Cowboys, Now and Then
A few months ago, I had the distinct honor of being included in an anthology, Cowboy Up, which went number one on Amazon lists in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. The ride was remarkable, just what an author dreams of—and it came about courtesy of the cowboy—apparently the source of dreams for readers the world over.
The cowboy mystique was born from resilient men able to conquer hostile frontiers while being independent, willing to fight for their woman or for a just cause, and deeply committed to an outdoor life involving horses, at least, and usually cattle as well.
Since I grew up hooked on horses, and the men who rode them, cowboys have always been part of my dreams. In chemistry class, I wrote a manuscript meant for John Wayne and Dean Martin, whose Rio Bravo turned into a huge hit for them and momentary inspiration for my sister and me.
See, there was this boy studying acting, and well—if he could play in a John Wayne movie, he’d become as big as Dean Martin. My sister explained the love angle, I dutifully wrote the story—managed a ‘C’ in chemistry, the only mar on my high school transcript—and harbored a secret crush on the soon to be famous Ed…somewhere along the way, things went south, and looking back, it’s not hard to see why. Ed wasn’t the cowboy sort, although he did an outstanding job in Man of La Mancha. Since I consider knights to be the forbearers of cowboys, maybe Ed could have done it.
Didn’t matter; my father burned the manuscript, no one carried me off to the rescue, and I quit writing cowboys, but not loving them.
Four or five days before I got the invite to tag along with the terrific Cowboy Up team, Laredo Border Patrol Mounted Unit happened to ride up to the elementary school where I work.
Twenty men in uniform—which included that kind of hat—out of the blue. With badges, on horses—wow! Now, my very pregnant colleague rand down the hall yelling “Ms. Garcia! Ms. Garcia! There are horses outside.”
She didn’t mention the men, but I went anyway. A number of the teachers were chatting with agents. I did, too, but because—how often does a reincarnation of the cowboy who defended the West a hundred years ago ride up and say, “hey.” (Yeah, I know. But they didn’t say ‘howdy, ma’am.’ They said “hey.”)
My short story in Cowboy Up, “A Cowboy’s Heart” grew out of that chance encounter, making me think—where are the traditional cowboys now? Who counts as a cowboy? I hope you’ll share your comments with me on those questions. Meanwhile, in Cowboy Up 2, you’ll meet more of the men I still admire so greatly. Cowboys in the modern, technological world may have flaws here and there—the original always sets the standard. John Wayne is gone. But I hope you’ll pick up Cowboy Up 2 and say “hey” to a cowboy. You’ll find an array of modern men of the west—and the complicated, butt-kicking women who are tough enough to love them.
Cowboy Up 2
Saddle Up with the best-selling authors who brought you Cowboy Up... And fall for Six more Cowboys ready to steal your heart!
Good Ride, Cowboy by Allison Merritt
Sometimes all you need is one good ride to clear your head.
Thanks to her ex-boyfriend, Sommer Allen's life is in shambles. She's headed home to Courtland, Texas for her sister's wedding, but when a quick stop a gas station ruins her plans, she's left stranded and at the mercy of a handsome cowboy.
Perry Glidewell is on his way back to Texas after winning another championship in the arena versus a bull. When he finds Sommer having a meltdown in the middle of a parking lot, he knows he can't leave her alone. Since her hometown is near his, it makes sense to hit the road together.
Sommer never imagined falling for a cowboy. His manners and gallant attitude win her over quickly, but with her future uncertain, she's not quite willing to give her whole heart to Perry. He'll do whatever it takes to break the walls around Sommer's heart, because beneath her tough-talking exterior, he sees she's the type of Texas girl he's always dreamed of.
Perry opened the door. “What the hell are you doing? Are you trying to steal my truck?”
She glowered. “Of course not. You snore. I thought I'd be able to sleep out here. I was asleep, until I turned a little and set off the alarm. I'm so sorry.” She handed him the keys and knocked something off the dash.
A lacy bra landed on his bare feet. His gaze shot straight to her chest. Sommer's t-shirt was tight around her breasts and her nipples made perky bumps in the material.
Perry clenched his teeth. Of all the damn things to notice. He bent down and picked the bra up by the strap. “Think you lost something.”
She snatched the bra out of his hand. “You try sleeping in one of these.”
“Not really my style, sweetheart.”
“It's not like I have a garment bag to store it in. Anyway, you snore really bad. It's like the cross between a wood chipper and a rabid lion. I can't spend the rest of the night listening to you.”
“You could have woke me up instead of alerting the whole world to where we are.” He shook his head. “You're one strange lady.”
“Am not.” Her lower lip slid out and she folded her arms under her breasts, pushing them up higher.
About Allison Merritt:
A love of reading inspired Allison Merritt to pursue her dream of becoming an author who writes historical, paranormal and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. When she's not writing or reading, she hikes in national parks and conservation areas.
Allison graduated from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri with a B.A. in mass communications that's gathering dust after it was determined that she's better at writing fluff than hard news.
Cowboy in Waiting by Leslie P. Garcia
She’d buried a hero. She wasn’t looking for another. But her cowboy in waiting was far from a hero…
Bury enough dreams, and you’re bound to grow up.
Diana Salas Chester is a rancher’s daughter and a hero’s widow. There isn’t a lot she can’t do, from raising her daughter Gwen to facing down the loss of dream after dream. And then a birthday celebration goes wrong, and Diana winds up in Border Patrol Agent Ray Bennett’s bed.
Not many of her acquaintances approve of Ray “Baby” Bennett. But is he just the cowboy she’s been waiting for? Ray Bennett spent his life running away from the demands of his cowboy brothers and the ranching life. So when he wakes up in bed with his Border Patrol partner’s sister, he doesn’t want the complications. But suddenly the choice isn’t his to make.
Across from him, Di straightened in her chair. He looked her over appreciatively. The halter dress she wore plunged deeply, the icy blue contrasting with a smooth, even tan that went enticingly lower than he would have expected. Compassion headed toward desire. Hell, toward lust. Maybe if the night went suddenly better…
She tilted her head a little, then shook it. “You…what kind of car do you drive?” she asked abruptly.
“Yellow Corvette.” He waited for the gleam of appreciation.
“Then you’re the idiot in the yellow car!” She closed her fingers around her drink glass so hard he thought it might break, and gulped half the drink before slamming it down again.
“I will never forgive Rachel for this—this nightmare! My best friend? How could she set me up with some stupid, stuck-up, oversexed jerk in a yellow car? Damn you, Rachel!”
He gaped for a moment, then slowly closed his mouth. “Just one thing,” he asked. “Who’s Rachel?”
About Leslie Garcia:
Leslie P. García grew up lost among a crowd of six siblings and a menagerie that included more than twenty horses and ponies, uncounted dogs and cats, possums, raccoons—even a lion and monkeys. Then she moved to Texas, fell in love, was disowned—and embarked on her real adventures, raising 4 children, teaching hundreds, and loving 9 grandkids through forty years of marriage. The fabric of that colorful life has always been writing. In A Cowboy Heart, Leslie celebrates two of her passions—cowboys and the ever present chance at redemption in spite of past mistakes. Leslie loves hearing from readers and can be found all over cyber space, including these places:
The Heartbroken Cowboy by Melissa Keir
Love isn’t found at the bottom of a bottle…
Johnson O’Neill joined The Heartsong Ranch to escape his addiction. One night at a friend’s wedding, stress causes him to fall off the wagon and into the arms of the woman of his dreams.
Debra Donahue lost her husband to alcohol then pulled herself up by her bootstraps becoming a million-dollar selling real estate agent. One night with a sexy cowboy and a bottle of whiskey, Debra falls hard.
Can an alcoholic cowboy and a brokenhearted woman find love despite their fears? Or will the bottom of a bottle claim another happily ever after?
“I don’t drink, but could use a strong one, right now. Not this sissy stuff.” He lifted the glass to his lips, downed the contents, and shoved his now-empty champagne flute away before he leaned in toward her. The smell of alcohol on his breath hinted that he’d already had too much to drink. “Know anyone around here with some whiskey?” The dark sapphire of his eyes chilled her. This was a man used to getting what he wanted. “I’d even share.” His voice deepened and became husky with his offer and she shivered.
“I don’t drink with men I don’t know.” Debra stuck out her hand. “I’m Debra, and you are?”
The man grabbed another glass of champagne off a passing waiter’s tray and guzzled the drink in one swallow. “The name’s Johnson O’Neill. Now about that whiskey.” He reached out and drew her up to standing then tugged her in close to him. Wrapping his arm around her back, he moved her body in a slow two-step motion.
Debra gazed into his eyes. “You don’t have to seduce me for the whiskey.” She stepped out of his embrace and put her hands on her hips. She frowned.
