REVISITING THE SEVENTIES

I’ve been working on a novel that takes place in the seventies and it has proven eye-opening in what research has uncovered,, and what it’s brought to mind. Although I am old enough to have lived through that era, I spent most of it in the U.K. , which had problems other than the ones so divisive to the United States.

Haight Ashbury, courtesy of Arjun Sarup via Wikimedia Commons

Viet Nam and Watergate marked the decade, the former possibly sewing the seed of today’s divisions in our country, the latter being compared at times to the present government. But I’m not here for political proselytizing; I did not give (thus far) politics anything more than a passing mention in my book. I’ve used the seventies as background, and in so doing, have discovered quite a few interesting things.

Birth Control: Although the contraceptive pill came on the market in 1960, it wasn’t made available to all women regardless of marital status until 1972. Meanwhile, IUDs were held responsible for the deaths of seven users and removed from the market. In most people’s minds, it was ‘the pill’ that was responsible for free love and the sexual revolution.

Abortion: Roe vs Wade was decided 22 January 1973, disallowing many state and federal restrictions on abortion. More than forty years later, the arguments continue.

DNA Testing: Although DNA Testing became available in 1960, it only had 80% accuracy and could not distinguish between close relatives. It was not until 1970 that a specific enzyme was identified to improve results.

Seat Belts: Although it became law in 1968 that all vehicles except buses had to be manufactured with seat belts, it didn’t become law that you actually had to

1978 Chevette, photo courtesy of The Paper at The English Language Wikipedia

use them until 1984—in New York. Today all states except New Hampshire have seat belt laws; eighteen states make it only a secondary offense under which the car cannot be stopped for that reason alone.

Child safety seats: Although some form of child booster seat was invented and in use as far back as 1933—allowing children to look out the window—it was not until 1971 that the government brought in safety standards, and 1979 that Tennessee was the first state to bring in laws making child safety seats compulsory.

Some Popular Children’s Toys: A stuffed Lassie dog, Peanuts character dolls, a Waltons Playhouse, Apollo Moon Rocket, Radio Flyer Wagon, Etch-a-Sketch, Charlie’s Angels dolls, Erector sets, Starship Enterprise, and the perennial favorite, Barbie dolls were popular through the decade. The Atari Home Computer system became available in 1979 at $594.95, a whopping sum at the time.

Sport: In 1973 Billie Jean King (world No. 2 female tennis player) fought fifty-five year old former champion Bobby Riggs in a match that was called ‘Battle of the Sexes.’ King won in three sets. In 1971, Muhamamed Ali won a Supreme Court decision after four years reinstating his boxing titles of which he had been stripped for refusing to be drafted on the basis of religious beliefs. He went on to win heavyweight championships in both 1974 and 1978; famous fights included the Rumble in the Jungle against George Foreman, and the Thrilla in Manila against Joe Frazier, both of which he won. Gymnast Nadia Comaneci won three gold meals at the Montreal Olympics with seven perfect scores.

Fashion: Best not to go there! Polyester coordinates and leisure suits remain forgotten, please. Wet-look vinyl and fake furs also made a stand. But we had flared pants, fringe, and embroidery still in use today.

Fashion Model Twiggy, 1970

Cars: the Ford Mustang, the Mercury Bobcat and the Chevette shared the road with station wagons like the Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser, and ‘woodies’ were a favorite.

Travel: Concorde took off in 1976, cutting transatlantic travel time to three and a half hours—if you could afford it.

More food for thought: Taking 1975 as my example, inflation was at 9.2% in the US and at 24.2% in the UK, the Dow Jones was averaging 858, interest rates were at 7.25% in the USA and 11.25% in the UK, gas was around 44¢, the average cost of a new car was $4,250 and a new house $39, 500. While the heyday of hippies in Haight-Ashbury may have passed in the sixties, despite heavy drug use and a lack of a police presence, communes were still going, most famously the Scott Street Commune and The Red Victorian, which served as both hotel and commune after 1977.

