Today, I have the great pleasure of welcoming her back to Get Lost In A Story as my BEST OF THE WEST guest. We'll be featuring her new release, TEXAS TALL.
She's giving away 3 signed copies, so be sure to enter the drawing!
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Tyree Benton joined the Texas Rangers to enact justice on the men who murdered his parents, but his brutal actions still twist his conscience. Now he’s found a woman he could love, but she deserves more than a man who makes a living getting shot at. Plus, the Frontier Battalion doesn’t take married men. If Ty were honorable, he’d leave her alone. But he can’t seem to stay away….
Orphaned at fourteen, Charlotte Weyland has used her talent for numbers to build enough of a fortune to fund Ty’s dream of owning a ranch…if he’s not too stubborn to accept her help. But when Charlotte’s past catches up to her, she finds herself on one side of the law with Ty on the other. To keep their dreams alive, they’ll have to make compromises, but doing so might cost them everything they have...
Here's an excerpt:
Crossing her arms, Lottie turned to confront the man who had been following her. “What do you want?”
Why did he look so irritated? She was the one who’d been insulted. “You already did.” She started to turn.
His voice brought her back. “And, to thank you.”
This was the first time they had faced each other while standing and she hadn’t realized how big he was. She was almost five and-a-half feet tall, herself, and it wasn’t often her eyes were level with a man’s shoulder.
“For trying to help me after I was shot.”
“Anyone would have done the same.”
“But anyone didn’t. Only you.”
He had a nice voice. Deep and mellow, with a slow drawl that marked him a Texan, but not enough twang to make him sound straight off the farm.
He shifted his weight, stared down at his dusty, surprisingly large boots. “And I, uh, wanted to say I made a foolish mistake earlier when I thought you were a whore. I’m sorry for it.”
The pretty phrases had a rehearsed ring to them, but Lottie nodded anyway, just to put the ordeal behind her. “Fine.” Again, she started to turn.
This time he stopped her with a hand near her shoulder. A hand that completely encompassed her upper arm. “Could I buy you dinner to make up for it?” Not a very gracious invitation, since he was frowning when he issued it.
She gave his hand a pointed look.
He released her arm.
“No,” she said.
If possible, his frown deepened. “You won’t have dinner with me?”
Did he truly think she would enjoy a meal spent with a man who didn’t smile, barely looked at her, and acted as if every word he spoke was dragged out of him by force? “It’s not necessary.”
Ignoring her refusal, he pressed on. This time, there was a hint of desperation in his tone. “I hear the restaurant at the hotel sets a fair table.”
“Passable. But as I said, it’s not necessary.”
He let out a deep breath and scratched the whiskers on his square jaw. “Well, that’s the thing. It is necessary if I want to go into the Spotted Dog again.”
And suddenly it made sense—his irritation, the forced words, his inability to even look at her. “Juno’s making you do this, isn’t he?”
“Well . . . he does own the only saloon in town.”
At least he had the grace to blush.
She didn’t know whether to laugh or hit him with her reticule. And maybe hit Juno, too. The absurdity of the situation put the devil in her mind. If the ranger was being browbeaten into taking her to dinner then, by God, she’d make sure he had a miserable time of it. He didn’t like talking to her? Well then she’d make him talk by asking him every question she could think of. Then she’d go after Juno.
“Fine. The hotel it is.” Smiling through clenched teeth, she tucked her hand at his elbow. “Shall we?”
He wasn’t a talker, was even worse as a smiler, and wasn’t anything like the handsome hero her imagination had painted him to be. But his arm felt solid and warm beneath her hand, and his sturdy form made her feel almost dainty.
She was glad she’d bought a new dress.
In between her years as a mother, teacher, commercial artist, reluctant collection agent and surly secretary, Kaki fooled around with writing. Finally, after twenty-five years of procrastination, she sent her first manuscript out into world. Berkley bought it and later that year, it won the 2011 RITA for Best First Book, and she was off and running. Now she has nine books in print (number 10 comes out on 10/4), one digital novella, and a story in an anthology (BOOTS UNDER HER BED). She and her husband (of 50 years—Yikes!) are happily retired on a mountaintop in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state, doing whatever they feel like doing—which in her case is writing and enjoying the wildlife, gardening, and thinking up stuff for her husband to do. It’s a grand life.
