Some stories stick with a reader more than others do, and
some characters stick with us, too. I love a couple who are so at odds with one
another, they butt heads and bicker nonstop until they snap and go after one
another. (LOL. Whip out the psychology books for that one, right?) I also love
to see the Stag Brought Down. You know the trope, sworn-forever-single stud,
cold, powerful, has only physical relationships with women…until the right one
comes along and brings him to his knees.

    Personally, I’m not a big fan of those stories where the
hero has to sacrifice his relationship with the love of his life in order to
“save” her (a la Spiderman with Toby and Kirsten). Tortured heroes just
torture me too darn much.
    Which romantic couples do you remember most?
I’ll start. I think Jamie and Claire from the Outlander series
are “with” me quite a lot (but that could be in part because I’ve got to be
“with” them for so long, just to finish the series). I still remember totally
falling for Jondalar when Ayla did in the Earth’s Children/Clan of
the Cave Bear
series back when I was a teenager. And when they had trouble,
I felt it! In movies, I really love Edward and Vivian of Pretty Woman,
and I’m an absolute sucker for Dusty (George Strait) and Harley in Pure
Country
(and I’ll admit, part of that could be my obsession with King
George).
    Leave me a comment with your favorite couple(s)…and your
email address, and I’ll be drawing 1 name for a free ebook copy of Lone Star
Trouble
, on Feb 28.
    Have a great Valentine’s Day, and thanks for coming by!
Autumn Piper
Got romance?
On Best of 2012 USA Today list: http://usat.ly/Z1PRUV
Autumnpiper.com
Twitter: @AutumnPiperAuth
LONE STAR TROUBLE:
BLURB:
     One hot cowboy plus one tough rancher-girl adds up to
trouble!
     Kiersten Day holds a grudge against all things Texan,
especially cattle baron CJ Howell, with his hubcap-sized belt buckle and tacky
white hat. He’s set his sights on her tiny Colorado ranch, and he’s a master of
dirty tactics, slinging threats to make her sell out.
     Caught in the fight of her life, Kiersten meets Cleve, a
tall, handsome good guy. Too late, she finds out he’s Howell’s son. She might
be pregnant, she doesn’t know who to trust, and danger is closing in. She’s
head over heels — and kicking herself!
     Content warning, a hot cowboy, dirty tactics and lots of
lone star trouble.
EXCERPT:
     This couldn’t be good. She never
ran into other people up here. And after yesterday’s confrontation… Why hadn’t
she strapped on her pistol before she left the cabin?
     A sweaty buckskin gelding topped
the hill, then halted.
     Time for another confrontation.
     The
cowboy dismounted and made a thorough visual examination of her.
     Freckles. The first thing he’d see
would be her freckles, since she never bothered with makeup except for trips to
town. Add to that her big messy ponytail, and it was amazing the guy was taking
a second look. And a third? Well, he wasn’t exactly looking at her face, now
was he? Warm from her hike up the hill, she’d unzipped her jacket, exposing the
only curves on her body—her breasts. The tall stranger was all but ogling them.
     Not in the least appreciative of
his silent admiration, she tugged her jacket closed.
     With a small cough, he cleared his
throat. “Howdy, neighbor. I’m Cleve. You must be Miss Day.”
     Another Texan, but clean shaven,
with light skin, short dark hair and nearly black eyes. He wore a red flannel
shirt with a blue t-shirt under, tucked cowboy-style into his Wranglers. Around
his waist he sported a plain leather belt and everyday buckle, not a shiny
gold-and-silver number like the guy she’d met yesterday. Brown boots, and the
straw cowboy hat he’d removed when he introduced himself.
     It was hard not to meet his wide,
open smile with one of her own. Too hard, in fact. “Hi. Kiersten.” A tiny gold
hoop hung from his left ear, odd on a cowboy, but nothing blame-worthy. And he
was definitely fine to look at—if she’d been interested in looking at men
anymore.
     He took her hand in his and shook
it with big, friendly strokes, settled his hat back atop his head and looked
around. “Some view up here.”
     She nodded. “See that peak over
there, the darker one? It’s in Utah. My Grandpa said it’s about a hundred and
fifty miles away.”
     Cleve whistled behind her. “You
walk up here?”
     She grinned at how winded he was
from riding horseback up the mountain. “I walked the fence line, checking for
snow damage. I’ll be hanging it back up in the next few days.”
     “What kinda fence is that?” The
wire net lay flat and ran parallel to an army of steel posts marching straight
as an arrow into the horizon.
     Cattlemen marked the edge of their
property with two or three simple strands of barbed wire, rather than the net
fencing sheep ranchers used. “It’s a fence to keep my nuisance sheep in, and
your fat cows out, since the law says I’m responsible for both.”
     He rubbed his chin with the back
of his fingers. “I meant, why’s it on the ground?”
     “Seven feet of snow on a hillside
tends to make a mess of a fence, come spring. Used to come up here and find this
part of the fence crumpled up way down there.” She pointed at a stand of aspens
about twenty feet down the hill. “Might find several steel posts bent over
flat. One of the other old-timers came up with the idea of unhooking the wire
from the posts in the fall. Keeps the snow from leaning on it for months on
end, and the elk from getting tangled in it.”
     “Pretty good idea, then.”
     “You’ll find I’m not stupid, in
spite of what your boss might think.”
     “Ah…Boss?” He scratched the back of his hair, tipping the front of his
hat a little.
     “Yeah. Charles. The world’s last
remaining male chauvinist pig. Boss Hogg, in a Cadillac truck instead of his
trademark white convertible. Give him my regards.”
     Her middle fingers raised in
another rebellious salute.
     His eyebrows lifted. “Doesn’t
sound like he put his best foot forward.”
     “Just let him know that next time,
his foot better have a bullet-proof boot on, cause I’ll be comin out with my
twelve-gauge. And let him know I thought over his offer.”
     Cleve’s eyes lit. “And?”
     “You’re probably shy about giving
your boss the bird, even though it’s a message, so just tell him, ‘Not
everybody can be bought, Jackass, and there are a million five reasons why,’
okay?”
     His eyes widened. “Ah. Wasn’t too
persuasive, then?”
     “Definitely not a people person,
that Chaz. I thought his lawyers were bad. You must be his new, what, manager?
Ranch foreman?”
     Big fingers rubbed over his chin. “Somethin like that.”
     Why was the guy so confused? Maybe
the thin air was starving his brain of oxygen. Seemed nice enough. Too bad he’d
gotten hooked up with such a peckerwood. “Well, it’s been nice meeting you,
Cleve. Good luck with Boss. Is there a Mrs. Hogg, I mean Howell?”
     He grinned. “Not yet.”
     “I’d say his chances keep getting
thinner as his waist gets thicker, and women get more crazy ideas in their
heads about equal opportunities, all that Women’s Lip nonsense.” The
mere thought of Chaz’s asinine ideals had sent her hands to her hips again.
Damn. “I need to get back and do something domestic around the house now.”
     With a wave over her shoulder, she
started back down the hill.
     “Wait!” Cleve followed down the
hill on his side of the fence. “You want some help when you put up this
part-time fence?”
      Work with the cattlemen? She’d be damned if
she’d ever take help from Chaz, but Cleve seemed friendly. And cute. Shaking
off cute, she shrugged. “Sure.”
     “Wanta do it tomorrow? Same time?”
     “I’ve, um, got a…date.” And why
did she say that? Why should she want him to think she had a date? “How ’bout
Sunday.”
     “Sunday it is,” he answered with a
smile.
     Damn fine smile he had. George
Strait fine.
     As she walked away, she called
back, “Don’t forget your gloves!”
     “Hey, wait!”
     Criminy. She stopped again.
     “You startin at the top, or
bottom?”
     “Top. If we get to the bottom, I’ll feed you lunch.”
BUY LINKS:
BIO:
     I write contemporary romance and women’s fiction/mom-lit. My
stories often have a high heat index to match their American southwest
settings. Known by my writing buddies as “Angst”, I have a
penchant for making my characters suffer. My novels may
be tributes to the old saying, “No pain, no gain”, but my
hero and heroine always get the happily-ever-after they so deserve.
     I love sunny days, hot bread, the ocean, and that fluttery feeling I
get inside at the first spark of a great romance. In between being a wife, mom
of two teens, writer, and editor, I like to read, take morning walks, make
people laugh (this probably happens when I break into a jog!), garden, and play
Jigsaw World on Facebook. (sad but true)
     For me, an excellent book has characters you can sympathize with or
hate (sometimes both at once), a story you simply must see through to the end,
and realistic dialogue. Give me those key elements, and I’ll read any genre or
time period, any author.

    

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