Spotlight & Giveaway: Cowboy Heaven by Cheryl Brooks

Posted March 17th, 2015 by in Blog, Spotlight / 50 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome romance author Cheryl Brooks to HJ!
Spotlight&Giveaway

Hi Cheryl and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Cowboy Heaven!

 

Please summarize the book for the readers here:

Cowboy HeavenWhen a lonely widow hires a handsome young cowboy and takes him to her bed, the series of accidents that began with the death of her husband escalates, nearly costing the life of the man who has loved her from afar.
 

Please share the opening lines of this book:

There he was again. That same cowboy I’d seen on the drive into town, still walking, still carrying a big green duffel bag on one shoulder and a saddle slung over the other. He’d been traveling in the opposite direction and hadn’t bothered to look up as I’d passed him earlier. I’d barely glimpsed his face then, but I saw it quite clearly now. A glance over his shoulder revealed his bleak, exhausted expression. He might have been near the point of collapse, but he obviously wasn’t prepared to admit defeat.
Not yet, anyway.

 

Please share a few Random facts about this book…

The original version of this book was written several years ago at the request of my pal Angela. She loves cowboys, and she wanted me to write a book about them. I took it one step further, loosely basing the heroine on her and giving her a whole bunkhouse full of cowboys from which to choose.
 

Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?

Angela McClure is a forty-two-year-old widow with two sons in college, an aging father, and a ranch to run. She’s been extremely lonely since her husband’s death and wonders why no man has shown any interest in her, not even with the prospect of becoming part owner of the ranch.

Troy Whitmore is a down-on-his-luck rodeo cowboy with a killer smile and an eye for the ladies. When Angela offers to hire him as a ranch hand with benefits, he jumps at the chance.

Dusty Jackson has been one of Angela’s cowboys for years, and he was in love with her even before she was widowed. He would happily fill the empty space by Angela’s side, but knows the strict ranch foreman would fire him for so much as looking at the boss’s daughter.

When I first started writing this book, I asked my friend Angela to describe her perfect cowboy, and Troy is the result of that description. He was originally slated to be Angela’s only love interest, but Dusty had other ideas.
 

What, in your mind, distinguishes this book from other books out there in the same genre?

The book is probably more fun than most erotic romances. I like a bit of humor thrown in with the heat and mystery. Also, the book is written in first person from the heroine’s point of view.
 

Do you think there’s a common trait or a je ne sais quoi that your heroes must have? 

My heroes have to be nice guys—you know…the kind that always finish last? I’ve been criticized for making my heroes too beta and not enough alpha. I can’t help it. Alphas are just not my type and I find it very difficult to write a heroine who falls in love with one.
 

Did any scene have you crying or laughing (or blushing) while writing it?

Not sure I can share much of that scene here, but it’s a fun “contest” between three of Angela’s cowboys to see who has the best “equipment.”

“Okay, guys. Line up over here,” I said, indicating an open space beneath the bare overhead light bulb.
Not knowing which of them had the larger tool, Troy and Dusty eyed each other with doubt. Joe, on the other hand, obviously knew that for once, he had the other guys beat all to hell and back, and his smug smile proved it.
“Let’s start with bulges.” Strolling along the lineup, I noted that while Troy and Dusty each had a nice-sized lump behind their zippers, Joe seemed to have very little. Frowning, I studied them closely. “Hmm… I think I’ll have to give this one to Troy—better definition and a slightly larger wet spot.”
That wasn’t too surprising. I already knew he could pump out the juice—one of his more endearing traits, in my opinion.
Troy aimed a smirk at his competitors. “That’s one point for me.”
“Should I be writing this down?” I asked.
Dusty chuckled. “Don’t worry. We’ll remember.”
Clearing my throat, I rubbed my hands together, hoping to warm them up a bit. Unfortunately, it probably appeared as though I was getting ready to grab something.
Look but don’t touch.
I dropped my hands to my sides. “Now then. Let’s unbuckle the belts and undo the zippers. I think you should do it one at a time so I can get the full effect. Extra points for attitude. Dusty, why don’t you start us off?”
How I kept from laughing myself silly as the guys each gave their own impression of a male stripper was beyond me. Then again, maybe I was too damned turned on to giggle.
I was practically drooling as Dusty leaned back slightly and gave it his all. The deliberate unbuckling of his belt. The dramatic flip of the button. The painfully slow lowering of the zipper. The quick push that dropped his jeans to his knees. Hell, even his cast, which hit him at mid-thigh, was sexy.
“Nice,” I managed to say. “Next?”

