Hi everyone and Happy Thanksgiving to those in the US! Most of all, HAPPPPPPY BIRTHDAAAAAY Amber! I hear it’s a significant one. 39, right? I must confess to having been 39 for a while now (sort of in the sense that Edward Cullen has been 17 for a while. LOL). You’ll love it.
To celebrate, I’d like to give a $5 Amazon (US) GC and the winner’s choice of any ebook from my backlist to a winner chosen at random. Just leave a comment with birthday wishes for Amber!
Also if you’d like to join my Reader Group (the holidays are going to be super fun) we’d love to have you. https://www.facebook.com/groups/TaraLainsHEAMagicAndBeautifulBoys )
In honor of Amber’s birthday, all of your fortunate guests like me were asked to share a birthday scene or memory. Funny thing. I’m re-releasing this week one of my cowboy books that happens to begin on the hero’s 30th birthday. The hero is a world champion bull rider, so 30’s not good news for him, since it’s a very young man’s sport, but the universe compensates by introducing him to the guy who totally changes his life. Quite a birthday present. I decided to share with you the scene of my hero’s reluctant birthday celebration.
The book (and my new re-release) is COWBOYS DON’T SAMBA. This scene takes place right after my hero, Maury, has beaten his detested rival by a fluke —
They hurried through the fast-dropping temperatures of a Texas February, climbed in Earl’s rented SUV, drove for about two minutes, and pulled into a crowded parking lot, full of trucks for the most part. Maury glanced around. “I don’t know, Earl. I’m not crazy about seeing every cowboy from at least two countries tonight.”
“No help for it, man. Can’t get a drink in Texas without a cowboy.”
He sighed. “Okay.”
Cowboys and their girls were walking into the bar, some of the men with the compact bodies and athletic roll to their walk that said bull rider. If a rider was over six feet, he was pretty much a giant in that business. When Earl held the door and Maury walked in, a few guys looked up, and a couple started to clap. Not really what he’d wanted, but Maury gave a smile and touched his hat brim.
A pretty dark-haired waitress either recognized Maury or got a misimpression he was important from the reaction because she hurried over. “I’ve got a good table for you right back here.”
They followed her to what was a really good table away from the band and the crush at the bar. Wonder who she chased away to give it to us.
Maury took the corner seat facing the room and ordered a beer.
Earl put a hand on his arm. “Don’t you want a margarita or something? Come on, it’s your birthday.”
Maury shook his head. “Gotta ride.”
Earl raised his eyebrows. “Okay, guess I’ll have a beer too.”
The waitress grinned. “Okay, two beers. And happy birthday.” She waggled her fingers as she walked through the crowd toward the bar.
Maury stared around the room, nodding toward men he knew. In the opposite corner of the big room, a group of Brazilian riders sat around a table together. He couldn’t hear them, but he knew they were chattering in Portuguese since some of them didn’t speak much English. No matter what language they spoke, the Brazilians still won a helluva lot.
Earl punched his arm. “Hey, man, what’s the big deal about having a birthday? You’re young. I mean, I’m gonna be thirty-five. You know what they say. Birthdays are better than—”
“—the alternative. Yeah, I know.”
The waitress brought the beers and a plate of french fries that she’d managed to bury a birthday candle in. “Happy birthday to you….”
She sang off-key, but people from a couple of surrounding tables picked it up, and pretty soon half the room was singing. Hell, a lot of them probably had no idea whose birthday it was. Enough beer would do that.
He wanted to say, “Fuck that fucking song,” but he didn’t. He smiled, blew out his candle with only the wish that they’d stop singing, picked up a fry, and waved it in the air before taking a big bite that got laughter and applause.
Someone yelled, “Speech. Speech.”
No effing way. Maury shook his head.
“Come on, Garcia. Tell us how it feels to get old—er.” That came from Andy O’Hara, one of the ranked riders who never managed to beat Maury.
“I guess what they say about getting better must be true, right, O’Hara? How else can you explain it?”
The girl sitting with O’Hara gave Maury a smile. “Better. Definitely better, baby.”
