Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Meet New Mexico, the romantic hero of your dreams #Giveaway

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 4 comments

Please welcome guest poster and one of my favorite funny, romance authors, Patrice Locke. Patrice is giving away two eBooks of Exit Signs.  Her latest book, Fresh Start has one of the most hilarious love scenes I ever read. I highly recommend both of them. Rafflecopter is at the end of the post.

Meet New Mexico, the romantic hero of your dreams

Love the ‘bad boys’ in romance novels?
Meet New Mexico—as wild, brooding, mysterious, and oh-so-deliciously gorgeous as any romantic hero—too hot literally and figuratively to be relegated to the background. New Mexico demands star billing.
I picture the fifty states lined up like Chippendale Dancers.
New Mexico saunters on stage, eyes as blue as the azure sky, rocking a Stetson, black leather vest, and ragged Levis, a six-shooter in each hand.
He sizzles. Believe me. I know. I’ve met him. He scoffed when I tried to make him the backdrop for my two books, Exit Signs and Fresh Start. “No way,” he said, and elbowed himself into a starring role.
In Fresh Start, narrator Miranda finds herself stranded in Albuquerque. The high desert landscape looms like a rugged anti-hero, magnifying her sense of isolation until she falls victim to his robust charms and puts down roots.
And in Exit Signs, native New Mexican Tracy tells her handsome rock star about her birthplace as if she’s reminiscing about an ex-lover—someone like Mr. Darcy, Jamie Fraser, or Rhett Butler. Those iconic characters melt our hearts with their troubled pasts, enigmatic quests, and tortured dark brooding.

And they have nothing on New Mexico.

Talk about a troubled past. I challenge any star-crossed lovers to produce a plot as fraught with agony and ecstasy as New Mexico’s relationship with the United States of America. They were engaged in 1850 when the U.S. batted her eyes and claimed the NM territory. But she balked at offering statehood.
She was scared off by New Mexico’s wild reputation for lawlessness and corruption. Outlaws like Jesse James and Billy the Kid personified The Land of Enchantment. New Mexico was good for a fling, not a serious commitment. But after sixty years of dating, the U.S. finally smiled demurely and said, “I do.” She walked down the aisle for the forty-seventh time with the Land of Enchantment as her handsome renegade groom in 1912.
How’s that for a circuitous route to romance?
NM still lives in the shadows, on the edge, never fully accepted. How would you like it if your hundred-and-six-year-long committed relationship constantly came under question?
Happens to New Mexico every day.
In fact, New Mexico Magazine has plenty of fodder for a regular column aptly named ‘One of Our Fifty Is Missing.’
The kind of misunderstandings that drive classic romantic plots are New Mexico’s daily fare. Visitors and residents are still asked: “Have you changed your money to pesos?” “Don’t you need a passport?” “How did you learn to speak English so well?”

Here’s the bottom line: When I read a romance, I want to be mesmerized by the hero. I want him to show up in my dreams, and I want to wonder what he’s up to when I have to put the book down.
I may not love him right off, but by the final chapter, he better be tattooed behind my eyelids and I better long to know more about him. He needs to grow on me the way New Mexico has.

I was a Michigander until destiny made me a New Mexican and The Land of Enchantment wrangled a starring role in my life and in my books.

But, just between us, I’m moving to Idaho soon. I hope Mr. Potato Head can measure up. Please don’t tell New Mexico I’m leaving. I hate tearful goodbyes, and he’s suffered enough already.


--When all you have left is a guilty conscience.
Miranda’s life is falling apart.
She’s lost her beauty and charisma, along with her family’s money and their affection.
She knows it’s her fault when she finds herself in Albuquerque, sixteen hundred miles from home, broke, friendless, and abandoned.
All she has left is a guilty conscience and a to-do list her sister swears will change her life.
It’s a tough list. It requires her to ignore her natural instincts and do the opposite of whatever she feels.
That’s a big problem when Miranda meets Dean.
He’s a force of nature. He’s stubborn, disciplined, and determined—everything Miranda isn’t.
If she follows the rules on her list, will she do the right thing if Dean is the wrong man?

