Saturday Night Serenade–Dreamers

If it’s summer, it’s time for my lazy-days guilty pleasure, America’s Got Talent. I know. We shouldn’t love this show. The title isn’t even grammatically correct.

And do we really need to watch dudes getting shot out of cannons, dudes using their nipples to pull tractor-trailers, creepy contortionists, and mediocre magicians. I would say yes, because among all the rabble you find diamonds in the rough, dreamers, many of whom have put their dreams on hold while they got ‘real’ jobs and watched time go by.

One such contestant was Chris Klafford who appeared last week. His unique take on Imagine held the audience and judges spellbound. See what you think.

I think part of the show’s popularity is that most of us root for the underdog who gets a second chance. Because if a large Swede with skinny jeans and the voice of an angel gets his shot at his dreams, maybe there’s hope for the rest of us, too.

I hope you’re enjoying these ‘dog days’ of summer. Be sure to hug those you love. And maybe dare to dream a little.

Happy Saturday night!

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Weekend Excerpt–HUNTER’S PRIDE

HUNTER’S PRIDE is OUT!

Redheads & Ranchers Book 2 is the story of corporate lawyer Poppy Chastain. Sent by her New York real estate development firm to Idaho, her mission is to convince fifth-generation cattle rancher Hunter McFall to sell a parcel of his ranch so Slade & Howell can put in an access road to the mountain property they plan on turning into a luxury resort.

Hunter will never agree to sell his land, but when he meets Poppy, he wants to show her exactly why he won’t. Somewhere along the way, they discover an explosive chemistry they never expected.

But behind the scenes, Slade & Howell is making plans to gain Hunter’s land by any means necessary. Can Hunter and Poppy’s love survive?

Here’s a teaser from HUNTER’S PRIDE:

Back at the ranch, Poppy took advantage of the huge master shower while Hunter saw to a few ranch matters that needed his attention.  Afterward, while he cleaned up for dinner, Poppy took care of some emails that had come in during their ride in the mountains. 

When they were both ready, Poppy insisted on stopping at the barn to see how the mother and calf were getting along.  Which was swimmingly.  Hunter commented that they’d be ready to join the rest of the herd in the next day or so.  Poppy snapped a few pictures then took Hunter’s hand and the pair headed for his big black Expedition. 

Country music played quietly in the background on the half-hour ride into McFall.  By the time they drove into town, the sun had set.  The parking lot at the North Star was about half-full.  Hunter managed to find a spot near the end of the first row.

“Hang on,” he said as he turned off the ignition.  “I’ll get your door.”

Poppy smiled to herself as she watched him walk around the SUV.  Hunter was always handsome.  Whether he was rain-soaked or working in the barn or naked by the fire, he was undeniably hot.  But tonight, in his dark jeans and white dress shirt, he was sex on legs.  She was suddenly ready to be back at the ranch.

As he opened her door, he smirked at her knowingly and briefly, she wondered if he could read her thoughts.

“You look amazing,” he said, holding her hand and helping her step out of the truck.

Poppy laughed lightly.  “You’ve seen this skirt and blouse before.  I wore it the first day I was here.”

“I’ve seen everything,” he murmured, his voice low and sexy.  “It’s still amazing.”

She rolled her eyes and blushed.  “Well, you look pretty hot yourself.”

He grinned at her.  “Do you think so?  I clean up okay?”

He held open the door, and she walked into the bar.  The place was fairly busy for a Thursday, and heads swiveled as Hunter followed closely behind her, directing her to the same booth they’d sat in her first night in town.  Starla nodded at them from her post behind the bar.  Classic rock served as a background for the buzz of conversation, occasionally punctuated by the clack of billiard balls on the other side of the room.

A young brunette approached them with a pair of menus.  “Hey, Hunter.”

He smiled at her.  “Hey, Lynnette.  How’s school?”

“Aw, you know.  I’m glad to be home for the summer.  Can I get you something to drink?”

“Let’s start with a couple of Jamesons, neat.  We’ll figure out what else we want.”

