Tell us about your current release.
Mandy and the Cowboy Mogul is number 5 in my Colorado Dreaming series. It revolves around a woman who was a minor character in some of the previous books. Everyone thinks she’s a wicked woman, but in fact her story is a lot more complicated.
Tell us about your next release.
I have a new one coming out from Ellora’s Cave on Friday called Executive Perks. I’m really excited about it because it’s based on a corporate takeover romance that I first envisioned when I was a young M&A lawyer myself.
Has someone been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?
My sister Colleen, definitely. She encouraged me to write just because I love to and always told me that I was a writer even if nobody ever published my books.
Who is your favorite author?
Hard to say. In romances, I like Shannon McKenna and Sylvia Day. In mysteries, I like P.B. James and Elizabeth George.
When was your first sale?
Siren Bookstrand accepted my first e-book, Saving McCade in September of 2010. I was so excited I had to close my office door because I was jumping up and down. That book was published in January 2011 and I’ve had eight more since then. I love it!
What does your family think of your writing career?
It varies. Some, such as my sister Colleen and a few of my other sisters and my husband and my kids, are extremely supportive. Others choose not to really mention it at all…let alone buy one!
Does your significant other read your stuff?
He’s read a few, but romance is not his thing.
Who are your books published with?
Siren Bookstrand and Ellora’s Cave.
Tell us about your family.
I’ve been married to my husband for 25 years and we have two college age sons.
Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?
Yes. Angela Claire is my pen name. It’s the girl names I would have used if I had had a daughter instead of my two brilliant, wonderful sons.
Mandy and the Cowboy Mogul by Angela Claire (www.angelaclaireromance.com)
Everybody seems to think widow Mandy Parker is some kind of a Jezebel. Never mind that her two marriages to older men were never consummated or that her experience as a seductress is a myth. When a handsome cowboy happens into town, Mandy figures that if she's going to be cast in the role of the temptress, she might as well try to play the part in earnest and at least get the benefits.
Aidan Munroe has just taken over the railroad his family owns. When Mandy seems intent on seducing him, he decides to play a part himself, pretending to be a simple cowboy looking for work and claiming he just doesn't believe in "having relations" before marriage. He doesn't know what he enjoys more—the incredulous look on Mandy's face or her blatant attempts to disabuse him of the concept.
Will Mandy and Aidan ever stop playing their parts long enough to fall in love?
“Don’t you have a name?” Amanda prompted.
If he told her his name, even if he didn’t tell her who he was, she might remember or at least might wonder enough about it to ask. He offered the shortened version he had gone by in college, with no last name. “Dan.”
“Well, Dan”—she leaned into him—“I’m Mandy.” Last names apparently weren’t required for whatever she had in mind for this acquaintanceship.
Mandy. He hadn’t heard her called that back East.
“What are you doing in these parts, Dan? Looking for work?”
He didn’t know what possessed him to say yes, but he did. “Yes.”
“Well, there’s a lot of it around here. As long as you’re not afraid of a little manual labor.”
She looked at him expectantly, and he obligingly said, “No.”
“I don’t have a ranch myself. I live in town.” She added with another assessing look up and down his frame, “A nice private house with an extremely convenient back entrance.”
When she gazed at him expectantly this time, he was at a loss for words. Was she actually hinting at what she appeared to be hinting at…with him? The momentary euphoria dissipated with the thought that as far as she knew she’d just met him, for Christ’s sake.
“What kind of work do you do?”
“Roping? Herding? The usual kind of thing?”
He had absolutely zero idea where he was going with this thing, but he said, “Yeah. Just about.”
“I like cowboys.” She smiled then frowned at him. “You’re not married, are you?”
God, she was beautiful. Even a frown did nothing to detract from her allure. It just made a man want to turn it into a smile again.
“No,” he answered truthfully.
The frown disappeared, so he supposed he’d done his job.
“What a relief that is to hear. It seems all the good-looking men in this town are married.” She pronounced the last word with evident distaste.
“But not you, Miss?”
“Miss? Oh, I’m not a ‘Miss.’ Heavens, no. Not since I was…well, quite some time ago. No, it’s Mrs. Parker, and I’m a widow.”
An extremely recent widow at that, he knew from Jake, which made her next words all the more shocking.
“Isn’t this convenient? You unattached. Me unattached.”
