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On a hot, mid-August Saturday Johnny Cash stood in the cowboy ready area of the Butterfield Stage Days Parade and Rodeo in Gila Bend, Arizona, and watched the fireworks display between lady bull rider Shannon Douglas and all-around rodeo cowboy C. J. Rodriguez.
The hand-gesturing and boot-stomping drew a lot of notice and Johnny edged closer, ready to intervene if the argument quickly went south.
"You're supposed to be my man, not Veronica's," Shannon said.
No surprise that the notorious buckle bunny Veronica Patriot had sunk her claws into another cowboy. The woman was hell on boot heels and took what she wanted—mostly cowboys in committed relationships. If that was the case, and Rodriguez had cheated on Shannon, then Johnny felt bad for her.
Shannon was his sister's best friend and Johnny had known her most of his life. Nine years her senior, he'd been a big brother to the little girl who'd spent countless afternoons playing at the Cash pecan farm or trailing after him at her father's spread where Johnny worked as a seasonal ranch hand.
Rodriguez jabbed his finger in the air. "I can't help it if I attract women everywhere I go."
Hands fisted, Shannon stood her ground. "You're ticked off that I won last week."
"You didn't beat me." Rodriguez glanced at his competitors, who pretended not to listen.
Shannon laughed. "You're sore because fans are finding out you're not the superstar you claim to be."
The feuding couples' audience showed no signs of intervening. Pretty soon the rodeo officials and cameramen would notice the confrontation playing out behind the chutes and broadcast the lovers' spat on the JumboTron.
"Shannon." Johnny stepped from the shadows and touched a finger to the brim of his black cattleman's Stetson.
She flashed him a grateful smile. "Well, if it ain't the Man in Black." Rodriguez snickered.
Johnny's hackles rose. What the hell had his mother been thinking when she'd named him and his brothers after country-and-western singers? It had been bad enough that they'd all been fathered by different men. From the day Johnny entered kindergarten, he'd been teased—not that his mother had cared.
When his biological father, Charlie Smith, had split after Johnny's birth, Aimee Cash had become an absentee mom, gallivanting across the Southwest, searching for the next Mr. Right. She hadn't been there when Johnny had come home from school with his first black eye—Grandma Ada had hugged him and insisted there was room in the world for two Johnny Cashes. Eventually he might have learned to turn the other cheek, but every year or two, another brother had been born and saddled with a moniker that needed defending until he grew old enough to fight his own battles. And Johnny had made his fair share of trips to the principal's office during his school career.
"Back off, Rodriguez." He leveled a sober stare at the cowboy.
"This is bullshit." Rodriguez threw his gear bag over his shoulder and stomped off. The onlookers dispersed.
"You okay?" he asked Shannon.
"Yeah. C.J.'s just frustrated with his riding, that's all." She rolled a clump of dirt beneath her boot.
Johnny noticed she wore Dynasty Boots. He glanced at her gear bag—that, too, sported the Dynasty Boots logo. The last he'd heard, Wrangler Jeans was promoting Shannon and Rodriguez's cross-country tour, highlighting women's bull riding. He motioned to the boot stitched on her shirt. "I thought Wrangler sponsored you."
"They did." She watched the rodeo helpers load a bull into a nearby chute. "Dynasty Boots offered me and C.J. a better deal and bought out our contract with Wrangler."
"What kind of better deal?"
"If C.J. and I continue to compete against each other and keep up our sham of a romance—fans love that we're a couple—" she said, rolling her eyes "—we—"
"You're not a couple?"
"Not anymore." She shrugged. "Anyway, whoever has the most wins after the Tucson rodeo in January earns a fifty-thousand-dollar bonus."
Johnny whistled between his teeth. "Where does the score stand between you two?"
"Did you think because C.J.'s a man he'd be ahead of me in the competition?"
"No I " Johnny shrugged. In truth, he believed bull riding was best left to cowboys, but if there was ever a cowgirl who could go the distance with the men, Shannon Douglas was that girl.
"If I want to win the title of Cowgirl of the Year, I need to beat C.J." She shifted her weight from one foot to the other, clearly agitated. The hotshot cowboy had rattled her.
