Five tales of five illegitimate sons of a profligate gambler; these half-brothers learn of their father’s death, some learning for the first time that their brothers exist. These rugged, handsome men, despite their unfortunate beginnings, grow to become strong, upstanding men (for the most part) in their own right, no thanks to their father. Still, from across the country they embark on a journey. Along with their sassy and sometimes mischievous brides, they travel to Denver for the reading of the will. For most, the will is the least of their concerns. Instead, they have a burning curiosity to meet the other sons of Johnny Hastings.
I am a sucker for a good romance. If it’s a historical western with hot cowboys, stick a fork in me… I’ve always thought traveling back to the old west, would be a hoot and a half, don’t you think? Reminiscent of Gunsmoke and Bonanza (‘Memba Little Joe?), the era seems very romantic with the cowboys, the gallantry, the clothes (corsets, bustles and petticoats, oh my) and all the legends of the wild wild west.
The cowboy was greatly romanticized and fictionalized by old Hollywood. They rarely had the wealth, power and frankly the aroma to make a woman swoon. Imagine the smell after working all day with horses, cattle and no deodorant. UGH.
Despite the reality, Hollywood brought us John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and Jimmy Stewart, so women love cowboys and western romance. Since we are writers of fiction, I asked two of the authors why and what made up their image of a perfect cowboy.
Patty Devlin – Rugged cowboys, who are toned and muscular, hands rough from working… I get excited just thinking about it. Why? Maybe because I picture them as no-nonsense, get their work done kind of men. Oh, and cowboy hats and arrogant winks… Sigh… Yeah. Then there is all that leather. The smell of oil from rubbing their saddles or tack down. Yummy, and I can imagine a big leather belt at his waist too. Dang, I’m getting side tracked. What was the question again? LOL The perfect cowboy? See above LOL! Add to it hair in need of a trim, a rough chin with a good day’s growth, and toned legs and thighs from sitting in a saddle all day long. Makes perhaps for a pleasant place to lay over and receive a good hard spanking. Then to sit on those leather chaps with my freshly spanked bare-bottom, omg I have to hurry off and finish this fantasy in a book or something…
I asked the same question of Mary Wehr and asked her to describe her perfect cowboy.
Mary: In movies, ranchers and cowboys are usually portrayed as rugged, sexy men more inclined to administer a good old-fashioned spanking when warranted. With a historical western romance, a reader is almost guaranteed a hero who is firm and commanding, protective and caring. Maybe that’s why cowboys are so popular. I could be wrong, but I do know when I want to read a romance with a sassy, spunky heroine and a stern hero, I search for a western. I know I’m bound to find what I want. Women have come a long way since the 1800’s and that’s a good thing, but sometimes it’s nice to fantasize about being thought only as ‘his woman’. A cowboy does that for me.
Mm… rugged cowboys sound yummy! But in actuality, the old west was harsh and very rustic, which convinces me when I think of it, that I was definitely born in the right era. I do often wonder if swept back in time, what modern conveniences I would have missed most.
All of our stories are set in 1872, which means no TP, A/C, birth control, automobile, cell phone (or any phone for that matter- it wasn’t invented yet). Here is my short list and why…
#1 for me, OMG it has to be birth control. I have two sons. All my hubby had to do was look at me and I was knocked up. I would have been one of those women who had a dozen or died in childbirth (my last child being 11 lbs. 4 oz., yeah, that was a C-section).
#2 Toilet paper. Having gone fishing with my hubby and hiking with my hubby, the leaf experience does not do it for me. A man has it easy, just drop trow and whiz away, we girls have a little more hygienic practices to attend to.
#3 A/C, I live in the southeast and it gets freakin’ hot down here. Give me artificial air any day, especially when I’m trying to sleep.
#4 A car, I do not do horses… Need I say more?
#5 Take my cell phone… please! My laptop and internet are a different story, however.
Patricia Green also weighed in and ranked toilet paper as her top pick. Of those choices, I’d miss TP the most, simply because it’s used more often than the other choices, so I would be frequently reminded of what I was missing. And, besides, pages from the Sears & Roebuck catalogue must have been inky. Second, A/C, because with the clothing styles of the time, it would be stifling hot in the summertime and the smell of so many hot and sweaty people must have been overwhelming.
If I could be transported back in time, I think the thing I would like the most would be the formal manners of the tiem. I’d like to be called “Miss” or “Mrs.” Regularly and until I gavepermission ohewise and took a step toward a deeper friendship. It’s a signal we don’t have anymore and I think we’ve lost something in being so free with people’s names. The thing I would like the least would be the way clothes were washed. I can’t imagine using lye soap on a washboard.
I wholeheartedly agree, I like my washing machine and adore the wrinkle guard on my dryer. LOL Thank you for allowing my romantic cowboy meanderings today, but since time is short and space is limited, let’s get down to the hot and juicy with an excerpt from one of the five novels from The Sons of Johnny Hastings, The Outlaw’s Bride by Renee Rose.
Unjustly accused of murder, Sam Pride is on the run and his luck worsens when he tangles with the Curly James gang. The only bright spot is the little spitfire rancher who steals his heart with her courage and spunk. When the two set off together for Cheyenne and then Denver, sparks fly and their magnetic connection grows.
Still, Mabelle is not sure if Sam will commit and even if he does, can he clear his name before a bounty hunter shoots him or brings him in?
Padding softly to the living room, she blinked in the darkness and located his large frame stretched out on the floor. She listened to the sound of his breath, deepened in sleep. Kneeling beside him, she grasped one of the guns at his side and began to slowly draw it out of the holster.
In a flash, he sat up, gun drawn and pointing in her face.
She gave a little scream of surprise, falling back. “Don’t shoot!” she begged, realizing how foolish her plan had been.
He stood up, lifting her to her feet with a firm grip on her arm. “What did you think you were doing?” he demanded, his voice icy. “You want the bounty on my head, too?”
“No,” she protested, and tried to step back, but he held her fast.
“Seven fifty is not enough for you? You want it all? Fine,” he said, turning his pistol around and handing it to her by the handle. “Go ahead and take it.”
She shook her head. “No, I—”
She grasped the gun to appease him, her hands shaking so badly it wobbled in her grip.
“Go on, shoot me. I won’t draw on you. Here, take both my guns,” he said, lifting his arm to give her access to the other gun at his hip.
She shook her head. “That’s not—”
“Shoot me, Mabelle. It is not hard. You just pull the trigger and it’s done. Go on.”
Her chin trembled, the tears coming close to expulsion. “No!” she said.
He snatched the gun back with a look of disgust and holstered it. “It is hard to take a life, isn’t it?”
“I wasn’t going to—”
“Go and get me a wooden spoon.”
She obeyed without thinking, relieved to be released from his dark gaze, but when she reached the wash tub and grasped the spoon, she stopped, guessing his intentions for it.
She heard the scrape of a chair and turned to see him settling in it, looking at her expectantly.
“You could light a lamp, too, but I don’t mind spanking you in the dark.”
“You are not spanking me!” she insisted, her voice shrill.
He said nothing, simply looked at her from across the dark room.
Her heart thundered in her chest. She realized she had little choice but to accept his punishment. Fighting him would be fruitless, and only make him angrier. He thought she meant to kill him and he intended to exact retribution.
Well, if his retribution for murder was a spanking with a wooden spoon, she could take it. She drew her shoulders back and marched over to stand before him, offering the spoon.
“Thank you, Mabelle,” he said, his voice even. “Do you want to light the lamp?”
Did she want him to have a brighter view of her backside splayed across his knees? Hell, no.
“No,” she mumbled, her glower focusing on the collar of his shirt.
“No, sir,” he corrected.