 

If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters?

This is a scene between Angela, Dusty, and Troy. Angela and Dusty have just been enjoying a romantic tryst in the tack room while awaiting the birth of her favorite mare’s foal. I chose this scene because it demonstrates the interaction between the characters.

Unfastening the latch, I took a moment to calm myself as I stepped into the stall. Kneeling down in the straw, I took the foal’s seemingly lifeless head in my hands. Sliding my fingers down the sides of its nose, I cleared the nostrils of mucus, then held its face between my palms as Goldie gave another push. I watched with tearful joy as the foal’s nostrils fluttered, and he blinked as though waking up from a long nap.
“Hot damn, it’s a boy!” Not only was he palomino, he had a blaze and four white stockings to boot. “Jenny’s gonna be pea green with envy.”
Goldie rolled up onto her belly and curled her head around to see her newborn son, calling to him with a soft nicker.
“You did good, Goldie. What a beautiful baby!” I glanced up as Dusty leaned over the stall door. “Ain’t he cute?”
Dusty looked pretty damn cute, himself. His curls were ruffled and his shirt was unbuttoned.
Positively delightful…
“I think we’ll name him…hmm… How about—oh, I know! Dustin’s Delight—or maybe Delightful Dusty, or Adorable Dusty or—”
“Better stick with Dustin’s Delight,” he said with a chuckle. “Most people don’t know that’s actually my name.”
“Yeah, well, I know it.” I gave the foal a kiss on his precious little nose. “I write it on your paycheck all the time.”
“True.”
I sighed. “Doncha just love the way a foal’s whiskers are all soft and curly and their ears look too big and they’re all legs, and—”
“So this is where everyone is tonight,” Troy said, coming up from behind Dusty to peer into the stall. “What have we here? A new addition?”
“Oh, Troy,” I exclaimed. “Just look at him! Isn’t he gorgeous? He was definitely worth the wait.”
“Yep, that’s just about the prettiest foal I’ve ever seen.” Troy gave Dusty a sidelong glance that must’ve gone all the way to his toes. Then he arched a brow at me. “That being said, would either of you care to explain what happened to Dusty’s pants?”

 

If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be and why?

If you love someone, don’t be afraid to tell them.
 

What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2015?

I’m still working on the second book in this series, which is set on the same ranch and takes place about two years after Cowboy Heaven ends. My editor decided the second book would be better served by rewriting it as a sexy contemporary rather than an erotic romance. I have no idea when it will be published.
 

Thanks for blogging at HJ!

 

Giveaway: Print copy of COWBOY HEAVEN by Cheryl Brooks

 

To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Is there someone special in your past that you wish you’d had the nerve to tell how much you cared about them?

 
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Excerpt from Cowboy Heaven:

Chapter 1
There he was again. That same cowboy I’d seen on the drive into town, still walking, still carrying a big green duffel bag on one shoulder and a saddle slung over the other. He’d been traveling in the opposite direction and hadn’t bothered to look up as I’d passed him earlier. I’d barely glimpsed his face then, but I saw it quite clearly now. A glance over his shoulder revealed his bleak, exhausted expression. He might have been near the point of collapse, but he obviously wasn’t prepared to admit defeat.
Not yet, anyway.
I couldn’t believe no one had picked him up in the three hours since I’d last seen him. He hadn’t looked very fresh even then. I had no idea where he was headed, but in the middle of Wyoming, there wasn’t much within walking distance, no matter where you were going.
He turned toward me, sticking out a halfhearted thumb as I came closer, his face streaked with dirt and sweat and what might have been tears. A black Stetson shadowed his eyes, and his boots and jeans were dusty and worn. His sweat-soaked denim shirt clung to his chest, unbuttoned halfway to his waist, the sleeves ripped out. He probably wasn’t trying to look cool, even though he did. No, he was likely trying to get cool, in any way he possibly could. My truck was air-conditioned and comfortable, and there was plenty of room for him and his meager belongings. I could no more have left him there than I could have ignored a starving child.
As I pulled over to stop, his eyes closed and his lips moved as though uttering a prayer of thanks. His knees buckled slightly, and for a moment, I thought he truly would collapse. Instead, he took a deep breath and stood up straight. Lifting his chin, he aimed luminous blue eyes at me and flashed a dazzling smile. His silver belt buckle suggested this man was no ordinary ranch hand but a down-on-his-luck rodeo cowboy who, unless I missed my guess, was heading for Jackson Hole.
A real heartbreaker of a rodeo cowboy, too. Up close, he was even more handsome than he’d been from a distance. Long and lean with tanned, muscular arms, dimples creased his cheeks and black hair curled enticingly from the open edges of his shirt. Several days’ growth of dark beard surrounded full, sensuous lips, darkening a jaw that my fingertips ached to caress. More ebony curls peeked from beneath his hat, making me long to yank off that Stetson to discover what else it was hiding. Oh yes, there was enough gorgeous cowboy to sway a much stronger woman than I ever claimed to be. Tears stung my eyes as something in his expression reminded me of Cody.
My dear, sweet Cody… He’d been gone for two years now, but I hadn’t forgotten that look, and I doubted I ever would.
Determined to mask my roiling emotions, I searched for something amusing to say as I rolled down my window. “Lost your horse?”
My clever tongue was rewarded with another heart-stopping smile. Cody used to say funny things just to make me giggle—which wasn’t difficult since I tend to find humor in nearly any situation—but brushing up on my own repertoire of one-liners to keep this guy smiling seemed like an excellent idea.
His grin was sheepish as he tipped up the brim of his hat. “He sort of drove off without me.”
“Drove off?” I scoffed. “Somehow I doubt that. Seems like he would’ve needed help.”
My handsome cowboy gave me a grim nod. “Oh, he had help all right. My girlfriend dumped me on the highway and took off with the truck, the trailer, and the horse—all of which were actually hers, by the way. She was kind enough to leave me my saddle and my clothes, although a cell phone would’ve been nice.”
I shook my head. “Nice, yes. Helpful, no. They don’t work very well around here. Which kinda makes me mad—I mean, where would you need a phone more than if you were stranded out in the middle of nowhere?”
He glanced around at the vast expanse of sunbaked rangeland. “Is that the name of this place? Nowhere?”
“Sure is.” I couldn’t help giggling. “Want to get out of nowhere?”
“Yes, please,” he replied. “And as quickly as possible.”
“Throw your stuff in the back and hop in,” I said. “We’ll leave nowhere and go…somewhere.”
He did as I suggested, and suddenly the interior of my truck was filled with the pungent aroma of hot, sweaty, dusty—but cologned—cowboy. He’d most likely showered that morning, but it had been one helluva day. The forecast called for the upper nineties—quite a heat wave even for mid-August—and though the humidity was low, some temperatures are best avoided no matter how dry the air.
“You’re a lifesaver,” he said. “I thought that sun was gonna roast me alive.”
“As hot as it gets in these parts, I never go anywhere without water, enough food for a couple of meals, and an umbrella in case I’m ever forced to hike. Want a sandwich?”
“You bet.”
I tossed a nod over my shoulder. “The cooler’s on the backseat. Help yourself. There’s plenty of water.” Although, at that point, a cold beer probably would have been his first choice.
He pulled out two bottles of water and a sandwich, downing the first bottle in three swallows.
“Better now?”
“Much.”
“Let’s see now…” I said as he unwrapped the sandwich. “A cowboy dumped in the middle of nowhere with a saddle and no horse. There’s got to be a country song in that.”
“If you mean a song about a guy bein’ picked up by a girl in a flatbed Ford, I think the Eagles already did that one.”
“I love that song,” I said wistfully. “Guess I always wanted to be that girl.”
“Well, now you are.” He took a bite of the sandwich, chewing it quickly. “How does it feel?”
“Not much different.” This wasn’t entirely true. I wasn’t in the habit of picking up gorgeous cowboys—and this particular cowboy’s presence had me feeling strangely excited. Oh yes, I was very aware of him, and if my brain hadn’t noticed him, my erogenous zones were there to remind me. “For one thing, this isn’t a flatbed Ford, and I’m not what anyone would call a girl anymore.”
He paused in mid-bite. “Why? Have you had a sex-change operation?”