"You sure you're okay?" His gaze roamed over her body.
"Why are you looking at me like that?"
"Rodriguez must be blind."
Her cheeks flushed pink. Even though Shannon was a tomboy, the subtle signs of a pretty woman were evident. Her turbulent green eyes, fringed with thick black lashes, glowed with a vibrant, determined spirit. Then there was her mouth, plump lips that begged a man to Startled by his train of thought, he cleared his throat. What the heck was he doing—cataloging his sister's friend's body parts? At least he'd stopped before he'd checked out her—
"I got to the rodeo late. Did you ride this afternoon?" she asked.
"Sandpiper tossed me on my keister."
"Did any of your brothers compete?"
"The rest of the gang stayed behind to work on the bunkhouse."
"I heard Dixie threw all of you out of the farmhouse after she and Gavin married."
"You heard right." He nodded at C.J. "Was that your normal warm-up routine?"
"Ladies and gentlemen, we're about to kick off the men's bull riding event, but first, we have a special treat for you." Applause and whistles filled the arena. When the noise died down, the announcer continued. "Shannon Douglas is about to show us that cowgirls are as tough as cowboys when it comes to bull riding!"
The crowd noise was deafening. Johnny had no idea Shannon had become so popular on the circuit. "You sure you're okay?" She shot him a dark look, so he said, "Good luck," and moved aside. He didn't stray far—in case Rodriguez got it in his head to pick another fight with her. After she put on her Kevlar vest, protective face mask and riding glove, she climbed the chute rails while the announcer finished his spiel.
"Shannon Douglas hails from the Triple D Ranch near Stagecoach. She's been competing in roughstock events since high school and you won't find a tougher cowgirl in the whole state of Arizona!" The JumboTron displayed a close-up of her as she waved to the fans. "This cowgirl's about to tangle with Boomerang, a veteran bull known for his tight spins."
Shannon stretched a leg over the bull and settled onto his back. She wrapped then rewrapped the rope around her gloved hand and Johnny worried that she was thinking about her quarrel with Rodriguez.
He spotted her partner inching toward the chute and stepped into the man's path. He wasn't letting the rodeo playboy taunt Shannon. Only after the gate opened and Boomerang sprang free, did Johnny turn to the action inside the arena.
Shannon hung on through three spins. As the seconds ticked off the clock, the bullfighters moved into position, ready to help if needed.
The buzzer sounded and Shannon waited for an opening to dismount. Boomerang chose for her. The bull kicked out at the same time he twisted his back end and she catapulted through the air. She hit the ground and skidded several feet across the dirt. His heart stalled when Boomerang turned on Shannon as she struggled to stand.
Head down, the bull charged and a collective gasp rippled through the stands. The bullfighters made a valiant attempt to intervene, but the beast was fixated on his rider.
Move, Shannon, move!
She must have felt the ground shake, because she rolled sideways in the nick of time and the bull's horns missed her by inches. Scrambling to her feet, she stumbled toward the rails as the rodeo helpers guided Boomerang to the bull pen.
When Shannon's boot hit the bottom rung, Johnny held out his hand and her green eyes flashed with relief. Adrenaline pumped through his blood and he yanked her too hard over the rails, her momentum carrying him backward. They tumbled to the ground in a tangle of arms and legs, Shannon sprawled on top of him. Damned if he couldn't feel the soft mounds of her breasts through her Kevlar vest. His arms tightened around her and the first thought that popped into his head was how good she felt pressed against him.
"There you have it, folks!" the announcer bellowed. "Shannon Douglas has bested Boomerang!"
The announcer's voice startled them and Shannon rolled off of Johnny. Another cowboy offered his hand and helped her to her feet. Her competitors congratulated her with fist pumps, high fives and hearty pats on the back. By the time Johnny stood, she was no longer smiling. A few yards away, dressed in a red-and-white-checked cowgirl blouse, Veronica Patriot hung on Rodriguez like a cloth over a picnic table. Obviously the cowboy wasn't trying very hard to play up the romance between him and Shannon.