The server nodded.  “You’ve got it.”

“Jamesons?” Poppy asked as the girl walked away.

Hunter’s grin was boyish.  “Thought I might get you all liquored up so I can have my way with you later.”

“No liquor required for that. And I was figuring on having my way with you.”  She arched an eyebrow in challenge.

“Hot damn,” he breathed. 

Grinning, Poppy tried to ignore the curious stares of the good citizens of McFall as she perused the menu. 

Hunter, however, commented on it.  “Ever feel like you were in a damn fishbowl?”

“I wasn’t going to say anything, but, yeah, it’s a little uncomfortable.”

Hunter pursed his lips and shrugged slightly.  “I haven’t really brought a date here before. Not since Tara died, anyway.  I suppose folks are just curious.”

Poppy’s heart skipped a beat as she remembered her morning in Hunter’s office.  “That reminds me–”

The server’s voice startled her.  “Here you go.  Two Jamesons, neat.”  She placed the glasses in front of them.  “Are you ready to order?” 

Hunter looked to Poppy.  “Do you know what you want?”

She nodded.  “I’ll have the cheeseburger, medium-well, with swiss.”

“And for you?” the girl turned to Hunter.

He nodded.  “I’ll have the same.”

Feeling slightly shaky, Poppy sipped her whiskey, appreciating the burn as it trickled down the inside of her chest.

“You started to say something when Lynnette interrupted.”  He leaned forward on his forearms and watched her steadily.

“I almost forgot.  I meant to tell you something.”  She glanced up at him, breathing deeply as she tried to quell a slight tremble of nerves in her stomach.

“This morning, I opened your desk drawer looking for a notepad, and I found your wedding photo.  I didn’t mean to snoop, honestly, I didn’t.  I’m very sorry for invading your space like that.”

Hunter shrugged lightly.  “I told you to think of my office as your own.  You’re welcome to use anything you like.  Including anything you need out of the desk.  You don’t have to apologize.”

“I feel like I intruded, and I’m sorry.”  She risked a look in his direction.  “It was a beautiful photograph.”

He sipped his whiskey and stared down at the table.  “It was a beautiful day.”  He looked back up at her.  “That was almost ten years ago.”

Curiosity overwhelming her, Poppy decided to press forward.  “How did you two meet?”

Hunter gazed out across the room and sighed.  “We met at a bar.  Which isn’t as lame as it sounds.  I was dating a friend of hers, and a group of us had gotten together to hear a band down in Ketchum.  She was visiting from California.  We just clicked.”

Now that the door was open, Poppy had to walk through.  “And she was a redhead.”

“She was.”

When he didn’t say anything more, she fidgeted with the edge of her napkin.  She had so many more questions, but the topic seemed to have dead-ended.  She sighed softly.  “Well, anyway, I’m sorry for getting into your personal business.”

“Hey.”  His voice was soft as he reached across the table.  She took his hand and squeezed it affectionately.   “My life is an open book.  Ask me about anything you like.  And I mean it when I say consider the ranch your home.  Use anything you need.  Open any drawers you like.”

Wide-eyed, Poppy regarded him for a moment.  “When she died, you must have been devastated.”

Briefly, Hunter squeezed his eyes shut.  “I was.  I was a mess.  Losing Tara, losing the baby…”  He shook his head.  “I was useless for a while.  But then I realized that I wasn’t doing anybody any good wallowing in self-pity.  I sure as hell wasn’t honoring their memory.” 

He chuckled lightly.  “Could be it was Rolly’s boot up my ass that finally got me moving again.”

“You loved her.”  Poppy’s voice was soft.

He nodded.  “I did. With all my heart.  I didn’t think anybody would ever be able to fill that emptiness in me.” 

He smiled across the table at her.  “Then this prissy little big-city lawyer showed up in her fancy clothes and her designer shoes.”

Poppy frowned slightly and leaned forward.  “Prissy?  Who are you calling prissy?”

“You, Ms. P.K. Chastain.  If the cow poo shoe fits…”  He gave her a wink. 