Bomber during Operation-Linebacker, Viet Nam war

So, Viet Nam: The war had actually been going on since 1965 after the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gave Pres. LB Johnson permission to wage war—after an attack on one of our destroyers which just happened to be out there. By 1970, Richard Nixon was president and Cambodia was in the war, Henry Kissinger was trying to negotiate a peace settlement but protests continued. Four students were killed and eight wounded by National Guardsmen at Kent State University in Ohio. In 1971, Lt. William Calley Jr. was convicted of the murder of twenty-two unarmed South Vietnamese civilians in the Mai Lai Massacre. He was released after three and a half years for a number of reasons, not least was the fact he was the only army officer singled out for the crime. In 1972, Nixon won re-election and Kissinger revealed peace talks were underway with Le Duc Tho. By 1973, a cease-fire was signed, the end of the draft was announced, and the last American troops left Viet Nam. Kissinger and Le Duc Tho won the Nobel Peace prize; Kissinger accepted and Le Duc Tho declined saying peace did not exist.

And finally, Watergate: In 1969, Richard M. Nixon was inaugurated as the President of the USA. In August, 1971, a list of his enemies was started by his White House aides. A group called the White House Plumbers was started to find information to discredit his enemies. On June 17, 1972, the Plumbers were arrested in the process of planting bugs at the Democratic National Committee

Richard M. Nixon during campaign, photo by Oliver F. Atkins, public domain

headquarters at The Watergate Hotel. On June 20, 1972, Mark Felt, Director of the FBI (J. Edgar Hoover had died in May)—previously known as ‘Deep Throat’—started giving tips to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post. Later that month attempts were made to shut down the investigation of the FBI. In September, 1972, the first indictments were made and in November, Nixon was re-elected. Through 1973, televised hearings and indictments continued. In October 1973, VP Spiro Agnew resigned due to corruption as Governor of Maryland, and Gerald Ford took his place. In July of 1973, Nixon refused to hand over the White House tapes, and in November delivered his “I am not a crook’ speech. But by March, 1974, Nixon was named as a co-conspirator while the Watergate Seven were indicted; in May, impeachment hearings began, in June All the President’s Men was published, and in July the tapes were finally handed over. On August 9, 1974, Richard M. Nixon (Tricky Dick) resigned from the Presidency and Gerald Ford—unelected to the vice-presidency but holding that office—became President of the United States.

And that, folks, was the Seventies.

 

 

 

 

 

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A TRIP DOWN MEMORY ROAD

It’s a tradition that August is a time for travel and when someone says ‘travel’ nowadays, I think ‘Road Trip.’ While I’ve recently lost my main travel partner, my daughter, to marriage, I can speculate that some time in the hopefully not too distant future, I might be relegated to a back seat, overseeing child or children, while husband and wife share driving to some enchanting site I’ve longed to see.

Road trips for me were initiated when I was still very young, way back in the ’Fifties. My family took off every Christmas-time to Florida in order to be with my great-aunts and their families who had moved down from NYC. Since my grandmother was one of eleven children, there were quite a few of these great aunts along with offspring, a giant family my own daughter has sadly been denied. The trip down took three days in a car that insisted on getting a perennial flat tire. We would pull off the road and my father would bravely remove jack and spare from the trunk but inevitably someone would stop to help us—for which we all sent up prayers of thanks. My father would always try to ‘tip’ the savior and sometimes it was pocketed with thanks, sometimes rejected, but it didn’t matter—we were off! Other years, the radiator overheated, another persistent problem in those days, and it often saw us sitting by the side of the road, a plume of steam like a genie from a bottle coming from the raised hood. One time we were able to pull into a diner. Believe it or not, my father went in to ask for water for the radiator and the waitress refused to give it to him. We were down south at that point and I think she just had a ‘thing’ against northerners perhaps. Another, more kind-hearted waitress came rushing out with a pitcher for us.

Yet another foible of road travel in my youth was car sickness, from which I suffered often. I would moan from the back, my father would pull over and I would throw up out the door. Okay, so this is not a pretty picture—apologies. But once my dad pulled onto the soft shoulder—which were rampant in the days before freeways—and my mother slammed the back door shut without looking, screaming for him to pull off. She caught my finger. Skin and bone were sticking out and it remains crooked to this day.

