In case you missed the trade paperback release of THREE WEEKS WITH A BULL RIDER back in March, you’re in luck! Kensington just rereleased it this week in mass market paperback format. Look for it on a shelf at a Walmart or Barnes & Noble near you! It’s also available at your favorite online book retailers in both paperback and digital at a new lower price. And coming December 17th–the audiobook version!
Release Day is one week away! How about an excerpt to hold you over until next Tuesday?
Skeeter Anderson was born to ride bulls. He bypassed college to shoot straight to the top of the elite pro tour, but lately all he can seem to do is hit the dirt. Unwilling to admit his career might be over at twenty-one, Skeeter brainstorms a bull-riding boot camp with his buddies, which will put him closer to a girl who’s caught his eye—a stock contractor’s daughter called Riley.
Riley Davis lives and breathes bulls. Since her mother’s death, she’s been her father’s business partner as well as the apple of his eye—until a coronary rips him out of her life. Now, at nineteen, she must find a way to hang onto the family business. When Skeeter drives to Mississippi to lend her a hand, his buddies hot on his heels, Riley has more help than she can shake a stick at, and an attraction to Skeeter that’s heating up by the minute…
EXCERPT from THROWN (Rated G)
Inside her room, he released her hand and moved to the window. He hit the ON button for the air conditioner. It purred to life, much quieter than the unit upstairs. Hopefully the soft, steady drone would lull her to sleep.
He’d have to sneak in a shower after she fell asleep, but for now he could lie with her for a while. Skeeter sat on the edge of the mattress and pulled off his boots as the room began to cool. As the second boot dropped to the floor with a thud, he twisted to see Riley hesitating near the bed. She wasn’t sure what he wanted.
What he wanted and what he was going to do were two very different things. He swung his legs onto the bed on top of the covers and leaned back against the headboard.
Reaching out, he flipped back just the corner of the sheets on her side of the bed. “Come on. Get in and get comfortable.”
She did as he’d said, settling in against the pillow beneath his arm. She felt good there, nestled against him. A man could get used to having a soft warm body pressed against his all night, every night.
He glanced down to make sure she was comfortable and saw the smile on her lips. “What?”
She laughed. “I was just thinking if the preacher showed up now his head would probably explode. Between Mustang and Sage in the trailer, and Slade and Jenna in the barn. You and I here…”
“Yeah, I know. Not exactly the wholesome picture I painted for him.” Skeeter didn’t want Riley getting the wrong impression about the guys or him. “You know, they really are a couple of good guys.”
“Don’t say anything to anyone yet, but I think Slade might be fixin’ to ask Jenna to marry him.”
“Really?” She turned her head on the pillow to look up at him. “How do you know?”
“He kind of hinted at it the other day.”
“Wow. That’s nice. You think she’ll say yes?”
“Don’t know. She loves him, anybody can see that, but she’s a city girl with a home in New York. He’s a bull rider, on the road all the time, and his family is in Texas. Differences like that can cause problems, I suppose. It’s not like they’re from the same world—” Skeeter stopped himself before he finished the thought. From the same world like you and I.
If this were any other time in Riley’s life, Skeeter wouldn’t be sitting in bed with her making small talk until she could fall asleep. Instead, he’d be exploring every inch of her, getting to know her in so many ways.
That time would come. God, he hoped it would. He hadn’t considered trying to have a serious girlfriend since he’d started traveling with the pro circuit. It had seemed impossible. Riley made him want to have one. To have her. She made it seem possible. They did live in the same world. It was very possible.
His pulse sped a bit thinking of lying down with Riley every night, just like this. Like this, but different because if they were together as a couple, they wouldn’t be talking right now. It was nearly impossible, but he yanked his mind off thoughts of making love to Riley. Of what the first time together would be like.
Riley couldn’t know about his internal conflict as she continued to talk. “Yeah, I guess they are different. I still hope she says yes.”
He smiled at her optimism. “Careful. Your romantic side is showing.”
She lifted one shoulder. “That’s okay. It’s only you here. I’ll play the tough stock contractor with the heart of steel tomorrow.”
He gave her shoulder a squeeze. The fact she felt she could show him a part of herself she couldn’t show others warmed him inside. “Close your eyes. The rest of the guys will be here tomorrow, and believe me, you’re gonna need all your energy to deal with them.”
