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SPOTLIGHT TOUR ~ Fearless in Texas (Texas Rodeo #4) by Kari Lynn Dell

 
Title: Fearless in Texas

Series: Texas Rodeo #4

Author: Kari Lynn Dell


Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 9781492658115

 

He’d step in front of a bull to save a life

But even he’s no match for a girl this Texas tough

Rodeo bullfighter Wyatt Darrington’s got it all figured out. The perfect car, the perfect job, the perfect looks—the perfect lie. He may be on the fast track to the Hall of Fame, but he knows he’ll always be an outsider to people like Melanie Brookman. Texas-born and bred, with the arena in her blood, Melanie’s come to see Wyatt as her personal enemy, and that suits him just fine—this way, she’ll never realize the truth.

He’s been crazy in love with her for years.

Melanie’s always been a fighter. Fiercely independent and tough as nails, she’s stood up to everything that got in her way—including Wyatt. But now her infamous temper’s got her on the ropes, and there’s nowhere left to run but toward the man she swore she’d never trust…and this time, there’s no denying just how hot he makes her burn.

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What I Love about Rodeo

There are so many things I love about rodeo that I could—and have—filled several books (aka the Texas Rodeo series). A million tiny details like the scent of wood shavings in a horse stall, the indescribable joy of a perfectly thrown loop, or the way a belt and buckle sets off a nice pair of hips. Lately, though, I’ve come to appreciate a facet of rodeo and life on the ranch that I’ve always taken for granted: rodeo makes women stronger.

Unlike other parts of our society, in rodeo and ranching, strength is a highly prized trait in a woman—both physical and mental. From the time we are old enough to be hoisted onto a pony to trot around the arena, we are praised for being ambitious, competitive, aggressive and independent. We are valued as much for what our bodies can accomplish as we are for our appearance. I might’ve started out by catching my husband’s eye, but I captured his heart the first time he saw me sort cows.

The smart, capable, take-no-crap women of the Texas Rodeo books are products of my environment, and none more so than Melanie Brookman of Fearless in Texas. May every reader who ventures into our world steal a page from her book and leave with a little more cowgirl in their blood—and their attitude.




EXCERPT

Wyatt braced a hand on the front door of the Bull Dancer Saloon, blocking Melanie. “You can’t go back in there.”

She looked at his arm as if debating whether she should bite it or snap it in half. “You think you can stop me?”

“Yes.” He jerked a thumb toward the door and quoted the flyspecked sign posted inside. “I am the proprietor, and we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”

Hell. That wasn’t what he’d meant to say, but the sparks that were flying off of her were burying themselves under his skin, kindling fires that threatened to reduce all of his good intentions to ashes. Her mouth dropped open, and he braced himself for some truly spectacular swearing. Instead, she snapped it shut, whirled around, and strode away, her shiny red heels clicking angrily on the empty street.

“Melanie…wait! Could we just talk—”

Her answer was a stiff middle finger shot straight in the air. He took a couple of steps in pursuit, but his ankle made it clear that anything above a sedate stroll was a bad idea, not that he was sure what he’d do if he caught her. Attempting to stop her when she was like this would be like tackling a mountain lion, but if she intended to go to one of the other bars, she was headed the wrong direction.

“Where are you going?”

“To the bridge. It’ll have to do, since I assume you’ll follow me and there’s not a cliff handy.”

He’d already taken several more steps, but he stopped. “The rail is too high.”

“Then I’ll knock you over the head with a rock and roll you off the dike.”

She wouldn’t. Would she? “If you’re going to commit assault and attempted murder, you’ll need your keys to make your getaway.”

She stopped dead and spun around. He held up the keys in one hand and the purse in the other.

She swore and started back toward him. “Don’t think I won’t kick you square in the nuts and stomp on your fingers when you fall.”

“Not a doubt in my mind.” He unlocked the door that led up to her apartment, yanked it open, and threw both the keys and the purse to the top of the stairs before she could reach him. Then he stepped back, feet braced, ready to dodge or deflect any blow aimed at his groin. If Melanie had said it, she was seriously considering it.

She went for the door instead, but paused with her hand on the knob. “If I go in after them, you won’t let me out.”

“Nope.” Although it would take all his strength to hold the door shut if she was determined to push it open, and there was the fire escape…

Her hand dropped, and she turned on him. If it were possible for a stare to be literally cutting, his guts would’ve fallen out onto the street. “What…the hell…is your problem?”

