Thursday, February 4, 2016

Starlight's Cowboy Alec: Strong and Flawed Enough to be a Hero

Yesterday I introduced you to Joely Crockett, the heroine of my new book The Bride Wore Starlight. Today I’d like to tell you how excited I was when she met her hero Alec Morrissey. Joely needed just the perfect match because she was so completely wounded. Not only was she scarred in her car accident, but she’d been rejected by a husband who never wanted her to be anything but a trophy wife. How do you learn to believe that anyone will love you for being you—scars and all?
You meet someone who’s been through similar traumas to yours, who’s strong enough to go through your dark times with you, but who has his life together so you can lean on him.
Alec is almost all of that.
He’s definitely been through the trauma and that has absolutely made him able guide Joely through her dark moments. And when we first meet him, he seems to have his life together.

 Here’s an excerpt:

“It was a lovely wedding,” she said.
“Lovely?” He grinned. “That sounds a little understated. I saw you hip-hopping your way out here. Thought you said you couldn’t dance.”
That did it. The man was nothing but a one-annoying-trick pony. Same lines over and over. Her fog cleared and she leaned forward herself, bringing their faces just inches apart.
“Knock it off,” she said. “I don’t like the dancing jokes. I don’t like the pretty Joely jokes. Stop ruining the wedding for me.”
Once again he seemed anything but taken aback. He straightened and smiled. “It won’t seem like a joke once you’ve danced with me.”
The smallest hint of something more than teasing glinted in his eye, but she couldn’t read it. It had to be the wedding buzz—everything about it, people included, was affecting her brain.
“I’m not dancing with anybody,” she said.
He stood and shocked her again by holding out his hand. “Fine. Then at least walk with me down the outside stairs. It’ll be faster than going all the way around the back to use the ramp.”
“I’m perfectly happy to use the ramp.”
“No you aren’t. You don’t want to stand out, right? Just stick with me and you won’t.”
The man was unbelievable. What was his obsession with torturing her?
“I can grab three strong guys to help me haul you and the chair down together, like a queen on her litter. Would you rather that?”
“What is wrong with you?”
“Not a thing.” He laughed. “What’s wrong with you?”
She couldn’t believe this conversation was taking place moments after a beautiful wedding ceremony, with Bruno Mars still singing the guests out of the church. Alec Morrissey was a lunatic. A borderline mean one.
“Would you like a run-down?” Petulance and anger mixed to form a sort of hissing retort, like she was a cat being forced to swim.
“Of what’s wrong with you?” he asked. “Other than being the most defensive maid of honor I’ve ever met, you mean? No. I already know you have a leg that doesn’t function properly, and I totally understand that. I’ve also heard you can stand on your own, so I assumed you could hop down the steps if forced. I’m willing to act as a helper, that’s all. Other than that, the list of what’s wrong can’t be all that long.”
Cramps and muscle spasms when she did try to hop, a crooked spine that loved to cause her pain, scars on more than her cheek . . . She thought about throwing all the proof of how wrong he was in his face, but a stab of pride kept her from letting them fly. How did he know so much about her anyway?
“Why?” she asked.
“Why what?”
“Why have you chosen me to pick on? Because I’m the poor girl in the wheelchair? Do you have a bet with one of the other guys that you can get me to dance and make a fool of myself? Are you fascinated with disfigurement?”
“Hey.” He stopped her with the firm word and the first flash of anger in his eyes. “I don’t do things like that. I don’t know anyone who would. And you need to stop doing them to yourself. I saw a beautiful woman who intrigued me, so I asked about her. That’s the whole of it. So stop making yourself more important than you are, stand up, and take my arm.”
She covered her mouth with one hand, thinking it would hold in a stream of furious retorts. What flowed around her palm instead was laughter—first a snort, then helpless giggling, and finally a full-fledged laugh.
“Unbelievable,” she said, when she could. “You have to be the most arrogant man I’ve ever met.”
“Why, thank you, ma’am.”
“As well as a liar. Alec Morrissey. No cowboy my broken ass.”
He leaned down again and whispered this time. “Your ass ain’t what’s broke. I asked. If it were, we’d have come up with a different plan.”
Once more her mouth opened in surprise, and then she caught an unmistakable glint in his eyes. She snapped her jaw closed and released a resigned sigh. “I can’t deal with you. Go away.” But the corners of her mouth twitched mutinously.
“C’mon, Joely.” He took a step back and held out his hand. “I’m not proposing a lifelong commitment. Just let me take you on a short walk, and then you can be done with me.”
“That’s all it will take?”
“For now.” He raised and lowered his brows in an abbreviated waggle.
“Heck,” she said. “That’s no kind of promise.”
He smiled. For the first time, she noticed he had two shallow, handsome dimples.

