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Interview and Excerpt: HIS LAST RODEO by Claire McEwen

"Claire McEwen is a wonderfully imaginative author who writes highly emotional reads dealing with serious issues. I highly recommend her books, especially for people who love imagery and a high emotional factor."

Goodreads Reviewer


HIS LAST RODEO

Back in the saddle again…

Tyler Ellis catches Kit Hayes completely off guard when he swaggers back home and into the bar she manages. Since high school, he's been a champion rodeo star…a notorious playboy…and now, apparently, a bar owner. She accepts his offer of a hefty bonus and helps him transform the place because she's desperate to escape their tiny town in the Sierras. She doesn't expect him to work this hard beside her. Where's the cocky cowboy he's supposed to be? Instead she discovers he's still the sweet, genuine young man she once knew. And so much more…including a threat to the adventurous life she craves.

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Series: Sierra Legacy, Book 4 | Genre: Contemporary Romance | Heat Level: 3

Publisher: Harlequin Superromance

Q&A with Claire McEwen

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I loved the chemistry between Kit and Tyler in this story! Every time I put them on the page together they’d talk and argue and tease each other. Their voices were so clear in my mind. It was actually a bit hard to manage, because they had such a life of their own.

What gave you the most trouble with this story?

The ending! I had two possible endings and each one required some sacrifices on the characters’ parts. I couldn’t figure out who should give up what. I still question whether I made the right choice. If you read it, please let me know what you think!

How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?

I’d always dreamed of writing a book, but I had no confidence that I could write.One evening I was telling someone about my stressful career and he asked me what I really wanted to do with my life.Well this person was a musician who I have enormous admiration for.I was embarrassed to admit to someone so creative and successful that I wanted to write.But I finally mumbled something about wanting to write a book and he said, “So write a book! Life’s short. What are you waiting for?”And it made me realize that there was no way to know whether I could do it or not until I tried. And that life was short… I’d better get busy.So I started writing.

That book I started took me almost a decade to write because I was so busy with my career and my life, and I had no idea what I was doing! But I finally finished it and Harlequin liked it.It’s called A Ranch to Keep and it was published by Superromance in 2014.

What do you do when you are not writing?

I have a little boy, so I try to spend as much time as possible with him. I know pretty soon he’s going to grow up and not want to hang out with his mom so much! And I love spending time with my husband as well. We hike and bike and enjoy the ocean near our home. I also love to garden, though I’m not great at actually making plants grow, and there are way too many gophers in my yard!

What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

I just read my first book by Tracy Brogan and it was a lot of fun! I was smiling all the way through. I love reading books by my fellow Superromance authors and many Harlequin Western and Harlequin Heartwarming authors as well. I also read a book a few weeks ago that really surprised me. It’s a new adult book, which isn’t always my favorite genre, but it was Rita nominated so I thought I’d check it out. It’s called Tell Me How This Ends, by Victoria De la O, and it really pulled me in! She did an amazing job with the hero… well, both heroes!

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

I always feel really weird about the word fans, but to my readers, Thank you!!! Some of you have stuck with me through every book, even when you didn’t like a particular story as much as you liked others. Your faith in me is humbling and you give me courage to keep going. And it is so fun to be in touch through email and social media. Please reach out any time!

"So well written I couldn't put it down. Recommended for anyone who loves a happily ever after." —Goodreads Reviewer

ENJOY AN EXCERPT

from His Last Rodeo

Kit glanced at his towel in horror. “Use the lint-free kind.” She handed him a towel from the stack on the shelf over the sink. “Jeez, you are green, aren’t you?”

“Green at this,” Tyler admitted. “But rumor has it I’m a pretty quick study.”

“Well, I guess we’ll find out if the rumors are true,” she teased. “It’s your first Friday night, isn’t it?”

“It sure is.” He tried to smile, but it felt a little weak. “I’m looking forward to it. But I’ve got a few nerves.”

“You should. You have no idea what you’re doing.” Her intoxicating combination of sass and mischief had the glass slipping out of his hand, so he had to hustle to catch it.

“Nice reflexes,” she murmured. “Maybe there’s hope for you yet.”

“If you help me out tonight, there is. I can pour a pint—”

“Barely.”

“—and measure out a shot. But if I get anything more complicated than that, I’m toast.”

“You don’t know your cocktails?”

“Don’t drink ’em myself. I’ve been reading recipes, but I’m more of a hands-on learner.” A nice way of saying that half the words he read made no sense. He glanced hopefully in her direction. “I just need a good teacher.”

“You want me to train you? You won’t be embarrassed?”

“When you rodeo, you learn by falling on your ass in front of hundreds of people. This can’t be more humiliating than that.”

She studied him from underneath her thick black lashes. “What’s in it for me?”

“A boss who’s not totally incompetent?”

Her slow smile could melt metal. “But that could be kind of fun to watch.”

“No shit-show is fun to watch for long. Plus I saw you with those customers. You pretend to be all tough, but you have a soft spot for the lost and lonely. I’m part of that club right now.”

“You?” She laughed, soft and bitter. He’d give a lot to know what put that resentment in her soul. “Not the words I’d ever use to describe someone like you.”

“Someone like me will pay you a training stipend. A hundred extra bucks each night.”

“Now you’re trying to buy my help?” She scrubbed the pint glass in her hand with extra vigor. “Not everything can be bought, you know. Loyalty, for example.”

“I’m not asking for your loyalty, though that would be nice,” Tyler said. “I’m trying to treat you like a professional. You have years of experience. I have none and I need to learn. So I pay you extra to share your expertise with me. It’s only right.”

“Fine,” she said quietly. “I’ll do it. But you have to be willing to move fast and do what I say.”

“I’m yours to command,” he said, liking the flush creeping up her cheeks at the tiny innuendo. “And I appreciate the help.”

She grabbed a stack of dry glasses. “Well, let’s get going then. It’s getting loud out there, which means it’s getting busy.”

They rounded the corner and Tyler was amazed to see a crowd that stretched almost to the door. A quick scan revealed a collection of some of the most rugged-looking folks he’d ever seen in one place. Bikers in leather, ranch hands in hats, jeans and bowlegs. Women in tight T-shirts and big hair. Kit glanced over her shoulder. “Welcome to the Dusty Saddle. Hope you’re ready to earn your spurs.”

THE AUTHOR

Claire McEwen lives by the ocean in Northern California with her family and a scruffy, mischievous terrier. She loves writing stories where strong heroes and heroines take big, emotional journeys to find their happily-ever-afters. When not dreaming up new books, she can be found digging in her garden with a lot of enthusiasm but, unfortunately, no green thumb. She loves discovering flea-market treasures, walking on the beach, dancing, traveling and reading, of course!

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