Shannon here: Janet Chester Bly shares insight into her characters’ romance from her latest Contemporary Western Mystery, Down Squash Blossom Road. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing for copy (USA) only or a PDF for digital reader. Deadline: April 1st, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Janet:
Interview with Reba Mae Cahill, heroine of The Trails of Reba Cahill Series
- What’s the number one quality you’d require in a mate?
Running Cahill Ranch has become too much for just me and Grandma Pearl. I need a rancher husband, a strong man at my side.
I thought I had that with Tim Runcie, my high school sweetheart. So perfect. His family’s ranch right next to ours. But he and my best friend Sue Anne dated behind my back and married even before we graduated. So I’ve been stuck in Road’s End, Idaho, population 400, at age twenty-five with few prospectives.
- What’s the number two quality you’d require in a mate?
It’s not like a requirement, but a private fantasy of mine. I love to play guitar and sing. If he could be musical, how perfect would that be? Me and the rancher singing together after a hard day working horses and cows. Like in the old Roy Rogers and Gene Autry western movies.
- What would be the best gift a potential mate could buy for you?
Soren Patrick has offered to give me a buckskin mare with a fascinating history. She helped the fight in Operation Desert Storm in the Gulf War and has a sort of horse version of PTSD. She would also replace my favorite, a black horse named Johnny Poe I trained myself at age sixteen and lost in a tragic accident.
- How soon after meeting ‘the one’ did you know he was the one?
That’s hard to say since I’m still sorta figuring that out. With Tim Runcie, my high school sweetheart, I knew since first grade. And Soren Patrick was love at first sight. And then there’s Jace McKane, well, that’s been a bit more complicated.
- Where is the most romantic place you spent with your hero?
Jace McKane is no rancher, a deal breaker, and I don’t think of him in that kind of way. But I have to grudgingly admit the short crew cut, sincere puppy-dog eyes, and boyish mug could get to me, if I let it. Which I won’t. And he certainly is not as knock-‘em-dead, cowboy handsome as dark, wavy-haired Soren Patrick. However, there was that one time. Due to a crazy stalker, we were imprisoned together in the basement of his parents’ California beach home.
Here are some excerpts from that scene in the book Down Squash Blossom Road:
“Jace?” she called out. “Please, say something.” Terror ate into her bones and crept up through the soles of her feet as she feared the worst.
She looked around at a small, unfinished room with no windows, except a small one at the top of the door. One single vent looked like it was blocked or locked. Against the wall next to them, a small cardboard box with beverages, chips and candy bars. They were alone in an empty room, but she had no recollection of how they got there.
She leaned over and tugged at Jace. She detected movement and was nearly delirious with joy when his eyes fluttered. “Jace? Can you hear me?”
They hunkered down as close and comfortable as they could in anticipation of a long stretch in their prison cell, without even a bunk or bars to look through. They drank a few sips and ate a couple bites. As the minutes and hours passed, Reba nearly choked with frustration. Anxiety grew for Jace’s wound and Abel’s welfare. And as much as she wanted to be rescued, whoever came down those stairs next would be at Quigley’s mercy, his next victim. Maybe that was the goal, to capture as many as possible in this trap. The slow way.
With some effort, he reached over, embraced her hand. “All of this should be over soon.”
A soft balm of relief eased over her bruised body at his touch.
He slowly pulled his hand away, checked his wound, and tore another piece of his shirt. As she helped him press it in place, he said, “Do you know why I ended up in Road’s End?” Then he opened up and dropped a bomb. “I was in love with a girl, but she drowned.”
Reba reeled from the disclosure. Information Ginny must have known, but didn’t pass on. “I’m … so … sorry.”
“We were only together a year. Losing her was part of why I escaped to Road’s End in the first place. I wanted to be as far away from here as I could.”
His private candor touched her deeply. Such desolation etched in his face. She felt his grief more deeply than she imagined possible. So close and aware of him, a sudden blossom of warmth inside evaporated every ounce of annoyance she ever felt toward him. She said with a complete lack of jealousy, “And you still miss her?”
“I thought we’d always be together.” Later, he added, “Her name was Joanna.”
About Janet: Janet Chester Bly is the widow of Christy Award winning western author Stephen Bly. Together they published more than 120 fiction and nonfiction books for adults and kids. Janet and their three sons finished Stephen’s last novel, Stuart Brannon’s Final Shot, a Selah Award Finalist. Down Squash Blossom Road is Book 2 in the Reba Cahill contemporary western mystery series. Book 1 is Wind in the Wires.
About the book:
What Secret Lies Down Squash Blossom Road?
Cowgirl Reba Cahill’s schedule is full. Save the family ranch. Free her mom from a mental institute. Solve a murder and kidnapping. Evade a stalker. Can she also squeeze in romance?
Reba Cahill focused on the duties of the ranch, along with her widowed grandmother. But a crippled Champ Runcie returns to Road’s End in a wheelchair and seeks revenge for the accident that put him there. He blames Reba’s horse. Meanwhile, a letter from her estranged mom forces her and Grandma Pearl back on the road: I can leave now. Come get me. Love, Mom
When they arrive in Reno, her mother issues a demand and refuses to return to Idaho. They head west instead. In California, Reba’s friend Ginny’s marriage is on the rocks. The family business is threatened. And squabbles turn deadly.
Reba digs deep to find the courage to forge a relationship with her mom and escape a crazed man’s obsession. She also hopes for a future with a horse trainer who offers her a new horse to replace the one she lost in the accident. But why does he have a photo of a pretty woman on his wall?
Sign up for Almost Monthly Bly Books News and receive 5 free chapters Wind in the Wires, Book 1 … Janet’s Newsletter. Follow Janet on Amazon http://amzn.to/2epkofq. Follow Bly Books on Amazon Author Page for new releases: http://www.amazon.com/author/stephenbly
Learn more and connect:
Can’t wait for the drawing? Get your copy now!
Question for Readers: Do you think lasting relationships can grow through facing a brief crisis or trauma together? Why or why not?
Come back March 24th for Mary Ellis!