Spotlight & Giveaway: Falling for a Cowboy by Karen Rock

Posted January 9th, 2018 by in Blog, Spotlight / 39 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Karen Rock to HJ!
Spotlight&Giveaway

Hi Karen and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Falling for a Cowboy!

 
Hi, everyone and Happy New Year!
 

Please summarize the book for the readers here:

Amberley James, a champion barrel-racer is at the top of her game when a genetic condition causes her to become legally blind, crushing her dreams of making it on a professional barrel-racing tour group. She’s been brought up to believe that winning is everything and if you’re not first, your last and if you’re last, you’re not much. Without her sight, she wants to give up and hide away from the world, something her long-time best friend, Jared Cade refuses to let her do.

Everything in life’s come easily to professional football player/rancher Jared Cade, middle son of the Cade ranching family.He’s extremely good-looking, a gifted athlete, and a bit of a heartbreaker. He’s Carbondale’s hometown hero where’s he returned during the off-season to rehab a sports injury and reconnect with his best friend who’s determined to shut him out. Well. Too bad. He’s not taking no for an answer. He’s got an ingenious plan to get Amberley back in the saddle, competing again. He’s won’t to let her fail if only she’ll trust him… although trust is not all he wants from her… Watching her push through her physical challenges and inspiring children at the equine therapy program arouses powerful and unsettling romantic feelings for Amberley, feelings he suspects she might return. The best things in life don’t come easily, he learns when it comes to Amberley. He’s determined to win her heart and become part of the dreams he’s determined to make come true.
 

What’s your favorite line(s) from the book?:

Jared was right. Wings didn’t make a Pegasus. Working limbs, perfect eyesight…they didn’t make a human either. What we imagined and strived to be counted. Real strength rooted itself inside, where it mattered most.

 

When you sat down to start this book, what was the biggest challenge you faced? What were you most excited about?

My biggest challenge was learning the ins and outs of barrel-racing- not just as a viewer, but as a rider! I needed to know all the insider details and… on top of that… I needed to know how a legally blind competitor would experience a race… and life. Amberley is one of my most challenging and most rewarding characters to write. In her POV, I got to walk in her boots and experience what it would be like to lose your vision but, in a way, gain even deeper insight into the world, others, and especially yourself.

 

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

Pro-football player and rancher Jared Cade leaves a trail of broken hearts wherever he goes. He’s never had to work hard for anything as he’s naturally good, annoyingly so if you ask his feisty sister Jewel, at everything. However, he’s also very loyal, determined and protective. He never quits and what surprised me about Jared was when he discovered that, for the first time in his life, something he wanted wouldn’t just fall in his lap–namely, Amberley–In this novel, he gets the dose of humility he needs to become a more evolved man, a humble, yet confident cowboy who sweeps Amberley off her feet by making a huge sacrifice for her, a grand gesture that’d steal any gal’s heart.

Amberley is a gifted barrel-racer who’s crushed to discover her vision problems are a result of a genetic condition making her blind. She wants to hide from the world … disappear… because she’s always been taught that to count, you have to win, something she believes she can never do again. Yet when she begins helping challenged children in an equine therapy program, she learns what true champions are… these small, wounded warriors inspire her to accept Jared’s risky offer to get back in the saddle again and compete… not necessarily for a trophy but for something even more valuable… her pride and ability to set an example for others to never let challenges hold you back from chasing your dreams.

 

What have you learned about your own writing process/you as an author while writing this book?

I’ve learned not to shy away from raw, messy, emotional moments… to make every character, right down to Amberley’s beloved horse (and other best friend), Harley, rich and complex. The more books I pen, the less I care about writing the “perfect book” and more about writing an authentic one. Writing a story from a character’s POV who’s lost so much and to show her comeback as one that’s not easy, or pretty, but a hard fought struggle that’s instead gritty, at times dark, and full of setbacks… but ultimately inspiring… has shown me that my true path as an author is to never hold back when it comes to writing with deep and powerful emotion..
 

The First kiss…

The hay rustled as Jared kneeled before her. His thumbs brushed the damp from her cheeks, the gesture achingly tender. “Tell me what I can do.” His voice was deep. Gentle. The same tone Amberley had heard him use a hundred times when soothing frightened foals.

