This interview was done way before Hey, Cowboy, Book #2 came out. Caulder McCutchen is the kind of man who wants to get the job done when he’s on the job. Off season you’ll see he’s a little more laid back. He tried to convince me to introduce him months ago. You know, before the book even came out. He must have been all hyped up after meeting that feisty Italian. I held him off. He thinks it’s his story, but I insist he share it with Velia. He joked with me, saying, “After all it is called the Bull Rider Series, and Ms. Armano is not a bull rider…ah, not yet.” (Update: Well, book two took care of the…”ah, not yet part.”)
He’s such a jokester.
So, without further ado, I have agreed to interview the handsome hero in Howdy, Ma’am Hey, Cowboy, and Christmas at Love House: A Bittersweet Interlude. Handsome? Hah, that’s putting it mildly. Hot and hunky is the first thing that comes to mind when I look at him. What am I saying? I created him! AHEM, on to the interview.
MARY: Okay, Caulder, the spotlight is on you now. Where shall we begin? How about two years ago? We can start there. He took a seat beside me. Mm, he smells wonderful! Apparently he hasn’t been to the back pens yet.
CAULDER: Nope, I’m not ready. You should know, of all people, I can’t talk about two years ago. It’s still too painful to discuss what happened then.
Noticing the sorrowful look on his face, I decided to move on.
MARY: We’ll talk about your job. You’re fairly new to the bull riding circuit. Correct?
CAULDER: Partly. I’m new to the circuit, but not new to bull riding. I started riding bulls when my dad decided to raise them for shows years ago. Guess what? I’m good at it, you know. He winked before going on. But, oh yes, you know I’m good at most everything. Right, ma’am?
What a grin! Did he have to chuckle, too?
His smile seemed innocent enough, but I know his satirical sense of humor. More about that in the books. Hmm, is he distracting me on purpose with those flirty eyes?
MARY: Um…yes. Most of the guys you ride with are younger than you. Do you think you’ll have many years left in bull riding?
CAULDER: Well, yeah. I mean, there are a few guys in their forties. I figure I have at least ten more years, give or take a few broken bones now and again. Sure, I’ll ride as long as I’m able. I’m only thirty-two years old. I have time. Don’t write me off yet. He laughed out loud. Hah, literally don’t write me off.
MARY: That’s risky don’t you think? Not to mention the concussions you’ve had. I detect a snarky smile across his sensual lips. Hmm…
CAULDER: Only three, for God’s sake. (Maybe more) I’m fine after the last one. You don’t understand–I like to call it challenging, not risky, and of course, exciting as hell. Hey, you need to come to a show and bring all your friends. I’ll get you good seats.
I saw his lips curve into a smile as he tried not to chuckle.
MARY: I’ve been to shows. This is exactly why you exist by the way. Let’s just say I’m a big fan.
CAULDER: Rolling his eyes. Well, thanks. Without you then, I’d never have met the hot little spitfire.
MARY: About her—whatever possessed you to hire a personal photographer? Telling her you need publicity? Have you looked in the mirror lately? Or looked at your points? Your points are high. Publicity?
CAULDER: He abruptly stood. My God. I took one look at her… You get it. Hey, it wasn’t my fault when a tire went bad on my Escalade in front of her photography studio. I mean, dammit all to hell. Look at her. That woman is beautiful with a capital “B”. Both on the outside, and the…inside, I might add.
He chuckled and diverted his eyes. There went his smirk again, and he’s not fooling me. I know where his mind wandered.
Caulder sat back down and laid his hand over his heart. I could only imagine having him swoon over me like that. Velia is gorgeous, ma’am!
Oh, yes, this heroine has no idea what she’s in store for. Gives me chills sitting here with him. Black cowboy hat atop his head? Sexy. And once you look into those damn blue eyes, you’re hooked. Nope, she has no idea what’s ahead.
Caulder: Let’s just say that’s where my tire first went bad. After I got it fixed, well… You know the rest of the story.
Mary: We’ll move on. You have your own issues to deal with, and you choose not to talk about them here, but so does Velia. Her ex-husband is one to be reckoned with. You know he’s not happy she ran off and divorced him? And then to find out she’s traveling with you? A cowboy? He’ll be angry if he finds her.
CAULDER: You say cowboy like it’s a bad thing. He diverted his eyes again, shook his head, and sighed. As long as she’s working for me, I’ll keep her safe. She won’t come to any harm around me and the other riders. We ride damn big bulls for a living, ma’am. We can handle an ex-husband.
I hope he’s right. He doesn’t know Justin Waters like I do.
MARY: You seem to be quite a gentleman for a cowboy.
CAULDER: There ya go with that cowboy attitude again. What the hell do you mean? Have you ever met a cowboy who wasn’t a gentleman? Besides, I’m not a real cowboy. Enough said?
I seem to have offended him, but I needed him to explain so you would understand.