She laid her riding crop on the scarred oak table, the only piece of furniture left in the depot except for a rickety bench in the corner, and looked around. “Well, this will have to do,” she muttered. “It’s all dirt out there, not even any grass.” She focused those alluring blue eyes on him again, keeping eye contact as she untied her bonnet and shook out that long golden hair he remembered so well. She’d worn it tied in a ribbon back then, but now she didn’t appear to bother with that. Her hair fell in streaming ripples around her shoulders. When she turned her attention to her leather gloves, she removed them finger by finger in a strangely sensuous demonstration.
Or maybe it was just him.
Then with her head and hands bare, she walked right up to him until there was only a breath of the stale air of this depot between their bodies.
Nope. It wasn’t just him. He should speak up, tell her who he really was, and call on their tenuous family connections, such as they were. But he couldn’t. He found himself fascinated by whatever play she was acting out in front of him, with him as the cowboy looking for work and her as…as what? What the hell was she doing?
When she put both hands up to cup his face and pressed her lips, soft and fresh, to his, he jerked his head back in surprise.
“What is it? What’s wrong?”
She didn’t remember him and walked right up to a complete stranger and kissed him? Hell, even if she had remembered him, he would’ve been shocked down to his toes. And she had the nerve to ask what was wrong?
He knew now what Jake’s wife had wanted to tell him when he spoke of Amanda, and he felt a tremendous sense of disappointment. The heartbreakingly beautiful, vulnerable girl he remembered seemed to have turned into…her mother!
While he was busy with that disturbing thought, she seemed to have had one of her own, suddenly pulling back in horror. “Oh, good Lord, you don’t prefer men, do you?”
He was speechless as she looked at him expectantly, and when he didn’t answer, she focused instead down in the general vicinity of his crotch. “I don’t know what I’m being so missish about here. There’s one way to tell about that in a hurry.”
To his astonishment, she reached down and ran her forefinger lightly along the length of cock, and the fledgling erection that he’d been fighting roared to the fore. She petted him distractedly for a second.
“No,” she muttered almost to herself, dropping her hand. “I see it’s not that.”
He held himself perfectly still.
Finally he said, with a little more drawl than his voice normally had, “That’s a might forward, ma’am.”
She put both hands on his shoulders and, still with shock, he felt her press her full length into his. He was shocked all right, but his cock was fine with it, lurching enthusiastically toward her underneath his breeches.
“Look,” she whispered up to him, “we both know the game, don’t we?”
He did know the game. As one of the supposedly most eligible bachelors in Boston, and certainly the richest, he’d been treated to a fair amount of female attention, from the platonic simpering of his ex-fiancée to the studied tutelage of every level of mercenary female from whore to high-priced mistress. They’d all wanted something from him. But it wasn’t sex. That was what he had wanted from them, for the most part.
And from Amanda Munroe—or at least his idea of her—he’d thought he wanted more. That was really why he’d come up with the plan to seek her out. He could have just mailed the documents to her with an accompanying explanatory letter. If she had been anyone else, he would have. But he had insisted on coming out West himself. In his own probably sentimental mind, the girl who had wanted to finish school, who had fended off the advances of her stepfather, who had been sold to an old man…that girl was someone he might have wanted more from, although he hesitated to articulate what.
And now that he’d found her again, what did she want from him? Incredibly, a quick fuck, it seemed.
A delicious idea occurred to him.
“Well, that’s just it, ma’am.”
“What?” Her hands wandered from his shoulders to up around his neck, running her fingers through the strands at the base. Despite himself, he shivered.
“I appreciate all the compliments and er, this attention you’ve been giving me.” He glanced down tellingly to his cock and then unwound her hands from the back of his neck. “But the truth is, I don’t feel right about such things unless the man and lady are married.”
Trying to suppress his smile at her astonishment was impossible. Instead, he gave in to it, and a wide grin spread on his face as he held her hands out to the side, as if to keep them away from him. She looked downright stunned. Into silence apparently. Her mouth fell open.
So he said, “Now, I know that may sound funny—”
“In a man, it’s unheard of. A man that looks like you…well, I never.” She pulled her hands away from his, and he found he already missed the contact. “You’re not Catholic, are you?”
Her befuddled attempt to put a label on him amused him further.
“I mean, you’re not a priest, are you?”
Oh, he wished he’d thought of that one. Oh well, this was almost just as good. He put on as heavy an accent as he’d heard the farther west he got on the train and said, “No ma’am. I mean, God and me, we’re pretty familiar with each other, but I’m not a priest. No, if I’m very lucky, some day I may find the right woman for me, and then I can enjoy the pleasures of the flesh.”
“So you don’t plan on…doing anything until then?”
This was priceless.