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I’m a lucky girl, because I live in cowboy country.
In some parts of the world, you might go your whole life without seeing a cowboy. Here in beautiful Western Canada, we have so many kinds of cowboys that you can quickly start to identify their particular cowboy niche when you see them on the street.
This is the evolution of the trail riding cowpoke of the past. Rodeo cowboys live life on the trail (okay, the highway) with their horses (and living quarters horse trailer). The quality of said horse trailer is dependent upon the success of the cowboy, and in the case of roughstock cowboys (that’s those who ride bucking stock – horses or bulls – and don’t need to travel with their own horse) their transportation might be a beater car, or a commercial airplane with a gig bag full of equipment.
Even if you run into them in the grocery store (or perhaps, more likely, the feed store or liquor store) it’s often easy to tell which rodeo event they compete it. Bull riders are small, wiry and strong, and probably have a sponsor name their jacket. Ropers tend to be tall, well dressed and polished, with a perfectly shaped felt hat. Bulldoggers, also known as steer wrestlers, are my personal favorite – big and burly, often with a tell-tale dirty bum from their most recent practice round.
Fall for a rodeo cowboy, and you can usually resign yourself to either life on the road or a lot of time apart.
The ranchers are the landowners in this modern west. They’ve got an expensive black felt hat, a button down shirt and a shiny new pick-up truck that never gets dirty because it’s their town truck, not the farm truck. Most Canadian ranches are family owned and operated, so the rancher, his wife, their kids and often extended family and a couple hired hands are involved in the deal.
Ranching is big business here, with cattle prices followed nearly as closely as oil prices. Between the land and the equipment and the cattle themselves, there is a lot of money involved, and therefore a certain amount of gambling when you’re spending that much money on livestock. Instead of risking their bodies like a rodeo cowboy, a rancher risks financially.
Find yourself a good ranching man, and you’ll work hard alongside him to build a big beautiful life.
Whether they’re calving cows for the biggest ranch in the area or taking trail riders into the mountains, the working cowboy is a similar breed. With well-worn Wranglers and often a ball cap (in the summer) or an ear lug hat (in the winter) replacing their cowboy hat, a working cowboy is usually young, friendly and sports a great big smile for all they meet. A good working cowboy is valued by his employers and often stays for many years, while sometimes they’re “good time” cowboys instead, happy to work just a season and then party until the money runs out.
A good working cowboy can have either job security, or the ambition to one day own a ranch of his own. A good time cowboy can be a great summer memory.
If he’s wearing spurs in the grocery store, he’s a horse trainer. Whether he’s a colt starter or a high dollar reining trainer, the daily uniform of a horse trainer is pretty similar. Riding jeans, comfortable cowboy boots and his favorite pair of spurs. Cowboy hat or ball cap is going to be a personal preference, but often the felt hat is saved for the show pen or special occasions. (But, to quote a great horseman I know, a cowboy wears his hat everywhere but marryings and buryings.)
Horse trainers fall into two categories – they’re in it because they’re truly kind, empathic people who love horses and have a true talent, or they’re in it because they know that women like horses … and horse trainers. 😉 Don’t fall for the wrong kind.
One thing that all cowboys and western men tend to have in common is that they were raised by strong western women, and therefore have an innate respect for women as an equal and partner in life. Maybe that’s why we find them so fascinating, even when we live in a place where cowboys are few and far between.
Rose, the heroine in my first book, Outlaw Rose, is definitely a strong western woman from a very different era. She doesn’t let anything, or anyone, stand in the way of what she wants.
Blurb for Outlaw Rose:
Rose would do whatever was necessary to get the gold back from the bank robbers. Enjoying it was an unexpected bonus.
Rose had a plan.
After all her planning and hard work, she was about to hit the payoff—until the bank was robbed, the gold stolen right out from under her nose. Rose wasn’t about to give up without a fight, but catching up with the outlaws was the easy part.
When Tucker finds the little bank teller tailing them, he needs to keep her from running to the posse, and her proposal sounds like way more fun than what he had in mind. But in this band of outlaws, they split everything three ways—he’s going to have to learn to share.
What Rose had thought was a straightforward plan quickly becomes more complicated. Maybe these law breakers can work together…in more ways than one.
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of dubious consent with multiple partners.
Like the sound of Outlaw Rose? Buy it here.
Excerpt from Outlaw Rose:
She tipped her head sideways, looking at him from head to toe the way he’d looked at her. His worn clothes fit him like a glove, enhancing rather than disguising the lean, muscled body underneath. Stubble shadowed his jaw and his lips were still twisted in a half smile as he met her gaze. He was so calm, standing there facing down a pistol. So calm, after he’d ruined her plans by stealing the gold. He’d distracted her from her goal with his hot mouth and his rough hands, and even after all the trouble he’d been, she still felt a twinge of longing just looking at him.
A drip of water fell from her knee to the top of her foot.
And he’d interrupted her bath.
She was annoyed. How dare he stand there so calm and collected? She’d get away with the gold, but first, she’d see to it that he lost his cool. She watched his eyes widen ever so slightly, alarmed by the smile that spread across her face.
He started slightly at her command, but slowly did as she said. Keeping the gun and one eye trained on him, she scooped up the rope that had served as her belt. She walked behind him and jammed the barrel of the pistol into his back. “Your hands. Put them behind your back.” Awkwardly, trying to keep the gun in hand, she tied his wrists together. She was good at knots. Once she was satisfied he was secure, she gave his elbow a tug, spinning him to face her. She placed the barrel under the edge of his jaw hard enough that he tipped his head back, away from its pressure. She leaned against him, feeling the roughness of his shirt on her breasts and remembering his touch. “You interrupted my bath.”
His Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed. “My apologies.”
She could see the twinkle in his eye. He still wasn’t taking her seriously, but he would.
About Celeste Rupert:
Celeste Rupert lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains and (other than the lack of indoor plumbing) would love to live in the Old West. As time travel hasn’t yet been invented, she lives in the era through her characters.
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