“That’s not why I drew you into my arms. You were tapping your foot when I arrived—and I thought you might like a dance. A pretty woman like you shouldn’t be sitting alone.” He stretched his palm out again in a plea.
About Melissa Keir:
Melissa Keir has always wanted to be an author when she wasn’t hoping for a career as a race car driver. Her love of books was instilled by her mother and grandparents who were avid readers. She’d often sneak books away from them so that she could fantasize about those strong alpha males and plucky heroines. In middle school and high school, Melissa used to write sappy love poems and shared them with her friends and still has those poems today! In college her writing changed to sarcastic musings on life as well as poems with a modern twist on fairy tales and won awards for her writing. You can find many of these musings along with her latest releases on her website and blog.
As a writer, Melissa likes to keep current on topics of interest in the world of writing. She’s a member of the Romance Writers of America, Mid-Michigan RWA Chapter, and EPIC. She is always interested in improving her writing through classes and seminars.
Melissa doesn’t believe in down time. She’s always keeping busy. Melissa is a wife and mother, an elementary school teacher, a movie reviewer, an owner of a publishing company as well as an author. Her home blends two families and is a lot like the Brady Bunch, without Alice- a large grocery bill, tons of dirty dishes and a mound of laundry. She loves to write stories that feature happy endings and is often seen plotting her next story.
Cowboy in Trouble by Autumn Piper
A cowboy on the run and a girl on the rebound make for a messy fling.
Colby may be having the worst day ever. He wakes up at gunpoint, “hired” by a stranger to do a new job he doesn’t want. Worried the load he’s hauling is contraband, he walks off the job once he’s out of sight of his new employer. Running may not be his best plan, but he needs time to find a way out of this mess.
Delta’s day starts off rough when her pickup stalls on the side of the road. Lucky for her, a handsome cowboy comes along and works mechanical magic on the poor old truck. They strike a deal: he’ll help her out around the farm in exchange for a place to lay low for a few days. He turns out to be handy in all the right ways. A real keeper…not that she’s interested in keeping a man right now. She can afford a rebound fling, but nothing more.
Besides, once Colby gets rid of the crime boss breathing down his neck, he’ll hit the trail. A rodeo circuit cowboy from Oklahoma wouldn’t want to stick around on a little farm in Colorado. Or would he?
The door across the hall opened and by the time she turned around, Colby stood there in nothing but a towel. Hubbahubba, a very small towel, since she kept her nice big ones downstairs and hadn’t remembered to provide him one.
Um. Dripping, mostly naked, and looking as surprised as she felt… Wow. Those shoulders looked even better without a shirt. He had the prettiest eyes. Did guys like their eyes being called pretty? Whatever. Nice green-gray. And oh, how she’d appreciate a wardrobe malfunction right about now, just a little slippage of that towel. Although the healthy bulge beneath might not allow it to slip far.
“Er,” she answered ever-so-intelligently. “Sorry.”
“Sorry,” he said at the same time. “Forgot my bag in here.”
Caught leering. Her face must be flame-red. “Thought I had time to make up the bed for you.”
“I’ll just…” He indicated his bag on the floor by the window.
“Oh. Sure.” She stepped aside so he could get to it. Lord, please grant us a wardrobe malfunction...
He picked up his bag without the towel slipping, although she had to say it had soaked up water in some prime spots and clung just right.
As he passed by her, he paused, and she tore her eyes away. Reluctantly. God. Her mother had definitely taught her it was rude to stare. The poor guy probably worried she’d attack him in the night. He was hot enough, it had probably happened before.
“Ditto,” he said.
With his free hand, he rubbed his thumb over her chin. “Whatever you’re thinking, right back atcha.” Looking up into his eyes was like riding the downhill part of a rollercoaster. Her heart screamed Weeeee!
About Autumn Piper:
Born and raised in itty-bitty Rifle, Colorado, Autumn Piper studiously avoided trouble…but is now inclined toward it, particularly in her novels. She thinks the best things in life are funny, and the runners-up, romantic.
An admitted carb addict, Autumn writes, edits, manages two teenagers, two cats, a box turtle with a huge personality, one husband and many supersize houseplants, and does the cooking and cleaning when forced to.
To sign up for Autumn’s occasional newsletter: http://mad.ly/signups/105424/join
A Cowboy’s Heaven by Sara Walter Ellwood
From the hell of lost love, can they find heaven together?
