Hi Eve and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Heart of the Texas Doctor!
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
Graham McBride is a cardiothoracic surgeon in Last Stand, Texas. He’s dedicated, hardworking, traditional–and hot. But Graham married young and divorced, and has no interest in going down that road again.
Bella Benson is young, hardworking and unconventional. She owns one of the local hair salons. She’s been crushing on Graham for a while now, though they’ve never met in person.
When Graham meets Bella he’s immediately drawn to her. She’s totally different from any woman he’s ever dated. But there’s no denying that Bella Benson is smokin’.
Before they know it they’re in the middle of a sizzling fling. And all too soon they’re falling in love. But for a smart man, Graham is clueless when it comes to love and he has to prove to Bella that he’s worth risking her heart.
Please share the opening lines of this book:
“Matchmaker at two o’clock,” Turner McBride said to his brother Graham.
“Damn. Maybe if I don’t make eye contact she’ll go away.”
“Doubtful. She’s headed this way.”
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
- I had an intriguing working title of this book. I called it Graham.:) Well, that shows you where my mind goes when I start a book.
- Here’s a link to my spotify playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/egad10/playlist/3d1Qxn2xMChg4mBuuRkUnz?si=87v4R7c-TRCtjWELX4l1kw
- For research the Tule team and some of the Last Stand authors took a trip to Fredericksburg, Texas to get a feel for our new town set in the Texas Hill Country.
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?
Bella is a free spirit. And since she’s a hairstylist she loves to change her hair color all the time. She’s also been on her own since she was seventeen when her parents died. So she’s very capable and independent.
Graham is a good bit older than Bella, and has basically dated every single woman in town. But he’s very gun-shy and never dates a woman for long. He’s a doctor and so looks at the world through a doctor’s eyes.
Bella’s cat, Abby (named after my cat I had years ago), decides she doesn’t like Graham once she realizes Bella is dating him. Graham sets out with single-minded determination to win over Abby. Which he does, mostly by bribery.
I love the cast of secondary characters, many who will get their own stories. Graham has two brothers and a sister and Bella has no family but she does have some best girl friends. Some of the secondary characters are heroes and heroines (Bella’s two best girlfriends) from other authors’ Last Stand books, because we like to connect the characters in our town.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
Graham and Bella’s first meeting. I think it sets the scene for the rest of the book. How attracted they are to each other and the fact that they’re opposites, at least on the face of things.
“Graham, here’s someone I want you to meet,” Clara said.
His gaze collided with Bella’s. She didn’t look nervous or ill at ease. Maybe she was as accustomed as he was to Clara’s machinations. She smiled at him. Damn, she had a dynamite smile. Why had he never really noticed her before?
Because she’s way too young for you, dumbass.
Taking Bella’s arm, Clara tugged her forward. “Bella, this is Graham McBride. He’s a doctor at the hospital. He’s a fancy kind of specialist. Something to do with hearts. Graham,” she continued, “this is Bella Benson. She owns the beauty shop on Main.”
“It’s nice to meet you,” Graham said, offering his hand.
She took his hand in a firm grip and smiled that beautiful smile again. Her eyes were brown. Luscious, chocolate brown, like that of a sweeter-than-sin candy bar. “Nice to meet you, too.”
Her voice was husky, with more of a drawl than a twang. He was intrigued, and growing more so, in spite of his irritation at being railroaded by Clara once again.
“I’m going to talk to Minna,” Clara announced.
Bella smiled at the older lady and watched her go. Then she turned to Graham and said, “Number fourteen.”
Graham blinked. “Excuse me?” What the hell did that mean?
“You’re the fourteenth man Clara’s introduced me to. And judging from your expression when you first turned around, I’m guessing I’m about number forty-five of the women she’s introduced to you.”
He stared at her for a minute, then threw back his head and laughed. “I didn’t realize I was so obvious. As to the number, I stopped counting a long time ago.”
