I am excited to welcome Linda Nightingale to my blog site. And while Linda is a new author to me, she is not new to the writing game, having published over fifteen books! She is here today to talk about her brand new Contemporary Western Romance, The Texas Cowboy. She had me at Texas and Cowboy! Take it away, Linda.
Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog, Jan. I appreciate you sharing your space with me.
It’s almost rodeo time in Houston, and traffic around the NRG Stadium crawls to a stop. Since 2003, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (RodeoHouston) has been held at NRG. HLSR is the largest livestock exhibition and rodeo in the world and offers the richest purses. Kickoff is marked by the Downtown Rodeo Roundup held near Houston City Hall, the Downtown Rodeo parade, and the ConocoPhillips Rodeo Run – a 10k and 5k walk & run and the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest (the Chili Cookoff, which is a major event in HLSR each year). I always wanted to participate in the Downtown Rodeo Parade. Since 1938, the nation’s fourth-largest city is transformed from a bustling metropolis to a down-home celebration of Western heritage. Decorative floats intermingle with thousands of men and women on horseback to fill the streets with hoof beats and marching bands. This year, the parade begins at Bagby and Walker Streets.
In 2019, there were more than 2.5 million total attendees during the 24-day event, and HLSR was proud to welcome visitors from 75 countries. The livestock and horse shows drew more than 34,000 entries, and the junior auction sales totaled more than $17 million. Incidentally, 376,000 Oreos were battered, fried, and dusted with powdered sugar. The rodeo has drawn some of the world’s biggest recording artists, including Dixie Chicks, Elvis Presley, George Strait, Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Bon Jovi, and Lynyrd Skynyrd to mention a few. When I lived in Houston, I attended several times. Once, I saw the Zach Brown Band in concert. This year look for Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, For King and Country, and many more. This link lists the entertainers: https://www.rodeohouston.com/Visit-the-Rodeo/Music-Concerts/Concert-Lineup
In The Texas Cowboy, there are several mentions of RodeoHouston. Charlie, a supporting character, was a bronc rider, and he rode in HLSR. Charlie is the ranch foreman. The hero Ash Colter gives him carte blanche to entertain his ex-girlfriend while she is on a surprise visit from England, and that’s where Book Two, The Cowboy Duke, is born. Can an English Duchess make a Texas cowboy’s spurs go jingle-jangle-jingle? The Cowboy Duke tells us (in my humble opinion).
Drop by my website http://LindaNightingale.com and check out my books. Each has a page describing the story and giving reviews, book videos, etc. as well as buy-links. There are also two free reads.
Let’s all go to RodeoHouston! I want to be present and accounted for at the Chili Cookoff. It’s not just chili, but beef brisket, music, and even impromptu dancing. It’s a party, RodeoHouston-style.
When Ash Colter was twelve, his mother divorced his cattle baron father and whisked him away to raise in her native England. Sixteen years later, when his father dies, he inherits Marathon Ranch. Running a 1,000-acre spread famous for the best Black Angus cattle in the great state of Texas is the biggest challenge he’s ever faced…until he meets a pert, pretty, and sassy ranch hand who seems to have her own agenda for his ranch. Unfortunately, she makes his spurs go jingle-jangle-jingle like no one else ever has!
Trish Owens is a real cowgirl, a loner, and, though she’d never admit it, a little lonely. When the “English Cowboy” appears on the scene, her entire way of life is threatened, not only her job but her beloved Quarter horses. She’s sure he plans to import his thoroughbreds from England. Worse of all is the chemistry sizzling between them. He makes feelings she thought long dead awaken.
Can these two unwilling allies set aside their differences to put Marathon Ranch in the Winner’s Circle…and to fall in love?
Finally, when he was almost blind from straining his eyes, the stand of oaks Charlie had mentioned reared up out of the torrential rain. A horse trumpeted, the sound echoing, and Pomegranate answered with a force that shook Ash in the saddle. Relief flooded him. He cued his horse into a faster canter. It was a risky bid for a few minutes, but by now desperation had become a fever.
“Charlie? Charlie, is that you?” Trish shouted to be heard above the storm. “I’m here by the water oaks. Charlie!”
Pomegranate slid to a halt at the edge of the stand of trees. At first glance, Ash could only see Dusty, gleaming wetly in the flashlight beam. A bedraggled Trish struggled up from beside the palomino. His heart wrenched at the sight of her. He swung from the saddle and, looping the reins over his arm, aimed the flashlight and rushed toward her. He was still annoyed and frowning, but thrilled and relieved to see her. Relief won in the end, and he smiled broadly, rain washing over his lips.
“Trish, thank God.” He tried to curb the emotion in his voice but failed.
She tossed him a smile. “Damn, if I’m not glad to see you, cowboy.”
His cowgirl with wet hair clinging to her face and sodden clothes was…beautiful, even in the rain. She gripped a cotton rope tied to a blue nylon halter fastened over Dusty’s bridle. One thing for sure, her horse wasn’t going anywhere without her. She’d probably stopped when the young stallion spooked at the lightning. Taking shelter was the right decision. Otherwise, they could have both been seriously injured, Dusty’s leg broken…or perhaps Trish injured in a fall. The dripping trees had provided scant protection. The cowgirl and her racehorse were drenched and a bit muddy but, thank goodness, neither was harmed.
He cupped her face between index finger and thumb. “You’re a sight for sore eyes yourself, cowgirl. Let’s get the hell out of here.”
She settled the slick leather of the reins and the sodden cotton lead rope securely in her grip. “Stay close. He’s more than a little spooked by the thunder and lightning. That’s why I stopped. Have you ever seen anything like this rain! I was afraid we’d drown.”
“It’s a gutter washer, as your buddy Charlie called it.” Through the rain, he gazed into her eyes. “He’s very worried about you, Trish.”
“How about you?” She met his gaze, daring him to look away…or to lie. “Are you worried about me?”
“I wouldn’t be standing here in this balmy little sprinkle if I weren’t.”
There was a noticeable pause before she said, “I’m starved. I don’t suppose you have servants back there in the darkness with a four-course meal or something.”
He turned, fishing in the saddlebags behind his saddle. “How about some fine cheese crackers as a starter, ma’am?”
“You are a lifesaver, Ash Colter.”
After 14 years in Texas, Linda returned home to her roots in the South Carolina red clay. She has eight published novels, four of which are available in audio from Audible.com. For many years, she bred, trained, and showed the magnificent Andalusian horses. So, she’s seen a lot of this country from the windshield of a truck pulling a horse trailer. She won The Georgia Romance Writers’ Magnolia Award for Excellence, the Raven Award, and the SARA Merritt. In real life, she was a legal assistant. She loves to dress up, use the good china and crystal, and host formal dinner parties. She has a fondness for sports cars like her current ride, Zippy Z
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Linda Nightingale has contacted me via Facebook messenger and asked me to send her apologies along to everyone. She has no internet connection and is unable to get logged into WordPress to respond to all of your beautiful comments. She can see them, but cannot comment and is very distraught because of the techie glitch. Please know she appreciates all the shares and comments! Thank you!