“You.” He gestured toward her painted face, her dress, those damn red shoes. “I know what all of that means, but you’re wrong. And if you would just let me explain—”

“Yes!” She threw her hands in the air like a Baptist preacher. “Please, oh wise and knowing male, tell me how I’m supposed to feel. Better yet, explain why it is that you could leave this place with any of those women you’ve never met before and you get high fives, but if I do the same, I’m an embarrassment to your shitty little bar.”

Despite his vow to remain calm, his temper began to stir. “I did not say—”

“You don’t have to. I grew up in the goddamn Bible Belt. I’ve heard it all my life.” The bitterness in her voice ran generations deep. “Well, sorry, but not sorry. I’m done trying to please anyone but myself. I’ll sleep with who I want, when I want, and y’all can just deal with it.”

Not likely. Wyatt’s anger boiled up, shooting past the red line and straight into fury. Yes, her rage was justified, but she did not get to lump him in with bastards like Michael and her former boss. All he’d ever wanted, from damn near the first moment they’d spoken on the phone, was Melanie, but it was as if the entire universe had conspired against him, and he was so damn tired of fighting this bone-deep need…

He took a step toward her. Then another. She didn’t budge, but her eyes flicked toward the apartment door as if reconsidering her choices.

He leaned in close, his breath fanning her cheek, his voice low and lethal even to his own ears. “Is that what you want? Just someone with a pulse you can use up and toss out when you’re done?”

He heard her swallow, but she didn’t flinch. “Why shouldn’t I? Men have been doing it forever.”

“Yes, we have.”

He gathered a fistful of her hair and wound the warm silk around and around his hand until his knuckles were pressed to the nape of her neck. Her breath caught at the electric press of skin against skin, and her eyes went even darker. The line he’d held for so long had been crossed. He was beyond stopping—unless she made him.

“As long as you’re determined to do something you’ll hate yourself for in the morning, it might as well be with me.” And then he kissed her.

And instead of shoving him away, Melanie clenched both hands in his shirt and yanked him closer.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR 10904548_329608287246855_122230511325396069_o

KARI LYNN DELL brings a lifetime of personal experience to writing western romance. She is a third-generation rancher and rodeo competitor who works on the family ranch in northern Montana, inside the Blackfeet Nation.
She exists in a perpetual state of horse-induced poverty along with her husband, Max and Spike the (female) Cowdogs, a few hundred cows and a son who resides on the same general segment of the autism spectrum as Cole Jacobs and doesn’t believe names should be gender-limited.

LINKS:

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Twitter
Facebook



 

SPOTLIGHT TOUR ~ Tougher in Texas (Texas Rodeo #3) by Kari Lynn Dell

Title: Tougher in Texas

Series: Texas Rodeo #3

Author: Kari Lynn Dell


Pub Date: August 1, 2017

ISBN: 9781492632009

 

He’s got five rules

And she’s aiming to break them all

Rodeo producer Cole Jacobs has his hands full running Jacobs Livestock. He can’t afford to lose a single cowboy, so when Cousin Violet offers to send along a more-than-capable replacement, he’s got no choice but to accept. He expects a grizzled Texas good ol’ boy.

He gets Shawnee Pickett.

Wild and outspoken, ruthlessly self-reliant, Shawnee’s not looking for anything but a good time. It doesn’t matter how quickly the tall, dark and intense cowboy gets under her skin—Cole deserves something real, and Shawnee can’t promise him forever. Life’s got a way of kicking her in the teeth, and she’s got her bags packed before tragedy can knock her down. Too bad Cole’s not the type to give up when the going gets tough…

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Giveaway

Three bundles of the first three Texas Rodeo books
(Reckless in Texas, Tangled in Texas, Tougher in Texas)

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My Favorite Fictional Cowboys – For the Love of a Difficult Woman

I adore difficult women…and the cowboys who love them because of it, not in spite. You don’t get much more difficult than Shawnee Pickett in Tougher in Texas. And as Cole Jacobs learns, it only gets harder the closer you get to her. Under that brash, outrageous surface is one tough woman who’s gonna make you prove you deserve her…and that she deserves a happily ever after.

