Widowed rancher Cole Forrester is all about running his family's ranch and guarding his heart. The last thing he's looking for is love, but when his little sister can't make it home to handle some of her wedding details, he's forced to entertain the event planner, Melanie Simms.
Melanie is everything he's not even remotely interested in: she's high-society, complicated, and high maintenance. But when he's stranded with her at his remote cabin in the Colorado mountains, he realizes he's seriously underestimated her. She's hiding something about her past from him, but despite everything, he finds himself falling for the last woman he ever expected, and the first woman to make him want to give his heart and risk everything...
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Congrats on your newest release, The Rancher's Second Chance! Can you tell us a little about the book?
It’s about second chances and trust. Cole Forrester a strong man with a very tender side. He’s a widower and he’s closed himself off to finding love again. In comes Melanie Simms, good friend to his little sister. Melanie is a woman who has it all together on the outside, but she’s running from a past that continues to haunt her. The last thing Melanie wants is to be married-especially to a man of power and authority. But Cole is a man that has a softer side that allows her walls to come down and let him in. When their future is threatened Melanie hopes that he chooses her and the love they've found...
I love the rustic setting of this book. Was there a real location that served as inspiration?
It was set in Colorado, so I did some online research. I also researched working cattle ranches in the area. It’s a beautiful area, so the description came easily.
Cole is one sexy hero, and he's also the first cowboy you've created. In trying something new, where there unforeseen challenges?
The biggest thing was confidence. I have read soooooo many romances with cowboys (I consider that part of my research ;-) but when I actually sat down to start this story, I struggled. I didn’t know if I could actually ‘write’ a cowboy. They are a tad intimidating ;-). My confidence grew the more I got to know Cole and his character just evolved naturally after that.
Melanie had such a sad childhood and she's been holding out for the right man. Why is Cole "the one" for her?
I think Cole has everything that Melanie would need from a man: he’s trustworthy, protective, tender, loyal. He has such a soft side and Melanie knows she can trust him. Cole also passed the ‘hero-test’ that Melanie and her sister devised-and I’m not going to reveal anything else about the test!
I must ask... Can you ride a horse?
Does sitting on a horse posing for a picture when I was six years old count? No, I can’t ride a horse! But it’s on my bucket list! Hmm…maybe we can meet up one day at a ranch and take riding lessons!
Do you have a particular favorite scene or character in this story?
Well, I love Melanie and Cole…but the secondary characters really grew on me. Mrs. H and Gage turned out to be hysterical characters that I’d never really planned. They took on a life of their own. In fact, my editor liked Gage so much that she asked me if I’d write his book. Which of course, I will! Gage’s story is tentatively scheduled for January 2015! I’m looking forward to revisiting The Tall Pines Ranch again…
Can you share what you are working on now and what readers can look forward to seeing from you next?
Right now I’m working on a story that’s a little different for me. It’s due in April and scheduled for release in November 2014 with Indulgence. This summer, the last book in the Red River series is due out and I’m so excited to finally be able to share Evan’s story with readers.
Read an excerpt from THE RANCHER'S SECOND CHANCE:
“You look hotter than I expected.”
Her eyes widened, and she looked over at him. Their horses were standing close together and she could almost touch his thigh. His compliments always seemed to come out of left field, and they were impossible not to physically react to. It was hard concentrating on the horse and the cowboy at the same time.
“I guess this is a good time for me to admit that this whole cowboy thing you have going on is a very good look.”
His deep, rich laugh made her smile. “You do realize I’m not trying to make a fashion statement, right? This is my livelihood.”
“Of course, I get that you’re not dressing up in a Halloween costume,” she said. “But it does work well.” She tilted her head to the side and tried to hide her smile. He was fun to tease and flirt with and she enjoyed making him laugh. There always seemed to be a hint of surprise on his face when he let go and laughed.
She tried not to smile as she raised her eyebrows, signaling for him to continue.
“I find you irresistible. You are insanely gorgeous and since our night together at the cabin I have thought of you all day, every day. That night ended way too soon. All I want to do is taste you, feel your body against mine. And if you have any doubt…” He paused, his brown eyes holding hers with their intensity. He took her hand in his warm one and placed it over his heart. He held it there and she squeezed her eyes shut as she felt the rapid beating of his strong heart. “If you have any doubt, know that this is what happens the second you walk into a room.”
You can learn more about Victoria and her books on Facebook, her website, www.victoriajames.ca, or follow her on Twitter @vicjames101.