The traditions of that trip south stay with me. Burma shave signs lined the road at frequent intervals. Burma shave was a brushless shaving cream, and their advertising was a series of signs along the road with what would now be considered advertising ‘jingles’, or alternatively common sense warnings about driving or, apparently, some political propaganda during WWII. Keep well / To the right / Of the oncoming car / Get your close shaves / From the half pound jar/ Burma Shave. That bearded devil/ Is forced/ To dwell/ In the only place/ Where they don’t sell/ Burma Shave. Cattle crossing/ Means go slow/ That old bull/ Is some/ cow’s beau/ Burma Shave. Apparently, John McCain’s camp tried using the same promotion strategy with slogans against Obama without success.

Another tradition was stopping at Howard Johnson’s on the highway for lunch.

courtesy Christopher Ziemnokwicz/CZMarlin

always ended my meal with their ice cream cake roll—vanilla ice cream in a swirl of chocolate cake topped by hot fudge sauce. I can almost taste it now. And I long for the candies at Stuckey’s. Known for their pecan chocolates, my family gravitated toward chocolate covered cherries and chocolate covered flavored marshmallows. I’ve never been able to find these anywhere else and yet I can envisage them in their square shape as if it were yesterday. Now some of Stuckey’s items are available on line, but the chocolate covered marshmallows are not among the offerings.

When we reached the South the scenery changed markedly. Our motel would always be the highly kitsch ‘South of the Border’ in South Carolina. A complex which now encompasses two gas stations, a pharmacy, shops, and so on, even back in the fifties and early sixties it was huge. I left our room one night to get a candy bar from the dispenser and couldn’t find the room. I wandered for ages before finally, somehow (and at this stage I don’t remember how!) locating it. The motel’s Mexican theme remains today, and for those seeking a ’50s/ ’60s travel experience, this is the place.

At last there was Florida. Florida is a long state so there are many miles before you get down to the Hollywood/ Miami area. But you would always know when you were in Florida as alligator wrestling signs lined the road; oranges were readily available from farm stands along with a little plastic mini-straw you stuck into the fruit to suck out the juice; coconut patties were for sale everywhere; and Seminoles were selling coconuts carved into Indian heads, painted, and decorated with shells and so on. I once got into trouble with my parents when a

Library of Congress photo

stand across the highway from where we had stopped attracted my attention. A rainbow display of colorful feathers drew me over and I thoughtlessly crossed the two lanes.

Of course, that was it: you could walk across the one-lane highway just as you would cross a street now. The roads were slower, there was more to see. The signs and rest stops were varied. A friend recently said to me that road trips were SO different back then. And they were. We had no superhighways, no five lane major Interstates, no traffic-laden freeways. Life was slower; life was gentler. Route 66 was still the ‘Mother Road’ and Route 1 still drew travellers down from the northeast to, as yet, hardly developed Florida. On my 2015 seven week road trip with my daughter, it was obvious that lunch meant leaving the highway, and that signs were advertising places at specific exits. In the early ’Sixties, three-day drives to Florida were replaced all too soon by a four hour flight. Americans seem to want ‘fast’ now: fast roads, fast food, and an information superhighway.

There is still the call of the Open Road, that glorious moment when the door clunks shut, the seat belt snaps down, and you know you’re headed somewhere new and exciting, but the road itself has lost its mystique in most places. Yet in others, that straight line where the sky meets the earth, that destination of horizon, still holds its aura of endless possibility.

Even if there’s no hot fudge sundae en route.

 

 

 

Carra Copelin

Although with working on an anthology  you rarely get to meet the other authors in person, you still get a good idea of them through your correspondence.  That said, it’s been a pleasure working with Carra Copelin. Carra is an award winning and Amazon Best Selling Author in contemporary and historical romances but, unlike so many other authors, didn’t write from childhood or read long into the night beneath the covers with a flashlight. She found romance novels as an adult. After reading about a million, she discovered numerous people residing in her head, all looking for a way onto the printed page.

She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and she regularly contributes to romance blog, Smart Girls Read Romance. She is a member of The Daughters of the American Revolution and The Daughters of the Republic of Texas.

Carra and her hero live in North Central Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex where they enjoy family and their three beautiful grandchildren.

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Hi, and thank you, Andrea Downing, for having me here today! This anthology, A COWBOY TO KEEP, Contemporary Western Romance Collection, has been a fun project. It is a privilege to work with this group of talented authors and I’ve enjoyed getting to know them and their work. I think readers will love this collection of contemporary western romances.

I always fall in love with my characters, even the bad guys, and from the time Sheriff Ben Hammond walked on stage in my first book, CODE OF HONOR, Texas Code Series, I’ve been in love. Originally, he was a minor character and love interest for Dinah Horne, while the main story played out. The more he supported the other characters in their investigations, the harder I fell.

He is tall, dark, and handsome, carries a badge and packs heat – in more ways than one – plus he’s serious, smart, and loyal. If you’re looking for a guy with a big heart and the ability to keep you safe and protected in any situation, Ben Hammond is your man.

I went down the western historical trail for a while leaving Ben and Dinah to wait in the wings, non-too patiently I might add, for their own story, and it’s finally here. We find Ben recovering from a broken heart, dealing with the down-sizing of his small police force, and buying a ranch. What will he do, when the woman who walked out on him six months ago, suddenly reappear?

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Blurb:  THE LEGEND OF BAD MOON RISING 

Dinah Horne left for Dallas, Texas, to make her mark. When her money runs out, she returns to her hometown and the man she can’t forget. Sheriff Ben Hammond is finally over the woman who shattered his heart, and he plans to rebuild his life with the Hard Luck Ranch. Under a rising moon, will Ben and Dinah surrender to the passion still burning hot between them?

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EXCERPT:

Dinah Horne sat in a booth, in the darkened corner of the Bigger Jigger, her butt, literally and figuratively, frozen to the worn, red vinyl, seat. In the last few days, she and Maggie had discussed the situation with Ben Hammond, ad nauseam. Should she move back to McTiernan? Would he accept her living here again? Could they even reside in the same county?

She’d known her leaving last year had hurt him badly. But she’d needed to follow her dream of owning and running her own business. Hadn’t she? Well, she’d done it, all right. She’d even gone the extra yardage by telling him she couldn’t spend her life simply being Mrs. Sheriff Hammond. She was destined for greater things.

And, how’s that working out for you, Sister Sue? Her mother’s voice reverberated inside her head. Less than a year and she was back in McTiernan, tail between her legs, imposing on the kindness of friends. Pathetic.

She watched Maggie hug Ben, give her an almost imperceptible nod, and leave.

How much longer would he wait for the new realtor to show up? Not long, she surmised, if he was still in the habit of having one beer before heading home for the day. Slowly, she exited the booth and made her way toward the bar. She approached Ben just as Harry set a Styrofoam box on the counter. Ben paid his bill, picked up the white carton, and fished his keys out of his pocket.

Without fanfare, Dinah slid her card onto the lid of his dinner box.

He picked up the Packard Realty card, read the generic front, and said, “Hey, I was about to leave. I thought you weren’t going to make our appointment.” He half-swiveled on the stool, stretching out his hand. “I’m Ben, and you are, Ms?”

The look in his eyes told her most of what she needed to know. “Hi, Ben.”

He stared at her, and looked again at the card. He flipped it over to see her name scrawled across the back. Handing it to her he said, “We’re not doing this. I’ll call Tristi tomorrow.”

“Ben, you can’t just run away from me.”

“Oh, I don’t know, I’ve heard it works for others. I think I’ll give it a try.”

“That’s not fair, Ben.”

He set the container down with enough force that his thumb pushed through the lid. He grabbed her by the upper arm and marched her back to the booth she’d vacated mere minutes before.

“Fair? You want to talk fair?” He pushed her into the booth and slid in next to her, effectively blocking her escape. “You up and leave with only a note taped to my gun safe. You were afraid of losing yourself? What the hell does that mean?”

“Ben, I should go.” While she knew in her heart, he wouldn’t hurt her, she did her best not push him too far. The floodgates were threatening to overflow, and she absolutely would not cry in front of him. “This was a mistake.”

“You have no idea how huge.” With that, he got up and walked straight out the front door without so much as a glance over his shoulder.

* * *

Ben walked into the sheriff’s office, sat in his chair, and realized, as his stomach growled, he’d left his double cheeseburger with grilled onions and fries at the Bigger Jigger. Damn. He’d been really looking forward to that most perfect combination of meat, bun, and cheese with a liberal dose of jalapeños. His mouth watered at the thought, but there was no way he was going back to pick it up. He’d starve first.

His gaze drifted over to his only other option. Unhappily, he got up and slid a dollar bill into the vending machine slot, and retrieved a bag of chips. He ate one, grimaced at the remainder of the contents, and tossed them into the trash can beside his desk.

He dropped into his chair and scrubbed his hands over his face. What was the matter with him tonight? His reaction and resulting actions toward Dinah had been, while marginally understandable, completely unacceptable. He’d convinced himself, over the past few months, he was over her, and never again would she affect him. Tonight, however, had proved how wrong he’d been. Seeing her out of the blue like that had flummoxed him almost as much as seeing her that first time in Maggie’s living room last summer. Their break-up had hit him hard, and he’d promised never again to let a woman get that close. Evidently, he hadn’t moved as far along as he’d thought.

In an effort to, finally, put his relationship with Dinah Horne to bed — an unfortunate turn of phrase indeed — he started the computer and began composing an email to Tristi Packard, owner of Packard Realty. He’d call her in the morning with his concerns, but for now . . . this was a way for him to organize his thoughts.

The front door opened and closed, breaking his concentration, and when he looked up, Dinah stood inside, with her back against the glass closure.

“Hi, Ben.” She crossed the room and set a slightly worse-for-wear white box, with a hole in the lid, onto the desk in front of him. “You forgot your dinner.”

“You didn’t have to go out of your way.”

“I was driving by anyway, and promised Harry I’d drop it off. Sorry it’s gone cold.”

“Don’t worry about it.” He managed a measure of control to avoid a repeat of his actions at the bar. He cleared his throat. “You can go now.”

She pulled up a chair and sat down. “We need to talk, Ben.”

“No, we don’t. You chose to leave, you don’t get to come back.”

“Seriously? Childish much?”

Ben stared at the blank computer screen, wishing she’d leave, yet hoping she’d stay. Quite the impossible conundrum. He waited a few beats longer until the screen went dark, and then forged ahead.

“You bleached your hair. Why?”

“There’s so much competition in Dallas real estate, that when I got my license, I thought I needed something to help me stand out in the crowd. So, I got a makeover.” She smoothed her shoulder-length hair and pressed her gloss-covered lips together into an exaggerated pout. “What do you think?”

“Doesn’t matter what I think.”

“Of course, it does, Ben. Always did.

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You can find Carra at:  http://www.carracopelin.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Carra-Copelin-Texas-Skies-Author/233861816666958

https://twitter.com/#!/CarraCopelin

And you can 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?

 

 

 

Bad Boy, Big Heart by Andrea Downing

Romance Novels for the Beach

The trickiest thing when it comes to summer romances? There’s always a time limit. Sooner or later, the summer must come to an end.

What’s it About? 

bad boy, big heart

When New Yorker K.C. Daniels heads to Wyoming for a summer job, she wants nothing more than to fit in with the staff of the Lazy S Ranch. Yearning to be independent of her mom and dad, and have a taste of the west before she starts her Master’s degree, getting involved with a cowboy is the last thing on her mind—especially when she’s greeted with warnings about ‘Bad Boy’ Chay Ridgway.

