Hi Jennie and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, When a Cowboy Loves a Woman!
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
This book is about two widows who find each other and fall in love. But first they have to go through lots of adventures with a spunky ten year old girl, a rescued horse, a pile of abandoned puppies, and lots of other adorable animal antics. But the loss and wounds in the story will tear your heart apart and put it back together again.
When Elle Brooks’ kitchen catches on fire, she lands in the muscled arms of handsome veterinarian, Brody Tate. The fire forces her to move in with her friend, Bryn on the Heaven Can Wait Horse Rescue ranch where she volunteers. Hanging out with the hunky vet and his spunky 10 year old daughter, Mandy, reminds Elle of all she lost in a car crash years ago. But she can’t deny the feelings the hunky doctor is stirring in her.
Brody and Elle both know the pain of losing someone they loved, and neither planned to ever let themselves fall in love again. But fate has a way of stepping in, and what started with a small fire now burns hotter than either one could imagine. Two wounded souls must risk their hearts or else the fear of loss will keep them from ever finding happiness again.
Please share your favorite quote from the book
His hands still cupped her face as he drew back, his teeth playfully dragging at her lower lip in a move that had tingles of pleasures zinging through her. His breath was shallow as he whispered against her mouth, “This thing between us is completely out of control.”
“Well, not completely. We haven’t…you know.”
He groaned against her lips, then kissed her again. “You’re killin’ me, darlin’. I’m enjoying the dyin’, but you’re killin’ me nonetheless.”
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
- This book is set in the fictional town of Creedence, Colorado which is a combination of Washington, Kansas, the town where I grew up and Fort Benton, Montana, the town I first lived in with my husband, Todd when we graduated from college.
- There is an ornery goat in this book, Otis, who is always causing trouble (readers might remember him from the last book, A Cowboy State of Mind). He was inspired by a goat we had growing up. His name was Smokey, and he was always sneaking into our house and causing mischief. There is also a scruffy abandoned mutt named Roxie in this book who will literally tear your heart out, and she is inspired by my own rescued terrier mix, Bailey.
- There is a scene in the book where Aunt Sassy brings over a Kahlua Cake, and it’s one of my favorite cakes. It’s so rich and chocolaty. I share the recipe for several versions of this cake as well as tons of fun pictures that capture the feel of the book on my Pinterest page: https://www.pinterest.com/tjmarts/when-a-cowboy-loves-a-woman/
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
I would have to pick the opening scene because there is so much happening in the first few pages, from the action of the fire to the intensity of the emotion surrounding what Elle chooses to save in her house to the memories of the tragic accident she was involved in. And it is all witnessed by this man she barely knows. I just love it.
Everything hurts, thought Elle Brooks as she sank lower in the bathtub. Her back and shoulders ached from carrying bales of hay and brushing the horses that morning at the Heaven Can Wait Horse Rescue, where she volunteered. Although she preferred the physical labor over the headache she got from spending the afternoon with her financial advisor, going over the trust and through her finances. Between his company and his considerable life insurance policy, her beloved Ryan had left her with a substantial amount of money. But she’d give it all away for one more day with him.
She pushed a bubbly pile of suds across the spacious garden bathtub as the final strains of one of her favorite Pink songs faded in her ears. Usually the pop star’s music could energize her, but tonight she felt more like a sinking stone than any kind of rock star. With a sigh, she pushed the drain release with her toe and pulled the earbuds from her ears.
That’s when she heard the sirens.
Hair raised on the nape of her neck, and a chill that had nothing to do with the cooling bathwater raced up her spine. She slammed her eyes shut against the onslaught of memories. It had been over a year since Ryan died, but the images of the ambulance’s throbbing lights and the mournful sounds of the sirens were as vivid as if it had happened the day before.
She caught the first whiff of smoke as she heard the fire trucks pull up in front of her house. Water sloshed over the side as she stumbled to get out of the tub. Grabbing a towel, she scarcely had time to run it over her body before she heard the slam of her front door and raised voices.
Reaching for her pajamas, she pulled on the cotton shorts and wrenched the tank top over her head.
Move, her brain screamed. Get out.
The fabric clung to her damp skin as she snatched up her short robe and raced out of the bathroom. From the landing, she could see a flurry of men in yellow coats dragging a gray hose across the Italian marble of her foyer toward her kitchen.
She choked on the acrid smoke filling the air. There were no blazing flames, but the smoke scorched her throat, and she blinked against the sting of it to her eyes.
An older fireman caught sight of her. “You need to get out of the house, ma’am.”
Panic gripped her as she wildly looked around at the chaos invading her home. Then her gaze caught and held on the familiar eyes of the tall cowboy who’d just stepped into view. He was dressed in jeans and boots and a black Stetson hat, and the sight of his broad shoulders filling the doorway somehow grounded her.
She didn’t really know him—she’d briefly met him a few weeks ago. But that one time had shown his ability to stay calm and steady in a crisis situation. His name was Brody—Doctor Brody Tate. He was her best friend Bryn’s veterinarian. But why was a veterinarian at a house fire?
A plume of dark smoke billowed out of the kitchen, and Elle caught the distinct sound of the crackle of flames. She coughed, then turned around and ran back down the hallway.
She heard the older fireman’s voice yelling, “Get her out of here, Tate,” followed by the sound of cowboy boots sprinting up the stairs as she raced to the closed door at the end of the hall.
She pushed through, ignoring the rush of emotions that normally flooded her when she opened the door to the room decorated in pink-and-white stripes. A hand-knit pink blanket lay in the seat of the rocking chair. Elle grabbed it and clutched it to her chest. If she could only save one thing, it had to be this.
She turned back to see Brody in the doorway. He didn’t say anything, just reached for her hand and led her quickly back down the hallway.
They reached the top of the stairs, and she froze again at the commotion below—the rush of the firefighters’ feet, the commanding tone of their voices as they shouted orders, the pulsing flash of red lights against the white walls of her entryway.
Brody pulled at her hand, but she couldn’t move. He turned back and must have seen the panic in her eyes. His tone was soft as he swept her up, cradling her to him as if she weighed nothing at all. “It’s all right, darlin’. I’ve got you.”
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
This is a book about two widows, so it’s a story of loss and heartbreak, but also of redemption and discovering a capacity to love and be happy again. It’s about courage and bravery and taking chances. After losing his wife, Brody is more determined than ever to put his daughter first and to be a great dad. And Mandy is such a spunky fun character who declares Elle her best friend. But in spending time together, Elle discovers Mandy is being bullied by some girls in her class. Through watching Mandy and spending time with a rescue horse who loves to be sang too, Elle discovers a courage inside herself she didn’t realize was there. And through stepping in and standing up, these three people find a way to forge one complete family from two broken ones.
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Giveaway: A paperback copy of When a Cowboy Loves a Woman by Jennie Marts
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: This book is set on a horse rescue ranch and so much of the story revolves around rescuing wounded animals and people. Can you think of a time when you rescued an animal or another person? It doesn’t have to be a daring feat, sometimes all it takes is a hug or a kind word to save someone’s day.
Excerpt from When a Cowboy Loves a Woman:
The night air was cool and felt good on his heated cheeks. He breathed in the scent of hay and horses, and caught the subtle scent of whatever soap and shampoo Elle wore. It was something flowery and light, and had him wanting to bury his face in her neck and inhale her.
A shiver ran through her as she walked beside him.
“Here. Take my jacket.” He unzipped his sweatshirt and put it around her shoulders before she had time to protest.
“Thanks,” she told him as she pushed her hands through the sleeves. They were too long, but she didn’t seem to care as she wrapped her arms around her middle. “What a crazy night. I don’t even know what to do or how to feel.”
“If they’ve come up with a handbook for how to have the correct emotions at the proper time, I sure haven’t heard of it.” He offered her a kind smile, then nudged her arm with his elbow. “You can act however you want with me. No judgment here.”
“Thanks.” She offered him a pained smile. “Everyone’s acting like this is such a big deal, so maybe I should be freaking out more. But I’m just not that worried about some damage to my kitchen. It’s just stuff, no one got hurt, and all of it can either be repaired or replaced. It’s inconvenient, sure, and I’m humiliated that it was my own fault, and I feel bad for putting all of you out, but as far as tragedies go, it’s not much of one.”
“I hear ya.” He nodded. The kind of loss they had both experienced couldn’t be repaired or replaced. The ones they lost were gone forever. He swallowed back the sudden ache in his throat.
She stopped at the door to his truck and looked up at him, her eyes narrowing as if she were studying his face. “You’re pretty easy to talk to.”
You’re pretty easy to look at. She was beautiful, even in the half-dark shadows of the night, her beauty shone through. Even with her hair pulled into a messy ponytail and wearing his too-big jacket and a guarded half smile. “I’m happy to listen. Anytime you want to talk.” He pulled out his phone. “I wanted to give you my number anyway. In case you had any questions about the fire. Or whatever.”
“I mean it. Anytime. I’m used to getting calls at all hours because of the vet clinic, so you don’t have to worry about the time. Half the time I’m up in the middle of the night anyway. Not that you’d call me in the middle of the night. But I’m just saying you could.” Why was he rambling?
She smiled as she raised her hand as if to touch his arm, then hesitated and let it drop instead. “I hear you. And I know what you’re talking about. People like us—we get it. It’s usually late when the ghosts decide to visit.”
He nodded, somehow knowing she understood, sure that she had spent the same lonely hours lying awake in the middle of the night missing the warmth that was supposed to be on the other side of the bed.
