Cage McCloud, in his pec-hugging pearl snap shirt, Lucky Brand jeans and square-toed cowboy boots, has taken time off from starring in my new release, Just Not Ready Yet, to interview little ol' me!
He looks just as I thought he would—dead sexy—his cocksure heir infiltrating my personal space. I can smell the man on him. His hair and eyelashes, thick and dark, match his yummy five o'clock shadow. His chameleon eyes twinkle. In this instance they reflect the color of his shirt—deep blue. I feel a little flushed and underdressed in my loungers, my usual writing garb. They likely have spit-up on them what with a newborn at home ;)
Cage: Charlize 'Charlie' McCloud, my quest. What's with the name?
Brooklyn: I guess you could say I have an affinity for women with 'masculine' names. I like to play with contrasts wherever I can. Hard and soft, strength and vulnerability, masculine and feminine. I am known to do this often in my novels. You have Harley LeBeau (The Boots My Mother Gave Me) and Jacqueline 'Jac' Bondurant (Let It Go). It gives a feminist twist to the development of their compelling characters. Even though they may not go around tooting their own horn, women are just as competent as men, you know.
Cage: Oh, I know. I like ’em that way—spirited—just like I like my horses. (He smiles)
Brooklyn: You're comparing women to mares? (I do not smile, my cautionary brow arching)
Cage: Yes. I am. Both are captivating, majestic and just waiting to be tamed. (Again, his pearly whites emerge through a devilishly handsome grin)
Brooklyn: You had me, until the 'tamed' part.
Cage: Now don't get all defensive. You wrote me this way. (He leans back in his chair, his casual posture at odds with his cocksure attitude) Besides, I'm the one who's supposed to be asking the questions. In Just Not Ready Yet, Charlie is a young widowed rancher hell-bent on living in her past. What inspired you to write a story about both love and loss?
Brooklyn: Two of my lifelong girlfriends from high school lost the loves of their lives in their early thirties. One to a heart attack. The other to a motor vehicle accident. Both of these women had met their mates in high school, married shortly thereafter and started families. Life is full of love and loss. Sometimes the first happily-ever-after doesn't work out as planned, but maybe the next one does, if we're brave enough to embrace it.
Cage: Why does Charlie push me away all of the time?
Brooklyn: You're her late husband's brother, that's why. You look just like him for crying out loud. Your presence is a constant reminder of what she's lost. Besides, you know you like the chase.
Cage: Well, yeah, I do. But doesn't she know the closest she'll ever be to my brother again is me?
Brooklyn: Yes, she knows that. She can feel it every time you come around. Don't act like it doesn't bother you, too.
Cage: I was his older brother. I looked after him all his life. I was supposed to keep him safe. Now I've gone and fallen in love with his wife. Hell yeah, it bothers me. But with him gone, I can't stand to see her with anyone else. What's with Hunter? The young college stud—summer intern. (He rolls his eyes with detest, his casual posture growing agitated)
Brooklyn: You can't have all the fun. (I enjoy watching my alpha male squirm) Hunter is harmless. He's just what Charlie needs, a youthful, enthusiastic diversion.
Cage: What's with all of the flashback scenes? The ones with Charlie and my brother, Cash McCloud. Why'd you have to write all of those scenes, getting her and me all worked up, remembering the past?
Brooklyn: I couldn't very well exclude Cash. He's an integral part of the story in understanding Charlie's resistance and your angst. Besides you were skeptical of Charlie when she first started dating your baby brother. You did everything you could to test her love for him. You even had a provoking nickname for her—New York—reminding her that she wasn't 'Texan enough' to marry your brother.
Cage: Well, I thought being raised in Manhattan that she would be too prissy for Cash. Here in Texas, we like our women…
Brooklyn: I know, I know…like you like your horses—spirited. (Now I smile) Did I make Charlie spirited enough for you?
Cage: I'd say a fence-mending, bronc-busting, cattle-branding woman fits the bill. How'd you come up with all of that anyway?
Brooklyn: I've mended a few fences, broke a few horses and branded a few cattle in my lifetime. I'm happy to have finally penned a story where I could regurgitate those experiences…lol.
Cage: Now then, let's get to the point. Do we get our happily-ever-after?
Brooklyn: That's up to you and Charlie. If you both can get over Cash's memory and get out of your own way, I'd say you have a good chance at that HEA ending.
Cage: Fair enough. One more thing. Could you add another love scene? I tell you, I've never been so damn good in bed as when you write me.
Brooklyn: Love to!
Thank you kindly for hosting us on Reading Between the Wines Book Club. We're excited about the new release and hope your followers will be, too. This novel has an original music single by the same name, Just Not Ready Yet. Listen on iTunes, Amazon, SoundCloud. Feel free to join us on Facebook for news, releases, and giveaways.
The author is giving away one digital copy of JUST NOT READY YET from Smashwords to one reader. To enter, please leave a meaningful comment or question for Brooklyn or Cage on this post and then fill out the rafflecopter below. Good luck!