I’m pleased to have Lynn Cahoon back to talk about settings and her latest book. Welcome, Lynn.
Building Imaginary Towns
Shawnee Idaho the setting for my debut, The Bull Rider’s Brother is based on a small Idaho mountain town named Riggins. Riggins has the first rodeo of the year, always held the first weekend in May. So when I built the town where my star crossed lovers would reunite, Shawnee was born. The Hudson’s Hot Springs, my heroine’s home is based on a real set of cabin rentals miles away from Riggins on another mountain road toward Atlanta, a small mining town.
So when I started writing the sequel, The Bull Rider’s Manager, instead of setting the story in a fictional town, I used Boise, Meridian, and Eagle, Idaho along with Las Vegas. All very real towns. Yet, in my story, the places are still fictional. The Ice Cream Palace where Barb, Hunter, and Kati enjoy a treat after her riding lessons has been only a memory for over twenty years. My sister took me there for ice cream after we went shopping for school clothes when I started high school. The revolving door a gateway to a different era, the roaring Twenties. The Court Jester, my favorite, had vanilla ice cream with peanuts and chocolate sauce.
The neighborhood where Hunter buys a house after taking custody of Kati, could be found on the banks of the Boise River that runs through the outskirts of Eagle. And the foot hills where Kati takes riding lessons are a very real part of the area. All fictional places, built into real settings for my story. Writing the story felt like coming home.
I hope you find touches of home in The Bull Rider’s Manager.
Tell me the memories that mean home to you.
Lynn Cahoon is a contemporary romance author with a love of hot, sexy men, real and imagined. Her alpha heroes range from rogue witch hunters to modern cowboys. And her heroines all have one thing in common, their strong need for independence. Or at least that’s what they think they want. She blogs at her website, A Fairy Tale Life.
Barb Carico’s life is all about business. Now that her best friend has tied the knot with her high school sweetheart and Barb’s new partner, she’s busier than ever. Managing Jesse Sullivan’s career and public persona can be a handful. Add in an aging mother who goes through home health nurses like candy, Barb’s hanging on the edge.
Her one salvation? Hunter Martin, prodigal son of Martin Family Dairy and, hopefully, Jesse’s next sponsor. A promise his father had already made before Hunter took over the public relations department. After his brother’s death, Hunter's become an instant dad to his seven year old niece. More responsibility. For Hunter, the rodeo weekend with Barb is the perfect excuse to relax.
When their dinner turns into drinks and then a quick trip to a Vegas wedding chapel, both Barb and Hunter agree their nuptials were a mistake. A mistake they consummated the next evening. As soon as they’re home, the marriage will be annulled. That’s what they both want. Or at least what they tell themselves.
Upon their return, Hunter finds that distant relatives are suing him for custody of his niece. The only way for him to keep custody is to design a life that matches the promise of a perfect family. For that, he needs Barb to stay married to him. Hunter would give her anything to go along with the charade.
Barb doesn't know anything about being a wife or mother but she needs one favor. A favor she'll trade her lifestyle, independence, and even risk her heart to make come true.
If flying was hell, waiting to fly was purgatory. Their plane should have taken off an hour ago. And even though they were on hold, Jesse Sullivan still hadn’t graced the airport with his presence. Barb dialed Jesse’s cell again and immediately got his answering message. “Damn, Jesse—where are you?”
“No luck?” Hunter Martin, prodigal son of Martin Dairy Empires—and potential sponsor for her perpetually late client—opened his blue eyes and looked at her.
Barb had thought the man had been asleep when she’d pulled out the cell one more time. She pasted on a smile she didn’t feel. “Just his voice mail. Maybe he’s stuck in traffic?”
Hunter raised his eyebrows. “In Boise?”
“It happens,” Barb shot back. “He’s been staying at his brother’s spread up near Lucky Peak so maybe a logging truck accident slowed him down.”
Hunter shook his head. “Really?”
“It could happen. Those trucks fly on those narrow roads.” Barb sighed. “I think you’re stuck with me for the flight. I don’t think Jesse will make it.”
“I’m not going to complain.” Hunter’s smile was slow and sexy. He closed his eyes again. “Shake me if they announce our flight. I didn’t get much sleep last night.”
Barb smiled. I bet you didn’t. Hunter Martin was known in Boise social circles as a player. Or at least he had been. All Barb really knew about the thirty-two-year old bachelor was that he liked the Country Star bar—well known for its line dancing classes and generous beer prices—better than the upscale places downtown. She’d seen him at Country Star a few years ago and man, the boy could swing. In all her years around the rodeo, Barb had never been able to relax enough to let her partner lead her around the dance floor. But she felt the music, even if her dancing would put her on a reality show for the Worst Dancers in America.
Rumor had it that Mr. Martin must be involved because he’d been absent from his usual bar stool for months. Barb snuck a glance at his left hand. No ring yet. Although that didn’t mean anything. He still could be engaged.
Barb wished she’d just taken a direct flight to San Francisco. But since she’d had to come up to get another caretaker hired and settled with Mom, she’d jumped at the chance to host a potential new sponsor for the weekend. Martin Dairy had big promotion pockets. Or at least that’s what was rumored. And the company loved to sponsor bull riders. Jesse better not screw this up.
Going into partnership with James, Jesse’s brother, and becoming Jesse’s manager when James had wanted to get off the road to run Hudson’s Spa with Lizzie, his new wife, had seemed like a no brainer. James, Lizzie, and Jesse had been friends since high school in Shawnee. And Barb had managed cowboys for years. She’d taken newcomers from small town rodeos and gotten them into the finals in Las Vegas in no time. But Jesse already had a champion belt buckle. And acted like it. The man was infuriating, at best.
Hunter’s pocket started to vibrate and Barb jumped back, hoping the man hadn’t caught her staring.
Hunter pulled out his Blackberry. Bringing the phone in front of his face before opening his eyes, he squinted at the display. Frowning, he stood. “Sorry, I’ve got to take this.”
Barb watched the man walk away. Cowboy casual in Wranglers and a cotton button down shirt, Hunter could have been her wayward bull rider. His dark hair had just the right curl, making Barb’s finger’s itch to play with it. The man would give any of the rodeo guys a run for their money in the body department, even though Barb knew Hunter spent his days in a high rise in Boise, managing the large dairy operation. Martin Dairy didn’t just own one dairy farm in the valley. Rumor had it that old man Martin wanted to wipe out the competition and be the only milk producer around. They’d bought out the cheese factory in the next town a few years ago, and now Martin Dairy brand cheese sat on supermarket shelves nationwide.
Barb sighed. She could imagine the fun Hunter would be if he weren’t a potential sponsor. And if she weren’t Jesse’s manager. She’d just have to put the drool worthy man out of that part of her mind. Just for the weekend. She shook her head. She needed a life outside the rodeo. A man she could come home to and he’d massage her shoulders. Someone she could tell her dumb stories to who’d laugh and understand. Someone who didn’t mind that she traveled every weekend from late April to December. At twenty-six, she felt like the old maid of the group, especially since Lizzie and James tied the knot.
Yeah, like that was going to happen.
The Bull Rider’s Manager is available at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/The-Bull-Riders-Manager-ebook/dp/B009VLZHVQ
Thanks for returning, Lynn. This sounds like another winner!