High school dropout Chay Ridgway sees summer as his time to be a rodeo star and win a girl in his life, while facing the responsibilities he has for his father. Although working to bring in cash to help his dad, he’s never had a problem finding a woman who’s happy…

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Bad Boy, Big Heart by Andrea Downing

Source: Bad Boy, Big Heart by Andrea Downing

Hildie McQueen

I still have a coaster on my desk from the first author’s conference I ever attended back in 2012–it’s pink with the now familiar name of Hildie McQueen on it.  So imagine my delight to now find myself in an anthology with Hildie.

Hildie is a USA Today Bestselling author who loves unusual situations and getting into interesting adventures, which is what her characters do as well. She writes romance because she is in love with love! Author of Romance in Highland historical, Western Historical and contemporary, she writes something every reader can enjoy. Continue reading

Patti Sherry-Crews

This is the third anthology on which I’ve had the  pleasure of working with Patti Sherry-Crews, and I’m not sure I could proceed to work on one without her!  She has been a redoubtable ally against the foibles of publishing, and has stopped me from pulling my hair out on many an occasion with her delightful wit and sense of humor. Patti Sherry-Crews lives in Evanston, IL with her husband and two children. She writes both historical and contemporary romances. Her historic western and medieval romances are published by Prairie Rose Publications. Patti is also known to do the occasional good deed.

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My cheery neighbor comes toward me, arms extended. We greet each other with a hug, because it’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other.

“Where do you get the ideas for your stories?” she asks me.

Well, neighbor, I’m not sure that’s something I want to share with you at this late date, I think to myself. I’d taken a short break from writing Phoenix Heat, to pop in at an open house down the street.

The thing is, I’m writing a scene taken from the pages of my own book and it involves this woman. Years ago, decades really, a massive storm was about to break. I was hurrying home when I saw a dog frantically trying to get into her house. I rang the doorbell but nobody was home, so I let the dog into the vestibule and went on my way. Good deed done. I’ll collect my karma later, thank you.

Months later I overheard my neighbor talking to someone. “And, I came home to find a strange dog in the hall! It shredded the wallpaper and ate a table!”

Oops…

If I had heard this immediately after throwing a dog into her house, I’m sure I would have said something. But since so much time had passed it seemed enlightening her wouldn’t help the situation, so I zipped my lip. Instead, I stored the incident away in my writer’s brain to use at a later date, thinking what better way for a hero and heroine to meet?

Writers do that: we tuck away the odd incident witnessed, bits of strange conversations overheard, and significant experiences for later use. I think of my stories as scrapbooks for my memories.

When I was developing the character of Frank Flynn, who is the firefighting cowboy in Phoenix Heat, I had a vision of what I wanted him to be like. Sort of a self-contained, quiet guy whose still waters run deep. I wanted him to have something in his past he carried around with shame. It also had to be something that makes him turn away from Harper Donovan when they meet. Whatever it was haunting him, it couldn’t be so terrible that the reader lost interest in him.

Then I thought how some of our deepest wounds are things we carry from childhood. Maybe even things we had no control of like having a family different from everyone else’s.

So, I gave Frank a family who lived down the street from me when I was growing up. Without giving too much away, this was a household run by teens. There were five extraordinarily good-looking kids, who got into every kind of mischief kids without parents around can get into. As a kid, it was a fun house to visit, but as an adult I reflected on what it must have been like to live there. Only one of the five children, the oldest daughter, went on to make a stable life for herself. I gave Frank the strength of character she had to rise above it all.

I hope you enjoy Phoenix Heat! And by the way, my neighbor’s dog was a greyhound and the dog at her door was also a greyhound, so I ask you what would you have done? In fact, I’m now asking myself if there were two times someone threw a dog into her house, because unless you frequent the race track how often do you see greyhounds?

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PHOENIX HEAT Blurb:

Harper Donovan thought she had it all when she turned her dream into a reality—opening a restaurant in New York City. But when the venture fails and her fiancé leaves her, Harper has little choice but to return to her family in Arizona.

