Hi Joss and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, At The Rancher’s Pleasure!
Hello lovely people!
Tell us about the book with this fun little challenge using the title of the book:
Well, he’s a rancher and he gives her a lot of pleasure! LOL
This is the second book in the Texas Cattleman’s Club: Heir Apparent series.
It has been nineteen years since Sarabeth Edmonds was last in Royal, having been banished by her ex-husband, Rusty Edmonds, two decades ago. Over the years Rusty has painted her as a coldhearted gold-digger. But all is not as it seems.
Sarabeth rents a cottage on a ranch property located on the outskirts of Royal and when she meets her landlord, she’s immediately attracted to him. Under normal circumstances, Brett Harston would be interested in his hot tenant but, after recently walking out on his wedding, he just wants to concentrate on his ranch and business interests.
After a spontaneous kiss on Main Street—purely to rile up the gossips of Royal—Brett and Sarabeth realize that their attraction has real legs and is bigger and brighter than either of them imagined.
What’s your favorite line(s) from the book?:
Brett is talking to his best friend, a Texas Game Warden, who has just caught him kissing Sarabeth in the car…
“What the hell are you doing kissing the hell out of Sarabeth Edmond two weeks after you ditched Lexi Alderidge?”
“Good question,” Brett muttered.
“I mean she’s superhot for an old chick…”
Brett’s glare was hot enough to melt Jules at fifty paces. “She’s hot. Period. With no reference to her age.”
The other man lifted his hand and had the grace to look sheepish. “Point taken. My mama and sisters would skin me alive for making such a remark.”
Damn straight. Sarabeth was a decade older than him, but who the hell cared? Lust and need and desire and his goddamn body didn’t stop to count the years; they wanted what they wanted, and what they wanted was her.
“So, what’s happening between you?” Jules asked.
“I met her yesterday, Shaw. Nothing is happening between us.” Brett spat the words out.
“I’d believe you but you’ve kissed her in front of three of the biggest gossips in town, and I just caught you with your tongue down her throat. If I arrived any later, I might have had to bleach my eyeballs. And arrested you for public indecency.”
Brett rooted in the cupboard for a plastic syringe and a thin, supple plastic tube. “Nothing is going to happen between us.”
“Really? You going with that?”
He banged his forehead against the cupboard door. After a minute, he lifted his head to skewer Jules with a hot glare. “If we sleep together, if it gets that far—”
“It’ll get that far. Chemistry like that can’t be ignored.”
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
When Brett first sees Sarabeth, she’s running and he mistakes her for a teenager, much to Sarabeth’s amusement. Apart from the physical attraction, he likes the fact that she’s a Royal outsider and doesn’t give a hoot what the town thinks about her.
In Sarabeth’s words…
Sarabeth straightened up, feeling a little woozy, off-balance. Had she straightened too fast? She sat down on the third step and stretched out her legs, still thinking about Brett’s flat stomach and very nice package under soft denim.
Whoo-boy! It had been a long, long time since she’d given any thought to a man’s masculine package…
She’d met a lot of cowboys but Brett Harston was superfine. And ridiculously sexy. And the expression “save a horse and ride a cowboy” suddenly made a great deal of sense.
Not that she would be riding him, or any other Texas cowboy anytime soon.
When you sat down to start this book, what was the biggest challenge you faced? What were you most excited about?
As a general rule, I adore writing the Texas Cattleman Club books so I jumped straight in. This book was fun and I loved exploring the dynamics of an older woman/ younger man.
What, in your mind, makes this book stand out?
The Texas Cattleman’s series is the longest-running, multi-authored series from Desire and the books are filled with intrigue, scandal, secrets and, sometimes, a little mystery.
The First Kiss…
Brett and Sarabeth are Royal’s two favorite topics of conversation at the moment (he almost left his fiance at the altar and she’s returned after a long absence) and none of the gossip is pleasant.
Sarabeth and Brett encounter the three biggest gossips in Royal…
“Thank you, honey.”
Their eyes widened at his casual use of the endearment, and she could mentally imagine the three witches of Royal, Texas, adding two plus two and reaching sixty-billion. Oh, yeah, marvelous, juicy gossip would be flying later.
“You two look to be on very good terms,” Dale commented with a trill of laughter that was as fake as her smile.
