Spotlight & Giveaway: The Cowboy Next Door by Marin Thomas

Posted July 7th, 2013 by in Blog, Spotlight / 115 comments

Today it is my pleasure to welcome back Harlequin Romance author Marin Thomas to HJ!

Marin welcome back to HJ!

For all of my readers who may not be familiar with your work, could you tell us a bit about yourself and your books?

Marin ThomasMy first book for Harlequin American Romance came out in 2004 and I’ve been writing for the line ever since. Cowboys are my favorite heroes to write and this July The Cowboy Next Door kicks off my new six-book series called The Cash Brothers—six brothers all named after country-western legends by their eccentric mother whose lifelong search for her soul mate left each of her sons with a different father. I currently live in Arizona where the rugged desert and breathtaking sunsets provide plenty of inspiration for my cowboy books.

Please summarize The Cowboy Next Door for the readers here ….

The Cowboy Next Door is a friends-to-lovers tale starring Johnny Cash and Shannon Douglas.

Hard-working cowboy Johnny Cash has always been a protector to his little sister’s best friend, sweet but tough cowgirl Shannon Douglas. It’s pretty crazy for girls to ride bulls-yet it’s her life to live. Then he realizes he’s got some purely male instincts toward her, too. But absolutely no way can he fall for his boss’s daughter-if he loses his job, there’ll be hell to pay at home….

Shannon was raised to be strong and independent. She wants a national title so bad she can taste it-and she needs Johnny’s help. His protectiveness drives her crazy…the same way his kisses do. But she’s not about to hang up her bull rope because of him! Her heart says he’s the one-but her own stubborn streak might push away the only man who might actually understand her.

Character Q & A

Please introduce your character Johnny Cash from your novel The Cowboy Next Door to the readers here

TCNDJohnny is the eldest sibling of seven siblings and is thirty-three years old. If you read A Cowboys Duty (Aug 2012) you met Johnny’s sister, Dixie Cash.

What does your character do for a living?

Johnny’s cutting back on his rodeos, because he’s just been offered the foreman position on the Triple D Ranch and will work for the heroine’s father, Clive Douglas.

Is your character ruled by emotion or logic?

Definitely logic… that is until he meets his sister’s best friend Shannon Douglas, then his logic flies out the window.

Who is your character’s Love interest in the book?

Shannon Douglas—she’s nine years younger than Johnny and spent just as much time at the Cash pecan farm as she did her father’s ranch while growing up. Shannon’s on a mission to win the title of Cowgirl of the Year and nothing is going to stop her—not even falling in love with her best friend’s brother.

Was it love at first sight for your character? If not what was the pivotal moment of change?

Shannon’s always thought Johnny was a nice guy and appreciated his brotherly-like concern for her but it’s not until she falls on top of him—literally—at a rodeo that they’re both stunned by the sparks that fly between them.

If your character could go back in time and change one thing what would it be? Why?

If Shannon could go back in time she’d make her mother change her mind about abandoning their family.
Shannon believes winning a title will make up for the fact that her mother doesn’t love her. Raised in an all-male household, Shannon was convinced that rodeo was the only way to fit in with her brothers and father. As she grew older and became better at rodeo, she’d been forced to look to bigger challenges to smother the pain—even at the expense of her own safety and health.

How has your character evolved from when the novel began to when it ended?

Shannon realizes that no title or number of victories will make her mother return to the family. She also learns that those who mean the most to her love her unconditionally, whether she wins a title or not.

How did your character spend the week just before the story starts?

Shannon is traveling the country with all-around cowboy C.J. Rodriguez and together they’re promoting women’s roughstock events at various rodeos.

What are you currently working on? What other releases so you have planned for 2013?


I’m currently writing the fifth book in The Cash Brothers series. The second book in the series, Twins Under the Christmas Tree will be released October 2013 and that’s Conway Twitty’s story. Then February 2014 Her Secret Cowboy will be released and that’s Willie Nelson Cash’s story. Buck Owens Cash, Merle Haggard Cash and Porter Wagoner Cash will be released in 2014-2015.

Where can readers get in touch with you?