O’Hara glared at the girl, but he kept smiling at Maury.
The front door of the bar opened. Maury looked over. Oh shit.
BREATHING. BREATHING would be good.
Maury watched Xesús Silva swagger in the door, but he wasn’t alone. Behind him came another guy. Young. Dark hair, pale skin. And probably the most gorgeous human Maury’d ever seen. Not that he noticed guys’ looks all that much, but hell. This dude set new records in plain beautiful. He also resembled Silva, who was, after all, a pretty handsome man if you didn’t count his soul.
Silva made a straight line to the table where the Brazilians were sitting. Some of the men definitely didn’t look thrilled, but a couple of other guys hailed him. People moved aside, and someone pulled over two chairs.
Silva straddled the chair in that hypermacho way of his. The other guy? Holy crap. Poetry. Loose-hipped and graceful, he slid into the open chair and crossed his legs. Most of the Brazilians were squeaky clean-cut, but this dude’s inky hair hung down to his neck and curved around his ears. He was a little taller than usual for a bull rider and lean rather than the more compact build of a lot of the PBRA competitors. Of course, he looked young, so that might explain the lanky body.
“That’s the younger brother I told you about.” Earl helped himself to a french fry.
“Haven’t seen him ride, but I hear good things.”
“Let’s drink up and get out of here. I, uh, need some sleep.” Maury pushed back his chair with a scrape.
“Uh, boss, it’s five fifteen.” Earl grabbed for his wallet in his hip pocket. “Let me pay the check.”
Maury stood and started toward the door. Just need to get out before I meet the asshole again.
“I hear it’s your birthday, Wetback.”
Usually Silva was subtler, but he yelled this halfway across the room. “No wonder the judges felt like they had to let you cheat to beat me.”
Maury plastered on a smile and turned. “No one has to cheat to beat you, Silva. Little kids can do it.” He said it like a joke, and a few people laughed, but the serious competitors, especially the Brazilians, looked uneasy.
Silva stood at his chair. “I’ve got the baby that can beat you, Garcia.” He reached down, took the young man—younger—by the arm, and pulled him to his feet. “This is Tristão, and he can ride the butt off any bull and defeat a herd of American cowboys. He’s a Silva.”
Maury gave the young guy a direct gaze. Almost too much for his eyes to take. Like looking straight into the sun. “Hey, Tris, good to meet you. Welcome to American cowboying. Good luck with that whole winning thing.” He flashed a smile, but the guy didn’t return it.
Tristão yanked his arm from his brother’s grip. He said nothing. Probably didn’t speak English.
Maury dragged his eyes from Tristão, glanced around, and waved a hand.
“Thanks for the best wishes, everyone.” He thrust a fist into the air. “Go PBRA.”
With a collective breath, people went back to their conversations. Xesús took a step forward, but Maury walked straight to the door and out into the rapidly cooling evening. He tensed when the door opened behind him, but Earl walked up, stuffing his wallet in his jeans.
“Man, that dude’s a piece of work.”
Maury nodded. “And now I go to California.” He sighed.
You’ll find COWBOYS DON’T SAMBA at Amazon and in KU.
Is the brother of my enemy my lover?
Maury Garcia’s a world champion bull rider who’s always been attracted to guys –but never done crap about it
That’s because his lucrative career feeds his huge family – and he wants to stay alive. His brother learned that the hard way.
Besides, Maury likes women well enough and nobody’s ever tempted him to change that.
Tristão Silva sure as hell came all the way from Brazil to drive Maury insane – perfect face, sexy samba hips, gentle, kind nature. But Tristão’s the brother of Maury’s biggest enemy and together they could rob him of all that Maury’s given up everything to achieve.
Any chance these alpha males can survive machismo and make their love last longer than an 8 second ride?
COWBOYS DON’T SAMBA is a gay-for-you, enemies-to-lovers, gay bull riders, macho males, totally dysfunctional family, death-by-homophobia, MM romance.
Thank you so much to Amber for inviting me. I hope everyone is enjoying this gateway to the season and, despite the challenges of the year, have joyous holidays! Hugs and love!