MARY: Sure, if you say so. But what do you mean—you’re not a real cowboy?
CAULDER: Enough said… Leave it alone. Please, ma’am?
MARY: Okay, if you insist. He nodded, so I’ll change the subject. Buckle Bunnies? Groupies? He rolled his eyes. This should be fun—Once you insinuated to Velia that there might have been a time you took up with women who hang out at shows, you know—the ones hoping to hook up with a rich cowboy. You didn’t elaborate to her, but now that you’re under the spotlight, so to speak, is there anything you’d care to tell me here?
CAULDER: He laughed out loud, a lot. Sometimes you just have to say what people expect to hear.
MARY: Really? Tell me more…
CAULDER: I think not…
Again his hat came off and he brushed his fingers through his hair. I suppose a hat gets itchy after awhile.
MARY: We’ll move on…again. What about Velia’s family? I mean men protect her, although she hid her abusive relationship from them.
CAULDER: Ex-husband, he’s her ex! Yeah, that was a damn… Sorry. Anyway, it was a mistake for her to hide her abuse from her family.
He slammed his fists down on his thighs. I had touched a nerve.
MARY: Yes, it was a shame, but she really is a smart woman and did the right thing. But back to the question. Her father has, ah, um, men, or I should say, men who watch over him. How do you feel about that?
I could tell he was getting uncomfortable.
CAULDER: It is what it is. He’s an important man. I’d rather keep my opinions to myself. He likes me and I’d like to keep it that way.
MARY: Velia is a charm and didn’t deserve what happened to her in the past. Neither did you. Do you think you two could have a future together? I mean you’re thrown together for almost a year. I eyed him up and down, knowing what she must see when she looks through her camera lens. Oh, baby! Sure must be tough on her to stay out of his arms. Or maybe she doesn’t.
CAULDER: I’m up for a championship this year. You know I have a great chance of winning that coveted gold buckle. Riding the bulls has to be my priority. I hope you understand.
MARY: You’re with her almost twenty-four hours a day. It must be difficult to concentrate. Right?
CAULDER: Apparently you didn’t hear me when I said I’m working on a championship. I don’t need distractions.
Whether he knew it or not, I saw the smile spread across his lips and the sparkle in his eyes. He didn’t fool me.
MARY What about after the shows? I know you two spend a lot of nights alone together afterward. Couldn’t you be lovers as well as friends?
CAULDER: Now, you’re asking for details that are no one’s business but ours. Earlier I asked if you ever met a cowboy who wasn’t a gentleman. Well, I’m sure as hell not going to change that now. I think we’re finished here. But, before I get back to work, I will say that a year is a long time to be thrown together with a sweet and sexy woman like Velia Armano. Even if she does drive me crazy at times. We’re together for most of the day and a lot of late nights, working and stuff. Whatever happens, happens. Right?
Oh, but he has a snarky chuckle. He removed his hat and shoved his dark hair back away from his face. That nicely carved jawline…those eyes…I need a fan. He plopped his hat back on his head, a strand of dark hair falling over his forehead when he shoved the brim back.
CAULDER: Good day to you, ma’am.
MARY: Thank you, Caulder. Be careful on those bulls and good luck with the championship. But, please, I have one more question…
He touched the tip of his hat and sauntered across the arena like he owned the place. He even stopped and looked back at me once, grinning. I don’t know about you, but my imagination is running wild with what could be happening between these two. If only their past lives don’t get in the way… If only her ex… well, never mind. I’ll just sit here and watch Caulder McCutchen strut… He sure is a sexy hunk of man. Maybe I should stop staring, or maybe I should…stop my mind from wandering. Deep breath, swallow, okay, almost got my composure now. Sigh.
You can learn everything there is to know about this hunky bull riding hero in Howdy, Ma’am, Book #1, more in book two, and even more in book three. Now, I need to go find that photographer of his. I know she’s around here somewhere. Wait, is that her on the other side of the arena?
Velia, oh, Velia, I have a couple questions for you…
She lowered her camera and stared across at me. Caulder walked up to her and stood pretty darn close, if you ask me. She’s smiling. Now, even from here I can see the gleam in her eyes. Wait, she’s looking my way. Here she comes. Oh, if only she turned around. That cowboy’s eyes are running all over her backside. But, I forgot, he’s not really a cowboy, or so he says… Trust me, he’s a real cowboy.
Remember, I couldn’t give up my characters? This is why the sequel happened. (Apparently there were a lot of long nights together.) Oh, yes, he’ll grow on you for sure. Even if you think you don’t like cowboys, there’s a whole other side to him. Travel? Sure–travel the circuit with him and learn what makes him tick. Happy Reading.
You know Caulder isn’t the only awesome person in this book. Wait till you meet Velia Armano. She’s adorable, sexy, classy, and makes a great heroine. Get to know her, too.
To meet Velia Armano read her interview HERE.