(A Blacktop Cowboys® Novella)
by Lorelei James
Ambition has always been his biggest downfall…until he meets her.
World champion bulldogger Sutton Grant works hard on the road, but his quiet charm has earned the nickname “The Saint” because he’s never been the love ’em and leave ’em type with the ladies. When he’s sidelined by an injury, he needs help keeping his horse in competition shape, but he fears trying to sweet-talk premier horse trainer London Gradsky is a losing proposition–because the woman sorta despises him.
London is humiliated when her boyfriend dumps her for a rodeo queen. What makes the situation worse? She’s forced to see the lovebirds on the rodeo circuit every weekend. In an attempt to save face, London agrees to assist the notoriously mild, but ruggedly handsome Sutton Grant with his horse training problem on one condition: Sutton has to pretend to be her new boyfriend.
But make believe doesn’t last long between the sassy cowgirl and the laid-back bulldogger. When the attraction between them ignites, London learns that sexy Sutton is no Saint when that bedroom door closes; he’s the red-hot lover she’s always dreamed of.
The more time they spend together, the more Sutton realizes he wouldn’t mind being roped and tied to the rough and tumble cowgirl for real…
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An Exclusive Interview With Lorelei James:
~ with Jillian Stein of Read Love Blog
I adored Roped In. Sutton Grant was sweet, shy, and sexy while London Gradsky was a total spitfire I would love to hang out with. What made you choose Sutton and London for your 1,001 Dark Nights novella?
I adored Sutton in TURN AND BURN, he was such a great friend to Tanna—and it intrigued me that he wasn’t a wild cowboy on the rodeo circuit like so many of the male characters I’ve written. As much as I love all of my secondary characters, not all of them have enough conflict to carry a full length book, so I knew Sutton’s story was perfect for a “slice of life” novella. And London just blew onto the page, the in-your-face cowgirl with a smart mouth who was the perfect match for the laid-back steer wrestler.
Ok….so you mention a whole closet full of cowboy boots. Do you have a favorite pair?
I have a new pair that are mango-colored embroidered with flowers that are awesome. I’ve been eyeing a new pair with fringe but I’ve resisted temptation…so far.
The book titles for your Blacktop Cowboys Series and Rough Riders Series are some of my favorite out there. Do you have a hard time choosing a title that reflects what the story is about?
I have to have a title before I can even start a story. With the Rough Riders series some of the characters’ names were great for a play on words in the titles (RAISING KANE, ALL JACKED UP, CHASIN’ EIGHT) and I’m such a sucker for song titles as book titles. With the Blacktop Cowboys, I like using the ___ and ___ theme, then mix it up for the next book and find a western word or phrase. Sometimes I have to fight for my titles. My NAL editor wasn’t crazy about HILLBILLY ROCKSTAR, but she agreed to let me use it and she grew to love it. I think it helped that the title fit the character so much. I originally had HORSE OF A DIFFERENT COLOR as the title for RODE HARD, PUT UP WET. And uh, yeah, my editor at the time nixed that title and I’m grateful.
You have a touching real life experience that made it into Chasin’ Eight about an adoption in your extended family. Have you ever heard from any readers saying you’ve maybe helped them with a personal experience of their own?
I get tons of email from readers who are happy to tell me that reading my books have made them grab onto their significant other and have a more satisfying sex life. I also get readers who’ve contacted me and relayed their experiences when something I’ve written about strikes a chord with them. Most recently a woman’s husband had been put in a medically induced coma, like Carolyn McKay in COWBOY TAKE ME AWAY, and she said when he came out he could tell her things she’d said to him while she sat by his bedside. Those types of things are so gratifying to hear because readers are happy that I’ve touched on an experience in their lives that they can relate to.
Being a wife and mother along with your writing career, what is the biggest challenge in balancing all of it?
My youngest daughter just went to college so I’m coping with that change and empty nest. I’ll admit I’m not the greatest at finding balance—I wish I could tell you there’s a magic formula, but I keep waiting for someone to tell ME how to have a writing career and a life. Right now, I’m all about the writing. Thankfully, my husband is very supportive!
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors on how to do it all?
Don’t try and do it all! The most important thing is the work itself—not the social media, not the swag, not the giveaways. Write the best possible book you can, get it professionally edited and go from there.
You write four other series as well as single titles, anthologies and a mystery series under Lori Armstrong. Do you find it hard switching gears and getting into different mindsets?
Yes, but I love the challenge. In writing mystery, I write in first person singular which means one character has to carry the entire book. And in mystery I’m writing about the worst things human beings do to each other as far as violence, so it’s always been great to balance that with getting to write happily ever after stories as Lorelei James where I know at the end of a romance that the characters will ride off into the sunset together.
I laughed when I read that your editor has forbidden you to use any more C or K names….how hard IS it coming up with character names? I can imagine it’s a tough choice!
The more books I write the harder it is because I’ve used so many names for main characters, secondary characters, walk on characters, dogs…At one point my youngest daughter complained that I was using all of her friends’ names! Now, she’ll text me and say she’s got a new, unique name for me to use in a book.
Ready? Favorite thing to do in South Dakota on a Saturday night:
Drink. Kidding! Usually Saturday night is movie night at home.
We are excited that you’ll be in the 2015 1,001 Dark Nights line-up. Can you tell us if you have an idea of who you’re choosing for that story?
I’m very excited to be part of the project again! I went back and forth about which characters I wanted to write about in STRIPPED DOWN, but I finally came up with the two who deserve each other—and that’s all I’m saying.
Lorelei James is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of contemporary erotic western romances set in the modern day Wild West and also contemporary erotic romances. Lorelei’s books have been nominated for and won the Romantic Times Reviewer’s choice Award, as well as the CAPA Award. Lorelei lives in western South Dakota with her family…and a whole closet full of cow girl boots.
From Lorelei: “Why do I have a particular fondness for all things western? Well, I’m a fourth generation South Dakotan, living in the Black Hills, which is chock-full of interesting characters, including cowboys, Indians, ranchers, and bikers. The geographical diversity of the surrounding area showcases mountains, plains, and badlands. Living in and writing about rural settings gives me a unique perspective, especially since I’m not writing historical westerns. Through my fictional world, I can show the ideals and the cowboy way of life are still very much alive.”
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