Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: FEARLESS IN TEXAS (Texas Rodeo, #4) by Kari Lynn Dell

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FEARLESS IN TEXAS (Texas Rodeo, #4) by Kari Lynn Dell

Publication Date: April 3, 2018

Genre: Western/ Contemporary Romance 

Synopsis

546D435B-CBD4-4AF8-9EA6-D5F3906950BAHe’d step in front of a bull to save a life

But even he’s no match for a girl this Texas tough

Rodeo bullfighter Wyatt Darrington’s got it all figured out. The perfect car, the perfect job, the perfect looks—the perfect lie. He may be on the fast track to the Hall of Fame, but he knows he’ll always be an outsider to people like Melanie Brookman. Texas-born and bred, with the arena in her blood, Melanie’s come to see Wyatt as her personal enemy, and that suits him just fine—this way, she’ll never realize the truth.

He’s been crazy in love with her for years.

Melanie’s always been a fighter. Fiercely independent and tough as nails, she’s stood up to everything that got in her way—including Wyatt. But now her infamous temper’s got her on the ropes, and there’s nowhere left to run but toward the man she swore she’d never trust…and this time, there’s no denying just how hot he makes her burn.

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Author Guest Post

What I Love about Rodeo

There are so many things I love about rodeo that I could—and have—filled several books (aka the Texas Rodeo series). A million tiny details like the scent of wood shavings in a horse stall, the indescribable joy of a perfectly thrown loop, or the way a belt and buckle sets off a nice pair of hips. Lately, though, I’ve come to appreciate a facet of rodeo and life on the ranch that I’ve always taken for granted: rodeo makes women stronger.

Unlike other parts of our society, in rodeo and ranching, strength is a highly prized trait in a woman—both physical and mental. From the time we are old enough to be hoisted onto a pony to trot around the arena, we are praised for being ambitious, competitive, aggressive and independent. We are valued as much for what our bodies can accomplish as we are for our appearance. I might’ve started out by catching my husband’s eye, but I captured his heart the first time he saw me sort cows.

The smart, capable, take-no-crap women of the Texas Rodeo books are products of my environment, and none more so than Melanie Brookman of Fearless in Texas. May every reader who ventures into our world steal a page from her book and leave with a little more cowgirl in their blood—and their attitude.

