Fellow Decadent Publishing author Starla Kaye has a brand new menage romance out. In addition to snagging an excerpt from For Ruby’s Love, I also convinced her to give me a writing tip. Ever wondered how to help a reader connect with your character? Let's see what Starla has to say.
Character Emotion by Starla Kaye
If your hero or heroine has gone through a bitter relationship or a divorce, just the sight of a wedding photo might cause a variety of emotional responses.
If a character has suffered the loss of a child, he/she might have a range of feelings from sadness to pain to anger.
The point here is that a writer must dig deep to create characters that seem real to the reader. You need to let the reader feel what the character felt.
Cowboys are my first love when writing a hero. Along with a confident, powerful business executive. Or a medieval Scottish warrior. Or…. Basically I like to write about strong men who know their minds, have set beliefs on how things should be done, and knock heads with a woman who makes him a bit crazy.
For Ruby’s Love, my latest release from Decadent Publishing, has two such heroes and that type of woman. Calhoun Cordell and Daniel Patterson first made their appearance in The CEO and The Cowboy. While they had worked out their differences at that time and had settled into a loving relationship, I always felt something was missing. Someone who could both draw them closer together and shake up their world. In walked Ruby Tuesday McMurtry.
For Ruby's Love
by Starla Kaye
Calhoun’s a simple cowboy with more problems in his life than he can handle at the moment. After nearly two years, he struggles to hang onto a relationship with Daniel, his first male lover. Daniel is worried about him because of the fire, his concern for his prized breeding mare, and because he is determined to buy the neighboring ranch to expand. But Daniel isn’t a businessman without goals of his own for expansion, a fact that frustrates Calhoun as well. He doesn’t want to lose Daniel, but will their differences finally be too much?
Daniel considers himself a lucky man to have met the rancher, someone almost his opposite and someone who he doesn’t want to live without. Standing beside the moody Calhoun has been difficult since the fire that burned down a horse barn, took the lives of two valuable horses, and traumatized a favored mare. Along with all of that, his harried friend is determined to expand his ranch holdings. Daniel is against the purchase and would prefer to find a way to slow the man down. Lately, he’s also begun worrying if maybe he isn’t enough to satisfy his lover’s needs.
Complicating everything even more, Ruby shows up later than expected at Calhoun’s ranch to honor a job as a horse therapist that her father had agreed to before his sudden death. She knows what happened to the mare and is certain she can help her, if given the chance. But the stubborn rancher can’t get past the idea of her being a woman, someone not strong enough to work with such a damaged horse. They butt heads over the matter until she finds an ally in Daniel. He is concerned and yet believes in her abilities. Another problem arises, though. She and Calhoun have been skirting around an unwanted attraction, and then she discovers another surprising interest between her and Daniel.
When a tear managed to escape and slide down her cheek, he experienced the same distress as earlier, when she’d admitted her father died. Something about a woman crying always got to him.
He got up and went to her. She looked so small, so defenseless, kind of lost. He didn’t mean to touch her. Yet, he reached down and wiped away the tear with a thumb. His gut tightened at her velvety-soft skin. He hadn’t been this close to a woman in a while, caressed one…or had sex with one. He almost backed away.
But she held him in place by looking up at him with her sad eyes. Misery lurked in the depths. As their gazes remained locked, the heat of awareness fired in them. She drew in a shaky breath. Her pretty brow furrowed as if in confusion. His reactions to this stranger, this young woman whose emotions were all over the place, puzzled him. One moment she bristled, another she challenged him, and in another she pulled on his heartstrings with her pain.
Before he could move, the furnace kicked on, blowing warm air around them, mixing in her light floral scent as it surrounded him. He also caught the essence of her. His body tensed; his cock hardened.
Shocked, he pulled his hand back and stepped away. This was wrong. He felt as if he were betraying Daniel. He would never betray him.
Guilt weighing on him, he turned to the windows, unable to face either of them. “We should go get your car,” he blurted out.
“Truck,” she corrected, sounding bewildered by his abrupt change in mood.
His cock hadn’t softened when he put distance between them. He could still smell her, hear her sensual voice. No way could he take her to her truck. He needed time to get his body back to normal and get his head straight.
“I’ll get a ranch hand to go with you. You can stay in one of the guest rooms tonight.” He hesitated. “Before you leave, I’ll pay you for making the effort to come here.”
Without looking at either of them, he strode across the room toward the doorway. “I need to find that phone number for the other horse whisperer.”
In the next instant, she moved right behind him. She grabbed a belt loop. “Whoa, Cordell! We need to talk.”
He brushed her hand away and turned around. Her vivid green eyes no longer looked sad; they flashed with anger. The plump breasts he’d been trying not to notice strained the fabric of her pink plaid Western shirt. Otherwise, she stood stiff, her temper appearing to sizzle. Damn if he didn’t find her cute as hell.
And that notion frightened the bejesus out of him. He needed to get as far away from her as possible. “We’ll talk tomorrow. You need to get your truck and get some rest.” He shifted back. “I have business to tend to.”
The tenacious woman stepped right up to him. “This business being to call another horse whisperer.” She tilted her chin up and met him eye-to-eye. “Well, cowboy, I’m the second best one in the country.” Sadness slipped back into her eyes, but determination remained as well. “The best now with my father dead.”
God, those expressive eyes were killing him. He fought the urge to tug her into his arms and hold her until she’d shed every tear, until the grief left. Doing that would be a huge mistake for so many reasons. He mentally shielded himself against her.
“Forget it. I’m not letting a puny little thing like you anywhere near Starbright.” If she’d worked alongside her father, Calhoun would no doubt have been okay. Maybe. But the idea of her being alone anywhere near the powerful, troubled, and crazed mare scared the devil out of him. His heart raced.
The woman had no back down in her. She thrust her chin higher. “I’m not puny! I’m not big and muscled like you, but I can take care of myself with any animal.”
He snorted at the foolish declaration and shook his head. “Not with my horse. Starbright can’t be trusted with most work-hardened men, including me at times. There is no way I could trust her not to do you serious harm.”
Once more he turned to walk away.
This time Daniel stopped him. “Give her a chance to at least tell you about her credentials. Let her explain her abilities to work with a traumatized animal.”
He spun to glower at his friend, who looked every bit as resolute as he felt. “No.”
The man gave him a censuring look and ground his jaw. They would have words later. But he wasn’t going to change his mind.
When he glanced at Ruby, her shoulders were tense, her body rigid. But instead of arguing with him, she stormed back to the recliner and grabbed her coat, jerking it on. Grumbling to herself, she snagged her oversized bag and marched past them both and toward the foyer.
Daniel’s expression grew stonier, pissed at him.
“What are you doing?” he asked gruffly.
“Leaving,” she snapped over her shoulder. “I don’t need this job. I came here out of respect for my father’s agreement with you. And out of concern for Starbright.” She picked up her pace, not bothering to glance at him.
“You can’t just leave. I have to get one of the hands first,” he blustered, unable to believe her boldness.
“I don’t need help—yours or anyone else’s.” She stiffened. “I’m going back to my rig, grabbing a gas can, and walking to the nearest town. Not any of your concern.”
“The hell you are!” He strode after her. Lord a’mighty, what an obstinate female.
She stopped long enough to look in his direction and hiss, “The hell I’m not!”