Friday, August 2, 2019

"Bachelor in the Boondocks" by River Ames

Bachelor in the Boondocks
by River Ames

Bachelor in the Boondocks by River Ames

Bachelor in the Boondocks by River Ames is currently on tour with Silver Dagger Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Jared Sherman has been coerced into spending six months of his life in the small Missouri town of Green River. His uncle wants to merge their businesses, but before the older man will talk business, he’s made it a pre-condition of the agreement that his nephew move to Green River.
Jared, a big city sophisticate, is having trouble wrapping his mind around country living. He feels as if he’s traded in his life in the fast line for a sojourn straight out of a rerun of the “Andy Griffith” show.
Except, Jared doesn’t remember an episode that had Sheriff Andy standing in the buff with only a flimsy pair of frilly curtains preserving what’s left of his dignity while being surrounded by the broken glass of his bedroom window.
Cue Amelia Greene.
“Call 911, and I’ll break your arm.”
She can understand him not wanting anyone else to see him in this bizarre situation, but his tone is unacceptable.
Being the good neighbor that she is, and because it was her younger brother whose baseball smashed through Jared’s window, Amelia helps Jared free himself from the shards of glass essentially holding him hostage.
Jared Sherman is a man who’s counting the hours until he can escape the confines of country living. Another countdown is underway, however.
He’s counting down the next time he can steal another sweet kiss from a woman who’s so devious he can’t figure out how she manages to be so darned seductive. Maybe by wearing her flaming hair in a bun, going about in long-sleeve blouses, and forgoing expensive perfumes, she’s discovered a sure-fired way to entice even the most dyed-in-the-wool bachelor.
Who would have ever thought the natural look could inflame a man’s desires?
Good grief, she was literally the girl next door.
But, he was a man who had no intention of living in the boondocks, minus the docks.

“Lookit,” he called. “I found another ball. Try and hit it.”
When the baseball came flying straight at her, Amelia swung at it in an instinctive act of self-defense. A solid thwack split the morning quiet, and she watched in horror as the ball flew off the end of the bat, heading in a deadly arc toward the neighboring house’s second-story window.
She closed her eyes, bracing herself for the sound of shattering glass. Instead, she heard a thump followed by a grunt. Her eyes snapped open and she looked upward. In lieu of a broken window, she found herself looking at a shirtless male torso through a partially-opened portion of the window’s casement.
Concern ricocheted through her. “Oh, heaven’s, are you okay?”
“I—I’m not sure.” A kind of husky wonder seemed to lace his words.
“I hit you, didn’t I? I’m so sorry.” Feeling as if she were holding a smoking gun, she dropped the bat and returned her gaze to the open window and the man standing there. “Can I get you anything?”
He reached down and rubbed his stomach. At least, she hoped it was his stomach she’d hit. The window sill blocked the lower portion of the stranger’s body from view. With the sun’s reflection bouncing off the window glass, it was impossible to discern any other parts of him. She had a clear view only of his lightly furred chest. And a very nice chest it was, she couldn’t help noticing.
“I’m all right,” the man called back. “The ball didn’t have much force on it.”
Immediately, she took umbrage at his dismissive remark.
That baseball had been a bullet, a bat-cracking home-run if she’d ever seen one. Prudently, however, she let the man’s statement pass unchallenged.
“Hey, mister, are you going to give us back our ball?”
Aunt Veronica had mentioned the Claxtons’ house was being rented out, and Amelia assumed the stranger standing in the second-floor bedroom was the home’s new tenant. She pasted an optimistic smile on her face and hoped he wasn’t going to say something obscene to her younger brother.
“Which one of you wants to catch it?”
Not waiting for an answer, he bent down to pick up what she sincerely hoped was going to be their baseball. Catching a quick glimpse of her new neighbor’s profile, she hoped there beat a gentler heart inside his rugged chest than his stern features suggested.
“I’ll catch it! I’ll catch it,” Weston cried enthusiastically.
The man in the window reappeared, leaning forward and holding their baseball prisoner. Inside his large hand, the ball looked puny, harmless.
An inordinate length of time seemed to pass while he stared down at them. Was he sizing them up? From his unfriendly expression, they evidently didn’t pass muster.
“Maybe you better stand back, son. I’ll toss it to the ground.”
With a smooth flick of his wrist, he sent the baseball spinning back toward them. It fell with impressive accuracy at Amelia’s feet. Her startled gaze flew from the ball back to the man’s face. For a moment, she simply stared. He was handsome in a rugged, virile way. She was caught off guard by the quick assessment. Heavens, she was not the kind of woman who went around noticing the attractiveness-level of each passing stranger.
His eyebrows were brown, the same deep color as his thick hair. And his eyes were dark, too. Dark and rich. Coffee without the cream. But it wasn’t their shade that brought a flush to her cheeks. It was the look in them.
Playful. Speculative.
Sexy as all get out.
Her breath quickened, and the absurd thought struck her that he had been less alarming when he’d been frowning. Unexpectedly, she found herself wondering what, if anything, her daunting new neighbor wore besides his grin.
She searched for something to say to break the unnatural silence stretching between them. “Uh, thank you for giving us back our ball.”
“No problem.”
She had no idea how much longer they stared at each other before Weston tugged on her arm.
“Come on. I need to practice hitting.”
As she allowed herself to be turned around, she heard the distinct sound of the window being closed.
Her brother picked up the fallen bat. It took a moment for her thoughts to return to the business at hand.
“Okay, I’ll throw you the ball.” To be on the safe side, she positioned Weston with his back to the neighboring house. Self-consciously, she glanced up. Because the window has been shut, she only imagined the amused look she felt washing over her. The idea of being watched did nothing to make her feel more athletic.
“I’m ready. Throw the ball!”
She jerked her gaze back to Weston. Frowning, she tried to figure what was wrong with the way he was holding the bat. She certainly wasn’t an expert on the subject, but somehow, his stance looked a little peculiar. Oh, well, the worst thing he could do was miss her pitch.
“Here it comes, sport.”
She threw the ball. It surprised her by flying in a fairly straight path toward Weston. A hearty smack accompanied his swing.
Shock replaced surprise.
Defying every law of physics Amelia had assumed to be true, the ball bounced backward off the tip of his bat. Shock turned to disbelief. The sound of shattering glass exploded about them. Disbelief turned to despair.
Her gaze flew again to the second-story window. Horrified, she saw that a jagged window pane now framed her new neighbor. Broken shards of glass seemed to cover every part of him.
“Don’t move,” she commanded abruptly.
“I don’t think that’s an option. I’m barefoot and there’s glass everywhere.”
“Just stay put. I’ll be right over.”
She hadn’t realized she could run so fast. Her panic sent a surge of adrenaline racing through her system and in less than a minute, she had entered the Claxton’s house and was charging up the hall stairs. She’d been in her neighbor’s house many times and knew which door led to the bedroom facing Aunt Veronica’s backyard.
After flinging open the closed bedroom door, she came running full-steam into the room. Then she skidded to a sudden stop. Standing before her was an obviously naked, six-foot man wearing only a chagrined expression and a pair of Priscilla curtains wrapped around his hips.
From the bare drapery rod still vibrating above his head, she surmised he’d ripped down the curtains seconds before she’d entered the room. Visions of Scarlett O’Hara doing likewise to Tara’s portieres flicked through Amelia’s numbed brain.
“Don’t just stand there,” he said, flames shooting from his dark eyes. “I need help.”
“Are you...” She swallowed, fighting the suicidal impulse to laugh. Meeting his furious gaze, she could tell right off that an errant giggle could incite the man to violence.
She approached him cautiously and felt glass crunch beneath the soles of her tennis shoes. “Are you cut?”
“I don’t think so.”
Slowly, she circled him, wrinkling her brow. “How on earth are we going to get all that broken glass off of you?”
His eyes raked her over invisible coals. “One piece at a time?”
She knew he was being sarcastic, but unfortunately, he was probably right. “I’ll call 911.”
She took a step toward the telephone on the nightstand.
“Touch that phone and I’ll break your arm.”
Startled, her gaze flew to his glittering eyes. She felt her heart begin to pound. He didn’t look as if he were kidding. And other than the fact that he’d bought the Claxton house, she knew nothing about the man.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book

“Loved it! The world the way we wish it was! Great laugh-out-loud humor and it sizzles in all the right places! Can't wait to read her next book!” ~ wcg

“I really liked it. It was a great sweet small town romance. The characters were relatable and funny, they even reminded me of some of my family that live in a small country town! The pace of the story was just right and so was the level of romance!” ~ Cindi Knowles