Three sets of malicious eyes bored into hers, and Sarabeth fought the urge to explain that she and Brett had only recently met, and that nothing had happened between them. Then the devil on her shoulder prodded her with the pointy end of its pitchfork, reminding her that she no longer owed anyone any explanations, and that these women had no power over her.
Sarabeth ran her hand down Brett’s arm, enjoying the feel of hard muscles under the cool cotton of his shirt, rolled back to his elbows. “Oh, we are,” she cooed. “As I’m sure you’ve heard, we are living together.”
Brett’s eyes met hers and she saw the tiny shake of his head. Too much? Yep, apparently so. Damn. But, because she was an adult, Sarabeth lifted her chin. “I’m renting his cottage, ladies, that’s all,” she told them, keeping her voice flat.
“We didn’t, for one minute, think anything else,” Flora huffed, her eyes bright with dislike. “You are, after all, far too old for him, my dear. He’s a man in his prime and you are, well…not.”
Wow, okay then. They’d definitely honed their bitch skills.
Sarabeth raked her hands through her hair, thinking that she should never have engaged them in conversation. Sometimes it was better not to poke the hornet’s nest with a short stick. “Have a good day, ladies.” She turned to Brett. “I’ll see you in about an hour?”
“Yeah. Enjoy your chat with your friend,” Brett replied.
“Thanks.” Sarabeth dropped her foot off the bumper, and as she was about to turn away, she felt his hand on her arm. She turned and he lifted his palm to hold the back of her head, tipping her face up. Before she could make sense of what he was doing, his surprisingly soft, delectable lips were on hers. Sarabeth held on to his forearms, her mouth dropping open in shock.
What. The. Holy. Hell?
Brett took advantage of her open mouth and slid his tongue past her teeth and Sarabeth, right there on Main Street, in front of three of its biggest gossips, released what she was sure was an audible moan.
Then her surroundings faded away and all she could think was of getting closer, seeing how her body fit into his. As she was about to draw nearer, Brett took a step back, his hand on the side of her face, his thumb drifting over her cheekbone.
“I will see you later, gorgeous.”
He released her and tipped his hat again to the astounded ladies in front of them. “Have a good day, ladies.”
Then four sets female eyes, including Sarabeth’s, watchedSarabeth’s, watched his unbelievably delicious backside, covered by formfitting jeans, walk away.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
The scene I’d use is the one after their first sexual encounter: they are both feeling a little sidewinded and Sarabeth is so very determined to keep things cool. The sexual tension is high but they are trying to downplay what happened between them…
Sarabeth gestured to the bed. “This was fun.”
Fun? What a weak word for what they’d done to, and for each other. Hot, explosive, set-the-sheets-on-fire were far better descriptors for the sexual heat they’d generated.
“I’d like to do it again but—”
Here it came, the I-need-more-and-I’m-not-the-type-who-does-this-without-a-commitment spiel. He’d heard it all before. Brett swallowed his sigh of irritation. It was just sex—the best sex of his life—why did women always have to complicate acomplicate a good thing?
While he waited for Sarabeth to continue, Brett constructed a few responses of his own… “I’ve just broken up with my fiancée,” “I’m not ready for a relationship” and “I’m a long way off committing to anybody and I might never again.”
He’d be as kind as he could be, but he’d make his position clear. He refused to give her false hope.
“I hope you’re not offended but that was great sex and I’d like a repeat performance but—”
Another but. Brett lifted one eyebrow, waiting for the shoe to drop.
“But I’m not looking for a relationship.” Sarabeth rushed the words out, so fast he wasn’t sure if he’d heard her correctly. Maybe he’d imagined her “not.”
“I’m terribly independent and I like being on my own,” she continued. “I’ve been on my own for a long, long time and I don’t see myself being in a relationship. It’s too confining, too restricting so if you’re looking for that—and you shouldn’t be, you know—then maybe you should look somewhere else.”
She didn’t want a relationship? Why the hell not? And, excuse me, he wasn’t the type of guy who restricted, controlled, or crowded his partners. Relationships were a partnership, not a dictatorship.
Brett opened his mouth to argue and then remembered that she was giving him what he wanted, on a silver platter. So why was he feeling irritated instead of jubilant, annoyed rather than relieved?
Honestly, he was losing his shit…
Sarabeth pulled her bottom lip between her teeth and released it with a little plop. “And, if you don’t mind, I’d prefer it if you didn’t stay over.”
