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?
My 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
Johnny 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?
Thank you for stopping by HJ!
Giveaway: 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?
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?”
“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—