“Nah. I know you’ll deal with them for me.” Her voice sounded dreamy as she sank heavier against him, but all Skeeter could think about was how much trust and faith she’d already placed in him. He’d do whatever it took to live up to her expectations. There was no way he was going to let her down.
“Skeeter?” She surprised him by speaking. She’d been silent for long enough after her pronouncement of her faith in him that he’d thought she might have drifted off.
“I liked our kiss.”
Skeeter smiled. “I liked it too.”
He felt her relax against him again. Her breathing slowed until it became a steady, deep rhythm. All the while, he tensed beside her. He’d never wanted a woman this much.
Damn. Sleep wouldn’t come easy for him tonight. Not with Riley on his mind. Definitely not with her pressed against him, waking parts of his body he wished would go back to sleep, at least for now.
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AND don’t miss the rest of the Studs in Spurs Series
Do you love cowboys? Then check out my Oklahoma Nights series!
“THROWN, a story of a young couple striving against all odds to find love and fulfillment, is heart-warming and a wonderful tale of a young man working towards his life-long passion. THROWN by Cat Johnson is well-written and is guaranteed to keep the reader glued to every page.” ~Fresh Fiction
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It’s interesting to sit back as an author and watch readers react to your characters. I’m finding that particularly so with Jace from the Oklahoma Nights series. He’s not perfect. I know. I wrote him that way. There are reasons for his flaws and for his behavior, but you, the readers don’t get to see all that until his book, Three Weeks with a Bull Rider. Some readers of Book 2 complained about Jace as a character. What I would hope is that readers realize that if I can make him bother you in Book 2, I have the skill to turn both your opinion and his character around in Book 3.
In real life no one should judge another person until they’ve walked a mile in their shoes because what we see of each other is only the tip of the iceberg of a complete world that makes up each of us. More than that, not one of us is perfect. George RR Martin, author of Game of Thrones, says his favorite characters to write are the ‘gray’ characters because they are the most true to life, and I think, more interesting. I want to throttle perfect characters. They are cardboard, two-dimensional beings. Real people make mistakes. Real people are capable of great deeds, and even greater mistakes and stupidity.
Jace, on the surface, is a fickle womanizer, a player and a fool. Dig deeper and you’ll find a man who’s tortured, wrestling with a past he can’t close the door on, as much as he tries to move forward.
Here’s a never before seen excerpt from Three Weeks with a Bull Rider. It’s a peek into a dark side of Jace’s life, his relationship with his ex-girlfriend. They dated for 7 years and even now, a year after their break-up, she’s still a drug he can’t resist. But just like an illicit drug, she’s toxic to him and he knows it. In this scene he’s given his best friend’s sister a ride home from a rodeo because her car broke down. READ THAT EXCERPT HERE But his ex-girlfriend, who likes to keep tabs on him even though they are broken up, is angry at him for being in the truck with another woman…
Jace drove to the next block, and then pulled to the side. Letting the truck idle, he picked up his cell phone and dialed Jacqueline. He was tired. Bone deep exhaustion began in his heart and had nothing to do with the competition tonight.
Jacqueline answered on the second ring. “It’s after eleven o’clock.”
“I told you I’d call when I got to Stillwater so I’m calling.”
“It doesn’t take that long to drive from Shawnee. What did you do? Pull over and fuck her?”
“Yeah, Jacqueline. I fucked her nine ways ’til Sunday, right here in the truck. Then I dumped her off with her brother—my best friend—and told him what a great lay she was.” Jace’s heart pounded as hard when he fought with Jacqueline as it did when his hand was strapped to the back of a ton of bucking bull. That kind of stress couldn’t be healthy.
“Then why did fifty miles take you over an hour? I know how fast you like to drive.”
“It’s closer to sixty miles and I was towing her car behind the truck. I had to drive slow. Then I had to take the time to unhitch it when I got to Tuck’s place.” Jace gripped the phone tight and tried to maintain calm.
Maybe she’d believe he was telling the truth. Maybe not. That was always up in the air when it came to Jacqueline. He heard the sniffle and the shaky intake of breath.
