Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's Gonna Be One of those Weekends

Hey everyone,

I was going to have up this blog about the chinese new year, I swear, but honestly, I just have too much to do in a weekend blog!!!! So, instead, on Tuesday, I'll start with a week long series of what we did over the long holiday.

Trust me, it will be better. The parade last night alone was so spectacular I'm going to do an entire blog on it PLUS put even more pics on my website. Think Las Vegas spectacular married to a HUGE Disney Light show parade and you might just understand. LOL

Anyway, since today is my promo day, I'll do that up for you. I've got a hankering for home this Sunday, so I'm going back to my roots. I'll celebrate the Chinese New Year for you next week, so today I'm heading over to revisit American summer fun in my book, Cowboy Up.

This book is available at Aspen Mountain Press.

Sierra Rawlings loves to work, ride, and play hard, but it’s her hidden desire for neighbor, Dalton Grant, that really keeps her on her toes. But she needs her independence more and his habit of bossing her around is too much to bear.

Three years ago, Dalton thought he’d roped and gentled Sierra. One night of passion under the stars had him thinking of forever, but even as he made his plans, she ran from him, and he’d never been able to comprehend why.

The annual summer rodeo brings them together and their hidden desires flare hot. But just as they are beginning to understand each other, a dangerous opportunity arises, forcing Sierra and Dalton to learn a painful lesson about trust. It’s time for these two stubborn people to cowboy up and admit their feelings, before anger and a bull named Body Bag steal their last chance away.


