Today, I'm delighted to welcome back New York Times bestselling author BETH WILLIAMSON who also writes as EMMA LANG. This is release day for book seven in her Circle Eight series.
The moments that define us are the ones we least expect to happen.
James Gibson spent his life trying to find his place in the world. The child of a feckless mother, abandoned as a boy, he was raised by his grandfather, only to lose him when he most needed him. Angry at the world, he struggles to find his path. Then he meets Catherine Graham.
Catherine "Cat" Graham is the hellion of her family, the youngest sister of eight children. She has bucked tradition all her life, riding horses like a man, wearing trousers, and refusing all femininity except for her long blonde locks. She isn't impressed by cowboy James Gibson, no matter how he made her toes curl when he kissed her.
When danger threatens both the Gibsons and the Grahams, James and Cat have to set aside their acrimony. Together they fight for those they love, and in the process find the other half of their souls.
Here's an excerpt:
When she met James, he didn’t judge her, nor did he try to change her, even if he didn’t approve. She was fascinated by the handsome, dark-haired man, even after she discovered he was a Gibson. He had an annoying habit of blurting out whatever was on his mind, but he’d never treated her as if she was less than he was, except for once at the wedding, when he told her to stick to female work, but even then she’d known he was simply trying to keep his distance.
It was unusual. Refreshing. Addictive.
The more she was around him, the more she found herself becoming attached to him. The only problem was, he avoided her most of the time, which made her more anxious to be with him.
Now here they were alone. And she’d fulfilled the fantasy of being with a man. Something she’d wondered about since her sisters had told her what happened between men and women. James was the only man she’d ever wanted to be with. He didn’t appear to be falling to his knees and pledging his love, however.
Cat wasn’t sure how she felt about that. Did she love him? Or was she in love with the idea of a man who saw her for who she was? For the first time in a long time, she wished her sisters and sisters-in-law were there. She needed to talk to someone about what she was doing. Or not doing.
Although she’d done plenty already.
She should be thinking about the horses, not the man beside her. The idea someone was mistreating her beloved animals made her stomach hurt enough she thought she’d puke. James distracted her from the panic taking hold.
“You’re too quiet. I’m suspicious.”
She didn’t expect to laugh at his very serious observation, but she did. “I was thinking.”
“Even more suspicious.”
She reached over and punched him in the arm.
“Ow! Damn, woman, do you have iron hands?” He rubbed at his bicep. “What do they feed you at that ranch?”
She showed him a closed fist and shook it at him. “Don’t insult me and I won’t bring my hammer.”
“Those thieves should be shaking in their boots.”
“I suspect your brothers and Aurora taught you how to swing that particular hammer.”
She shrugged, her amusement gone. “What makes you think I needed someone to teach me?”
“You’re prickly.” He shook his head. “No matter what I say, it lands on the wrong side of your mood.”
She opened her mouth to tell him he was rude, but closed it. The truth, which was hard to swallow, was that she was prickly. It was the way she dealt with people when she got her back up. Eva used to tell her she turned into a hedgehog when she wanted to hide and a porcupine when she was threatened.
Prickly was an apt description, much as she’d like to deny it.
“Be careful, then. You don’t want to be on my bad side,” she said primly.
He snorted. “I don’t need that warning. I learned it last year.”
“Sometimes people aren’t what they seem.” She hadn’t intended on saying that to him, but the words escaped her mouth before she could catch them.
“Truth.” His tone had changed, become softer.
“I reckon you aren’t what you seem either.”
He shook his head. “And I reckon no one is what they seem like. We all wear a mask for everyone else to see. Nobody likes being judged.”
She couldn’t help but be curious after that particular piece of knowledge. “Who judges you? The Gibsons don’t take shit from anyone, no matter what. I heard that. I’ve seen that.”
He was silent for a few minutes. “I’ve been judged since the day I was born. My mother didn’t really know who my father was and she sure as hell didn’t want me. Or Tobias. Or Will.”
She didn’t reply. Shock held her tongue. Cat had no idea the Gibsons’ mother had bastard children, ones she didn’t want or love. Rebecca hadn’t revealed any of that information. Knowing her sister, it was probably because she didn’t feel it was her place to share it. Cat knew James’s grandfather had been raising them, but nothing about his parents. At the core of Cat’s life was a family who loved her. She’d lost her parents when she was a little girl, but she still remembered her mother’s love. The sweet smell of her mother’s scented soap and how it enveloped Cat when she hugged her mama.
“Did I judge you?” she asked, hoping he would say no.
“No. That’s one reason I like you, Catherine. You don’t give shit, but you don’t take it either.” He smiled at her and damned if her traitorous heart didn’t do a little jig. When he wanted to be, James was a natural charmer.
“I still don’t like you,” she lied, lied, lied. For the first time in her life, she wanted a man to want to be with her. Not because he had to. Because he wanted to.
Beth Williamson, who also writes as Emma Lang, is an award-winning, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of both historical and contemporary romances. Her books range from sensual to scorching hot. She is a Career Achievement Award Nominee in Erotic Romance by Romantic Times Magazine, in both 2009 and 2010, and a semi-finalist in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.
Beth has always been a dreamer, never able to escape her imagination. It led her to the craft of writing romance novels, fueled by Reese's and tenacious pursuit of the perfect story. She's passionate about purple, books, and her family. She has a weakness for shoes and purses as well as bookstores.
Life might be chaotic, as life usually is, but Beth always keeps a smile on her face, a song in her heart, and a cowboy on her mind. ;)
Circle Eight: James
Google Play: http://tinyurl.com/oco2pl5
E.E.: What’s the best birthday (or any holiday) present you ever received?
BETH: Oh that’s an easy one. My engagement ring. J I had just finished college a few weeks earlier. My boyfriend (now my husband) had invited my family and I over for Christmas Eve. He’d been acting weird throughout the event, which included my family, his family, plus friends. I was annoyed with him for being irritable. Then he stood up and told everyone he wanted to give me one of my Christmas presents early. And we just celebrated our twenty-fifth anniversary. Woot!
E.E.: What’s your favorite fairy tale?
BETH: Depends on whether we’re talking Disney or Grimm. I’ll go with Disney and say my favorite is Mulan. She was the first strong female character (granted she was disguised as a man) but she owned her strength, her destiny and loved herself for who she was, not who people expected her to be. I like to think I make all my heroines that strong.
E.E.: What’s your favorite cartoon character?
BETH: I am a child of the 70s. My favorite was always Bugs Bunny. I love getting into discussions of my favorite episodes – the Mad Scientist/Monster and the Marvin the Martian ones. The Red Riding Hood is a close third. I can recite most of them by heart. Hee!
E.E.: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
BETH: I’m a huge movie buff – in fact my college degree is in screenwriting. I had to really think of what was the movie I would watch over and over – there are so many, it was difficult to choose. I decided it was a toss up between Princess Bride and Steel Magnolias. Two vastly different films, of course, but each holds a special place in my heart. It’s “wuv, true wuv.” :)
E.E.: If you could interview one person (and it doesn’t have to be a writer) who would it be?
BETH: Definitely would love to interview Stephen King. He was the first writer I was truly affected by as a young woman. The stories he spun taught me how to create a character arc, how to sow the seeds of a tale, and how to structure a story. I really loved his book “On Writing” and I have so many questions I’d like to ask him! Yes, I’m a nerd. *snort*
Today, Beth is giving away an eBook from her Circle 8 series (readers' choice) if you answer this question:
What is YOUR favorite fairy tale or cartoon character, and why?