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Monday, October 10, 2011

In the Spotlight

Each week I will showcase authors of various genres on my blog. Today, Stephy Smith is "In the Spotlight" with her Contemporary Romance, Shawnee's Creek. But first, a little insight into the author behind the book.




Stephy Smith grew up in the Northwest Texas Panhandle and still lives within a few miles of her childhood home. She owns her own ranch, takes care of her mother, and shares her home with three dogs and a chinchilla.

Other than writing, she loves to read, garden, ride horses, paint and do just about any kind of arts and crafts. Her love for history, museum's, historical markers and sites along roadsides, old houses and walking through cemeteries tempts her creative imagination. Where there's history there's mystery and ghosts! She writes young adult, sweet historical romance and contemporary western romance.

You can find Stephy's novellas, Lizzie and the Rebel, Rescued from the River, and Shawnee’s Creek at Astraea Press, Barnes and Nobel, Amazon





Blurb

Shawnee Turner spent five years on a ranch in Colorado. She worked hard to forget Emory Creek’s smell, his touch, the taste of his lips, and the heartache he caused. When the ranch sold and she lost her job, she is forced to face him with his job offer to come back. Her mind already made up to turn his offer down, she couldn’t deny her need to see his face just one more time. She had to find out if she cared for this man, or if she was keeping his memory alive of her own free will.

Emory Creek couldn’t wait for Shawnee to come back to work for him. The beautiful spunky woman had a lot of explaining to do when she got back. He never figured out why she left in the first place, but the need to see her again outweighed the need to know why. The love he had for Shawnee still burned with an intense desire. This time around, he had to convince her, he was her man.

Excerpt
Pool balls clanked together, Alan Jackson bellowed to be propped against the jukebox, while whoops and hollers filtered through the wooden door.

Shawnee and Cheyenne entered the dimness of the Lonely Steer Bar and Grill. They stepped to one side of the door and let their eyes adjust to the darkness then zigzagged through the crowded room to the bar.

“Two colas, hot wings, and an order of fries, if you got ‘em,” Shawnee called to the bartender. Shawnee slid a cola in front of Cheyenne.

Food in hand, they wove their way past pool tables, pinball games, and a dartboard to an empty table near the dance floor. A woman escorted her man in their direction, leaning one way and then the other toward them.

“Pick up,” Shawnee reached for her drink and food. Cheyenne followed suit until the intoxicated couple slithered past.

Cheyenne swiveled the straw in the glass. “I’m getting butterflies about tomorrow, Shaw.”

“If it makes things any better, I’m kinda nervous, too. At least we’ll be working together. It’s not like we haven’t been to a sale barn before,” Shawnee tilted her head to the couple shuffling their way to the dance floor.

“I know, just the thought of strange people, good-looking cowboys; you know I’m not comfortable around them anymore.” Cheyenne’s eyes scanned the room. Her last job consisted of working as an unsupervised vet tech.

Shawnee followed her gaze. “You know, most of these guys are wanna-be cowboys and not real ones. They’re gonna be different than the ones you’ll work around.”

“They’re still men. I haven’t been around men in so long they just make me a little jumpy.” Cheyenne glanced as the dance floor filled with couples.

Shawnee twisted to face the bar. A tall, dark-haired man headed in their direction. His slow, easy saunter and broad, muscled chest sent a strange quiver down her spine.

“Yeah, all these guys in here just want to rub belt buckles and have a good time.” She stared as the man’s back pockets tightened across his hips until he took a seat. Leaning across the table, she lowered her voice, “I wouldn’t mind unpacking his saddlebags.”

Cheyenne’s nervous giggles drew Shawnee out of her fantasy world with the cowboy. “We better go, Shaw, before you jump the innocent guy. We have a busy day ahead of us.”

The twins finished their meals and weaved their way to the door. Perfume, sweat, animal manure, and alcohol faded as the cool, refreshing breeze escorted them to Shawnee’s pickup.

“And now for you old timers, I’m going to play an oldie but goodie,” the announcer on the radio said. Your Cheatin’ Heart echoed in the car as Shawnee and Cheyenne sang their version of the tune along with Hank Williams.

When they pulled into the drive, they continued to bawl out ‘will tell on you’ until they walked through the door. After a laugh over their non-prosperous singing careers, they went to separate rooms.