FB | Twitter | Pinterest | The Cash Brother’s FB page | Blog | Website


Thank you for stopping by HJ!


givemarinGiveaway: An autographed copy of The Cowboy Next Door (July 2013), a set of six Johnny Cash hat pins, 5 commemorative Johnny Cash Forever Stamps and a $10.00 Amazon GC

To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and post a comment to this Q: What’s your favorite Johnny Cash song! Why?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

An Excerpt:

On a hot, mid-August Saturday Johnny Cash stood in the cowboy ready area of the Butterfield Stage Days Parade and Rodeo in Gila Bend, Arizona, and watched the fireworks display between lady bull rider Shannon Douglas and all-around rodeo cowboy C.J. Rodriguez.

The hand gesturing and boot stomping drew a lot of notice and Johnny edged closer, ready to intervene if the argument quickly went south.

“You’re supposed to be my man not Veronica’s,” Shannon said.

No surprise that the notorious buckle bunny Veronica Patriot had sunk her claws into another cowboy. The woman was hell on boot heels and took what she wanted—mostly cowboys in committed relationships. If that was the case, and Rodriguez had cheated on Shannon, then Johnny felt bad for her.

Shannon was his sister’s best friend and Johnny had known her most of his life. Nine years her senior, he’d been a big brother to the little girl who’d spent countless afternoons playing at the Cash pecan farm or trailing after him at her father’s spread where Johnny worked as a seasonal ranch hand.

Rodriguez jabbed his finger in the air. “I can’t help it if I attract women everywhere I go.”

Hands fisted, Shannon stood her ground. “You’re ticked off that I won last week.”

“You didn’t beat me.” Rodriguez glanced at his competitors, who pretended not to listen.

Shannon laughed. “You’re sore because fans are finding out you’re not the superstar you claim to be.”

The feuding couples’ audience showed no signs of intervening. Pretty soon the rodeo officials and cameramen would notice the confrontation playing out behind the chutes and broadcast the lovers’ spat on the JumboTron.

“Shannon.” Johnny stepped from the shadows and touched a finger to the brim of his black cattleman’s Stetson.

She flashed him a grateful smile.

“Well if it ain’t the Man in Black.” Rodriguez snickered.

Johnny’s hackles rose. What the hell had his mother been thinking when she’d named him and his brothers after country-and-western singers? It had been bad enough that they’d all been fathered by different men. From the day Johnny entered kindergarten, he’d been teased—not that his mother had cared.

When his biological father, Charlie Smith, had split after Johnny’s birth, Aimee Cash had become an absentee mom, gallivanting across the southwest, searching for the next Mr. Right. She hadn’t been there when Johnny had come home from school with his first black eye—Grandma Ada had hugged him and insisted there was room in the world for two Johnny Cashes. Eventually he might have learned to turn the other cheek, but every year or two, another brother had been born and saddled with a moniker that needed defending until he grew old enough to fight his own battles. And Johnny had made his fair share of trips to the principal’s office during his school career.

“Back off, Rodriguez.” He leveled a sober stare at the cowboy.

“This is bullshit.” Rodriguez threw his gear bag over his shoulder and stomped off. The onlookers dispersed.

“You okay?” he asked Shannon.

“Yeah. C.J.’s just frustrated with his riding, that’s all.” She rolled a clump of dirt beneath her boot.

Johnny noticed she wore Dynasty Boots. He glanced at her gear bag—that, too, sported the Dynasty Boots logo. The last he’d heard, Wrangler Jeans was promoting Shannon and Rodriguez’s cross-country tour, highlighting women’s bull riding. He motioned to the boot stitched on her shirt. “I thought Wrangler sponsored you.”

“They did.” She watched the rodeo helpers load a bull into a nearby chute. “Dynasty Boots offered me and C.J. a better deal and bought out our contract with Wrangler.”

“What kind of better deal?”

“If C.J. and I continue to compete against each other and keep up our sham of a romance—fans love that we’re a couple,” she said, rolling her eyes, “we—”

“You’re not a couple?”

