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"Michelle, darling, it's good to see you. How've you been?"
"Cut the crap, Mark. You, of all people, know how I've been. Forget the pleasantries. Why did you reject my story?"
"Let's order first, sweetheart." Mark Connor, never one to make eye contact in the first place, studied the oversized menu in front of him. Michelle Garrison seethed and drummed her freshly manicured fingernails on the damask tablecloth. Suddenly she realized she was tapping the toe of her left shoe in the same staccato rhythm. She took a deep, struggle-for-some-semblance-of-control breath that ended in a frustrated sigh.
The waiter appeared, leather-bound notepad in hand, to take their orders. "Michelle?" Mark smiled at her.
"I'm not hungry. You order." Michelle glared at him, imagining large winged crows pecking his eyes. No, buzzards...buzzards made a much more impressive image.
"We'll both have the luncheon salad...Roquefort for me, the low-fat house dressing for the lady." Mark returned Michelle's glare with an innocent look. "Well, you have put on a few pounds, darling. You need to exercise more."
"I haven't had time, darling. I've been sitting in front of my computer without a break for the past six weeks, finishing a manuscript for you to reject. The same manuscript I wrote following your 'suggestions,' using your ideas for plot and characterization. Now, before my healthy, low-fat lunch arrives, would you so kindly tell me why you aren't buying my western?"
Mark smiled beatifically, the smile Michelle had once thought attractive until she realized he used that ubiquitous expression to hide everything going on behind those pale blue eyes ofhis. She waited for what seemed hours for his answer, returning his smile with a scowl. Finally he tapped his fingertips together in a little steeple, pursed his lips, opened his mouth, shut it again, hmmmm'ed as if pondering a new amendment to the Constitution, then said, "Well, you have to understand..."
"No, Mark. I don't understand. I did everything you asked. 'Put a cowboy on the cover, it'll fly off the shelves,' he says. 'Marriages of convenience are always popular, the readers love them,' so it's got a blasted MOC. Mark, I did it all, right down to the baby. Remember telling me, 'If it's got a baby in it, the story's gonna be a gold mine?' Well, it can't be a gold mine if it doesn't get published. I want to know what gives!"
Mark unfolded his napkin and spread it across his lap, ignoring Michelle and smiling politely at the waiter while the young man placed their salads on the table and departed.
"I'm waiting, Mark." Michelle picked up her fork, thought briefly how it would look imbedded in Mark's impeccably white shirt somewhere in the vicinity of his breastbone, then stabbed a large section of tomato instead.
"Don't give me that 'sweetheart' crap."
Michelle swore silently. She practically heard the gears engaging in the gray matter behind his high forehead. Mark always considered every word so carefully. Another irritating editorial trait, she thought. Right up there with rejecting her western.
"Michelle, you have written forty-three books for us, and almost all of them have had an impressive return. All, that is, except the last three." He paused, resting his lips against his forefingers. "How can I say this without being blunt?"
"Go ahead, Mark. Be blunt...it suits you."
"Yes, well, it's my job to be honest. So, to put it bluntly, your ideas are tired, darling. Your characters all sound the same. That's why I wanted you to try a western."
"Well I did, dammit!" Michelle impaled a large piece of lettuce. How dare he find more fault with her story? "I worked hard on that western. My hero is a tall, dark and sexy cowboy; my heroine is an even sexier single mom with a disgustingly adorable little baby girl. They live on neighboring ranches, they ride horses, they chase cows around the field, they..."
"They don't know a thing about being cowboys, they've obviously never been in Colorado, where your story is supposedly set, and I might as well have been reading about an insurance agent as a cowboy. Our readers aren't stupid. When you write a scene about saddling a horse and you don't know that the pommel's at the front and the cantle's at the back, or how to tighten the cinch so the saddle won't slip, well your reader is going to laugh- -- at you for writing it, and us for publishing it. Look at the stupid name you gave your heroine! Lee Stetson? Come on. I'm sorry, Michelle. Westerns are hot right now, and you don't have a clue how to write them. You even have the hero make love to the heroine while they're riding a horse. That's physically impossible, darling. It hurts merely to think of it." His pained expression might have been funny under other circumstances.
"But it's a really sexy scene...it's..." Mortified, Michelle stared into her perforated salad. Mark loved her stories, he loved everything about her writing. Now he was saying it was awful? Worse than awful, embarrassing? She thought Lee Stetson was a really cute name.
The hefty advance that was going to pay off Michelle's VISA bill suddenly dissolved into a puff of smoke and faded away. She gazed longingly after the imaginary cloud.