You can follow Kaki on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kakiw
What are the next five books on your ‘to be read’ pile?
In ROMANCE, I’ll be diving into WILD HORSE SPRINGS by Jodi Thomas, and DO YOU WANT TO START A SCANDAL by Tessa Dare, and MIND TAMER by Moriah Densley.
As far as THRILLERS go, as soon as I finish BETRAYAL by Tim Tigner, I’ll probably get another of his books. He’s new to me, and like Jack Reacher (in Lee Child’s books), Tigner’s heroes are men of character, lethal, and take no prisoners. My kind of guys. I’ll probably follow that up with Lee Child’s next one, NIGHT SCHOOL. I might also check into John Hart’s latest. I absolutely loved his debut novel, THE LAST CHILD.
What has been your most rewarding publishing moment?
Signing my first contract with PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE was pretty rewarding. As was winning a RITA. But some of my best moments are when I get amazing letters and emails from readers who’ve been touched by my books. That’s validation on the highest level. And I’ll always remember the day I got an email from a man named Brady Wilkins (the name of the hero in PIECES OF SKY) wanting to know how I came up with that name. I couldn’t tell if he was happy or upset but I was shocked that there was an actual person with that name.
Be honest, when reading...do you put yourself in the heroine’s role?
I have to laugh at this one since my task is to take myself OUT of my heroine. In fact, I have a dear friend (who’s more normal than I am…mostly) who reads every word and keeps me on track by saying “She would definitely be crying here.” Or, “No, she wouldn’t do that…she’s not crazy.” Or, “Make her softer, more empathetic. No one likes a hard ass.” So even though I’d like to put myself in my heroine’s role, I know I wouldn’t fit very well.
What is your favorite tradition from your childhood that you would love to pass on or did pass on to your children?
The “last time bell”. I wrote about it in my first book, PIECES OF SKY, when the heroine was trying to mark the “last time” incidents in her life and wished there was a bell that would remind her that certain moments would never come again so she’d best enjoy them to the fullest while she could. Recently, my son said he often thought of that bell as he watched his youngest child grow from toddler to first grader. He said he wanted to remember every moment he has with her since it all passes so fast.
What sound or noise do you love?
I think the sounds we love change through the years, depending on which phase we’re in. As a child, I loved the sound of mourning doves, cicadas, night crickets and whippoorwills, and the tick-tick-whirr of big hayfield sprinklers. After I married, I was always comforted by the sound of my husband breathing beside me (except when he added snores—then I fantasized about smothering him.) When I had small children, the sound of their laughter always made me laugh, too. (Now it’s coming around again with my grandchildren—YAY!) And now that I’m retired and living a mile past where God buried his socks, I love the sounds of the wildlife around me—meadowlarks, red-winged blackbirds, cows, horses, my hound dog howling when we drive up to the house. No cars, no sirens, no sounds of other people. I guess we’re sort of reclusive.
What does it mean to love someone?
As my DH and I celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary on Oct. 1st, I feel I’m fairly qualified to answer this. Loving someone means you give up total self-absorption and include another person in your life, warts and all. In other words, it’s not only about you anymore, so get over yourself. It means you accept the other person as he/she is, not as you wish he/she could be. You have to learn to trust, to forgive, to support, and to wisely pick your battles. Keep your expectations real, your demands reasonable, and your promises true. And if you don’t get back the same respect, honor and love you offer, then kick him /her to the curb and move on. Life’s too short and you deserve to have the best one possible.
What do YOU think loving someone means?
Leave a comment and your name’s in the hat for one of three print books that I’m delighted to give away. And many thanks to Elisabeth Burke for her kind invitation to visit GET LOST IN A STORY today.
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