Sydney Thomas wants nothing more than to train rodeo horses and hopes becoming a rodeo queen will help her make the contacts she seeks. She is thrilled when Mike Findley, the co-owner of Findley Brothers stock contractors, hires her for her dream job as a horse trainer until she meets Scott Chandler, the other half of Findley Brothers. He’s arrogant, judgmental and, unfortunately, unbelievably sexy. Scott doesn’t bother to hide his attraction to her, but makes it clear that he thinks she’s nothing more than a “buckle bunny” intent on taming a cowboy and he doesn’t plan on being any woman’s toy - not again.
When the two are forced to work together, neither expects their past to show up on the doorstep. Scott’s ex, Mike Finley’s daughter Liz, returns to win him back, determined to destroy any budding relationship between Scott and Sydney, even if that means bringing in outside help in the form of Curtis Willits, Sydney’s ex-fiancé. Sydney faces her abusive past relationship and Scott fights his distrust of women and love. Can they overcome their past and learn to trust one another with their hearts?
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Inspiration for Rodeo Queen:
In 1987, after competing in rodeos with a horseback drill team, I looked up during the opening ceremony to see a beautiful girl in a sequin outfit holding the American Flag. As the National Anthem played, she circled the arena. I watched her in awe. It was a few minutes later that I found out she was a “rodeo queen.” I’d never heard of one before that, even though I’d spent plenty of time around rodeo. I’d never paid that much attention.
As I watched her that day, I saw her talking with spectators, rodeo participants and performing various activities during the performance. I decided that very afternoon that someday, I would be a rodeo queen. It took three years, hundreds of hours of practice and endless preparation for me to win my first title as a rodeo queen. Several more competitions and titles followed. During this period of my life, I was training horses, going to college and competing. I lived and breathed horses and was surrounded by the romance of rodeo – incredibly talented cowboys, beautiful young women and a historic culture.
I loved writing and always wanted it to be my career and I loved western romances. All writers have heard the advice, “write what you know” so I looked at the people I had surrounding me and decided to put them and rodeo into a novel. At the time, I wasn’t sure how to do it so I just jotted down a few ideas and put them away.
Years later, more than I’d like to count, and now a grown woman with kids of my own, running a business from home, I decided I wasn’t going to wait any longer to pursue my dream of a writing career. I decided that I needed to do something elaborate, to force myself to focus on my writing. Luckily for me, it was two days before Halloween, just enough time for me to enter NaNoWriMo. With only two days before the start of the frenzied writing challenge, I pulled out my idea book.
There my “rodeo” story stared me in the face. I wondered briefly if anyone would even want to read a story about a rodeo queen. Then it dawned on me, this was NaNoWriMo, it was about producing numbers, not necessarily quality so no one would read what I wrote anyway. Boy, was I wrong. By the end of the month, I was asking my critique partner to read it and within ten days, I emailed it to Avon with my heart in my throat and my fingers crossed.
T. J. Kline was raised competing in rodeos and Rodeo Queen Competitions since the age of 14 and has thorough knowledge of the sport as well as the culture involved. She has written several articles about rodeo for small periodicals, as well as a more recent how-to article for RevWriter, and has published a nonfiction health book and two inspirational fiction titles under the name Tina Klinesmith. She is also an avid reader and book reviewer for both Tyndale and Multnomah. In her spare time, she can be found laughing hysterically with her husband, children, and their menagerie of pets in Northern California.
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