Remember when I said I wouldn’t interview one of my characters again? I felt the need to do a pre-book or pre-life story interview with Dane Carlson before readers actually meet him in his upcoming book. There are a few things here about Dane that won’t be in his book.
Dane has the fourth book in the Double Dutch Ranch Series: Love at First Sight—numbered Book Three.
You’ll be meeting Dane very soon. Let’s delve into a bit of his past.
Here you go:
After following Dane to the garage to put his motorcycle away, we came out to the patio to have a little chat. I’m still straightening my hair after that ride. He’s preparing to take a quick ride into the desert on horseback, then he’ll have lunch with his family before leaving on another deployment. Thankfully, he agreed to this interview if I promised not to make it too long. I don’t mind sitting here ogling him either, while sipping a glass of Judy Carlson’s special iced tea.
MJ: So you’re the youngest of the Carlson brothers. Do your brothers tease you about being the baby of the family?
DANE: Of all questions, you had to ask that one? Of course they do and sure don’t hesitate calling me “little brother.” It’s okay because I know I’m stronger, smarter, and better looking than those two guys. I don’t hesitate to remind them when they get on my case. See, I can tease right back. Should I start on you? After all, you hung on to me so tight on my Harley, I wasn’t sure I could turn the dang handlebar. It kinda felt like I needed a cigarette after, if you know what I mean—
MJ: I can see you brought your snarkiness with you today. Ah, no, this is about you, not me—
DANE: We’ll see about that.
I admit it’s doggone sexy the way the corner of his mouth kind of quirks when he grins. For some reason I’m ready to answer anything he might ask me—he has that kind of control.
MJ: Can we talk about the nickname your family calls you?
DANE: No. No!
MJ: Humph… You kind of resemble your brothers if you look close at your facial features and blue eyes, but you’re blond and their hair is so dark. You’re all very easy on the eyes, either way.
DANE: I thank you for that, ma’am, but what are you saying? Maybe I’m a ranch hands kid? Shall I invite my mom to this interview to see what she has to say about that? She’s right there in the kitchen making cookies…for me.
He downright laughed at me that time.
MJ: Let’s move on. I know you didn’t have ranch hands in New York where you grew up. Back on topic if you don’t mind. Years ago, you gave up ranching to serve your country. Were you tired of ranching or never really got into it?
DANE: My dad moved us to Arizona—basically on a whim to follow his own dream. Why shouldn’t I follow mine? I’m happy being an Army Ranger. In fact, I love it. I became a soldier at a tough time in my life, so the military helped keep me from going down the wrong path. Since I was already headed that way, I knew I had to do something, or become an embarrassment to my whole family. The sheriff and I have a history. Let’s drop that. By time my dad died, my brothers were here to help out my mom. Everything is good.
MJ: Sounds like you had issues with your dad. What was your relationship like?
DANE: Don’t be silly now. I loved my dad and what he stood for. Our relationship? Typical troublemaker son and father, yet he understood me more than anyone. That says it all. He was proud when I became a soldier.
MJ: Do you ever want to go back to ranching?
DANE: My mom says some choices are not ours to make and our path is laid out for us. If the need arises I’ll decide then—whatever tomorrow brings… At least I’ll have something to fall back on. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Double Dutch Ranch and what it’s about, including family. I’d never turn my back on my family if they needed me.
MJ: Or your wife?
DANE: Of course my wife would be included. IF, I had one. Not in my immediate plans. You sound like my mother now. Are you trying to fix me up with someone? He snickered and flicked his gaze away from me, but right back with steadfast eye contact. I get that a lot.
He lit a cigarette and kind of smirked again as he stared off into the desert in front of us.
MJ: Well, one woman comes to mind. What’s your type? I’ll reiterate what your mother says. “Some choices are not ours to make, er, yours to make.” My turn to smirk at the ever so handsome Dane Carlson. Hmm. Little does he know—his type is about to enter his life.
DANE: Yes, ma’am. I guess I’ll know my type when I meet her. Hope you don’t mind the cigarette, but I’ll be sitting on a fu…ah, a boring plane for a while. I’m making up for the time when I can’t smoke.
MJ: Congratulations on your recent promotion in the military. Do you enjoy the ceremonies?
DANE: Thank you. Yes, I do. It makes me proud, not only for myself, but also to see those under me get promoted too.
MJ: If I understand this correctly, you gave up the chance to go to a military academy to become an officer. Why?
DANE: What’s wrong with being a principle Non-commissioned Officer, which is what I am you know?
MJ: Nothing at all. You’re great at doing what you do, and this is also what I wanted for you. I’m happy you agree for once.
He stood and snickered before pacing a short ways off the patio. He looked good in the forefront of the Superstition Mountains—from the back, and the front. Dane is exceptionally good-looking and well-built. What you’d expect a combat soldier to look like physically. All muscle, and I bet I could flip a quarter off his chest. Whew! I’ll stop now. (To fan myself)
DANE: Ahem. Do you have any more questions or are you going to continue to, um, stare? Because I have to get on a horse to ride with my brother Jase. I’m heading for another deployment, you know and need time to focus—get back into soldier mode. I admit that I’m still in rancher mode. His voice lowered from its commanding deep tone. It’s always hard to leave once I’m home, but don’t get me wrong…leaving is what I do.
MJ: It’s too bad you have to leave. I agree with your mom that you need someone in your life… Isn’t there a slight chance you’d let someone in?
Dane took a seat, leaned forward, and cocked his head toward me. His eyes slightly narrowed against the sun.
DANE: You mean like before? I’ve let women in but my priority is the Army. Most can’t deal with that. But, a chance? Who knows? I suppose it can happen. My mom insists it will. You probably agree?
MJ: Well, I do write romance, so maybe you shouldn’t fight it. Let’s just say I can see into your future. Another bit of advice, Dane. No, never mind… Stay strong and Ranger Up.
DANE: I always Ranger up. That doesn’t sound good at all, MJ, and I can’t get into any of that negative shi…stuff. I’m part of an elite team, better trained than many others in the world, and they depend on me and the men I help train. I’m a Ranger, ma’am. What we do is because we choose to do it. Don’t ever forget that.
Shall I salute him? No, I’ll just be proud of him.
MJ: You’re adamant about your job. I’m very proud of you, Dane, and even though you’re a soldier, our story isn’t a military romance because I write Western Romance. Is that okay with you?
DANE: Yes, ma’am. Absolutely, because I never know what the future holds, but whichever it is, I’ll always be a soldier and a cowboy or vice versa.
MJ: I’m glad you see it that way. My way!
DANE: Sure. Now, it’s about time I grab a saddle and lunch later. Join us for lunch. Mom always has room at her table.
I noticed he didn’t ask me to join him. Dane is very bold and demanding at times. He brushed his hair back and put on his hat. A black Stetson fit his character, but so does the tan beret he wears with his uniform.
DANE: Take care, MJ. Don’t forget, I got your back. Now, you coming?
Oh, goodness, am I coming? His wink got to me. There he goes toward the patio door… But, wait, he’s turning back… He lifted his chin. Before me, I see a man filled with confidence, honor, and courage.
MJ: Holding tears back as he’s leaving, I repeat it back…HOOAH. Hooah, Dane. Good luck.
Well, folks, there he is. Hardheaded. Stubborn. Demanding. But also… Hot. Strong. Gallant. Charismatic. I can’t wait for you to meet him.
Of the Cowboy’s Own Accord — Coming soon…
UPDATE: Now Available!