"Hey, Johnny." Andy Kramer, a bareback rider, stopped by his side and nodded to Shannon as she removed her protective gear. "Bet you're glad Dixie quit riding bulls."
For sure. Last summer Shannon had convinced Johnny's sister to compete in a few rodeos, but Dixie had turned up pregnant after the second one and scratched her final ride.
"You wanna grab a beer when we leave here?" Andy asked.
"Sorry, I've got a date." He planned to stop at his girlfriend's apartment and surprise her with a night on the town. He hadn't seen Charlene in forever and the last time they'd talked on the phone, the conversation had been strained. He hated that they were growing apart, but he'd been forced to put their relationship on the back burner the past year in order to deal with family problems and the pecan farm's financial crisis.
"See ya at the next go-round." Andy walked off.
Johnny grabbed his gear and strolled over to Shannon, intending to say goodbye, but Rodriguez beat him to her.
"Can we talk somewhere?" Rodriguez nodded to the stands.
Shannon caught Johnny's eye and he asked, "Want me to stay?"
"Thanks, I'm good."
After she left with Rodriguez, Johnny headed for the exit. What the hell had gotten into him? It was one thing to look out for Shannon at the rodeo—another to hold her close when they'd crashed to the ground.
Cool off, buddy. No harm done.
Then why had X-rated thoughts drifted through his mind when Shannon had been sprawled on top of him?
He cut through the rows of pickups to his truck parked at the rear of the lot. Once he stowed his gear, he drove south toward Stagecoach. In an effort to put Shannon out of his mind, he listened to talk radio. Ten miles passed and he hadn't heard a word the radio host said. Johnny pulled off at the next roadside gas station and bought a coffee in the convenience store, then sat in the truck and stared out the windshield.
When had he stopped loving Charlene?
He couldn't recall the last time Charlene and the word love had occurred in the same thought. Johnny's memory floated back in time first one month then two then six and finally a year. He couldn't blame the demise of his and Charlene's relationship all on his siblings and the farm. His feelings for his longtime girlfriend had been gradually fading, but because he'd been comfortable with the status quo, he'd paid no attention to the signs.
He and Charlene had been together a little over seven years and he hadn't asked her to marry him. The last time she'd brought up marriage, he'd recently found out Dixie was pregnant and then he'd gotten word the agricultural company leasing the pecan groves had gone bankrupt. Marrying Charlene would have added another person to his list of responsibilities.
Unbeknownst to his brothers, Johnny had made the mortgage payment on the farm for the past eight months, depleting his savings—funds that had been earmarked for a house once he and Charlene tied the knot.
Shannon. When she'd landed on top of him this afternoon, he'd felt a sharp stab of arousal shoot through his body. He hadn't experienced a physical zap like that with Charlene in forever. He sipped his coffee and winced as the scalding liquid burned his tongue. If anything good had come out of running into Shannon at the rodeo, it was recognizing that tonight he had to end his relationship with Charlene. She deserved better than to be strung along.
He started the truck and merged onto the highway. An hour later, he took the exit for Yuma. He arrived at Charlene's complex and parked in a visitor spot, then removed her apartment key from his key ring.
When he rounded the corner of the building, he bumped into a man. "Sorry." Together they ascended the stairs to the second story where the guy stopped in front of Charlene's apartment and rang the bell.
Stunned, Johnny gaped at the man's dress slacks and polished wing tips.
The door opened and Charlene smiled. When she caught sight of Johnny, her eyes widened.
"Hello, darlin'," Johnny said. The color drained from her face and he thought she might cry. "Mind if I have a word with you in private?"
She motioned for Mr. Businessman to enter the apartment, then stepped onto the landing and shut the door. "I can explain."
"How long have you been seeing him?"
"This is our second date." She sighed. "I was going to tell you the next time I saw you, but we haven't spoken in three weeks."
Had it been that long? "Don't apologize." His pride hurt that she'd moved on before they'd officially broken up, but in the grand scheme of things, he was relieved she was making this easy for him.
"I'm sorry, Johnny. I should have told you I wasn't happy."
