We’re so pleased to welcome first time visitor Sarah Masters to The Novel Approach today, as she tours to chat about her new novel from Pride Publishing, Outcast Cowboys. Enjoy Sarah’s guest post, then be sure to check out Pride’s contest for the month of August by clicking on the image below.
And now, here’s Sarah!
I’m Hiding Who I Am Too
Joe, in Outcast Cowboys, is a surly man. He’s been through a lot. He’s been accused of a few things he hasn’t done—bad things—but lets everyone think what they like. He’s done with trying to make people like him for who he really is. And besides, who would believe he was soft at heart underneath it all anyway when his brothers act as though Joe is the devil himself?
In the following scene, Joe starts to thaw.
Ross had joined the workforce at the ranch in Texas with the belief he could finally be his true self. After finding that couldn’t be the case, he once again adopts a persona. He’s used to doing that—he was an undercover cop in London, UK. So he slips into yet another role, one that has Joe shirking off his gruff exterior and giving Ross a glimpse of the real man beneath. I loved watching Joe unfurl, blooming as the book progressed, and showing Ross that he wasn’t the asshat everyone perceived him to be. Here was Joe, a man forced to play a role, and here was Ross, forced to do the same. Somehow, they recognized that in each other, and defenses slowly started coming down. I eagerly looked forward to the point in the book where they could just be who they were—with each other—and know that no matter what, they’d be accepted.
These men, and the writing of this book, touched me profoundly. I grew to love them, to think of them as real people, and although I gave them many complex layers, what I wanted to show was that underneath whatever personality we present to people, there is a soul crying out to be loved and cared for. And the bottom line is, that’s all we really want in this mad game of life, isn’t it? We all just want to be loved.
Excerpt from Outcast Cowboys:
Tessa wasn’t alone in the kitchen. Joe was with her, his hand on the table, blood pooling in the palm. It reminded Ross of the time Musket had fought off a blade-wielding maniac when one of their drug meets had gone wrong. He and Musket had escaped, coming out on top. The blade owner had ended up a victim of his own steel, courtesy of Musket, and their reputations had been stronger for it. Ross’ stomach hadn’t been stronger, though. He’d had to sew the wound up.
“Shit, what happened to you?” Ross strode across the kitchen.
“Fucking chisel slipped,” Joe snarled. “What’s it to you?”
“I can fix it, that’s what.” Ross planted his hands on the table and leaned on them, inspecting how Tessa was trying valiantly to soak up the blood with balls of cotton wool.
“Fix it? What, are you a goddamn doctor now?” Joe scowled, his eyebrows darting down over his eyes, rendering them slits.
“Nope, but I’ve seen and done things you wouldn’t believe, and sewing someone’s palm back together is one of them.” He looked to Tessa. “Got a curved needle? The sort used for close work?”
“Yes.” She wedged a load of cotton wool into Joe’s palm. “Hold that down.” She walked to a sideboard with several drawers. Opening one, she produced a wicker box. “In here.” She plonked it on the table then rooted inside.
“I’ll need it sterilized,” Ross said.
“Just hang on a goddamn minute here,” Joe said. “I haven’t agreed to this shit yet.”
“Yet.” Ross backstepped to the sink to wash his hands. “But you will.” It was almost a relief to slip into this part, to be similar to Wes Drake again, the strongest of his previous aliases. “Give it a week or two and the stitches can come out.”
“A week or two?” Joe moved to get up.
Ross went to the table and pushed him back down. “I wouldn’t bother. If you’ve lost a lot of blood, you might faint. You may not enjoy us seeing you like that. Big bloke like you, you’re bound to be stuffed full of arrogant pride.”
Where the fuck those words had come from Ross didn’t know, but he’d said them now and they didn’t appear to have done any harm. Tess was pouring disinfectant into a saucer, and Joe, although still scowling, didn’t seem to have anything to say.
“Yep, a week or two.” Ross grimaced at the state of the wound. “Worried about having to take time off work?”
“Damn right I am. We’ll fall behind.”
“Must be something else you can do.” Ross shrugged. “Not the hand you use most, is it?”
“Then once it’s bandaged you can groom horses, yeah?”
“So then you don’t lose any wages.”
Joe snapped his mouth closed, his face darkening as if he wanted to blast Ross with a stream of expletives but had changed his mind. “Who gave you a personality transplant?” he muttered.
“No one. Wasn’t myself yesterday.”
“Sure as shit you weren’t.” Joe cracked what could be passed off as a smile. “And there was me thinking you had no balls.”
“I’ve got balls, I just choose when to use them, that’s all.”
Blurb for Outcast Cowboys:
You can run but you can’t hide. Problems have a habit of following you, even if it’s only inside your head.
Ross decides to start a new life away from the grim belly of London, England, unable to stomach being a cop any longer. He tells himself he’s moving miles away to find himself a bed partner, but he’s lying. He has to. Facing up to the real reason he’s leaving isn’t something he can handle. His last undercover job proved too much—his life was at risk—and if he stays in London he’ll likely end up dead. Nightmares plague him, his subconscious unable to switch the past off. So he moves to a ranch in America, thinking the new surroundings and different lifestyle will help him to heal—and to forget. What he soon realizes is he’s jumping from the frying pan into the fire…
Joe’s passion—that of caring for the horses—is the only thing that keeps him sane. He’s a surly man, and for good reason—a reason he hasn’t told a soul. Folks think he’s mean and unapproachable and suspect him of committing murder. More than once. Locals assume that Joe got let off the hook. Nothing could be further from the truth, but Joe lets people think what they will. He’s done with their speculation and sly looks.
When Ross and Joe meet, tension is rife. The air between them prickles with animosity as well as sexual tension. Both have a past they can’t get over. Both have skeletons in their closets they wish would turn to dust. And both have to make a decision. Can they cast their fears aside and trust each other, or have the terrors they’ve experienced ruined them for love?
Reader Advisory: This book contains a scene of remembered non-consensual sex in a character’s past.
General Release Date: 18th August 2015
Like the sound of Outcast Cowboys? Buy it here.
About Sarah Masters: Sarah Masters is a multi-published author in three pen names writing several genres. She lives with her husband, youngest daughter, and a cat in England. She writes at weekends and is a cover artist/head of art in her day job. In another life she was an editor. Her other pen names are Natalie Dae and Geraldine O’Hara.
Sarah also co-authors with Jaime Samms, and as Natalie Dae she co-authors with Lily Harlem under the name Harlem Dae.