People ask me all the time, "Where are these cowboys you keep writing about?"
Honey, let me tell you. At 7:30 a.m. they are at the grocery store, on the cereal aisle. I was pushing my grocery cart up and down the aisles one morning when I saw them striding toward me. Okay, okay. They weren't coming for me, but for the Cheerios I was standing next to. Four real, live, working cowboys.
I was looking my best, because this girl has learned the hard way that living in a small town, the one sure way to guaranteee you'll see everyone you know is to go to the store in sloppy sweat pants, with no makeup on and you hair not done. In fact, I've come to understand that the more unsightly my appearance the more likely I am to run into an old crush or ex-boyfriend. Those people need to see that they missed out on one hot mama. But...that's another day and another blog post.
As they sauntered up in dusty boots, cowboy hats, thin, faded cotton shirts and blue jeans, I kept hearing a rhythmic sound. You guessed it. One had on a pair of spurs. Some of you know that jingling sound, when attached to a cowboy, will reduce me to an idiotic, mumbling puddle of drool. I kept it together, collected my Honey-Nut Cheerios and got out of their way, all while managing to not trip over my feet or my jaw. One of them winked at me. No lie. I may have injured my neck ogling them as I pretended to peruse the Pop-Tarts.
I finished my shopping and headed for the front of the store to check out. I was unloading my groceries onto the conveyor belt when that sound drew my attention again. There they were, in all their testosterone-soaked glory. I swear it was by chance that I chose the lane they were in.
Three of them split off to run an errand and left one behind to pay for the impressive amount of groceries the cashier was scanning. With a few minutes to kill, he turned to me and smiled. He struck up a conversation, I responded and we enjoyed talking while the cashier did his thing.
The cowboy had a twinkle in his brown eyes and a crooked little grin. We bantered, laughed, and joked until the cashier announced the total and he paid the bill. The flirtatious cowboy winked at me again and then said, "Have a good day now, darlin'." I responded in kind and several thoughts occurred to me as he walked away with his spurs jingling.
Number one: I am a sucker for a cowboy.
Number two: An angel like him needed to be the hero of a romance novel.
Number three: I HAD to set aside the paranormal erotic romance I was already working on to write his story. That's what I did. He was immortalized in Heavenly Angel, Book 3 in the Divine Creek Ranch Collection.
Just a few weeks ago, I encountered that same cowboy in the grocery store. I'd promised myself that if I ever got the chance to thank him, I would. Unfortunately, with kids in tow I had to bite my tongue. But if I ever run into that cowboy again, I know exactly what I'll say.
"Thanks for the inspiration, Cowboy."