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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Kara O'Neal Reveals All: The Ranger's Vow @KaraOnealAuthor

My guest today is the lovely Kara O'Neal. We met through that wonderfully supportive group Authors Helping Authors. Here's Kara to tell us about her newest release, The Ranger’s Vow (Book 9 in the Pikes Run Series).

Why I Wrote This Book

I wrote The Ranger’s Vow to showcase Sherry Forrester. She is a risk-taker and unapologetic about it. She is caring, kind, feisty and intelligent. I first met her in Book 2 – The Sheriff’s Gift – and I had to know more. I couldn’t help but delve into her personality – a woman who is unafraid to take what she wants – and put her in a situation where she was challenged. For, while she is fearless when it comes to being exactly who she wants to be, she is terrified of heartbreak and trusting someone not to cage her.

So, I had to write a hero who matched her, a man she could depend on, trust and someone she would fight for if needed. Enter Luke Calhoun, Texas Ranger – a man who abhors love for solid reasons. Sherry is almost too much for him to handle, which was a lot of fun to write.

I adore honest characters, ones who have flaws and try hard to fix them. Sherry and Luke are a bold couple, who defy the bounds of society in the 1880s and grab life with both hands. I enjoyed getting to know them and I hope you will too.

Sherry Forrester has her life just as she wants it. No attachments. No pressure from her parents to marry. A little bit of money and the freedom to be the lady she desires. When a stranger rolls into town, mysterious and gorgeous, her interest is piqued. Sherry swore she wouldn't give away her heart, but she longs for one night of passion, and the newcomer is perfectly capable of supplying that.

Texas Ranger Luke "Rip" Calhoun is hoping for a few diverting weeks in Pikes Run. Along with promising to help the local sheriff catch a wily garter thief, he looks for challenging card games, good whiskey and a willing woman. When Sherry Forrester catches his eye—who wouldn't want her after stumbling upon her skinny dipping?—he does the hardest thing ever and waits for her to choose him to warm her sheets for a night. And only one night. For Luke made a long-ago vow never to let love ensnare him.

But what neither plans on is the hand of fate changing their paths…

Luke caught a flash of pale skin as someone arced beneath the water. His breath stilled when the figure broke the surface, revealing a woman about twenty yards from him swimming to the opposite bank. Luke froze, careful not to move a single muscle lest this be a dream and he woke.

All he could see of the woman was her head as she glided away from his side of the creek. Was she naked? He glanced toward the other side and discovered clothes folded on a rock. He could determine the colors, and white peeked between light blue fabric. He knew plenty about women’s garments, and most of their underthings were white pieces of angelic sweetness. Which meant the lady enjoying the water was as bare as could be.

A smile tugged the corners of his lips, but before he could be accused of peeking more than he already had, he dismounted and used his horse to hide her from his view. At the moment, he couldn’t pull Zeus away for anything, so Luke was stuck until the animal decided he was finished. Of course, Luke didn’t want to leave. While he couldn’t see, and hadn’t seen a damn thing, it was nice being near a woman who courted risk and went skinny dipping.

Hell, there was nothing between her and that water. Not one stitch. His mind conjured all sorts of images as the sounds of her body cutting through the stream reached him.
When a screech met his ears, he knew she’d caught sight of the drinking horse and perhaps its owner’s legs. He let out an exhale and waited for the outburst.

“Who’s there?” she cried. “You get out of here.”

He should, but he wouldn’t. He was never more grateful for his stubborn mount. “I can’t, ma’am. My horse has a mind of his own.”

“Ha! A gentleman would find a way.”

He used his bandana to wipe his brow as he remained hunched over in order to keep hidden. “A man has to take care of his horse, ma’am. Can’t survive without him.”
There was a splash. Had she left the creek—or hit the surface with an irritated hand?

“A convenient excuse so you can spy on me.”

He chuckled. “Ma’am, I can’t see, and didn’t see, one thing, I assure you.”

“You assure me? And what good is that? I don’t even know who you are.”

Damn, but he wished he could look at her. “Nope, you don’t.”

A silent moment, then, “That’s it? You aren’t gonna tell me your name?”

“You gonna tell me yours?”

“Not on your life. Why would I let some drifter know who I am?”

“Drifter? Is that what I am?” He’d been called worse.

“Well, how would I know?”

“Then why’d you call me that?”

Zeus lifted his head, looking toward the lady who shared his creek. Luke kept himself from pushing the horse’s nose back to the water in order to prolong this moment normally only possible in nighttime fantasies. Of course, in his dream the lady usually invited him in.

“Would a gentleman spy on a woman as she bathed?”

“If he’s smart, he would.”

“Ha! So you did peek.”

He grinned and watched a grasshopper jump over the toe of his boot. “I admit I looked, but it’s just my luck I couldn’t see anything. You’re too far away.”

Zeus snuffled then turned his head toward his master. He blinked at Luke as if he wondered what the hell the woman was doing skinny dipping in his drinking water. Luke stroked the black then exhaled. He’d have to leave this sprite.

“I feel sorry for you that you didn’t manage to see anything,” she continued, her tone without an ounce of pity. “I don’t mind telling you I’m as pretty as a picture.”

He laughed outright. “I’ve no doubt of that, ma’am, and I can promise you my mind paints a perfect image, so don’t you fret.” He tugged on Zeus’ reins.

She made a noise that was half-laugh, half-disbelief.

He left the idyllic setting, Zeus following behind him. A smile stayed on his lips as he mounted up once he was out of her line of sight. What a damn fine welcome.

Born and raised in Texas, the state had to be the setting for my first series. From the food to the fun, like floating the rivers, it is the fire in my blood that inspires me. My family and friends take center stage in my books. My sisters and best friends are my heroines, and my husband created my favorite hero. Love and family are the point of my stories, and I seek to entertain, relieve stress, and inspire people. Books can take one on a journey that one can relive over and over. I am extremely grateful to those authors who did that very thing for me. I learned and I fell in love with their words and characters. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Please visit me at www.karaoneal.com.

Links, etc:
My website: www.karaoneal.com.

Thanks, Kara, for sharing The Ranger's Vow. Best wishes.


  1. Hi, Diane! Thanks for having me! I enjoyed it.

    1. So glad to have you, Kara. Best wishes with this new release.

  2. Really love that cover, Kara!
    Sounds like another great addition to your series.
    Good luck and God's blessings with it

  3. This story is on my TBR list. I love that Luke has found a woman almost too much for him to handle!

    1. Thanks so much! This story was a lot of fun to write!

  4. Hi Kara
    I've been waiting for the next Pike's Run and this one looks like it won't disappoint. Thanks for this!

  5. What a great excerpt! I love a spunky heroine and a man who knows when not to look.

  6. Great excerpt...congratulations!! So glad AHA brought so many awesome authors together. :D

  7. “Who’s there?” she cried. “You get out of here.”-Sorry I cracked up so much after reading this line. I could so see myself using this as a writing prompt:) #wewriwa

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