Honky Tonk Hearts
Lonely hearts seem to gravitate to the Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk. A few miles outside Amarillo off historical Route 66, the large wood-paneled structure boasts a large neon star with a single flashing steer riding away from it. Owner and bartender, Gus Rankin, has seen his share of the wandering souls cross his bar and dance floor over the years—he’d even like to think he helped a few find true love along the way.
The Morning After
I’m a desert rat, born and raised in Arizona. Although a twenty-year stint in the Midwest made me realize I really do not like the desert, I still have strong ties to the west. Texas isn’t far away and the country music I listened to while growing up in the west always had a nice Texan twang. Cowboys and the life they live hold a special place in my heart – even the contemporary ones who run their ranches more like a corporation. When The Wild Rose Press put out the call for submissions for the Honky Tonk Heart series, something in me twanged and I just had to answer the call. Gus and the Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk called to me. I had such fun writing this novella, I may have to do another contemporary western.
Blurb for The Morning After:
Can there really be love at first sight?
Abigail Martin doesn’t think so. Unless the sexy redheaded stranger she wakes up with the morning after her best friend’s wedding is telling the truth.
Bobby Stockwood fell cowboy-hat-over-boot-heels for the brown-haired beauty, and married her in an impromptu wedding ceremony. Now he just has to convince his new bride that the morning after can be the first day of the rest of their lives.
But just when Abigail starts believing the fairy-tale is real, she finds out exactly who Bobby is, and the walls of make-believe start crumbling down.
The man rolled to his back, kicking off covers.
Abigail gasped. Her gentleman visitor wore only a bow tie and black socks.
She crept to the edge of the bed. His face was turned away, further hidden by red curls hanging down the nape of his neck and onto his cheek. A visual sweep of the attractive body brought a smile to her face when she paused on his more than ample endowments. A true redhead. An encounter of this magnitude should be easy to remember.
Abigail smiled in spite of her throbbing temples. Inching closer, she nudged his boots aside with her foot and leaned over to see his face. Mmm. He smelled good, like rich leather and fresh cut wood. As she bent to get a closer look, Kirby, her sixteen-pound Siamese cat, entered her room and announced his hunger.
The visitor stirred, grasped her arm, drawing her down across his hips.
He rose up on his elbows and looked at her. “So, Abby, you’re a morning person, are you?”
Abigail launched off the bed, trying not to come into contact with anymore of the warm body than she already had. Tripping over the boots, she ended up sprawled on the floor. “Who…” She gulped. “Who the hell are you?”
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Marshall hoped she got to the point soon because
it was taking all his effort to stand there. The gall of the woman showing up
like this out of the blue. What had she expected? That he’d welcome her with
open arms and catch up like old friends...as if she never destroyed him? Marshall made a quick glance around the honky
tonk, thankful their little ‘chat’ wasn’t drawing too much attention. The pounding of the rockabilly, karaoke
classic didn’t help his growing headache.
Thank you so much Paty for having us today!
I’m excited to be writing for the Honky Tonk Hearts series because I was asked by Rhonda to write the stories of the Lonesome Steer’s main characters--Gus, Keira and Marshall. First up will be Lonesome Cowboy,
story and then the series will be wound up with Keira’s romance, Lonesome Tonight. As you read all the stories in the series,
you will find hints of Gus’s romance throughout. It’s funny because though I didn’t plan it
that way, the three romances connect in more ways than just the closeness of
the characters…they ended up being unique versions of lost loves…the ones you
lose, the ones you missed out on, and the ones that just won’t leave your heart
Marshall’s story is in the editing process
right now and comes out first, I’ve brought along the blurb and an
Unofficial Blurb for Lonesome Cowboy
With a title under his belt, a purse in the bank and a ring in his pocket, Marshall Dekes returned for the woman he loved...only to find her at the alter saying 'I do' to another man.
Two years later, he's stunned to find Amy sitting at the bar of the Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk. Anger and resentment still burning in his head, he lets her have it, sending her on her way without the forgiveness she sought. But two steps towards the door, a medical emergency has his heart overruling his head and he's by her side in an instant. Nothing could prepare him for what happens next.
But what his head can't forgive, his heart can't forget and having her staying with her cousin in nearby Redemption is too close for comfort. When events of the past start slowly coming to light, he doesn't know if his heart is strong enough to risk a second chance at the life he’d all but given up on.
Her hand had returned to the twisted napkin and she glanced around the busy honky tonk, her brows dipping before returning her gaze to him. “Is there somewhere we can talk for a minute.”
He forced his jaw to relax and leaned back against the cash register until the lip of the drawer dug into his backside. “Here’s fine.” Why should he be the only one uncomfortable?
Rose lips pressed into a thin line. “Fine. I guess I really can’t blame you for being…angry.”
She fidgeted with the straps of her floral sundress. The sweetheart neckline exposed just enough ripened breasts to make his jaw re-tense, and though the high bar blocked everything below, he was sure the skirt would be short, showing a teasing amount of those sleek and sexy legs.
God she’s still beautiful.
Other parts of his anatomy instantly tightened and he hid his further—and painfully annoying—discomfort behind a forced, casual cross of his ankles.
She winced and twisted slightly with a hand to her back. He raised a brow at the motion, but stopped himself. Just like the nervous habit of twisting the napkin that she’d never had before, he didn’t care. Wouldn’t care. Look what it got him the first time ‘round.
After a quick glance to him, Amy dipped her chin to stare at the crumpled paper. “I came to...I just wanted to...apologize.”
“Fine,” he clipped and pushed off the register.
“Wait, that’s it?” Her tone held annoyed disbelief.
“Yep. You apologized. We’re done.”
The put-out tone in her voice snapped his tightly reigned control. “What?” He spun back on her. “What do you want, Amy? Do you want me to say, ‘Hey no problem’”—he waved a hand in the air mimicking a friendly gesture—“’forgive and forget, how ‘bout we do lunch sometime?’ Well sorry, darlin’, ain’t gonna to happen.” He splayed his hands wide on the bar top, leaning in until he could feel the heat radiating off her reddened cheeks. “I came back from six months on the circuit with a buckle, a key and a ring in my pocket, only to find out you were already married. Tell me, Amy, which part of that sounds easy to forget, let alone forgive?”
He could hear the swallow drain down her delicate throat. The light peach of her shampoo filled his nostrils and he shoved himself back, away from the unwanted temptation to run the dark strands over his cheeks like he used to do.
Her gaze dropped to the bar. “I-I’m sorry.”
The low spoken words didn’t work back then with tears in her eyes, and they certainly weren’t going to work now with her brows creased over pale features.
“Go home, Amy. You picked your bed. Go back to the pretty little life you chose over me. Go back to good ol’ Hank.” The minute the name, her slim brows dipped further and a little quiver quaked through the bow lips; telling sign if ever he’d seen one.
Marshall leaned a hand back on the grooved
oak and narrowed his gaze. “Or is that
what this is? Did you come to find
bachelor number two because Hank finally saw what a two-timer you were and
kicked you to the curb?”
His lips twisted at the snap of her head, steel fire glinting in the stern eyes.
Coming soon to the Honky Tonk Hearts series….Lonesome Cowboy by Stacy Dawn