“There’s nothing to cry over.” He was safe, back in Stillwater and alone. What the hell more could he offer her? Still, the tears always did him in. It seemed more so now that they were broken up. “Hey, you know what else? I came in second. And even better, I didn’t get hurt.”
Jacqueline let out a snort. “Too bad.”
Jace smiled at that. She’d stopped with the accusations about other women and resorted to insulting him. He knew they were on the upward slope of the fight. “This should make you happy. A young kid riding injured beat me out of first.”
“That’s because you’re old.”
“Pfft. Those young guys don’t know shit. You know that. Now me, I’m old enough to know where everything is and how to use it.” Jace’s voice dipped down, low and suggestive.
“Do you have to work early in the morning?” Jacqueline’s tone had softened.
“No.” He never scheduled jobs for the morning after he rode. There were times he needed the recovery time, or a visit to the hospital. Either way, he didn’t want to leave a customer expecting him and then not show up.
“Can you come over?”
His cock heard the invitation in her voice and immediately rose to the occasion. The damn thing was like his parents’ dog when he was growing up. Buster could be at the other end of the house, hear the can opener and come running, thinking it was time to eat. Like a reflex reaction, Jace’s dick heard Jacqueline’s voice and figured it was time for some lovin’. Truth be told, he hadn’t taken it out for a spin since the last time he’d been with her.
He drew in a shaky breath. “All right. I’ll be there in five minutes.”
Jace had taken his time on the drive from Shawnee to Stillwater, but he didn’t on the way over to Jacqueline’s apartment. He risked a ticket and sped down the dark, deserted streets as the clock on the dash told him it was getting closer to midnight. He wouldn’t stay the night. It would be too painful. How could he hold Jacqueline all night, wake up next to her in the morning in the home they used to share, and then get up and leave to go back to his empty apartment?
This was self-destructive behavior, and yet he was pulling his truck into her driveway, throwing it in park, and heading for the door . . . and her bed. They needed to talk. He needed to stop this. She needed to stop inviting him over. They both had to get on with their lives.
But not tonight. He’d come over tomorrow in the light of day when he wasn’t so tired and needy. They’d talk like adults and agree to be friends.
Jace felt satisfied with his plan as she opened the front door. He was good with it right up until she grabbed his shirt and pulled him inside and her mouth crashed into his. Then all rational thought was lost. He thrust his hands beneath the silky fall of platinum blond waves that hung nearly to her ass. She’d been the local rodeo queen the year he’d met her, and he had no doubt she’d still be able to take the title all these years later.
Yanking her head back, Jace took possession of her mouth. Without breaking the kiss, he backed her inside, kicking the door closed behind him.
Jacqueline wiggled both hands between their bodies. Blindly, she unhooked the buckle on his belt. After seven years of being together and a year of having sex while broken up, it was no surprise she could maneuver his belt as well as he could. She went to work on the fly of his jeans as he anticipated what would be next—her hands on him. Them on the bed. Him inside her.
He tugged the bottom of the tank top out of her pajama bottoms. Sliding his hands beneath the elastic waistband, he felt the bare skin of her ass. He loved how she slept commando. No underwear. Nothing beneath those PJs but his warm, smooth woman . . . except that she wasn’t his. Not anymore.
But for tonight—for the next hour or two—she’d be his.
Jace hoisted her up and she wrapped her legs around his back as he carried her to the bedroom. As he cleared the doorway of the room so familiar to him, he noticed she’d gotten a new lamp and painted the walls. The changes were physical reminders, like a fist to the gut, that they weren’t together. He tossed her onto the bed where she landed with a bounce on the mattress. He followed her down and knew with certainty they shouldn’t be doing this.
Yanking his T-shirt off over his head, Jace tossed it to the floor, realizing it wouldn’t remain there long. He’d put it on after they were done and drive home. In the morning, he’d wake up alone in his own bed. Tomorrow, he’d go back to wondering when the next phone call or text would come from her. When she’d ask him to come over again. And he’d do it, knowing it would hurt like hell afterward.
He didn’t want to live like that anymore.
The knowledge tickled the back of his mind, but the words never made it out of his mouth. Maybe because his mouth was too busy biting her neck, marking her. She raked her nails down his back, likely leaving marks of her own.
