Hi Sarah and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Tempted by a Cowboy!
Hi again! I’m baaaAAAAaaaack! But I bring prizes! So it’s all good!
Please summarize the book a la Twitter style for the readers here:
Phillip is, hands down, my most broken Desire hero to date. Jo had been broken about ten years ago and thought she’d put herself back together. But when she meets Phillip, she realizes she’s still got some pretty big cracks! And Phillip has never met a woman who wasn’t interested in him for his fame and his money. And if he doesn’t have his fame and his money . . . who is he? Jo helps him discover who Phillip Beaumont really is.
Please share the opening line of this book:
Jo got out of the truck and stretched. Man, it’d been a long drive from Kentucky to Denver.
(Which is technically two lines, but they’re short!)
Please share a few Random facts about this book…
1. This book was supposed to be the first in the series! But my editor decided he’d be better as the second book, so I had to rework the timeline to put Phillip second!
2. Since Phillip was supposed to be first, he was the original Beaumont. I thought of him in 2012! He was loosely based on an actual man who’s family had owned a large brewery in a midwestern city (cough, cough), but everything else, I made up.
3. I love working exotic breeds of horses into my stories–and this one had four different breeds–the Percheron draft horse, the Appaloosa, the Akhal-Teke (which really is as rare a breed as I say it is in the book–and really did have the highest price paid for a horse ever!) and who could forget Itty Bitty Betty, the Mini-Donkey?
4. Itty Bitty Betty came about because this is one of my darker books and I felt it needed a touch of the ridiculous to lighten it up. What better way to do that than add a ridiculously small donkey?
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?
I’d had Phillip bouncing around my head for a few years. The heartbreaking scene where Jo confronts him about his drinking problem–I had that all planned out for a long time. So there really weren’t too many surprises from him.
Jo, on the other hand, was more of a blank slate. I knew she was a recovering alcoholic and she’d been in a bad drunk driving accident but aside from the big black moment, where she reveals her secrets, I didn’t know much about her. So her reactions to Phillip and all of his charming charm were a fresh discovery for me.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I did a LOT of research into weird horse breeds! The Akhal-Teke horse is an extremely rare breed that was probably the foundation of the Arabian and Thoroughbred lines. It has this distinctive coloring–like a Palomino, but with a shimmer! Phillip buys his Akhal-Teke horse from Turkmenistan, where the breed originated, so I had to do a lot of research into their temperament, confirmation, etc. Akhal-Tekes have an insane amount of endurance, which Phillip’s horse, Kandar’s Golden Sun, uses to just keep going and going and going.
I also spent a lot of time looking at pictures of mini-donkeys. THE CUTE! IT BURNS!!
The First kiss…
“I did it for me,” he told her.
It should have sounded like a selfish announcement from one of the most selfish men in the world, but it didn’t. His voice was low and steady and he looked at her with such heated fervor that she knew the touch of his lips would scorch her and there’d be no turning back.
“Because I couldn’t live with myself if I let it go.”
“Oh,” was all she could say. It seemed inadequate. So she surrendered to the pull he had on her and kissed him. She couldn’t fight her attraction to him any longer and she was tired of trying.
It was a simple touch of her lips to his, but he sighed into her with such contentment that it demolished her reserves. Skin on skin. Desire burned through her. Her nipples went tight—so tight it almost hurt. Only his touch could ease the pain.
She was kissing Phillip Beaumont, really kissing him. She tilted her head for better access. He responded by opening his mouth for her. When she swept her tongue in to touch his, he groaned, “Jo.” Then he kissed her back.
Any sense she had left evaporated. She ran her fingers up his back, feeling each muscle before she laced her fingers through his hair. Everything about her felt…odd. Different. Warm and hot and shivery all at the same time.
She wanted to see the body that was doing things to her—pooling heat low in her belly that demanded attention right now. The weight between her legs got so heavy so fast that she was suddenly having trouble standing.
Did any scene have you crying or laughing while writing it?
Oh, this book was a crier, that’s for sure. This is the scene where Jo first confronts Phillip about his drinking and reveals her scars:
“I’d wake up and not know where I was, who I was with. College guys, older guys—men I didn’t know. I couldn’t remember meeting them or going home with them.” She shrugged, a bare shoulder going up and down. The movement pushed the shirt down even farther. “Couldn’t remember the sex—couldn’t remember if I wanted it or not.”