My two favorite difficult movie women aren’t known for westerns. Laura San Giacomo starred in the sitcom Just Shoot Me, and as Julia Robert’s wisecracking best friend Kit in Pretty Woman, but in between she turned in an incredible performance as Crazy Cora, who latches onto Tom Selleck in Quigley Down Under, insisting on calling him by her estranged husband’s name. Much of the humor is on the dark side and the film delves into some deep subject matter—including the systematic genocide of Australia’s aboriginal people and the source of Cora’s madness. San Giacomo flawlessly portrays everything from borderline slapstick to intense grief while being a near constant annoyance to Matthew Quigley—except when the chips are seriously down, which is why this Wyoming cowboy can’t help falling for her. And did I mention staring at Tom Selleck for a couple of hours doesn’t suck?

I have to reach even further back for my second difficult woman—Shirley McLaine in 1970’s Two Mules for Sister Sara, which marked the last time Clint Eastwood would take second billing in a major film role. The movie is set in Mexico during the 1860’s War of French Intervention, with Eastwood and McLaine assisting the rebel Mexican forces. He is also forced to become the reluctant savior and guardian, but it is clear that Sister Sara has her own agenda and no qualms about using this mercenary to achieve her ends. It’s no great surprise when the cigar-smoking sister’s habit turns out to be a disguise—which clears the path for an equally smoking romance—but he never gains the upper hand. You gotta love that about a female character in an early Eastwood western. You go, Sister.

And now for an excerpt from Tougher in Texas, which features Shawnee in prime difficult woman form.

***

The parking Nazis attacked before Shawnee turned off her pickup. Red-faced and dripping sweat under their neon-yellow plastic vests, they waved their orange-painted sticks so frantically you’d think she’d landed a 747 in the contestant lot.

She rolled down her window. “Is there a problem?”

“You can’t park here,” the taller one declared, jamming his thumbs in his pockets and thrusting his beer gut at her.

Shawnee ran a deliberate glance around the clipped grass field, dotted with live oaks like the one she’d parked beneath. Four hours before the first rodeo performance, only seven other rigs had arrived, all lined up with military precision along the back fence. “Looks like there’s plenty of room.”

“There is now.” Beer Gut attempted to radiate pompous authority in a dime-store cowboy hat. “But it’ll get crowded once the rest of the contestants arrive. We have to keep it organized so no one gets blocked in.”

Shawnee gave him the closest thing she had to a polite smile. “Well, then, there’s no problem.

I’m with the stock contractor. I’ll be here for the duration.”

“Oh. Then you belong over there.” The skinnier of the pair gave a dramatic wave of his stick, toward where the two Jacobs Livestock semis, an elderly travel trailer, and Cole’s rig were lined up near the stock pens. There wasn’t a tree within fifty yards.

“I don’t think so.” Shawnee turned off the pickup and opened her door, nearly clipping the big guy’s chin with the side-view mirror.

They both jumped back, then blustered along behind her as she strolled to the rear of the trailer to unload her horses. “You can’t just pull in and take the best parking spot!”

“Why not? My horses and I will be here all week. The contestants will come and go in half a day, at most.” She flipped the latch on the back door and swung it open. The flea-bitten gray in the rear stall cranked his head around to show her the whites of his eyes. Shawnee stepped aside and waited, holding the door wide.

“But…” Skinny began, then faltered, as if he wasn’t sure where to go with it.

“We got rules,” Beer Gut announced. “Contestants park where we tell them to park.”

“I repeat, I’m not a contestant.” A few tentative thuds sounded inside the trailer as the gray attempted to find reverse gear in the confined space. “And if I were you, I’d take a step back.”

The big guy stepped closer. “Listen, missy—”

Whatever wisdom he intended to impart was cut short by a clatter and a bang that rocked the entire trailer, then a huge thud as the gray took one big leap and missed the back edge of the trailer floor with both hind feet. His rear legs buckled from the twelve-inch drop that took him by surprise every single time. He plopped onto his ass, nearly squashing Beer Gut. The gray teetered on his haunches, looking shocked and perplexed, then flopped over onto his side. Shawnee caught the halter rope as the horse scrambled up and stood, legs splayed, quivering as if he wasn’t sure the ground would hold him.

“He has issues,” she told the goggle-eyed parking attendants. Among them, she suspected, a total lack of long-term memory. Or short-term common sense. The horse snorted and Beer Gut stuck out a hand to ward him off.

Shawnee slapped the halter rope into his palm. “Hold that, would you?”

He blanched like she’d tossed him a live cottonmouth.