“Please.” The single word emerged in a sob. “Leave.”

He pulled her into his arms instead, and his steady heartbeat drummed against hers, the warmth of his lithe, muscular body seeping through his shirt. “Anything but that.”

She lifted her tear-streaked face, trying to meet his eye, to convey everything she felt, the despair, the anguish, every black emotion welling up inside her. She couldn’t bear any of it. A choking sound escaped her.

His hands smoothed down her back. “Shhhhhhhhhh,” he breathed in her ear. A shiver tore through her. “I’ve got you, darlin’.” He squeezed her waist. “I’ve got you.”

Her fingers landed on his rounded shoulders and dented the firm flesh. His body was warm and hard…solid in a way nothing in her life was right now. She buried her head in the cords of his neck. “Please,” she whimpered, not even sure what she begged for anymore, a flood of sensations at his proximity jumbling her emotions.

His hands rose to cup the back of her head, and then he angled her face up to his. The unexpected move struck the air from her lungs. Was he about to—

His mouth grazed hers, the barest of touches, and then, when she didn’t move away, he kissed her properly, with increasing pressure, the brush of his lips electrifying, scattering her thoughts. He tasted like caramel apples and smelled like leather and sandalwood. Was this real?

With a low moan, her mouth parted under the cowboy’s onslaught and her body reacted at once: a prickling at her legs, a thumping heart. Her bones lost their snap, and she melted against him. Their short breaths mingled in the stall. Fast and hard. His arms wove around her and held her close. When her head tipped back, her hat fell off and her braid whisked over the curve of his tensing bicep.

A deep groan ripped out of him, a sound she’d never heard from him before. Passionate. Masculine. Primal. Frissons of delicious awareness skittered over her flesh. Then he kissed her more urgently and she responded in kind. Light-headed, she held on tight, the world in a tailspin. Their tongues tangled in a dance that made her pulse race and her skin burn.

“Amberley.” He breathed her name like an invocation, barely breaking their kiss.

“Hmm?” She threaded her fingers in the crisp strands of his hair, unable to open her eyes.
His lips slid across her jaw, nibbling the sensitive flesh of her earlobe before they glided lower along her jaw. “You’re beautiful, babe.”

Babe?

He called all of his girls babe. Especially when he couldn’t remember their names.

Tension locked up every inch of her. She propped an eye open. Then the other. Despite her lack of vision, she could suddenly see this disastrous moment clearly. In minutes, he’d gone from treating her like a child to seducing her like one of his flings.

And she was neither.

 

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

There’s one scene that I flat out cried-no-bawled while writing… but I won’t share that because you need to experience it yourself.

This scene, where Amberley returns to the saddle for the first time to ride competitively using Jared’s ingenious device to guide her around the barrels made me laugh with joy!

“Turn him around. The barrel’s right there,” Jared said, steely, his voice coming through the walkie-talkie affixed to her saddle full up of no-backdown.

It prodded up her chin.

Right. Jared dared her to prove herself a quitter because he predicted she wouldn’t. No one knew her better than Jared, even herself.

She guided Harley around the barrel, then rose in the saddle, giving him his head several paces later. In an instant, he took the bit and kicked into a trot that rapidly carried them across the empty space toward the second barrel.

His silver mane flew behind his lifted head, his pace, his bearing oozing confidence. Excitement. He knew this course as well as she did. Centering herself in the saddle, she counted his strides and prepared herself for the second barrel.

“Almost on it,” she heard Jared say, “Rate Harley!”

Without warning, yellow burst before her, quicker than she’d expected. Alarmed, she tried gathering Harley, but he strode a length too far, their rhythm out of sync. When he caught sight of the fence, he balked, then jerked to a stop so abruptly her teeth bit her tongue.

She leaned down and stroked his quivering neck. “It’s okay, Harley,” she murmured over the thumping, the banging of her heart.

“It’s okay.”

What a miserable mess. A failure.

“You quitting?” Jared’s holler was so loud she could hear it through the walkie-talkie and in the clear, warm air.

“Nope.”

“That’s my girl.”

Locking her jaw, she brought Harley around.

