When my new duet was in the conceptualization stage, I knew that my heroine was a social worker. I knew that because she showed up in an earlier book, PROUD RANCHER, PRECIOUS BUNDLE, as the case worker who helped Wyatt and Elli as they cared for Wyatt’s niece. She intrigued me.
I had an idea for a women’s shelter – a place that Angela would be personally invested in and something she’d believe in passionately. And I got thinking – so many times we think of shelters as a place for women to go when they leave an abusive situation. But then what? How does a woman rebuild her life when she’s left her old life with, perhaps, nothing more than the clothes on her back?
The shelter in the story is what we call “Second Stage” housing. It’s for women who are at the point where they need a helping hand getting started – finding a job, finding housing, taking those last steps to independence. Like Clara Ferguson, for example. Clara is a sweet, strong woman and Angela’s first resident. Clara’s focus is on finding a job and saving enough money to afford a place of her own, growing emotionally stronger as she goes.
When it came time to name the house, I really struggled. I’m not good at that sort of thing. In the end I settled on Butterfly House. Why? A few reasons. It’s a place where its residents can grow and change, to gain their confidence again and feel whole and beautiful and worthy – not unlike a caterpillar transforming into a beautiful butterfly. And while they’ve been injured and had their wings clipped, Butterfly House is a place where they can put their past behind them and learn to fly again.
In THE LAST REAL COWBOY, Angela has to move beyond her own past to accept both Sam’s help and his love. It’s harder for her because she knows she’s got to set the example as the director, and yet she has her own issues that she hasn’t addressed. Good thing Sam is strong and patient – but not too patient, of course!
And in the second book, out next month (THE REBEL RANCHER), Clara meets Ty, Sam’s adopted brother. Ty is trouble – and also surprisingly gentle – just the kind Clara needs to restore her faith in men – and in herself.