She'd given off plenty of clues that her feelings for him had changed, but he'd been too distracted to notice.
After he handed her the apartment key, she said, "Wait here." She returned a few minutes later—hair mussed. Obviously the new guy wanted him to know he'd staked his claim on Charlene.
She held out a cardboard box filled with his toiletries and personal items. "If you'd like, I can fetch the two necklaces and pair of earrings you bought me."
They'd been together seven years and that's all he'd given her? "Those were gifts. I don't want them back." He shifted the box in his arms. "Good luck with—" He nodded to the door.
"Sean. We met at work." Charlene kissed his cheek. "You'll always be special to me, Johnny."
"Take care," he said.
The apartment door closed and the scraping sound of the dead bolt ended their seven-year relationship.
Johnny left the complex feeling as if an enormous weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He'd had good times with Charlene and she'd been the first woman he'd fallen in love with, but happy-ever-after hadn't been in the cards for them.
Once he reached his truck, he decided he didn't feel like being alone. He'd stop at a bar and properly mourn the end of his relationship with Charlene. She'd stuck it out with him for longer than most women would have, and the least he could do was drink a few beers and pretend she'd broken his heart.
Posted June 30, 2013
4.5 Star Review - Cash Brothers series
In The Cowboy Next Door by Marin Thomas, Johnny Cash has been looking after his siblings since he was a young man, taking over the responsibilities of a father. His mother was always on the run looking for her true love, coming home pregnant and leaving the children with her parents. His grandparents raised him and his siblings, but now that they are gone it's up to him to make sure that they are on the right path and to not loose the family ranch.
Shannon Douglas's mother left when Shannon was a baby, and she always felt that she needed to be one of the boys, otherwise how could she be part of the family and not feel left out with just her brothers and her father. Since she was a child everything that any of them did she also had to do. And now as an adult she wants to be cowgirl of the year, everyone in her family has had that trophy and she wants it too.
Shannon is the best friend of Johnny's sister, so when they find themselves in the same rodeo Johnny expects to feel the same protective feelings towards her but things have changed, Shannon is a fully-grown woman, something that his mind and body immediately realize. Due to her sponsorship commitments, Shannon is traveling and pretending to be in a love affair with C.J. Rodriguez, a cowboy also wanting to take the national title and trophy. But when Johnny finds Shannon fighting with her supposed boyfriend right before her ride, he knows that he must stop Rodriguez and help her focus.
At first Johnny won't admit to the attraction and chemistry between them , he is nine years Shannon's senior and in his mind he would be robbing the cradle. But when they find themselves in a bar and drinking a few beers, before Johnny knows it he is dancing with Shannon and then taking her to her hotel room. At first he believes that he can be noble and walk away, but when she starts undressing and asks him to join her in the bathroom, his entire will to leave disappears without him noticing.
A one-night stand that he believes was a mistake will make Johnny be cruel to Shannon the next morning, breaking her heart. When she gets injured during a ride and breaks a bone, she now will face more opposition from her family to continue her quest for the title and she will be facing a few painful weeks trying to recuperate before she looses her chances at the title completely.
With the help of Johnny Shannon will continue training and trying to get over her fear she developed after the accident so she can win the title, but that may just cost him his job and the only chance he had of saving his family's ranch from being taken by the bank. Tough decisions this cowboy will have to make. Either he helps his true love get her dreams while he is deadly afraid for her life and safety and risk his family ranch, or he doesn't help keeping his job safe but loose her for his lack of faith.
Another great book by Marine Thomas, I can't wait for the next installment in the Cash Brothers series and see who is next to loose his heart from this very handsome and heartbreaking playboys.
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Posted August 17, 2014
Marin Thomas did a good job writing The Cowboy Next Door. Johnny had to deal with having feelings for Shannon, a female bull rider and his bosses daughter. Meanwhile Shannon is overcoming what could prove to be a career ending injury.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 16, 2014
Enjoyable read and a great beginning to the Cash Brothers series. Oldest brother Johnny has always been the responsible one but maybe now it's his turn to live a little. Recommended read
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Posted November 15, 2013
Johnny Cash has been looking out for his siblings for as long as he can remember. His mom was always searching for love and while he searched for ways to keep his family together.
