What comes to mind first when you think rodeo? Bullriding? Bronco riding? Steer roping? Those are popular events for sure, but what else have you noticed? How about the two cowboys in matching outfits on the edges of the arena during the bull, steer and bronco events? Those men, often referred to as the arena ghosts, are your pickup men. They’re the ones who sidle up on either side of a bucking horse once the eight-second whistle has sounded, help the cowboy safely off his mount, and then guide the bronco from the arena. During the bull riding events they help run interference if needed, and haze the bulls out before they can cause any damage. Their number one job is keeping the competing cowboys safe. They aren’t the stars of the rodeo, but you be guaranteed, no rodeo can go on without them.
These pickup men need to possess a certain ability to read an animal, anticipate moves, assess potential dangers in splits of seconds, and more importantly, they need to be in the right place at the right time. More often than not, the pickup man can mean the difference between a cowboy going home or to the hospital, and sometimes, the difference between life and death. Makes one appreciate these unsung heroes just a little more, doesn’t it?
With my newest release, Pickup Men, these are the guys I wanted to write about. This story is more than what they do, but also how what they do is an extension of their personalities. I actually didn’t realize until just now, as I was penning this post, the dichotomy of my main characters. Marty Fairgrave is a pickup man, he’s understated and really, just a big ole sweetheart. He’s also gay, and out and proud. On the flipside, Tripp Colby is a world champion bull rider. He’s the star of the rodeo show and everyone knows his name. He’s gay too, but unlike Marty, he’s deep in the closet. The ghost is out, the star is hidden.
Unlike most romance novels, this story starts with an established couple breaking up and finding their way back to each other. It’s a journey in self-acceptance, in being true to yourself no matter the costs, and finding happiness in your truth. The road is hard and painful, but then, anything worth fighting for always is, isn’t it?
It takes a pissed-off Brahma bull named Shockwave to show rodeo pickup man Marty Fairgrave the cold hard truth about champion bull rider Tripp Colby: Tripp will never leave the safety of his closet or acknowledge Marty in public. Sometimes loving someone just isn’t enough, and after a year of hiding what they are, Marty finally sees the light—and it’s no longer shining on Tripp.
Tripp Colby would do anything for Marty. Well . . . almost. He’s never loved anyone before, and isn’t quite sure how to handle it now. But he knows Marty is his everything, and in order to win him back, Tripp will have to overcome his darkest fears and step into the light.
But no matter Tripp’s intentions, the cost might be too high and the effort too late for these two cowboys to ride off into the sunset.
Where to Get Pickup Men:
Riptide Publishing: http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/pickup-men
About L.C. Chase:
Cover artist by day, author by night, L.C. Chase is a hopeless romantic and adventure seeker. After a decade of road tripping on three continents, she now calls the Canadian West Coast home. When not writing tales of beautiful men falling love, L.C. can be found designing book covers of said beautiful men, reading, drawing, hiking the trails with her goofy four-legged buddy who, if he were human, would be a stand-up comedian, and fighting her root beer addiction.
You can find out more about L.C., story extras, works in progress, and cover designs at her website: www.lcchase.com, or her blog: www.lcchase.blogspot.com. She can also be found on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4662239.L_C_Chase, Twitter: https://twitter.com/LC_Chase and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/LC-Chase/510383032351100.
*Rodeo photo copyright L.C. Chase, 2011. All rights reserved.