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
I want them to be entertained, to laugh at some things, be touched by other things. I want them to see that things that you imagine are a problem aren’t always so and that love can overcome problems.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned?
I’m currently working on the second book in my Heart of Texas series, set in Last Stand, Texas. This is Turner McBride’s–the neurosurgeon– book. No official title yet but I call it Texas On My Mind. First up is Heart of the Texas Doctor, which released today. The next book is due out in mid-August and the third, which is Spencer McBride’s book, is out at Christmastime. Jessie McBride’s book, the cowgirl of the family, will be out early next year.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: Tule tote, copy of ebook of Heart of the Texas Doctor and Tule swag
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Excerpt from Heart of the Texas Doctor:
She tasted sweet with a hint of spice. Her lips were soft and giving, opening slowly when he traced them with his tongue. Tempted to pull her close and deepen the kiss, he kept his hands on her face. He didn’t want to overwhelm her. His reward was her response, her tongue doing a slow dance with his, her mouth opening to let him explore.
Regretfully, he ended the kiss, but he kept his hands where they were and smiled at her. “I’ve wanted to kiss you since about thirty seconds after we were introduced.” He let go of her but stayed where he was.
She laughed. “I’d have paid to see the expression on Clara’s face if you had.”
“Yes, me too. But as you can see, I restrained myself.”
“Do you often want to kiss women you’ve just met?”
“No. You’re the first.” He realized with a shock that it was true. He’d dated a lot of women, but he hadn’t felt an immediate desire to kiss them. Not even his ex-wife, and she’d bowled him over at first.
“You’re very good at bullshit. I almost believe you.”
“Believe it. Although, I am good at bullshitting,” he added modestly, as they left the shop.
The festival was a huge draw for a lot of arts and crafts, from quilts to artwork, to jewelry, to stained glass and everything in between. There was every kind of food—corn dogs, funnel cakes and cotton candy to barbecue and fried turkey legs and other food from the local restaurants and farmers. There were local craft beers and a wine walk hosted by the area wineries. He noticed August Wolf had a tent going for his wine, and was a little surprised since his tasting shop had been messed up so badly from the tour bus crashing into it.
They started to walk by a funnel cake stand and Bella stopped dead. “Bella?”
She inhaled. “That smell is delicious. I’m just thinking about the last time I had funnel cake and how good it was.”
Obviously, she wanted a funnel cake. Graham bought one and gave it to her.
“Share it with me,” she said.
“I haven’t had funnel cake since I was a kid.”
“All the more reason to have some now.”
They found an unoccupied table and sat down. Fried dough with cinnamon and powdered sugar. Graham admitted it looked good, and tasted even better. “I’m afraid to touch anything,” Graham said, holding up his sticky hands after they finished.
“Me too,” Bella said, and pulled a couple of packets out of her purse, handing him a wet wipe. “I knew I wasn’t going to resist funnel cake.”
They cleaned up and she asked, “Did I get it all?”
“Not quite.” He wiped the corner of her mouth with his thumb and licked it. “Powdered sugar. Sweet,” he said, thinking about the kiss they’d shared earlier. Her eyes darkened and he wondered if she was thinking about it too.
“Have you always lived in Last Stand?” she asked him.
Apparently she wasn’t.
“I know your family has a ranch,” Bella continued.
“Yes, except for school and my training. I lived here until I went to college at UT Austin, then medical school at Southwestern in Dallas. So you and I have lived some of the same places. But I did my internship and residency at Duke.”
“Which is where?”
“Did you like it there?”
“It was all right. I worked a lot.” And when he hadn’t been working, which wasn’t often, he’d been trying, unsuccessfully, to fix his failing marriage. But that wasn’t a subject he liked to discuss. Not with anyone, much less a woman he was interested in.
Surprisingly, she didn’t push for more. Instead she spotted a dart game where the object was to burst balloons. They both played. Bella came away with a stuffed animal. Graham won a plastic duck. “Where’d you learn to play darts?”
