Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Back to TEXAS! by Linda Conrad

I’m thrilled about the start of my brand new series for Harlequin Romantic Suspense called Chance, Texas. The series features rugged Texas men. My all time favorite.

The first book in the series is on shelves in print now (April 1 on Kindle and B&N) Called TEXAS BABY SANCTUARY, the hero is Sam Chance, the oldest brother in the large ranching family. A strong, quiet man of the United States Secret Service, Sam’s job is to guard witnesses in the protection and security program. The one witness that gets to him, running from his protection and changing his life, is Grace Brown. Hiding from the Mexican drug king who kidnapped her, killed her parents and then made her his mistress, Grace wants to become self-sufficient enough to protect her baby son. But she discovers she must also learn to trust Sam.

Finding unique plots and interesting characters is always a challenge. Yet I know those are the very things that make readers happiest. I know because that’s what makes me happiest as a reader and a writer. My favorite settings are in Texas. The romance of the great American West stirs a passion in my soul. I’ve told many of my stories from a western perspective because I think it’s so romantic for a hero and heroine to face challenges from mother nature along with challenges of the heart.

You may not think of Texas as the wild west anymore. Most of it isn’t. But today there are still thousands of acres of ranch land and many wild spots along the border of Texas and Mexico. Chance, Texas takes place on a huge modern ranch and in a small town in isolated west Texas.

I know Texas may not be as chic or sophisticated as a European capital. Nor does it seem as much fun as a place like New Orleans. But there is just something about Texas that fits like a favorite pair of old shoes.

Paraphrasing the state’s travel guide: Texas is so big it feels like a whole other country! Yes, the state does have fabulous sand beaches and big city sights. But what makes it still Texas to me are the gorgeous mountains and rugged desert. The water-carved canyons and bluebonnet-strewn rolling ranchlands. The still isolated and wooly feel of the land bordering the Rio Grande. And the great range lands that somehow feel like they make up the nation’s history.

If it weren’t for Texas where would all the cowboys go? Gotta love those hunky cowboys with broad shoulders and rippling muscles, honed from wrangling all that cattle and riding all those horses.

The contemporary romantic cowboy is more of a mindset than an actual person. He must be tough and hard working, but he must also be kind and honest to a fault. A cowboy is always the good guy. Americans need books about cowboys to remind them that the country is large, but never so large that its people can’t stop and enjoy the world around them the way a cowboy does on horseback.

Of course, real cowboys don’t ride on horseback much anymore. They use SUV’s and helicopters to ride the herds. But the cowboy still stands for all that is pure and true. He’s never on the wrong side. He knows that a job must be done and he’s the guy who can do it. He can stay up all night to finish a job (or make love to his woman) the same way his counterparts did a hundred years ago on the trail. A cowboy never looks for trouble. He’s the man who will take on the bad guys in a heartbeat, but will also go twenty miles out of his way to take a sick dog to the vet. They defend good people who cannot defend themselves. They are honest and polite. And they know how to treat a woman.

Modern cowboys are not all molded alike. They each have their own style, and that style is uniquely suited for romance novels.

In TEXAS BABY SANCTUARY, Sam Chance must go back home to Texas in order to protect his witness and her child. Sam has stayed away from the Chance ranch deliberately, to avoid seeing his own guilt reflected in the eyes of his brothers. But his heart belongs to Texas and that’s where he feels at home. It’s up to him to make Grace see the value in Texas and want to stay there too.

Here’s a small excerpt of the beginning when Sam first catches up to Grace:

Stinging cold rain ran off the brim of his hat and dripped down the back of U.S. Marshal Sam Chance’s neck.
Shrugging deeper into his lambskin coat, Sam felt chilled through and bone-weary. So flipping bone-weary, in fact, that he figured sleeping for a hundred years would make a great way to spend his next time off—whenever that might happen.
But as he stood on the pavement in the rough March drizzle staring through the smudged front window of a run-down highway café, his body got a shot of much needed adrenaline. And suddenly, he had no need for sleep anytime soon.
She was there. Bending over to wipe down an empty table. After searching for the last six weeks, he’d finally found his woman.
The information he obtained from those truck drivers a few days ago had been the key to finding her. They’d said she was working as a waitress in this dingy joint. And there she was.
But look at how fragile she seemed from this distance. He’d never known her to be so thin. And she’d changed her hair color again. He had grown rather partial to the bright red, but he supposed honey-blond was not all bad—if what you needed the most from your hair color was a temporary disguise.
Where was her baby? Did she bring him to work with her? Was the child in the backroom of the café?
Wanting to go to her, to hear her voice again, he fisted his hands at his sides instead and tried to clear his mind.
But he didn’t move. He didn’t as much as blink an eyelash. Focusing his eyes past the left-over Christmas decorations on the window, that were by now looking pretty ratty, he simply gazed at her.
He shouldn’t be here. Never should have started this quest to find her in the first place. He’d taken a leave from his job in order to begin the search. But now that he’d found her, he couldn’t take his eyes off her. That she was still well and breathing free air felt like such a relief he could barely think. …..