“Not anymore.” She shrugged. “Anyway, whoever has the most wins after the Tucson rodeo in January earns a fifty-thousand-dollar bonus.”

Johnny whistled between his teeth. “Where does the score stand between you two?”

“Dead even.”

“No kidding?”

“Did you think because C.J.’s a man he’d be ahead of me in the competition?”

“No…I…” Johnny shrugged. In truth, he believed bull riding was best left to cowboys, but if there was ever a cowgirl who could go the distance with the men, Shannon Douglas was that girl.

“If I want to win the title of Cowgirl of the Year, I need to beat C.J.” She shifted her weight from one foot to the other, clearly agitated. The hotshot cowboy had rattled her.

“You sure you’re okay?” His gaze roamed over her body.

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Rodriguez must be blind.”

Her cheeks flushed pink. Even though Shannon was a tomboy, the subtle signs of a pretty woman were evident. Her turbulent green eyes, fringed with thick black lashes, glowed with a vibrant, determined spirit. Then there was her mouth, plump lips that begged a man to… Startled by his train of thought, he cleared his throat. What the heck was he doing—cataloging his sister’s friend’s body parts? At least he’d stopped before he’d checked out her—


115 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: The Cowboy Next Door by Marin Thomas”

  1. Sharlene Wegner

    I’m not entering to win, because I already own & have read this book! It was really good! I am looking forward to reading the entire series.

    • marinthomasauthorMarin Thomas

      Awe, Sharlene, you are so sweet! Thanks for taking the time to stop by Harlequin Junkie and recommend The Cowboy Next Door! I’m so thrilled you enjoyed the story and are looking forward to Conway in October 🙂

    • marinthomasauthor

      Sharlene thanks for stopping by the blog to recommend The Cowboy Next Door–I am so thrilled you liked the story! I hope you like Conway’s book just as much when it comes out in October 🙂

  2. Mary Preston

    Folsom Prison Blues is a favorite of mine ever since I saw the movie WALK THE LINE. That’s a great movie.

  3. Shannon Ferguson

    Hurt, even though he wasn’t the original singer, its an absolutely beautiful song

  4. Lori Meehan

    I like Johnny Cash because my dad always listened to him. So when I hear his songs it reminds me of him and when I was young.

    • marinthomasauthor

      Hi Lori, I first heard Johnny Cash at a friends house when I was in elementary school…the girl’s mother was blasting it from her stereo while cleaning house and us girls started dancing to the tune…I thought he was cool back then and still think is very is pretty darn cool now 🙂

    • marinthomasauthor

      Hi Patoct-thanks for stopping by the blog! Folsom Prison Blues is a favorite of mine too and I think I read somewhere that Merle Haggard was in prison when Johnny Cash played one of his prison concerts…I picked a few trouble makers for the namesakes of my series heroes 🙂 But trust me my heroes are good guys, lol!

  5. Beth Haney

    My favorite Johnny Cash song is a tie between Ring of Fire and Jackson. Ring of Fire because I love the meaning of the song and Jackson because I love the duet between Johnny and June Carter Cash. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!!

    • marinthomasauthor

      Beth, thanks for stopping by the blog! The other night I was flipping through TV channels and landed on a series (can’t remember the name” but it was something to do with the planet earth and the future some sci-fi thing and a man and woman (she was weird looking like she was from another planet) were driving around in a relic Pickup truck and singing Jackson and the actress did an amazing job singing June’s part…you know songs are good when they’re picked up by Hollywood decades later and sued in movies 🙂

  6. Renee Entress

    Ring of Fire & Jackson. Last week they played a bio of Johnny Cash on TV and I loved watching him perform those two songs. The Jackson song was performed on the show at a prison with June. Was a great show. Cannot wait to read this book and the rest of the series.

    • marinthomasauthor

      Hi Renee thanks for leaving a comment! I love watching TV Bio programs 🙂 I’m also a history channel fan, but Johnny sure did have a tough childhood at times but I think the death of his older brother really influenced his music.

  7. Carolyn Valdez

    There are so many of Johnny Cash’s song that I love. I listen to him all the time. He is one of my favorite singers. And yes the movie WALK THE LINE is a great movie.

