Thank you Charlie, for inviting me at your Tea House. I’m such a purple girl, I feel right at home!
Weather with you.
I’ll admit it. I love terrible weather. Give me storms and rain and snow (at least if I can stay inside and keep warm and dry!) and I’m a happy camper (so to speak). All through my cowboy series, the weather has played a large part in how the stories worked out.
In Clouds and Rain, it rains almost constantly. It’s so bad that after his accident, Gable is confined to his house because the ground is soggy and uneven and with one foot missing, getting around on even ground is hard enough. Luckily he has Flynn to take care of him.
In Earth and Sky, a large part of the story plays out during winter when the ground is covered in snow and it both preserves and hides the tracks of the horse thieves Grant and Hunter are chasing down. One of the horse thieves, apprehended during a mid-winter stake out, is Rory, who plays a large part in Floods and Drought.
The title Floods and Drought already says a lot about how much the weather plays a part in what happens during the story. More rain and the snow thawing in the mountains means the lands of the ranch flood more than once, at one time almost killing Rory. Tim asks Deputy Sheriff Kelly Freed to come to the rescue with his chopper and what better introduction than that to lead us to my latest in the saga: Moon and Stars.
In Moon and Stars the weather is on the side of our main characters for once. Kelly and Cooper have nice enough fall weather to both help build an extension to Gable and Flynn’s ranch house and do some star gazing, literally or figuratively. They were both raised city boys with a weakness for the countryside, so you can see why I like them so much!
The last part in the series, which is being written as we speak, already has a title and again the weather plays a large part. Frost and Thaw tells you we’re going back to winter (and maybe spring), but it will be more about thawing hearts than snow and ice! Look for that story somewhere next year.
This is a scene in the beginning of the story linking to the previous book. Anyone who’s read Floods and Drought know how this ends!
KELLY found his way to the woodshed by walking toward the bright yellow light shining from its open door. When he walked in, Cooper was sweeping the last of the woodchips from the back of the tractor trailer. Despite the quickly cooling autumn air, he looked sweaty and hot.
“What are you doing here?” Cooper asked gruffly after letting Kelly wait for several long seconds.
“Looking for you. Can we talk somewhere? Privately.”
“What is this about?”
Kelly couldn’t help hearing the unspoken dismissal. Cooper clearly had no desire to talk to him. He decided to cut to the chase. “It’s Rory McCown. He broke his parole this afternoon, and he needs your help.”
“That’s what public defenders are for,” Cooper replied as he continued to sweep the floor.
“And his public defender is Sean Goddard,” Kelly said without further explanation.
“Norm’s son? Is he even out of diapers yet?”
Kelly chuckled, more out of nervousness than because he found what Cooper had said funny. “Just passed the bar. You know his dad, right?”
Cooper nodded. “Sure I do. He was my biggest competition when I first came to town. Big shark of a small-town lawyer, but he was gracious enough to not fight me over my piece of the pie.”
“Well, Sean’s a little out of his depth against Emmett Love.”
“Jeezes,” Cooper replied. “Emmett Love? Carries the name, but doesn’t know what it means. He used to hold the record for the most parolees returned to prison. Don’t suspect he got any more lenient in his old age?”
“Nope,” Kelly replied. “And he’s got it in for Rory’s hide.”
“Rory needs your help, Coop.”
“Can’t do it. I’m not a lawyer anymore.”
“You’ll always be a lawyer, Coop. You were the most amazing legal mind I’ve ever met.”
Cooper looked at Kelly from under his hat. “The emphasis on ‘were.’ They disbarred me, Kelly. Stripped me of my rights. I couldn’t represent Rory if I wanted to. And I don’t want to.”
“You don’t need to represent him. He just needs some advice. And to know someone is on his side.”
“We’re all on his side,” Cooper was quick to reply, standing tall, his broom by his side. “He’s Tim’s man. He used to work here. I like him. But I don’t see what I can do for him.”
Kelly smiled. If his memory didn’t betray him, the sparkle he saw appearing in Cooper’s eye was the first sign of Cooper becoming excited about something, although the rest of his body still dismissed him. “He needs someone to show him he’s worth fighting for. And he needs someone to talk Emmett Love under the table. According to your reputation, you’re the only guy in this town who can do that.”
“Naah,” Cooper said, putting his broom aside. “I was never interested in him enough to talk him under a table.” Cooper wiggled his eyebrows, and Kelly was transported back to the law library, their study group, and their favorite place for sex. On top of or under the long
“Pretend,” Kelly ordered. “Just this one time and just for Rory’s sake. Love is hell-bent on sending him back to state prison for a year. I’ll settle for him serving the remainder of his parole, not his prison sentence, in county jail.”
“But it’s not your call, is it?”
“No, that’s something the county prosecutor has to decide, but he’ll listen to Love. If Love recommends the shortest possible sentence, he’ll follow, and then all Sean Goddard needs to do is agree with it. The judge will follow the prosecutor. You know that.”
“I suppose it’s worth a shot.”
Kelly had the overwhelming urge to wrap Cooper in his arms and kiss him senseless. He thought he could smell Cooper’s sweaty, manly scent from where he was standing, but considering the overwhelming woodsy aroma emanating from everything else in the shed, he figured it was just his imagination. When he took one step toward Cooper, the man tensed up, though, so he decided a butch punch to the arm would be enough. “I knew I could convince you.”
Cooper shrugged. “Emmett Love probably won’t even let me in.”
“Don’t know if you don’t try. And if he doesn’t, at least Rory will know you support him.”
“Fair enough,” Cooper said. “What time do you want me there?”
She likes her men every which way they come and never tries to change them. Men who are tough on the outside but have a huge soft center get extra credit, though, as do the strong, silent types who think they hide their damage well… but don’t. She makes it her personal goal to find them their happily-ever-after, even if the road toward this leads via hospital beds, villas with gorgeous vistas, or ranges full of horses.
Zahra is a proud member of the Rainbow Romance Writers, a special interest chapter of the Romance Writers of America, and won’t quit until M/M romances are treated like every other romance story. RWA allowed her into its Professional Authors Network, but she hasn’t quit her day job yet since it allows her to work in a man’s world. And what girl can resist that?
If Zahra had her wish, a day would have at least thirty-six hours, because how else would she find the time to finish all the novels still inside her head?