She didn’t wait for an answer, just stepped up into the trailer to trip the latch on the stall divider and release the second horse, a sorrel who eyed her doubtfully, then began feeling his way backward. At the edge, he extended one foot and waved it around, searching for solid ground. When he found it, he eased on down.

“Here.” She tossed that halter rope to the skinny guy.

He fumbled to grab it, dropping his pretty orange stick. “Now, wait just a minute—”

Shawnee went to the front of the trailer and tripped the last latch. Her good buckskin, Roy, paused long enough to let her scratch his forelock, then ambled out of the trailer and calmly surveyed the latest of the innumerable stops they’d made together. Shawnee tied him on the shady side of the trailer and went to retrieve the other two.

Beer Gut practically threw the halter rope at her. “Look, lady. We already said you can’t park here.”

“And I asked why.” Shawnee persuaded the gray that the grass wasn’t actually quicksand laced with alligators and dragged him around to tie him next to Roy. “You haven’t given me a reason, other than that rules are rules bullshit.”

Beer Gut puffed up like an angry toad. “We were given our orders by the committee president. We have full authority to tow any vehicle in violation.”

“Is that right?” Shawnee did a quick scan and located the rodeo office, a small white building to the left of the bucking chutes. “Let’s just go have a chat with him, shall we?”

She strode away without looking back, ignoring both the outraged squawking and, “Wait! What am I supposed to do with this horse?”

***

Cole heard the sound of agitated voices, closing in fast. Katie scrambled to attention as the office door burst open, framing the female version of a Tasmanian devil—glittering eyes, wild hair, and a wide, malicious grin. One of the parking attendants huffed up behind her. Over their shoulders Cole spotted a second, skinnier guy holding a lead rope and standing well back from a sorrel horse that regarded him with equal distrust.

The parking attendant shoved into the office, his face frighteningly flushed, and zeroed in on Cole. “You’re the contractor, right? Jacobs?”

“Yes,” Cole admitted reluctantly.

“Well, this one—” The attendant jabbed a thumb at Shawnee, who gave a cheesy finger wave. “She claims she works for you, but she won’t park in your area.”

“I’m happier with the contestants. And shade. But if you insist—” She flashed Cole a smile so loaded with sugar it made his teeth ache. “I noticed there’s an open spot right next to you. I suppose I can move if I have to.”

He’d rather do CPR on the entire parking staff. Cole drew in a deep, supposedly calming breath. “Leave her be.”

Shawnee made a triumphant so there noise.

The parking attendant muttered and growled, but turned on his heel and marched off, leaving his bug-eyed partner to deal with the horse, which Cole assumed must belong to the natural disaster now surveying the office like she couldn’t decide what to destroy next.

Cole heaved a beleaguered sigh and gestured toward the rest of the crew lounging around the office. “Everyone, meet Shawnee Pickett.”


10904548_329608287246855_122230511325396069_oKARI LYNN DELL brings a lifetime of personal experience to writing western romance. She is a third-generation rancher and rodeo competitor who works on the family ranch in northern Montana, inside the Blackfeet Nation.
She exists in a perpetual state of horse-induced poverty along with her husband, Max and Spike the (female) Cowdogs, a few hundred cows and a son who resides on the same general segment of the autism spectrum as Cole Jacobs and doesn’t believe names should be gender-limited.

LINKS:

Website
Twitter
Facebook


 

SPOTLIGHT TOUR ~ Tangled in Texas (Texas Rodeo, #2) by Kari Lynn Dell


Title: Tangled in Texas9781492631972-pr 

Series: Texas Rodeo, #2

Author: Kari Lynn Dell

Pub Date: February 7, 2017

ISBN: 9781492631972

 

It took 32 seconds to end his career.
But it only took 1 to change his life.

Thirty-two seconds. That’s how long it took for Delon Sanchez’s life to end. One minute he was the best bronc rider in the Panhandle and the next he was nothing. Knee shattered, future in question, all he can do is pull together the pieces…and wonder what cruel trick of fate has thrown him into the path of his ex, the oh-so-perfect Tori Patterson.

Tori’s come home after her husband’s death, intent on escaping the public eye. It’s just her luck that Delon limps into her physical therapy office, desperate for help. All hard-packed muscle and dark-eyed temptation, he’s never been anything but a bad idea. And yet, seeing him again, Tori can’t remember what made her choose foolish pride over love…or why, with this second, final chance to right old wrongs, the smartest choice would be to run from this gorgeous rodeo boy as fast as her boots can take her.

