starting with Wyatt, in Rugged Hearts!
So round up your favorite comfy spot and enjoy today's excerpts!!
BIO: Marin Thomas grew up in Janesville, Wisconsin. She left the Midwest to attend college at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where she played basketball for the Lady Wildcats and earned a B.A. in Radio-TV. Following graduation she married her college sweetheart in a five-minute ceremony at the historical Little Chapel of the West in Las Vegas, Nevada. Over the years she and her family have lived in seven different states but have now come full circle and returned to Arizona where the rugged desert and breathtaking sunsets provide plenty of inspiration for Marin's cowboy books. Marin has published over 28 stories for Harlequin
What inspired me to write this story?I love all kinds of cowboys but I am partial to rodeo cowboys. That being said most rodeo cowboys also work other jobs, because only a select few become good enough to make living at bustin' broncs or bulls.
When I moved from Chicago to Phoenix two years ago, I learned that border security was a huge issue for the state of Arizona. It doesn’t matter "what side of the fence your on" regarding this issue, it's a part of every Arizonan's daily life. Intrigued, I did some research on the subject, but it wasn't until I took a sight-seeing trip south of Tucson that I saw a group of border patrol officers on horseback for the first time. I knew these Police Cowboys existed but I had never seen one. The officers wore green uniforms, but it was their cowboy hats that inspired me to use one of these rare cowboys in my Rodeo Rebels series--Tony Bravo, the hero in No Ordinary Cowboy, is a border patrol officer and weekend rodeo cowboy.
EXCERPT: NO ORDINARY COWBOY
Tony removed his sunglasses, his brown eyes darkening with desire—a warning of the fine line they walked. As his mouth drew nearer, the blood pumped faster through Lucy's veins.
Faint or breathe.
Gasping, she swayed forward. Their chests bumped. Gazes locked. Breath mingled. Then Tony's mouth brushed hers in a soft caress.
A tingle spread through her body, tiny electrical pulses attacking her knees until they trembled. She sagged heavily against Tony and a groan escaped his mouth when she nudged his arousal.
He crushed her mouth beneath his, the kiss firm. Bold. Too brief. "I'm no good for you, Lucy," he said.
"Shh." She pressed her finger against his lips then a moment later replaced the digit with her mouth. She lost herself in his scent—sandalwood, dust, sweat. As their tongues dueled and a fire ignited in her belly, which he put out abruptly when his strong fingers bit into her shoulders and he pushed her away.
"What's the matter?" Her breath came in ragged gasps. "Why did you stop kissing me?"
Ignoring her question he said, "I don't want you practicing by yourself."
Startled by the change of subject, Lucy didn't immediately respond, not that she would have gotten a word in edgewise.
"If you fall and get stomped on, there'd be no one to help you." He put on his sunglasses and paced in front of her. "And practicing is a waste of time if I'm not here to point out what you’re doing wrong."
"Any kind of practice is better than no practice."
"Don't you get it, Lucy?" He flung his arms wide. "This isn't about teaching you to ride. It's about keeping you alive."
"Aren't you being a little melodramatic?"
"The successful bull riders are the guys who've broken bones, suffered concussions and have had their hand caught in the rigging. Pain and fear is a rodeo cowboy's best teacher. If you don't survive the first bull ride, then you can kiss the Pony Express goodbye."
When he stopped talking long enough to take a breath, she said, "That kiss really knocked you off kilter, didn't it?"
Ignoring her Tony removed the bull from the chute then walked him out of the pen.
"Wait!" She dogged his heels. "I'm not through with Curly."
"Yes, you are. Go find a hose and wash off. You stink."
"You're mad because you still want me," Lucy said.
Tony froze mid-step for a millisecond then continued into the barn and put the bull in his stall.
"You can deny it all you want, Tony, but it's still there between you and me. The fire. The heat. The wanting."
The quiet click of the stall latch sounded like a bomb imploding in the structure. Tony faced her—rays of sun streaming through the cracks in the barn's siding highlighted the dancing dust particles around his head.
"Since you appear determined to have this out—" he took off his glasses and slid them into his shirt pocket. "—yes, it's all still there between you and me."
Her heart skipped a beat.
BUY LINKS: AMAZON
LEARN MORE ABOUT MARIN:
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BIO: My passion is in taking the ordinary and creating something extraordinary. It is what has fueled my life in many ways from an office career to motherhood, being a newspaper columnist and stepping into writing fiction. My love for penning"character-driven" stories-many of them romance- allows me to explore the potential and possibility that lives deep inside each of us.
Referred to by reviewer as a "true artist in the writing realm" I am humbled and also challenged to stay fresh, be unique to my voice, and listen to my readers.
I am honored to be published internationally, in audio, in E-book and in print. I currently write sizzling romance in contemporary and historical and love mixing genres!
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS STORY?
I love to send my tenacious heroines up against the wall of a stubborn sometimes scarred hero that thinks his life is going along just fine, until she shows up and turns his world upside down. I love placing my characters in the midst of chaos, and really, is there any chaos better than the brand that your own family makes? I'd written a short Christmas story long ago when I had a weekly newspaper column that was about an old cowboy rancher herding his cattle over Christmas. Alone in a cabin, no family, eyes dimming he reflects on the importance of his life when he is visited by a pregnant woman and her husband whose car has broken down...
This story was the seed that planted the idea for three young boys--two brothers, abandoned by their mother after she married Jed Kinnison, and Jed's nephew, orphaned as a teen who comes to live with him. Each deals with the tragedies of their past in their own way. For Wyatt-it’s being oldest and head of the ranch, watching out for his brothe. For Dalton, it’s about being there for his brother, even though his escape for the scars of his past, are often the inside of a bottle. Then there is Rein, Jed's nephew, whose purpose is to build the dream of having the Last Hope Ranch be a place where folks in need of healing can come and through hard work, the beauty of nature, and warm-hearted community folk of End of the Line, Montana--they can find their way again.
I love history and when you write history, you have a lot of research, which is one of my greatest passions! Whether by book, art, travel, internet, music, or interviewing people--the journey found in the research can be as much of a journey as writing the story.
My writing is eclectic-I'm a country girl, from a quintessential John Cougar Mellancamp "small town"--and I suppose there is a bit of outlaw in me as well that makes me partial to the American West. On my dad's side, my ancestry takes me back to the Trail of Tears and the forced emigration of the Cherokee through southern Missouri and on my mother's side, I've recently discovered that my great-grandmother--was related to the Younger Brothers. that rode with Jesse James.
Guess you could say, the old west runs in my blood...
A sizzling public kiss. An abrupt end to an afternoon coffee date. When it comes to Aimee, Wyatt doesn't know which end is up. He's trying to convince the both of them, that he is not what she needs...but, Aimee, my feisty tenacious second grade teacher has other ideas...
EXCERPT: RUGGED HEARTS
Look, I apologize for leaving in such a hurry.” He looked around, realizing that whenever he was in her presence, his thoughts became muddled.
“Apology accepted. Why did you leave? Are you uncomfortable around me?”
“Maybe…a little.” He admitted, meeting her steady gaze.
“Why?” she asked, grinning from ear to ear. If he told her the truth, she most likely wouldn’t like it—or him—which on second thought, might not be a bad idea.
“You might not like the answer,” he stated, eyeing her.
Wyatt considered whether to cut his losses or be straight with her. He wasn’t sure exactly what was happening between them, but he knew what he didn’t want to happen. He wasn’t looking for any entanglements and maybe it was better to nip the potential of this one in the bud. “I misunderstood your coming on to me the other day.”
Her face crumpled into a frown. “Misunderstood? I’m not following. When was I coming on to you? By asking you to coffee?”
“I thought maybe you were just interested in a little fun.”
“A little fun?” Her expression was skeptical. “Oh, I see. Does this normally work for you? The whole ‘to-be-brutally-honest, I-just-want-you-for-your-body’ routine?”
He held up his hands in defense. “You asked. I told you I wasn’t into the dating thing.” Wyatt held her puzzled gaze. She wasn’t buying what he was selling and truthfully, he questioned whether he was, either. Unfortunately, the day before he’d reacted on a whim and he shouldn’t have. Now she expected more, and he couldn’t give it to her.
She studied him a moment more. “Um, yeah, you did.” A small smile formed on her lips as she slowly shook her head. “For the record, no, I'm not looking for a good time. I can go down to the male strip clubs in Billings if I want that.”
Really? He tried not to react, but she just didn’t seem the strip-club type. He shrugged.
“But that’s not my style.” She tipped her head and looked at him. “Nor do I really buy that you’re so shallow. But I could be wrong.”
“You don’t know me.”
“Which was the point of asking you to coffee. And for the record. That kiss, wasn’t my fault.” She pointed her mittened finger at him.
“Okay, the kiss was a mistake. And fine, we’ll say it was mine. But you have to admit you were flirting. I’m not so old I don’t recognize that.”
She smiled then. “Okay, maybe a little. I admit, it’s been a while since I’ve been on a real date with a guy. This place isn’t exactly crawling with possibilities.”
“Don’t say those kinds of things to me, Aimee,” he cautioned.
“A little too long out on the range there, cowboy?” she asked with a teasing smile.
Dammit. If he wasn’t careful, he’d end up backpedaling to make her like him--not at all in his game plan.
“Listen, I won’t lie. I’m attracted to you and yeah, it’s been a while for me, too. And there’s no doubt in my mind we’d be good—very good, together.”
Her eyes widened. “Jesus, Mary and Joseph,” she whispered.
“But here’s the thing, I’m not looking for anything permanent. I’m happy with my life the way it is. I want no entanglements, no complications. Are you with me here?”
She blinked. “Oh, I hear you, yes. I’m just not sure where you’re going with it.”
He blew out an exasperated sigh. “I guess what I’m saying is if the attraction is the same for you and at some point you feel you ‘d like to get together—”
“Are you offering me a cowboy booty call?” Her brows rose under her hat.
“I prefer to think of it as consensual. We’re both adults, Aimee. We know what we want, what we need.” Her blue eyes studied him as though scrutinizing whether his performance was real or not. He prayed he was doing a good enough job convincing her, because he wasn’t sure how much more of this pushing-her-away-for-her-own-good business he could take.
MY NOVELS ABOUT COUNTRY BOYS:
UNFINISHED DREAMS (award winning story about second chances, farm foreclosures, and the country boy that steals Tess's heart.)
TALES OF THE SWEET MAGNOLIA
(TIME-TRAVEL WESTERN ROMANCE)
Leave a comment or question for your choice of any of my paperback historicals! (choice in sidebar!)And I do hope that you'll consider adding Rugged Hearts to your "watch" list for this spring! (I don't think you'll be disappointed;)
Tomorrow we'll wrap up the Ladies Love Country Boys week with a St. Patty's Day bash like no other!! Join us here on the porch for Miss Lorelei James and Miss Cat Johnson, bringing us some serious hawt, country lovin' cowboys! Be sure y'all stop by!!