Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Valentine Honky Tonk Blog Hop



Ladies, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking old Gus, owner of The Lonesome Steer honky tonk couldn’t have brought together all the lonely, broken hearts that he did. But I’m here to tell you I have. Not only do I have the pictures of these couples in my office to prove it, but there’s been a whole series of romances written about the men and women who found love at The Lonesome Steer. And just like every one of my couples, each of these romances is a keeper. 

The authors of these books have put together a Valentine Honky Tonk Blog Hop, an easy way for you to get a sneak peak at every story. And there are prizes to put a bounce in your Texan Two-Step. To be Eligible, visit each blog link below and leave a comment. The more hop stops you visit and comment on, the more chances YOU have to win a $50 gift card to The Wild Rose Press. In addition, the publisher has provided a second grand prize of a $25 gift card to The Wild Rose Press and a TWRP Mug for a random commenter (Sorry, US visitors only for the mug prize). Some of the ladies will also be giving away their own personal prizes. So whatcha waitin’ for? Happy hoppin’! 



Lonesome Cowboy
Honky Tonk Hearts

Excerpt:

Readjusting the tan Stetson on his head, Marshall grabbed a napkin with the Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk logo etched onto its surface, tamped down the muscle-tightening sensation the best he could and headed to the end of the bar.

He leaned over and slid the square across the worn oak. “Looks like you could use another of these.”

The bar lights illuminated the woman’s dark auburn strands as delicate fingers reached up to pull back the silky locks.

His lips tilted at the hint of soft skin. “What can I get to put a smile on that pretty fa—”

Facing him fully, her tentative hazel gaze stopped him cold.

Amy?

The burning sensation intensified, vise-gripped his shoulders and clenched his jaw so tight his gasp of air was sucked through flared nostrils.

“Hey, Marshall.” Her quiet voice dispelled from soft bow-lips on a painfully familiar, heart-shaped face.

The very last face he thought he’d ever see again.

A squeal of the microphone as someone adjusted the karaoke machine snapped him out of his shock, and he slammed up straight, fingers fisted atop the shellacked wood. He forced his gaze away to gain some control, but the dancing bodies and clack of balls on the pool tables only added to the sudden chaos that attacked his mind and body.

“What are you doing here?”

She hesitated a moment before saying, “I’m visiting Andee over in Redemption for a few days.”

Marshall pressed his lips together until his teeth threatened to break through the skin. He knew her cousin owned the café in the small town about forty-five minutes up the highway. Only once—by accident—had he gone in for breakfast after working at his buddy Chase’s place nearby. Though he’d only met her once, he’d instantly recognized Andee coming out of the kitchen. The minute Chase told him she was the new owner, he’d made quick excuses and hightailed it out of there, not needing the reminder of—

“So, I, uh, guess you’re a little surprised to see me.”

Her words pulled his attention back as a tick pulsed in his jaw, preventing any speech. Probably a good thing, because the only words that came to mind were venomous…or worse, pathetic.

His gaze scoured her tight features. Slightly rounder than he remembered, the curves lent a new softness to her face, making her even prettier than the images scarred on his memory.

No. He wasn’t going there. She’d made her choice two years ago...the wrong choice.

With one last, involuntary sweep, he wrenched his gaze away and turned. This was one patron he wouldn’t serve, never again.

“Wait.”

Cool fingers grabbed his arm, freezing him to the spot.

Marshall…”

The pleading voice coursed through him, and he clenched his teeth against the instinctive desire to turn back. Don’t do it, man. The clench of his jaw became painful, but it was as if his feet were cemented to the dark linoleum behind the bar.

“Please.”

His skin burned beneath her cool grasp. Dammit. Every fiber of his being fought the battle between turning back and running like hell.

Down at the other end of the bar, past a busy Keira serving customers, Gus gave him a concerned dip of his salt-and-pepper brow.

Dammit all. He didn’t know what was worse, facing Amy, or having to explain to his boss and mentor the reason for his utter lack of customer service to this particular patron. He’d worked for the old man since he was sixteen, after high school, on and off between rodeo circuits and full time for the last couple years—the man was more a father figure than his own had ever been. He owed Gus a lot, respected him like no other, but this was one piece of humiliating history he had no intention of sharing.

Marshall swung back around, discreetly yanking from her haunting touch to cross both arms over his chest. The wild pulse of his heartbeat vibrated against his corded forearm.

