Today, Feb 1 2016, is the release day for "The Stolen Suitor", a contemporary romance novel in the Dreamspun Desires line. Dreamspun Desires is a line of unrelated short novels that are all category romance (think the old Harlequin labels) but done as m/m. Very tropey, fun, short romances!
"The Stolen Suitor" is set in the same universe as my Christmas novella "A Prairie Dog's Love Song". Clyde's Corner, Montana is small town USA with a Western/ranch/folksy feel. The story is light-hearted, humorous, and, hopefully, hot! Both Prairie Dog and Stolen Suitor were inspired by Pamela Morsi's "Marrying Stone" series of folksy romance.
So what is "The Stolen Suitor" about?
The story begins when Mabeline Crassen (Mabe) makes a plan. Mabe and her two sons live in a trailer home on the wrong side of the tracks in Clyde's Corner, Montana. They've been looked down upon ever since Mabe's husband, Frank, landed himself in jail years ago. The name 'Crassen' has had a bad rap ever since. But Mabe is determined to help her two sons achieve better place in the world. We have....
Jeremy Crassen -- Jeremy is a shy dreamer who works in the back of Nora's diner as the short-order cook and spends the rest of his time scribbling store is in his notebooks. He grew up hiding behind his long auburn bangs. Pretty much everyone dismisses Jeremy if they notice him at all. (The photo below is stock. He's a bit too 'built' for slender Jeremy, but his face and hair are perfect.)
Eric Crassen -- Whereas Jeremy turned inward after his father's arrest, his older brother Eric decided that if he were to be labelled bad, he'd be as bad as they come. Known in three counties as a good-looking, womanizing, partying, n'ere-do-well, Eric never rouses himself to do much of anything useful until Mabe's plan pushes him to. (The dimple-chinned photo below was as close to Eric as I can find. It's Tom Brady of the New England Patriots).
Mabe's plan is simple: The young widow, Trix Stubben, owns the best ranch in town. An ex-beauty queen, all around excellent horse-woman, hard-worker, and mother to young Janie, Trix is the ideal woman to set Eric on the path to domestic responsibility at last. (The below photo of 'Trix' is stock.) Mabe doesn't even know that Eric and Trix were middle school sweethearts years ago, until Frank Crassen's arrest drove Eric to embrace his inner devil.
Mabe pushes Eric to go work for Trix's ranch and win her heart. After all, he's good-looking enough to turn Trixie's head, and he can charm the skin off a snake. There's just one small problem....
Chris Ramsey: Unfortunately, Trix already has a beau, Chris. His dad owns the town's mercantile and he's therefore 'rich' and also went away to Denver for a few years and has a top notch education. He's clearly a much better catch than Eric, but Mabe thinks there may be a crack in that rosy picture. Chris has always been known as the local dandy, being teased for his fussiness with fashion and his looks even in high school. Mabe is pretty sure Chris plays for the pink team, and his courtship of Trix has no more depth than a puddle. Chris was Trixie's dead husband's best friend. Could he be courting Trix out of a sense of duty? She sets her younger son, Jeremy, to lure Chris's attention away from Trix so Eric can steal her away.
If you think that sounds like a plan that's bound to cause any number of misunderstandings and complications, you'd be right. (I'll give you a hint--it works out in the end.)
Here are a few images of the setting, Clyde's Corner, Montana (which is fictional).
And here are a few key places in the story:
Above: The river bank where Jeremy and Chris go fishing (among other things)
Above: The bridge where the dramatic ending takes place
Joshua and Ben from "A Prairie Dog's Love Song" are also in the book quite a bit because Chris, Jeremy, and Eric all end up taking riding lessons on their ranch. It was wonderful to write more scenes with these characters! I adore them.
And finally, the theme of the story is that sometimes what we think we want in life is not what will truly make us happy. Inspired by the Joseph Campbell quote below.
That's it for this desktop. I hope you enjoy the story. You can read an excerpt and find purchase links on my page for The Stolen Suitor.