Today I am so pleased to welcome RJ Scott to Joyfully Jay. RJ has come to talk to us about The Texas Series as part of the GRL Blog Tour. She has also brought along…. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Welcome to of my mini author tour, thank you to Joyfully Jay for having me… 🙂
When I was at the UK meet I was told by readers on more than one occasion that they thought I just wrote paranormal, or I just wrote contemporary. Of that they knew about Texas, but had never heard of the Sanctuary series. So I came up wit this idea… highlight two very different books, or series, and add in some cool prizes and maybe readers might find something new from me.
They also mentioned that when there is a series of books it is sometimes difficult to know which order they go in. Now, while, at my blog and on each book at Amazon etc I am careful to add in order-details I thought I would focus today on the Texas Series.
The Texas Series is currently 5 books
- The Heart Of Texas – where it all began. This best selling book is 83,000 words of soap opera badassery in which at the core of it, Riley blackmails Jack into marriage, never realising it could all end in love.
- Texas Winter – Riley finds out he has a daughter and becomes embroiled in a plot to have her taken from him.
- Texas Heat – A gay rodeo and a blast from Jack’s past has Riley feeling scared. Robbie and Eli meet at the ranch and even with the threat of cancer and memories of loss, the two find love
- Texas Family – Riley and Jack decide surrogacy is the way to expand their little family, but what happens when they fall in love with a young autistic boy as well? Are their hearts big enough for another?
- Texas Christmas – All Riley wants is a family Christmas but sometimes life just isn’t that easy.
- And coming, October 2014, Texas Fall.
The Heart of Texas was one of my early books. A sweeping soap opera saga story with heroes and villains, murder, intrigue and at the center of it all, a blackmailed into marriage storyline. There is a strong element of family in all of these books and the series follows Riley the playboy, and Jack the cowboy-rancher as they fall deeper in love each day and as their family expands. The series deals with murder, surrogacy, adoption, blackmail, lust, passion, but above all these things family.
More information, including blurbs, excerpts, buy links, reading order and reviews can be found here:
The Texas Series – http://rjscottauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/the-texas-series.html
Competition – closing date 23 July 2014, 13:00 GMT (London)
Simply comment below to be entered into the draw to win one of two prizes, first drawn name wins a $10 Amazon/ARe voucher, and for second winner an ebook from my backlist, or a future book when it becomes available.
Each comment on this post and other posts in the tour will be entered into a grand draw to win $50 Amazon/ARe voucher with the winner drawn from all entrants on Saturday 26th July.
Jack Campbell pushed his way through the revolving doors of the tower, the dust of Texas on worn jeans, a battered Stetson in his hand, and denim stretched tight across his shoulders. He paused on the threshold and scanned the foyer, stamping stable dirt off his boots onto the pristine carpet with calm deliberation and cast his eyes down the list of offices held in the tower. It wasn’t difficult to spot Hayes Oil on the list, given that they covered floors forty-five to seventy-three. His walk to the elevator was blocked by a security guard who casually looked him up and down and then placed a strong hand on Jack’s arm. Jack tensed. He’d been ready for confrontation, but had assumed he would at least make it to the sacred altar of Hayes Oil before he was turfed out.
“Sir? Can I ask you to book in at the front desk?” the guard said quietly, in a clearly non-confrontational I-do-this-all-day kind of way. Jack shrugged off the touch and turned on his heel, slapping his Stetson against his jeans and releasing a small cloud of dust into the rarefied air-conditioned coolness.
“I sure can,” he drawled and strode towards the long front desk and the section marked with the Hayes Oil logo. The woman behind it was young, no more than twenty, and clearly a little shocked by the man standing before her. Jack imagined she was used to urban style; city suits, perfect hair, and clipped tones that bordered on rude. Not, for want of a better word, the dirty just-off-the-range Texas cowboy leaning down on her counter. He knew there was three days’ worth of stubble on his face, and he was redolent with the smell of the outside. She traced his face with her gaze, and he smirked inwardly as she had to push her professionalism to the front to force out the standard words. He was used to shocking these city types on his rare visits to town. He made a damn fine cowboy, if he said so himself. It wasn’t that he was bigheaded, but he knew he looked good, confident, and just a little on the rough side, a little bit dangerous.
“Welcome to Hayes Oil. How may I assist you?” she finally managed to say.
“I have a meetin’, darlin’.” He intentionally played up his Texas accent, his voice verging on a drawling growl and his g’s getting lost in the translation.
“Can I ask your name?” she asked, her fingers flying over the thin keyboard.
“Campbell,” he informed her, “Jack Campbell, C. A. M. P. B. E. L. L.” She typed the letters in without hesitation, and Jack smiled wryly. She was apparently new to Hayes Oil if she hadn’t been privy to the office gossip around the Campbell/Hayes state of affairs.