She blinked and the cloud disappeared. "Wait a minute," she said, leaning forward. "How do you know the difference between a pommel and a, um, kettle?"
"It's a cantle, Michelle. That's what I'm trying to explain, if you'd only pay attention." He waved a glossy magazine under her nose. "I spent two weeks at a dude ranch. It was a terrific experience. All these western manuscripts suddenly started making sense. I want you to go. Just two weeks at the Columbine Camp in Colorado. That's all. You'll learn everything you need to know about horses and cows and cowboys and the great outdoors. Trust me on this, darling. It'll be good for you. You need a break, it's not that expensive, and besides, you can write it off. We want to keep you in our stable, Michelle..." He grinned, obviously impressed with his play on words.
"You want me to go to a dude ranch? I don't think so." Michelle jabbed her fork in Mark's direction, inordinately pleased when he backed away. "I don't even like horses, and I'm certain I'd like cowboys even less. I imagine they're both smelly, ill-tempered and impossible to control. I'll just do a little more research, maybe watch an old John Wayne movie or two. Trust me, Mark. I'll have my revision to you in, oh, about two weeks." She pushed away from the table. "Now, thanks for lunch, and have a really nice..."
Mark reached across the table, lightly grabbed her wrist, and stopped her. She sat back, stunned. Mark was never forceful, not ever.
There wasn't a trace of humor, or even sarcasm in his voice. "No revision, Michelle. This comes down from the senior editor, and we all know she takes her orders from marketing. Either you spend two weeks at Columbine Camp, which includes riding instructions...yes, dear, don't look so surprised...on a real horse, and an authentic dusty trail ride following authentic, smelly, dusty cows, or you find someone else to buy your stories. Competition's too steep, and there're a lot of hungry writers out there willing to take a lot less money. My advice is to jump through the hoops and learn what you can. Then write the freshest, most knowledgeable romantic western ever."
"You're not my agent, Mark. You're my editor. I thought you were my friend."
"I am, Michelle. That's why I bought you this issue of Western Horseman to read on the plane." He held the thick magazine up in front of her and smiled broadly, his blue eyes sparkling and his dimples dimpling until he looked more like a cover model than a book editor. Michelle thought seriously of telling him the effect was totally wasted on her.
A dude ranch...cows and flies and dust, and waking up with the chickens, and more charges on the VISA bill....
"I can't do this Mark. It's impossible. I..."
"You'll do it, Michelle. Call me when you get back. Don't forget your magazine." He flipped the brand new issue of Western Horseman open to a glossy spread of photos and text. "Read it, sweetheart. Besides a great article about Columbine Camp, it's just full of information about rodeos and barrel racing and horses and cowboys and cowgirls...you're gonna love it. Have fun. Think western. I expect you to come home with a drawl." He winked and smiled, flashing perfectly straight, white teeth.
Michelle stared at the photos in the magazine. Her breath caught in her throat. "That's him," she whispered. She pointed at a photo of a dark haired cowboy with a devil-may-care smile. "That's my hero, the one you rejected." She glared accusingly at Mark. "That's exactly how I described him, tall, dark and handsome with broad shoulders and a sexy grin, and you tell me I don't know what I'm writing about? This should prove to you that I wrote about a real cowboy. How could you reject my story?" She slapped the magazine down on the table, but couldn't take her eyes off the man staring back at her. Actually, she hadn't pictured her hero as quite so, well, elemental, but Mark didn't need to know that.
Mark glanced at the photo, then grinned at Michelle. "His name's Taggart Martin, and according to this article he lives right next door to Columbine Camp, on a huge ranch called the Double Eagle. Go, Michelle. Meet a real cowboy. Maybe you'll be able to write a real western for a change."
Mark tipped an imaginary hat and sauntered out of the restaurant. Speechless, seething with resentment, Michelle glared at his retreating figure.
Then she glanced at the table, littered with the remnants of their lunch. Damn him! He'd left her with the check.
Copyright © 2001 by Kate Douglas
Posted March 2, 2014
Oh my surprises awaits you, can you imagine almost dying, bumping your head, forgetting who you are, marrying a man you don’t know but think you do. Just to wake up to find yourself married to a man you never met, find out you aren’t who you think you are? That is just what happens to Michelle, can she get the cowboy or will the cowboy ride out of her life forever? So many secrets and so many lies, will they come back to haunt them? Oh, what a tangled web we weave. When first we practice to deceive!
