When Lady Alexandra Calthorpe returns to the Loveland, Colorado, ranch owned by her father, the Duke, she has little idea of how the experience will alter her future. Headstrong and willful, Alex tries to overcome a disastrous marriage in England and be free of the strictures of Victorian society –and become independent of men. That is, until Jesse Makepeace saunters back into her life…
Hot-tempered and hot-blooded cowpuncher Jesse Makepeace can’t seem to accept that the child he once knew is now the ravishing yet determined woman before him. Fighting rustlers proves a whole lot easier than fighting Alex when he’s got to keep more than his temper under control.
Arguments abound as Alex pursues her career as an artist and Jesse faces the prejudice of the English social order. The question is, will Loveland live up to its name?
So, without further delay, let me ask my first question: Tell us a little about yourself: What’s your name, age, and job? What is your role in the story? Ex: Hero, Heroine, Villain, etc.
Alex: Hello! I’m Lady Alexandra Calthorpe, I’m seventeen at the start of LOVELAND and twenty-one at the end, I’m an artist and a heroine.
Jesse: Howdy, my name is Jesse Makepeace, I ‘m cowpuncher at the Faringdon Ranch, and—
Alex: My hero!
Jesse: Your hero, darlin’ (gives her a peck on the cheek) And, by the way, you are actually eight at the start of the book if you include the prologue.
Alex: All right, then you were seventeen and finish at –Oh, goodness, so old!—thirty-one!
How did you meet your mate?
(They start to talk at the same time)
Alex: All right, you go ahead.
Jesse: We met when Lady Alex was sent to live at the Faringdon Ranch where I was working. She was, as I said, eight at the time.
Do you think your story is too long or too short and why?
Alex: Oh, far too short, far too short. (Jesse gives her a look that bodes no further comment)
Jesse: I guess in some ways you’re right. I mean, there was a lot Andrea could’ve written about you and your father, what took place in England and all. Then a’course, she coulda gone on to tell all about what happened to us later on.
What is the sexiest thing has your mate done?
Jesse: Good gracious, woman, you cain’t ask that! We don’t discuss that sorta thing where I come from.
Alex: Jesse, you are such a prude at times. Really!
Jesse: What? You wanna answer that? Go ahead then…
(Jesse looks rather smug and crosses his arms)
What is the most embarrassing thing your author has done to you?
Jesse: Written them sex scenes. I mean, honestly–having that kinda thing laid out for ever’one to read. (Alex giggles)
What advice would you give to the people reading your story?
Jesse: Keep your eyes shut while reading them sex scenes. (Alex laughs out loud in a very unladylike manner).
Alex: Jesse, you are so silly sometimes.
Jesse: Yeah, I was silly for falling for you. (Gives her another peck on the cheek) I guess we both jus’ want folks to enjoy the story. Read it and enjoy it—
Alex: And tell their friends to read it too!
Jesse: And thank you, Sara, for having us here today. Sure was good to come on in outa the cold.
Alex: Yes. Thank you, Sara!
And thank you!! Sorry that I embarrassed you with some of my questions. Guess I gotta rethink some of them for the historicals. But c’mon now, Jesse, would you have liked there not be any sex in your book? Yeah, I thought so…
Excerpt: (editorial comment: I tried to fix the formating from the Word doc, hopefully I got all the paragraph breaks right…:-))
As the round-up wound down, the Reps took their stock back to their outfits, and soon the men were back at headquarters or at the camps. Alex knew word had more or less got out and found the punchers were gentler now around her, had a sort of quiet respect for her, and she hated it. She tried to bully them a bit to show them she was still the same girl, jolly them into joshing with her as they had before. It was slow work. At the same time, she yearned to see Jesse, to speak with him, to try to get life back to the way it was before the argument at the corral, and before he saw the scars. The opportunity didn’t present itself. She would see him from a distance some days, riding with the herd, sitting his horse with that peculiar grace he had, throwing his lariat out with an ease that reminded her of people on a dock waving their hankies in farewell. Hoping to just be near him, she slid into one of the corrals one evening to practice her roping.
The light was failing and the birds were settling with their evening calls. Somewhere in the pasture a horse nickered. She sensed Jesse was there, watching, but she never turned as he stood at the fence. She heard him climb over and ease up behind her. He took the coiled rope from her in his left hand and slid his right hand over hers on the swing end, almost forcing her backward into his arms.
She thought of paintings and statues she had seen, imagining his naked arms now, how the muscles would form them into long oblique curves, how he probably had soft downy fair hair on his forearms, how his muscle would slightly bulge as he bent his arm. His voice was soft in her ear, and she could feel his breath on her neck like a whispered secret. “Gentle-like, right to left, right to left to widen the noose, keep your eye on the post—are you watchin’ where we’re goin’?”
He made the throw and pulled in the rope to tighten the noose. Alex stood there, his hand still entwined with hers and, for a moment, she wished they could stand like that forever. Then she took her hand away and faced him. For a second he rested his chin on the top of her head, then straightened again and went to get the noose off the post while coiling in the rope. She looked up at him in the fading light and saw nothing but kindness in his face, simplicity and gentleness that was most inviting. A smile spread across her face as he handed her the coiled rope and sauntered away, turning once to look back at her before he opened the gate. Emptiness filled her like a poisoned vapor seeking every corner of her being, and she stood with the rope in her hand listening to the ring of his spurs as his footsteps retreated.
Andrea Downing has spent most of her life in the UK where she received an M.A. from the University of Keele in Staffordshire. She married and raised a beautiful daughter and stayed on in England to teach and write, living in the Derbyshire Peak District, the English Lake District and the Chiltern Hills before finally moving into London. During this time, family vacations were often on guest ranches in the American West, where she and her daughter have clocked up some 17 ranches to date. In addition, she has traveled widely throughout Europe, South America, and Africa, living briefly in Nigeria. In 2008 she returned to
the city of her birth, NYC, but frequently exchanges the canyons of city streets for the wide open spaces of the West. Her love of horses, ranches, rodeo and just about anything else western is reflected in her writing. Loveland, a western historical romance published by The Wild Rose Press, is her first book. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Women Writing the West.