Phillip tensed, torn between despair, desire and sheer confusion. Confusion won. Instead of a swath of smooth skin, Jo was revealing a back covered in puckers and ripples.
“I’d stumble back to my room and scan my phone for pictures or messages. For the memories, I told myself, but there were things I’d done….” She paused, but it was only the barest hint of emotion. “Facing them—no. It was easier to find another party and tell myself I was having a good time than it was to accept what I’d done. What I’d become.”
The shirt fell off her right arm, revealing the true extent of the damage. Most of her back was scarred—horrible marks that went below the waistband of her pants. She tilted her head to the left and lifted her shoulder-length hair. Even her hairline was messed up—rough and uneven where the scars stole farther up. “The only reason I know his name is because my granny saved the article. Tony Holmes. He ran a red light, got T-boned so hard by a big SUV that it flipped the car. He wasn’t buckled in. I was.”
She tilted her body so he could see the contours of her back. Hidden among the mass of twisted skin were other scars—long, neat ones that looked surgical. “The car caught fire, but they got me out in time.”
For the first time in this dry recitation of facts, she seemed to feel something. “He wouldn’t have felt the flames anyway.”
Jesus. His stomach turned. This wasn’t some crazy, ‘let’s get in touch with our feelings’ kind of talk. This was serious—life and death.
He didn’t want to believe her—he’d never wanted to believe anything less in his life—but there was no arguing with the scars.
It could have been me, he thought. The realization made him dizzy. It could have been him—the wild party he didn’t remember, the strange person buckled in next to him that he wouldn’t have remembered, either. There was only one reason something like that hadn’t happened. He wished to God that reason was because he was a responsible man.
But it wasn’t. No, Ortiz—his driver—was the reason. His brothers Chadwick and Matthew had decreed that Phillip would have a driver whenever he was at a company-sponsored event. It was company policy.
A company policy that no one else in the company had to follow.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would be absolutely crucial to include and why?
This scene is where Phillip and Jo meet for the first time. Let’s just say that Phillip doesn’t make the best of impressions!
“Damn,” one of the hands said, “the boss.”
Everyone but Jo and Richard made themselves scarce. Sun found his second wind and began a full-fledged fit.
“This isn’t going to be a problem, is it?” Jo asked Richard, who was busy dusting off his jeans and straightening his shirt.
“Shouldn’t be.” He did not sound convincing. “Mr. Beaumont wants the best for Sun.”
The but on the end of that statement was as loud as if Richard had actually said the word. But Phillip Beaumont was a known womanizer who made headlines around the world for his conquests.
Richard turned his attention back to her. “You’re hired. I’ll do my level-best to make sure that Mr. Beaumont stays clear of you.”
In other words, Richard had absolutely no control of the situation. A fact that became more apparent as the limo got closer. The older man stood at attention as the vehicle rolled to a stop in front of the barn.
Phillip Beaumont didn’t scare her. Or intimidate her. She’d dealt with handsome, entitled men before and none of them had ever tempted her to fall back into her old ways. None of them made her forget the scars. This wouldn’t be any different. She was just here for the job.
The limo door opened. A bare, female leg emerged from the limo at the same time as giggling filled the air. Behind her, Jo heard Sun kick it up a notch.
The first leg was followed by a second. Jo wasn’t that surprised when a second set of female legs followed the first. By that time, the first woman had stepped clear of the limo’s door and Jo could see that, while she was wearing clothing, the dress consisted of little more than a bikini’s worth of black sequined material. The second woman stood up and pulled the red velvet material of her skirt down around her hips.
Beside her, Richard made a sound that was stuck somewhere between a sigh and a groan. Jo took that to mean that this wasn’t the first time Phillip had shown up with women dressed like hookers.
Betty nickered in boredom and went back to cropping grass. Jo pretty much felt the same way. Of course this was how Phillip Beaumont rolled. Those headlines hadn’t lied. The thing that had been less honest had been that interview in Western Horseman. That had probably been more about rehabilitating his brand image than about his actual love and respect for horses.
But on the bright side, if he’d brought his own entertainment to the ranch, he’d leave her to her work. That’s what was important here—she had to save Sun, cement her reputation as a horse trainer and add this paycheck to the fund that she’d use to buy her own ranch. Adding Beaumont Farms to her résumé was worth putting up with the hassle of, well, this.