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Excerpt

Wyatt braced a hand on the front door of the Bull Dancer Saloon, blocking Melanie. “You can’t go back in there.”
She looked at his arm as if debating whether she should bite it or snap it in half. “You think you can stop me?”
“Yes.” He jerked a thumb toward the door and quoted the flyspecked sign posted inside. “I am the proprietor, and we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”
Hell. That wasn’t what he’d meant to say, but the sparks that were flying off of her were burying themselves under his skin, kindling fires that threatened to reduce all of his good intentions to ashes. Her mouth dropped open, and he braced himself for some truly spectacular swearing. Instead, she snapped it shut, whirled around, and strode away, her shiny red heels clicking angrily on the empty street.
“Melanie…wait! Could we just talk—”
Her answer was a stiff middle finger shot straight in the air. He took a couple of steps in pursuit, but his ankle made it clear that anything above a sedate stroll was a bad idea, not that he was sure what he’d do if he caught her. Attempting to stop her when she was like this would be like tackling a mountain lion, but if she intended to go to one of the other bars, she was headed the wrong direction.
“Where are you going?”
“To the bridge. It’ll have to do, since I assume you’ll follow me and there’s not a cliff handy.”
He’d already taken several more steps, but he stopped. “The rail is too high.”
“Then I’ll knock you over the head with a rock and roll you off the dike.”
She wouldn’t. Would she? “If you’re going to commit assault and attempted murder, you’ll need your keys to make your getaway.”
She stopped dead and spun around. He held up the keys in one hand and the purse in the other.
She swore and started back toward him. “Don’t think I won’t kick you square in the nuts and stomp on your fingers when you fall.”
“Not a doubt in my mind.” He unlocked the door that led up to her apartment, yanked it open, and threw both the keys and the purse to the top of the stairs before she could reach him. Then he stepped back, feet braced, ready to dodge or deflect any blow aimed at his groin. If Melanie had said it, she was seriously considering it.
She went for the door instead, but paused with her hand on the knob. “If I go in after them, you won’t let me out.”
“Nope.” Although it would take all his strength to hold the door shut if she was determined to push it open, and there was the fire escape…
Her hand dropped, and she turned on him. If it were possible for a stare to be literally cutting, his guts would’ve fallen out onto the street. “What…the hell…is your problem?”
“You.” He gestured toward her painted face, her dress, those damn red shoes. “I know what all of that means, but you’re wrong. And if you would just let me explain—”
“Yes!” She threw her hands in the air like a Baptist preacher. “Please, oh wise and knowing male, tell me how I’m supposed to feel. Better yet, explain why it is that you could leave this place with any of those women you’ve never met before and you get high fives, but if I do the same, I’m an embarrassment to your shitty little bar.”
Despite his vow to remain calm, his temper began to stir. “I did not say—”
“You don’t have to. I grew up in the goddamn Bible Belt. I’ve heard it all my life.” The bitterness in her voice ran generations deep. “Well, sorry, but not sorry. I’m done trying to please anyone but myself. I’ll sleep with who I want, when I want, and y’all can just deal with it.”
Not likely. Wyatt’s anger boiled up, shooting past the red line and straight into fury. Yes, her rage was justified, but she did not get to lump him in with bastards like Michael and her former boss. All he’d ever wanted, from damn near the first moment they’d spoken on the phone, was Melanie, but it was as if the entire universe had conspired against him, and he was so damn tired of fighting this bone-deep need…
He took a step toward her. Then another. She didn’t budge, but her eyes flicked toward the apartment door as if reconsidering her choices.
He leaned in close, his breath fanning her cheek, his voice low and lethal even to his own ears. “Is that what you want? Just someone with a pulse you can use up and toss out when you’re done?”
He heard her swallow, but she didn’t flinch. “Why shouldn’t I? Men have been doing it forever.”
“Yes, we have.”
He gathered a fistful of her hair and wound the warm silk around and around his hand until his knuckles were pressed to the nape of her neck. Her breath caught at the electric press of skin against skin, and her eyes went even darker. The line he’d held for so long had been crossed. He was beyond stopping—unless she made him.
“As long as you’re determined to do something you’ll hate yourself for in the morning, it might as well be with me.” And then he kissed her.
And instead of shoving him away, Melanie clenched both hands in his shirt and yanked him closer.

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Buy Links

KindleAmazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

Two bundles of the Texas Rodeo Series 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Kari Lynn Dell is a ranch-raised Montana cowgirl who attended her first rodeo at two weeks old and has existed in a state of horse-induced poverty ever since. She lives on the Blackfeet Reservation in her parents’ bunkhouse along with her husband, her son, and Max the Cowdog, with a tipi on her lawn, Glacier National Park on her doorstep and Canada within spitting distance. Her debut novel, The Long Ride Home, was published in 2015. She also writes a ranch and rodeo humor column for several regional newspapers and a national agricultural publication.

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Spotlight, Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway: TOUGHER IN TEXAS (Texas Rodeo, #3) by Kari Lynn Dell

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TOUGHER IN TEXAS (Texas Rodeo, #3) by Kari Lynn Dell

Publication Date: August 1, 2017

Genre: Western/ Contemporary Romance 

Synopsis

9781492632009He’s got five rules
And she’s aiming to break them all

Rodeo producer Cole Jacobs has his hands full running Jacobs Livestock. He can’t afford to lose a single cowboy, so when Cousin Violet offers to send along a more-than-capable replacement, he’s got no choice but to accept. He expects a grizzled Texas good ol’ boy.

He gets Shawnee Pickett.

Wild and outspoken, ruthlessly self-reliant, Shawnee’s not looking for anything but a good time. It doesn’t matter how quickly the tall, dark and intense cowboy gets under her skin—Cole deserves something real, and Shawnee can’t promise him forever. Life’s got a way of kicking her in the teeth, and she’s got her bags packed before tragedy can knock her down. Too bad Cole’s not the type to give up when the going gets tough…

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Author Guest Post

My Favorite Cowboys Who Don’t Play One on TV

We all know about the actors who play cowboys, but you might be shocked to know who among the celebrity crowd are the real thing. If you’re a baseball fan, you’ve heard of Madison Baumgarner, the pitcher who led the San Francisco to the World Series title in 2014 and was named the MVP. This long, lanky North Carolina boy doesn’t just have a 90 plus mile-an-hour fastball. He also throws a pretty mean loop. He’s ridden horses all his life and started team roping when he met his future wife, whose family is involved in rodeo. And since his spring training is in Arizona—a hotbed of team ropers—he brings his horses along to squeeze in a few roping sessions in his spare time. I’m sure his manager is thrilled.