Their sex always had been intense. Rough. Passionate. Almost violent, just like their relationship. The worse the fight, the harder the makeup sex. Today’s argument had been nothing compared to their usual, but Jace was too needy, too deprived for too frigging long to not take her hard and fast.
Two fingers thrust inside her told him she was wet and ready. The damn woman always had gotten off from arguing with him. Jacqueline threw her head back, eyes slammed shut from the feel of his invasion. He could bring her to orgasm fast enough. Just a thumb or his mouth on her would do it. He knew her so well, it would take no effort at all, but he was mad and he needed to be inside her. Needed to pound away the emotions.
Jace reached for the drawer next to the bed.
“There aren’t any more in there. You used the only one left last time you were here.”
There’d been plenty of times he had gone without protection with Jacqueline throughout the years, but not now that they were broken up. Especially not after Tuck’s revelation about Emma and Logan’s unplanned surprise. He sat up. “I have some in my gear bag. Be right back.”
“You what? You carry condoms in your gear bag?” Her eyes opened wide.
Crap. He realized his mistake too late. Jace knew that tone, knew that look. He sighed. “Yes, I have a box of condoms in the truck.”
“Why? Who are you fucking at the arena, Jace? Her? The one I heard on the phone tonight?”
“I’m not having sex with anyone besides you, Jacqueline.”
He should lie and tell her he’d picked up a new box because he’d remembered they’d used the stash he always kept in her drawer, but she’d see the box wasn’t new. Some were missing.
He could tell the truth, that he’d started carrying that box around with him shortly after they’d broken up. Since he hadn’t been with anyone else, he’d never used even one. The strip missing were the ones he’d given to Tuck the night he met Becca. But there was no winning a fight with Jacqueline when she got jealous and irrational.
“You’re a pig! You fuck your little tramp and then come here to my bed?” Jacqueline reinforced her accusation by grabbing the phone next to the bed and throwing it at him.
Only his quick reflexes blocked it from hitting him in the face. It bounced off his forearms as he held them in front of him. She threw a pillow next, which was fine. That couldn’t hurt, but when she reached for the lamp—the new wrought iron lamp he’d noticed when he’d walked in—he took a step back.
Jace couldn’t count how many times he’d walked away from a fight with Jacqueline, scratched and bruised. Being a bull rider, he was always hurt, so no one questioned or even noticed a few more injuries. The physical stuff healed. The hurt inside . . . not so much.
Yanking the plug from the wall, she hoisted the lamp over her head and his anger broke through. Jace had never once laid a hand on her. Even when she’d broken his nose, he’d done nothing but try to protect himself from the blows.
No more. He grabbed her forearm and held tight, hard enough to leave bruises from his fingers. The way he teetered on the edge of losing his temper and his control, if she hit him with that lamp, one or both of them would end up in the hospital.
“No, Jacqueline. No more.”
“Don’t you dare tell me what to—”
“No. No more berating me, or jealousy, or hitting me. No more sex. No more phone calls. Nothing. I have never once cheated on you. Never given you cause to feel or act the way you do. I can’t do this anymore. Don’t call me. Don’t text. Don’t come by my house or my work. I’m sorry, but we can’t even be friends. We sure as hell are no good at it.” He managed to keep his voice calm even as his heart thundered.
The hand that held her shook, but still he held tight. He stayed strong. He couldn’t do this anymore. Live in limbo. Hang on to a small thread of a relationship that he knew deep down was toxic to them both. She’d begun to act crazy months after they’d started dating, but he’d lived in hope she’d get over it, that she’d realize he wanted to be with her and only her. Obviously, that wasn’t going to happen.
Jace released his hold on her and remained braced to block a blow, but it didn’t come. She stood before him, wide-eyed and shaking, looking small and vulnerable and making him want to do the one thing he couldn’t let himself—wrap his arms around her and comfort her.
This woman drove him nuts. He’d survived two of the rankest bulls on the circuit tonight, but he’d be lucky to get out of her apartment without a concussion or a few broken bones from a hundred and twenty pound woman wielding a bedside lamp.
In the midst of it all, he felt sorry for her. How crazy was that?
