Debra's Jake Hawkins is a champion bull rider.
There's not much of anything that's more cowboy than a bull rider. From his hat to his boots and the vest, chaps, and spurs in between...it's the quintessential cowboy look. And my little heart is not immune to the look nor the charm of the man beneath the hat.
I first fell in love with the rodeo and its bull riders when my hubby (back when he was merely 'the boyfriend') decided he wanted to ride bulls. He gave it a whirl a few times, wound up with some major injuries, and decided to hang up his spurs. For me, however, the love affair continued.
So I guess it's only natural that many of my romances have a cowboy/country theme. But so far, I've only written about one actual bull rider: Jake Hawkins.
We first meet Jake in This Time for Always, the first book in my Corral series. He's a secondary character, but I always knew he'd have a story of his own some day. This Feels Like Home is Jake's story.
The letter to the reader at the beginning of the book tells us a bit about Jake:
Jake was the guy always there for his friends, and who often helped them find their way down true love’s path but planned on steering clear of love for himself, so he could focus on his rodeo career. But of course, we all know it takes just the right woman to come along and change a hero’s mind, so I brought Amber into Jake’s life.
Amber is an interesting contrast to the danger-addicted cowboy. She's a certified accessibility consultant and counselor who knows all too well the hazards of extreme sports gone wrong.
I wanted my story to be as authentic as possible, so I attended lots of rodeos, took copious notes, a million pictures, and 'haunted' the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) web-site.
Here are some of my favorite photos, taken at the Big Hat Rodeo, all in the name of research, of course!
Until next time,
This Feels Like Home is available from The Wild Rose Press.
Can a danger-addicted cowboy and a safety-conscious urbanite ever see eye-to-eye?
When Chicago native Amber Winfield visits her aunt in Texas, she's happy to absorb some local color--but dating a bull rider? That's more cowboy than she's prepared to go. As an accessibility consultant, she knows too well the hazards of extreme sports. Just one night with Jake Hawkins, though, and she's captivated by the caring man underneath the cowboy swagger. But she could never fall for a man so intent on chasing danger...could she?
Jake's got one goal--earn enough points to ride on the pro circuit--and he won't let anyone stand in his way. Especially not a sophisticated city lady who thinks bull riding is crazy. Women like Amber are the reason he's perfected the art of loving and leaving. So why can't he get her off of his mind...or out of his heart?