I love this interview discussing similarities between baseball and rodeo. Of course it doesn’t hurt that he’s chatting with Stran Smith—once named to People magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful list—and the all-time winningest cowboy in professional rodeo, Trevor Brazile, who gets a gold buckle for world champion dimples. http://wranglernetwork.com/portfolio-view/trevor-brazile-and-madison-bumgarner-with-stran-smith/

James Pickens Jr. sounds like a born and bred cowboy name, but you’re more likely to know him as Dr. Richard Webber on Grey’s Anatomy. Despite growing up in Cleveland, Pickens had been involved with horses from early on. Twenty some years ago on a movie set, a cowboy working as a transport driver had brought along a roping dummy and was throwing a few practice loops to kill time. Intrigued, Pickens asked to give it a try…and he was hooked. He is now a card-holding member of the United States Team Roping Championships association and produces his own prestigious charity event each year. And yeah, I had to include this particular picture because the winning cowboy on the left is Dustin Bird from right here in my home town of Cut Bank, Montana.

In the Texas Rodeo books, team roping is Shawnee Pickett’s main event, though she’s put it on the back burner to fill in as a pickup man at Jacobs Livestock’s rodeos. Despite his dread of competition, in the excerpt below, Cole agrees to be her partner so she can get a roping fix on one of their off days. Now that’s my kind of hero.

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Excerpt

Shawnee slowed and turned into the driveway of the saddle club. The parking lot was already crowded and a good number of riders circled the arena, warming up. Her pulse did an eager shimmy of anticipation.

Cole gulped audibly. “I thought this was just some little local deal.”

“It is.” Shawnee wheeled into an empty slot and shut off the engine. “Looks like there are a lot of locals.”

Cole trailed behind her like a bewildered child as she strolled over to the entry office/concession stand. He got a Coke while she gave the secretary their names. They both paid their entry fees. As they stepped aside to make way for the next in line, Cole froze, staring at the poster that described the roping, taped to the table for quick reference.

“It’s progressive?” The horror in his voice suggested she’d invited him to a ritual sacrifice.

“Almost all of the ropings are nowadays,” she said, ignoring the curious glances from the others in the line to enter.

“If I miss the first steer, we’re done. You won’t even get to rope.”

He sounded so desperate, on the verge of panic. “Well, then, don’t miss,” she said, and walked away.

If only it were that simple. When the position draw was posted, she and Cole were the fifty-seventh team out of ninety-eight, and with each successive bang of the chute gate, he got a little paler, sat a little more rigid in his saddle, until Shawnee was afraid if she tapped his arm he’d keel over.

As team number fifty-one rode into the roping boxes, she nudged Roy closer until her knee bumped Cole’s. His eyes were glazed and he was barely breathing. She crooked a finger. When he leaned down within reach, she clenched her fist in the front of his shirt and slapped a long, hot kiss on him. By the time she let go, he had regained some of his color.

“Just a reminder,” she said. “What you get later for being a sport.”

“Even if I miss?”

“Especially if you miss. Then you’ll owe me. Big. And I already know how I plan to collect.”

His smile was a pitiful thing, but at least he seemed to be taking in air again.

And he didn’t miss. The loop wasn’t a thing of beauty, but it fit. Cole dallied up and went left, and Shawnee was able to snag both hind feet. Roy buried his rear end and the big steer hit the end hard enough to jerk two feet of rope through her gloved hand. Like a junkie snorting a line, her blood sang at the hot slide of nylon against her palm and the smell of burning rubber from her saddle horn.

God, she loved this game.

Her grin was made of pure joy. Cole’s held the petrified relief of a man who’d taken a single step into a minefield and hadn’t blown up…yet.

While they waited for their next run, Shawnee wallowed in the singular aroma of horses and ropes and dirt, Roy’s quiet strength beneath her, the laughter and banter of the other ropers filling the air. Not a particularly friendly bunch. Or Cole was scaring them away with his Grim Reaper face. Shawnee stuck by him, rather than wandering around to chat up strangers. Funny, how much easier it was to make friends after they saw her double-hock a steer or two.