Buy Links:

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FROM THE AUTHOR

Sortin’ the Herd—How a Real Cowgirl Cuts Off the Straystangled-kirkus

Nowadays pretty much anyone can pop online and order up a full set of cowboy duds to wear to their nearest rodeo. Which I think is awesome, by the way. The companies that sell those hats, boots and peart snap shirts are also the sponsors that keep my favorite sport in business. I’d be thrilled to pull into the next rodeo and see a Stetson or Resistol on every head, and Justin or Ariat boots on every pair of feet. But it also makes it harder for a girl to tell…which are the real cowboys, and which are just playing the part?

Luckily, it doesn’t take long to sort off the bleacher buckaroos. I’ve put together a few never-fail tips to help you identify the wanna-be’s, like this one:

He shows you his scar and waxes poetic about the bucking bronco that gave it to him. Cowboys don’t have broncos, unless they have purchased a boxy Ford vehicle which is now at least twenty years old and has been repurposed so they and at least three traveling partners can bed down in the back, along with all their gear and a beer cooler. At the rodeo—and sometimes, unexpectedly, on cold, windy days at the ranch—we ride broncs. Or bucking horses. Or “you dirty rotten—”…um, on second thought, probably not an appropriate word for this post. But infinitely more cowboy than calling them broncos.

Take note of the word in bold face above. When you’ve finished reading about Tangled in Texas and enjoying the excerpt below, come on over to my blog, Montana for Real, to find the rest of my helpful hints. Collect all the of key words and you’ll get a free download of the unofficial soundtrack to Tangled in Texas.

Kari


EXCERPT

Tori hunched her shoulders against the chilly breeze and walked around to the side of the building. The staircase was metal, narrow and steep. No way would she let Delon go up those alone. She went back to find him maneuvering his leg out of the car. He hissed in pain when his toe caught on the doorframe. She stepped closer and offered a hand. His fingers were warm and strong as always, but the clasp of his palm against hers felt different.

The calluses were gone. Those hard ridges on the fingers and palm of his riding hand that had been such a raspy, delicious contrast to her most sensitive spots. The nape of her neck. The inside of her thigh. Her nipples. She remembered how he’d smiled when he realized what it did to her—a dangerous smile full of wicked promises.

She let go so abruptly he lost his balance and had to grab the open car door to keep from toppling backward.

“Oops,” she said. “Slipped.”

And fell face first into another hormonal bog. Damn. She really had to get a hold of herself, before she went totally bonkers and tried to get a hold of Delon instead. That would be bad. Because he was her patient—and he was her past. They were both, to paraphrase his words, fucked up. Two broken halves couldn’t make a functional whole. Could they?

“I can make it from here,” he said.

She stepped back, but fell in beside him as he limped around the side of the shop. “Those stairs are treacherous.”

“I’ve had a lot of practice. I’ll be fine.”

“I doubt you were half tanked before. So rather than stand back and watch you roll ass over teakettle down a flight of stairs, I’ll just follow you on up.” His expression went mutinous, his bottom lip poking out, and she laughed outright. “Wow. I bet that’s exactly what Beni looks like when he doesn’t get his way.”

His scowl dissolved into a weary sigh. “It’s been a long day.”

“Tell me about it.” Beginning with her father’s divorce bomb, but she wasn’t thinking about that now.

Delon grasped the stair rail and stepped up with his good leg, then brought his sore leg level. Tori let him get two steps above her, then put her hand on the railing behind his, her upper body canted forward so she had leverage if he started to sway. Her position put his butt directly in her line of sight. Dear Lord, that was one nice butt. She yanked her gaze away, to a trio of trucks parked in a row alongside the shop, the chrome and polished paint of the tractors gleaming under the security lights.

A familiar fascination tugged at her sleeve. Big rigs had a sexy mystique, like modern day stagecoaches, the drivers perched high and proud, all that horsepower at their command. She’d had fantasies about Delon dragging her into one of those sleepers. Carrying her off to crisscross the country, just the two of them on an endless road trip, town after town of strangers who didn’t know or care who her father was. She gazed at the nearest black one, streamlined as a stealth fighter. Climb on in, it whispered. I’ll take you anywhere you want to go.

