Once Upon a Cowboy
Whisper Creek, #3
Genre: Contemporary Western Romance
Date of Publication: June 30, 2015
Number of pages: 285
Cover Artist: Caroline Teagle
In this sexy Whisper Creek romance for readers of Kristan Higgins, Susan Mallery, and Molly O’Keefe, a red-hot cowboy uses some Montana magic to give a reclusive beauty her happily ever after.
Yoga instructor Jessalyn Alcott radiates peace, calm, and serenity—on the outside. Inside, she still feels like the broken, desperate girl from the trailer park. She’s got dark secrets she can’t share, which is why she never lets her relationships go beyond the third date. But when she travels to the Whisper Creek dude ranch for a friend’s wedding, Jess is enchanted by a cowboy whose deep blue eyes, dimpled smile, and rock-hard body make it tough to remember why she keeps running scared.
Cole Driscoll has struggled to find his place on a family ranch where he’s always played second fiddle. His future might be uncertain, but he’s sure of one thing: He wants Jess by his side. Easier said than done. When it comes to getting close, she’s full of excuses, and he longs to fix the hurt he sees in her eyes. Now that she’s at Whisper Creek, there’s nothing he wants more than to break down the walls around her heart and heal her pain with the power of love.
JULY 25, THIRTEEN YEARS AGO
She’d always imagined a gun would make a louder sound, especially on a sticky summer night with only the crickets as competition. But it was more of a pop—like a kids’ toy rather than a lethal weapon—as Billy aimed it at the cashier and pulled the trigger.
Wait in the car, he’d said. I’m gonna get Old Man Mack to sell me some beer.
So she’d sat in the passenger seat, eyes glued on the store’s plate glass front window, figuring the worst he was going to do was pull his charming I-forgot-my-ID act.
Her hand went to her mouth as Mack grabbed his own chest, spun, and then fell behind the counter. She felt blindly for the car door handle as she watched Billy scoop bills from the cash drawer, but she couldn’t get out fast enough. She heard a strangled sound that must have come from her as he came flying out of the store carrying a case of Bud and the money.
He wrenched open the driver’s door and tossed the case toward her, then gunned the engine before he had his door fully closed. Gravel spit out behind them as he swung onto the pavement and shot the car toward downtown, and she couldn’t seem to take a whole breath as she watched the rearview mirror.
“That was Mack.” Her voice came out in a whisper. “You just shot... Mack.”
“You know him?” Billy looked over at her, then grabbed her knee. Hard. “Mack shoulda let me have the beer, princess.”
He squeezed harder, making her wince. “You didn’t see nothing, you got that?”
“God, Billy. We need to call the police. He needs an ambulance.” She didn’t dare crane her neck to look out the back window, but couldn’t get the sight of Mack crumpling behind the counter out of her head.
Billy let out a short, maniacal laugh that made her cringe. “People need to learn who’s in charge around here, princess. Sometimes you gotta teach hard lessons, you know?”
Oh, she knew, all right. Mack wasn’t the only one Billy was trying to teach lately. She felt for the door handle again, but the speedometer was holding steady at forty. Leave it to Billy to shoot a guy cold, then obey the speed limit all the way back to his apartment. She dug her fingernails into her palm, desperate to be out of this car—desperate to be as far away from Billy as possible.
She’d had her breakup speech memorized for three weeks now, but still hadn’t had the courage to deliver it. And now? She shivered, scared to her very core. If Billy’d shoot Mack over a case of beer, what would he do to her if she tried to cut him loose?
“We can’t just leave him there, Billy. What if he—dies?” Her voice cracked as she pictured Mack handing her a piece of bubble gum every Saturday when Grampy used to bring her in for a root beer and a scratch ticket.
“Who we gonna call, princess? The po-lice?” He drew out the word like it amused him. Billy looked over at her again, and she shrank toward the door. “We need to have a little talk about this?”
“No.” Their last little talk had left her with a bag of frozen peas on her ribs and a headache that didn’t go away for a week. She took a catchy breath. “No little talk.”