Yeah, kiss this, boys.

Almost half of the teams dropped out in the first round, so their turn came up quicker the second time. As the team ahead of them tracked their steer to the catch pen, Shawnee stuck out her chest and flipped back one side of her button down shirt to flash Cole some cleavage. “Don’t forget. Catch now, or pay later.”

He caught. Farther down the arena than Shawnee would have preferred, but her own loop was quick and deadly, so their time was still respectable. The two runs combined put them eleventh out of the top twenty that got to rope a third and final steer. Not bad. And as the saying went, a bad day roping was better than the best day doing anything else. Shawnee was buzzing with adrenaline. Cole looked like he was going to puke.

Shawnee put her hand on his thigh and squeezed. “Dude. It’s a fifty-dollar jackpot. We’re not roping to win the world.”

He just shook his head and rode over to the corner where he sat alone, muttering to himself.

By the time they backed in the roping boxes for their final steer, he’d gone from pale to green. He nodded his head, took three swings, and threw a balled up mess of a loop that swatted the steer on the side of the head and fell on the ground. Cole dropped his head, reined Salty up, and turned to ride straight out the gate, his rope trailing behind, without even glancing at Shawnee. He was already off his horse and jerking at the cinches when she caught up with him at the trailer.

“Cole—”

“Don’t try to tell me it doesn’t matter.” He wadded up the rope and slung it in general direction of the tack room. “I’ve heard Tori talk. You rope to win, not just show up.”

Shawnee paused, knowing she needed to tread carefully. Not exactly at the top of her skill set. She listened instead—to the times being announced while Cole yanked his saddle off and slammed it onto the rack so hard it almost went through the wall. Finally, she said, “You did rope to win.”

Cole made a noise packed so full of disgust it practically turned the air purple.

“Quit your tantruming and pay attention.”

“I am not—”

“Oh please. You’re two seconds away from throwing yourself on the ground and holding your breath until you turn blue.” Shawnee pointed at the nearest loudspeaker, now droning out the final results of the roping. “Listen to the placings.”

Cole scowled, but listened, then punched a frustrated fist into the other palm. “If I’d caught, we would’ve won third or fourth.”

“Assuming I caught two feet.”

He glared at her. “You never miss.”

She laughed outright. “If only. Then I’d be a legend in something other than my own mind.” She hitched her thumbs in his belt loops and dragged him close, wishing she had a bucket to stand on so she could glare straight into those stony blue eyes. She gave him a shake instead. “You threw to win. Gave it your best shot. That’s what matters. I know how hard this was for you, and I really appreciate it. If you hadn’t gutted it out, I wouldn’t have been able to rope at all.”

He shook his head, jaw set, rejecting every word.

Shawnee sighed. “How long do you intend to mope about this?”

“Forever.”

She laughed again, then realized he wasn’t joking.

“I can list every steer I ever missed for Xander at a rodeo,” he said, his voice flat. “And every free throw in basketball in high school. This is why I don’t play team games. I don’t forget anything.”

She had to blink a few times to take it in. “What about the good runs? The shots you made? Do you remember those?”

“Well…yeah.”

“But you focus on the mistakes.”

“I can’t help—”

She wanted to call bullshit—would’ve if it had been anyone else—but Cole’s brain didn’t work like other brains, so maybe he couldn’t stop himself from obsessing. Either way, he’d known this day would be torture and he’d come with her anyway. Her heart did a complicated, slightly terrifying whirl and swoop. This man. This strange, wonderful, maddening man.

What the hell was she going to do with him?

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Buy Links

KindleAmazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

~*~*~*~

Giveaway

Three bundles of the first three Texas Rodeo books (Reckless in Texas, Tangled in Texas, Tougher in Texas)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~*~*~*~

About the Author

Kari Lynn Dell is a ranch-raised Montana cowgirl who attended her first rodeo at two weeks old and has existed in a state of horse-induced poverty ever since. She lives on the Blackfeet Reservation in her parents’ bunkhouse along with her husband, her son, and Max the Cowdog, with a tipi on her lawn, Glacier National Park on her doorstep and Canada within spitting distance. Her debut novel, The Long Ride Home, was published in 2015. She also writes a ranch and rodeo humor column for several regional newspapers and a national agricultural publication.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter