Please welcome Marin Thomas back to CABR 🙂
Today she’s chatting about writing a strong heroine in The Cash Brothers #2, TWINS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS TREE
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Cowboy Up, Daddy!
Conway Cash is finally ready to settle down, and he has the perfect woman in his sights. The only thing is, he’s dead set against being a father—and Isi Lopez has twin four-year-old boys. When he finds himself roped into babysitting for them, life starts getting complicated!
Kids or no, Conway soon discovers he and Isi make a great couple. And hanging around with her kids isn’t so bad—that is, until they beg him to be their new daddy. The pressure is piling up for this formerly footloose cowboy…but with some luck, and a whole lot of Christmas spirit, Conway just may find himself in the center of his own ready-made family!
One of the things I enjoy the most about writing a story is losing myself in research.
In Twins Under The Christmas Tree, (BK # 2 in The Cash Brothers series) the heroine Isadora Lopez immigrated to America when she was eighteen, looking to fulfill not only her dream but her mother’s dream for her—to make a better life for herself. I wanted Isi to be a strong, independent heroine that didn’t need a man to take care of her.
In order to do that I needed to create a challenging childhood for her, which would help mold her into the kind of heroine I wanted to write. This led me to investigate Latin American countries, searching for that one place that I thought would provide the best background for my heroine’s childhood.
In the mid-19th century, La Boca was home to Spanish and Italian immigrants who worked in meat-packing plants and warehouses in the beef-shipping industry. So I used that information to establish Isi’s background and decided that her relatives would immigrate to Argentina from Spain and settle in the La Boca, the poorest barrio in Buenos Aires.
La Boca means “Mouth”. The barrio is situated at the mouth of the Riachuelo River, which runs along the capital federal’s southern border. This proximity to the river is the reason for the barrio’s existence. The area used to consist of shipyards and the shanties of the people who worked on the ships.
The houses were built with discarded planks, sheet metal and corrugated iron from the shipping vessels. The area had a depressed, hopeless feel. Large quantities of paint were hard to come by and a local artist suggested that instead of mixing together the leftover paint from the ships (which resulted in a grayish/brown hue) that residents should keep the paint colors separate and use whatever paint they had on hand.
This was the result:
Today La Boca remains a rough, working class and downbeat neighborhood, despites the hordes of tourists who flock to the main pedestrian street, the Caminito, to view the ornate houses, multi-colored buildings, statues, fountains, street performers, dancers, musicians and art galleries.
Conway Twitty Cash had only one rule when it came to women—never date one with kids. Period. No exceptions. Not even if the woman sent dirty text photos of her hooters.
Friday afternoon at the Midway Arizona Cowboy Rodeo Days, Conway had been the recipient of a sexy text from a buckle bunny he’d met earlier in the day. Once his eyes had quit bugging out at Bridget’s voluptuous tatas, he’d noticed a child’s Batman cape draped over a chair in the background of the photo. Alarmed, he’d asked his rodeo competitors about Bridget and had learned she was a single mom. When they’d first met, he’d asked if she’d had kids, and she’d said no.
Too upset to focus on his ride, the bronc had tossed him on his head as soon as he cleared the chute. Afterward, Conway had made a bee-line for the parking lot—he hadn’t been about to wait for Bridget to catch up to.
Miffed, ticked off and whole lotta pissing mad, he pulled into the Border Town Bar & Grill in Yuma—the employer of his good friend and pseudo-therapist Isadora Lopez. Two years ago when he’d first met Isi, he’d been drawn to her dark brown eyes and girl-next-door prettiness. He’d turned on the charm and she’d rewarded his flirting with fleeting touches, accidental bumps and sultry looks. Then he’d asked her to dance during her break and when their bodies had come in contact, a zap of electricity had shot through him. He’d been sure the night would end in Isi’s bed, until she’d mentioned that she was a single mother of twin boys.
He’d told Isi that he had nothing against kids, but had no intention of ever being a father. From that day on, they’d settled into a comfortable friendship where Isi listened to him whine and offered advice about how to find the perfect woman—one who didn’t want children.
The bar was packed on this late September afternoon. The crowd sitting in front of the big-screen TV watched a college football game between state rivals the University of Arizona and Arizona State University. Conway slid onto a stool and waved to the barkeep. Red was a mountain of a man—six-feet-seven inches—and bald with a crimson beard that ended in the middle of his chest.
After handing a pitcher of margaritas to a waitress named Sasha, Red brought Conway a bottle of his favorite beer. “You rodeo today?”
“Got bucked off.”
“Where’s Isi?” Conway asked.
“In class.” Red checked his watch. “She should be here any minute.” Isi was working toward a two-year business degree from the local community college.
Red went to fill a drink order and Conway picked at the paper label on his beer bottle and silently cursed Bridget. Why was it so difficult to find a woman who didn’t want children? After he’d discovered he came from a long line of deadbeat dads, he’d decided he didn’t want to follow in their footsteps, but unlike his father, grandfather and great-grandfather Conway wasn’t opposed to marriage. He yearned for the emotional closeness of a committed relationship.
He wasn’t a braggart, but the face he saw in the mirror each morning had garnered his fair share of female attention. At twenty-eight he’d thought for sure he’d have found the one by now, but every time he began thinking happy-ever-after, the one decided she’d like to have children after all.
Maybe he should take a break from his search. Now that he was responsible for managing the family pecan farm, he had plenty of work to keep his mind off his miserable love life. He lifted the beer bottle to his mouth and knocked his front tooth against the rim when a hand slapped his back. Startled, he spun and came face-to-face with Bridget’s tatas.
ABOUT the author:
Marin Thomas grew up in Janesville, Wisconsin. She left the Midwest to attend college at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where she played basketball for the Lady Wildcats and earned a B.A. in Radio-TV. Following graduation she married her college sweetheart in a five-minute ceremony at the historical Little Chapel of the West in Las Vegas, Nevada. Over the years she and her family have lived in seven different states but have now come full circle and returned to Arizona where the rugged desert and breathtaking sunsets provide plenty of inspiration for Marin’s cowboy books.
The Cowboy Next Door (July 2013)
Twins Under The Christmas Tree (Oct 2013)
Her Secret Cowboy (Feb 2014)
The Cowboy’s Destiny (May 2014)
CONTACT Marin Thomas: