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.
Those Violet Eyes
Soon after I signed with The Wild Rose Press, I noticed talk on our author’s Yahoo loop regarding various series. Many sounded fun and interesting. So when Stacy put out the submissions call for the Honky Tonk Hearts series, I knew I had to give it a try.
Unfortunately every idea I came up with sounded lame and…well…the expected, the ordinary. Nothing grabbed my attention. And if a story idea wasn’t grabbing me by the throat, it surely wouldn’t appeal to a reader. So I set aside the wish to participate in what promised to be a great series.
Then late one night as I was in that fluttery fragile state between wakefulness and sleep, a man on a Harley rode into our bedroom. He got off his bike and adjusted his stance to accommodate his prosthesis. Somehow I knew he was a veteran who’d lost part of his leg in Iraq. He took off his helmet, sat on the edge of the bed and asked if I’d write his story.
Those Violet Eyes releases TODAY, June 27th.
Evie Caldwell hoards every penny for her escape from the servitude life created by a worthless brother and the endless work on a ranch that will never be hers. The last thing she wants is a muscled man with a macho Marine attitude complicating her life. But, oh, how that man can make her insides do the twitchy thing.
Wounded vet, Win Fairchild, returns to Texas to heal, find a piece of his soul and open a ranch for amputee children. Finding someone to love was not on his agenda. Nor was dealing with a wildcat, until she captures his heart with those violet eyes.
But now that he knows what he wants, can Win convince Evie to stay in Texas—and his bed?
Evie charged through the swinging door to the kitchen and skidded to a stop. It couldn’t be. Although his back was toward her, there was no mistaking the height and broad muscled shoulders. This mystery nephew of Gus’s was the guy who’d remarked on her eyes. Her stomach did a little twitchy dance, nerves no doubt.
She ran her suddenly damp palms over her short skirt and cleared her throat. “Excuse me. Win?”
She took a couple steps closer and noticed he was washing vegetables under a spray of water. “Win?”
Evie rolled her eyes and stepped behind him, tapping him on the back. The metal strainer clattered in the sink and a blur of motion barely registered before steely hands gripped her forearms. Oh my God! In a flurry of movement, he snatched her off the floor and backed her against the stainless steel counter. Cold wet hands viced her arms. Her eyes snapped wide and the air whooshed from her lungs when his body slammed into hers.
Win’s eyes were narrowed, his breathing rapid through a clenched jaw and a vein bulged in his forehead. “Don’t do that.”
The man was every inch the warrior, every hard tensed inch. He held her mid-air, so close they were nearly eyeball to eyeball. As his gaze traveled over her face and awareness evidently crept in as to the sex of his attacker, several inches of his frame hardened even more.
Evie swallowed. Oh, good Lord.
He glared and his nostrils flared.
“I…I’m sorry, Win. I called your name, but…but you didn’t answer. I was only trying to get your attention.” Her lips twitched at the humor in the situation—hadn’t Keira told her the man lost part of his hearing? Evidently she’d startled him. Poor soul. She felt a portion of herself return. A portion she’d hidden for so long; that light-hearted part of her soul that teased and cajoled. “Honest, I wasn’t trying to attack you.” She placed an open palm on his defined pecs and patted. “You’re safe with me, big guy.” Just to rattle him some more, she winked.
Win’s hazel eyes flashed for a second, then he slowly leaned in and whispered in her ear, “You’re not safe with me.”
FIND ME ON THE WEB AT www.vonniedavis.com
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Lost Memories is a story I started a couple of years ago, but put on the back burner for a time. Then I heard a country-western song that reminded me of a scene I wrote. Over and over these lyrics played and replayed in my head until I had no choice but to dust off the pages and write Nick and Darcy’s journey. Weeks into their bumpy ride The Wild Rose Press posted submissions for the Honky Tonk Hearts series. Coincidently, I had already written a scene involving a bar, which later turned into the Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk. To me the two branded together without difficulty or pain J. After submitting and revising a bit, I was ecstatic to receive word that they wanted to contract Lost Memories. We are in the editing stages now and I will be sure to let you know when I receive the release date.
BLURB: LOST MEMORIES
When your past is a blank, it’s hard to trust the future…
A car accident leaves Darcy Brooks with amnesia, but she’s determined it won’t ruin her life. She finds a job on a dude ranch—hiding her brain trauma to get it—and falls in love with her work. Now if she can just avoid falling in love with her boss.
Nick Matthews knows his new employee is hiding something, and he’s determined to discover what. He’s failed to protect his family from disaster in the past and won’t let it happen again. Now if he can just keep his attraction to Darcy from clouding his judgment.
Nick soon comes to value Darcy as an employee and a friend—even as the heat between them builds. But when a man claiming to be Darcy's husband shows up, Nick realizes just how much he wants to keep Darcy for himself.
UNEDITED EXCERPT: LOST MEMORIES
Darcy rose onto her elbows. Yuck. Her jeans were caked with the mud and who knew what else. Anxious to get out of the stench, she placed her palm Nick’s. Her heart skipped a beat, and she forgot to breath.
He tugged on her arm pulling her to her feet. She slammed into his chest as his arm went around her waist. The momentum made her step back into one of Horace’s holes, knocking them both off balance, and her on top of his hard chest. Air whooshed from her lips. She stared at him in horror.
Oh, God, he was sure to fire her now.
“I’m so sorry. Did I hurt you?” She moved her leg, catching her boot on the cuff of his jeans.
Specks of mud splattered his face. She bit her lip to keep from laughing as she wiped the dirt from his cheek, making the damage ten times worse. His skin was warm and bristly under her finger. She quickly withdrew her hand.
His thump swiped a clump of sludge off her check.
She sucked in a breath. This was not right. The way her body succumbed to one touch of his hand was wrong.
Nick moved his leg. Every hard inch of him pressed into her flesh, branding her to him. He tucked a stray curl behind her ear.
A spark ignited in her toes and heat worked through her body. His chest rose and fell in a rapid pace beneath her palms, but her own air suspended in her lungs. She fought a wild urge to rake a fingernail over his unshaved jaw and pulled her knees up in an effort to get to her feet. Large hands encased the back of her thighs in a stilling motion, and she ending up straddling him as he rose to a sitting position. A helpless gasp robbed her of speech.
His eyes strayed to her lips.
Her stomach fluttered. Ripples of anticipation churned deep inside. She forced herself to look away. His magnificent body was off limits. He's my employer for goodness sake.
She gave herself a mental shake and swallowed the moan rising in her throat.
Why don’t I feel this way around Sam, Trent, or Chris?
“I must look quite a sight,” She commented trying to escape her own thoughts.
“We both do.” He smirked, revealing a devilish indentation in his left cheek.
When did he get a dimple? She didn’t remember seeing one before.
Muscles flexed under her, the warmth of him seeped through her jeans. She glanced away wondering how to talk her jelly filled muscles into getting up. Failing to persuade her body her sights returned to his seconds later. Green specks highlighted his brown orbs - another new finding to keep the breath from my lungs.