By Laura Drake
I beg your indulgence for one blog. Only one, I promise.
After 16 years of writing, my debut book releases in less than two weeks! God knows, I’ve had lots of time to get ready, but I’m not sure you can truly prepare for an event that momentous. In a few days, I’ll start worrying about sales (or lack thereof,) reviews and track records, but for now, I’m just going to wallow in the feeling.
Like a proud mother, I want to show my baby off to everyone. It’s a compulsion; I can’t help myself.
So here goes:
Here’s what The Sweet Spot is about:
Charla Rae Denny’s role as a traditional ranch wife and mother fits her like custom-tailored Wranglers. When her only son is killed in a tragic accident, Char retreats to a world of grief and Valium. Her reeling husband takes up with a blonde buckle bunny half his age. Their ranch, which supplies bucking bulls to the Pro Bull Riding circuit, is split up in the divorce. Jimmy gets the bulls, Charla, their valuable semen.
All her county fair ribbons won’t help Charla now. She’s alone, addicted, ill-equipped, and has no one to blame but herself. In spite of her fear of horses and smelly cows, she stands up, takes off her apron, and learns to run a ranch. She and Jimmy have lost their way. But through months of hard work, tears, and some hard knocks, they both learn to forgive — themselves and each other. Together, they find their way back, to life, to love, to the Sweet Spot.
Here are a couple of excerpts :
The grief counselor told the group to be grateful for what they had left. After lots of considering, Charla Rae decided she was thankful for the bull semen.
Charla rolled over, pulling the covers up to block the light, but it was no use. Consciousness was as relentless as the dawn that inched across the ceiling, highlighting the crack above her bed. It had been painted over many times, but the lightning-shaped fissure had been a constant of her mornings as far back as her memory reached.
She felt around the edges of her mind. She’d forgotten something. Something important. It barreled from a tunnel and slammed her to reality. The hollowness in her chest made her gasp and she hugged herself, afraid she would implode.
Benje is gone.
She pulled the covers up and curled into a ball. Another day to face, when her reason for facing it was gone. Why bother?
She heard the answer in the shush of slippered feet passing her door. Daddy. The grief counselor pointed out that they still had responsibilities. She had to go on for those. Dashing the tears from her cheeks, she threw back the covers and shouldered the sunrise.
She stood before the mirror, buttoning blue flannel pajamas with shaking fingers. Fluffy white cartoon sheep bounced across the material on her chest. Oh, nice. You’re a forty-year old woman, taking a man to your bed for the first time in forever, and this is the best you can do? How sad is that? It’s going to put a damper on the mood if he’s laughing his head off.
It would almost be better to walk out naked. She reached for the top button before she remembered. He’s used to a twenty-year old! Her hand dropped. Better flannel sheep than floppy boobs and a poochy belly. He sure hadn’t traded up in the body department.
Her panicked gaze darted the room, searching for an alternative. My robe! She reached for it. Yellow terrycloth, it covered her from neck to ankle. She looked closer. In spite of numerous Shout applications, the sleeves were stained grey, and snagged strings dangled everywhere; it looked like a shedding bison. A yellow shedding bison.
A soft tap at the door made her jump. “Charla? You okay in there?”
She shot a look to the ceiling. You got me into this. I hope you’re amused. She pulled open the door . . . and forgot everything.
She’s no longer your wife. He crossed an ankle over his knee to give some room in his Wranglers. Maybe not, but her pheromones still called to him from across a room, touching him places no other woman’s ever had.
He wanted her. Sexually obviously, but also in ways he’d forgotten until he found himself outside her world, looking in. He missed the way she used to look at him; a corner of her mouth lifted in a girl-next-door-centerfold way. He missed the sight of her dancing in the kitchen, when she thought herself alone. He missed having the home she’d created wrapped around him, giving him strength to go out in the world and do things.
Char glanced at her watch, straightened, and pulled her shoes from under the couch.
He missed all those things. It was the changes in her that kept him awake, staring out of the screened walls to the night. She was stronger now. Stronger than before the accident. Stronger than he’d ever seen her. And he liked it.
Sigh — my baby. In case you’re so inclined, you can buy it here.
Laura Drake is a city girl, who never grew out of her tomboy ways, or a serious cowboy crush. She writes both Women’s Fiction and Romance. The Sweet Spot, the first novel in her, ‘Sweet on a Cowboy’ Series, released by Grand Central in May of 2013, Nothing Sweeter, in December. Her ‘biker-chick’ novel, Her Road Home, will be released by Harlequin’s Superromance in August, 2013.
Laura resides in Southern California, though she aspires to retirement in Texas. She gave up the corporate CFO gig to write, full time. She’s a wife, grandmother, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.