Shannon here: Rebecca Carey Lyle’s shares insight into her real life romance & her characters with excerpts from Winds Of Hope, her Contemporary Christian Romance Set in the West & Salted with Suspense. Comment or answer the question at the end of this post to enter the drawing for a copy. Deadline: May 20th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Rebecca:
- Do you and your spouse, Steve, have a favorite song?
Wind Beneath My Wings. The first time he played it for me, he held me close and we danced, if you can call a slow-motion shuffle a dance, around the living room.
- Who said, “I love you” first, you or your spouse?
After 43 years of marriage, I don’t remember who said those magic words first (neither does Steve), but we continue to say them every day, several times a day.
- Where did you and your spouse go for your honeymoon?
The good news is that I DO remember the honeymoon. Following our Denver wedding, Steve and I headed across Wyoming to Jackson Hole and Yellowstone. From there, we drove through Montana to Glacier National Park. Still headed north, we crossed the border into Canada and made our way to beautiful Banff National Park.
Throughout the two-week trip, we alternated camping in a pup tent with nights in motels so we could sleep in a bed and shower now and then. If I remember right, Banff is where a bear wandered through our campsite and a family of five, all wearing red sweatshirts, came running out of the RV across from us to throw rocks at the bear and drive it away.
Banff was our farthest point north. On the way back to Denver, we toured the World’s Fair in Washington, visited with college friends in Oregon (and slept in their kids’ bunkbeds) and stopped to see my parents in Wyoming. Looking back, I must say that was quite the whirlwind trip but well worth all the miles we drove. We saw so many wonderful sights and pretty countryside. Oh, and we had a good time just being alone with each other (and the bears, ha).
- Are your characters open to romance?
My most recent book is a prequel to the Kate Neilson Series. The heroine and the hero have not yet met. Kate, an ex-inmate who leaves Pennsylvania to work on a guest ranch in Wyoming, has been exploited by men and has no interest in romance. Mike, the hero, is focused on keeping the Whispering Pines Guest Ranch in operation following his father’s death. He’s too busy for romance.
- Where is the best place your heroine can think of to find a mate?
In my Kate Neilson Series, a Wyoming guest ranch is the best place to find a mate. 😊
- Where is the worst place your heroine can think of to find a mate?
Kate had an affair with a correctional officer that resulted in devastating consequences, so she’d say prison is the worst place to find a mate.
- What type of character traits is your heroine attracted to?
Kate would be attracted to a man of integrity, one she could trust.
In Winds of Hope, the prequel to the Kate Neilson Series, I only hint at potential romance. Here are a couple of those hints.
*** Kate POV ***
Kate swiveled one way, then the other, studying her reflection in the dressing room mirror. “What do you think, Amy?” She’d met Amy Iverson in prison. In no time, the two of them had become best friends who vowed to continue their friendship on the outside.
Amy grinned and tossed her auburn hair. “I love that shirt, Kate, and those Levis fit perfect.” She pretended to aim a camera at Kate. “I can picture you sitting on a beautiful horse, dressed in those clothes plus the hat and boots the clerk took up front for you. Of course…” She winked. “A handsome cowboy would be seated next to you on a magnificent stallion. He’d notice how pretty you are and only have eyes for you.”
Kate shook her head. Amy, the hopeless romantic, was fully aware she had no interest in men. “You need a new camera.” She changed the subject. “I can’t believe you found a western store in the middle of Pittsburgh. I love the leather smell here.”
“Actually, I didn’t find it. A guy I dated…” She made quotes with her fingers. “BP…was into western stuff.”
Kate knew what she meant. “BP” was a common abbreviation among the inmates for “Before Patterson.”
“He was into John Wayne and Clint Eastwood movies.” Amy laughed. “We watched every single one of them, I think. Anyway, I came here a time or two with him, and I was always surprised at how busy the store was, like today.”
“Who knew that locals have western yearnings?”
“Just like you.” Amy grinned.
“Yeah, just like me. Three shirts should be plenty, don’t you think? In addition to my other clothes, that is. Thank God I can finally fit into them again.”
“You certainly worked hard enough to get back into shape. I lost ten pounds within the first two weeks after I got out, probably because I didn’t eat all the carbs they fed us in prison. What’s it been, a month since you were released?”