Shannon Douglas is the girl who is Johnny's sister's best friend. He bandaged her knees and watched out for her along with his sister. Now she wants to win all around cowgirl riding bulls, can he watch out for her while she does that?
Can the cowboy who needs to take care of everyone else and keep them safe fall for the girl next door who puts herself in harms way at every event? Will Johnny ever see Shannon as his sister's friend who is 9 years younger than him?
It's easy to fall in love with The Cash Brothers! You will get a look into the life of all the brothers in this book but a special look at the relationship between Johnny and Shannon.
I can't wait for book two to find out what happens with The Cash Brothers!
Posted October 10, 2013
I very much enjoyed this book. I love cowboys and I love rodeo cowboys. It was nice to read about a lady bull rider. Johnny and Shannon were good strong characters both surviving growing up after their mothers abandoned them. Johnny and his siblings being raised by their loving grandparents. Shannon and her brothers by their father. Johnny nine years older then Shannon finds himself seeing Shannon in a whole new light. She is no longer his baby sisters childhood friend she's a intriguingly beautiful woman.
I LOVED the ending of this book. I suggest having kleenex at hand.
Posted August 27, 2013
This Sweet and Sexy Cowboy Romance Is A Winner
There are days when a woman wants to be lassoed into sweet and sexy cowboy romance, and for days such as these, The Cowboy Next Door fits the bill perfectly. The first book in The Cash Brothers series draws the reader into the rodeo world, gives them insight into broken families and relationships, and has them hoping for a happy ending for characters who deserve a better life and happiness with one other.
This romance will pull you into the story as you are introduced to the dutiful, determined, and irresistible Johnny and his growing desires for Shannon-stubborn and motivated rodeo cowgirl-who is also Johnny’s sister’s best friend and 9 years his junior.
Thanks to an especially hot encounter with Shannon in a shower, Johnny soon realizes she isn’t the tom-boy he had once taken care of like a little sister, but a fully grown and very alluring woman that stirs him in a way that’s not so brotherly. Meanwhile, overseeing his family’s pecan farm and being a father figure to his brothers has taken its toll, as he tries to figure out a way to save the farm.
Shannon has big plans to win Cowgirl of The Year, but it seems the men in her life are against her high-risk-taking tendencies and her dream of winning the rodeo title. On top of wanting to succeed while the odds are stacked against her, she has to deal with one sweet and sexy cowboy who gradually reels her stubborn self in for a chance at love at the worst time possible.
What I loved about Johnny was how he put his desire for Shannon to quit rodeo aside and instead tries to help her achieve her dreams by overcoming her worst fear. This type of unselfish compromise and encouragement is what every determined, strong-willed woman needs and appreciates from her man.
I think many women can relate to Shannon – she is a very strong-willed woman who enjoys her independence. At the same time she struggles with knowing the people she’s closest to have the ability not only to build her up, but also tear her defenses down. Shannon’s attraction to Johnny doesn’t surprise her, but her sudden desire to please him does because she wants full control of her situation and to not be side-tracked from reaching her dreams. This makes her more guarded.
With Shannon’s defenses up, and Johnny’s urge to protect the woman he’s reluctantly falling for, it makes for a great combination of sensual tension and desire between the two that jumps off the pages. You want them to be together. Believe me, the ending is well worth it :) This wonderfully written love story will have you rearing to go for the next book in The Cash Brothers series. I highly recommend it!
Posted July 14, 2013
I Also Recommend:
4.5 big Super stars
I recommend this book.
4.5 Star Review - Cash Brothers series
Since Johnny Cash’s grandparents have passed he has been looking after his siblings since he is the oldest and took over the father responsibilities. He believes it is his responsibility to save the ranch as he made a promise to his grandfather. He also wants to help his brothers and sister stay on the right path. His mother was always out on the fun looking for her true love always coming home pregnant. Once she had the babies she left them with the grandparents and went back in search of her true love.