Jacqueline was his drug, his addiction, his kryptonite, and because of that, the only thing to do was go cold turkey. Walk out that front door, drive away, and never look back. No matter how much it hurt both of them.
“Good-bye, Jacqueline.” He turned and headed for the bedroom door. Flinching at the sound of the lamp hitting the floor, he kept walking.
“Jace.” The sound of her footsteps followed him down the hallway. “Please, wait.”
He put one hand on the doorknob and turned it, ignoring her plea and the sob that followed it.
Outside, the cool night air hit his face as he strode for the truck.
“Fine. Never come back!” Her front door slammed behind him, hard and loud, the sound cutting through the quiet of the night. With the truck doors locked and the key in the ignition, he let himself glance at the house, half expecting to see her running at him with the lamp, or the baseball bat he knew all too well was in the hall closet. But the front door didn’t open again. He pulled away from the curb. Only then, did Jace let himself breathe freely again.
The first text came before he’d left her block.
I’m sorry. Please come back.
In the past, this would have been where he’d make a U-turn. Spin the truck around, go back, and bury the anger with makeup sex. Things would be fine until the next fight began. He couldn’t do it anymore. Drawing in a bracing breath, he stayed on course for his own apartment.
The second text followed before he’d driven five more miles.
Where are you? Going over to fuck her? Have fun!
Jace shook his head and swiped a palm over the moisture in his eyes.
This Jacqueline—the angry, irrational one—was a hell of a lot easier to resist than the soft, tear-filled one. He hit the button to power down his phone. He knew her. The texts and phone calls wouldn’t stop all night. In fact, there was a good chance she’d drive over, if not tonight, then by tomorrow at sunrise, and bang on his door until he let her in to prove he didn’t have a girl inside. In fact, given the mood she was in, it was almost a certainty.
Crap. He couldn’t go home. The battle would just continue there. Knowing that, he swung a sharp left and headed away from his apartment, toward the practice arena used by the Oklahoma State rodeo team he sometimes helped Tuck coach.
He’d slept in his truck before, and chances were he’d do it again. It was part of life on the rodeo circuit. Sometimes it was easier to pull over and sleep for a few hours rather than get a hotel room for the night. It was sure as hell cheaper. There’d been other times he’d spent the night in the truck in a parking lot, sleeping off a drunk. He didn’t drink and drive, but that didn’t mean he always took a taxi home. The truck was good enough for him for one night at times such as those, and it was good enough now.
Eventually, he’d have to turn on his phone again and go home. He’d figure out what to do about that later, after some sleep and distance.
Jace cut the engine and stared out into the night. Peace and quiet. Nothing but the stars and the empty practice arena. Easing the seat back as far as it would go, he tilted his hat lower, slumped down and closed his eyes. Tomorrow would be a better day. True or not, he had to believe it.
Add it to your shelves and lists on Goodreads!!
I see all the new holiday themed book releases by some of my favorite authors and I get envious wishing I had one this year, as well. But the truth is, a holiday release is a mixed bag. Yeah, it’s fun during the season, but the other 10 months of the year can be hard on those Christmas books.
So, much like the ornaments I dragged down from the attic last week, I’m going to take these stories out, dust them off, and show them some love because this is their time of year to shine.
Today’s spotlight will be on one of my favorite books I’ve written, A COWBOY FOR CHRISTMAS. I love the hero. I love the heroine’s backstory and how it shapes her life. I love how the hero and heroine are complete opposites but still can’t fight the attraction. I love the fish out of water theme and how it swaps with first her being the one out of her element in his world, and then thanks to unforeseen circumstances it’s him having to survive in her world. I love the side characters, and the surprise plot twist. Mostly I love how it will make you laugh, and then make you cry, and then leave you with a smile and a Hallmark Channel-worthy happy ending.
I wrote this approximately 52,000 word story during November a couple of years ago for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), while all those cheesy made-for-TV holiday movies played in the background and I think it shows, because it’s a feel-good tale that I could easily go back to each and every year to reread. Though don’t get me wrong, unlike those family-friendly movies, this book is HOT!! It’s got a 5-star rating average on Amazon, so I guess readers like it too!
