Shannon here: Whitaker House author, Tammy Barley shares a glimpse into the romance of her fictional characters from Faith’s Reward. Comment on any post dated Feb 21 – 25 for a chance to win a copy. Deadline midnight central time, Feb 26. Here’s Tammy:
1. What’s the most romantic thing your hero ever did for your heroine?
He caught a herd of mustangs for her, to begin the kind of ranch she had longed for. From The Sierra Chronicles, book one, Love’s Rescue:
The instant the corral gate closed, Jess was out the door and crossing the yard at a run, her hat flying out behind her on its strings. She leapt up onto the lowest rail of the fence, her eyes taking in the buckskins, duns, sorrels, paints . . . and Meg. She lifted her gaze to search out Jake.
He looked over at her from among the boisterous backslapping of his men. When she waved to him he returned the greeting. In the next instant she drummed the top rail with her hands, giggling with unbounded pleasure at the moment. Jake separated himself from the merriment of his men, guided Cielos around the corral and stopped beside her.
Jess smiled into the unshaven, sun-bronzed face. He gestured with a casual tip of his hat. “Your horses, ma’am.”
2. What’s the most romantic thing your heroine ever did for your hero?
In her unique way, Jess assured Jake that, no matter how hard life might get, she would never leave him. From The Sierra Chronicles, book two, Hope’s Promise:
“Jake, you could not leave this ranch.”
“You could,” Jake said quietly, putting a small space between them, giving her the choice.
Jess jerked rather than tilted her head to the side. “You think so?”
In the next instant, Jess spun, strode past the bullet-pitted wall, and stormed through the ranks of wide-eyed cattlemen who scrambled out of her way as she crossed the compound.
In the workshop, she snatched up a spade and the grapevine basket she had brought back from the Sierras, the basket with the mended handle that would always remind her that what she and Jake couldn’t mend, God would.
Her jaw set, she marched out the doorway past Jake and scanned the ground. A trio of brown, dried weeds snagged her gaze, weeds that, in hospitable weather, would flower magnificently. She dropped to her knees, dug up all three along with their roots, and thrust them into the basket. Still ignoring Jake, she carried basket and spade to the house, briefly eyed the vacant ground in front of the porch beside the steps, then planted the weeds in a row.
Jess pushed to her feet, tramped to the water pump, grabbed a filled bucket, and returned to pointedly water the sun-baked plants. Finally she threw the bucket to the ground and faced Jake.
“I’m not going anywhere,” she said.
Jake set his hands on his hips, and his mouth slowly formed a besotted grin. “Perhaps I could build a few rocking chairs for the porch this winter,” he said.
Jess smiled back. “Perhaps you could.”
3. Where is the most romantic place your hero and heroine have ever been?
They spent a night together in the stable, while spring foals were being born. From The Sierra Chronicles, book three, Faith’s Reward:
In a few of the other stalls, mares or foals stirred. To Jake, the soft sounds of straw rustling and tails swishing were the sounds of life, and of hope.
Jess turned her head to listen with him. “Look at all of them. Seven babies so far.” Then she grinned. “Mustangs—the Thoroughbreds of the West.”
Jake chuckled. “That they are, or at least the foals will be. I can’t wait to see them run.”
“The baby’s kicking. He does that when I lean back too long.” She pulled herself more upright.
“You think it’s a he?”
“I don’t know what the baby is, Bennett. I just don’t want to call it an it. You know?”
They shared a smile. “I understand.”
Jess covered a long yawn and then curled into him.
“I have a better idea,” he said.
Taking care not to nudge her or the baby, Jake rose and retrieved a couple of saddle blankets, which he rolled together. In the stall, he set the blanket roll in the straw, then lay down and helped Jess settle alongside him, her narrow back to his chest. Together they used the blankets as a pillow.
He could see the glimmer of moonlight in her eyes as she watched the foal through the slats. His hand settled on her hip, his cheek against her hair. Within minutes, she was asleep.
He would add this to his memories of tonight, he thought. Simple pleasures, shared together. Before he drifted off, he found himself wondering how many people had so much as this.
4. Who said, “I love you” first, your hero or your heroine?
Jake, but Jess was a close second. From The Sierra Chronicles, book one, Love’s Rescue:
Jess let out a half-laugh, half-sob. Jake gathered her against him.
“I love you, Jess,” he said.
She smiled into his shoulder. “I know, and I love you—”
“Wait!” He took a step back. “Look at me when you say that, or I’ll think you’re meaning my shirt.”
She laughed, fastened her eyes on his. “I love you, Jake Bennett.”
Though his face spoke his delight, his hands settled sternly on his hips. “You know it’s taken you awhile to say it.”
“I should have, long before now.”
About Tammy: I have lived in twenty-seven places in eight states (so far) and have visited nearly all. When I’m not writing? I judge a number of top writing contests and love my work as a manuscript editor and biographer. I am also Mom to two sons, one daughter, a rescued American Eskimo dog, sixteen parakeets, and an aquarium full of fish. The children I homeschool; the dog I taught to sit. She also barks at parked cars. In my spare time, you’re likely to find me baking, gardening, behind a camera, or hugging a horse. Readers can find my Facebook, ShoutLife, Goodreads, and other links right at my Web site: http://www.tammybarley.com/index.html
Come back Feb 28 for WhiteFire Publishing author, Roseanna White’s real life romance.