Interview with the Author
Today, I am joined by River Ames, author of Bachelor in the Boondocks.
Do your characters hijack the story, or do you have full reigns of the story?
Since my books revolve around my characters, I don’t consider them changing the direction of my intended plots to be a form of hijacking. My characters live in my novels, and my writing really is all about them. During the course of writing a book, I grow to really care for them. ometimes they get in the way of finding their own happiness, but they never get in the way of the story. My characters are my story.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
In the beginning of a novel, I have an impression of who my lead characters are. I usually choose two or three strong character traits and motivations that form the core of their characterization. As their story develops, so does my knowledge of who they are and what they want. Sometimes they shock me, but that’s when I know that they’re becoming their own people.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
It always comes down to a matter of definition. Some people who don’t believe in writer’s block base that opinion on the fact that one can always write - just start typing and you’re writing. But, if you’re referring to taking dictation from your subconscious brain, then I do believe in writer’s block. The thing is, we always have the capacity to sit down and begin typing even when the creative flow is cut off. It can be really painful, but it can be done. But, what’s the quality of the writing that’s being put on the page? Some writers say that the reader can’t tell the difference between when an author’s writing while “in-the-zone” from when he/she is “gutting” out his/her story by pure determination. Personally, I think I can tell the difference.
I went through a severe depression that lasted for years. When it first hit me, I couldn’t even read a novel because my brain would not allow me to go to that place where reading fiction lives. I did not write during that period of time. I was focused on staying alive. I’m very grateful that this period has passed. I’m definitely writing again. And the sheer act of doing so makes me feel as if I’ve reclaimed a lost part of myself, of who I am.
Still, there are some days that I’m definitely not in-the-zone. On those days, I do editing, work on character development, plotting, and research. I’ve found an effective way to start my next day of writing is to stop in the middle of a sentence. I avoid ending a writing session on a completed paragraph or chapter.
Do you have a favorite movie?
My “favorite movie” changes from time to time. I really enjoy ironic science fiction, but I have a PG13 sensibility. This means that when I watched Shawn of the Dead, Tremors, or Lake Placid on network television, I loved them. However, when I bought the DVDs, I just couldn’t get past the language. You can add Big-Assed Spiders to that list.
As for television series, it’s no surprise that The Orville. Once Upon a Time, Contagion, and - my all-time favorite - Longmire top that list of favorites.
Thanks for stopping by today, River. Enjoy the rest of your tour!

About the Author
River Ames
River Ames spent the first eighteen years of her life in Southern California. Here is a partial list of some of the cities in which she lived: Pasadena, South Pasadena, Duarte, El Monte, Arcadia La Puente, Lomita, West Covina, Pacifica, Santa Monica, Palmdale, and Hacienda Heights. In some of those cities, she lived at six different addresses. In the city of La Puente, River's family lived in four different houses on the same street. The non-glamorous reason for all the moves was habitual eviction necessitated for non-payment of rent. It was an interesting way to grow up.
River attended twenty-six different elementary schools, two different junior high schools and four different high schools. In one elementary school, she was a student for only three days.
Perhaps, because she was so frequently identified as the “new girl”, the pattern of River being an observer instead of a participant in the interactions going on around her seemed a logical fit for her personality.
When she was thirteen, River read Gone with the Wind. She skipped three days of school in order to finish the book in one sitting. Disappointed in Rhett for “not giving a damn”, River wrote her own sequel - in long hand, on three-hole-punch notebook paper. The opening line? “Tomorrow dawned bright and fair.” In less than fifty pages, Scarlett had been transformed into Jane Eyre and Rhett had fallen in love with her all over again.
After Southern California, River has spent the next part of her life living in the semi-rural town of Idaho Falls, Idaho. She is a graduate of Idaho State University, majoring in Health Education Sciences and Addiction Counseling. She's worked the past ten years at a Behavioral Health Center where she assisted children, teenagers, and adults committed in a 24/7 secured facility because of mental health challenges they are experiencing.
River's books celebrate the good-natured humor that lays at the heart of most of our human predicaments. The conflicts are significant, yet it is her characters and their quirky (yet somehow universally relatable) thoughts, words, and choices that reflect a light-hearted peek into a world we wish was real. The amazing thing is that these worlds are real to readers for the time they visit there.
Readers have said: “In a River Ames book, one minute I'm laughing out loud, and the next I have a lump in my throat.”
River is currently readying a historical novel, Gideon's Justice, a three-part novel that is Book I in a three volume western series set in the Colorado Territory.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

Amazon (Kindle Unlimited)

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