Katie Chester is alone in the world. After losing her husband and then her parents, she’s left to run Heaven, a thousand-acre ranch encompassing nearly an entire Montana mountain. She rents out a suite of rooms, but ends up with a boarder who shakes her to her foundation.
When Pennsylvanian ex-Army doctor Collin Kirkpatrick lost his wife a year ago, he lost his world. He needs to escape the pain, and where better than in an isolated town in the West? He answers an ad for resident doctor in Evansville, Montana, but is surprised to find Heaven and the angel residing there.
But can they leave their grief and pain in the past to blaze a new path into the future?
He smirked at her as he sat beside her on the hay bale. “You’re laughing at me.”
“Not at all. You’re actually a pleasant surprise, Dr. Kirkpatrick.”
“I hope in a good way.” He winked at her and quirked his lips up into a lopsided smile, then turned his attention fully on the cow and calf, and leaned over his long legs with his elbow planted on his knees.
The calf suddenly lurched herself onto her back feet and Collin grinned from ear to ear. “She’s a beauty.”
Dear God, he more than surprised her, he overwhelmed her, and yes, it was in a good way. A very good way.
Katie let out a breath and violently shivered. He picked up the discarded blanket and pulled it over her legs. “You’re going to catch your death. Were you out in this cold all day?”
She nodded and swallowed. No way could she tell him that the sensation had nothing to do with the cold, and everything to do with him.
With a deep breath to steady her racing heart, she watched as the calf latched onto one of her mother’s teats and started sucking with loud, hungry pulls.
“We can go inside in a few moments.” Sweet mercy, was that low, husky voice hers?
Collin only nodded as they watched the miracle of life before him.
About Sara Walter Ellwood:
Although Sara Walter Ellwood has long ago left the farm for the glamour of the big town, she draws on her experiences growing up on a small hobby farm in West Central Pennsylvania to write her contemporary westerns. She’s been married to her college sweetheart for over 20 years, and they have two teenagers and one very spoiled rescue cat named Penny. She longs to visit the places she writes about and jokes she’s a cowgirl at heart stuck in Pennsylvania suburbia. Sara Walter Ellwood is a multi-published author and publishes paranormal romantic suspense under the pen name Cera duBois.
Cowboy Proud by D’Ann Lindun
She left town to chase her dreams... He stayed and ignored his... Can they find their dreams together?
All Madeline Harper ever wanted was to escape the tight fences of Black Mountain, Colorado. Nothing would stop her from pursuing her goals--not a devoted boyfriend or infant son. Leaving everything behind, she landed her dream job as a Western Girl jeans model. Her sister’s wedding is the only thing that can entice her home. What she learns upon her return shakes her to the core…and changes everything.
For the last five years Shan Ellis’ life has consisted of taking care of his son and being a cowhand on his parents’ ranch. He scarified everything to be a single dad. College. A career. Girls. Now, the one woman he can’t forget is back in town. Can he take a chance, and risk his heart, or steer clear and never know what might have been?
This is how Shan had always pictured his life.
Doing what he loved with his wife and children.
Like him, Mason lived to be with the horses and cows. Too bad his mother hated the cowboy lifestyle with a passion. Shan couldn’t forget that for a second. Madeline Harper had ripped out his guts once before—he’d be damned if he’d let her do it again. Even if she wore a mile-wide smile and looked as at home on the back of a horse, herding cows as well as any cowgirl she wasn’t happy here. He couldn’t make her love the life, their son or him.
His good mood faded.
Last night, Callie Donovan had all but mounted him on the dance floor. He liked her well enough, but turned down her advances because he couldn’t get his mind off the dark-haired beauty from his past. In the five years since Maddy left town he’d held onto to the hope she’d return.
He was a fool.
Nothing had changed. He wanted a family; she craved fame and fortune.
About D’Ann Lindun:
Falling in love with romance novels the summer before sixth grade, D’Ann Lindun never thought about writing one until many years later when she took a how-to class at her local college. She was hooked! She began writing and never looked back. Romance appeals to her because there's just something so satisfying about writing a book guaranteed to have a happy ending. D’Ann’s particular favorites usually feature cowboys and the women who love them. This is probably because she draws inspiration from the area where she lives, Western Colorado, her husband of twenty-nine years and their daughter. Composites of their small farm, herd of horses, five Australian shepherds, a Queensland heeler, two ducks and cats of every shape and color often show up in her stories!
D’Ann loves to hear from readers! Please contact her at:
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