Genre: Western Romance
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Date of Publication: February 3, 2015
Number of pages: 96
"You had your chance, and you threw it away…"
Five years ago, Jen woke up with a ring on her finger and her fiancé nowhere to be found. She swore she'd gotten over the betrayal, but when Clay unexpectedly hires on with the rodeo for a week, she finds herself torn between passion and regret.
Clay left intending never to see Jen again. He's been running from his troubled past for far too long, and it's not a life he wants for her. But it's hard to run from the past when the past is your own family, and Clay finds himself thrown back into the chaos he thought he'd finally left behind.
Will the truth drive Jen away, or is there a second chance at happily-ever-after for this runaway cowboy?
Clay grabbed her arm, and she spun on him, wildly swinging her purse at his head and jerking her arm from his grasp. “Don’t touch me.”
He easily caught the purse in his hand and dropped it at his feet as he pulled her into his arms. “What do you have in that thing? Bricks?”
“Let go of me, Clay,” she said through gritted teeth, twisting, trying to release herself from his grasp.
“Only if you let me explain.”
Every inch of her that was in contact with him burned with icy flames. The heat of his hands on her arms sent warmth running down her spine to melt her limbs and ignite the desire pooling in her belly. She wanted to push him away, to run to her trailer and stay there until he went back to wherever he’d been hiding, but when her eyes met his, pleading with her to listen to him, she couldn’t deny herself just one more moment with him. How was she supposed to keep hating him when her body wouldn’t follow her commands?
“You have five minutes.” One for each year she hadn’t heard from him. He released her cautiously. She walked back to the truck, knowing he would follow, and flipped the tailgate down. She hopped up on it, letting her legs dangle. When he sighed and scrubbed a hand over his jaw, she quirked a brow. “Time’s ticking Clay. Start talking.”
“You know, for someone who seems to think she has everything figured out better than the rest of us, you sure can be irresponsible. What were you thinking going into that bar?”
Jen almost let her mouth fall open at the audacity of his accusation. She bit the inside of her cheek until the metallic taste of blood forced her to stop.
She jumped from the back of the truck. “That was some explanation. I can’t believe I waited this long for it.”
Clay’s fingers circled her wrist as she started to walk away. “I have at least three minutes left.”
He pulled her back toward him, drawing her against his chest as one arm circled around her waist. His other hand buried into her long hair, and she gasped in surprise as his mouth found hers. Her body betrayed her again, melting against him as her bones seemed to turn to molten lava. Her fingers dug into the muscles of his shoulders, but she wasn’t sure if it was to keep her balance or because she couldn’t resist touching him. His mouth was gentle, in spite of their argument, as if he wanted to savor this kiss, to taste her, to force the memories of the tenderness they’d once shared to the surface. Clay nipped at her lower lip, testing her resolve, and when she didn’t protest, he plunged ahead. His tongue swept against hers as she slid her hands over his shoulders before curling her fingers around the nape of his neck, twining into his hair.
Clay’s lips trailed over her cheek and jaw. “I’ve missed you, Jen. You have no idea how much.”
Today, we welcome T.J. Kline to Musings and Ramblings. Let's all give a big Geeky welcome!
Thank you so much for having me today. You guys are some of my all-time favorites so whenever I get to stop by, I always get warm fuzzies.
Let's start with some writer specific questions before moving into the fun stuff. That way everyone can really get to know the person behind the writer. We will finish things off with a round of Think Fast. Ready for the interrogation to begin?
Just let me get a sip of this cinnamon dolce latte (sips). Okay, now I’m ready!
When is your favorite time/place to write? Do you write structured or patchworked?
This answer used to be really cut and dry for me. I used to have very specific times during the day to write but the more I write, the more my brain seems to be ready to write so I don’t have to “be in the mood.” I write most of the day in snippets of time. If I’m up before my boys, I write. I write all morning once they leave until lunchtime and usually take a short break. Then I’ll stop since this is when most of my running around happens until early evening. Then I’m back to writing again. I’ll write wherever I can hold my laptop. I don’t need a view or certain setting. I disappear to the setting in my head. If I can’t get lost in there, neither can readers.
I am structured. I see my books like a movie in my head. I respect writers who can write patchwork by my OCD-linear brain just doesn’t work that way. I know the end but have to write straight through from start to finish to get my characters there.
How do you deal with Writer's Block?
I used to say, I didn’t get Writer’s Block but that’s a little misleading. In a way, I do but it isn’t what I’d traditionally thought of as Writer’s Block. For me, it’s one of two things: 1) I grow weary of certain characters or 2) I get stuck in the plot and have written myself into a corner. When either of those two things happen I look at it as a sign. Either my characters don’t have the motivation they need for the actions I’m having them do (they aren’t sympathetic, they are acting out of character or I need to give them more of a reason to act the way they are) or I need to pause and rethink a part of the plot (is it enough, does it need more oomph or less, am I being cliché with non-cliché characters, or vis versa). Most of the time I find it’s because I’m trying to force a square peg in a round hole and make something happen rather than letting the characters lead the story the way that is natural to them.