“I’m self-taught. I have a dart board at home.”
“You’re very good.”
“Thanks. I’m even better with an actual dart board.”
“A woman of many talents.”
“See anything else you want to try?” Graham asked her.
“Shoot out the star,” she replied promptly.
That’s where Graham discovered Bella was quite competitive. They both took a turn at shooting and while hers was very good, Graham’s was better, which didn’t please her at all. “Remember, I grew up on a ranch, Bella. We learned to shoot when we were little. Lots of varmints on a ranch.”
“Still, I’ve been going to Lock and Load regularly for a while now. I should be better. Clearly, I need more practice.”
He knew that Lock and Load was the shooting range on the outskirts of town. “I’ve never been there. If we want to shoot, we take some bottles out. Or set up some stands with paper targets.”
“Do you do that a lot?”
“Not so much anymore. We used to have regular competitions with all of us kids.”
“That sounds like fun.”
“It was. Until Jessie started beating the pants off of all of us.”
“Did it bother you and your brothers to be beaten by a girl?”
Graham laughed. “Not any more than it did to be beaten by any one of us. Our mother is the best shot of all of us. She’s scarily good.”
“What about your dad? Does he shoot?”
“Sometimes. Not very often.”
“I can’t imagine what it’s like having a big family.”
“You don’t have any siblings?”
She shook her head. “No. I was an only child.”
He waited but she didn’t say any more. “You said you’d been on your own since you were seventeen.”
“Yes. My mother died when I was sixteen. Cancer. My father died about a year later. He had a heart attack.”
“I’m sorry. It must have been rough losing them when you were so young.”
“It was. They were good parents. My dad was never the same after my mom died. I wonder if he had a premonition about his own death. He pushed me pretty hard to figure out what I wanted to do as a career. But he died before I figured it out.”
“Did you go into the system?”
“No. I lived with a friend until I turned eighteen and graduated high school. It was only for a few months. My parents left me some money. Not enough for college, but I probably wouldn’t have gone anyway. My dad wanted me to go, but school was never my thing.” She looked at him. “I guess that sounds odd to you. Not wanting to go to college.”
“Not odd. Just different from my experience.”
“You had a zillion years of schooling, didn’t you?”
Graham laughed. “Not quite a zillion. But yes, I had quite a bit.”
“Well, I took the money and went to cosmetology school. I’d always been good with hair, and I liked messing with it, so that seemed like a no-brainer. And that’s the story of my life. More or less. Your turn.”
“We already talked about me.”
“We talked about your education and a tiny bit about your family. We haven’t talked about whether you like what you do or what your hobbies are or if you have any pets.”
“You haven’t answered those questions either,” Graham said.
“I will if you will.”
“Deal. You first.”
“All right. I love what I do. I have a cat named Abby. She adopted me not long after I came to town. I’d never had a pet before. Mom was allergic to most animals. Abby usually comes to the shop with me.” She put a finger to her cheek. “Let’s see, what else? Oh, my hobbies are reading and painting.”
“So you’re an artist?”
“No, I just like to paint. I suck at it, but I like to experiment with colors.”
“Have you ever been married?”
“No. Not engaged either.”
Which wasn’t a surprise, considering her age. But it made him remember their age difference.
“I was serious about a guy, but it didn’t work out.”
“Don’t be. He was a jerk. Okay, Graham, your turn.”
He’d never had a conversation with a woman he was interested in that was quite like this one. “I love what I do. Some people think I’m a workaholic but I’m not. I’m a surgeon. We work a lot. It’s what we do. Which is why I don’t have a pet. Also why I’m divorced, come to think of it. If I need an animal fix, I can go to the ranch where there’s all kinds of critters. I play a little poker and racquetball whenever I get the chance. And finally, it’s not a hobby but I help Jessie with the horses sometimes.”
“If it isn’t a hobby, what is it?”
“Generally payment for losing to her at poker.”