Excerpt from Fresh Start Chapter One

Miranda finds herself abandoned in an Albuquerque motel room. When she ventures into the empty parking lot outside, a man with a clipboard tells her she doesn’t exist, which she is pretty sure isn’t true. We join her in progress…

In a cacophony of voices, the only distinctive one came from the faceless figure now approaching the covered walkway where I was hugging the door frame. Out of the sun, the figure came into focus.
It was a man, complete with a face. Smile sold separately. He was not happy to see me.
This helmeted, clipboard-wielding mountain rifled through a wad of paperwork. When he raised his head he caught me in his sunglasses, two tiny mirrors that showed my hair was sleep-wild and my eyes were smudges circled in black, not my best look.
Why would it be? This hadn’t been ‘my day’ so far.
“You can’t be here. Safety regulations.” His tone said he took it as a personal insult that I didn’t disappear now that I knew the score. “Did you hear me? You are not supposed to be here. This wing is empty.”
“I did hear you.” And so did everyone west of the Mississippi and at elevations up to and including Venus. “You’re right. I’m not supposed to be here. But I am.”
He opened his mouth to reply, but I beat him to it, repeating my question, speaking slowly. “Where. Is. The. Car?”
“What car?” His voice echoed off the mountains to the east, ricocheted around the parking lot and shot me in the ears.
I recoiled, dinging my shoulder on the edge of the motel room door, which I was holding open.
“Sorry,” he said, turning down the volume since it hadn’t made me vanish. Yet.
He took off his orange hardhat, wedged it under his right arm and swiped his left forearm over his sweaty head, creating a fresh, tousled look a salon couldn’t have replicated. Nor could the finest stylist have produced the subtle mix of silver highlights that punctuated his spiky dark hair. The impressive effect made me consider a career in cosmetology. Hours might have passed.
“You were saying?” he coached me.
“The car that was parked here – a classic ’57 Chevy, with a white tail panel. Convertible. Shiny.”
“Shiny?” His laugh was a bark. “You mean red? It was here. Guy threw in a couple suitcases, put the top down and drove off. Checked out, see?”
He held out his clipboard with a reverence usually reserved for stone tablets delivered with the crack of thunder on a mountaintop. Was there a god of cheap motels? “Empty,” he said. “See?
“Okay. But the guy? What did he look like? The one who took the car.” I was sure it was Lance, but it wouldn’t hurt to confirm.
“Tall, dark, and handsome, okay? Congratulations on that. Or, maybe not. He’s gone.”
That wasn’t good. In fact, it was very bad, but, like Scarlett O’Hara, I’d think about that tomorrow, or later today. Or never.
If only that were possible.
I’d only survive if I had a distraction. And an excellent diversion was standing in front of me. He was perfect, despite his negative attitude toward my existence. He was tall with finely carved features and a muscled, sweaty physique beneath a t-shirt that had once been black but had faded to gray. It had a fat yellow cartoon ‘D’ on it and the words ‘Big D’s. Your on-the-scene building and maintenance machine.’ He shifted his weight from his left to his right foot and the muscles in his thighs tightened through jeans, which were worn to a soft blue perfection.
“Ma’am?” He had noticed I was staring, which reminded me that men should not smirk. It’s not polite.
And they shouldn’t call gorgeous young women such as myself ‘ma’am.’ That is the height of bad manners.
“Sorry,” I said. Let him decide if I was apologizing for staring at him or for being a blight on his empty wing. “I’m still a little asleep. Um. What did he say?”
“Tall, dark, and handsome? Not much. Drove off. So this wing is empty.”
“So you’ve said. A few times. But it’s not.
He shrugged, stubborn. “The motel says it is.”
“Pretty opinionated for a motel,” I said.
With his left forefinger, he lifted the earpiece of his reflective sunglasses to his forehead, revealing eyes like two soft milk chocolate dots. He had Richard Gere eyes. Bemused. Luscious. Delicious.

I hadn’t eaten since lunch the day before, but the hunger I felt wasn’t coming from my stomach.

Buy links, etc. below:
Order Fresh Start: https://tinyurl.com/yblsm6pz
Buy Exit Signs: https://goo.gl/nMLdfY
Webpage:  https://www.bypatricelocke.com 
Twitter: @patricelocke 

Thanks for the post, Patrice. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Exit signs was one of my favorite books of the last two years. Thanks for offering a couple of lucky readers a chance to win copies. Happy week and Happy reading.


  1. Thank you, Susan. I do appreciate your support and the opportunity to be your guest blogger.

  2. Thanks, Susan! I appreciate your kind words about my book babies.

  3. Wow! I love this excerpt! Congratulations! A wonderful new author for me to read!
    Tema Merback


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