“Barrel’s a hand’s length away,” Jared said. “Position him for the last one, now.”

She closed her eyes, pictured the final barrel, then gave Harley his head. His legs flashed in a familiar gallop. At that speed, she instantly knew their position and how long before the last turn. Her body relaxed and rocked in time with Harley’s, the familiar rhythm returning at last.

One, two, three…

She opened her eyes, and sure enough, the yellow loomed. Instinctively, she eased back into her pocket the moment her thigh flashed by the barrel, then rotated her body through a turn she felt more than she saw. Harley responded to her cue and executed a tight turn.

They thundered back in the remembered direction of the starting line.

In a second, they swept through and past the gate.

“Whoa! Hold up!” hollered Jared as they flashed by him and a barking Petey.

Oh, but it felt too good to stop! Jared jogged beside her and snagged Harley’s bridle just as she pulled him up. Her breath came in short, hard pants, her pulse thundering against her eardrums. She’d done it. She’d raced a course for the first time since losing her vision.

“What was my time?” she gasped.

“Wasn’t clocking you.”

“Will you next time?”

“So, you’re not quitting?”

“Never!” She laughed, exhilarated, pumped with enough adrenaline to lift her right off this saddle and into the sky. “Let’s go again.”

 

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

I would share this scene because it would demonstrate if the actors had enough range to make us feel what these characters feel and also if they have chemistry.

Jared advanced. “We care about each other, why make this complicated?”
“Because I deserve to be wooed. Chased. Convinced. And you don’t get to know if you’ll win in the end.”
Amberley didn’t have to see to imagine his mouth dropping open, his brows meeting over his nose. Had a woman ever talked this way to Jared before? She doubted it. Or if they had, he’d have moved on quick.
Well. So be it.
“Woo you?”
She would have laughed at his utter bewilderment if not for the emotion jittering inside. Did Jared even know how to woo a woman? They usually chased him. It’d be interesting to see him try. For the first time since her vision loss, she felt like her old self…no, better than that. She’d been tested by adversity and respected herself now more than she did after winning any of her world championships. Jared, on the other hand, had never had to struggle for a thing in his life and it showed.
“I deserve it,” she continued, “just like any woman.” Her lack of vision didn’t make her less than others.
A tense silence descended and beads of perspiration rose on her forehead as she waited for him to speak. Maybe she’d scared him away…and maybe that wouldn’t be a bad thing, no matter what her aching heart told her. She didn’t need a man who wouldn’t move mountains to win her heart.
“You deserve everything,” he breathed, sliding his fingers down the length of her arm.
“Then show me.”

 

Readers should read this book….

First and foremost, this is a beautiful, heartfelt friends to love story that will sweep you off your feet. (Jared wanted me to tell you that 😉 Secondly, Amberley, a blind barrel-racer, is a deserving heroine you’ll root for. Her strength and determination, as well as her story and the stories of the challenged children in the novel, are deeply inspiring and up-lifting. This book is about the incredible courage it takes to overcome physical challenges to reach your dreams, and the power of love to help you through adversity. Winning in love, in life, isn’t an arbitrary achievement, but a series of steps taken towards a goal one sets for oneself, the main objective: to bring inspiration and happiness to others. Everyone roots for the underdog and loves a comeback story and FALLING FOR A COWBOY has it all.
 

What are you currently working on? What are your up-coming releases?

Currently I’m working on Deceptive Desires (Dallas After Dark, Book Three) in my new sexy-suspense series, set in a red-hot, elite male strip club in Dallas. Dangerous Moves (Dallas After Dark) comes out February 13th- the day before Valentine’s Day! It’s got an average rating of 4.6 stars from early reviewers who have dubbed it “Hot, steamy… utter perfection.” Preorder it now so you can indulge in it along with your chocolate and bubble bath… because isn’t that how we all want to spend Valentine’s Day? lol.