Bella laughed. “That’s great.”
“For Jessie, sure.” One of the bands started playing a rock tune. They sat and listened to them for a bit and when Graham noticed Bella tapping her foot to the music he said, “Do you want to dance?”
“Oh, no. That’s okay. I’m fine just listening.”
“You’re tapping your foot. Are you sure you don’t want to dance?”
She sighed. “I might as well tell you now. I can’t dance.”
“You mean you don’t like to dance?”
“No, I love to dance. But I can’t. Not in public. I’m awful at it.”
“I have a hard time believing that.” Apart from stumbling a couple of times, Bella was very graceful.
“Believe it. I never learned and whenever I tried, it was a disaster. So I just don’t even try anymore.”
“Do you want to learn how?”
“I told you, I’m hopeless.”
“That’s not an answer.” He got up and held out a hand. “Come on.”
“Where’s your sense of adventure?”
“I’m not making a fool of myself in public.”
“Duly noted.” He continued to hold out his hand and she reluctantly put hers in his. Her hand was small, like the rest of her, but her grip was firm. Graham led her around behind one of the tents a short way away from the music. “Is this private enough?”
Bella looked around. “I guess.”
He put one arm around her waist and took her hand with the other. “Relax.”
“Sure you can.”
Apparently, she couldn’t. She was clearly nervous and kept stepping on his boots. Once she managed to make him step on her foot. She yelped, which made him feel like a jerk, even though it hadn’t really been his fault.
“Damn, I’m sorry,” Graham said.
“I told you I was hopeless.”
“No, you’re not.” He let go of her and sat on the ground.
“What are you doing?”
“What does it look like?” He yanked off a boot and started on the other.
“Why are you taking off your boots?”
“Take off your shoes.”
“Stop arguing, Bella. Just do it.”
She grumbled but she did it. Soon they were both barefoot. He put his arms around her again and said, “Step on my feet.”
“Do you want to learn to dance or not?”
She stepped on his feet and he started moving.
“I feel stupid,” she said. “I don’t like feeling stupid.”
“No one does. But there’s no reason to feel stupid. Lots of people can’t dance. It’s not a big deal.”
“Then why are you trying to teach me?”
“Because you were sitting there listening to the music and tapping your foot and you looked wistful.”
“I did not.”
“Yeah, you did.” He smiled down at her. “Guess what?”
She looked surprised and then she smiled. Bella had a very infectious smile. “Oh, my God. You’re right. I’m—”
“Dancing. Now try it on your own.”
Gingerly, she stepped off of his feet. He continued to hold her and moved to the music. Her brow furrowed and she bit her lip in concentration, staring at her feet. “Hey, I’m up here,” Graham said.
She raised her gaze to look at him. “I’m concentrating.”
“Yes, I can see that. Relax. Just feel the rhythm.”
“How am I supposed to relax? If I don’t concentrate—”
“You dance perfectly well.”
Bella looked startled. “I’m dancing.”
“On my own. And not getting my feet tangled up.” She jammed her foot beneath his. “Oops. Spoke too soon.” Her eyes sparkled and she laughed heartily. “Damn, I almost had it.”
“You are so dang cute when you laugh like that.”
She laughed again. “Cute?”
“Cute,” he affirmed and kissed her.
It was even better than the first kiss, Bella thought. Still not pushy, but more intense. But while he had initiated the kiss, he let her set the pace. She wrapped her arms around his neck and deepened the kiss. She hadn’t kissed anyone in a long time, except for her friend Rex, and she didn’t count him. Those had been platonic, at least on her part. This was anything but.
Maybe it was just the romance of it. The warm night, soft music, the feeling that they were alone in the world. Being held in his arms while he kissed her and feeling desire spreading through her blood. A part of her counseled caution, but the other part, the impulsive side of her, wanted to just go for it.
He ended it before she was ready. Left her wanting more. Which he undoubtedly knew.
