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Tristan Carlson–hero in Cowboy Boss and his Destiny. He runs his quarter of the Double Dutch Ranch. 

superstition-mountain.jpg

Backdrop for the Double Dutch Ranch Series

I feel lucky. Characters come to me in a certain way. When they appear to me, I know what they look like. They usually have a name and a career, and I see a bit of their character. Tristan came to me as a gentle soul right from the beginning. He has a soft heart and I couldn’t see changing his character for this book. One reviewer didn’t like him this way. (I’m sure they’ll be more.) I’m sorry. I aim to please, but of course, we can’t please everyone.

Introducing Tristan Carlson:

Tristan came in with his usual confident swagger, removed his hat, and took a seat across from me. Now I know what they all mean about his sexy eyes. They’re very unique.

Tell these nice people how long you’ve been at the Double Dutch Ranch.

T.C. Nice to meet ya, ma’am. You know what I mean—since I live in your head a lot of the time, I kind of know you. We know each other pretty dang good, don’t ya think?

I see you’re being bold again. I didn’t think a character I created could make me blush.

T.C. Yes, ma’am, but you know I have to be bold. Anyway, I came here ten years ago when Dad got sick. I bought the house from my mom and she lives there with me and my little girl, for now.

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Tell us about your little girl. It choked me up the way he laid his hand over his chest when I mentioned her.

T.C. You mean my heart. My daughter owns me. Smart as can be, too. I’ll be sending her to college next year instead of first grade. Everybody says she’s adorable, and ya know what? She is. She’s got the prettiest blue eyes. Don’t let her fool ya. She’s got a bit of mischief tucked away and she’ll show it now and again. My mom says she gets it from me.

You’re a horse rancher. How many do you have?

T.C. Six of my own, but there’s ten in the border barn. Two belong to a barrel racer who boards them. I have ranch hands who help me take care of it all. I try to give a good home to a rescue horse when I can. My own mustang is a rescue.

But, that’s not all. You also publish a magazine.

T.C. Yes, ma’am. I do it because I’m a journalist second to ranchin’. Gives me a chance to write, and the subscribers seem to like it. Everybody’s happy.

That includes your newest employee.

T.C. Ah, yeah. Well, I’m not called cowboy boss for nothing. That’d be Nora you’re talking about I suppose.

Yes, I referred to Nora.

T.C. Darlin’, you’ll have to talk to the redhead if ya want information about her. I’ll set you up with an interview if ya want. She’s free after five o’clock…most nights, but…I keep her here real late when we’re doing a launch…or something like that.

But, there’s a little more to it than you being her boss. Correct? After all, your series is called: Double Dutch Ranch: Love at First Sight.

T.C. Excuse me? Ah, did you not…never mind. That would be rude. Would you like an interview with Nora? She’ll probably tell more than I will.

There must be something about her you can tell our readers.

T.C. A couple things. One—she’s beautiful. Two—she’s compassionate and passionate, ah, she has a big heart. Everything great about her is tucked into one cute package. Damn straight about that. She’s talented at her job. That’s why I hired her.

Hmm, interesting. Being a single father and running the ranch has to fill up all Tristan 2your time. Do you have time to date? Tristan laughed, and those cute dimples on the side of his mouth were so darn adorable. I heard it was a family trait. 

T.C. Honey, I don’t have time to sleep, let alone date. But, let me back up here a bit. Single father. Bingo. Key word. Women my age don’t want no man with a four-year-old. I’ll rephrase that. They want me for fun, let’s say, but not for keeps. My daughter is my priority. I don’t play their game.

What about Nora, your assistant? How does she feel about you having a child?

T.C. She’s not like other women. No other comment, ma’am. Yep. She’ll be in to work in less than an hour. Maybe you’ll get a chance to see how tender she is with my child. Make your own decision after that.

Absolutely. How does your daughter get along with Nora?

T.C. You don’t give up easy, huh? Destiny loves having another woman around besides her grandmother…ya know, around the office. My door is always open to my child. She cares a lot for Nora and drops in to see us often.

Lucky for you. I’ve heard nightmare stories about single parents and their kids not accepting their mom or dad dating.

T.C. Yes, ma’am.

I waited. Tristan apparently had nothing else to say on the subject. I looked around the room. Is that Nora’s office over there? I nodded toward a doorway. Do you mind if I take a look around?

Tristan stood and I followed him into Nora’s office. Did I mention his height? He’s a tall one. Mmm, he’s hiding some muscle under that t-shirt. In her office, I immediately saw two photos on her desk. I picked them up and glanced at the rancher. He had the cutest smirk on his face. Not to mention, mischief danced in his eyes.

 T.C. Maybe you should’ve done this interview with Nora.

With an awry grin, he took the photos from me and set them back on the desk.

T.C. If we’re finished here, I have a ranch to run. My lead ranch hand, Selva, will be on my back if I don’t get out there and lend a hand. He thinks he’s the boss sometimes.

Wait. What can you tell me about your brothers? And not only that—I hear you have a professional bull rider in your family.

T.C. My brother, Jase? He’s a year older than me. A great guy, but don’t tell him I told ya. He owns a quarter of the ranch. You can go the back way through the desert to his place, too, if you want to visit him. He has a son and daughter. Cute kids. You’ll meet him in Cowboy Boss and his Destiny. Ha, that’d be me—cowboy boss. Insider tip—Jase is getting his own book. My little brother’s not around much. He does his own thing for now. He’s not much interested in ranchin’ at the moment. He’ll come around in time. Dang, he’ll probably get a book too.

He narrowed his eyes at me with that statement. Maybe I should tell him he gets to be in all their books.

T.C. And the bull rider? That’d be my cousin, the adrenalin charged, crazy fool—Caulder McCutchen. Yeah, he has his own book, too. Actually, he has two books. I wonder how that happened. But, another inside tip? I get another one, too. Look for it, and I can tell ya Nora will play a big part.

I wonder if he knows that smile of his has the ability to knock my socks off? (Literally!)

Thanks so much for the interview, Tristan.

 T.C. Hey, come on, take a walk through the barns with me if ya don’t mind getting those fancy shoes messed up. Oh, and watch the toes, horses are known to step on them if ya get too close. I’ll introduce ya to my rescued mustang. Maybe I’ll take ya for a fast ride through the desert in my red, jacked-up 4×4. I’ve been known to have a lot of fun in that thing. He snickered and diverted his eyes.

T.C. Come on, I’ll give ya a quick lesson on mucking out a barn. Not so good in high heels though… Hey, here comes Nora. She can come along.

I looked up when a blue SUV pulled in, and a woman with gorgeous coppery-colored hair got out. Her face lit up when she saw him standing at the door. Tristan’s lips quirked into a smile almost as big as a crescent moon. 

Daddy! Wait for me.

The prettiest little blonde girl ran out of the office. She had on cowboy boots! Tristan lifted her, kissed her cheek and released her to the ground. So cute!

 We passed a woman sitting on their front porch tuning a guitar. The little girl waved and said hi to her grandma.

NOTE from Mary: I read a blog post from an influential blogger in my field. She suggested we shouldn’t talk to our characters, and was adamant. Unfortunately, I had already written this blog post before reading her post. (Yes, I wrote this months ago before Cowboy Boss came out. I kept it as a draft, waiting, trying to decide if I’d post it here.)

She said anyone interested in the character, or book, would be those who have already read the book and met the character. It was a good point, and I understood it, too.

The thing is, I like talking to my characters, and I’ve been known to step outside of the box now and again. Not that I’m disagreeing with the blogger at all. I’m not.

Of course, I do have to talk to them because they live in my head. From this point on, this is probably my last character interview. I would love to interview Jase Carlson who is the hero in book two in this series…but I won’t. He grew on me so much that by time I wrote the end to his story, he became my favorite hero. It’s hard to say because I love them all.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to sign up to be notified of new releases via the Contact/ Newsletter Sign Up Page. I expect to have two books out between now and the end of summer 2014. Jase’s book and the compelling conclusion to the Bull Rider Series– Hey, Cowboy, Book #2. (Spring)