How involved are you with Social Media and self-promotion?
I love social media. I have met people there in my old day job and in writing that I would have never met traditionally (face-to-face) who have become part of my family. I am on everything (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Tsu, Goodreads and a few others) as well as having my own blog/website and a monthly newsletter. I love participating in reveals and online parties or Twitter takeovers because it’s a way to talk with readers in a way we never could before. It’s pulled the curtain back for everyone to see the reality of romantic fiction and the entire publishing industry. I also love doing live events although these are usually less frequent.
Tell us something about yourself that's not in your bio.
I found my way into focusing on writing when I was working from home as an online fitness coach. I’d had great success with a weight loss program and became a trainer so I worked out of my home teaching classes locally and helping people online. Because it was a flexible schedule, I decided to spend the rest of my time devoting it to something I loved doing – writing. It was during this period that I write my first inspirational romance and penned several short stories. I still have ideas and mini-plots from this period I’d like to explore.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I try to stay away from reviews as much as I can, waiting until there are several to read at once and then I take a general consensus. Most authors I know are needy – we love the compliments and gushing but fear the rejection. I think the toughest thing to hear is when one big reviewer called the villain of my first book “cartoonish” when I know how hard I work to make even my villains realistic (to have motivation to act the way they do). However, one thing I’ve always taken as a big compliment has been the many reviews that say how my glimpses at rodeo, horses and western life are accurate.
What was the name of the last book you read?
Somebody Like You (A Sugar Shack novel) by Candis Terry
Tell us 2 positive and 2 negative character traits you possess.
I’m highly competitive so for me there is no “good enough.” I have this drive to always be on top, to go farther and push harder the next time. Luckily, it’s only directed at myself so I am able to encourage others without breaking them. But this isn’t always a bad thing. Because of it, I’m able to challenge myself to write better and faster as well as keep myself on track (or trying to beat my deadlines). I’m also OCD (although not debilitating so) and ADD things that wouldn’t bother most people send me off a cliff. Because of that, I don’t like to have my focus broken by anything once I get started. Like when my children leave the dishwasher half unloaded and don’t stack the cups in the cupboard correctly (a little Mommy Dearest, right?) Or when the paper towel holder isn’t pushed against the back splash instead of being pulled out on the middle of the counter. Don’t even get me started on when the towel his hanging loose! As far as positive traits, I’m hilarious. Okay, maybe I think I’m funnier than what I really am but I love to laugh and have always loved that our house might be loud but there’s a lot of laughter in it. It’s my go-to reaction, even if I get hurt, and it’s never failed me.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Getting cowboy details wrong! UGH! There are always exceptions but as a general rule of thumb: bull riders are short (it’s near impossible for a bull rider to be tall and successful because of the physics), there are more events than just bull riding in a rodeo, cowboys sweat A LOT, especially rodeo cowboys, and everyone gets “hat-head.” I know it’s romance and we gloss over some of the messier details like the fact that there are a good majority of cowboys that chew and, therefore, spit, but it’s so easy to work in the fact that they change at the trailer or have hat-head and make it more realistic. For goodness sake, GO to a rodeo early and just watch behind the chutes or wander around and listen. Do your research.
What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Not much! It’s been about a week since I went to the grocery store so we’re getting low on regular things like milk and eggs but I always have coffee creamer, peanut butter and jelly inside. I always keep fresh fruit and veggies as well. Now, my freezer, that’s an entirely different matter. It’s chock full of both quick, frozen meals the boys can fix themselves (for the nights when I’m too lost in my own writing to remember to take out something to fix) and healthy dinners for those nights I’ve actually got it together.
AM or PM? I am definitely a morning person - AM
Meat or Veggies? Meat, good stead, medium rare…great, now I’m hungry!
Coffee or Tea? Coffee (tea is just weak coffee, right?)
Car or Truck? Truck (or do like I do and have both – my 4x4 and a Mustang)
Dead Tree or Electronic? Both have their place. Nothing is as satisfying as the smell of a new book, or the feel of the pages BUT I read so much faster on my e-reader that I don’t think I could ever give it up! I can take 3000 books (and I have more than that on my device) with me and have infinite choices.
Thanks for coming by and spending some time with us. Any final words of wisdom to pass along?
Don’t waste your time being the person you think people want you to be. Be yourself and the people who truly love you for you will appear and stick around forever.
Digital Bundle Including: RODEO QUEEN, THE COWBOY & THE ANGEL and LEARNING THE ROPES
T. J. Kline was raised competing in rodeos and rodeo queen competitions since the age of 14, She has thorough knowledge of the sport as well as the culture involved. She has had several articles about rodeo published in the past in small periodicals as well as a more recent how-to article for RevWriter. She is also an avid reader and book reviewer for both Tyndale and Multnomah.
To connect with the author online:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Pinterest | Goodreads