NEW RELEASE DAY – Like sweet sexy cowboys? Be ready to get THROWN! #excerpt

Thrown Studs in Spurs Cat Johnson

Skeeter Anderson was born to ride bulls. He bypassed college to shoot straight to the top of the elite pro tour, but lately all he can seem to do is hit the dirt. Unwilling to admit his career might be over at twenty-one, Skeeter brainstorms a bull-riding boot camp with his buddies, which will put him closer to a girl who’s caught his eye—a stock contractor’s daughter called Riley.

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EXCERPT (G-RATED)

“And Skeeter Anderson hits the ground with the clock stopped at six-point-nine seconds.”

“Well, JW, I have to think that with the number of times this kid’s gotten bucked off, nine out of his last nine outs, odds are he’s used to the taste of arena dirt by now.”

“Used to it or not, this one’s gonna cost him, Jim. Without a qualified ride in this event, his ranking doesn’t make the cut. Skeeter’s officially off the tour for this series.”

“You’re right there, JW. Skeeter will be headed down to the touring pro division until he can get his points up to rank good enough to qualify for the series again. Let’s hope he works out the kinks in his riding and makes it to the finals in Vegas this year.”

Skeeter squinted through the bars on the faceguard of his helmet to see the clock. Seeing his time didn’t change anything. All the digital red glow of the numbers did was confirm what the announcers had said. The clock had stopped at six-point-nine seconds. Close but not close enough when he needed eight seconds to get a score.

Without a qualified ride during his last nine outs, for the first time in years he didn’t rank in the top forty. Only the best riders got to tour with this particular series. Skeeter was no longer one of them. That truth had echoed off the arena walls for thousands of bull riding fans to hear, thanks to the two announcers and their sound system. He pulled out his mouthguard and resisted the urge to throw it.

Sure, he could still ride for this association, but it would be in another division. In this sport, it was the equivalent of a baseball player who’d played in the majors—hell, in the World Series—being sent back to the minor leagues because he wasn’t good enough to cut it in the major leagues anymore. It sucked.

“Tough break, Skeets.” One of the bullfighters slapped Skeeter on the back while handing him his bull rope.

“Yup.” Skeeter grabbed his dusty rope. “Thanks.”

Behind the chutes, Aaron Jordan was there to meet him the moment he walked through the gate. “Don’t let being sent down to the touring pros get to you. You’ll be back here in a week. Two max.”

Aaron’s words had been encouraging on the surface, but all Skeeter could hear was pity behind them. Besides, it would take longer than a week or two to work his way back to where he’d been. But he didn’t bother arguing. What was the point?

“Yeah.” As Skeeter pulled his helmet off, he didn’t have anything more than that to say. He walked away from his friend and traveling partner, heading for where he’d left his hat before the ride.

A nine buck-off streak was too much for Skeeter to wrap his head around after having ranked among the top riders in the country—heck, in the world. They’d called him a prodigy. Joked he’d be the world champion before he was legal to drink.

They’d all been wrong.

Skeeter never ever thought he’d be in this situation, yet here he was. He needed a few seconds alone, but that wasn’t going to happen here and now while he was surrounded by people and cameras.

“What’s going on, kid?”

He turned toward Mustang Jackson, the rider he looked up to with as much respect as he had for the man who’d trained him all those years ago. Unlike Cooper, Mustang had never won the world championship, but he’d placed in the top ten riders consistently, year after year, and he’d been around for a long time.

“I suck, that’s what’s going on.”

Mustang chewed on his bottom lip and nodded. “After watching how you’re riding lately, yeah, I gotta agree with you on that.”

That was not what he’d expected Mustang, the tour cheerleader on most days, to say. A frown settled on Skeeter’s brow.

The older man laughed. “Don’t look at me like that. You know as well as I do, if you can hang on for six-point-nine seconds—”

“I should be able to hang on for eight.” Skeeter finished the sentiment he knew well. He’d heard other riders say it often enough.

“Yup. So, I’ll ask you again, what’s going on with you?”

He blew out a breath. “I don’t know.”

Mustang tipped his head to one side. “I suggest you take some time and figure it out.”

Not real helpful advice, in Skeeter’s opinion. If even Mustang couldn’t figure out what was wrong, after giving all of them good riding advice for years, then there was no hope for Skeeter’s future in this sport. That truth sat in Skeeter’s chest like a lead weight, making it hard to breathe.