I have several exciting releases this year! Bad Boy Rancher (Rocky Mountain Cowboys, Book Three) releases on April 1, 2018. Deadly Games (Dallas After Dark, Book Two) releases July 17, 2018. A Cowboy’s Pride (Rocky Mountain Cowboys, Book Four) releases September 2018 and Deceptive Desires (Dallas After Dark, Book Three) releases December 2018. In 2019, I’ll have three more Rocky Mountain Cowboys books releasing followed by another two novels in the series in 2020! If you don’t already subscribe to my newsletter, stop by my website to sign-up and get the latest news about release dates, blog tours, giveaways and more.
 

Thanks for blogging at HJ!

 

Giveaway: An autographed, print copy of CHRISTMAS AT CADE RANCH (Rocky Mountain Cowboys Book One- available now) or BAD BOY RANCHER (Rocky Mountain Cowboys Book Three- to be delivered to you in February)- Winner’s choice.

 

To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Women are speaking up in the #Me,Too movement like never before. Some critics believe the Romance genre reinforces outdated gender stereotypes while others believe Romance novels empower women. Which side are you on and why?

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Excerpt from Falling for a Cowboy:

“Amberley, please,” Jared pleaded, his voice as raw as a bruise. “I’ve got two left feet and a swollen tongue around you lately. Nothing I say or do comes out right. I don’t know if we’re coming or going, but I know I want to find out. Give me a chance.”

He framed her face with his hands then leaned over and kissed her. Thoroughly, sweetly, wonderfully. For a moment, everything stilled: her breath, movement, her heart. The world, possibly.

“No!” She shoved his chest.

“No?” His eyelashes blinked rapidly, brushing against her temple.

“It’s not that easy.” Her breathing slowly returned to normal, though her heart still pumped overtime. “You don’t get to decide when and where and how.”

“But I thought…”

“If you want me, you’re going to have to work for me.” She ducked under his arm and strode forward with her arms reaching for the tree she glimpsed in front of her. She mustn’t stumble or fall. Time to declare her independence. Stand tall. When she reached the tree, she rested her boots on its protruding roots and raised her chin.

Jared advanced. “We care about each other, why make this complicated?”

“Because I deserve to be wooed. Chased. Convinced. And you don’t get to know if you’ll win in the end.”

She didn’t have to see to imagine his mouth dropping open, his brows meeting over his nose. Had a woman ever talked this way to Jared before? She doubted it. Or if they had, he’d have moved on quick.

Well. So be it.

“Woo you?”

She would have laughed at his utter bewilderment if not for the emotion jittering inside. Did Jared even know how to woo a woman? They usually chased him. It’d be interesting to see him try. For the first time since her vision loss, she felt like her old self…no, better than that. She’d been tested by adversity and respected herself now more than she did after winning any of her world championships. Jared, on the other hand, had never had to struggle for a thing in his life and it showed.

“I deserve it,” she continued, “just like any woman.” Her lack of vision didn’t make her less than others.

A tense silence descended and beads of perspiration rose on her forehead as she waited for him to speak. Maybe she’d scared him away…and maybe that wouldn’t be a bad thing, no matter what her aching heart told her. She didn’t need a man who wouldn’t move mountains to win her heart.

“You deserve everything,” he breathed, sliding his fingers down the length of her arm.

“Then show me.”

Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
 
 

Book Info:

Doesn’t he get that she’s blind?

Barrel racer Amberley James wants to join the premier rodeo circuit more than anything, but she faces the ultimate hurdle when she loses her eyesight to a rare genetic condition. All she’d ever wanted seems out of reach.Giving up is the only option…until her best friend and local hero, Jared Cade steps in. The last thing she wants is Jared’s help. But his persistence at encouraging her to get back in the saddle is ridiculously annoying. And undeniably inspiring…

Book Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | kobo | BAM |
 
 

Meet the Author:

Award-winning author Karen Rock is both sweet & spicy—at least when it comes to her writing! The author of YA and adult contemporary books writes spicy suspense and small-town romances. A big believer in Happily-Ever-After, Karen loves creating unforgettable stories that leave her readers smiling. Karen is an avid reader and baker who loves having the Adirondack Park as her backyard, where she lives with her husband and daughter who make her life complete.
Website | Facebook | Twitter |
 
 
 

39 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Falling for a Cowboy by Karen Rock”

  1. Mary Preston

    Middle of the road for me. It really does depend upon the story. Especially how the characters are depicted.