“Where were you headed?”
Sierra blinked at the question. “Nowhere. I just wanted to put some distance between me and the world. I needed to get away.”
“Want to talk about it?”
Her stomach suddenly burned, and she pressed her fist against it. “Not really.”
She was surprised when gentle fingers pried open her hand. “Are you hurting again?”
Shocked he even knew of her constant pain, she jerked her head up to look at him. Intense hazel eyes gazed back at her, and her cheeks went warm at what she thought she saw in them. An indefinable moment passed, one that made her even more trembly inside. It was broken only when Deuce stumbled going over a log, and she cleared her throat nervously. “How…how did you know?”
He gave a snort of disbelief. “Hell, woman. I know the symptoms of an ulcer when I see one. You’ve had it for a long time. When are you going to admit it?”
Now she was really embarrassed. He’d been aware of her problem? “It can’t be an ulcer. I’m too young.”
“With a dad like yours I don’t think it matters. Come on, baby. The stress of dealing with the man is making you sick. Let me help.”
She closed her eyes and shook her head tiredly. “Too late, Dalton. He’s dead, remember. Nothing more to be done.”
“I don’t think that’s true.” He tipped her head back to look at her face. “Unless this little episode was because you were glad to see him go.”
Anger shot through her. “I’m not glad my father is dead. I’m not.”
“Then why the running away?”
She went silent, and Dalton swore inwardly. Sierra was always close-mouthed about things, holding too much inside her. Thus the threatening ulcer. “Come on, sweetheart. Tell ‘ol Dalton the truth. What did Jake do this time?”
He could almost feel the war going on inside her. She wanted to tell him, yet she was so damned afraid of letting people get close to her, she rarely said anything. That fear was another gift from her bastard father. He could wait and hope the need would finally overcome the reticence, or he could give her a little push. As usual, he went for the push. “You know the gossips will have it all over town by morning.”
The flare of anger in her sapphire eyes made him grin, and he wasn’t disappointed when she glared up at him. “Damn it. It’s supposed to be confidential.”
“Don’t be a fool, Sierra. You know that your lawyer’s secretary gets her hair done by Millie at the Cut and Blow. And you know she can’t keep a secret worth spit. Millie will have the whole story before she even gets her hair washed.”
Sierra’s lip poked out in a pout, and Dalton had the sudden overwhelming need to bite it. He shifted in the saddle, fighting against the tightening at the front of his jeans. He’d really have a problem if Sierra felt it. Fucking inappropriate. Wrong time and the wrong place, but he was beginning to wonder if it was the wrong woman. It was a hell of a time to find out he had the hots for Sierra. He was glad when she finally spoke.
“You’re right. I hate it, but you’re right.” She wiped away the tears like she was ashamed of them and then looked up at him, fury dancing over her face. “He left me the ranch, Dalton. Every bit of it.”
There was more. That exciting news wouldn’t have sent her off in tears. “But…”
“But, is right. He left me a plan. Three years worth that I have to follow exactly, or I lose everything. Everything is laid out for me like I was just a kid! I’ve been working this ranch since I was twelve. I know more about it than he does. How dare he treat me this way! I hate him. I really hate him!
The outburst didn’t surprise Dalton. In fact, he was glad for it. It was a long time coming. His hand stroked her arm soothingly while he tried to understand exactly what she meant. “He left you a plan?”
“He sure did.” The words spilled out of her. “You want to know what crops are supposed to be planted two years from now? How about when I’m supposed to have the chimneys cleaned? Curious as to when my house will be painted and what color? Oh, and listen to this. He even left me an order telling me which of my studs he wanted covering my mares.” Her cheeks flushed with anger. “My studs and my mares, and he thinks he can tell me what to do?”
The old bastard. Dalton held his own rage in check as he pulled his horse to a stop in front of the big swimming hole. Still holding Sierra, he climbed off his mount and then set her gently at his side, making sure she could stand. He needn’t have worried. She was away and pacing furiously, before he had time to fret about her.
Shrugging, he used the time it took to unsaddle Deuce to calm himself down. By the time he had the bridle off and the horse was ambling away for a good roll, he had control over his own emotions. He watched as Sierra rubbed Nevada’s silky forehead and whispered her apologies, before the mare joined the gelding in an earth-shaking roll to make all the itches go away.
“I can’t believe he did it,” Sierra said quietly as she watched the two horses enjoying themselves. “I was sure he hated me, but this much? He knew I loved the ranch. That I would do anything to get it. This is just his last payback.”
Walking over to her, Dalton brushed a long black curl from her still-damp cheek. “I’ve never understood that. And you’ve never explained, but I’m asking you now. Why did he treat you that way? How can he hate you? You’re his flesh and blood, damn it. It’s fucking unnatural.”
Her lip trembled. “He blames me for my mother dying…among other things.”
What?” Dalton was sincerely surprised. That wasn’t gossip he’d ever heard on the town grapevine. “What are you talking about?”
She gave a shrug. “My mother had trouble giving birth to me. Tore her up pretty badly. She couldn’t have any other children, so he blamed me because he couldn’t have the son he really wanted. Every time he looked at me he saw his failure. And Mama never did get back to full health after that. She was…delicate.”
“But she died from pneumonia. How can he blame you for that?”
“If I hadn’t been born, she wouldn’t have been so fragile. She would have kicked the pneumonia and been able to give him the son he always longed for.” The statement made so simply was even more chilling.
“Honey,” he said, feeling for the right words. “You know that’s a crock, right? It’s not your fault.”
She shrugged again. “I know what’s right in my head, but after twenty-one years of being told that I’m a disappointment, and the only thing standing between him and his dreams of passing on his ranch to a real heir, I’m not sure what I believe any more.”
“Then believe this,” Dalton growled as he pulled her into his arms. “Your father was a sick, twisted old bastard who had no call to be raising a little girl. Understand? You’re something special, Sierra. You’re smart and pretty, and one of the best cowhands I’ve ever seen. You can ride better than anyone in the territory, run that ranch with your eyes closed, and Jake damn well knew it. If he’s set out a plan for you, it’s not because you aren’t capable. It’s because he’s too fucking selfish to let go when he should. Don’t let his lies destroy you, baby. It’s not worth it.”
To his surprise she burst into tears again, burying her face against his chest. After a moment’s hesitation, he hugged her, hoping his nearness would give her the reassurance she so obviously needed. She just held him tighter, and his heart twisted, knowing it wasn’t just comfort he wanted to give her. Not any more.
When had the rules changed? When had Sierra gone from being the little sister he worried about to an attractive woman he wanted to touch? His body was one big throbbing ache, and all he wanted to do was kiss away her tears.
Cursing himself for his wayward thoughts, he lifted her again in his arms and carried her over underneath the big pine tree that hung out over the small lake. He sank down on the cool meadow grass littered with fallen pine needles and leaned back against the rough trunk with her held tightly against him. Not saying anything, he just let her cry, smoothing his work-rough hand up and down her slender back.
The sun had dipped low in the sky when Sierra finally lifted her head. Their gazes met, and to his wonder, he saw the same desperate need he was feeling darkening her eyes. Suddenly, he was frantic to know more. To see how she tasted…how she felt. It would change everything, but he had to have that one kiss. Telling himself it was only a kiss of comfort and not one of desire, his lips slowly covered hers.
Utter surprise was quickly chased away by warmth when Dalton’s mouth came down on hers. Sierra had waited so long for this kiss that for a moment she thought she was imagining it. Then her senses took over, and she could feel the gentle touch of his lips, smell the scent of his sweat, feel the heat from his body. When she heard his low groan and tasted the mint of the candy he so often nibbled on, she knew without a doubt this was no dream. She was here, in Dalton’s arms and he was kissing her.
And it was wonderful.

***end of excerpt***

For more information on this book go to
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Hugs and we'll be back tomorrow with guest blogger, PJ Dean!!!!

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi CJ, Love that phrase “Cowboy Up” only I say “Cowgirl Up”. [Remember when ‘Sierra’ showed up in Mexico? Lucky Matt wasn’t romancing Sharra at the time/giggles]. Looking forward to hearing and seeing more about the Chinese New Year.
[Admit it, CJ ~ This is another ‘cliff hanger’, ;-)]
Sara J. ~ : - ]