A COWBOY FOR CHRISTMAS
Sexy, independent, corporate executive Casey Harrington’s life and career were shaped by a childhood Christmas wish left unfulfilled. Now, twenty years later on a Colorado cattle ranch, she finally gets everything she’s always wanted—both a hot cowboy and a dream job.
But Bonner “Blue” Boyd is a rancher and Casey is a New Yorker, and even if the sex between them is hot enough to start a prairie fire, they both know that city and country might mix for a week, but it can’t work for a lifetime. Or can it?
When a dramatic turn of events reunite Bonner and Casey, this time on her turf in her city, she has to prove to her displaced cowboy he belongs with her, no matter where they end up. Luckily Casey knows the quickest way to a man’s heart is slightly lower than his stomach.
“a well choreographed love story that offered intrigue, romance and pulled at the heart-strings” 5 Stars (Nominated for LASR’s Book of the Week 2/4/12)
“A sexy cowboy, feisty heroine, great secondary cast, HOT SMEXIN’, a couple of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming and a totally SIGH-WORTHY ending!!!” DiDi, Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
“sizzling hot, emotional, funny, witty and so easy to get lost in! Johnson’s writing is excellent, and let’s face it to make the story good the writing has to melt in the pages and transform into a world in your head” Niina, For the Love of Reading
“sweet and refreshing with a few twists and turns to make it entertaining. The characters are multi-dimensional, and easy to fall in love with.” Night Owl Reviews
Available Today in eBook and Trade Paperback
The book Publishers Weekly called “impressively fresh”
For lovers of the Oklahoma Nights series, here’s some fun trivia to take note of while you’re reading:
There’s a fried bologna sandwich mentioned in book 2, just like there was in book 1. Can you find it?
The restaurant, Joseph’s Fine Foods in Drumright, OK, mentioned in books 1 and 2, really exists. They really do cater and they will roast a whole pig for you, just like Becca orders for her wedding buffet. Look, I have visual evidence!
And remember, the discount on the eBook of book 1, ONE NIGHT WITH A COWBOY, ends today, Sept. 24, 2013. If you want it, don’t wait! The price already went back up on iTunes.
TWO TIMES AS HOT, book 2 in the Oklahoma Nights series, releases Sept 24th. How is Kensington celebrating? They’re having a sale! Book 1, ONE NIGHT WITH A COWBOY, is $1.99 for the eBook, but get it now because this special pricing only lasts until release day.
The Red, Hot & Blue series trilogy of stories JARED, COLE and BOBBY, are together again in one single book, as they were written, as they were meant to be read, and it’s available only in paperback for you all who still like to hold a book in your hand.
SMALLTOWN HEAT releases today in trade paperback (no, it is not available as an ebook though the individual stories are). You might be able to find it on the shelves at your local Barnes & Noble, but the trade paperback is also available for order online.
Who said happiness has to end with the word “cut”?
Jared enjoys simple farm life, until an LA producer blows into town like a tornado hitting a trailer park.
Pigeon Hollow is perfect for Mandy’s new reality show, and she’s sure Jared will have the female demographic glued to their sets. Except the red-hot cowboy is cool to the idea…even as their attraction heats up.
Ten years ago, just as Cole was about to head to the major leagues, Lizzie gave him everything…then broke his heart. Now he’s back with a bum arm and a cancelled contract. Lizzie is still there, still keeping her secrets.
Lizzie did what she had to do to give Cole the future he wanted, but there was no hiding the results of her one and only night in his arms. Now that he’s back it’s only a matter of time…
Bobby has two problems: a reality show that keeps creeping into his personal life, and an unexpected desire that the show’s assistant producer will creep into his bed.
Christy never mixes business with pleasure, but the town sheriff has her breaking all her own rules. And now she’s scrambling to keep her career from crashing and burning.
Warning: You met them in RED BLOODED, now fall in love with the men of Pigeon Hollow! Contains three hot men who have to get creative, both in and out of bed, to win the women they want.
“SMALLTOWN HEAT will definitely be given a place on my keeper shelf.” Romance Junkies
During the dog days of summer temperatures rise and naughty cowgirls start to dream about hot cowboys and maybe even a roll in the hay.
Enjoy this month’s desktop wallpaper, downloadable in a few different sizes to fit standard screen or widescreen computers and also available with and without the calendar page. Feel free to share with a friend!