  2. janinecatmom

    I think it would depend on the story. Most of the time I prefer a heroine who is not a strong outspoken woman. I like someone I can relate to more.

  3. laurieg72

    I think romance novels showcase women going after what they want in life, whether it be an education, job fulfillment, a relationship, or their sex life.

  4. Juli Huber Hall

    I’m not really on either side but if I chose one it would be more power to woman because it’s time for women to be treated equally

  5. lraines78

    I think it depends on which romance genre you read. ones I read tend to empower women.

  6. Daniel M

    empower women, i’m a guy and my fav movies are tough gals (like wonder woman, kill bill)

  7. dholcomb1

    I believe it’s empowering. Many are women writers writing for women, about women, and honoring women. Romance has evolved and many people don’t realize how far it has come.

  8. Olivia F.

    I am so excited for Karen Rock’s Rocky Mountain Cowboys series. Holy cow, that’s a volatile question in the giveaway box. I’m not sure which side I am on, and I think it depends on the book. Some can be extremely empowering to women, and others are not. As a genre, there’s a lot of diversity, and I think that needs to be acknowledged. Some romance novels can be extremely forward-thinking and others less so.

  9. Linda May

    I believe in going after what you want & don’t let anybody stand in your way. Thanks for your generosity.

  10. Cheryl Hastings

    I think it’s it honestly depends on the book, how it’s written and what the storyline is. But I believe in general it’s more about empowering women to get what the want and need.

  11. Teresa Williams

    I believe they empower women .I like when a woman gets what she wants herself.

  12. isisthe12th

    I would like to believe Romance Novels empower woman because there are so many good stories that can uplift you. Thank you

  13. wendy rinebold

    I think there is a reason why so many women love romance novels. Its not because we want to fall into gender roles. There are so many different kinds of romance novels now that many reinforce independent women and reject stereotypes. Loving romance does not mean loving outdated gender rolls.

  14. carol L

    I believe thy empower women also. Through all the different storylines in books we see what can be, what can happen if we empower ourselves with confidence and never quiting. I love this book. Thank you for the opportunity.
    Carol Luciano
    Lucky4750 ,(at) aol (dot) com

  15. Karina Angeles

    I think romance novels empower the heroine. They break free from the gender stereotype and (usually with help from the hero) make their own happy ending.

  16. eawells

    Depends on the story but I think there’s a learning curve where women are learning to stand up for themselves.

  17. Glenda

    It depends entirely on the story – in all genres. However, these days I’ve seen and read more empowering ones.

  18. Kay Garrett

    As a whole, I think a great written book can have both – genre rolls (I see nothing wrong with this or roll reversals too) and empowerment to both women and men. I think both men and woman can be the strong one or better yet work together as a team in a romance to become one extremely strong unit. I do love when one (either boy or girl) is shown by the other just how strong they are without even knowing it. True love is a support system but not just someone to prop you up. 🙂 No one can survive completely with a “me” only attitude. That’s why it’s called #MeToo as in you add to me – adding the love for the empty spaces in my heart. Like the saying goes – no man (or woman) is an island. We need companionship and love in our lives to make us whole. Books that show this type of romance are the ones flying off the shelves – in my opinion.

  19. Patricia B.

    I think it depends on the romance book. In most cases they show strong women willing to fight for what they want to be and for those they love. Some of these women have been victims, but their example shows that you can overcome it and make a good life for yourself. There are still romances being written where the woman is a doormat and accepts it like many of the older romances. When I was a librarian, I would pick out books from different genre to read. The Harlequin size men’s western and action series definitely present women as stereotypical brainless, dependent, sex objects. I haven’t found that in any romance I’ve ever read.

  20. lesley McIntosh

    Varies greatly with different authors but I feel a good romance novel should show the empowerment for both the woman and the man , and their contentment with the relationship – I like the #Me too movement and great to see women speaking out but of course there are men as well who have been the victim of harassment from women so it is important both partners feel comfortable in a relationship .

  21. Diana Tidlund

    For me it depends on the story . I think magazines and ads are more worrisome then romance books.

  22. Linda Herold

    I think it depends on the story. If they were showing women in the wrong light though, I don’t think romances would be as popular!

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