Thursday, December 16, 2010

Marin Thomas *Love off the Beaten Path*

A Romantic Times Magazine
4 1/2 Stars Top Pick!

For This Cowboy, Family Comes First

Josie Charles was back in town, and Dexter Cody desired her as much as ever. She was his twin brother’s girl, but it was hard to act honorable when all he wanted was to stake his claim on the woman and her boy. Sooner or later, his brother was going to step up and do the right thing. And when that time came, would Dexter be able to step aside and lose Josie all over again?

No way was Josie losing her heart to the sexy-as-all-get-out rancher. The last thing the single mother needed was another Cody messing with her life. But her high school pal had sure grown into one fine-looking cowboy. Caring. Hardworking. Responsible. Exactly the kind of man she’d want to be a father to her son.

Which one is the right brother? Looks as if there’s going to be a showdown...

If your a fan of contemporary cowboys, I hope you'll check out the first ever multi-author series by Harlequin American Romance called The Codys:First Family of Rodeo. Dexter: Honorable Cowboy is book #2 in the series. For information on all six books please visit my website

Dexter is a fraternal twin and the first "twin" hero I've ever written as well as the first book where an editor told me exactly what my hero and heroine's conflicts were, what their names were, ages, and even some of their backstory. It was truly a unique and interesting writing experience and one I would repeat in a heartbeat!

If you're a last minute Christmas shopper looking for a stocking stuffer for the romance reader in your life you can purchase Dexter: Honorable Cowboy (July 2010) at or other online retailers. can win a copy right here.

Leave a comment today on my blog and I'll choose one winner late tonight and post their name in the comment section of this same blog. Check back to see if you've won then contact me with your snail mail address and I'll send the book out ASAP... in time for you to put it in your stocking or a friends!


This book held its own in the Codys: First Family of Rodeo series, and I’m absolutely glad I got the chance to read it. It’ll join my other Marin Thomas books on the keeper shelf. If you like a hot cowboy, a fun set of characters and are looking for something a little different to do on the back of a mechanical bull, then you should grab yourself a copy of this book. Despite being part of a series, it stands alone nicely (I know, because I read this one first!) and you could do much worse than picking this up and giving it a read. I’m betting you’ll enjoy it."
~ Poppy

★★★★ ½ Top Pick!
by Marin Thomas: Dexter Cody was always cleaning up his twin brother’s messes. Now he’s dealing with the biggest mess of all and enjoying every moment. Josie Charles, the girl Dex loved in high school and his brother’s girlfriend, has returned home with his brother’s son. Unfortunately, she neglected to mention it to anyone, including the boy’s father. With his brother off trying to come to terms with being a father, Dex steps in and falls for Josie all over again. This time she’s tumbling just as fast. Will Dex stand up for himself and fight for what he wants, or will he step aside for his brother’s ready-made family? Thomas’ characters are wonderful and colorful, and readers will enjoy Dexter’s struggle to do the honorable thing.
~ Pat Cooper RT Book Reviews



Two thousand pounds of mulish, malodorous stench.

Dexter Cody had drawn a rodeo bull famous for its rank smell and cranky disposition.

"Cowboy up!" Dexter's competitor hollered.

The setting sun cast long shadows of the cowboys gathered around the bucking chutes at the Sweetwater County Fair in Lander, Wyoming. Soon, the fairground lights would wash the arena in a warm glow, the oppressive July heat would ease and hooves would pummel the dirt along with a few unlucky cowpokes.

Adrenaline pumped through Dexter's veins and he cursed the protective vest preventing him from sucking in a deep breath. A trickle of sweat beaded at his temple, then dripped down his cheek as he and Stinky exchanged evil-eyed glares.

A quick glance into the stands confirmed that none of his siblings were in attendance. Good. Dexter didn't relish falling flat on his face in front of family. And if word got back to his mother that he'd ridden a bull—just for fun—she'd lop his head off. His dismal track record in the event didn't dampen his love for the sport. He wished he possessed half the talent of his older brother, Jesse, who excelled at bull riding. Instead, Dexter and his fraternal twin, Dusty, team roped together—which wasn't nearly as exciting as bustin' bulls.

Dexter didn't care to delve too deeply into his attraction to the widow-makers. At twenty-seven years of age, his bull-riding days—even for fun—were numbered. He limited his participation in the event to a few times a year—when he reached his limit of pissed off. This evening, thanks to his twin, Dexter's pissed-off tank overflowed. Most days he was content to toe the line and assume his fair share of responsibility for the Cot-tonwood Ranch working horses. But for the past month Dusty's habit of disappearing at the most inopportune times grated on Dexter's nerves.

A twinge of guilt pricked his hide. Dexter's sour mood wasn't solely the result of his brother's less-than-stellar work ethic. Dexter admitted his ornery feelings had intensified since his brother Walker had been a double winner at the Cody Roundup this past Sunday. Not only had Walker taken first place in the steer-wrestling event but he'd also landed a bride. Walker and his new wife, Paula, were a perfect match and their happiness only made Dexter more aware of the sad state of his own love life.

Shaking off the depressing thoughts, he inched closer to the chute. A whiff of bull schnocker shot up his nose. Good ol' Stinky had dropped a cow patty the size of a dinner plate.

"Ladies and gents, before we kick off America's first extreme sport we got a special treat for y'all. Trick rider Cheyenne Dakota's gonna do a little showin' off on her horse Belle."

