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Today I welcome Linda Kage to the blog with her heroine, Jo Ellen, from her recent contemporary western release release, A Fallow Heart.
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Ten years ago, an oil tycoon’s daughter and a farmer’s son shared a moment neither would ever forget. When she left town in disgrace, a piece of her stayed locked deep within his soul. And like the ground he tended, his emotions lay fallow for years. Cooper Gerhardt’s deeply buried feelings for Jo Ellen Rawlings grew more fertile over time, just waiting for the day she would return to release his deepest desires.
When she strolls back into Tommy Creek, Texas for her ten-year class reunion, Cooper shows her farm boy style exactly what she missed by leaving. Starting a short-term affair is simply unavoidable. But when the week is over, can either of them let go of the responsibilities and apprehensions keeping them apart? Or will their fallow hearts learn to flourish together?
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.
Hello, I’m Jo Ellen Rawlings, the heroine of the story, which feels very strange to say because I don’t feel like a heroine of much of anything and I hate being the center of attention; I’m always worried about what people think of me. I’m twenty-eight and about the leave town for a week to return home to Tommy Creek, Texas for my ten-year class reunion. I started my own business as a social party coordinator for some of Dallas’s elite a couple years ago and I’m so excited that my little one-man show is doing so well!
How did you meet your mate?
Ooh, the word mate gives me some exited shivers. It sounds so primal, and permanent and binding. I kind of like thinking of Cooper as my mate. But we’ve known each other our entire lives since we both grew up in Tommy Creek and were in the same grade. I can’t remember a time before knowing Cooper Gerhardt.
If you could, would you change how you meet your mate?
You know, now that you ask that, I just might. Since I’ve known him forever, I had never really looked at him in the “dating” way before. If he had shown up abruptly, say, during my freshman year of high school, I might have been more aware of him and we might not have had to wait ALL these years to finally unite.
What is the sexiest thing has your mate done?
My author is over here insistently hissing in my ear, “drinking water from the well scene, Jo Ellen, the water well scene,” but to me, the sexiest thing Cooper has done was to pull me into his arms and just hold me after I confessed some of my most mortifying inner secrets to him. He accepted me completely as I am, and that was a total turn-on.
What is the most embarrassing thing your author has done to you?
I’m still very annoyed with her for making me burp at the lake when we were fishing. In fact, I have a pebble in my hand right now, ready to bean HER in the middle of the forehead. Thanks a lot for that, Linda Kay!
If you were stranded on an island with your author, what would you talk about?
Oh, I would soooo give her all the inside details I know about my twin sister Emma Leigh’s romance with Branson, so she could finally start writing their story! And maybe she could embarrass Em then , since I had to take my turn at the embarrassment table!
How long did you have to bug your author to get her to write your story?
Too long. She began years and years (Like SIX years) ago with an idea. Then about three years ago she wrote a little more. It wasn’t until her dad passed away in January of 2012 that she finally found the muse to finish the last two thirds, and by then it only took her a month to spill everything out.
What advice would you give to the people reading your story?
Cooper and my story is just a chapter in our family saga. I feel like we unite what comes before us and what comes after in the Rawlings clas. But we’re an important link, and I’d like to think we’re the MOST important link because this is where I get MY happily ever after!
Jo Ellen took a deep breath as she entered the tavern, paying careful attention to dropping her keys into her purse and clicking the latch closed.
She hated entering a social establishment alone. She should’ve just told Emma Leigh she’d meet her at their parents’ house where they were staying the entire week.
Thank God she heard her sister’s voice as soon as she tucked her purse under her arm. “Hey, Joey. Over here.”
She didn’t know what she would’ve done, loitering around the bar and looking pathetic all by her lonesome until Emma Leigh had arrived. Relieved she didn’t have to worry about any of that, she smiled and glanced toward the call to find Alexa and Dexter gathered around Branson and her sister. Her step faltered before she regained her momentum, forcing herself to suck it up. If she was going to be stuck as their fifth wheel for the entire week, she might as well get used to it now.
“I’m sorry I’m late. I ran into a traffic jam on the interstate and—”
“You’re not late.” Em checked the Rolex on her wrist. “You’re ten minutes early.”
