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You know, those little barbs that get into your skin and won’t let go.
I was about seven years old the first time I ever encountered Cholla cactus. My family and I had just moved to Phoenix, Arizona, for our first winter there. My mother, sisters and I took a walk. I spotted a pale green chunk of cacti with little white spikes. I was infatuated with the desert flora and bent to pick it up. Instantly, hundreds of little spines embedded themselves in my palms. The more I writhed, the more it dug in.
Hours later, in an emergency room, the last thorn came out.
Not exactly the same thing, but a book hook sinks in and won’t let you go.
I would like to hear what you think of my hooks from my connected books.
From A Cowboy to Keep: For a moment, seventy-five considered her, his eyes narrow and mean. Skin on fire, Laney faced him, eyeball to eyeball. She stood motionless, holding the hot-shot like a lance, daring him to come for her. Time stood still as they faced off. She could smell her own fear over the manure on her hands and knees as the Angus mulled over his options. He pawed with both front hooves and tossed his head. Red slobber flew through the air.
Blood. Wyatt’s blood. Oh, God.
Laney tensed, ready to jump away. Just as she thought the Angus would come for her, Wyatt moaned. Like a child with a toy car, the bull dropped his head and shoved the man into the rail fence. The logs shook as Wyatt’s body slammed into them.
Screaming nonsensical words, Laney chased the bull and hit him again with her prod. Shaking his head as if she were nothing more than a gnat, he repeatedly slammed Wyatt into the fence.
Desperation clouded her mind, but Laney tried to think. The prod was only making the bull madder. She waved at him. “Look at me!”
When the mighty Angus glanced her direction, she ran at him and slapped his nose with her bare hand then danced back a few steps. He pawed with both front feet, filling the air with dirt. Laney’s eyes stung, but she refused to blink.
"Come on, come on." She waved her arms, daring the animal to charge. Her heart pumped so fast she couldn’t tell the beats apart. She had to get him away from Wyatt. Now. "You dirty, filthy beast. Try to get me."
Like a Mexican bullfighter, she leaped forward and poked his nose with her prod. Enraged, the bull lunged forward. Turning and running, with him hot on her heels, she sped into a small holding pen and catapulted over the back fence. Tearing around the backside, she slammed the gate shut and threw the latch. She dropped the hot-shot and ran for Wyatt, screaming his name.
Laney fell to her knees beside him and tugged him over. "Oh, God, Wyatt. Don’t you dare die on me.”
From Sunny Days Ahead: Weak as a newborn lamb, Sunny Jamieson struggled into her two-sizes-too-small coat and work gloves and wrapped a red plaid scarf around her head. She’d been in labor for more than twelve hours, and her pains ought to be getting stronger, but they seemed to be staying level at about ten minutes apart. To make matters worse, the boys could barely get out of bed, both sick with the flu. But she had hungry horses and a cow in the barn. If she didn’t feed them, no one would.
Damn all men to hell anyway.
She smoothed the hair away from the boys’ warm foreheads. Both were still feverish. This had gone on way too long. When she came back inside she’d try to find a way to get to the hospital. The phone had been off for hours—the storm knocked it out—and the truck was too squirrely to drive on icy roads.
The baby was coming early in the middle of an ice storm that had her isolated on her ranch.
With one last look at her precious boys, she went out and closed the door behind her.
If she weren’t careful, Family Services would take the boys away from her. She couldn’t let that happen. She had to figure something out, fast. Later. Right now, she had to feed the hungry animals.
Taking care not to fall, she held on to the railing and maneuvered her bulk down the snow-slickened steps. Every inch was torture as labor pains burned through her back. Step by step, she slogged her way across the snow-covered barnyard. Dragging herself to the barn took all her considerable willpower.
Freezing wind blew snow down from the peaks, across the valley floor, and into her face as she fought to pull open the barn door. Her scarf came loose and flapped around her neck while she struggled to budge the heavy double doors. An extra fierce gust of wind caught the bright red material and hurled it across the yard. In too much pain to care, she watched it go with listless eyes.
Her long blonde hair whipped across her face, and she shoved it away with a shaking hand. The angry November wind took advantage of her and hurled the half open barn door against her shoulder, sending her spinning like a top. Throwing her hands out to protect her belly, she left her head exposed and it slammed into the frozen ground like a hammer to a horseshoe.
Blurb: When Laney Ellis’ husband is killed by a bull, she is left alone to run their small cattle ranch and raise their son, Justin, on her own. One thing she is determined her son will never do is ride rodeo bulls. But that is the dream Justin holds dearest—to be exactly like his dad, the onetime Colorado State High School Rodeo Champion.
After his rodeo career peaks and begins to slide, Cody Utah opens a bull riding school. Although attracted to his next door neighbor, he steers clear. Cody has heard rumors Laney trapped her husband into marriage by getting pregnant in high school. The last thing Cody wants is children. His mother was a drunk, and he doesn’t know who his father is.
A bull's hooves turned Laney’s world to dust; bull riding gave Cody a life worth living—can they find common ground?
Available for purchase at: Amazon
Blurb: Sunny Jamieson craves a normal family so much she has gotten pregnant by the wrong man—twice. Neither was the man she thought he was, and she is alone and about to give birth in an ice storm.
Garrett Pike wants nothing more than to have a boy of his own to follow in his footsteps. When he returns home from the rodeo circuit and finds his wife in bed with a ranch hand, he needs to distance himself from his angry memories and accepts a job offer in Black Mountain, Colorado. On the way, his truck breaks down in a blizzard, landing him at the home of a pregnant woman and her kids.
Garrett and Sunny bond when she gives birth. Garrett realizes he doesn’t have to be the biological father of a child to love one, and Sunny knows she’s found the man she’s been seeking. Together, they can create the family they’ve both been longing for.
Available for purchase at: Amazon
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Author Bio: Falling in love with romance novels the summer before sixth grade, D’Ann Lindun never thought about writing one until many years later when she took a how-to class at her local college. She was hooked! She began writing and never looked back. Romance appeals to her because there's just something so satisfying about writing a book guaranteed to have a happy ending. D’Ann’s particular favorites usually feature cowboys and the women who love them. This is probably because she draws inspiration from the area where she lives, Western Colorado, her husband of twenty-nine years and their daughter. Composites of their small farm, herd of horses, five Australian shepherds, a Queensland heeler, nine ducks and cats of every shape and color often show up in her stories!
Be sure to visit D'Ann at: Blog