Cowboy In your Pocket was a humorous read, you can’t help but laugh at the crazy over the of top situations. I so enjoyed reading this book, it was humorous and made me laugh, smile and at times I wanted to cry. This book is a lovely read, with many facts in a fast pace which the author moves through quickly, with easy flowing words that are easy to follow she does not leave you behind. She writes a wonderful love story of a man who plans a marriage of convenience, meets women, they marry and fall in love. This story has so many secrets and lies can all this be worked out or will love be lost.
Michelle is an author who’s romance stories are going nowhere fast. She must regroup if she wants to keep writing, her editor sends to Colorado to find out just what a day in a cowboys life is like. She finds more then she bargains for. She is in a car accident, bumps her head and has amnesia. What else could go wrong you might ask, she doesn’t know who she is, she is picked up and thrown into a wedding to make an old women happy. Does it end there, OH no there are still lots of things that go wrong.
Tag is the cowboy who needs to get married to hold on to his ranch. He has found the best women to pretend to be his wife, his best friend also part time lover Betsy Mae. Funny she goes off and marries a clown, but wait she has someone to step in to her shoes. In steps Michelle, everyone thinks she is Betsy Mae friend. So she must be, thinks Michelle.
Let’s not forget the one who starts it all Coop, the old man who more or less help raise Tag. He put the idea in Tags head, see Tag must be married before he is 40 or he loses his ranch. Coop is secretly in love with Tags grandmother Lenore and wants to make the lady happy before she dies. Coops idea is a pretend marriage, or is it? Seem Coop has a few secrets himself.
Lenore just wants her grandson happily married and to have a few grandkids. What is she willing to do or say to get her way? She has a few secrets of her own. Will she live long enough to regret her decent?
This is a wonderful read that I recommend highly, one you will not want to put down.
Posted February 26, 2014
Cowboy In My Pocket was a fun, although highly outlandish, story telling. Packed full of quirky characters, you can't help but laugh at the crazy, stereotypical situations, the over the top circumstances and the convenient bought of amnesia that makes this whole story believable.
For a purely fun and flat out entertaining cowboy read, check out this contemporary romance, Cowboy In My Pocket.
I received this copy of Cowboy in My Pocket from Beyond the Page Publishing in exchange for a honest review. This book is set for republication April 9, 2014.
Written by: Kate Douglas
Print Length: 226 pages
Publisher: Beyond the Page Publishing
Publication Date: April 9, 2012
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Posted July 22, 2013
I really liked this book. I have to say that it took a turn that I was not expecting and made for a lot of twists and secrets throughout the book. The main characters had such great chemistry and really sparked ;). The book also had the perfect amount of humor to lighten things up throughout. Great read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 14, 2012
Definitely a fun read and well written. Every plot device and potential romantic scene is there. Dramatic rescues, misunderstandings, big bath tubs..... Really fun and the characters are totally beleivable even if the plot isnt! Read it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 18, 2002
Kate Doulgas has succeeded in taking the romance novel a step beyond the norm. She tickles the reader's funny bone and touches the heart strings at the same time. The story and style will engage you from beginning to end. Cowboy in My Pocket is a must read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 23, 2001
Cowboys, amnesia, runaway brides, marriages of convenience, mistaken identity, huge white stallions with room for two, cover models that don't match the characters they portray...the cliches of the romance genre, you say? In COWBOY IN MY POCKET, Kate Douglas takes these tried and true conventions of contemporary romance novels and uses them to create a satire that can be enjoyed as humor--or felt deeply as any serious contemporary romance. When Michelle Garrison, Manhattanite and ace category romance novelist, has a manuscript rejected for lacking a sense of setting, she is pressured to go to a Colorado dude ranch to soak up a little atmosphere. When a car accident causes her to lose her memory, she falls into a marriage to save the ranch scheme by too gorgeous to be true, marriage-shy Taggart Martin. From there on, Ms. Douglas has found a way to have the reader say, 'Oh, no, not that one,' as each convention of the genre lines up for exposure. Yet, as you read on, you find that you begin to warm to Tag and Michelle and secondary characters Coop and Lenore and want everything to turn out all right. It takes a very special writer to write a book that can draw the reader both intellectually and emotionally. Ms. Douglas is that kind of a writer. What starts out as an exploration of the conventions of romance turns into a sensual and emotional original that shines--and, in its way shows why these tried and true conventions still work. This book is available in both electronic and paperback versions. Whichever version you prefer, get this book. Special order it if you have to; it's worth the wait.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 24, 2011
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Posted December 12, 2010
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