I’m always excited when my new books hit the shelves and finally get into the hands of readers. It feels like my characters are truly alive once they’re in the hearts and minds of other people. But sometimes it’s hard to leave my old friends behind as I move on to a new story.
I grew really attached to the hero and heroine of Tall Dark and Cowboy: rancher Chase Caldwell with his broad shoulders and big heart, and Lacey, who was raised to riches and then had her privileged world whipped out from under her. Lacey rises to a whole host of challenges, and she takes Chase with her on a wild ride to shake off her problematic past.
But it’s not just the hero and heroine I’ll miss; it’s the whole town of Grady, Wyoming. Like most small towns, Grady is a complex web of interwoven relationships. Here are just a few of the people who complicate and enrich Chase and Lacey’s lives.
Chase’s nearest neighbor, Fletcher Galt, lost his only son in a car accident. Without the boy to help out, the old rancher had to sell most of his acreage to Chase. Bitter and lonely, Galt spends much of his time on the front porch with a shotgun, guarding what’s left of his land. Being around him makes Chase uncomfortably aware of what happens if you harden your heart and live on resentment and past wrongs.
Pam Caldwell is Chase’s sister, who runs the café in Grady. Lacey remembers her as a much-maligned single mother in high school, but Pam has created a life for herself and her daughter that makes Lacey actually envy the girl who was once the topic of cruel gossip.
Daisy is Pam’s daughter. A sprightly eight-year-old obsessed with television crime shows, she spies on the neighbors with her trusty binoculars when she’s not busy dressing the cat in baby clothes. While the grown-ups try to avoid trouble, Daisy runs headlong into it—usually with disastrous results.
Sinclair is a stray terrier Lacey finds at a gas station in Nebraska. He looks like a grumpy and slightly mad senior citizen, with spiky hair and an attitude to match. He doesn’t seem to like Lacey—or anyone else, for that matter. But when things go wrong, she realizes how much she’s come to love her cantankerous travel companion.
Cody is the café’s short-order cook and the four-wheeling king of the Wyoming back roads. He’s a wild man with a mysterious past, and though he and Chase become friends, Chase is less than thrilled when his sister falls for the guy.
Krystal is Chase’s assistant at the car lot. She’s annoying, shrill, and grasping—but boy, can she sell cars. She’s made up her mind that Chase is destined to be the sugar daddy she’s always longed for, and she’d like nothing better than to run Lacey out of town.
Jeb is the owner of the Quik Lube next door to Chase’s car lot. Hulking and tattooed, he takes pride in his own oafishness—but he harbors a secret love for Krystal and he’s determined to keep Chase from breaking her heart.
Chase thinks he wants to be utterly independent, and Lacey is determined to make it on her own. But in the sometimes inhospitable landscape of the West, even the most solitary soul has to rely on his neighbors once in a while—and that means both Chase and Lacey need to follow their hearts and learn to trust. In a way, we all take this journey, every day of our lives, learning in unexpected ways from the people around us.
I’m giving away two copies of Tall, Dark and Cowboy! Just make a comment about the most interesting “secondary character” in your life and what you learned from that person.
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