Shannon Douglas was abandoned by her mother when she was a baby. She was raised by her father and brothers. She was always a tomboy as she wanted to fit into the all-male family. Since she was younger she has tried to take after her brothers in everything they achieved she needed to also get. Now she wants the title of Cowgirl of the year by competing in the bull riding events. She thinks if she gets that title it will make up for her mother not loving her.
Shannon has known Johnny for years as she is best friends with his sister. She has also spent a lot of time with his entire family a one time or another.
During a rodeo she is injured and breaks a bone in her leg. Now she must work harder in order to heal and still get the title.
Johnny is working for Shannon’s father as foreman on his ranch and after Shannon breaks down and tells him she has a fear of getting back on the bulls he agrees to help Shannon train.
Read the book to get answers to the below:
Will he be able to train Shannon and still get his work done at the Ranch?
Will Shannon overcome her fear and get the title she desperately wants?
I can't wait for the next book in the Cash Brothers series. Due out in October 2013 “Twins Under The Christmas Tree” Featuring Conway Cash.
Some favorite parts from this book:
“It’s time for you to pull your weight.” They walked back to the cabin.
“You know what I think?” Conway said. “You guys ride my ass because you’re jealous of me.”
Johnny chuckled. “Jealous?”
“You guys wish woman fawned all over you like they do me. I can’t help it if I.mn the best-looking Cash brother.” He got behind the wheel. “Watch yourself with Rodriguez. He’s a ladies’ man. If he wants Shannon, he’ll get her.”
Over my dead body.
“Before we say grace, I have an announcement to make.” Dixie shared a smile with Galvin, then held up her water glass.
“spit it out, Dix, before the food gets cold,” Porter said.
“Gavin and I are expecting.”
“Expecting what?” Porter asked.
Johnny slapped the back of his brother’s head. “A baby, stupid.”
“You’re pregnant?” Buck asked.
Dixie leaned down and kissed Gavin then said, “We’re pregnant.”
Posted July 3, 2013
Marin Thomas, did it again, wrote another smashing cowboy book. She make the characters seem so, authentic as well the scenery. I could have picture it all, like movie.
This series start out with Johnny Cash, oldest of his brothers and sister. In which all are name after country-western singers, their mother had a thing for. She was in and out of their lives, which she left them with Grandma Ada, to raise on pecan farm.
Johnny, work at next farm, in which his sister is friend Shannon, who is several years older.To help from losing their family farm.
Shannon, who is a bull rider, her family disapproves of. She is competing with C.J. Rodriguez for the title of Cowboy/girl of the year.
Dynasty Boots, is promoting Shannon & C.J., due to fact they are a couple. In which, they broke up,due to C.J. involvement with a new women at each town, the rodeo go to. They trying to keep it on the low, if Dynasty Boots find out, they will stop promoting them. In which, Shannon, can't afford.
Johnny and Shannon, get together for one night, the next day Johnny give Shannon, the shoulder. It makes her mad.
Then, Shannon, take a fall off a bull, she has a bad break. She is worry that if she don't finish the circuit she can lose the title. Shannon, father disapproves of her riding, want her to stop.
Johnny, attempt to relieve Shannon fears of riding again. Help with her training. As soon, her father finds out he gives Johnny a ultimatum.
Now, Johnny got to figure out what he want to do. If he help Shannon overcome her fears, she may win the title she hope to win. Then, in the other hand, he could lose the family farm, to the bank. He know that he need to think about what could happen to his family, if he continues to help Shannon. But, he do not want to lose the love of his life, either.
So, what do you think Johnny, should do? To find out what happen with Johnny, Shannon and everything. Go get yourself a copy of " The Cowboy Next Door". I promise, you will not be disappointed.
"The Cowboy Next Door", is sensational, truly enjoy reading. Marin, you outdone yourself again. I hope the next series of "The Cash Brothers" be as great as this one.
Posted June 30, 2013
First in the Series of The Cash Brothers. Meet Johnny Cash the oldest in The Cowboy Next Door.
After reading this can't wait to see what the other Cash Brothers have in store for us.
Marin has delivered another great book. She is a great storyteller and never disappoints.