Applause broke out when the beautiful cowgirl rode into the arena, her long black hair flying in the air. Dexter had run into Cheyenne at several rodeos through the years and the one time he'd attempted to strike up a conversation with her, she'd given him the brush-off. Not even Dusty, who had a reputation of charming the jeans off most women, had been able to cozy up to the full-blooded Native American. Cheyenne did a handstand on the back of her horse, then flipped upright and raced from the arena.

The crowd quieted and cowboys covered their hearts with their hats when the Barclay sisters took stage and belted out "The Star Spangled Banner" with a cowboy twang. Finally, heads bowed as the announcer prayed for the cowboys and the great United States of America.

Forcing his attention to the task at hand, Dexter climbed the chute rails and settled onto Stinky's back. The heat from the animal's body cooked the inside of his thighs as he worked the bull rope between the pinkie and index fingers of his gloved hand, clenching and unclenching the nylon.

"All right, folks, it's time for a little bull bustin'!" The crowd roared. "Y'all know these daredevil cowboys have to keep their seat for eight seconds if they're gonna have a chance at winnin' any money."

"Lookin' a might peaked, hoss." Dwayne Kettle wasn't any better at bull riding than Dexter, but the cowboy liked to believe he was.

"Just gettin' high on Stinky." Dexter sniffed the air, then frowned. "Or maybe it's you I smell." Nothing curled a nose worse than a cowboy's armpit soaked with fear.

"Ladies and gentlemen…turn your attention to chute number three. Dexter Cody is about to tangle with Stinky! Dexter's part of the Cody clan over there in Markton. His older brother Jesse's a contender for the NFR in bull riding. Let's see how Jesse's little brother does today."

"Ready?" The gate man nodded to Dexter.

As I'll ever be. When the gate opened, Stinky shot into the arena flinging Dexter side to side. He clamped his back teeth together and raised his right arm high into the air. Stinky swung his head and bull spit slapped Dexter across the face. Shit. Distracted, he lost count of the seconds in his head.

Not that it mattered. Stinky spun right, left, then right again in quick succession, catapulting Dexter through the air. He landed in the dirt. Hard. Instinct kicked in, and he rolled in time to avoid a stomping from Stinky's hooves. The bull fighters closed in to distract the enraged animal, but when Dexter crawled to his knees, Stinky charged.

The image of his mother crying at his funeral spurred Dexter to his feet. Just as he reached for safety, the bull's horns caught him in the seat, pitching him over the arena rails. For the second time in less than eight seconds, Dexter landed in the dirt.

"Best leave the bull ridin' to your brother." Kettle chuckled.

Shut up. Dexter spit dirt from his mouth. When the world stopped spinning, a pair of red cowboy boots came into focus inches from his nose. Then a feminine hand appeared before his face. He reached for the slim fingers with pink-painted nails and scrambled to get his legs under him. Once upright, his mouth sagged open.


"Hello, Dex."

"Been a long time." Nine years hadn't left much of a mark on Dusty's former high-school sweetheart—the girl Dexter had secretly coveted. Josie's face was leaner, more finely sculpted, but her brown eyes were as big as he'd remembered. Her freckles, which he'd always been a fan of, had faded except for the smattering across the bridge of her nose. The strawberry-blond hair was shorter—the locks brushing her shoulders. She wore a white Western shirt with black horses stitched across her small, perfect… He dropped his gaze from her breasts to the leather belt cinching her narrow waist.

"Better luck next time." Josie smiled a tad crookedly.

Happy Holidays!

Roughneck Cowboy *Men of the West* Feb 2011
The Bull Rider's Surrender E-HQ Weekly Read March 2011
Rodeo Daddy *Rodeo Rebels* April 2011
The Bull Rider's Secret *Rodeo Rebels* July 2011


  1. Marin, it sounds as if you have another winning story. Best wishes.

  2. Loved the excerpt, Marin. Your writing caught the nuances and familiarities of bull riding. Best of luck with a great story.

  3. Liked the excerpt. Looks like a really great read. Good luck!

  4. Hi Caroline & Sandra
    Thanks for stopping by the blog. As you both know, writing cowboys is always a lot of fun!

  5. Hi Ruby

    thanks for stopping by the blog. It was an interesting experience writing a twin and writing a book where are the heroes in the family are "hot" :-)

  6. Marin,
    Congratulations on the RT 4 1/2 Stars Top Pick! Well deserved too. I loved this cowboy and the story. His sense of right and wrong and what he was faced with made him one of my favorite strong heroes. This is a story everyone would love. A memorable hero with his hands full and a feisty heroine determined to stand on her own.

    Can't wait for your next book! Don't put me in the drawing since I already have this one. :-)

  7. Thanks for the kind words, Jeanmarie. Dexter's Honorable intentions were decided upon by the editors so I had no choice but to create a story around him always doing the right thing and acting "honorable" :-)

  8. MARIN--I loved this excerpt. One of my shorter novels was for The Wild Rose Press, a series called Wayback, Texas--"where a cowboy falls in love every eight seconds." Each story had to fit the town description, and it had to have a rodeo on Saturday night. Guess what? My cowboy was a bull rider. I'm Texan, but don't know much about the rodeo. So, I had to spend hours researching bull riders--mostly YouTube videos, and studying what they wore, etc. Oh, let me tell you, it was very tiring looking at all those guys in their jeans, and boots,......
    Well, you understand.
    Congratulations on the great review from RT. This novel sounds very good.Celia

  9. Thanks for stopping by Celia!
    I'm right there with you--studying cowboys is hard work but someone's got to do it!

  10. Congratulations, Ruby! Your name was drawn for an autographed copy of Dexter: Honorable Cowboy. Please e-mail your full name and snail mail address to

    I'll slip a book in the mail ASAP
    Happy Holidays!


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