California Dreamin’: My Cowboy Hero
Never mind that I was born and raised on the East Coast: cowboys are my weakness. When I was growing up, if you wanted to see a man who spent his days and nights in the saddle the way I longed to, then you watched western series and movies on TV.
I fell in love repeatedly. My first cowboy love was Clint Eastwood in the show Rawhide, a love that was reinforced by the spaghetti westerns he made with director Sergio Leone (For a Fistful of Dollars, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly; For a Few Dollars More). Since I was a kid, my love took an interesting form: I didn’t just want to be the impossibly cool cowboy, I wanted to look like him. For a period I went around in dark jeans and a poncho and tried to mimic Clint Eastwood’s squint. Had I been old enough I’d have clamped a cigarillo between my teeth. As it was, I’m sure I looked ridiculous in my getup but it didn’t matter. I was channeling the most charismatic horseman I’d ever seen.
My next two crushes were on Adam and Little Joe Cartwright in Bonanza—played by Pernell Roberts and Michael Landon. Both brothers made me swoon with delight. I was past the impersonating-by-dress phase of my cowboy love. I’d evolved to the ‘Do I love Adam with his strong dark looks or the teasing light in Little Joe’s eyes more?’ stage. I’m not sure I ever decided which brother I loved more.
Then there was The Big Valley and things got really complicated. I fell in love with an entire ranching family. Do you remember how tough and strong Barbara Stanwyck’s Barbara Cartwright was as she kept the family’s California ranch together after the death of her husband? Or how beautiful Audra Cartwright (Linda Evans) was? I longed to be both mother and daughter—which was kind of weird when I was also seriously lusting after Richard Long, Peter Breck, and Lee Majors, who played Linda Evans’s brothers and illegitimate half-brother. As I said, my feelings for these characters were complicated. It’s a good thing I turned to writing so I could sort out all these tangled desires.
My Silver Creek series was born of this early love of cowboys. But in addition to the thrill of casting as my heroes rugged horsemen in chaps and Stetsons who ride cutting horses and rope steer, I was equally excited at the chance to create a ranching family that embraced the same virtues I admired in those TV shows—the love and support each member feels towards the others; the deep connection they have to the land they work and the ranching way of life.
Reid Knowles, the hero of my new release Once Tasted, is such a cowboy. The second son of a ranching family in northern California, Reid is a smooth-talking charmer, and his bright blue eyes can dazzle just about any woman…except Mia Bodell. Her youthful infatuation with him was shattered years ago following a mortifying incident in high school. For his part, Reid would just as soon steer clear of Mia and her pointed disdain. Unfortunately, he’s made a promise to Mia’s uncle to help Mia manage the Bodells’ winery that neighbors Silver Creek Ranch. All too soon the sparks begin to fly and Reid will have to convince Mia that he’s worth more than just one taste.
Did you grow up loving a cowboy? Which one?
More about Once Tasted:
Three siblings, an extraordinary family, a lasting heritage—-in the irresistible Silver Creek Ranch trilogy, they’ll fight for the land and the people they love.
Everything has come easily to Reid Knowles, the middle son of a California ranching family. But his charmed life is suddenly complicated when his neighbor, Thomas Bodell, persuades him to help with the business management of his winery, which he is leaving to his niece, Mia.
In a life marked by loss, nothing has ever come easily to Mia Bodell. Love included. In high school her heart was crushed by Reid. The hurt lingers. When Mia learns of her uncle’s plan, she makes it clear that she’d rather be roped to a steer than to Reid Knowles.
A night of unbridled passion changes things. One taste of Mia awakens an unfamiliar yearning in Reid, and he vows to find a way to win her trust.
Mia is achingly aware that her teenage heartthrob has matured into a devastatingly handsome man. But can the budding winemaker trust her heart to a playboy with no interest in settling down? From Reid’s first intoxicating kiss to his unexpectedly tender seduction, Mia is swept into a passionate affair that could leave her heart in pieces . . . or give her everything she has ever wanted.
About Laura Moore:
National bestselling contemporary romance author Laura Moore began writing while pursuing a graduate degree in art education. Her first story filled an entire notebook before she realized that she might actually have penned a love story that others might want to read. Ride A Dark Horse was published a year later.
An accomplished rider and animal lover, Laura lives in Rhode Island, with her husband, two children, and their black Lab. Their cat Zevon keeps them all in line.