There you go! Just a little taste of Sam’s journey. From here the story takes a fast turn and becomes a grand adventure right to the end. I think you’re going to love meeting Sam and Grace and her baby. I know I loved writing their story.

So what do you think of books about Texas and ranchers? Like them or hate them? If not cowboys, what’s your favorite hero do today? Leave a comment and three people will win a drawing for autographed copies of the first two books in the Chance, Texas series: TEXAS BABY SANCTUARY and TEXAS MANHUNT!

You can find out more about Linda and sign up for her newsletter at: or catch up with her on facebook and twitter.!/LindaConrad

***Linda's winners are : Laney4, Shelley B and Eli Yanti!!  Congrats, ladies!  Please email with your full name and mailing address!***


host said...

Congrats on your newest release! I love Texas boys with their ranches and bigger than the world attitude :)

Scarlet Wilson said...

One of my work colleagues has just left to visit her sister in Texas. Funnily enough the instructions that were given to her by her colleagues were - get us a photo of a sexy cowboy! No lame chocolates for us!
The books sound fab and Texas sounda a great setting.

CrystalGB said...

Hi Linda. Your book sounds great. I love books set in Texas and cowboys are my favorite heroes. :)

Linda Conrad said...

Tks, host! Don't you just love those two covers of mine? I think they got the guys just right. :)

Linda Conrad said...

Thank you, Scarlet! Hope your colleague has a terrific time in Texas. Give my book covers to your friends. ;)))

Linda Conrad said...

Hey, Crystal! Nice to hear from you. You and me both on the Texas books. I'm glad to be back there.

Eli Yanti said...

defenitely love them, cowboy is one of my favorite hero :)

Linda Conrad said...

Good, Eli! Me too.

Natalija said...

Congrats on your release, Linda! I haven't read it yet, but it sounds very intriguing and I love the cover. There are no cowboys in Italy, but I'm a huge fan and who doesn't love a good cowboy story?! My favorite hero? All the cowboys by Lindsey Johanna and Ross Coleman in "Sunset Embrace" by Sandra Brown, Diana Palmer's Callaghan Hart...

Linda Conrad said...

Thanks, Natalija! You picked some wonderful cowboy heroes there.

Shelley B said...

Long time fan! Congratulations on the new release. I love westerns..historical or contemporary. There's just something about a cowboy! I love Johanna Lindsey's, Brenda Joyce, Bobbi Smith's, and Kathleen Eagle, to name a few. I've been reading romances for 30 years. Thanks!

Leni said...

I've enjoyed reading stories based in Texas and stories about ranchers. The state makes for a good character itself by the way everything in the story works to bring everything together and give the reader a feel for the location.

Linda Conrad said...

Hi Shelley! You named another bunch of wonderful western writers. Some of my favorites! Thank you for the comment!

Linda Conrad said...

How right you are, Leni! Just saying Texas gives everyone the setting.

Di said...

I really enjoy books set in Texas - I'm just finishing off a Linda Lael Miller series, so I'll be looking for another series to start.

Chrisbails said...

Great excerpt. This is a new author for me and would love to win and read these books. I love to read and alwys looking for new authors to check out.
I love Texas. I love stories set in Texas. I love cowboys, cowboy boots & hats, I love southern accents, I love the way texans talk(so sexy), and I also love that they are so gentlemanly. Love series of books and would love to win and read the first two books of this series.

Laney4 said...

Hi, Linda!
I enjoy Texan heroes. They tend to be sure of themselves, strong (yet gentle when the need arises), rugged, and usually rich (which makes for interesting opportunities). I have never been on a ranch, so I live vicariously through these heroes.
The same can be said with sheikhs. I enjoy sheikh stories quite a bit. Must be something about the same qualities I noted above, except they are often more isolated than the cowboys (but not always).
I don't know. I just know I love romances with heroes of various occupations and wealth. It is the variety that keeps me coming back for more, as I never get bored.
Okay. I lied. The part that keeps me coming back for more is the writing style. I love to read books that can make me LOL, yet can make me cry. I love the books to flow so much so that the story is over before I am ready to let it go.
My name is Laney and I am a bookaholic. A romance bookaholic, that is (although I read non-fiction too).

Laurie G said...

I like to read about cowboy heroes. Since I've never met any I can only relate to the ones I've met via books. All of them appear honorable with strong work ethics. They are athletic and dedicated tokeeping the animals alive and well. They put in long hours show compassion to others and are remarkable men. I'd love to visit Texas and meet some real life cowboys.

I like powerful men heroes, bosses, whether of companies or ranches. I like pirates, rogues, sheikhs....

I like the cover on TEXAS MANHUNT!

Linda Conrad said...

Thanks so much to everyone for your comments. {{{hugs}}}
I wish everyone of you could've won.

I got out my random number counter and came up with three names.
Scarlet Wilson

Would you three please email me with your mailing address to: