Monday, February 15, 2010

Delicious Tease Contest Day #2: Beth Williamson

I'm really excited to introduce Beth Williamson today. I met her for the first time in September, at Lora Leigh's RAW, and was so impressed with what a wonderful person she was. Her new book, The Stranger's Secrets features what she she does best: super sexy cowboys! So check out the blurb and excerpt below, and don't forget to answer the question of the day to be entered to win a $15 gift certificate to Amazon, courtesy of Beth!
It's about the love, not the look.
The Stranger's Secrets is my third Brava book and my first disabled heroine. This is the last in a series that began with The Education of Madeline and The Redemption of Micah. The heroine of The Stranger's Secrets is Micah's sister.
She's not only disabled, she's got a tongue sharper than a knife and a chip on her shoulder bigger than Texas. She's not perfect, far from it. Sarah is intense, really intense. I still cry when I read parts of this book, more than a year after I wrote it.
Funny how as a writer I get so emotionally involved with my characters. Perhaps I'm just a wus at heart. *blush*

In any case, Sarah has a very good reason to be so against Yankees in general. As a child of the south, and wounded as no woman should ever be, she is unprepared for Whitman Kendrick, the Yankee who explodes into her life and her heart.

Writing someone who walks with a cane was a challenge at first, but then it became a natural rhythm the more the story went on. I tried to make her as strong as I could, yet as vulnerable as she was. It was a delicate balance (no pun intended, I swear!).

I'd like to think my heroes and heroines always have something special about them, something unique and not the same old, same old, y'know? I've read countless westerns with pouty females and alpha males. Not a bad thing, but I want my characters to stand out.

In the case of The Stranger's Secrets, I took a chance making her disabled, similar to having a homeless heroine in The Legacy. It wasn't what people expect and I hope that's a good thing. What's life without the unexpected? Boring I should think. :)

TITLE: The Stranger's Secrets
PUBLISHER: Kensington Brava
ISBN: ISBN-13: 9780758234735
Betrayed By Her Own Heart, Sarah Spalding has learned to forge her own way and never to trust anyone—least of all a Yankee. But when her companion abandons her while on a train to Colorado, Sarah begrudgingly accepts the help of Whitman Kendrick—a Yankee, yes, but one with the most bewitching green eyes. Allowing Whit to be her traveling escort is one thing, taking him as a lover is another—even though she’s tempted beyond reason ...
Whit Kendrick isn’t quite sure what to make of the sharp-tongued, sassy woman sharing his train compartment. All he knows is that Sarah is refreshingly different from most women—and his urgent, primal attraction for her is unlike any he’s experienced. Breaking down Sarah’s wall of defense won’t be easy. But Whit is determined to prove to Sarah that they’re more alike than different—and loving each other is all they need…

The dining room was nearly bursting at the seams. There was only one unoccupied table by the time Sarah and Whitman arrived to eat. Unfortunately it was in a corner and made for two.
“Told you to hurry,” Whitman grumbled under his breath.
Sarah couldn’t stop a very unladylike snort, again. “Next time I’ll run up the stairs and you stand at the bottom then.”
He didn’t respond, but she saw the corner of his mouth twitch, as if he was holding in a laugh. Perhaps the serious Yankee did have a sense of humor after all.
When they sat down, Sarah realized it was the first time they were face to face. On the train and even walking to the hotel, they’d been beside each other. Facing Whitman was an entirely different experience.
He wasn’t classically handsome, but damn, he was exactly the kind of man Sarah was attracted to. His face was angular, the late day whiskers only added to his appeal, his nose was slightly crooked, and a few scars were scattered here and there as if he’d been wounded by small pieces of something.
But it was his eyes which captured her attention. Deep, green and framed by those long eyelashes, Whitman had the sexiest gaze she’d ever seen. Fortunately or unfortunately, she felt a tug of sensual awareness just looked at the tousled chocolate locks above those eyes.
Hell and crackers.
He frowned. “Why are you scowling at me?”
“I’m not scowling.” She fiddled with the fork and knife on the table while hoping the missing waitress would appear to save her from the awkward situation.
Damn Mavis Ledbetter. The woman was over by the window with that same gentleman, completely ignoring the fact she’d been paid to take care of Sarah. Whit had been right—she was going to fire Mavis and leave her in whatever town this was.
“She said she was a spinster.” Whit followed Sarah’s gaze. “Looks as if she hasn’t given up the quest for a husband though.”
“She spent so much time declaring she was a spinster, she kept most men away from her.” Sarah frowned at Mavis. “Nobody in town wanted anything to do with her because of her reputation.”
“You’re from the same town then?”
His question was one anyone in polite company would ask, but Sarah found herself unwilling to answer any personal questions. So she decided to insult him to keep him disliking her. “You’re nosy.”
“You’re rude.”
“You’re pushy.”
He barked a laugh. “And you’re refreshingly honest.”
Sarah found herself holding back a chuckle. What was it about this annoying Yankee that set her on her head? Aside from being handsome, there wasn’t anything else remarkable about him. She needed to figure out his appeal so she could combat it and keep her distance, at least as much as she could considering they were stuck in a train compartment together for fifteen hundred miles.
“Then you won’t mind if I continue being honest.”
He nodded. “I wouldn’t expect any less.”
Why in the hell did that make Sarah’s heart thump like a bass drum? Back home when she ate a meal, it was with her friends, a group where everyone chatted and relaxed. Sitting with Whit made me feel jumpy and awkward—a condition Sarah was definitely not used to.
“You make me uncomfortable,” she blurted.
His eyebrows went up. “I do?”
Now that she’d gone down that path, she had to finish her thought. “I’m sure you’ve heard the song before, Mr. Kendrick, but Yankees aren’t high on my list of favorite folks, much less one I have to rely on. It’s going to take some time for me to ah, adjust, so if you can, be patient with me.”Whit nodded. “I’ll do my best.”
She didn’t want to demand anything from the man. After all, there was no reason for him to help her. His actions told her more than anything that he was a gentleman. “When life kicks you once, you get back up and move on. When life kicks you a dozen times, you’re less willing to forgive and trust.” That was as far as she planned on going with that train of thought. He seemed like a sharp man and could likely understand why she felt uncomfortable.
“Don’t worry. I won’t give you any cause to kick me back. I promise.” The sincerity in his gaze made her want to believe him.
Ridiculous of course, why should she trust a stranger? She had to rely on him to be her companion, however that would turn out. Yet expecting him to carry her bags was a far cry from trusting him with her life. Sarah could take care of herself, for the most part anyway, and she regretted the fact she couldn’t do it all the time.
“Good because I bite when I kick.” She fought back a grin.
“Somehow that doesn’t surprise me in the least.”
Thanks, Beth, for being part of our Contest Extravaganza! This book sounds super hot and super delicious.
So tell me y'all, what was the most unique hero or heroine you ever read in a book? Or maybe it was a secondary character? Something that really stood out for you as a reader, that you still remember today. Don't forget to comment to be entered to win a $15 Amazon Gift Card!


  1. Good morning ladies! Wonderful post!
    Putting aside all the paranormal characters that I have read about... because they are all unique in their own way.... I would have to say that Megan Hart - Strangers. Her main character, Grace, runs a funeral home and balances a life in a small town. The way that Grace handled herself was unique enough. And Amanda McIntyre - Tortured. Sierra, was trained to be an executioner and had to pass for a boy/man instead of the woman she was. Those stories are on my keeper shelf and the stories will always remain in my heart.
    Thanks for sharing with us today!!!

  2. Sounds wonderful...

    Thanks for coming!

  3. Good Morning! Hi Beth!!!

    A character that still stands out for me...I'm going to say Laura Townsend from Catherine Anderson's My Sunshine. In the book Laura had suffered a head injury 5 years earlier and it tragically ended a brilliant career and left her unable to speak. Although she regained her speech, she still had trouble with words and at times she had trouble "thinking" and yet she was always happy and always positive. While most people saw her as being handicapped the very handsome vet she works for sees more. It was a beautiful love story and she is a character that I'll always remember!! :)

  4. Interesting question and I think I'll have to say the most unique hero is the one I'm reading about right now in Jennifer Ashley's book 'The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie'. I'm not done with the book yet and I can't find any reference to what is actually suppose to be 'wrong' with Lord Ian, but as near as I can figure from the symptoms, he is more than likely autistic and probably a savant as well.

  5. One that stands out for me, I haven't even read yet! I keep hearing about Annie, from Annie's Song (Catherine Anderson). She's a deaf-mute at a time when they weren't treated as fully functioning members of society, yet she's able to ultimately triumph.

    Thanks for the visit, Beth!

  6. The most fascinating and unique hero that I have read about is Ian in Jennifer Ashley's THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE. He has Aspergers Syndrome, and this strongly affects his life, as well as his family's. The heroine sees past his "madness" and helps him cope. It is a beautiful story about a less-than-perfect hero.

  7. Wow, lots of Lord Ian mentions =)

    One of the most memorable couples to me is Derek Craven & Sara Fielding from Lisa Kleypas's, Dreaming of You. I had never come across a hero who was literally raised from the gutter & broke into a Cockney accent when vulnerable nor a heroine who actually made a living (& not the working girl kind) writing novels! It was truly unique to me.