“Notice anything?” he asked her.
“Uh, the rumors are true?”
“Some of your dates have been in my shop and they all say one thing.”
“Do I want to know what?”
“They say you’re a good kisser. Very good and very smooth.”
“I guess that’s better than the alternative. But I was talking about something else. You’ve been dancing for the last several minutes and haven’t stomped on my foot or managed to make me stomp on yours.”
He was right. She hadn’t screwed up in at least ten minutes. “I must have had a good teacher.”
“Thank you, ma’am.”
“No one else has ever tried to teach me to dance. They pretty much just disappeared when I said I didn’t know how. Thank you.”
They danced until the band took a break. During the break they wandered around the festival, holding hands and looking at all the things for sale. Graham insisted on buying anything Bella said she liked. After he bought her a wood carving of a cat and a painting of the bluebonnet trail, she kept her mouth shut. She wondered what he’d do if she picked something really expensive but she wasn’t about to test him. He’d probably buy it.
Another band took the first one’s place and Graham convinced her to brave the dance area. Since there were a ton of people dancing and jostling each other, she didn’t feel as self-conscious as she would have before. Besides, she was getting better at it and she had to admit she liked being so close to him. She liked it a lot.
After they tired of dancing, they wandered around again. A couple of microbreweries had set up tents, which they hit up. “There’s something about good, cold beer that just hits the spot,” Bella said, sipping one. “Much more so to me than wine. But then, I’ve never had good wine, so what do I know?”
“I’ve had good wine before and while I like it, I still like beer better.”
See, you do have something in common.
Eventually the festival wound down. The booths closed, the bands quit playing, tents came down and only a few people remained. Graham walked with her to her car, which was parked behind her shop.
“I had fun,” she said.
“So did I.”
“You sound surprised.”
“I am, a little. I haven’t been to the Bluebonnet Festival in years, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But it was fun.” He stepped closer, and took her in his arms. “Because of you.” He leaned down and kissed her.
His lips pressed against hers; his tongue traced the seam of her lips. She opened her mouth and let him inside, her tongue tangling with his. He took his time, as if he was savoring the kiss, and while he held her close, his hands stayed on her back and didn’t wander further south.
Oh, my God, I’m tingling. From a kiss?
He let her go and smiled at her. “I’ll call you.”
I’ll call you. What every man said at the end of a date. At least half the time they didn’t mean it. Did Graham?
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Graham McBride is a cardiothoracic surgeon and the eldest of the McBride siblings. Dedicated, hardworking, traditional, and oh, yeah, hot. But Graham married young and divorced, and is now convinced no woman will tolerate his dedication to his career. When he meets Bella Benson at a party he’s immediately attracted to her, probably because she’s totally different from any woman he’s ever dated.
…but can they stay together?
Bella owns one of the local hair salons. She’s young, hardworking, successful and unconventional. And to Graham there’s no denying that, from the tips of her rainbow-colored hair to the soles of her fancy turquoise cowboy boots, Bella Benson is smokin’.
Bella is no more interested in getting serious than Graham. After all, other than a sizzling physical attraction, they don’t have a lot in common. But oh, that sizzle! Irresistible right? So they jump into the fire, both confident they can keep their emotions in check. Love and passion rarely stick with a plan, and while Graham has expertise in repairing hearts, he is disastrously clueless figuring out his own. Can he prove to Bella that he’s worth the risk?
Meet the Author:
Eve Gaddy is the national bestselling, award winning author of more than twenty-five novels. A member of Romance Writers of America’s Honor Roll for Bestselling authors, her books have won and been nominated for awards from Romantic Times, Golden Quill, Bookseller’s Best, Holt Medallion, Daphne Du Maurier and more. She was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Innovative Series romance and won the 2008 Romantic Times Career Achievement award for Series Storyteller of the year. Eve’s books have sold over a million copies worldwide and been published in many foreign countries. Eve lives in East Texas with her husband of many years.
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