He wrinkled his brow as he looked down at his hand. “I’m not sure why I just got my phone out to give you my number.” Maybe because he couldn’t remember the last time he’d exchanged numbers with a beautiful woman. I’m not asking her out. I’m just offering a friendly ear if she needs someone to listen.
Mmmhmmm.…keep telling yourself that, Tate.
Nodding at his phone, she said, “Why don’t I give you my number, and you can send me a text? Then I’ll have yours.”
She recited her number, and he punched it in, then held his fingers over the message line. What should he text her? Something flirty? Flirty? Or all business? Or something in between?
He typed, Hey, it’s Brody. Wow. That’ll impress her. He added a smiley face emoji, then deleted it. He held his thumb over the keyboard, debating what else to type. Why was this so hard? It was just a simple text.
The longer he stood there staring at his phone, the more awkward he felt. Just type something. He tapped the letters on the screen, I’m here if you need me. Then he pressed Send before he could change his mind.
“It seems like a lot of thought went into that text. I’m excited to read it,” she said, teasing him.
He offered her a sheepish grin. “I know. That was dumb. I don’t know why that was so tough.”
She chuckled. “I’ll check it when you leave and try to think of something superawkward to text you back.”
He laughed. “Please do.”
One of the horses whinnied, and she looked out toward the corral. “I love this place.”
He watched her gaze toward the barn. Her expression was wistful, her eyes slightly sad. The breeze blew a strand of her hair across her cheek, and he was tempted to reach out and brush it away. A pensive smile pulled at the corners of her lips, as if she were reflecting on a happier time.
Dammit, why couldn’t he stop looking at her mouth?
“I should probably go,” he told her. “Let you get back inside.”
“Thank you for everything,” she said, taking a step toward him. She opened her arms as if to hug him, then started to close them, then opened them again and committed to the hug.
He grinned as he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close and inhaling the scent of her hair. He probably smelled like smoke, but she didn’t seem to care. Now that she’d committed, she really hugged him, pressing herself to him and resting her cheek against his shoulder. She fit perfectly into the circle of his arms, and he closed his eyes for a second, something in him settling for just that moment, then taking off in a flight of winged nerves.
As he pulled back, a sudden urge had him pressing a quick kiss to her cheek. But she turned just as he did, and he caught the corner of her lips with his.
He paused for just one tenth of a beat, one millisecond of indecision, of want and need and a bone-deep desire to slant his lips over hers and take that gorgeous mouth he’d been staring at all night. He could smell a mix of Oreos and peppermint from the tea on her breath and could almost taste the chocolate of the cookies. He tried to swallow, then tried to make a joke, but his words stuck in his throat.
“I’ll check in on you tomorrow,” he finally managed to say as he pulled away and let her go.
Her eyes were round, and she blinked, her breathing a little shaky as she nodded and said, “Yeah, okay, that would be great.”
He turned and opened the door, climbing into the truck before he said anything more. Or did anything more—like pull her back into his arms and issue her a proper kiss. One that would take both of their breath away. He offered her a quick wave, then pulled the door shut.
She waved as she took a few steps back. It took everything he had to keep his eyes on the road and not check the rearview mirror. Dang. His hands were shaking on the steering wheel. This woman had really unnerved him. He’d done a femoral head ostectomy the day before to remove a dog’s fractured hip and his hands had been steady as church on Sunday. But a few minutes in the company of Elle Brooks, and he was shaking like his grandma’s Jell-O salad.
Turning onto the highway, he shook his head as he tried to settle himself. He jumped as his phone buzzed in his pocket. Pulling it out, he looked down at the screen and couldn’t help the smile that spread across his face as he saw he’d received a text from Elle.
He laughed out loud as he read the promised “awkward” message:
I like your pants.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
They both know the pain of loss and how to protect their hearts…but fate has a way of stepping in…
When a kitchen fire forces young widow Elle Brooks to move in with her friend Bryn and her motley collection of rescue animals, she doesn’t foresee ending up in the muscled arms of handsome cowboy and veterinarian Brody Tate. But she can’t deny the feelings that being close to Brody are stirring in her. Spending time with the hunky cowboy and his adorable young daughter as they rehabilitate rescued horses reminds Elle of all she lost in a car crash years ago.
As a widower himself, Brody is devoted to being a good dad for his spirited daughter. He hasn’t let romance even enter his head. But now he’s met Elle. Spending time with her is shaking up the calm he’s worked so hard to achieve, and he can’t seem to get this woman off his mind.
Elle and Brody have both lost people they loved, but their mutual attraction and growing feelings are too strong to ignore. The hope of a future together is a beautiful possibility, but can these two wounded souls take a chance on each other and find the courage to love again?
Meet the Author:
Jennie Marts is the USA Today bestselling author of award-winning books filled with love, laughter, and always a happily ever after. She is living her own happily ever after with her husband, two dogs, and a parakeet that loves to tweet to the oldies, in the mountains of Colorado.