    I own Beth's, The Redemption of Micah, can't go wrong with Beth's books =)

  8. I will go with Lachlain MacRieve (Kresley Cole) - he had sooo much to endure until he meet his destiny!
    greetings, Ina


  10. Arewe suppose to comment on both to enter or just one ? Maybe I need more coffee lol --
    ----jennifer mathis

  11. Hello,

    After I read this post, the character of Bethany Coulter from Catherine Anderson's Phantom Waltz came to mind. It might have been the first book I read with a heroine that had a disability. It was such a well done book. I see a lot of posters have referenced Ms. Anderson's books.

    Thanks for the post.

  12. Anita Blake always makes my list. She got me hooked on smart, tough, sexy, independent, "kiss-ass" heroines that I love to read about.

  13. The most unique heroine I've read about is Drea from Linda Howard's "Death Angel." She's the mistress of a ganster and not the most likeable characters, but you eventually start rooting for her.

  14. Great excerpt! I love the cover of the book, you can't help but to love some cowboys! I have not read your books before but I think I would really enjoy them! One hero that has stayed with me was Harry Pye from Elizabeth Holts book The Leopard Prince. I think he has stayed with because of his name and he carved little wooden animals. But I think it was mostly the name.

  15. Sorry I forgot to leave my e-mail


  16. I would have to say Marin Thomas' heroine in Samantha's Cowboy. She had been kicked in the head by a horse while a teenager and it left her with a problem with her short term memory. She had to make notes so she could remember things. I think writing her this way humanized her even more.

    seriousreader at live dot com

  17. Jess Calhoun from Christine Feehan's novel Predatory Game is a fictional hero that has never left my mind. There's just something about him...the way he was stuck in a wheelchair and yet was so protective/heroic

  18. I love that last exchange between your hero and heroine in the excerpt.

    A hero that made an impression on my at the time I read the book and even now is Jamie from Outlander because of his being such a strong male character who was also both younger than the heroine and a virgin.

  19. Hi Beth! While I was reading this post and thinking about unique heroes/heroines, I immediately thought of your heroine, Nicky, from "The Bounty" She was actually the person the bounty hunter was for, but she was running for a good cause, so to speak. That book hooked me for the entire series, I absolutely loved it.

    Beth, you have no idea how much I enjoy your books. The characters are fabulous, the stories are widely varied and interesting, and the romance is excellent. I'm always ready to read your newest story!

    Happy President's Day Beth!

    rachie2004 @ yahoo (d0t) com

  20. The one that sticks with me is Dante Baptiste of Adrian Phoenix's Makers Song Series.

  21. Hey y'all - you're giving me a TBB list here! I love all these unique hero/heroines. What an amazing group of books to look into.
    And thanks for the kudos everyone. I'm honored to know you've enjoyed my books.
    The Bounty was my first and still holds a very special place in heart. We always remember our first, right? :)

  22. I think all of Anne Stuart's characters stand out for me, but especially Richard Tiernan from NightFall. As a reader, I was left wondering throughout most of the book if Richard was a murderer or not- and yet I still found myself hoping he and the heroine got together. He is a very unforgettable character for sure ;-)

  23. My most unique character who could blend into the real world would be Acheron from the Sherrilyn Kenyon Dark Hunter and Dream Hunter Series. He is one of a kind, all powerful but yet sympathizes with the human race. What I wouldn’t do to know him.

  24. I know, right, Beth? I've been madly scribbling names all day! Thanks so much for the great giveaway-- and thanks to everyone who's participating in the contest. I'm having a lot of fun with this one!

  25. A character that i want to read and reread the book will be SIr Gideon Of Anna campbell's COS.

  26. I will always remember the character of Annie from Catherine Anderson's Annie's Song. A disabled character who, through the love of a good man, is able to come out of her shell and rise above all the brutality she endured throughout her life. She gets an education and friends, all because one man wants to give her choices.

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

  27. Great post! The Stranger's Secrets sounds great!

  28. Its been a long day with the kids, but I finally made it. Just wanted to pop in and say "Hi" Beth!!

    I have to admit there's no other hero and heroine like Jamie and Claire Fraser. I think because they've been through so much and their love and devotion to each other transcends time.

    armiefox at yahoo dot com

  29. wow so many great heros/heroines here and yet I don't have a fav or just 1 that stands out. I like so many that I don't think about just one.

  30. Like one other commenter stated, setting aside any paranormal characters since they are all unique I would say Sinjun Sherbrooke from Catherine Coulter's Sherbrooke series is very unique. She is very outspoken and tomboyish while still being feminine.

  31. Thank you Tracy and Shayla for inviting me to play with them! It was, as always, fun hanging out with you two! *smooch*
    And a big thank you to everyone who came out to post!