    • marinthomasauthor

      Carolyn, you, me and tons of others liked the movie Walk The Line…I read though that the daughter of Johnny and his first wife did not appreciate the movie as much and claimed that June Carter was the one who chased after Johnny and broke up their marriage. Lots of drama in the man’s life.

  8. kp

    I grew up listenting to Johnny Cash with my Dad….I think of him everytime I hear a Johnny Cash song! Love Ring of Fire!

  9. yvonnesimpkins

    Hi, my favorite song of Johnny Cash’s has got to be I Walk The Line….And I am going to love all the books of this family.. I love series that are stand alone but got with others. Thank you for your giveaway.

  10. Donna Durnell

    “Man in Black” would be just one of my choices for my favorite song by Johnny Cash. He was a songwriter as well as performer and I believe he wrote this one.
    My parents were Johnny Cash fans; my mother especially liked to hear him sing gospel songs.

    • marinthomasauthor

      Hi Donna, thanks for leaving a comment on the blog…a lot of country and western singers got their start in church or listening to their mother’s sing hymns and I think Johnny’s voice can carry those tunes so well!

  11. wrongwaymichelle

    I read the book today and am really looking forward the rest. Next, I have to get A Cowboys Duty since I haven’t read that yet. My favorite Johnny Cash song is his cover of that Nine Inch Nails song he recorded late in his life. I don’t know the name of the song but he sang accompanied by piano only I think and it is the saddest, most compelling song I ever heard.

    • marinthomasauthor

      Wrongwaymichelle, (love your handle!) Thank you for purchasing my book and taking the time to tell me how much you enjoyed it! I hope you like Dixie’s story…it’s a little more angsty but she’s a scrappy little thing and has all her brothers wrapped around her little finger, especially Johnny since they share the same father.

  12. C-Jay M

    I’ve always liked I Walk the Line; I like the lyrics and sentiment. I do like Ring of Fire, as well.

  13. sandybar57

    This sounds like it is going to be a wonderful series! I like Johnny Cash’s song “A Boy Named Sue” as it has always made me laugh. I am a great fan of his and love all of his music.

  14. Brenda Rumsey

    Family Bible….My dad use to get out his guitar and this was one of his favorite songs to play and sing.

  15. Betty Farmer Kincaid

    I have already read the Cowboy Next Door because I won it!! I would have bought it anyway if I hadn’t gotten lucky. Thrilled to have an autographed copy. My favorite Johnny Cash song is “Ring of Fire”, Jackson, & Sunday Morning Coming Down”. Really I like most of his songs. Thanks for writing this series, Marin. Looking forward to the next Cash brother’s story!

    • marinthomasauthor

      Betty, thanks for stopping by the blog and leaving a comment! I’m glad you liked Johnny’s story <3
      The more I listen to Jackson the more it's becoming one of my top three JC songs, I think you're the first one to mention Morning Coming Down–JC does a nice job with that song!

  16. Katie Hoxworth

    My favorite Johnny Cash song is, GOING TO JACKSON!” It’s my favorite because I adore the love you hear between Johnny & his wife. I’m engaged and I have the same hot passion for my man that this song talks about! I also hope to earn the support & love & passion that Johnny & his last wife had for one another! I’m also a recovering drug addict, just made 9 years clean this past April 2013, from heroin. I admire the strength Johnny had to overcome his demons & how they stood arm in arm through most everything!★

    • marinthomasauthor

      Hi Katie–thanks for stopping by the blog and sharing such an inspirational story! I wish you and your fiancé all the best and may you find your very own happy-ever-after in each others arms!

    • marinthomasauthor

      Hi Sandie, thanks for leaving a comment on the blog! I’m right there with you on the meaning behind the words in the song I walk the Line…I feel like you can tell how much Johnny loves June when he sings that song.

    • marinthomasauthor

      Elena, thanks for leaving a comment on the blog! Everyone describes Hurt as “emotional” but that’s the only word that really fits…it’s almost gut-twisting to listen to the emotion in his voice when he sings it.

