With: Leslie P. Garcia
Congratulations to "Julie O.", the grand prize winner and "Norma", "Natalija", "Dee" and "Laney4", the e-book winners in Leslie's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!
On June 9th, 1973, a thoroughbred named Secretariat shattered records as he won the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths. While that may seem an odd detail in a post about love, it really isn’t—the Belmont Stakes was the first time that my husband-to-be and I watched television together. Cruz and I both worked at a Texas dude ranch, where prejudice was still rife. He was in the country illegally, and my father didn’t allow his children to associate with anyone anyway. The dude ranch owner and my father would later take drastic action against our relationship, but at that particular moment—we shared a once in a lifetime experience from opposite ends of one couch. Love has many magic moments, but that became our first.
Thinking back, I wonder if my life-long fascination with cowboys (okay, and horses) made falling in love with someone whose language I had to learn easier than it might otherwise have been. I grew up with crushes on men from Roy Rogers to Dean Martin (in Rio Bravo) and everyone in between. Granted, Cruz worked thirteen or fourteen hours a day and seldom rode, but the one trail ride I took with guests, he rode on as well. Neither of us fell off, and I’m sure the ranch’s real cowboy, Noe, didn’t find our horsemanship skills remarkable, but he smiled more than usual that day. Maybe he thought back and remembered one of his own magic moments in time.
Lives and passions change over forty years. Cruz and I wound up in Laredo, Texas, horseless and working in jobs that provided different paths than a dude ranch in the Hill Country had. I have written from the time I was six, but as I matured, my writing focused more on romance than creating a Phantom Stallion series to make Walter Farley turn green. Moments of love fascinated me—not just those sizzling, lust-driven moments of love, but the simple, seemingly unrelated incidents that actually become the glue holding lives together.
Romantic moments—like the friend’s husband who filled her bedroom with rose petals for one anniversary, and for another secretly invited her closest friends out to an elegant dinner. We teased her about how we envied her, but we were genuinely happy for her—she found a man who really loved her.
A friend’s daughter planned a birthday celebration for her man—someone she hadn’t immediately felt ready to marry. There, in formal wear and surrounded by friends, she got down on a knee and proposed to him—a heartwarming, magic moment in the lives of her many friends, especially those who knew her from childhood to womanhood.
But in writing A Cowboy’s Magic, a different idea of the magic—and strength—of love came home to me when I met a retired Marine, a young woman who loved her country, and wanted to serve, but who also loved her husband and children. The strength she took in pursuing both passions blew me away. I’d thought often of the sacrifice military families make, but never knew that service members with children give up custodial rights during training and deployment. Nothing she faced, she told me, was as hard as signing away her parental rights when she enlisted. Thankfully, she returned home safely to her family. She serves her communtiy now as a teacher, but her outlook, compassion and courage are remarkable. Those moments in love can touch any of us.
Cruz never has been the horse nut I have, and for many years, we haven’t watched races together. Recently, the years have affected our memories, and he’s struggling sometimes to remember our early years. But I was touched this June when he came to my room and told me to come watch “our” race, the Belmont, with him. That he would fish for another moment meant the world. Love lives on in our ability to find illusion and hope through the years. Love lives on magic.
Please share some of those magic moments you’ve lived. Love comes in so many forms and touches us so uniquely—I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Excerpt from A Cowboy’s Magic
Alex wanted to say something, but what? He hadn’t known about her existence back then. And if he had…he’d have been at college or the nearest rodeo. She was right about that.
Doozie flushed slightly. “Not your fault, boy,” she apologized after a moment of awkward silence. “We’re not kin and you don’t owe me. I gotta quit hittin’ out at folks who don’t follow the paths I think they should.”
A door creaked, interrupting them.
“Good Lord, Magic Lynne Holmes, what in the name of Hades’n’hell happened to you?”
The stench hit him before he heard anyone answer, and he fought to keep from fishing out his bandana and covering his mouth and nose. Slowly he turned, wondering if Doozie had a hog with a name as strange as her own.
A woman stood there, covered from head to toe in what could charitably be called mud; judging from the smell, though, he would bet that Doozie did keep hogs. He didn’t know if the newcomer was pretty and he couldn’t guess her age. The filth covering her and the stench around her were overwhelming, even though he’d landed face down in bull shit more than once.
“I—” She suddenly noticed the stranger and straightened a little. In spite of the stinking mess, he could tell she was fairly tall and probably had long hair under the strands of gunk hanging down from her head.
“You get your butt outside and hose yourself down good, girl! I mopped a bit ago and there you are…” Doozie stopped in mid-rant. “You lost Sweetie again, didn’t you?”
“She’s not lost,” the woman returned calmly. “She ran your hogs out of the wallow. I tried to stop her.”
“So I see.” Doozie nodded matter-of-factly. “Well, go on. You’re not going in my bathroom covered in that!”
The woman turned and headed toward the door without speaking.
Doozie glared at him. “What are you waiting for, boy? You get out there and help hose her down! You got any idea how hard it was to get the floor clean after the rains last week? As is she dripped and I gotta go get the mop. Go on! Go! And don’t you come back in ‘til she’s clean and you’re both dry!”
He’d been brought up to obey elders, so he did an about face, realizing that Stella was right. Doozie didn’t have a sane brain left under her sparse white hair.
He hurried out the door and toward the string of expletives and banging noises somewhere behind the house.
(Cowboy Up Book 4)
Spend some Cowboy Time with the bestselling authors who brought you Cowboy Up 1 and 2.
A book bundle by some of the hottest Western authors around. Each story is unique… from sweet to sizzling with a story sure to please fan of Western Romance.
Happily Ever After, Cowboy by Allison Merritt
She’s planning the wedding of her dreams with a pretend groom and a fake ceremony. What could possibly go wrong?
A Cowboy’s Magic by Leslie P. Garcia
Every cowboy needs a little Magic in his life…
A Pigskin Cowboy by Melissa Keir
Being financially secure is Charley’s biggest dream. Clearing his name is Kane’s. When the media comes looking for the big story, will Kane and Charley’s relationship survive the drama or will the football player run again?
Keep Calm and… Cowboy by Autumn Piper
Everyone knows his area of expertise falls squarely between the sheets, but nobody knows his best friend just asked him for a crash course in all things sex.
Sadie’s Fantasy Cowboy by Sara Walter Ellwood
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas; that is until the heart is involved…
Lily’s Summer Cowboy by D’Ann Lindun
Friendship turns to passion …but can they heal one another?
Leslie will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky person leaving a comment or email entry. She will also be giving away four copies of Cowboy Time to 4 lucky commenters.
Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST July 8th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@JustContemporaryRomance.com with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.