Then another set of legs appeared. Unlike the first sets, these legs were clad in what looked like expensive Italian leather shoes and fine-cut wool trousers. Phillip Beaumont himself stood and looked at his farm over the top of the limo, all blond hair and gleaming smile. He wore an odd look on his face. He almost looked relieved.
His gaze settled on her. As their eyes met across the drive, Jo felt…disoriented. Looking at Phillip Beaumont was one thing, but apparently being looked at by Phillip Beaumont?
Something else entirely.
If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be and why?
Never stop changing. Both Jo and Phillip are stuck in their ways of life and neither of them know how to move forward. They’re both so afraid to change, of how hard it’ll be to make a meaningful change. But they don’t, as Phillip says , have to join hands and sing Kumbaya!
What are you currently working on? What other releases so you have planned for 2014?
Tempted by a Cowboy is my third-to-last release for the year! WHEW! In November, the third book in the Beaumont Heirs series will be out, A Beaumont Christmas Wedding. Harlequin is rereleasing A Man of Distinction in December under the title Fathers by Surprise–it’s a Duo with Lisa Childs’ book, His Baby Surprise. It’s got the cutest baby on the cover! And finally, I”m working on a free novella that should be released on Christmas Day, so that’s my Christmas present to everyone! WHEW!
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: I’m giving away two copies of Tempted by a Cowboy (either in ebook for international readers or print with bonus goodies for US readers) PLUS a Harlequin Junkie exclusive Team Phillip Percheron Drafts t-shirt! That’s three chances to win a bunch of awesome!
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: I’ve actually ridden a Percheron before, but I’ve never even seen an Akhal-Teke and there’s no way a mini-donkey could carry me (although I’ve seen some in person and they are SO CUTE!). Have you ever ridden a horse? What kinds?
Phillip saw a massive trailer parked off to the side of the barn with what looked like a garden hose and—was that an extension cord?—running from the barn to the trailer. Odd. Had he invited someone out to the farm? Usually, when he had guests, they stayed at the house.
He took a swig of coffee. He didn’t like that unsettling feeling of not knowing what was going on.
As he got closer, he saw that Sun wasn’t grazing. He was running. That wasn’t a good sign.
Sun wasn’t better. He was the same. God, what a depressing thought.
Then Phillip saw her. It was obvious she was a her—tall, clad in snug jeans and a close-fit flannel shirt, he could see the curve of her hips at three hundred yards. Longish hair hung underneath a brown hat. She sure as hell didn’t look like the kind of woman he brought home with him—not even to the farm. So what was she doing here?
Standing in the middle of the paddock while Sun ran in wild circles, that’s what.
Phillip shook his head. This had to be a post-hangover hallucination. If Sun weren’t better, why would anyone be in a paddock with him? The horse was too far gone. It wasn’t safe. The horse had knocked a few of the hired hands out of commission for a while. The medical bills were another thing Chadwick rode his ass about.
Not only did the vision of this woman not disperse, but Phillip noticed something else that couldn’t be real. Was that a donkey in there with her? He was pretty sure he’d remember buying a donkey that small.
He looked the woman over again, hoping for some sign of recognition. Nothing. He was sure he’d remember thighs and a backside like that. Maybe she’d look different up close.
He walked the rest of the way down to the paddock, his gaze never leaving her. No, she wasn’t his type, but variety was the spice of life, wasn’t it?
“Good morning,” he said in a cheerful voice as he leaned against the fence.
Her back stiffened but she gave no other sign that she’d heard him. The small donkey craned its neck around to give him a look that could only be described as doleful as Sun went from a bucking trot to a rearing, snorting mess in seconds.
Jesus, that horse could kill her. But he tried not to let the panic creep into his voice. “Miss, I don’t think it’s safe to be in there right now.” Sun made a sound that was closer to a scream than a whinny. Phillip winced at the noise.
The woman’s head dropped in what looked like resignation. Then she patted the side of her leg as she turned and began a slow walk back to the gate. Betty followed close on her heels.
The donkey’s name was Betty. How did he know that?
Oh, crap—he did know her. Had she been at the party? Had they slept together? He didn’t remember seeing any signs of a female in his room or in the house.