AUGUST 2013 CALENDAR COWBOY WALLPAPER
COWBOY WALLPAPER (NO CALENDAR)
Let me tell you a story…
A few years ago, about three I’d estimate, I read an article about an author self-publishing very erotic stories. They estimated she’d hit $1 million in sales that year. Remember, this was pre- 50 Shades of Grey, so those numbers were impressive. I downloaded one of her stories from Amazon and had to admit, it was really, really dirty, even by my standards, and it was selling like hotcakes.
So I took a story I had lying around, a threesome that had been rejected by 2 publishers because the heroine was unsympathetic. I took Educating Ansley and I dirtied it up. Added all the sex scenes I’d been afraid to add at first writing. I even took the constructive rejection feedback to heart and gave Ansley a backstory to explain her behavior and character. Then I threw it up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and didn’t say a word. I was a little afraid to since I wasn’t sure how it would be received by my regular readers.
Without promo it almost immediately began selling over 200 copies a day at BN alone, matched closely by the Amazon sales. That’s when I started to promote to keep the momentum going. When all was said and done, I’d sold 6,000 copies of Educating Ansley over the 6 weeks after release. For those who have no gage for if that was good or bad, it was shortly after this that Snooky hit the NY Times list with 9,000 in sales.
Then sales started to decline rapidly and I realized BN had begun hiding the erotica titles because of the rash of ‘daddy books’ on the market at the time. My reign of terror came to a screeching halt, but even if the monumental sale numbers fell, today, 3 years after release, Ansley still outsells daily most of my other, newer self-pubbed titles.
But whenever something sells well, you get a mixed bag of responses. Some people loved it and demanded a sequel. Some people hate it and articulated that fact loudly in their 1-star reader reviews. There was hardly anyone in the middle. So now, years later, I find that I have more 5-star reviews than 1-star reviews, but not by much. The love and the hate are nearly equal.
What makes this story so polarizing? I’m really not exactly sure myself. The level of sex may be one reason, but who knows.
Is it better to be both loved and hated because at least I’ve made them feel something? Perhaps being forgettable is death to an author and rage on the reader’s part is preferable.
I posted this today because Educating Ansley has been put in the hands of A LOT more readers over the past week. It is included in the ALPHA BAD BOYS bundle, which hit the top of the best seller charts at Amazon, BN and ARe since it released last Tuesday, so we’re talking sales figures that have impressed even the best selling of the authors in our group. And I guess I’m bracing myself for more reactions of all varieties–the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The requests for a sequel have been coming again and yes, I’m considering it. Very seriously in fact. With some help I’ve kind of planned out not one but two more books to follow up Ansley. Three sounds like a nice number. I suspect my plans for the threesome will bring on even more volatile reactions, but maybe that’s a good thing.
If you haven’t picked up the bundle yet, you might want to do it today. It’s still 99 cents for 7 complete stories by 7 authors, my Ansley included, but not for long. The price is going up VERY soon. Since the list price for Ansley alone is $2.99, that’s a real bargain.
GET ALPHA BAD BOYS AT:
Even though Leslie wrote in her email that she could only find 13 of the 14 uses of the word “condom” in ONE NIGHT WITH A COWBOY, I only required 5 to enter so Leslie will receive the paperback Advanced Review Copy of Oklahoma Nights, Book 2 TWO TIMES AS HOT which releases September 24th and is on preorder now.
Kudos to Leslie and to all of the many entrants for finding my elusive condoms, since the All About Romance Reviews reviewer who wrote this statement in her review of ONE NIGHT WITH A COWBOY, “There was never any discussion of birth control or disease prevention during any of their romantic moments, despite the fact that they were virtual strangers.” apparently missed every single reference when she ‘read’ my book. I won’t judge. Perhaps she needs reading glasses? I’m getting up there in years myself so I know those pesky eyes start to go over 40.
Anyway… on to the fun part, the reveal of all the many, many references–so many in fact I had to think to myself, damn, I made this character a tad too condom obsessed.
“I get the one in black.” When Jace didn’t respond to his claim on the woman, Tuck glanced at his friend. He found Jace standing openmouthed and staring at him.