When she meets handsome firefighter and cowboy Frank Flynn, she decides it’s time to get in the dating game again. Except Flynn shows no interest and dodges her, but not before claiming they’ve met before. Solving the mystery of the complicated Flynn gets under Harper’s skin, making her even more determined to seduce him.

When the two finally come together, the smoldering passion ignites into a heat that rivals the Phoenix desert. Now that Flynn has opened his heart, can Harper handle this wounded cowboy who’s playing for keeps?

Excerpt:

Harper rolled down her window as Flynn approached and looked back at him over her shoulder. His feet landed in her tire tracks leading him closer, boot prints stamping a new pattern in the dust. Maybe she could hand him the bag and be on her way. He leaned down and put his hands on the driver’s side of her car with his arms spread wide. Oh my. He has a tattoo. Around one muscular bicep ran a band of Celtic design. He had his cheek sucked in like he wasn’t too pleased to see her.

“Hi, I brought you some food from the hotel,” she said, surprised by the slight squeak in her voice when she’d been going for relaxed.

“Rosa have you running her errands?” No squeak in his voice. He spoke in a deep, slow drawl. Very sexy.

“I pass by here on my way to work. It’s not a bother. I work at—”

“I know where you work,” he said in that same slow, deliberate way. That man didn’t do anything fast.

“Oh, right, well, here you go then,” she said, shifting the bag in his direction. “Nice of you to do this. I brought the food yesterday, so I know normally I’m to put the bag on the back porch.”

To her discomfort, he stood there, not reaching for the bag, intense eyes boring into her. She lifted the bag higher. “Well, here you are. I’ll just be on my—”

“Yesterday? You were here?” The muscles in his wide-spread arms bulged, making her feel like prey trapped by a more powerful opponent. His body, radiating heat, blocked her view. His male scent filled the car.

“Yes, I let your dog in too. Poor thing was frantic to get in with the storm coming.”

His face got tight and he narrowed his eyes. “Very kind of you, except I don’t own a dog.”

“Oh, well, I—”

“That dog did some damage.” A vein in his neck twitched and his compressed lips went white.

The scorch of shame flashed over her cheeks. “I’m so sorry! It never occurred to me…. Was it bad?”

“Words fail to describe. Let me show you what I came home to yesterday. Come on,” he said when she continued to sit in the car.

He stood back to let her open her door and step out into the hot sun, pulling the bag after her. She stood face to face with him now. With his hands hooked in his belt loops, elbows out, she was aware of the size of him. Large and imposing, his body held her captive without touching her. She didn’t know what to say, and he seemed to be taking his time raking her over with his eyes. He stood so close to her, she smelled the musky scent of him. The individual stubble of each whisker on his chin, clear to her.

Finally, he walked away, moving to the back of his truck, where he picked up something large and threw it over one shoulder—a fifty-pound bag of dog food.

“I thought you said you don’t have a dog?”

“It appears I do now.”

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You can find out more about Patti at

http://pattisherrycrews16.wix.com/author-blog

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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?

 

 

 

 

An Interview with Kristy McCaffrey

I had the pleasure of meeting Kristy McCaffrey when she recently visited New York, and I can tell you there is very little she doesn’t know about publishing, promoting and, most especially, writing a dang good book. Kristy writes historical western romances set in the American southwest. She and her husband dwell in the Arizona desert with two chocolate labs named Ranger and Lily, and whichever of Continue reading

Devon McKay

Devon McKay has been an absolute bonus to our group of authors, working extra hard on promotion in addition to having turned out a terrific story. Devon writes contemporary romance with a western flair. If she’s not typing at her keyboard, Devon’s busy with chores on her small ranch, working on a stained glass project, or walking one of her three dogs through the woods. Her greatest joy is putting a smile on a readers face and hearing from fans.
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Hebby Roman

Hebby Roman took a loose rein in organizing A Cowboy to Keep and I greatly enjoyed working with her. Hebby is a New York traditionally published, small-press published, and Indie published #1 Amazon best-selling author of both historical and contemporary romances. Her first contemporary romance, SUMMER DREAMS, was the launch title for Encanto, a print line featuring Latino Continue reading