  17. Missy Morrison Goodsell

    There are so many to choose from but I think I would have to say Hurt is my favorite because it speaks such emotion & about what he went through, and this hits very close to home for me.

    • marinthomasauthor

      Missy thanks for leaving a comment and Hurt is definitely a JC favorite among his fans. One of the wonderful things about country music is that so many songs relate to real-life experiences for a lot of listeners and they either help us get through the rough spots in our life or sadly sometimes make it more difficult because the songs sometimes express feelings and emotions we can’t.

  18. Rita Wray

    I like I Walk The Line, it has a catchy tune and when I hear it I can’t get it out of my head.

    • marinthomasauthor

      Hi Rita–thanks for leaving a comment on the blog! I have the same problem with several JC songs…and not getting them out of my head after hearing them–Jackson is the worst for me 🙂

  19. Teresa L

    My favorite Johnny Cash song is Ring of Fire because June Carter Cash wrote it about her relationship with Johnny Cash.

    • marinthomasauthor

      Hi Teresa–thanks for stopping by the blog and leaving a comment! June and Johnny’s relationship drew a lot of attention and Ring of Fire really shows how much she loved the man in black 🙂

  20. JackieW

    I listened to Johnny Cash when I was growing up and liked many of his songs…the one that I think is his best is Ring Of Fire. It has good lyrics and a catchy tune. But then a lot of his songs were like that.

  21. JOYE

    I liked his music. He was an outlaw in that industry because he did things differently and sang hard-edgey songs. I liked his singing gospel too. The Old Rugged Cross was my favorite. i also got a chuckle out of the song about the Cadillac they put together out of parts from other cars. When my son was 10, he loved to hear A Boy Named Sue. He always thought that was funny.

    • marinthomasauthor

      Hi Joye thanks for dropping by the blog! What a cute story about your son liking A Boy Named Sue 🙂 Johnny Cash the hero in my book, The Cowboy Next Door gets called that by another rodeo competitor in the book and he sure doesn’t like it!

  22. Debra McDonald

    One piece at a time…The song reminds me of my younger days.I heard it and bugged the dj to play it as a kid.Sadly to this day I would ride in that car and love it.Thanks for the giveaway.

  23. Cindy Hamilton

    One Piece at a Time and Peace in the Valley are some of my favorites, but then there are many more! I really liked how he turned his life around and turned to the Lord.

    • marinthomasauthor

      Hi Cindy-thanks for leaving a comment on the blog! JC did turn his life around –it was sad that the death of his brother Jack affected him so deeply…I think he felt partly to blame and struggled with the guilt all his life which may have led him astray once in a while.

  24. Alicia Jespersen

    The Man Comes Around is my favorite song, I heard it on a tv show and it just perfectly fit that moment. I’m not the biggest Cash fan but my father was a huge fan!

  25. Leslie Miner

    Ring of Fire. It reminds me when I worked at a bar in a small town (small, like everyone knows everyone). Whenever that song came on, everyone in the bar would start singing to it. Brings back good memories.

    • marinthomasauthor

      Hi Leslie–thanks for taking the time to leave a comment on the blog! What a neat memory you shared…it’s crazy sometimes how hearing a song can take us right back to a particular place and time in our lives.

    • marinthomasauthor

      Hi Heather, thanks for leaving a comment on the blog! I get such a kick out of hearing A Boy Named Sue…I used it in my story The Cowboy Next Door–makes me smile every time I hear it.

  26. Jenn H

    I love cowboys and I love her books. They are great reads. I like Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire. Good song.

    • marinthomasauthor

      Hi Katsrus–thanks for leaving a comment on the blog and sharing a memory of one of Johnny Cash’s songs! You picked the most popular song being listed on this blog 🙂

  27. shadowluvs2read

    Hi! I really dont care for his music. Once upon a time, yes, but my grandma and sister killed me with him. They played him constantly, all the time! Thanks! 🙂

    • marinthomasauthor

      Shadow–Thanks for stopping by the blog and sharing the story of your grandmother and sister “smothering” you in JC songs 🙂 I guess I can see your point, lol!

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