“Good.” He nodded, pointing toward the case on her lap. “Crack me one of those brews, wouldja? I think I earned it.”
Today, we welcome Maggie McGinnis to Musings and Ramblings. Let's all give a big Geeky welcome!
Thank you! I’m so excited to be here! A big geeky smile back atcha!
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?
Yikes—I’m so not a think-fast-er! Good thing that part comes last! Okay, seat belt fastened. I’m ready!
Is your writing style more plotter or pantser?
The harder I try to move toward the plotter end of the spectrum, the harder my inner pantser fights me. I adore outlines and pastel index cards and worksheets and white boards … but in the end, what actually works for me is just sitting down and letting my mind wander. I love the energy of discovery, and although it stresses me completely out to have no idea how much is “left” as I write, I can’t do it any other way. That said, I harbor serious envy for the super-organized author-brains I see on social media. But maybe they’re faking it a little? Yes, I’m going to go with that.
How involved are you with Social Media and self-promotion?
I’m hideous at self-promotion. Hideous. I’m clinically shy and super-private, so promoting myself and my books goes against pretty much every natural grain in my body. I do have a street team filled with sweet, lovely women who are much better at promotion than me, and I’m super-grateful that they choose to help me. However, it’s the one huge area I need to get better at. Like, yesterday.
What one thing do you wish someone had told you before you started writing?
I wish someone had told me that I’d end up wanting to marry every one of my heroes. By the time I get to the end of each book, I really, really don’t want to let these gorgeous, sexy men out in to the world, because I want them for myself. I’m sure a therapist could help me work out these issues, but for now, I just keep writing more heroes to keep me busy. ☺
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I’d love to say I do downhill ski racing, or compete in rodeos, or maybe drive stock cars, but I think maybe in past lives I did all of those things … and died every time. In real life, I’m one of those people who always wears a helmet, rarely speeds, and leaves the horseback riding to those more qualified to not fall off. When I’m not writing, I’m usually in a minivan I always said I’d never have, trying to remember which kid I’m ferrying to which activity.
How did you choose the genres you write in?
I love reading historicals, YA, and romantic suspense, but my real true love is contemporary romance. I’m a big fan of getting swept up in another century, but I love the sense of hope and empowerment in today’s contemporaries. There’s so much in today’s world that’s confusing, mysterious, and downright frightening, and I love writing words that can take people away from all of that for a few hours, hopefully leaving them relaxed, refreshed, and hopeful.
What was the last movie/concert/show that you saw?
I’m afraid this says a little too much about my social life, but the last show I saw was Mamma Mia. I got to see it once on Broadway, and twice off-Broadway, and I loved it more each time. I’m so sad that it’s having its last Broadway season this summer.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
Can I have world-peace power? Is that a thing? I’m making it a thing.
What was the name of the last book you read?
I just finished Home Front by Kristin Hannah. So-o ridiculously good. I think I used half a box of tissues.
Pick two celebrities to be your parents. Who are they and why?
I have to go with Angelina and Brad, though the ages might be a bit of a stretch. They’re intelligent, they’re world-traveled, and both of them are intent on leaving this world a better place than they found it. Plus, they hang with George Clooney. I mean, really.
What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Oh, lordy, who knows? I’ve been on deadline. I’m afraid to look.
Meat or Veggies? Meat. Steak, in particular.
Italian or Chinese? Italian. One word: garlic.
Summer or Winter? Fall.
Cake or Pie? Cake. Lemon. Yum.
Car or Truck? For me? Car. For my dream-guy? Truck, definitely truck.
Thanks for coming by and spending some time with us. Any final words of wisdom to pass along?
I’m frighteningly short on both sleep and wisdom most days, so I’ll give you one of my favorite Maya Angelou quotes: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Thank you so much for having me today!!
Maggie McGinnis, USA Today Bestselling Author of Accidental Cowgirl and Driving Without a License, which was a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award is a former high school English teacher, an accomplished musician, and a certified black belt, who lives in New England with her family.
To connect with the author online:
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