He watched as she walked toward him. She was a cowgirl, that much was certain—and not one of those fake ones whose hats were covered in rhinestones and whose jeans had never seen a saddle. The brown hat fit low on her forehead, the flannel shirt was tucked in under a worn leather belt that had absolutely no adornment and her chest—
Phillip was positive he’d remember spending a little quality time with that chest. Despite the nearly unisex clothing, the flannel shirt did nothing to hide the generous breasts that swelled outward, begging him to notice them.
Which he did, of course. But he could control his baser urges to ogle a woman. So, after a quick glance at what had to be perfection in breast form, he snapped his eyes up to her face. The movement made his head swim.
It’d be so nice if he could remember her, because she was certainly a memorable woman. Her face wasn’t made up or altered. She had tanned skin, a light dusting of freckles and a nose that looked as if it might have been broken once. It should have made her look awkward, but he decided it was fitting. There was a certain beauty in the imperfect.
Then she raised her eyes to his and he felt rooted to the spot. Her eyes were clear and bright, a soft hazel. He could get lost in eyes like that.
Not that he got the chance. She scowled at him. The shock of someone other than Chadwick looking so displeased with him put Phillip on the defensive. Still, she was a woman and women were his specialty. So he waited until she’d made it out of the gate and closed it behind Betty.
Once the gate clicked, she didn’t head for where he stood. Instead, she went back to ignoring him entirely as she propped a booted foot up on the gate and watched the show Sun was putting on for them.
What. The. Hell.
He was going to have to amend his previous statement—most women were his specialty.
Time to get back to basics. One compliment, coming right up. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone wear a pair of jeans like you do.” That should do the trick.
Or it would have for any other woman. Instead, she dropped her forehead onto the top bar of the gate—a similar motion to the one she’d made out in the paddock moments ago. Then she turned her face to him. “Was it worth it?”
His generous smile faltered. “Was what worth it?”
Her soft eyes didn’t seem so soft anymore. “The blackout. Was it worth it?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
That got a smirk out of her, just a small curve of her lips. It was gone in a flash. “That’s the definition of a blackout, isn’t it? You have no idea who I am or what I’m doing here, do you?”
Sun made that unholy noise again. Phillip tensed. The woman he didn’t know looked at the horse and shook her head as if the screaming beast was a disappointment to her. Then she looked at Phillip and shook her head again.
Unfamiliar anger coursed through him, bringing a new clarity to his thoughts. Who the hell was this woman, anyway? “I know you shouldn’t be climbing into the paddock with Sun. He’s dangerous.”
Another smirk. Was she challenging him?
“But he wasn’t when you bought him, was he?”
How did she know about that? An idea began to take shape in his mind like a Polaroid developing. He shook his head, hoping the image would get clearer—fast. It didn’t. “No.”
She stared at him a moment longer. It shouldn’t bother him that she knew who he was. Everyone knew who he was. That went with being the face of the Beaumont Brewery.
But she didn’t look at him like everyone else did—with that gleam of delight that went with meeting a celebrity in the flesh. Instead, she just looked disappointed.
Well, she could just keep on looking disappointed. He turned his attention to the most receptive being here—the donkey. “How are you this morning, Betty?”
When the woman didn’t correct him, he grinned. He’d gotten that part right, at least.
He rubbed the donkey behind the ears, which resulted in her leaning against his legs and groaning in satisfaction. “Good girl, aren’t you?” he whispered.
Maybe he’d have to get a little donkey like this. If Betty wasn’t his already.
Maybe, a quiet voice in the back of his head whispered, that blackout wasn’t worth it.
He took another swig of coffee.
How can she resist the cowboy’s smile when it promises so much pleasure?
Phillip Beaumont likes his drinks strong and his women easy. So why is he flirting with his new horse trainer, Jo Spears, who challenges him at every turn? Phillip wants nothing but the chase…until the look in Jo’s haunted hazel eyes makes him yearn for more….
Sure, Jo’s boss is as jaded and stubborn as Sun, the multimillion-dollar stallion she was hired to train. But it isn’t long before she starts spending days and nights with the sexy cowboy. Maybe Sun isn’t the only male on the Beaumont ranch worth saving!
Meet the Author:
Sarah M. Anderson is an award-winning author who writes new western romances, where the cowboys are the Indians, but they also have cell phones, pick-up trucks, and occasionally advanced degrees, because she hates a stupid hero. In addition to self-publishing two novels, she’s sold over eighteen books to Harlequin Desire and Superromance, as well as Samhain.
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