Ah, and because he was a stubborn, contrary man, that was exactly what he now most wanted to do. Snuggled down under her down duvet and crisp sheets, his head supported by this truly exceptional pillow, he felt warm and comfortable. And he didn’t…
“And I’m sorry about your wine,” Sarabeth added.
“Yeah, I just tossed five thousand dollars all over your porch floor.”
She winced. “Sorry. Um…”
Brett flipped the covers back and stood up, utterly at ease in his nakedness. He saw Sarabeth’s eyes drop to his crotch, saw the interest in those pretty blue depths and smiled grimly. Yeah, she wanted his body but wasn’t particularly interested in his mind. He felt, to be honest, a little used.
You’re being a hypocrite, Harston, and you damn well know it. Ten minutes ago, you were prepared to give her the same speech but, because she beat you to it, your nose is out of joint. You don’t want a relationship, a “just-sex fling” would be amazing, and you’re going to mess it all up by being a juvenile dick.
Pull yourself together. Pronto!
Brett walked over to Sarabeth and dropped a kiss on her temple. “Thanks for being honest.” He admired candor in a woman. “I appreciate that…and I’m glad we’re on the same page.”
Sarabeth placed her hand on his bare chest and tipped her head back to look at him. “We are?”
He nodded. “Yep. And yeah, of course I’d like to sleep with you again, for as long as it works for both of us.” He wrapped his arms around her and rested his chin in her hair. “Come over tomorrow night and eat with me.”
Sarabeth stepped back and pulled a face. “OMG. I never offered you anything to eat. You must be starving!” She placed a hand on her belly and wrinkled her nose. “I’m starving.”
He laughed, his irritation vanishing. “I’ll take great sex over food any day, sweetheart. But tomorrow night we’ll eat first and allow ourselves to be distracted afterward.”
“Good plan,” Sarabeth agreed. “Go on down and find your clothes, and I’ll find you a broom and pan to sweep up the broken bottle.”
He liked the fact that she didn’t offer to do it for him, that she didn’t buy into the stereotype that she was the woman therefore she must clean.
Sarabeth was full of surprises, and he couldn’t wait to see what else she had up her sleeve.
If your hero had a sexy-times play list, what song(s) would have to be on it?
I’m going old school!
- “I Just Wanna Make Love to You” by Etta James
- “Need You Tonight” — INXS
- “I’m on Fire” by Bruce Springsteen
- “Lay Lady Lay” by Bob Dylan
- “Je t’Aime…Moi Non Plus” by Serge Gainsbourg
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
I’m an entertainer so, at the end of the day, I hope the reader has fun reading my book. I hope that someone will pick up this book and check out for a while and relax.
What are you currently working on? What are your up-coming releases?
I’m currently working on my third book for Harlequin Present’s South Africa’s Scandalous Billionaire series, called How to Tempt the Off-Limits Billionaire. The second book in this series, How to Win the Wild Billionaire will be out in May.
Later in the year, the first of a three-book series, with Reese Ryan and Karen Booth, called Home Coming Heartbreaker (Moonlight Ridge Book 1) will be available in August 2021.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
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Excerpt from At The Rancher’s Pleasure:
Sarabeth looked like she was waiting for him to agree with her, but he couldn’t do that. He’d had two emotions the past seventy-two hours, horny and frustrated. And lonely. Okay, that was three emotions…
“And I think we should slow this down, take a breath,” Sarabeth said.
She shrugged and looked past him. He needed her eyes on him so he lifted his foot and kicked the door closed. Her now irritated eyes returned to his.
“You might be retired, but I need to get to work sometime soon,” Brett told her, wincing at the harsh note in his voice, “so can we move this conversation along?”
Her mouth fell open and her irritation morphed into anger. “Is that a crack about my age?”
What? No! He hadn’t meant it like that. And she knew her age wasn’t an issue. Didn’t she? “I’m sleeping with you because you are a sexy, fascinating woman. I don’t give a crap about your age. Or mine. So stop putting words in my mouth.”
Sarabeth tipped her head back to look at the ceiling, and when she met his eyes again, he saw her rueful expression. “Sorry.”
“Accepted. Now tell me what’s really going on.”
Sarabeth leaned her butt against the back of the couch and looked pensive. He waited while she gathered her thoughts. “I’ve never done this bed-buddy thing before, but I’m sure it doesn’t involve us practically living together two days after our first meeting. We’ve been spending so much time together that I, well…missed you this weekend.”