“You look great. And if you need more shirts, I’m sure you can buy what you need in Wyoming.”
“After a paycheck or two.” Kate turned for a last glance at herself, and her stomach did another flip-flop. Today, she could pass for the real deal, and soon she would be the real deal. She might not be an authentic cowgirl, but she’d be living and working on a Wyoming guest ranch.
Whispering Pines, here I come!
*** Mike’s POV***
Mike and Clint got down to the business of eating their chili. Three-and-a-half bowls later, Mike asked, “How long before we brand that last bunch of calves?”
“Two weeks, three at the most. That way, some of the guests will get to watch.”
Mike wondered what his mom would think about the delay, but he said, “Glad you’re staying on top of the working side of the ranch. Mom and I are scrambling to pull things together on the guest side. As you know, I didn’t have much to do with guests in the past.”
“Gotta be tough for both of you, but you’ll do okay.” Clint paused. “I sure miss your dad. He was a good man and a great boss. How long has it been since the cancer took him? Five, six months?”
“Just over seven months now.”
Clint sighed. “That long already… Hard to believe. Seems like his funeral was just a couple weeks ago. How’s your mom doing?”
“She puts on a smile every day, but I can tell she’s lonely. Not that I don’t miss Dad—believe me, I feel his absence, but my parents had a special kind of marriage. They were close.”
“I could see that. Made me reconsider bachelorhood now and then.”
Mike pulled back the foil and cut two more pieces of cornbread from the pan. “Yeah, I know what you mean.” Like Clint, he wasn’t in a rush to get married, but if he ever did, he’d want a union like his folks had.
Although he didn’t see a need for a wife right now, he had to admit he had his lonely moments. He missed the gang he’d hung out with at UW. And he missed the fun he’d had dating there, despite the fact he’d never gotten serious with any of the girls.
Lately, he’d been missing his talks with his dad. On cold nights, they’d sit in front of the fire with mugs of hot cider. In the summer, they’d relax on the back deck, talking over the day’s events. A girlfriend or a wife to talk with might be okay, but no one could replace Dad.
About Rebecca Carey Lyles: Rebecca Carey Lyles grew up in Wyoming, the setting for her award-winning Kate Neilson novels, which include Winds of Hope, Winds of Wyoming, Winds of Freedom and Winds of Change. She’s also written nonfiction books about Colorado ministries titled It’s a God Thing! Inspiring Stories of Life-Changing Friendships and On a Wing and a Prayer: Stories from Freedom Fellowship, a Prison Ministry. She currently lives in Idaho, where she serves as an editor and a mentor for aspiring authors. Along with her husband, Steve, Becky hosts a podcast called Let Me Tell You a Story, which can be accessed through her website, beckylyles.com, or on iTunes, Stitcher and iHeart Radio.
Learn more and connect: Becky Lyles Website – Where you can sign up for Becky’s rare-and-random newsletter to receive a free ebook copy of Passageways, an eclectic collection of sixteen short stories.
About the book – Winds of Hope:
A beautiful ex-felon who’s had her fill of men.
A crotchety old ranch hand who loved and lost.
A busy, lonely rancher facing a difficult summer.
Marketing degree in hand, Kate Neilson leaves a Pennsylvania penitentiary and heads for an internship on a Wyoming guest ranch determined to live a better life, despite others’ attempts to drag her back into the pit.
Cyrus Moore, a longtime ranch hand embittered by the loss of women he once loved, vows to make life difficult for an “over-educated” new employee who resembles Susan, his daughter who left for college and never returned.
Tending the livestock and preparing for his guest ranch’s summer season, which begins soon, occupy a good portion of Mike Duncan’s thoughts and waking hours, yet loneliness plucks his heartstrings like a lost melody.
Winds of Hope is the prequel to the Kate Neilson Series, contemporary romantic suspense novels set on the Whispering Pines, a picturesque guest ranch. If you like engaging characters, vivid locations and high-octane action, you’ll love Winds of Hope and the other Kate Neilson stories that follow—Winds of Wyoming, Winds of Freedom and Winds of Change.
Question for Readers: How many states border Wyoming and have you visited them all?
Come back May 12th for Normandie Fischer!