“Nope,” I replied with another giggle. “You can’t call a forty-two-year-old a girl. Well, maybe you could if you happened to be eighty-two yourself, but I’m pretty sure I outgrew the girl category a long time ago—about the time that song was popular.”
Despite the fact that I never once took my eyes off the road, I was aware of his prolonged scrutiny—an assessing gaze that left delightful tingles in its wake.
“Some things improve with age.” He turned toward the window. “You don’t seem like the type to dump a guy in the middle of nowhere.”
Having heard the catch in his voice, I did my best to keep my tone light. Bursting into tears in front of a perfect stranger probably wasn’t on his bucket list. “True—unless he was really obnoxious.”
This particular cowboy would have to have been homicidal or, at the very least, abusive for me to throw him out. He was the most adorable cowboy I’d ever laid eyes on, including the one I’d married.
“I wasn’t being obnoxious.” He fairly bristled with indignation, which seemed to have won out over heartbreak. “I was asleep. I thought she was stopping for gas when I felt the truck slow down. She asked me to take a look at the tires on the trailer, said she thought one had gone flat. While I was checking the tires, she dumped my saddle and duffel bag on the side of the road and drove off. I found this tucked into the saddle.” Reaching into his shirt pocket, he handed me a torn, sweat-soaked scrap of paper.
It’s not working out. Sorry.
“Ouch,” I said with a sympathetic wince. “That’s pretty hard.”
“Yeah.” With an absent nod, he stuffed the note back into his pocket. “I don’t even know what I did wrong. Don’t guess I ever will.”
He seemed nice enough, and he certainly wasn’t ugly. Maybe his girl had breakup issues. As irresistible as he was, I couldn’t imagine breaking his heart while gazing into those eyes of his, and I didn’t even know his name.
She’d probably gone about it the best way possible—a quick, clean break before losing her nerve completely. One glance, one smile, and she’d have forgotten why their relationship wasn’t working. I wasn’t looking forward to dropping him off at the crossroad to the ranch, myself. I had a sudden, overwhelming urge to take him home and wash him, feed him, and tuck him into bed—my bed, to be precise.
I had my doubts about that part. He couldn’t have been more than thirty, and young men generally didn’t seek solace from older women—not that kind of solace, anyway. Consoling him seemed impossible, so I changed the subject.
“Where were you headed?”
“The rodeo in Jackson Hole,” he replied. “I’m a rodeo cowboy.”
“No shit,” I drawled. “I’d never have guessed that. I don’t suppose your girl left you with any money, did she? I mean, I’m not going to charge you for the ride or the lunch, but I’m not going all the way to Jackson Hole, either.”
“I didn’t figure you were.” His downcast expression suggested his hope that he’d been wrong about that. “But at the time, I didn’t really care.”
“Neither did I. I wouldn’t have left you there no matter where you were going. It was…well, let’s just say it was something I couldn’t bring myself to do.”
“Pick up lots of strays, do you?” Turning sideways, he leaned back against the door, a move that not only drew my eye, but also gave me a full-frontal view that made my breath catch in my throat. Oh yes, I’d taken in lots of strays, but none that were anywhere near as attractive.
I shook my head. “Actually picking them up usually isn’t necessary. They all seem to know where I live.”
“If you don’t mind my asking, where do you live? I mean, are we close?”
Obviously, he hoped I lived somewhere near Jackson Hole. I hated to disappoint him. “It’s about another twenty miles—most of which are not on the main highway. I’ll let you out at the turnoff, if that’s okay with you.”
His face fell, but he nodded, apparently resigned to the fact that this ride wasn’t going to be more than a brief respite. “Not much choice, is there?” He gave a fatalistic shrug. “I don’t have enough money on me to pay you to take me to Jackson Hole. I really should pay you for what you’ve already done.”
I caught myself wishing that he did have enough money—or that he would ask me to run off with him and follow the rodeo circuit, never going home at all. I would have loved to throw caution to the wind and do just that, but I had too many responsibilities. Not only did I have a ranch to run, but I also had my father and my kids to look after.
No, scratch that. Chris and Will were both in college. I had a hard time remembering that except when confronted with the sight of their empty rooms as I passed by them every day. Out on the highway I could pretend they were both there at home waiting for me—and Cody, too.
No, regardless of how much money this man might offer to pay me, I couldn’t shirk my duties and simply up and disappear. Nor would I accept his money. He obviously needed to hold on to what little he had stashed in those jeans.
“I couldn’t possibly take money from you,” I protested. “I wouldn’t be much of a Good Samaritan if I did, would I?”
“I suppose not.”
He shrugged again and we drove on in silence. Remaining slouched against the door, he draped his left arm across the headrest and bent up one knee, stretching his legs apart enough that my eyes were continually landing on that section of blue jeans due south of that big, silver belt buckle. From time to time he shifted his hips as though my glances made him uncomfortable, and while I did try to keep my eyes on the road, every once in a while they would stray back to him—and that enticing bulge in his jeans…
“What would it take to get you to drive me all the way to Jackson Hole?” The hint of suggestion in his voice startled me almost as much as the abrupt nature of his query.
Suddenly, my mouth was as dry as a gulch. Reaching for my bottle of water, I took a sip and stole another peek at him. Those luminous eyes peered at me from beneath lids that were heavy with sensuous intent.
His lips curled into a provocative smile. “I’d be willing to bet there’s something I could do for you that would pay you back—or at least make it worth your while.”

