Howdy! Today is a special Blog tour event to introduce those of who may not have fallen under the spell of Andi Marquette to a great writer.
Andi has long been one of my favorite authors. Her work is wise, wicked, and wonderful. The New Mexico Posse is my fav, but “From the Boots Up” was a short, smart romance that I loved.
Andi Marquette is a native of New Mexico and Colorado and an award-winning mystery, science fiction, and romance writer. She also has the dubious good fortune to be an editor who spent 15 years working in publishing, a career track that sucked her in while she was completing a doctorate in history. She is co-editor of the forthcoming All You Can Eat: A Buffet of Lesbian Erotica and Romance. Her most recent novels are Day of the Dead, the Goldie-nominated finalist The Edge of Rebellion, and the romance From the Hat Down, a follow-up to the Rainbow Award-winning novella, From the Boots Up.
When she’s not writing novels, novellas, and stories or co-editing anthologies, she serves as both an editor for Luna Station Quarterly, an ezine that features speculative fiction written by women and as co-admin of the popular blog site Women and Words. When she’s not doing that, well, hopefully she’s managing to get a bit of sleep.
Meg Tallmadge is a veterinarian at a clinic in Laramie, Wyoming. She’s got a great job, great friends, deep ties to the family ranch, and big plans for her vet future. Sure, there are bumps in the road, like her mom’s continued denial about who Meg is and her painful and infuriating attempts to make Meg a “proper” woman. Then there’s Meg’s recent breakup with a girlfriend, which has her wondering why she can’t seem to open up to relationships. But Meg knows that life is messy, and sometimes all you can do is get through and shake it off. What she can’t seem to shake off, however, is her past.
It’s been almost ten years to the day since she met the love of her life, and about eight since she let her go. Meg has a hard time admitting that maybe she didn’t really let go, and that maybe some things you never really get over, no matter how hard you try. But her past is half a world away, caught up in her own life, relationship, and journalism career, and Meg isn’t one to chase the ghosts of past relationships. Even if they send you a birthday card and nudge what you thought were the closed-off parts of your heart. After all, second chances are the stuff of fantasies and movies where the good guy always gets a happy ending. You can’t count on something like that.
Or can you?
And now a taste of… From the Hat Down
Excerpt from Chapter 2
Meg stared out the windshield, brooding all the way into Laramie, feeling guilty about Kate and, inexplicably, about someone else who still haunted her thoughts, even after eight years. A Dixie Chicks song started playing on the radio, as if somehow the DJ knew who Meg was thinking about. She smiled. It wasn’t the one Gina had sung to her ten years ago at the bar in Saratoga, but it didn’t matter. The Chicks would always make her think about Gina. She sighed. Not like she needed music to remind her. She slowed down at the city limits and braked at a stoplight then turned left onto Grand, toward the University. As she pulled into the clinic parking lot, her cell phone rang with a specific tone. She answered, keeping one hand on the wheel.
“Hey, hon. Glad I caught you,” Stan’s soft deep voice greeted her.
“What’s up?” She steered into a parking spot right behind the clinic and shifted into park.
“Your mom called. She said she left you a message a few days ago but hasn’t heard anything.”
Meg turned off the engine and leaned her head back, staring at the gray cloth ceiling of the cab. “Damn. I totally forgot—”
“It’s okay. You’re busy and I told her that. But brace yourself. She’s flying out next week for your birthday.”
She froze. “You’re kidding.”
“Why the hell would she do that?”
“You know how she is,” he said with a shrug in his voice. “She gets it in her head to do something and you might as well just ride it out.”
She sighed heavily. “So she’s actually coming to the ranch?”
“Yep. She’s flying into Cheyenne a week from Friday. She said she’d rent a car and drive out.” He paused, then cleared his throat.
She waited. There was something else. She could picture him, sitting at the big desk in his pine-paneled office, fidgeting with a pen. He’d run a hand through his thick black hair, shot through now with gray, then tug on a strand at his temple, maybe toy with his mustache a little.