“What do you want, Amy?” he managed to utter through clenched teeth.

Her hand had returned to the twisted napkin and she glanced around the place. “Is there somewhere we can talk for a minute?”

Hell no.

He leaned back against the second cash register until the lip of the drawer dug into his backside. Marshall forced his jaw to relax. “Here’s fine.” Why should he be the only one uncomfortable?

Her rose lips pressed into a thin line. “Fine. I guess I really can’t blame you for being…angry.”

She fidgeted with the straps of her floral sundress. The sweetheart neckline exposed just enough of her ripened breasts to make his jaw re-tense. Though the high bar blocked everything below, he was sure the skirt would be short, showing a teasing amount of those sleek and sexy legs.

God, she’s still beautiful.

Other parts of his anatomy instantly tightened and he hid his further—and painfully annoying—discomfort behind a forced casual cross of his ankles.

Marshall hoped she got to the point soon, because it was taking all his effort to stand there. The gall of the woman showing up like this out of the blue. What had she expected? That he’d welcome her with open arms and catch up like old friends…as if she never destroyed him?

She winced and twisted slightly with a hand to her back. He raised a brow at the motion, but stopped himself. Just like the nervous habit of shredding the napkin that she’d never had before, he didn’t care. Wouldn’t care. Look what it got me the first time ’round.

Amy dipped her chin to stare at the crumpled paper. “I came to…I just wanted to…to apologize.”

“Fine,” he clipped and pushed off the register.

“Wait, that’s it?” Her tone held annoyed disbelief.

“Yep. You apologized. We’re done.”

Marshall, please.”

The put-out tone in her voice snapped his tightly reined control. “What?” He spun back on her. “What do you want, Amy? Do you want me to say, ‘Hey no problem”—he waved a hand in the air, mimicking a friendly gesture—“forgive and forget, how ’bout we do lunch sometime?’ Well sorry, darlin’, ain’t gonna happen.” He splayed his hands wide on the bar top, leaning in until he could feel the heat radiating off her reddened cheeks. “I came back from five months on the circuits with a buckle, a key, and a ring in my pocket, only to find out you were already married. Tell me, Amy, which part of that sounds easy to forget, let alone forgive?”

Available now from The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.com

20 comments:

  1. I wondered who had Marshall's story! I can't wait to get and read this one now. My Granddaughter's name is Andee, too. :)

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  2. I haven't gotten to your book yet but I certainly will. You're tugging my heart!

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  3. Happy Valentine's Day, Stacy. I hope you get lots of visitors on our HTH's blog hop.

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  4. Great excerpt! Happy Valentine's Day Stacy!

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  5. Do you think Marshall will cave and ease up on her? I think he will! Loved this story.

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  6. No wonder he's angry! But there are two sides to every story. I wonder what hers is?

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  7. Yep, this is one excerpt that really drew me in. If he's friends with Chase, Marshall HAS to be a good guy. So sorry he got hurt!

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  8. Wonderful excerpt to a wonderful book, Stacy! I do so love a tortured hero!

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  9. Thanks everyone for popping in! It was a ridiculously busy day so I'm late to the party LOLOL. HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!

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  10. I like the look of the guy on the cover. Thanks for being part of the Honky Tonk Hop!
    Happy Valentine's Day.

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  11. Now I want to know more, lol. Sounds really intriguing.

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  12. Whew, really intense. But the harder the situation for two people, the sweeter the ending will be once their problems are resolved. Wonderful excerpt. It really draws the reader into the scene.

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  13. GREAT, GREAT, excerpt! And a great story! Perfect for this series!

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  14. I really like that cover and the excerpt. Thanks so much
    debby236 at gmail dot com

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  15. Thank you so much everyone--glad you are enjoying the excerpts!

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  16. LOVE THIS!! I've just finished visiting everyone on the tour and next stop is Amazon :)
    Marshall has definitely grabbed my heart. I NEED his story on my kindle :)

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  17. Nice excerpt

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  18. I'm with LaVerne. Apparently there are two stories in the series I haven't read. How did this one slip past me? ...Off to Amazon! Yay!

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  19. LOL I sure hope you enjoy his story! Thanks so much!

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  20. How I wish Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk was a real place! LOL Thanks for the excerpt Stacy!!

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