 
 

Book Info:

When you find yourself in cowboy heaven…
When lonely widow Angela McClure hires a gorgeous hitchhiking cowboy with an affair in mind, she knows they’ll have to be discreet: her old-fashioned father and the stern ranch foreman adamantly discourage any interaction between her and the ranch hands.

Things can get hot as hell…
Despite their attempts at secrecy, the heat between them is undeniable. To divert suspicion, Angela forms a new plan: she’ll flirt with all of the ranch hands. Suddenly Angela has a whole stable full of sexy-as-sin cowboys to play with, but only one can win her heart.

Buy: Amazon | B&N | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound | Kobo

Meet the Author:

Cheryl BrooksCheryl Brooks is a former critical care nurse turned romance writer. Her Cat Star Chronicles series includes Slave, Warrior, Rogue, Outcast, Fugitive, Hero, Virgin, Stud, Wildcat, and Rebel. Her Cowboy Heaven series includes the Cowboy Delight novella and the Cowboy Heaven novel. Her self-published works include Sex Love and a Purple Bikini, Midnight in Reno, and the Unlikely Lovers series, which includes Unbridled, Uninhibited, Undeniable, and Unrivaled. As a member of the Sextet, she has also published several erotic novellas with Siren/Bookstrand. She is a member of RWA and IRWA and lives with her husband, two sons, two horses, four cats, and one dog in rural Indiana. You can visit her online at cherylbrooksonline.com or email her at cheryl.brooks52@yahoo.com.
Website: http://cherylbrooksonline.com/
Blog: http://cherylbrooksauthor.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.brooks.963
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Twitter: https://twitter.com/CherylCatMaster
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Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

 
 

50 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Cowboy Heaven by Cheryl Brooks”

  1. Monique D

    Unfortunately, yes. He lived in another country, and because I didn’t feel I looked good enough, I never told him I cared. I know he cared about me too; he had talking about travelling over to my country. I never said anything and one day I got a letter from his sister and she told me he was dead; they weren’t sure if it was suicide. I know it sounds like a bad soap opera plot, but it’s true. I’ve always wondered what if I had said something…

  2. Kerry

    Yes, I ran out of fear. He was my best friend. But I wished him well and happiness just the same and so glad he is happy now.

  3. Katina Fragakis

    Yes. I met a man in the 80’s, but I was married so we were just friends. In the 90’s we were both single, but we didn’t see each other often since we live far apart, so I never attempted to further develop the relationship .

  4. glam009

    Yes I was in love with this boy in middle school and really like him and I wish I can tell him that was interested in him….

  5. doveknoll

    Yes, there are actually a couple men I wish I would have told how I felt. Maybe one of them would have worked out and I wouldn’t have married my big mistake.

  6. Kathleen O

    No.. But when I saw the premise for this book, it reminded me a song by arth Brook’s That Summer…It was about a lonely widow woman, who hires a young hand for the summer…

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