Hello and welcome to my blog for another round of Meet the Characters! Today I am featuring a guest blogger who has graciously agreed to let me do a character interview, which is my favorite kind of interview. Join me in welcoming author, Aileen Fish, and her characters from The Cowgirl & The Geek. It’s a fantastic contemporary romance with wonderful characters so without further ado here is the interview with Juan and Katie.
How did you first meet your writer?
Juan Diego: I was an extra in Cowboy Cupid, where my buddy Josh wanted to fix me up with his ex-girlfriend. Obviously, that was a bad deal all the way around!
Katie: I only had a passing mention in that book, since Josh is my brother. I was baking bread at home, which led to my getting my own restaurant in our book.
What are your favorite scenes in your book: the action, the dialog or the romance?
Juan Diego: This comes under the don’t tell category, but I love the romance. Didn’t know I had it in me to really love like this!
Katie: Well then, I have to go for dialogue. Okay, just kidding. I didn’t know how to trust men before Juan Diego came along, so the romance was a turning point in my life. Not to mention how perfect it turned out!
What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?
Juan Diego: Monday through Friday I am CEO of a video game company, and on weekends I refurbish my Victorian in White Oak.
Katie: I used to spend most of my time working on my parents’ ranch, but now the Royal Oak Bar & Grill takes up all my time. Well, other than the moments I can squeeze in for J.D.
Do you like the way the book ended?
Juan Diego: I get the girl of my dreams, who could argue with that?
Katie: Yeah, really, I’m not arguing. *melodramatic sigh followed by raucous laughter*
Would you be interested in a sequel, if your writer was so inclined?
Katie: We are lucky to be part of the Small Town Sweethearts series, which are all set in White Oak, so we’ll be showing up in various books down the road.
What is your least favorite characteristic your writer has attributed to you?
Juan Diego: She calls me a player!
Katie: I come off as a real biotch at first. I’m not really that bad, am I, J.D.? J.D.? Where’d you go?
What do you admire about your parents?
Juan Diego: They treat each other with respect. If they had problems, they never let on to us kids, never complained about the little things that tend to drive a person mad in a relationship. I think that taught us all how to treat our partners.
Katie: They are a team. They built the ranch together and managed to still have a smile for each other at the end of a horrible day. They are so much in love it gives me hope for my own life.
On the verge of seeing her dream become a reality, Katie Wooten questions her brother’s motives when he enlists the aid of his friend, Juan Diego Santiago, for the renovations on her bar and grill. Not only is the guy a weekender, he’s a known player. She doesn’t need his drama in her life.
The more time he spends helping Katie, the more Juan Diego thinks he needs to live in White Oak fulltime. Move into the next phase of his life and find someone to start a family with. Well, he’s found the one he wants. Now he needs to find the way to get past the wall she keeps between herself and all men.
The following Saturday, Katie had a pot of pasta sauce slow-cooking on the back of the stove, and a stack of drywall waiting to be hung. Her brother Josh showed up in the early afternoon to help. Juan Diego strolled in with him.
Katie wrinkled her eyebrows at Josh. What was he thinking?
“You need to get the wiring in place before we hang the drywall.” Josh motioned to Juan Diego. “This is the guy to do it for you.”
She grimaced, hating that she felt forced to be nice to the guy. Being nice wasn’t what she hated. Her lack of willingness to do so was. She wasn’t normally such a biotch. This guy had the power to draw that out of her. “Thanks.”
Juan Diego seemed to not notice her animosity. “Show me where the speakers go and I’ll get started.”
“Come out to the patio, we’ll start there and work our way back to the boom box.” She didn’t wait to see if he followed.
“Please tell me you aren’t using a boom box to play your music.”
“No.” She rolled her eyes, since he was behind her and couldn’t see. “I don’t remember what Josh called it. It’s a box. It plays music from a service I’m going to subscribe to.”
“Wow, sounds high tech. You know, like a radio.”
If Josh had called it that, she would have remembered. “No, there was another name for it.” She pushed open the door to the patio where she would set up tables and umbrellas. Dad insisted it was a waste of money having outdoor seating that couldn’t be used half the year, but it expanded the space enough during warmer months that she hoped it would pay for itself quickly.
“It’s a wireless receiver or tuner, I’ll bet.” Juan Diego came to stand beside her.
“Whatever. I want speakers at the outer walls there, and one or two along here.” When she swung her arm to point behind them, she almost slapped the guy, who had leaned close to the back of her head. “What are you doing?”
“You smell good.”
“You don’t have to sound so surprised. I do shower after rounding up cattle.”
He grinned and shrugged. “I mean, I like how you smell. It’s not perfume, is it? But it doesn’t smell like soap.”
She knew exactly what he smelled. “It’s ylang-ylang oil. I can’t wear it when I’ll be working outside. It draws bees and wasps. It calms me.” She was rambling. Anything was better than acknowledging the butterflies stirred up by seeing Juan Diego’s eyelids resting seductively low, and his lips so close to hers.
Stepping back, Katie turned. “I want another speaker in the hallway to the restrooms, and then spaced around the main room.” She didn’t exactly run inside, but she didn’t waste time in putting some distance between herself and Juan Diego.
She found Josh marking some cuts in a sheet of drywall. “Well then, let’s get to work.” Her voice came out way too cheery and fake.
She and her brother worked easily together, having spent years doing chores on the ranch side-by-side. They knew intuitively what the other person was going to do.
Not like Juan Diego. Every time she turned around, she practically tripped over him. Even when she made a point to work across the room from him, he was in the way for what she needed to do next.
The smell of Bolognese sauce grew stronger as the afternoon stretched on. Her growling stomach reminded Katie she had skipped lunch. Just when she was about to call it a day, Josh set down his tool belt. “I need to head home and get cleaned up.”
“I thought you would have spaghetti with me.” She kept the whine out of her voice. Josh spent all his free time with Rachel now.
“Can’t. Gotta dinner date. Give my share to Juan Diego.”
Crap. She’d forgotten he would be included in the implied invitation. Her lips were tense when she smiled his way. “Great. I hope you’re hungry.”
“Starved. Can I help?”
“It’s pretty much all done. Salad in the fridge, bread ready to go under the broiler. I just need to boil some water.”
She walked with Josh to the back door. “Thanks for your help. We got a lot done.”
“No problem. By the end of the day tomorrow we can mud the walls so we can paint next weekend.”
He gripped her arm before she went back inside. “Hey, be nice to the guy, okay? He’s a good friend, and you could use a little extra muscle around here.”
She grimaced. “I’m trying. Really.” And she was.
Buy the Book:
Aileen Fish, author of the Small Town Sweethearts series, is an avid quilter and auto racing fan who finds there aren’t enough hours in a day/week/lifetime to stay up with her “to do” list. There is always another quilt or story begging to steal away attention from the others. When she has a spare moment she enjoys spending time with her two daughters and their families, and her fairy princess granddaughter.
Thank you for joining us today! I hope you enjoyed this round of Meet the Characters and will join us again next week!