Finally, once the look of shock had passed, Jace laughed. “All right. You got it, Tuck. Oh, and there’s a fresh box of condoms in my gear bag. You know, just in case.”
Glancing at her again, he didn’t bother denying his interest. Jace had known him too long for Tuck to try lying to him now. They’d been riding in local rodeos together since they were horny teens on the prowl for any willing female. As concerned about their post-competition activities as they were about the ride. It was no use pretending he wasn’t picturing this woman and him rolling around naked. If she was willing, he sure was.
Tuck nodded. “Good to know. Thanks.”
Tuck’s gaze dropped to her mouth as she answered. Soon, he hoped, he’d have the pleasure of experiencing those tempting lips. He shifted the weight of his gear bag from one hand to the other, very aware of the strip of condoms Jace had so generously stashed in it for him.
Okay, so maybe Tuck wanted to do much more than just kiss Becca. At least he would be prepared. Fine motto—be prepared. It could make for a very good night.
He dumped his gear bag behind his seat and was once again reminded of what it contained. He’d obviously been without a woman for too long; the condoms he’d gotten from Jace, and the possibility of being alone with Becca to use them, were all he could think about.
“If you’re honestly worried about me spending the money, don’t be. I took second in the bull riding tonight. I went to the payout window right before the autograph signing and now I’ve got an envelope stuffed full of cash in my gear bag.” As well as the strip of condoms Jace had put in there.
Opening his door, he got out and stood, stretching his back in the process before he reached behind the seat for his gear bag. Under the guise of getting his payout envelope, he also grabbed the other necessity he’d need for the night, the condoms Jace had supplied him with.
As he shoved both into the pockets of his jeans…
It all seemed much more real as he tore open the condom wrapper he’d just pulled from the front pocket of his pants.
The condom he’d rolled on seemed to stretch to its limit. Tucker was a big man. That excited her as much as it made her nervous.
“Darlin’, I’ve got six condoms and all night.” His piercing gaze held hers. “There’s going to be a whole lot more than just once. Believe me. I intend on neither one of us being able to walk straight in the morning. You okay with that?”
She was still throbbing when he covered himself with a condom quicker than she’d thought possible and rolled on top of her. She glanced at the clock to make sure she wasn’t going to be late for her interview, though at this point, she wasn’t sure she would have cared.
She pocketed that sadness and bent to retrieve the scattered empty condom wrappers from the floor.
“You know, we only used three out of the six. You must be slacking off.” She glanced up and saw his brow rise at her comment.
“Skip that meeting of yours and we’ll use those and then I’ll go out for another box full.”
11, 12, 13 and 14!
He wanted her as much as he had that first night, and by all indications, she felt the same . . . And he didn’t have a condom. He pulled his mouth away.
“Crap.” With a loud sigh, he took one giant step back.
“What’s wrong?” Becca’s voice broke on the question.
He let out a short, sad laugh. “Nothing you did, darlin’. No condoms. I came expecting to eat barbecue. Not to . . .” He bowed his head and spread his hands to indicate the space now separating them.
Becca took a step forward and narrowed the distance. “I’m on the pill, if that helps any.”
They didn’t have to worry about a condom for disease prevention. He was pretty sure Becca wasn’t the type to sleep around. That night with him had been the exception, not the rule. He’d used protection every time he’d been with anyone since his divorce, and the army required he be tested every six months. He could slide into her and have nothing between them. Her revelation nearly destroyed his last bit of control.
“Yeah, it helps.” He groaned and took another step toward her until his thigh was cradled between hers.
The birth control issue settled, he thrust his hands into Becca’s thick hair and crashed against her mouth again. It felt so good to kiss this woman. That’s what made it even crazier when a niggling thought broke into his pleasure. A thought that had him pulling away. “Wait. Were you on the pill the last time?”
He frowned. “Why didn’t you tell me then?”
And why the hell was he talking now?
Because he needed to know, which was insane. But it seemed Becca had kept quite a few things from him. He’d had a woman like that in his life already. In fact, he was still sending her monthly spousal support checks and would be for the next year.
“I didn’t tell you that night because I didn’t really know you then, and we had all those condoms so it wasn’t an issue.”
* * *
Thanks to everyone for playing along and don’t miss the entire Oklahoma Nights series!
Luv ya all!!