Hi Joanne and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, The Rancher’s Bargain!
Hello and Happy New Year!
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
The Rancher’s Bargain continues the “Bachelor Auction” storyline in the Texas Cattleman’s Club miniseries. When Lydia Walker’s sister makes a bachelor auction bid she can’t cover, rancher James Harris quietly makes good on the bid to keep the news quiet. But Lydia won’t let him pay for her sister’s mistake alone, and the two work out a deal where she’ll serve as nanny to James’s nephew. It all makes great sense, until working under the same roof proves too hot to handle!
Please share your favorite line(s) or quote from this book:
The opening of this one is fun – It’s okay to say no to unnecessary crazy.
Lydia Walker repeated it like a mantra while she read the digital headline from a story that had run in the Royal, Texas, newspaper earlier in the week while she’d been out of town.
Local woman boosts charity bachelor auction with $100K bid!…
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
- The dynamic between Lydia and her impulsive sister … who doesn’t have a family member capable of driving them crazy?
- The heroine is the daughter of a famous blogger who is a guru on parenting– while actually being a sort of terrible parent herself.
- The baby in this story stole my heart.
What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
The hero is dazzled by the way the heroine makes his temperamental nephew smile. Making the child turn around a tantrum seemed like a super power to him! And Lydia finds James attractive because of his sense of honor. She grew up always being the responsible and practical one in her family, and she’s attracted to James because he steps into that role.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
A childish cry filled the room.
His nephew, little Teddy Harris, came barreling toward him with big crocodile tears running down both cheeks, his wispy baby curls bouncing with each jarring step. The two women stepped out of the boy’s way as he ran straight into James’s leg. Crushing the wool gabardine in damp baby hands, the boy let out a wail that all of Royal must have heard.
With proof of his inadequacy as a stand-in parent clinging to his calf, James had never felt so powerless. Reaching down, he lifted his nephew in his arms to offer whatever comfort he could, knowing it wasn’t going to be enough. The toddler thrashed in his arms, his back arching, kicking with sock-clad feet.
James had all he could do to hang onto the squirming kid let alone soothe him.
Until, miraculously, the child stilled. The two women lingering at the threshold of his office door were both smiling as they watched. James had to crane his neck to see the boy’s expression since Teddy peered at something over his shoulder, tantrum forgotten.
For a split second, he wondered what on earth that could be. Until he remembered the enticing woman in the room with them.
He sensed her presence behind him in a hint of feminine fragrance and a soft footfall on the hardwood floor. It was James’s only warning, before her voice whispered, “peekaboo!” in a way that tickled against his left ear.
Teddy erupted in giggles.
It was, without question, the best magic trick James had ever witnessed. And he knew immediately that there was a way Ms. Lydia Walker could repay him.
Readers should read this book….
when they are looking for a warm-hearted read with steam! This story is very much about building a family– about sacrifice, about putting others first. But it’s sexy, too. If you’re a fan of books with babies, this will be a good read for you.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have in the works?
Currently, I’m writing the third book in my upcoming Mesa Falls Ranch series for Harlequin Desire. The series begins in November 2019, with stories to follow in December 2019, March 2020 and April 2020. But before that, readers can look for my next Texas Cattleman’s Club story, RANCHER IN HER BED, in June. I’ll also be releasing THE PERFECT CATCH, book one in my Texas Playmakers series for Tule, in May 2019.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: Joanne is giving away the first three books in her McNeill Magnates series for Harlequin Desire! Open to US and INTL readers.
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Do you have any New Year rituals this time of year? Starting a new planner? Certain things you shop for now that the holidays are over?
Excerpt from The Rancher’s Bargain:
Windshield wipers working double time, James focused on the road ahead as he navigated his pickup truck down the quiet county road that led to Lydia’s place. He’d eaten enough dinner to take the edge off one hunger, but having his nephew’s new nanny beside him stirred another.
He tried his damnedest not to think about that. But with her light vanilla fragrance teasing his nose when she leaned closer to switch the radio station away from some political news, he couldn’t resist the urge to drag in a deep breath.
“There.” She leaned back in the passenger seat once a steel guitar sounded through the surround-sound speakers. “I hope that’s okay. I hate to shirk my civic duty, but some days I can’t cope with even one more story about politics.”
“Rainy nights and steel guitars go hand in hand.” He glanced over at her profile in the reflected light of the dashboard. “But then, you’re talking to a man with a lot of Texas in his blood.”
“Is that right?”
He heard the smile in her voice, even with his eyes back on the road and the glare of another vehicle’s bright lights.
“Yes, ma’am. My granddaddy was born on Galveston Island, but he moved here after the Korean War when an army buddy of his died and left him the care of his family farm.”
“Your grandfather inherited the Double H?” She shifted her legs toward him, her knees not all that far from his.
For a moment, he cursed the size of his truck. If they’d taken her car, her leg would be brushing up against him right now. But then, he recalled that he was not supposed to be imagining his legs entwined with hers. He had no business thinking about an employee that way.
“The land wasn’t really a ranch at that time. Just some farm acreage. His friend’s widow was struggling to raise three kids and get the crops in, so Henry Harris Sr. moved into a trailer on the land and got to work.” He’d heard the story from his father often enough, since his granddad had passed away when James was still a child.
“My house is up here on the left.” She pointed to a turn ahead. “I’m sure your grandfather would be proud of how you’re maintaining the property. It’s a showplace.”
Her words pleased him. He’d worked tirelessly for the last ten years to modernize.
“Thank you.” He slowed the vehicle as he guided it into the horseshoe driveway in front of a single-story residence. Concrete-block built, the white house had what appeared to be building materials neatly stacked under tarps in the front yard. “Looks like you’ve got some improvements planned yourself.”
“Not as quickly as I would like, but yes.” She pointed toward a portico structure on the far side of the building. “If you want to park under there, we can get inside without getting too drenched.”
Moments later, he followed her inside, the rain battering hard on the portico roof as she jiggled her key in a stubborn lock. He noticed the overhang leaked in a few places, with rivulets of water streaming through the gaps.
Inside, she flipped on a light to reveal a home in transit. Plastic sheeting hung on one end of a functional kitchen, an attempt to keep dust at a minimum, he guessed. But the workable section of living space that he could see showed tidy counters and cabinets, a big worktable covered with flooring samples and countertop tiles.
Beyond that, there were small touches of the woman who lived here. A bright braided rug. Heart-shaped magnets on the refrigerator that pinned a child’s crayon art in places of honor. A small wall shelf contained a collection of glass and ceramic birds.
“I’ll just be a minute.” She headed toward an overlapping section of the plastic sheeting that divided the living space. “I need to grab some clothes.”
“Can I carry anything for you?” He studied her in the light of a wrought iron chandelier over the kitchen table. “There’s plenty of room in the extended cab if you want to bring any furniture or personal items to make you feel more at home.”
“I don’t need much—” She hesitated. “Actually, I have a few toys that Teddy might like if you want to come with me.”
She held the plastic sheeting open for him and he ducked through, passing close to her. Brushing her shoulder with his accidentally. Was it his imagination, or did she suck in a breath at the contact?
He stopped too close to her in the small space, but a temporary wall had been constructed of plywood, making the hallway narrow here.
“Sorry about the mess,” she said, quickly stepping ahead of him. “I’ve been living in a construction zone. I hardly notice it anymore when it’s just me here.”
His gaze roved—without his permission—to the sultry curve of her hips in her khaki slacks as she strode ahead of him. She paused to flip a light switch on one wall, and then she turned into what looked like a storage area.
“I’m glad to help,” he told her honestly, not wanting to admit how much he liked spending time with her. How content he would be to linger with her here.
“Do you want to pull down those two suitcases?” she asked, pivoting in her tennis shoes to face him.
He hoped he’d lifted his gaze to eye level fast enough.
Damn. What the hell was he thinking to ogle her?
“Sure thing.” He skirted around a couple of box fans to the shelves that held the luggage, and pulled down the items she’d indicated.
While he did that, she dug in a big box filled with plastic scooters, ride-on toys and trucks. He resisted the view of her tempting feminine form, concentrating on opening the first suitcase like his life depended on it.
He steeled himself for the inevitable draw of her proximity when he brought the bag over to her. In short order, she tossed in a farm set with clear plastic bags full of toy animals, fencing and tractors. She added a few other items he didn’t recognize—baby gear of some sort.
“You know you can buy whatever you think he needs—”
“Babies outgrow things so quickly. It makes more sense to share.” Their eyes met over the suitcase he held.
He studied her, forgetting what they’d been talking about as sparks singed between them. For a moment, they breathed in one another’s air. And from the protracted pause, he knew she was as distracted by the sizzling connection as he was.
If she was any other woman, he would have set aside the suitcase and pulled her into his arms. Tested her lips to see if they were as petal soft as they looked. Wrapped his arms around her curves to see if she fit against him as perfectly as he imagined she would.
He could practically hear his own heartbeat. It rushed in time with her fast breathing in the otherwise silent room.
What he wouldn’t give for just one taste…
“I’d better get my clothes,” she said suddenly, pulling him out of his thoughts just in time for him to see her rush out the door and disappear down the hall.
Cursing himself up one side and down the other, James zipped the suitcase and carried it back out to the safety of the empty kitchen.
As he waited for Lydia to finish, he ground his teeth together and reminded himself that the luggage wasn’t the only thing that needed to stay zipped.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Can a bachelor auction gone wrong…
mean temptation for the rich rancher?
James Harris needs a nanny for his nephew—now! So when Lydia Walker’s sister reneges on an extravagant bachelor-auction bid, the Texas Cattleman’s Club president has an idea. He’ll cover the debt, and Lydia will care for the baby. Neither is prepared for the passion that blindsides them. But is a permanent personal arrangement more than they bargained for?
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Meet the Author:
Joanne Rock is a USA Today bestselling author and four-time RITA finalist. She’s written over eighty books in a wide range of romance subgenres, most recently focusing on sexy contemporaries and small-town family sagas. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance fits her life outlook perfectly–love is worth fighting for. A frequent speaker at regional and national writing conferences she enjoys giving back to the writing community that nurtured and inspired her early career. She has a Masters degree in Literature from the University of Louisville but credits her fiction writing skills to her intensive study with friend and fellow author Catherine Mann. When she’s not writing, Joanne enjoys travel to gather new ideas.
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