Her head rammed into Delon’s elbow as he stopped on the landing. When she stumbled, he grabbed the back of her coat and hauled her upright as easily as if she was Beni’s size.

“Good thing you came along to keep me safe,” he deadpanned, then raised his eyebrows. “Were you staring at my trucks?”

At first she thought he said butt, and her face went hot, before she realized he’d caught her checking out the semis. “They’re pretty.”

“Pretty.” He spit the word out in disgust. “Next thing, you’ll call them cute.”

She drew herself up, offended. “Cute is not in my vocabulary.”

“But you do have a thing for trucks.”

“I don’t—”

“It’s okay. Lots of girls do.” His smile was sly, his eyes gleaming with something wild and dangerous.

She suddenly realized they were face to face on the landing, their bodies touching, if you didn’t count the five layers of clothes between them. His hand was still on her shoulder and his fingers tightened fractionally, as if he would pull her even closer. Her heart sprouted legs and launched into a frantic gallop. Oh God. What if he kissed her? She wasn’t ready for that. Was she? If he leaned in and put his mouth on hers, would she shove him away, or devour him?


About the Author10904548_329608287246855_122230511325396069_o


Kari Lynn Dell
is a ranch-raised Montana cowgirl who attended her first rodeo at two weeks old and has existed in a state of horse-induced poverty ever since. She lives on the Blackfeet Reservation in her parents’ bunkhouse along with her husband, her son, and Max the Cowdog, with a tipi on her lawn, Glacier National Park on her doorstep and Canada within spitting distance.
Her debut novel, The Long Ride Home, was published in 2015. She also writes a ranch and rodeo humor column for several regional newspapers and a national agricultural publication.

LINKS:

Website
Twitter
Facebook


GIVEAWAY

5 print copies of Reckless in Texas

Rafflecopter giveaway


image001


 

SPOTLIGHT ~ Reckless in Texas (Texas Rodeo, #1) by Kari Lynn Dell

image001Title: Reckless in Texas

Series: Texas Rodeo, #1

Author: Kari Lynn Dell


Pubdate: August 2nd 2016

ISBN: 9781492631941

 

Violet Jacobs is fearless. At least, that’s what the cowboys she snatches from under the hooves of bucking horses think. Outside the ring, she’s got plenty of worries rattling her bones: her young son, her mess of a love life, and lately, her family’s struggling rodeo. When she takes business into her own hands and hires on a hotshot bullfighter, she expects to start a ruckus. She never expected Joe Cassidy. Rough and tumble, cocky and charming, Joe’s everything a superstar should be—and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out he’s way out of Violet’s league.

Joe came to Texas to escape a life spiraling out of control. He never planned on sticking around, and he certainly never expected to call this dry and dusty backwater home. But Violet is everything he never knew he was missing, and the deeper he’s pulled into her beautiful mess of a family, the more he realizes this fierce rodeo girl may be offering him the one thing he never could find on his own.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Barnes & Noble

Chapters

iBooks

Indiebound


10904548_329608287246855_122230511325396069_oAbout the Author

Kari Lynn Dell is a ranch-raised Montana cowgirl who attended her first rodeo at two weeks old and has existed in a state of horse-induced poverty ever since.

She lives on the Blackfeet Reservation in her parents’ bunkhouse along with her husband, her son, and Max the Cowdog, with a tipi on her lawn, Glacier National Park on her doorstep and Canada within spitting distance.

Her debut novel, The Long Ride Home, was published in 2015. She also writes a ranch and rodeo humor column for several regional newspapers and a national agricultural publication.

 

LINKS:

Website
Twitter
Facebook


 

A Letter from the Author

Dear Reader,

There’s something about a rodeo. The scent of early morning dew and the quiet crunch of gravel under metal shoes. The first drowsy simmer of excitement wakened by the dull thud of hooves on rubber as horses hop into the trailer. One last check to be sure all the rope bags and bridles and the one certain saddle blanket are packed into the tack compartment. The life-giving aroma of coffee in travel mugs, and a half-hearted debate about whose turn it is to climb behind the wheel, and who drove last time, and yeah, honey, I know you hate those idiot Portland drivers. I’ve got that shift.

There’s something about a rodeo that takes you to places you would otherwise never venture. Tiny towns on dead end highways, with names like Weippe and Rosebud. Into the chaos of city traffic in Minneapolis and Seattle. Through endless miles of high desert to Winnemucca, and crawling up the side of Hell’s Canyon to Asotin.

