Well. What the heck should I be tellin’ y’all? When that good for nothin’ author, Andrea Downing, sashayed in here like she owned the place, and said, “Ty, you’re looking well. Orange suits you” with that nasty laugh of hers, then pulled out the chair and said we had to talk, I knew I was in for something. “Look here,” she said in that godawful accent she has, from England or somewhere up north or something, “I created you, so I figure you owe me.”
“What now?” I asked. “I might be able to arrange a delivery—”
“No deliveries, Ty! Listen, you’re just looking at four walls all day and sewing up a few mail bags. Well, three walls and some iron bars or something, so why not make yourself useful? I’m up to my ears in work but I have this blog due—”
“This what?” I asked.
“A blog. A piece of writing that goes on the internet. Anyway, I haven’t really got the time, and time is something you seem to have plenty of, so, as it’s about you, I figure you can write it.”
Geesh. I know when I’m being fiddled but I thought I’d show her I was just as smart as she was, could’ve probably written the dang novel a helluva lot better than what she wrote. I mean, she’s got two heroes—that’s a laugh! Heroes? What did Jake and Ray ever do to become heroes? You ask me, I shoulda been the hero of the piece. After all, I was running what y’all might call a public service: risking the law to obtain a product that was in high demand and supplying it to the public at large. ’Course, she made me look like a villain; that was one thing. She painted me with my scar and an unpleasant face, while Jake turned into this tall, handsome bastard with deep blue eyes. Funny how that happens. You never get a really good-looking villain in books, do you? I mean, if you did, the girls would be dropping their pants for the villains, which I suppose, I have to admit, wouldn’t work.
Come to think of it, though, Jake was employed with me for a while. And Robbie had been, too. Lapped it up, the both of them. Robbie loved the money, Jake loved the excitement—couldn’t get enough of it. So tell me why they’re heroes and I’m a villain?
But what I really don’t understand is this: why don’t all you readers feel sorry for me? I mean, I had this lousy childhood with my dad leaving us and all, while good ol’ Jake and my pal Robbie had Ray for their daddy and this idyllic life on a ranch. Shouldn’t that bring in a little sympathy for me? Shouldn’t all the gals be going, “Ahhhhh, poor Ty”? Manipulative! Damn it! That’s what she was—Andrea. Damned manipulative. She just created me real unsympathetic-like so that y’all would dislike me and I’d be the villain of the piece. And what did I do to land myself here? I didn’t kill any cute little bunny rabbits or nothing. I didn’t kill any…
Well. I’ve had enough of this garbage. If you wanna find out jus’ what it is I did do, go on ahead and read the dang book. Then you can decide if I’m a villain.
Author: Andrea Downing
Genre: contemporary women’s fiction/romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Blurb: Successful, workaholic author Carrie Bennett lives through her writing, but can’t succeed at writing a man into her life. Furthermore, her equally successful but cynical daughter, Paige, proves inconsolable after the death of her fiancé.
Hard-drinking rancher Ray Ryder can find humor in just about anything—except the loss of his oldest son. His younger son, Jake, recently returned from Iraq, now keeps a secret that could shatter his deceased brother’s good name.
On one sultry night in Texas, relationships blossom when the four meet, starting a series of events that move from the dancehalls of Hill Country to the beach parties of East Hampton, and from the penthouses of New York to the backstreets of a Mexican border town. But the hurts of the past are hard to leave behind, especially when old adversaries threaten the fragile ties that bind family to family…and lover to lover.
“You know how to Texas Two-Step?” he asked.
“No,” she said, laughter just below the surface.
“Well, sweetheart, you have come to the right place. Or at least got yourself the right man. By the time I finish with you, you’ll be the best dang stepper on the floor.”
Carrie looked around. “There isn’t anyone else on the floor at the moment, Ray.”
“Well, heck, I know that. That’s perfect for learning.”
As soon as his hand closed around hers, the leather of his palm a strange glove over her own fingers, a sudden frisson of connection ran through her she hadn’t known in a very long while. He moved her to face him squarely on, a small smile tipping the edges of his mouth, the dark, impenetrable eyes shining with his captured prize.
“Just follow me,” he said as his right hand went to her back. A cover of a Vince Gill ballad started, the mournful tune setting a moderate tempo. “Perfect.” He held her right hand high and applied slight pressure to move her backwards. “Fast fast slow slow, fast fast slow slow.”
Carrie felt a light bulb go on. She got it. It was good. It was fun. And she relaxed in his embrace. He was an excellent teacher, a fabulous leader on the dance floor. Would wonders never cease?
“You’re doing well. You’re doing fine,” he assured her. “We’re gonna try a little promenade now, and then a twirl, so get ready.”
Carrie couldn’t stop herself from smiling, anticipation bubbling for just a second. And then out of the corner of her eye she caught Ty watching them, beer half-raised in salute and a smirk plastered on his face. A moment’s hesitation and she missed the step.
“What happened there?” asked Ray, oblivious to the effect the on-looker had on her.
Other couples were finally joining them on the dance floor, but despite the company, Carrie’s discomfort increased. “That boy, that Ty,” she told him. “He was watching us. It made me feel…uneasy.”
Ray scanned the sidelines, but Ty had gone, nowhere to be seen. “Oh, don’t pay him any mind. He’s harmless enough.”
Andrea Downing likes to say that when she decided to do a Masters Degree, she made the mistake of turning left out of New York, where she was born, instead of right to the west, and ended up in the UK. She eventually married there, raising a beautiful daughter and staying for longer than she cares to admit. Teaching, editing a poetry magazine, writing travel articles, and a short stint in Nigeria filled those years until in 2008 she returned to NYC. She now divides her time between the city and the shore, and often trades the canyons of New York for the wide open spaces of Wyoming. Family vacations are often out west and, to date, she and her daughter have been to some 24 ranches throughout the west. Loveland, her first book, was a finalist for Best American Historical at the 2013 RONE Awards. Lawless Love, a short story, part of The Wild Rose Press ‘Lawmen and Outlaws’ series, was a finalist for Best Historical Novella at the RONE Awards and placed in the 2014 International Digital Awards Historical Short contest. Dearest Darling, a novella, is part of The Wild Rose Press Love Letters series, and came out Oct. 8th, 2014, and Dances of the Heart, her first contemporary novel, came out in February, 2015.
Links to Social Media:
WEBSITE AND BLOG: http://andreadowning.com
Twitter: @andidowning https://twitter.com/AndiDowning
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: http://www.amazon.com/Andrea-Downing/e/B008MQ0NXS/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
ABOUT ME: http://about.me/Andi1948
“DANCES OF THE HEART by Andrea Downing is an entertaining, contemporary romance. Carrie and Ray have both had disastrous relationships in the past, but it was interesting to watch their different ways of dealing with their new feelings. Learning the backstory of Ray and Jake’s life added an emotional element to the novel, and gives the reader an understanding of the dynamics of their relationship. The main love story of the novel is Carrie and Ray’s, but I enjoyed the snippets that we see of Paige and Jake’s situation. DANCES OF THE HEART by Andrea Downing is a fabulous Texan romance with plenty of action to keep you entertained.”
–Linda Green, Fresh Fiction
“…Trusting relationships between these characters do not come easily, making their effort a compelling journey for the reader. Author Andrea Downing serves up a buffet of emotions: anger, sorrow, romance and the type of love that is real, raw and captivating. … Carrie in her judgment is as real as it gets and Ray’s honesty speaks volumes. When a few mysterious incidents that have everyone on the ranch walking on eggshells and the plot begins to twist, the reader will have a hard time putting it down!”
–Margaret Faria, InD’Tale Magazine