He raised his gaze to meet Mustang’s. “I’ll try.”

“You do that, and in the meantime get back to your basics. Hop on some practice bulls. Hell, get back on a damn bucking barrel.”

“The barrel? You serious?” Skeeter’s eyes popped wide. He hadn’t been on a barrel in years. Not since his lessons with Cooper back in Arkansas.

“I never joke about bull riding.” Mustang’s brows rose high. “Just do it, kid. Trust me.” He knocked back the brim of his cowboy hat and was gone.

Ride a practice barrel like the little kids who weren’t old enough to ride bulls? Skeeter had ridden to a sold-out arena in Las Vegas. He’d competed in front of stands packed with thousands of fans. And now, he’d be reduced to riding a barrel in the backyard.

“You okay?” Aaron’s voice brought Skeeter back from where he’d been wallowing in his misery.

“Nope.” If Skeeter could stand to admit to himself his career could very well be over, at least at this level of competition, he might as well admit how miserable he felt about it to his best friend.

“Yeah, didn’t think so.” His traveling partner let out a breath.

Make that former traveling partner. Aaron would still be following this tour circuit, while Skeeter was going back in the touring pros.

“I’m gonna go get out of this stuff.” Helmet in his hand, Skeeter turned and headed for the back. He could pack away his chaps and his vest in his gear bag. There’d be no championship round for him today.

His path to the riders’ dressing room took him down a hallway lined with life-sized posters of past world champions. Some of these men had long since retired from the sport. These were the men Skeeter had grown up idolizing back when he only dreamed of competing pro. Back when his mom had taken on extra shifts to pay for his equipment and later, when he started to compete, for his entry fees. All while he’d mowed every lawn he could find in walking distance to earn money to help.

Some of the champions pictured were still competing. Skeeter had traveled, joked, eaten and prayed with them for the years he’d been with this tour. He’d ridden alongside champions, competing at their level—until now.

Now, it could all be over. His mom’s money and hard work gone to waste. All of Cooper’s countless hours of coaching—all for nothing.

Hoping none of the guys would be in the dressing room, Skeeter bit his lip and fought against the hot sting of tears, not brought on by sadness but anger. Anger at himself. Who else did he have to blame? He’d somehow let this happen, though he had no idea how. Just like he had no idea how he was going to fix it.

DON’T MISS THE REST OF THE SERIES 

REVIEWS:

In Thrown, Cat Johnson has given her readers an enjoyable new love story while satisfying their need for more on characters from the past. She has also given us an interesting look forward, something I’m very excited about, and most of all she’s stayed true to these characters and what they represent. I am one happy reader who is ready to do a complete series re-read just so I can read this book for a third time!” Slick, Guilty Pleasures 5 stars

“THROWN, a story of a young couple striving against all odds to find love and fulfillment, is heart-warming and a wonderful tale of a young man working towards his life-long passion. THROWN by Cat Johnson is well-written and is guaranteed to keep the reader glued to every page.” ~Fresh Fiction

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All new excerpt from my contemporary cowboy romance novel THROWN

Release Day is one week away! How about an excerpt to hold you over until next Tuesday?

cowboy romance by Cat JohnsonTHROWN (Studs in Spurs, Book 6) by Cat Johnson

Skeeter Anderson was born to ride bulls. He bypassed college to shoot straight to the top of the elite pro tour, but lately all he can seem to do is hit the dirt. Unwilling to admit his career might be over at twenty-one, Skeeter brainstorms a bull-riding boot camp with his buddies, which will put him closer to a girl who’s caught his eye—a stock contractor’s daughter called Riley.

Riley Davis lives and breathes bulls. Since her mother’s death, she’s been her father’s business partner as well as the apple of his eye—until a coronary rips him out of her life. Now, at nineteen, she must find a way to hang onto the family business. When Skeeter drives to Mississippi to lend her a hand, his buddies hot on his heels, Riley has more help than she can shake a stick at, and an attraction to Skeeter that’s heating up by the minute…

EXCERPT from THROWN (Rated G)

Inside her room, he released her hand and moved to the window. He hit the ON button for the air conditioner. It purred to life, much quieter than the unit upstairs. Hopefully the soft, steady drone would lull her to sleep.