There’s something about a rodeo. Bucking bulls and horses drowsing in the midday sun, tails twitching at the occasional fly. Voices and laughter echoing through a maze of pickups and trailers in the contestant parking area. How’d you do at Homedale yesterday? Great ride at Fort Pierre last weekend. Did you draw a good one today? Yeah, I got on Thunderfoot at High River. Better have your hammer cocked, he’ll throw some moves at you. 

The whistle of ropes as cowboys pull out their gear and warm up their arms. The jingle of tack and the slap of leather, punctuated by an occasional whinny. Damp earth and diesel smoke as the tractor rumbles around the arena, preparing the ground, and the first, tempting wafts of grilled beef from the concession stand. And underneath it all, a slow-building tension.

Almost time…

There’s something about a rodeo. Old men in battered, sweat-stained cowboy hats and pearl snap shirts, clustered together in the stands to relive the good times, shaking their heads at how fast these boys are nowadays. Babies in strollers, and their older siblings scampering around in boots and spurs, swinging kid-sized ropes and dreaming dreams as big as the world.

Bucking horses peering out through chute gates, bareback riders standing over them with hats pressed to hearts as the Star-Spangled Banner streams behind a galloping horse and the notes of the national anthem soar into a blue summer sky. Heads bowed as the announcer’s solemn baritone recites the Cowboy’s Prayer.

We ask, Lord, that you be with us in the arena of life…

There’s something about a rodeo. The simmer turning to a buzz as your moment creeps closer. Muscles tighten, lungs constrict. Relax. Breathe. The concerted effort to clear the clutter from your brain and be here, now, in this moment. This few seconds that are the culmination of all the hours of training and practice and travel. Hands that want to tremble from anticipation when you tighten cinches and test your loop. The creak of leather and the musky scent of horse sweat as you swing aboard. Reins that twitch in your hands, bottling up the equine nitro that churns beneath your saddle, eager for the instant of explosion.

Almost time…

Minutes drag, and then race, and then drag again. Relax. Breathe. Riding the wave of adrenaline to the razor-thin edge between ultimate effort and tipping over into a debilitating tangle of nerves. Focus. Clear. You’ve done this a thousand times. Shut down your mind, trust your body.  

There’s something about a rodeo. That moment when it’s your name booming over the loudspeakers. You backing into the roping box, climbing down into the chute. A ton of muscle and adrenaline quivering beneath you, primed to launch. Ready, ready…

And then you nod your head.

There’s something about a rodeo. And I hope you’ll grab a copy of Reckless in Texas and come along for the pulse-pounding, heart-stopping ride.

 


 

Excerpt

Joe slid off his horse, face contorted with pain. He pressed his back against the nearest post and eased down, knees bent, hands clasped tight between his thighs, grinding out curses between clenched teeth. Violet dropped to a crouch between his feet, stomach churning at what she might find. Just a month earlier, she’d seen a team roper lose a thumb by catching it in his rope, and last year one of the tie-down ropers had crushed his wrist in a stray coil.

“Let me see.” She took hold of his forearms, trying to pull his hand out to where she could examine it.

“No.”

“Yes.” She slid her hands down to his wrists, not feeling any gross deformities or blood, but he still had his gloves on. “Is it your thumb?”

“Go. Away.”

“Stop being a baby.”

His right hand snapped up, whip-quick, and clamped on the back of her head, bringing them nose to nose, eye to eye. “It’s not my hand, Violet. It’s what’s underneath.”

“What’s—oh!”

Joe’s hand was cradling his crotch. That pop she’d heard? It was the knotted end of the rope whacking him where it counted. And her hand was right on top of his.

He bared his teeth. “Still wanna kiss it better?”

Mortification rolled over her, hot as molten lava. She tried to jerk away, but the force of Joe’s grip on her nape

tipped her off balance. She grabbed his shoulders and her not-inconsiderable weight knocked him sideways. They tumbled to the ground in a tangle of limbs. She scrambled to get her knees under her. One of them made contact with something solid. Joe yelped, twisting hard and fast, flipping Violet onto her back. She arched, bracing to fight him off.

“Stop!”

Violet froze.

Joe was sprawled on top of her, his body rigid. Air hissed in and out between his teeth and sweat beaded on his forehead. “Just…don’t…move,” he panted. “Honest to God, you knee me in the thigh again, I’m gonna puke right down the front of your shirt.”