“What have we done, Cheyenne?” Shawnee whispered in the dark. It was hours later before sleep took over. She tried to hide her insecurities the best she could.

These jobs were excellent opportunities for them, and Shawnee didn’t want to discourage Cheyenne one bit. The fiery depths of Cheyenne’s insecurities since the accident taunted Shawnee to quit her job as an accountant and seek a position with her sister.

Cheyenne had taken on the world and let it trample her soft heart into mush. Shawnee couldn’t, and wouldn’t, let Cheyenne know she was just as skeptical about starting the new job. In the wee hours of the morning, Shawnee closed her eyes.

“Lord, Mom, Dad, please watch over Cheyenne.” Their images flashed in her mind as the small prayer escaped from her lips.

She slept through the alarm blaring. The familiar creak of the door brought her awake. “Get up, Shawnee. You’re not gonna cause me to be late for the first day on the job.”

Moonbeams danced across the wall enhanced by the tiny branches blowing in the breeze outside the window.

“It’s still dark, Cheyenne. I just got to sleep.” She pulled the covers around her neck.

“You gotta hurry. It’s five and we have to be there at six. Get a move on, Shaw.”

Cheyenne’s footsteps stomped up and down the hallway. Shawnee knew she better hurry and dress before Cheyenne changed her mind.

The smell of coffee greeted them in the kitchen. Cheyenne poured two travel cups full and handed one to Shawnee.

Cheyenne pushed the garage door opener and scurried to the passenger side of the pickup. Shawnee rubbed the goose bumps on her arms as the cool early morning air rushed under the door opening. She slid behind the wheel and started the engine.

The lights of the truck glowed down the highway to the Lost Boys Livestock Auction. Shawnee sipped her coffee until they entered the parking lot of the yellow brick building. They sat in the vehicle for a few moments. Jitters crept down her spine.

“Well, let’s get this over with.” Cheyenne glanced over to Shawnee and pulled in a deep breath.
~**~
Emory Creek sat under the cover of darkness. His pickup was the only vehicle in the gravel lot. A dark green truck pulled in and he gazed at the occupants. The wheat hay straw he was chewing on stilled in his jaw.

He sipped coffee from a travel mug and squinted through the early morning dimness at the two women who exited the other vehicle. His heart jumped at the recognition of the woman who’d rattled him with her eyes at the bar. “Well fry up the chicken and pass the gravy,” he whispered as the woman passed in front of his pickup. His mind was still a little fuzzy from a restless sleep.

As he’d walked by their table the night before, her outward stare made him uncomfortable. He’d strained his ears to listen to the conversation the twins were having. Despite the discomfort, he had been thoroughly intrigued with the beauty. What kind of coincidence could it be since Carla was the one who hired the twins? Here they were in his parking lot, walking to the door; and then the hesitation before reaching for the handle.

“Go on in, go on in.” He crossed his fingers until the two disappeared behind the closing door. He let out his breath. A few sips of coffee blended with the faint taste of the wheat; he opened the pickup door and flicked the chewed straw to the ground.

There wasn’t much difference in the twins. He couldn’t help but notice how the smaller one held herself with more confidence than the larger one. Her hair was a tad darker and her-self assuring attitude was one to expect from a larger city and not a rinky-dink town like Twist and Turn, Texas. He glanced at her resume with renewed confidence in his sister for hiring the girls.

Rumors spread around how she and her sister came home from college and had been riding in the car with their parents when an intoxicated man hit the vehicle head on, killing the parents and a brother. The twins had moved into the house after their graduation and hadn’t made known any attempt or desire to leave. The one called Shawnee had been a straight A student in college with a degree in accounting, and the other had an A minus in animal husbandry. Both women would be a definite asset to his company.

The one thing he hadn’t counted on was the mind-tingling wish to meet the woman in accounting, not only for her number skills but to satisfy the urge to get to know her better. If she’s as attractive on the inside as the outside she would get along with the rest of his crew just fine.

The other one, Cheyenne would be snatched up as soon as Mason laid eyes on her. She seemed to him more laid back and shy. Just Mason’s type of woman, he mused.

He entered the building from the side door and lurked in the darkness. He wasn’t accustomed to eavesdropping on conversations, but he needed to know how easily roused the women could become once the men got hold of them with their complaints.