She had to smile.  Elbow on the table, she rested her chin on her hand before she risked her most burning question.  “I look a little bit like her.  Is that weird?”

His sigh was deep.  “It’s true, you both have red hair.  But Tara’s eyes were light brown.  Yours are much darker.  And you have a completely different spirit, which to me makes you different as night and day.”

“How is my spirit different?”

He shrugged slightly.  “Tara was kind of…quiet.  She was calm, practical.  Predictable, maybe.” 

He met her gaze, his eyes sparkling with emotion.  “You’re bold and audacious and passionate.  You are your own unique self.”

Her brow furrowed.  “Is that good?

“I wouldn’t change a thing about you.”

Poppy flushed with pleasure.  “Well…good!  Because what you see is what you get.”

The thump of upbeat seventies rock shifted to a slower country song and Hunter slid out of the booth.  “Come on,” he said, holding out his hand to Poppy.

She glanced up at him.

He quirked an eyebrow.  “If they’re going to be talking about us anyway, might as well give’em something to say.  Dance with me.”

HUNTER’S PRIDE by Pandora Spocks

HUNTER’S PRIDE
is on sale now at your favorite online bookseller.
It’s even available in paperback.
books2read.com/HuntersPride

Saturday Night Serenade–Going Home

I’m a happy girl.

I’m the mom of two incredible young men. Life hasn’t always been what it should be, and we’ve been through some hard times, not the least of which was living with a controlling narcissist, and dealing with the aftermath of divorce.

Each of us emerged damaged in our own ways. and we’ve worked to move forward. But it’s been a struggle, and my older son has had a hard time of it. Following high school, he drifted, finally ending up in the Air Force for a time. Full of anger and bitterness, he stayed away, refusing to keep in contact. In fact, I haven’t seen him in eight years.

Until three days ago.

Out of the blue, he responded to a Facebook message I sent him a month ago. He and his girlfriend were visiting her aunt in Tampa and it wasn’t going well. Naturally, I invited them to come here.

When I hugged him (maybe I squeezed him just a little too hard), he was shaking. I think he was afraid of how he’d be received. He’d convinced himself that I hated him.

A mom always loves her kids, no matter what. And we’ve had the nicest three days I’m had in a long time. Who says you can’t go home?

They’re leaving tonight for the 24-hour drive back to western Missouri. But we have plans to get together again soon. And I have his phone number. Like I said, I’m a happy girl

Be sure to hug those you love. Let them know you love them.

Happy Saturday night!

Weekend Excerpt–HUNTER’S PRIDE

Coming July 2!

HUNTER’S PRIDE, the second stand-alone novel in the Redheads & Ranchers Series, comes out Tuesday, July 2.

In the book, Poppy P.K. Chastain is a young, ambitious corporate attorney. She’s sent by her international real estate development company in New York to broker a deal with an Idaho cattle rancher for a small parcel of his property.

For Poppy, this is her chance to solidify her career with Slade & Howell. No more grunt work–she’s finally in the big leagues. All she has to do is convince Hunter McFall to sell a couple thousand acres so S&H can put in an access road to the luxury mountain resort they’re planning to build.

Hunter is having none of it. He doesn’t want a fancy resort trashing up the peaceful town named for his great-great grandfather. And he damn sure doesn’t want a road across his property. He’s prepared to say a flat NO when the development company’s lawyer comes out to the ranch to talk to him. He didn’t count on the pretty, spunky redhead.

Neither Poppy nor Hunter planned on falling in love, but their chemistry is undeniable. What they don’t know is that behind the scenes, there’s a scheme unfolding that will tear them apart. Is their passion real, or did Poppy play Hunter all along?

Here’s a new snippet from HUNTER’S PRIDE.

Golden sunlight streamed through the windows of the cabin, creating a brilliant space in stark contrast to the dark box from the previous night.  Hunter sighed to himself as he watched Poppy spoon another bite of oatmeal past her perfect lips.  She looked across the table at him and smiled softly.

