Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: November 26,, 2013
Published By: Avon Impulse
Event organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.
Sydney Thomas wants nothing more than to train rodeo horses and hopes becoming a rodeo queen will help her make the contacts she seeks. She is thrilled when Mike Findley, the co-owner of Findley Brothers stock contractors, hires her for her dream job as a horse trainer until she meets Scott Chandler, the other half of Findley Brothers. He’s arrogant, judgmental and, unfortunately, unbelievably sexy. Scott doesn’t bother to hide his attraction to her, but makes it clear that he thinks she’s nothing more than a “buckle bunny” intent on taming a cowboy and he doesn’t plan on being any woman’s toy - not again.
When the two are forced to work together, neither expects their past to show up on the doorstep. Scott’s ex, Mike Finley’s daughter Liz, returns to win him back, determined to destroy any budding relationship between Scott and Sydney, even if that means bringing in outside help in the form of Curtis Willits, Sydney’s ex-fiancé. Sydney faces her abusive past relationship and Scott fights his distrust of women and love. Can they overcome their past and learn to trust one another with their hearts?
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1) How did you become involved in rodeo?
I have been involved in rodeo since I can remember. I was born into it, literally. My mother gave birth to me on our ranch, in the house I live in now. My parents were partners in the Findley Brothers Stock Contractors so I’ve been attending rodeos before I could even crawl. As I grew up, I became more involved with the business side of rodeo. I’ve been working with Mike Findley, my father’s partner, since I was about fourteen.
2) You had a rough childhood, how were you able to pull through that?
My parents went to run a small rodeo on the coast of California and were killed in a car accident on the way home. I was only about eight, so, yeah, it was rough growing up. But my sister, who was twelve, stepped up to become “mom” for my younger brother and me. Mike took us in since we didn’t have any other family and raised us with his daughter on the ranch. He’s been a father and a solid foundation for all three of us to lean on.
3) So what part do you take in the rodeos now?
Until I finished with college, Mike ran everything and I just went along to help out. After I finished college, when I got home, I took over the books and shared a few ideas with him about making the company more profitable. Together we’ve made Findley Brothers one of the most profitable stock contractor companies in the country. Jennifer is involved with making sure the day to day activities run smoothly. Her husband, Clay, is one of our pick-up men, and my brother, Derek, helps with the equine stock. I usually work as the arena director for most rodeos and Mike handles most of the dealing with clients. It’s really a family business in every sense of the word.
4) What’s your favorite part about rodeos?
I love that I’m able to control almost every aspect. There is something fulfilling about being able to put together a great program that gets spectators excited. I know which animal is up next, how each one preforms, which cowboys will be riding and where every person on the crew should be. It’s like conducting an orchestra and it’s a glorious thing when it all happens according to the plan.
5) What’s your least favorite part about them?
Buckle-bunnies. The wanna-be cowgirls that hang out behind the chutes. They are the groupies of rodeo, most of them heading from one to the next in an attempt to nab a cowboy. Sadly, a lot of the guys riding the circuit fall into their trap. I can’t tell you how many women I’ve seen trap these guys.
6) Since you mentioned them, I’m sure the ladies would like to know a little more about you in the romance department. What sort of woman do you look for?
I don’t. I’m not one of those guys that can’t wait to hook up with a woman. Not that I’m opposed to going out and having some fun, but I don’t usually initiate it and it’s never anything serious. I’m just not interested in a permanent relationship. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen too many women who only want to wrangle a cowboy. I’m not interested in being anyone’s prize.
7) Isn’t that a pessimistic view?
Probably. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t say that there isn’t a woman out there who can ride, rope, put up with my stubbornness and cynicism as well as keeping my interest piqued. But I certainly haven’t found her, and even if I did, I’m not exactly the happy-ending, “ride off into the sunset” kind of guy.
8) So, what you’re saying is that you’re not the stereotypical strong, sensitive cowboy?
I’m more of the tell-it-like-it-is, don’t have time to deal with fairy-tale nonsense type.
9) We’ve heard you’re a bit of a flirt, any truth to the rumor?
I don’t know that I’d call myself a flirt, or a player. I enjoy spending time with a beautiful woman and I can certainly appreciate her but I’m not looking for anything with attachments. Maybe that’s where the rumor comes from.
10) What’s next for you?
Doing what I do best - more rodeos. We have several rodeos planned for the rest of the year. I know Mike is hoping to elevate our breeding program and get some better riding stock but that would involve Derek more and I’m not sure how likely that is to happen right now.
Guest Post: Inspiration for Rodeo Queen
In 1987, after competing in rodeos with a horseback drill team, I looked up during the opening ceremony to see a beautiful girl in a sequin outfit holding the American Flag. As the National Anthem played, she circled the arena. I watched her in awe. It was a few minutes later that I found out she was a “rodeo queen.” I’d never heard of one before that, even though I’d spent plenty of time around rodeo. I’d never paid that much attention.
As I watched her that day, I saw her talking with spectators, rodeo participants and performing various activities during the performance. I decided that very afternoon that someday, I would be a rodeo queen. It took three years, hundreds of hours of practice and endless preparation for me to win my first title as a rodeo queen. Several more competitions and titles followed. During this period of my life, I was training horses, going to college and competing. I lived and breathed horses and was surrounded by the romance of rodeo – incredibly talented cowboys, beautiful young women and a historic culture.
I loved writing and always wanted it to be my career and I loved western romances. All writers have heard the advice, “write what you know” so I looked at the people I had surrounding me and decided to put them and rodeo into a novel. At the time, I wasn’t sure how to do it so I just jotted down a few ideas and put them away.
Years later, more than I’d like to count, and now a grown woman with kids of my own, running a business from home, I decided I wasn’t going to wait any longer to pursue my dream of a writing career. I decided that I needed to do something elaborate, to force myself to focus on my writing. Luckily for me, it was two days before Halloween, just enough time for me to enter NaNoWriMo. With only two days before the start of the frenzied writing challenge, I pulled out my idea book.
There my “rodeo” story stared me in the face. I wondered briefly if anyone would even want to read a story about a rodeo queen. Then it dawned on me, this was NaNoWriMo, it was about producing numbers, not necessarily quality so no one would read what I wrote anyway. Boy, was I wrong. By the end of the month, I was asking my critique partner to read it and within ten days, I emailed it to Avon with my heart in my throat and my fingers crossed.
Six Fun Facts about:
1) Has a rich baritone voice and sings to relax
2) Met his brother-in-law, Clay at a rodeo when they almost got into a fight.
3) Speaks fluent Spanish
4) As a child, would sneak out of the house and sleep in the stall with his horse, a mare named Lily
6) Secretly afraid of snakes
1) Team ropes with her brother and runs barrels in amateur competitions
2) Favorite flower is a white carnation
3) Secretly loves classic rock music because her father played it for her when she was a child.
4) Helped deliver a foal instead of attending her Senior Prom
5) Loves wearing lacy lingerie but prefers casual clothes like jeans and t-shirts
6) Had a crush on her brother’s team roping partner in high school, David Greenly, but never acted on it.About the Author
T. J. Kline was raised competing in rodeos and Rodeo Queen Competitions since the age of 14 and has thorough knowledge of the sport as well as the culture involved. She has written several articles about rodeo for small periodicals, as well as a more recent how-to article for RevWriter, and has published a nonfiction health book and two inspirational fiction titles under the name Tina Klinesmith. She is also an avid reader and book reviewer for both Tyndale and Multnomah. In her spare time, she can be found laughing hysterically with her husband, children, and their menagerie of pets in Northern California.
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