A Cowboy to Keep

There are numerous reasons why an author might accept an invitation to join an anthology. The ability to interact with other authors is appealing; the thought that new readers might find your work through the audience of the others is an attraction; and, for some, getting a story out that perhaps you already have and sharing the workload of promotion might be the draw. As for myself, having been faced with sixteen months of wedding planning which reduced my writing time, I saw the proposition of joining an anthology as a way to keep writing, keep my name out ‘there,’ and keep my mind off the minutiae of the wedding for a while. But what a bonus I’ve been blessed with!

First of all, I was given the opportunity to continue a story that had left me wondering. At the end of my earlier Bad Boy, Big Heart, my hero and heroine were bound for New York from Jackson Hole for a two year stint while the girl, K.C. Daniels, studied for her Master’s Degree at NYU. My beloved hero, Chay Ridgway, a fourth generation Wyoming rancher and cowboy, is now faced with life in the big city—and not just the big city, but the granddaddy of them all, New York.  Anyone who had finished Bad Boy would be wondering how he got on, and anyone just picking up City Boy, Country Heartwhich certainly doesn’t need its predecessor to be enjoyed—would also ponder the question. What a gift to be able to continue Chay and K.C.’s story!

But an even better gift was for me to be in this group of very talented ladies who share my love of the West and create very special stories for their readers. In the coming weeks I’ll be introducing them individually and giving you a small taste of what you’ll find in our new anthology, A Cowboy to Keep.  A Cowboy to Keep is available at https://www.amazon.com/Cowboy-Keep-Contemporary-Western-Collection-ebook/dp/B072869SGV/

Here’s a peep at the stories in this anthology:

Catch a cowboy … Keep a cowboy …

Don’t miss this great collection from USA Today, Amazon Bestselling, and Award-Winning authors!! Available at https://www.amazon.com/Cowboy-Keep-Contemporary-Western-Collection-ebook/dp/B072869SGV/

THE LEGEND OF BAD MOON RISING by Carra Copelin

Sheriff Ben Hammond is finally over the woman who shattered his heart, but when Dinah Horne suddenly returns, can he ignore the passion still burning bright between them?

CITY BOY, COUNTRY HEART by Andrea Downing

Trading horses for subways for two years seemed like a good idea to cowboy Chay Ridgway, but can city girl K.C. Daniels keep a rein on his country heart?

BLUE SAGE by Kristy McCaffrey

Archaeologist Audrey Driggs rolls off a mountain and lands at the feet of rugged cowboy Braden Delaney. Together, they’ll uncover a long-lost secret.

THE DRIFTER’S KISS by Devon McKay

Determined to take back what belongs to her, Addison Reed will do anything. Even trust a complete stranger.

HER MAN by Hildie McQueen

Deputy Mark Hunter falls for Eliza Brock during a murder investigation. Is it fate or bad luck, especially when she may be involved?

BORDER ROMANCE by Hebby Roman

Widow Leticia Villarreal wants to establish a horse-racing stable and old acquaintance John Clay Laidlaw offers to help. But can she trust him with her business and her heart?

PHOENIX HEAT by Patti Sherry-Crews

After losing her fiancé and her New York City business, Harper Donovan returns to Arizona and meets cowboy Frank Flynn. Will his past and their differences extinguish the heat between them?_______________________________________________________

And here’s a taste of my own story, City Boy, Country Heart:

Rodeo star and rancher Chay Ridgway has left Wyoming to follow his girlfriend, K.C. Daniels, to New York. Leaving behind all he knows for a small bite of the Big Apple, Chay discovers the canyons of city streets may be too claustrophobic for this cowboy, especially when the trauma is compounded by the fact K.C.’s parents dislike him, their housemate is a harridan, friends are few, and the only job he can get is rounding up dinner plates.

As K.C. continues her two years of study for her Master’s degree, can she also continue to keep a rein on Chay’s heart? Will this cowboy become a city boy, or will the wide-open spaces of Wyoming call his country heart home?