“I am?” Jo Ellen frowned and consulted her own slim, silver watch. “Then what’re you doing here?”
Her sister really had changed if she actually ran on time these days.
Emma Leigh tossed back her long, dark hair and laughed before explaining, “Oh no. I haven’t changed that much.” She hooked a loving thumb Branson’s way. “Even Mr. Dependable here can’t keep me on time for anything. This one is all Lexi’s fault. She was starving, which forced us to get here early.”
As they glanced in unison at Dexter’s wife, the bartender served her a plate of steaming barbeque. She grinned and waved before she picked up a sauce-dripping rib with her bare fingers and tore into the juicy meat.
Jo Ellen smiled fondly and neared Alexa to set her hand on the baby bump. “How’s my little goddaughter doing in there?” She stroked once before she felt an answering kick. The sign of growing life caught her in the throat, choking her up. So bittersweet, it had her blinking back tears as she dropped her fingers from Lexi’s abdomen.
Nearby, Dexter corrected her, saying, “Godson.”
She brightened. “Oh, you found out the gender?”
“Oops.” Emma Leigh cringed. “Forgot to tell you. They’re having a boy.”
Jo Ellen rolled her eyes. How typical of her sister to forget something so important. Setting her hand on her hip in a scolding manner, she angled a frown at Emma Leigh’s husband. “I thought we discussed this, Branson. You were supposed to work on her communication skills, remember?” She tried to look stern but was sure he could see the teasing glint in her eyes, not to mention the lips she tightened to keep from grinning.
He lifted his hands in surrender. “Hey, she has no problem communicating to me, telling me whenever I mess something up.” Then he grinned, showing how much he didn’t mind such communication.
Jo Ellen laughed, pleased to see her sister so happily married to a man who adored her. This was exactly the life she’d always dreamed of for her twin…and herself.
As the amused sound chimed from her vocal chords, she heard a sharp intake of breath nearby, from the man seated at the bar next to her group. She could make out a vague, blurry image of him from her peripheral vision. By his jeans, boots, and hat, he screamed local, which was exactly why she refused to glance over and focus on his face. From the instant she’d entered Rio’s, she’d been too nervous to look directly at anyone besides the four she’d come to see, too afraid she might recognize someone from years ago.
Cowardly move, sure, but she didn’t care. Her nerves had wadded themselves into a huge, messy ball and she was performing as well as could be expected, faking all her smiles.
But Emma Leigh just had to go and say, “Oh, hey. Look who we ran into as soon as we got here.”
She grabbed Jo Ellen’s arm and revolved her toward the man, practically shoving her into his lap, right between a pair of spread knees. Eyes widening, Jo Ellen gaped at those thick, masculine knees, covered by thin, fraying denim. Her eyes strayed up of their own will, taking in strong, muscled thighs and somehow landing on his crotch, where the fly of his jeans stretched over an impressive bulge nestled under a big shiny brass belt buckle.
She gulped as the man scooted upright, obviously also alarmed by Emma Leigh thrusting her so close.
“Coop’s here,” her sister announced.
As in Cooper Gerhardt?
Cooper Thaddeus Gerhardt?
Jo Ellen’s eyes widened on that denim-clad bulge, her face draining of color. If Travis Untermeyer was the number one person she didn’t want to run into, Cooper Gerhardt was the second. Didn’t even matter that he’d turned into a delicious hunk of heaven, which from what she’d seen so far, it looked as if he had.
She jerked her face up, her lips instantly parting with surprise as she came face to face with the grown-up version of Cooper Gerhardt.
Oh, Lord have mercy.
Publisher : Sweet Cravings Publishing
ISBN : 978-1-61885-500-8
Length : 94,000 words
Release Date : December 27, 2012
Genre : Contemporary Mainstream Romance
Formats : Ebook (and later) in Print
BUY LINKS :
BOOK TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/embed/Ca_Mc-rmgNU
Linda grew up on a dairy farm in the Midwest as the youngest of eight children. Now she lives in Kansas with her husband, toddler daughter, and their nine cuckoo clocks. She works a day job in the acquisitions department of a university library and feels her life has been blessed with lots of people to learn from and love. Writing’s always been a major part her world, and she’s thrilled to finally share some of her stories with other romance lovers.
You can find Linda on the web at:
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