Hey everyone and happy Wednesday! When I got back from the Romance Writers of America National conference one week ago today, I was greeted by a house with no electricity or water, and a slightly stressed out husband. He also had to replace the refrigerator while I was gone. I was kind of getting afraid to answer the phone while I was in San Diego.
I had a book due shortly after returning home, but with no electricity, finishing it proved to be a problem. Fortunately, I had a neighbor whose power sources were still running, so I’d meet him at the end of my driveway on his way home from work, hand off my laptop, he would take it home and charge it and then we’d meet at the end of the driveway when he headed back to work the next morning. I was so glad to have a fifteen hour battery.
Life off the grid can be a challenge, but my power source is up and running again, and I’m writing away. To celebrate, I’m posting an excerpt from my September Harlequin Western Romance (formerly Harlequin American Romance), The Bull Rider’s Homecoming.
My bull rider hero is babysitting the heroine’s twin daughters during an emergency. He’s never been around kids and is learning the ropes as he goes. I hope you enjoy.
Well, he certainly couldn’t leave the macaroni cooking and go home. “What do you guys…girls…usually do while waiting for supper to cook?”
“We do our schoolwork.”
“Or watch TV.”
“Or play on the computer.”
Or play dolls.”
Katie’s face brightened. “Yeah. You can be the boy dolls!”
But Kristen was already on her way out of the room, Katie close behind her. A moment later they came back carrying a box of dolls and small clothing.
Trace pushed the hair back from his forehead. This was foreign territory.
Katie set three fashion dolls in various states of dress on the table then looked up at Trace. “Who do you want to be?”
“Uh…where’s that guy doll you were talking about?”
Kristen dug into the bin and pulled out two identical boy dolls—one wearing striped pajamas and the other wearing jeans and a white shirt with an aluminum foil buckle on his small belt. “This is Tyler and this is Jess. They’re twins. Like us.”
Trace knew Tyler and Jess Hayward, the bull-riding twins. He wondered if they knew they had tiny doppelgangers.
“We don’t have many boy clothes,” Katie said.
“And they don’t fit in the girl jeans, so Tyler has to wear his pajamas.”
“Or his beach shorts.” Katie pulled out a pair of flowered swim trunks.
Trace picked up Tyler. “So, what’s my job?”
“We have to get the horses and then we play rodeo.”
Not what he’d been expecting.
“Uncle Grady got us a bull, too, so Tyler and Jess can ride the bull.”
“In his pajamas?” Trace asked.
“Well, he has to wear something,” Katie remarked in a grown-up tone as she headed out of the room. She reappeared a few minutes later with a crate of horses and sure enough, there was a Brahma bull in with the plastic model horses.
“I’ll get the cans,” Kristen said.
“For barrel racing,” Katie said as if he was slow on the uptake.
And so Trace got down on the floor and played rodeo with the girls. Tyler did very well riding the bull, but Jess got tossed off and landed in the sink of soapy water with a big splash, much to the girls’ delight.
“Mom never lets us do that.”
“Mom…” He almost said “doesn’t need to know” before he realized that was not a very wise thing to say to two impressionable seven-year-olds. “Mom knows best,” he amended.
He got to his feet and fished Jess out of the sink and left him to dry on the drain rack before sitting back down again. Out of curiosity, he asked, “Do you guys ever play anything but rodeo?”
“Sometimes we play school and sometimes we play going-on-a-date, but mostly we play rodeo.”
“You can go on a date to a rodeo,” Kristen announced. “That’s where Uncle Grady and Lex went on their first date.”
“We went, too!” Katie added.
“That must have been some first date.”
“It was,” Kristen said, suddenly solemn. “Lex got scared and sad because her dad died at a rodeo, but Uncle Grady helped her get not afraid.”
“And now they’re getting married,” Katie interjected.
“We’re flower girls!”
The Bull Rider’s Homecoming is available for pre-order from Amazon. Thanks for stopping by!