A. Catherine Noon here. Rachel Wilder and I are grateful to BA Tortuga for hosting us at her place today!
I got to thinking about cowboys, since that’s obviously a theme here. ~smile~ I grew up around real, live cowboys who spit tobacco juice; swore like, well, cowboys; got in bar fights; and were loyal and steadfast to the bitter end. My childhood memories of them aren’t very romantic, of course, since I learned to ride when I was six and knew these guys as older brothers I never had or even adopted uncles. But now? What makes us swoon for cowboys?
Now, I’m an avid knitter, (bear with me, this will make sense in a second). A few years back, two friends and I decided to head up north to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. It’s quite something; if you’re curious, check out this link. So we’re there for the day, looking at yarn, roving (unspun fiber), books, art, textiles, and livestock. My friend was super excited about the dog trials, where you get to see working sheep dogs heard animals.
Then there was a scrum for the back of a particular barn. “What’s going on?” “It’s a sheep shearing!”
Now, I grew up around horses, with cowboys. Not sheepboys. Or sheep herders. Whatever the heck. I wasn’t enormously excited – which is, I’ll admit, a little out of character, since a) I love crafts and textile arts and b) it’s how you get the wool that you spin into yarn and c) it’s a traditional farming skill. But here’s how I see it: I like horses. They have velvety-soft noses, you can ride them, and they’re smart. Sheep stink, are dirty, and I don’t really like the taste of mutton.
On the other hand, ALL the women around us were making beelines to the barn – yuppies in their fancy boots that have never seen a cow, farm ladies with their pretty hair and wise eyes, young women, old women… I said to my friends we’d better follow these women, maybe they know something we don’t.
We got to the barn and there he was. The sheepboy. He was sunburned, weathered brown skin on his face and neck contrasting with the line of lighter skin just visible at his neckline when he bent over to pick up the shears. The sheep, unenthused by the sudden audience, bleated. He seemed so calm as to maybe be on valium or something – now come on, I told myself, that’s probably just the Zen of the sheep. He talked about shearing and sheep and roving and I admit, I woolgathered. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
Then he reached down, flipped the sheep up in the air with one arm, and proceeded to shear it.
Okay, now I get it. There were muscles under that skinny exterior – whipcord and muscle over bone. He might look weathered but with a good, long, hot shower he could be cleaned right up.
And I wasn’t the only lady in the audience with that on her mind, let me tell you!
So I ask you: when has the reality turned out even better than the fantasy? Failing that, which character would you like to meet on a real, live farm or ranch?
Chicagoland Shifters, Book 2
Veterinary trauma surgeon and animal empath Sasha Soskoff has found everything he ever wanted with his new partners Neal, Steve and Carlos. Life feels as safe and secure as it can be among a group of ex-Marine tiger shifters. Until a homeless man is found, gruesomely mauled and murdered, near Neal’s BDSM club.
When it’s determined a rogue tiger did the deed, the jaguars’ accusing eyes turn toward Sasha’s lovers. The precarious balance of peace tips dangerously toward war.
Neal knows damned well none of his tigers committed the crime. Someone must be in Chicago without his knowledge or permission, and they’d better find him fast before uncertainty and conflict rip the tight-knit band apart from the inside.
As Sasha struggles to heal the stress fractures forming among his tiger family, he begins to wonder if his dreams of a home, and love, were too good to be true. And it’s precisely that moment the killer strikes at the heart of the tiger clan—Sasha himself.
Noon and Wilder links: Blog | Website | Facebook
Publishers: Samhain Publishing | Torquere Press