 They were dressed in their clothes from the previous day, now dry thanks to the fire.  The only difference was that Poppy had added the flannel shirt over her white t-shirt, wearing it like an oversized jacket.

 Throughout the morning as they’d restored order to the cabin and made breakfast, they’d worked quietly, occasionally exchanging knowing glances and subdued smiles.

 Hunter sipped his coffee, and his mind drifted to the previous night.  After the blowjob that had to have registered on the Richter scale, they’d gone to bed, where they’d ended up making love twice more before finally succumbing to exhaustion.

 Mentally, he shook his head.  Five orgasms in one night.  That was far and away his all-time personal record.  And he’d seen to it that Poppy had enjoyed a few more than that.

 She met his eyes again and smiled.  A thought had been swirling around in his head since they’d lain breathless after that last time.  It was still there when he’d awakened, Poppy curled into him with her red hair framing her sleeping face.

 He hesitated, though.  Maybe she does this all the time, he thought.  The idea bothered him, but then, who was he to judge?  He had no kind of claim on her.  Three days ago, he’d assumed P.K. Chastain was a man.

 When she tilted her head curiously, he realized he’d been staring.

 “What’s up?” she smiled.

 He shook his head slightly.  “Nothing really.”

 Her eyes narrowed thoughtfully.  “You just seem to have something on your mind.”

 Stalling, he swiped a hand across his mouth and leaned forward on his elbows.  “I was just thinking…”  He frowned slightly.  “How much longer are you in Idaho?”

“I fly back to New York on Sunday.”

 He shifted his jaw.  Nothing ventured… 

“I was just thinking that maybe you might stay with me, at the ranch, rather than at the motel in town.”  He watched her closely.  “There’s a lot more I’d like to show you around here, and my house is a hell of a lot nicer than the Deer Creek Motor Lodge.  Plus…”  He trailed off.

 “Plus?”  Amusement twinkled in her eyes.

 He exhaled sharply.  “Plus, I think we’ve got an incredible connection.  I mean, I don’t know about you, but I don’t do this on a regular basis.”  He gestured toward the bed. 

Her eyes widened.  “I don’t do this on a regular basis,” she said.  “Are you asking if I do?”

 “No, God, no!  I didn’t mean to imply…  Shit.”  He ran a restless hand through his hair.  “I just mean that I feel like we have something here.  And for the first time in a long time, I’d like to explore it and see where it leads.”

 Feeling like he’d overstepped, he backtracked.  “Maybe you’re more comfortable in town.  I get it.  And I imagine you have work to do.  Don’t worry about it, it was just a random thought.”

 Wordlessly, Poppy pushed back from the table and came around to him.  She straddled his lap and took his hands in hers.

 “Hunter, I like you.  A lot.  All this,” she nodded her head toward the bed.  “That’s all you.  I’ve never had a night like last night.  Obviously, we have physical chemistry going on here, but I agree with you.”  She smiled up at him.  “I think it’s more than that.  And I’d love to see where it goes.”

 She kissed his cheek and slid off his lap.  “I didn’t want to complain, but the motel is a pit.  I’d lots rather stay with you.”

 He felt his lips curl in a guarded smile.  “Really?”

 Poppy nodded, a slight frown wrinkling her brow.  “I mean, it’s a little complicated, isn’t it?  I’m supposed to be negotiating an offer from my company.  But I suppose we’re still discussing it, right?  It wouldn’t do for the office to know that I’m staying with you, though.  It wouldn’t look very professional.”

 “Will it be a problem?”  For the first time, Hunter tried to factor Slade & Howell into the situation.

 She grinned mischievously.  “Not if they don’t know about it.”

 Suddenly, Hunter wanted nothing more than for Poppy to be with him at the ranch for the rest of her time in Idaho. 

“So, does that mean you’re staying with me?”  He stood and walked toward her.

“That’s exactly what that means,” she smiled.

 He released the breath he’d been holding as a smile spread across his face.  “Great!  Fantastic!”  He rested his hands on her hips and leaned down to press a kiss to her lips.  Reaching around his neck, Poppy steadied herself, tangling her fingers in his hair.

 Reluctantly, he ended the kiss, resting his forehead against hers.  “I’d better stop before we end up back in bed.  I’m already having a hard time walking today.”

 Poppy giggled.  “I’d never complain about being sore, as long as it’s for all the right reasons.”

HUNTER’S PRIDE by Pandora Spocks

Watch the official book trailer for HUNTER’S PRIDE.

HUNTER’S PRIDE
is out Tuesday, July 2.
Reserve your copy now: books2read.com/HuntersPride

Saturday Night Serenade–I Love a Good Story

I love a good story. But I’m a writer, so I don’t think that comes as a big surprise.

I tend to write long stories. For me, the characters are everything. Their strengths, their vulnerabilities, their past experiences, their flaws and self-doubts blend together to make them relatable. I always want readers to feel like they know the characters, like they’re friends. And that takes time to build.

As a reader, the best books are the ones where I intentionally slow down about halfway through because I know I’m going to miss the characters when I finish the story. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood was like that for me.

That being said, I’m always impressed with writers who can communicate all that emotion in fewer words. Like in a song, for example.

Tequila by Dan + Shay tells a great story. This video enhances that story. Be sure to stay until the end. 😉

And because I have a perverse sense of humor, I’m taking a left turn at Albuquerque. (You have to be a certain age to get that reference.) On my summer television guilty pleasure America’s Got Talent, a guy performed a karaoke version of a different Tequila. Enjoy.

This weekend, we’re well into summer, and in the States, we’re celebrating Independence Day this week. I wish you a wonderful 4th of July. Enjoy your time with family and friends. Don’t hold fireworks in your hand, y’all, because DUH!

Be sure to hug those you love. Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–

Tonight’s serenade is a classic, and it doesn’t get much more classic than the Beatles. This clip of Yesterday is from a live 1965 television performance. It’s funny because the audience is so frantic about seeing the Fab Four, they don’t really appreciate the beauty of the song. I think true classics are like that–it’s only later that we recognize their value.

I’m beyond stoked about the new movie coming out at the end of the week. Yesterday, from the director of Slumdog Millionaire and the writer of Love Actually, is a fantasy musical romantic comedy about a struggling young singer who wakes up one day to discover that he’s the only one in the world who remembers the genius of the Beatles. When he begins to play their songs, everyone assumes they’re his original work, and his career soars.

The premise intrigued me months ago, the first time I saw a few short clips. It looks like a charming story about likeable characters, all punctuated by the music of the Beatles. In one hilarious clip, Ed Sheeran, as himself, advises our hero Jack to change one particular lyric to “Hey, dude.”

I can’t wait to see this movie, and as we have been hoarding a Fandango gift card since Christmas, awaiting a worthy film, I predict a date night in our very near future.

I hope this first official weekend of summer finds you well. Be sure to hug the ones you love. Maybe I’ll see you at the movies!

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–A Little Sunshine

Do you have a list of songs you consider musical ‘comfort food’?

I do, and this one is near the top of the list. Boogie Shoes is my favorite K.C. and the Sunshine Band song, and it’s from their 1975 self-titled album. The official genre is disco/funk. I love the brass in this song. And it’s fun to sing, too.

Which is probably why it’s been added to the background of a current television ad for a prescription medication. You know how the advertisers sell us drugs–pleasant images of happy people doing happy things, with a soundtrack of happy music.

If you’re paying attention to the name of the drug, which I usually don’t, you kind of wonder how long it will be before you see class-action lawsuits because these drugs are causing ‘suicidal thoughts or actions, tuberculosis, lymphoma, and perineal tearing’ (all actual side effects I’ve heard over the background happy music). Maybe we’d have been better off with the original ailment.

At any rate, I’d like to relax this summer Saturday with a little blast from the past. Did you notice that this clip is from American Bandstand? If you don’t know what that is, sit down and let the grown-ups talk.

Sending warm Happy Father’s Day wishes your way. Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!