***************************************************************************

Having pushed their way to the corner, crossed the street and got to the line for the skating rink, K.C. left Chay to hold their place so she could ask what the cost would be. He took in the scene and tried to enjoy it: the skaters below doing their pirouettes or figure-eights; the towering buildings reflecting each other; the children running about with rosy, excited faces; the golden flags waving and planted trees decorated with lights; and above it all, the Christmas tree, a goliath of multi-colored lights topped by a star. It was all too much, too much commotion and hubbub, too much noise.

K.C. came back with a downcast look to a stomping Chay trying to stay warm.

“What? What now?” he asked.

She tutted and sighed. “Thirty-two dollars to get in, twelve dollars to rent skates.”

Chay stared at her in disbelief. “You have got to be kidding. How much money are they making? Maybe I should open a skating rink on my frozen tanks back home. Geesh. I’m not going to—”

“No, no. Let’s go…somewhere we can get a hot chocolate and warm up.”

“Yeah, and I know just the place.” Chay grabbed her hand and pushed back through the crowd.

“Home?”

“Home.”

“I’m sorry.”

“For what? It isn’t your fault.”

“I thought…I thought it was going to be such fun, the windows and the skating, and the—”

“Crowds?”

“Well. I didn’t know it was going to be this bad.” She peered over her shoulder at the golden statue that graced Rockefeller Center, and the tree. “Oh, gosh, Chay! You hardly saw the tree!”

“I saw it. Great. Big, and lots of lights and things. Maybe nice at night, though.”

K.C. stopped in her tracks and swiveled to him. “Nice at night? Nice at night? That’s all you have to say about the Rockefeller Center Tree—the most famous Christmas tree, like, in all the world?”

He stared at her and grimaced, shoving his hands in his pockets. “K.C., it was lovely. I see pine trees outside my window all year. I like them in their natural state, like in Wyoming. Up mountains, by lakes, with elk or moose underneath. I never did like the idea of putting silly little baubles on them, trinkets, or angels at the top. What’s the point?”

“What’s the point? Chay, it’s Christmas. It’s a Christmas tradition. Didn’t you ever have a Christmas tree in your home?”

“Yeah, I did. I decorated it with home-made things I could make when I was little. My mother showed me how to make cut-out paper chains, and popcorn garlands and stuff. All that glitz, I think, it’s sort of stupid, isn’t it? Spending money on crap, buying things. Taking something from nature and dressing it up like that?”

“It’s Christmas!”

“Yeah. I got that. It’s Christmas.” Someone pushed him from behind and anger flared across his face like wildfire down a hillside. “I thought we were going home for hot chocolate.”

K.C. stared at him as if she were seeing a different person, a person she didn’t know. “Where’s your Christmas spirit,” she asked in a voice so hurt, he thought she was pleading.

“Christmas spirit is maybe different to different people. I find the crowds—”

“All right, I understand!” She jerked her arm free and walked on at a quicker pace. “Christmas spirit is different to different people.”

Chay stopped for a moment, lost in the crowd, keeping an eye on her retreating back. “Yes,” he said to himself. “Christmas is certainly different to different people. And we were different people in Wyoming.”

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15 responses to “A Cowboy to Keep

  1. Awesome post, Andrea. You really captured the essence of the anthology. it’s been an honor and privilege to work with all these talented ladies. A wonderful experience, and wonderful stories, too. Loved reading them all!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Andrea,
    What a lovely post!! It’s been so great working with you and getting to know you. I’ve got the collection downloaded on my Kindle and will be reading your story next. Can’t wait!! Hugs.

    Like

  3. A great post, Andi. Just goes to show that life “and” writing can go together nicely. The blurbs for the stories in the anthology are intriguing, as well. Puts me in a read-about-a-cowboy kind of mood 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Andrea, you hit all the reasons why I like anthologies. We’re so solitary in our careers, it’s nice to work with a great group of writers. I’m excited to get started reading everyone’s story!

    Like

  5. great post Andrea! Loved it and I loved City Boy, Country Heart!

    Like

  6. I see I have some “catching up to do.” My WIP is a linked story collection and I see all sorts of possibilities here. Just ordered A Cowboy to Keep and plan to start reading as soon as it arrives. And hope the wedding goes well.

    Like

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