“And?” She pressed.
He didn’t say anything for a moment. “She’s bringing someone.”
Meg’s stomach clenched. “Who?”
He cleared his throat again. “Now, honey, promise you won’t blow a gasket.” He sounded worried.
“Jesus, Dad. Have I been that shitty lately?” Christ, had she?
“It’s just that I know how she is about you and your relationships.”
“Oh, for—she’s bringing a guy?”
“Well. . .” The discomfort in his voice provided the answer.
“She is. She’s bringing some goddamn guy.”
He didn’t respond but she could hear him breathing.
“That is—holy shit,” Meg said, both frustrated and irritated. “She’s bringing a guy like I’m some kind of broodmare. What the hell?” She glared out the windshield, grip tightening on the steering wheel.
He burst out laughing. “Broodmare,” he sputtered. “Christ, that’s—you have to admit, that’s pretty much how she sees it.” He broke off, laughing harder and Meg cracked a smile.
The more she thought about it, the more she smiled. She released her chokehold on the wheel as laughter overtook her as well.
“It’s a hell of a birthday present,” he finally managed, which only made Meg laugh harder. It felt good. Cathartic.
“Poor guy,” she said as she wiped her eyes.
“And I doubt she told him that there’s just one little problem with that scenario.”
“Which one? I can list several.”
“True. But the most obvious is that you don’t ride that side of the fence.”
Meg sat, stunned. He hardly ever said anything like that and it left her elated, the comfort with which he expressed it. “Um, yeah. That is the most obvious.” She brushed at some dirt on her knee. “I’ll call her,” she added, letting him off the hook for further discussion along those lines.
“He probably already bought the ticket.”
“No, she probably already bought the ticket for him,” she pointed out. “So it’s her loss. But it’ll save him some embarrassment. Give him time to take that ring back to the jeweler.”
“Or the pawn shop,” he said innocently. “Your mom doesn’t always pick the best of the bunch where you’re concerned.”
She laughed again. “Dad!”
“It’s true. If he’s breathing, he’s fair game.”
She shook her head, grinning. “Or we could just. . .not say anything.”
“Whyever would we do that?” He chuckled and she pictured him again, pulling on his Wyatt Earp mustache, gray eyes twinkling.
“Ah, hell,” she relented. “I can’t do that to him. Her, yes. Him, no. He doesn’t know what he’s up against. I’ll call her tonight.”
“Probably a good idea.” He paused. “How are you?”
A leading question. Meg took the opportunity. “So-so. Work’s good.” she picked at her jeans some more. “Kate came by yesterday to get the rest of her stuff.” She said it in a rush, before she could talk herself out of it.
He made a sound that Meg knew would be accompanied with a “well, shit” head motion. “I’m sorry, hon. That’s rough. How’d it go?”
“As well as can be expected. It wasn’t ugly. Just sad. I feel bad about it, though.”
“You’ll get through it. And maybe you’ll know what works next time around.”
“That’d be nice. I’m not doing too well in the relationship department,” she said wryly. “Anyway,” she continued, releasing him from more deep and meaningful conversation, “I have to get some stuff done. I’ll call Mom later on today. I won’t forget.” She opened the driver’s side door. “Hell, I can’t, now.”
“Let me know if you actually manage to change her mind,” he said and she could hear the grin in his voice.
“Yeah. Wish me luck.” She took the keys out of the ignition. “Thanks, Dad.”
He hesitated before answering. “I worry sometimes. That’s all. Talk to you later. Love you.” And he hung up before she could respond in kind.
“Love you too,” she said to the phone as she pressed “end.” She put it into her belt holder and got out of the truck. She’d get things squared away here, check the schedule for the next morning, and hopefully she’d be home by six. She’d call her mom from there since it promised to be a conversation that would require a beer afterward. Plus, Sean was coming by, and that would help with the mood she knew she’d be in once the conversation ended. She locked up and went inside.
Andi Marquette, © 2014
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