Working Through Chaos--Real or Imagined


This morning—and for the rest of the week—my house is in turmoil. Kind of like the characters’ lives in my new book. The painters are here to repair the pergola above the patio and repaint. Their ten-foot ladders are propped against the outdoor walls, their pickups parked in my driveway. I’m looking forward to these improvements—so tired of the flaking paint drifting down from overhead—but it upsets me to have my little world disturbed. It always does.

A dear friend has told me I’m not alone. She doesn’t like her space upended either. Still, it’s harder for me to write with male voices (not my hero’s) in my head. Speaking of heroes...

In November the newest book in my Kansas Cowboys series comes out! It's available for pre-order now, and I love this cover of the hero, Cody Jones, leading a horse through the snow. And how about that Christmas wreath around Prancer’s neck? 

                                                               


In previous stories, Cody was a bad boy. Charming, irresistible, but clearly not on the right path in life. His love for Willow Bodine, a wealthy rancher’s daughter, was doomed then, but after a stay in prison he’s back again, hoping to redeem himself and get a second chance—only to find her engaged to Cody’s worst enemy. But he’s not about to give up yet and, in this brief edited scene, has come to see her at her family’s ranch where he is definitely unwelcome:

Willow would not let him charm her again. She’d be better off to maintain a strict distance. “You’ve changed,” she pointed out, her voice sounding thick, “even lost some weight.”

Cody pretended to examine his forearm, all corded muscle, the skin dusted with golden hairs. “Yeah, but take a look at my tan.” And her heart turned over. His T-shirt read Navarro Correctional Facility. “I did a lot of work outside there.” His mouth set. “How long, angel? How long did it take you to forget?”

So, he’d heard about her engagement to Thad Nesbitt [his rival, the prosecutor who had faced him in court]. “We broke up, Cody. You and me, I mean.”

“I didn’t think we broke up for good.” He looked at her ring. “I don’t see any diamond here. Just a plain silver band?”

“It’s platinum.” Her cheeks warm, she turned the ring around again. It was a bit too large for her finger and needed to be resized. “A yellow diamond.” Several carats, and Thad’s choice.

“Go big or go home, huh?”

“Cody, stop. We were through before you even went to trial.” Her voice shook. “I’m glad your sentence was shortened. I hope that’s behind you now. I wish you all the best—”

“Wow. That sounds like some Dear John letter. You really love him?” For a long moment Cody didn’t speak. Then, “Do you love him as much as you said you loved me?”

What she needed to say, what he needed to hear again, was yes, but the word stuck in her throat. “Go,” she begged him. “For your own good, Cody. Don’t come back.”

The stunned look on his face shouldn’t have been there. How could he not know what kind of reception he’d get at the WB? From her? Yet he’d come anyway. He’d called her angel again.

“Okay,” he finally said. “If that’s the way you want it.”

With a shrug of his broad shoulders, he turned away and left. Willow watched him get into the yellow pickup and speed down the drive, raising a cloud of dust. Then she rushed from the barn, ran through the gate into the nearest pasture and kept running until she came upon the small herd grazing there and called to her horse.

“Good girl,” she murmured and threw her arms around the mare’s neck. She buried her face in Silver’s mane. And wept.

Willow and Cody are in a lot of trouble, far worse than the brief disruption to my household/writing routine for the next few days. I had great fun “fixing” them so they could deserve their happy ending. And I’m—really, I am—looking forward to enjoying my repainted pergola. But first, all that noise...

How do you feel about such necessary interruptions to your life? Yay or nay?


Comments

  1. I too hate disruptions at home, which I view as my personal lair. I've arranged to get the outside windows cleaned next week and am not looking forward to it, knowing I'll have to dart from room to room to evade any accidental sightings. :) I loved this scene, Leigh. So wrenching and right now am wondering how they're going to resolve this situation. Looking forward to finding out though. Congratulations? And yes, such a lovely cover.

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    1. Janice, thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed the scene. The disruption here at home has gotten worse. Turns out, we'll probably need a whole new pergola. Ugh. And this house has lots of windows so, while I'm hiding out in my office, people are still walking by and are able to see in to my personal space. Good luck with the window cleaning!

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  2. I prefer my disruptions to occur to the fictional characters I'm reading about. But I do love the results of invasions of workmen. Hope your painting goes well.

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    1. Yes, I do too, Beth. I will keep my mind on those good results. Our painters are great!

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  3. I love the idea of remodeling or major renovation but can't stand to have my space and my routine disrupted. It has to be sure before I'll take action, which probably makes the disruption last longer. I know that in my head by my private space controlled won't listen! Love the cover and the blurb........

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad you liked the cover, etc. You make a really good point about wanting to remodel but putting it off. I do that all the time!! And for the same reason. I spend more time daydreaming about and picturing what I want to do in this house than actually getting it done. By the time it happens, I've "remodeled" tons of times in my head.

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  4. Nice excerpt--I'm in the middle of Dallas and Elizabeth's story right now. This holiday cover is gorgeous.

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    1. Thanks, Virginia! And I'm happy with the cover too. Very Christmasy, I think.

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  5. I love, love this cover! You lucky girl! And the story sounds great so far...now I gotta get a copy. So, I'm chiming in to say I don't like the disruption, either--especially if I'm deep in a book. BUT my old house needs work done and there's nothin' I can do but go with the flow and this year there's been a lot of that. I hope I'm done for the winter. I need to get out and wash those windows before the snow flies, though.

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  6. I need my porch roof sealed. I got an estimate right before I was put on furlough so I need to call again now that I'm back working, but I keep putting it off. It leaks when it rains and, of course, the dripping is right over the door!
    I am reading Mistletoe Cowboy now and you've got me curious how Willow and Cody will find their way to each other again.

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  7. I'm not a fan of disruptions, except from the animals. The neighbors are unbelievably noisy and disruptive with guests coming and going all the time (also no masks or social distancing). Real estate tip, never EVER buy or rent a house with a shared driveway. Even if your current neighbors are fine, new ones could move in. I LOVE your cover. Hoping the work is over soon and peace descends on your house.

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