A scuttle of boots slammed against the polished floor. He could tell Mason’s walk anywhere. Mason had worked for him since he bought the place. There was never a better cowhand as far as Emory was concerned.

The one thing he was concerned about was the new girl under Mason’s care. He knew Mason wouldn’t cut her any slack; he just didn’t want Mason to make her cry and storm from the place. Mason was hard-core when it came to working the pens, but he would treat the woman the same as he would any man, for her safety.

Working the pens proved dangerous and unyielding at times. If someone didn’t pay attention, the prevention of getting hurt or causing serious bodily harm to someone else became a priority.

At any rate, Mason’s job was to get both of the women settled in their jobs. This would be the test of all time. Never had a woman applied for a job in the back with Cheyenne’s experience. Emory stood in the dark hall listening to Mason and Cheyenne’s giggling. He rolled his eyes and prayed Mason wouldn’t let him down.

Shawnee made her way across the hall to the office. Her professional demeanor impressed him. His mind tried to fit the pieces of the wild woman staring at him openly to the mild mannered professional in the office. Although he was no saint, he sure wasn’t in need of a trouble-making woman behind a desk to upset the men out back. They had wives and most had problems with women they chose to live the happily-ever-after with.

I've personally read Lizzie and the Rebel and Rescued from the River and enjoyed them immensely. If you're a lover of Sweet, Contemporary and Historical Romance, or need a refreshing change of pace, please check out these wonderful titles. Shawnee's Creek is sure to be a delightful read as well.

Pick up your copy today at Astraea Press, Barns and Noble or Amazon






Find Stephy Smith on the net at:

14 comments:

Stephy Smith October 10, 2011 at 7:25 AM  

Thank you for spotlighting me Lisa! I look forward to comments and questions from our guest.

Lisa Alexander Griffin October 10, 2011 at 7:33 AM  

Glad you agreed to the spotlight, Stephy! You're a very talented author. Loved the first two books, Lizzie and the Rebel and Rescued from the River. :)

kayspringsteen October 10, 2011 at 9:25 AM  

OH! I LOVE reunions!And this one sounds very promising.

Stephy Smith October 10, 2011 at 10:33 AM  

Thank you for stopping in Kay, nice to see you here!

C. Zampa October 10, 2011 at 3:34 PM  

Stephy, it's nice to meet you! Another fellow Texan!

Love your cover, loved the excerpt!

Congratulations!

Lisa Alexander Griffin October 10, 2011 at 4:37 PM  

Thanks so much for stopping by Carol and Kay. Stephy's a wonderful writer! :)

Karen Michelle Nutt October 10, 2011 at 6:22 PM  

Lisa,
What a lovely blog. :)

Stephy,

Lovers reunited are my kind of stories. Sound like a good story.
I wish you the best.

Lisa Alexander Griffin October 10, 2011 at 7:07 PM  

Thanks so much for stopping by Karen. Thank you on the blog, and I love reunited stories myself. :)

Kathleen Ball October 11, 2011 at 7:28 AM  

I'm a big fan!! Loved all three novels!!

Stephy Smith October 11, 2011 at 9:15 AM  

Thank you Kathleen! Congratulations on your success. So thrilled for you!

Diane Craver October 11, 2011 at 9:47 AM  

Stephy,
Your picture is beautiful!

I love your title and the cover is gorgeous! I enjoyed reading your excerpt - hope you have mega sales and congratulations!

J.D. Faver October 11, 2011 at 9:51 AM  

Great characters, Stephy. You did a good job of letting us in on a lot of backstory in a very concise manner.
Hey Lisa!!!
*hugs*
~J

Stephy Smith October 11, 2011 at 10:53 AM  

Thank you all for visiting!
Carol- nice to meet you also. Yes, but I am at the opposite end of Texas! LOL
Karen- thank you! Nice to meet you.
Diane- thank you! The cover was done by Elaina Lee. The title just fell into place somewhere along the way! lol
J.D.- thank you for the great compliments.

Stephy

Lisa Alexander Griffin October 11, 2011 at 11:44 AM  

Hi, Diane and J.D! Thank you both for stopping by. Stephy's characters are so realistic, so down-to-earth, you'll think you stepped inside the pages.

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