But things unravel quickly for Alec and Joely after this. What Joely doesn’t know is that Alec lost a leg below the knee while searching for his missing cousin (his best friend) in Iraq. He has learned to move so perfectly on his prosthetic limb that nobody who doesn’t know about it can tell. And while he seems to have come to perfect terms with his loss, he had to walk away from his rodeo dreams. He’s also walked away from letting himself get too close to people he might lose.
So as much as Joely needs help learning to trust and believe in her inner beauty, Alec needs to learn that hiding his past doesn’t make him stronger—it makes him weaker. And falling slowly for Joely makes him see the weaknesses clearly.
It’s hard for him to stay casual, however. The two of them have far too much in common—a love of horses, a love of laughter, a love of family. It’s the combination of their fears that almost proves stronger than their growing love.

It’s Alec’s giant of a dog and nemesis of a horse that end up pushing the stubborn humans together. Although Alec has refused to go anywhere near a rodeo since his injury and Joely refuses to bond with another horse since she lost her favorite in the accident that wounded her, they can’t resist the pull of the animals they both love.
Ghost Pepper the veteran bucking horse—is the only saddle bronc Alec was never able to ride.  Rowan the Irish Wolfhound sends Joely on a long-distance ride she never believed she could make when the dog is severely injured far from home.
What happens once Alec and Joely overcome not just wounds but fears is nothing short of a miracle—and a triumph of true love.

I’m giving away a $10.00 Amazon gift card and several books including one of our own Angi Morgan's latest romantic suspenses. Enter the rafflecopter to be eligible, but then tell me your what things would scare you to try. For me? Skydiving. I would be terrified!

Here's where you can find The Bride Wore Starlight and pre-order it for delivery on
And be sure to check out the first two books of the Seven Brides For Seven Cowboys series:

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  1. I am too scared to bungee jumping.

    1. Yes, Shari, that goes right along with skydiving for me. I'm with you--I have NO desire to bungee jump-ever. LOL.

  2. I'm scared to go on a roller coaster.

    1. You really aren't missing that much. LOL. And that's not a dumb thing to be scared of--they're scary :-)

  3. In my younger days I wanted to try skydiving but I don't think I want to try it now.

    1. Yeah, as I said, I'm with you. No jumping out of planes for me!

  4. Hmmm... I've been scared of a lot of things, but I didn't let it stop me from trying them. When I tried zip lining I was so nervous I didn't pay attention to the instructions on how to stop. You REALLY should pay attention to those instructions... I slammed into the tower. But, I didn't give up and by the last "guide challenge" lines (side by side race lines) I was chosen to race him. I lost but it was close. :) That's my pay off for not giving into the fear... the experience of a lifetime. I've been fortunate enough to have several of them!

    1. Hey Julie! Why do you keep doing things that make you my hero? LOL. Actually, I've been ziplining, too, but I never got to race the guide. I wasn't anywhere near that good! You rock.

  5. Skydiving would absolutely terrify me along with bungee jumping. I'm totally convinced that my chute wouldn't open or my bungee cord would snap! They say that it's pretty safe, knowing my luck I'll be the statistically one that ends up being injured!

  6. I would say swimming with sharks would top my list of scary things to try!