Violet held her breath. If possible, she would’ve willed her heart to stop beating, in case the thud, thud, thud disturbed his stomach. Motherhood had done nothing to disable her very active gag reflex. As her head cleared, she sorted out what was where. Joe was draped over her, chest to chest, her kneecap flush against the inside of the thigh Dirt Eater had nailed. She carefully rotated her leg, removing the pressure.

“Thank you,” Joe breathed. “Just give me a minute to catch my air and I’ll get off of you.”

Her hands were still clamped on his shoulders, but she couldn’t find anyplace else to put them. The longer she stayed put, the more aware she became of all the hard, lovely muscle under his T-shirt. If it were Beni, she could rub his back to make him feel better. She imagined sliding her palm down the sleek curve of Joe’s spine. Imagined his reaction. Yeah. He would definitely misinterpret the gesture. Much like her body was beginning to misinterpret their current position, the lean length of him hot against her, his cheek pressed to her collarbone, his face buried in the curve of her neck. Each short puff of air was a hot stroke on her skin.

“You sound like you’re in labor,” she said.

He huffed a laugh that tickled her ear. “If having a kid hurts as bad as gettin’ whacked on the pecker with a nylon rope, I need to buy my mother flowers.”

“More like a new car,” Violet said drily. “And I thought it was your thigh.”

“It’s both now, thanks to you.”

“I was trying to help.”

“Uh-huh. I’m guessing this is why you’re a pickup man and not a paramedic.”

Degree by degree, the tension eased from his body, even as Violet wound up like a spring. Need coiled hot and low, and the urge to wiggle against him was almost intolerable.

“Up until then you were doing pretty good,” she said, by way of casual conversation. “I’ll have to tell Beni you can handle stock okay.”

“Gee, thanks.” She could hear the eye roll in his voice. He blew out a long, slow breath—then nuzzled his face into her hair and inhaled deeply. “You even smell good when you’ve been rolling in the dirt.”

She jerked her head away. “Do you always go around sniffing women like a damn stud horse?”

“Nah. If I were a stud horse, I’d do this.” He gave her a quick, light nip at the curve of her neck that electrified every nerve ending and shot a blue-white current straight to where his thigh was pressed between her legs.

She shoved at his shoulder. “Stop that!”

“Just wanted to see if you tasted good, too.” He pushed up onto his elbows, groaned, and eased sideways, an excruciating slide of body against body before he rolled clear and flopped onto his back, legs splayed. He lifted one hand in warning. “Stay back. I’ll be fine as long as you don’t help me anymore.”

No problem. Violet couldn’t move, paralyzed for a few breaths by the sudden, aching absence of his weight. Then she scrambled to her feet, slapping the dust from her butt and legs. “Take all the time you want, tough guy.”

His head snapped up. “You tackled me when I was already down.”

“I thought you were actually hurt.” She flipped a casual hand at him. “No, don’t get up. Katie and I can handle it.”

He made a noise like a pissed-off rattlesnake. She shook the dirt out of her hair, tugged her cap down low, and went to deal with the bulls before she lost her head and tackled him again.

 


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BLP REVIEW ~ Tracy

I enjoyed Reckless in Texas way more than I expected to and I’ll definitely be checking out the other books from Kari Lynn Dell.

What I really liked, surprisingly, was how much info and fact was in the book around the workings of the rodeo, bullfighting and a horse farm. All of that pulled me into the story as much as the characters did!

Both Violet and Joe were good, likable characters. They both have some issues that they are working to resolve and neither is looking for or expecting what they found with the other. To begin with they were combustable, but not in a ‘lets get it on’ way – they had an obvious attraction but when they were anywhere near each other they generally rubbed each other up the wrong way more often than not and sparks went flying! Finally they started being honest with themselves and opened up to what was in front of them.
There was some confusion, a bit of a lack of communication and a ‘will they ever get it together’ moment that all contributed to a story that kept me engaged and hoping for everything to work out for the two of them!

A cocky, infamous fun friend, a cute wee boy, an ex (who at points seemed keen on losing the ex status), close family and friends all rounded out a supporting cast that added up to a really great read! I’m looking forward to the next book in the Texas Rodeo series and finding out how things go for Delon.

I rate Reckless in Texas 4.5*

~ T xx



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