He’d have to sneak in a shower after she fell asleep, but for now he could lie with her for a while. Skeeter sat on the edge of the mattress and pulled off his boots as the room began to cool. As the second boot dropped to the floor with a thud, he twisted to see Riley hesitating near the bed. She wasn’t sure what he wanted.

What he wanted and what he was going to do were two very different things. He swung his legs onto the bed on top of the covers and leaned back against the headboard.

Reaching out, he flipped back just the corner of the sheets on her side of the bed. “Come on. Get in and get comfortable.”

She did as he’d said, settling in against the pillow beneath his arm. She felt good there, nestled against him. A man could get used to having a soft warm body pressed against his all night, every night.

He glanced down to make sure she was comfortable and saw the smile on her lips. “What?”

She laughed. “I was just thinking if the preacher showed up now his head would probably explode. Between Mustang and Sage in the trailer, and Slade and Jenna in the barn. You and I here…”

“Yeah, I know. Not exactly the wholesome picture I painted for him.” Skeeter didn’t want Riley getting the wrong impression about the guys or him. “You know, they really are a couple of good guys.”

“I know.”

“Don’t say anything to anyone yet, but I think Slade might be fixin’ to ask Jenna to marry him.”

“Really?” She turned her head on the pillow to look up at him. “How do you know?”

“He kind of hinted at it the other day.”

“Wow. That’s nice. You think she’ll say yes?”

“Don’t know. She loves him, anybody can see that, but she’s a city girl with a home in New York. He’s a bull rider, on the road all the time, and his family is in Texas. Differences like that can cause problems, I suppose. It’s not like they’re from the same world—” Skeeter stopped himself before he finished the thought. From the same world like you and I.

If this were any other time in Riley’s life, Skeeter wouldn’t be sitting in bed with her making small talk until she could fall asleep. Instead, he’d be exploring every inch of her, getting to know her in so many ways.

That time would come. God, he hoped it would. He hadn’t considered trying to have a serious girlfriend since he’d started traveling with the pro circuit. It had seemed impossible. Riley made him want to have one. To have her. She made it seem possible. They did live in the same world. It was very possible.

His pulse sped a bit thinking of lying down with Riley every night, just like this. Like this, but different because if they were together as a couple, they wouldn’t be talking right now. It was nearly impossible, but he yanked his mind off thoughts of making love to Riley. Of what the first time together would be like.

Riley couldn’t know about his internal conflict as she continued to talk. “Yeah, I guess they are different. I still hope she says yes.”

He smiled at her optimism. “Careful. Your romantic side is showing.”

She lifted one shoulder. “That’s okay. It’s only you here. I’ll play the tough stock contractor with the heart of steel tomorrow.”

He gave her shoulder a squeeze. The fact she felt she could show him a part of herself she couldn’t show others warmed him inside. “Close your eyes. The rest of the guys will be here tomorrow, and believe me, you’re gonna need all your energy to deal with them.”

“Nah. I know you’ll deal with them for me.” Her voice sounded dreamy as she sank heavier against him, but all Skeeter could think about was how much trust and faith she’d already placed in him. He’d do whatever it took to live up to her expectations. There was no way he was going to let her down.

“Skeeter?” She surprised him by speaking. She’d been silent for long enough after her pronouncement of her faith in him that he’d thought she might have drifted off.

“Yeah?”

“I liked our kiss.”

Skeeter smiled. “I liked it too.”

He felt her relax against him again. Her breathing slowed until it became a steady, deep rhythm. All the while, he tensed beside her. He’d never wanted a woman this much.

Damn. Sleep wouldn’t come easy for him tonight. Not with Riley on his mind. Definitely not with her pressed against him, waking parts of his body he wished would go back to sleep, at least for now.

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AMAZON   BARNES & NOBLE   SAMHAIN  iBOOKS   AMAZON UK

AND don’t miss the rest of the Studs in Spurs Series

Do you love cowboys? Then check out my Oklahoma Nights series!

One Night with a Cowboy

Two Times as Hot

Three Weeks with a Bull Rider

REVIEWS:

“THROWN, a story of a young couple striving against all odds to find love and fulfillment, is heart-warming and a wonderful tale of a young man working towards his life-long passion. THROWN by Cat Johnson is well-written and is guaranteed to keep the reader glued to every page.” ~Fresh Fiction

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