Saturday, January 16, 2016

COWBOY DREAMING—a conversation with Melanie and Cody

Harlequin has reissued 16 of my backlist titles in ebook.  Today I'm talking with Melanie Winslow and Cody Chandler about COWBOY DREAMING, a Silhouette Desire originally released in print and currently available as a Harlequin Desire in ebook.

Good morning, Melanie and Cody.  Thanks for joining us today.

Melanie:  Thanks for the invitation.

My first question is for Cody.

Cody: (grins) Hit me with it.

As I understand it, you're from the New England area with a background in international finance.  How did you end up as foreman of a cattle ranch on the eastern slopes of the Rockies foothills in Colorado?

Cody:  My family had been involved in banking and finance for literally generations and that's what they groomed me for…college degrees in business and finance including advanced education in Europe, travel, and foreign languages.  Bottom line—it wasn't what I wanted out of life.  So, defying family tradition, I looked around for something I felt comfortable with.  I knew I wanted to get away from the regimen of board rooms, suits and ties, and big business.  The great outdoors and ranching appealed to me.  And that's when I met Buck Winslow…a day that changed my life and gave me the sense of fulfillment and accomplishment I had been seeking.

What about you, Melanie?  You left home at eighteen and established a successful career as a freelance photographer.  The ranching life didn't appeal to you?

Melanie:  (wrinkled her forehead in a moment of contemplation)  It's not quite that cut and dried.  My father and I had a strained relationship at best…at least that's the way I saw it at the time.  Putting that together with my mother's death when I was eighteen, all I wanted to do was get away from what I felt was a painful place.  I had been interested in photography starting when I was about nine years old and knew that's what I wanted as a career.  Over the ensuing ten years after I left home, I established a successful career which had me traveling all over the world.  During that time I didn't have any communication with my father.

After a ten year estrangement, what prompted you to return to the ranch where you grew up?

Melanie:  That's another question that's difficult for me to answer.  For the last couple of years my thoughts had often turned to the ranch and the fact that my father was getting older.  However, my actually showing up at the ranch was a truly spontaneous thing.  I had just wrapped up a photo assignment and decided to do it.  I drove non-stop from Los Angeles to the eastern foothills of the Rockies.

Cody:  I'm a light sleeper.  It was the sound of someone entering the house in the middle of the night that woke me.  I immediately assumed it was a burglar breaking in.  You can imagine my surprise…actually my shock at discovering the intruder I tackled and pinned to the floor was a woman.

Melanie:  (laughs) Well, you can image my shock, too.  I don't think I've ever been as frightened as I was at that moment when Cody threatened me with bodily harm if I dared to move.

Cody:  In my defense, that was before I realized the intruder was a woman.

I assume you got everything straightened out as soon as you turned on the lights to see what was going on?

Cody:  Far from it!

Melanie:  Not even close.  Instant animosity which got worse as soon as I identified myself as Buck Winslow's daughter.  He made it very clear that he had no use for me and questioned why I had even bothered to return to the ranch at that time.  He was obviously very protective of my father, but I didn't understand why until I found out my father was…that he was dying.

With your father being very ill and you and Cody at each other's throat, how did you work that out?

Cody:  I suggested a truce until I could assess the situation.  I know how much it had hurt Buck when his only child abruptly left home without warning and he never heard from her again, how much he missed her.  It was going to be enough of a shock for him with his fragile health to have his long absent daughter suddenly show up without the added stress of the two of us arguing.  The last thing I wanted was for Buck to be upset.

Melanie:  I had no idea that my father was ill.  Cody said he had tried to reach me a year earlier, mailed a letter to the magazine where my photographs had just appeared, but I never got it.  When he didn't get any response he assumed I didn't care.  After I realized what was going on, I understood his attitude toward me—didn't like it, but understood it.  Over the next couple of days I learned so much about my father that I never knew.  He wasn't the cold unfeeling man I had always thought him to be.

Cody:  But then another roadblock appeared.  Mel decided I was taking advantage of Buck.  She misinterpreted something she saw and thought I was embezzling.

That sounds like more than just a wariness of each other.  What turned the two of you around?  When and how did you start seeing each other as something other than adversaries and start developing trust?

Melanie:  It's all in the book.

Cody:  (puts his arm around Melanie's shoulders and draws her close to him, then offers a mischievous grin)  I can disclose that we definitely did work out our differences and there's a happily ever after ending to our story.

LOL…and on that note I guess there's nothing left to say except thank you for being here with us today.

COWBOY DREAMING, a Silhouette Desire by Shawna Delacorte reissued in ebook format.  Available at (do a search for author name Shawna Delacorte).  Also available from Amazon for Kindle and Barnes & Noble for Nook as well as other online vendors.

Check out my website for more excerpts from COWBOY DREAMING as well as information on my other Harlequin ebook reissues.

When Melanie Winslow returned to the Colorado ranch where she was raised, she never expected to find herself stranded in a mountain cabin with Cody Chandler. The rugged ranch manager was the answer to every daydream Melanie had ever had about strong, sexy cowboys.

But this one was real, with a kiss that made Melanie's heart beat faster, and a smile that hinted at the most intimate things. The trouble was, the last thing Melanie intended to do was fall in love with an untamed cowboy—no matter how perfect he seemed. If only her heart felt the same way….

Inside front cover excerpt:
Melanie felt Cody's warm breath across her cheek, then his lips on the side of her neck. His words tickled her ears. "We should figure out the sleeping arrangements for tonight."

He rose suddenly and added a couple more logs to the blaze. "There should be some sleeping bags in the cupboard," he said. "And another cot…" It was almost a question.

All right, Ms. I-can-take-care-of-myself-and-don't-need-anybody, what do you plan to do now?

This was not the time to panic, Melanie told herself. She was a self-sufficient woman who would handle this logically and intelligently.

As she watched, Cody jabbed the burning logs, causing embers to fly—like the hot sparks she felt every time he kissed her. The intensity in his face and the captivating pull of his masculinity drew her to him. Her insides melted into a simmering pool of desire.

Maybe common sense and levelheaded thinking weren't all they were cracked up to be….

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