She sounded desolate, like she was trying to tell him she’d run over his dog or written off his truck. He tried not to let her see his amusement. “I missed you too. Is that such a bad thing?”
Sarabeth threw up her hands, obviously agitated. “As FWBs—”
“As what?” Then the acronym clicked and he nodded. “Sorry, got it, carry on.”
“We shouldn’t be missing each other, it shouldn’t be this intense. We’re supposed to play it cool, have fun and do our own thing…apart. I’m sure we’re doing it all wrong!”
Brett rubbed his hand over his mouth, trying to hide his smile. “Says who?”
Sarabeth stared at her feet. “Cosmopolitan. Jaynie, who had a couple of these types of relationships before she met Laura. And Google.”
He couldn’t contain his amusement anymore and grinned. “You’re consulting the internet about our love life?”
Sarabeth blushed. “I was doing research. And everything I read says that we are doing this wrong…”
“Bullshit,” Brett said, stepping up to her and placing his hands on her slim upper arms. “There is no one right way when it comes to people and attraction, sweetheart, and I refuse to live my life in accordance to a few stupid rules someone posted online.”
He brushed a kiss across her mouth and felt her shudder. “Does that feel good?”
“You know it does,” Sarabeth whispered.
Brett placed his hand on her breast and felt her nipple pucker. He knew the answer to the question he was about to pose but needed to hear her breathy voice again. “And this? Do you like me touching you here?”
“I like you touching me everywhere.”
So honest, so straightforward. He loved it. “And I know how much you love my fingers, and my tongue, between your legs. So, let’s agree that as long as it feels good, let’s do it.”
“But what if—?”
She broke off her sentence but Brett knew what she was about to ask. What if they started to feel more, what if this thing between them started to deepen? He shook his head. “We won’t let this go deeper, Sarabeth, we can’t afford to let that happen. Because it would ruin what we have, and what we have, right now, is damn awesome. We’re friends who enjoy each other, in and out of bed. Let’s not ruin that by embarking on a rules-based relationship.”
He felt her sigh, physically saw the tension drain from her body. Then his lover, fierce and fantastic, lifted her head and pushed back her shoulders, lifting her chin and fine jaw. “I won’t fall in love with you, Brett. And I know you won’t fall in love with me.”
He pushed a strand of hair off her forehead, a little disconcerted by her determination. “Why are you so convinced of that?”
“Because, as much fun as we have together, in and out of bed, I don’t need you to save me. I’m emotionally independent and I don’t need rescuing. And if I did, I would do it myself.”
“Yeah, yeah, I get it,” Brett huffed, exasperated that she’d pointed out what he considered to be his weakest fault.
“And you need to be needed,” Sarabeth added.
He used to need to be needed. But not anymore. He was done with that…
She dealt in honesty but could she take it when it was directed at her? It was time to find out. “And, because you were put down and told you would never be anything but beautiful, and because you were once stripped of power, you need to feel, or be, in control. You think that if you need someone, it’s a sign of weakness.”
Sarabeth winced before releasing a shaky laugh. “God, if we did end up in a relationship, it would be ludicrously dysfunctional.”
Brett winced. “So, let’s not do that then?”
“Deal.” She nodded and managed a smile. “I’m glad we’re both on the same page, Brett. Another question…”
He held his breath, hoping it would be a lot simpler than the ones that had come before. Like most men, he preferred to avoid these conversational, paintball bullets.
“Why aren’t we naked yet?” Sarabeth asked, her hands sneaking under his flannel shirt and her fingers dipping beneath the band of his jeans.
That was a damn good question. So, instead of answering, Brett got to work.
Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
He bailed on a wedding to the wrong woman,
only to fall right into temptation’s next trap
Runaway groom Brett Harston has long been the subject of town gossip—and so has Sarabeth Edmonds, who’s returned to Royal after leaving her hateful ex-husband. Soon an innocent kiss to rile the rumor mill unleashes a red-hot attraction they can’t resist. Will the wealthy rancher fall hard—or will she be the one to run this time?
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Meet the Author:
Joss Wood loves books and traveling— especially to the wild places of Southern Africa and, well, anywhere. She’s a wife, a mom to young adults and slave to two cats and a dog the size of a cow. After a career in local economic development, she now writes full time. Joss is a member of the RWA (Romance Writers of America) and ROSA (Romance Writers of South Africa.)
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