“That’s fine, sir.” She scanned and handed him a security badge with the Hayes Oil logo and a code. “If you take the elevator to the sixty-fourth floor, someone will be waiting for you, Mr Campbell.”
“Thank you, ma’am,” he said softly, clipping the security pass to his shirt, brushing at dirt he spotted on one cuff. He moved past the guard, nodding in polite acknowledgment and receiving a cautious nod in return. Waiting for the elevator, he wondered not for the first time what the hell had made him come here today. Jack Campbell knew he was the personification of a fish out of water and so did the guard.
The elevator arrived, pulling him from his introspection. Ever the southern gentleman, he moved to one side, letting other people in, before joining them inside and selecting his floor. The elevator was all glass and moved upward along an external wall. Uncomfortable with this, he moved to the middle of the small box. He had never really liked heights, and the single layer of glass between him and a fall to his certain death was enough to get him humming in his head to refocus himself. The haze of afternoon sun was glinting from mirrored glass everywhere, the rush of people a fluid river below. Jack was convinced this was some form of technological trauma on all who visited the tower, wearing visitors down until they broke. The girls who had gotten in the elevator with him were laughing and giggling behind him, talking in hushed whispers so as not to be heard. But he did catch the words cute and ass, and dirty cowboy, and assumed they were talking about him.
Jack smirked. Hayes was not going to be expecting a man hot from half a day’s work, come straight to the city with the dirt of honest labor on his body and sweat dripping from every pore. There had been absolutely no way Jack was going to make a freakin’ effort for any Hayes, much to his mother’s disgust.
“You’re as good as they are,” she had said as he climbed into his battered Ford truck. “Going as you are, what are you trying to say?”
“That I work hard and I don’t have time for their bullshit, Momma,” he’d said tiredly, pulling her into a final hug as she tutted and fussed with his shirt, fastening more buttons and hiding his chest from view.
They had looked at the letter again this morning as he considered the final decision whether to go or not. It wasn’t even direct from Hayes Oil, but was a private letter from a Jim Bailey, inviting him for a discussion with one Riley Hayes at 2 pm on the next Tuesday. Today. The letter had said they hoped he could make it, and that the reason for the meeting couldn’t really be detailed in the letter. It was a sensitive subject and one that might well be to Jack Campbell’s advantage.
“I don’t like it.” Donna had looked concerned when she read it. It was a perpetual expression on her face these days, and Jack hated that there was seemingly nothing he could do to help, or to make her life easier.
“I’m just going to see what shit they’re trying to stir. I’ll be there and back in an afternoon.”
“Don’t agree to anything. Don’t sign anything.”
“Momma, I’m not Dad.”
They had no secrets, not a single one between Jack and his momma. Jack was more than aware of the kind of deals and plans his dad had made that had pulled the D lower and lower every week. Sunk into depression and drinking, Alan Campbell was far from ideal parenting material, and not very much of a husband. Jack was the unofficial man of the house from the minute Josh had left to go to the University of California’s Berkeley School of Law. That didn’t change when his father died or when Josh returned. Josh didn’t stay long. He moved out to practice law in Fort Worth. Jack and Donna juggled the ranch, the only thing left to the Campbell family now, and that only because it had remained outside of his father’s involvement altogether.
“You will never be like your dad.”
His mom’s words resonated in his head, and Jack held on to them as the elevator lights indicated each floor. The whispering girls got off on thirty-nine, Jack inclining his head politely as they left. This left him and a suited guy on his cell phone tapping furiously at tiny keys and muttering under his breath. Business guy got out at fifty-seven, which left Jack with, he guessed, thirty seconds to prepare himself for whatever was behind the doors when they opened on the floor he needed.
Casually he turned away from the glass and to the mirrored wall that was at the back. What he saw made him smile wryly again. He was the epitome of cowboy rancher, from the dirt under his nails to the Stetson that was worn for practicality and not for fashion, to the scruffy leather boots on his feet. He didn’t know what Riley was expecting, didn’t really know much about the middle Hayes at all.
“Riley is the middle child. I don’t hear much in the way of bad things about him, but you got to know he’s a Hayes.”
“He’s different than Jeff, but still—
“Stop worrying, Momma. He’s a kid with too much money and no sense to back it up. I can handle this.”
Sure he could handle this, he thought wryly, and sighed as the elevator indicated his floor and he turned to face the front. He stood waiting for the doors to open, blinking at the man who stood on the other side of the glass door. He looked to be in his late forties, with a neat beard and a sharp, clearly expensive, pale gray suit. His hands were in his pockets and his face prepared with a practiced smile. The doors slid open, and he extended a hand to Jack in immediate welcome.
“Mr Campbell,” he said politely as they exchanged a firm handshake. “Jim Bailey, personal lawyer for the Hayes family,” the man continued, inclining his head for Jack to walk with him. “I guess you got my letter.” It was a rhetorical question, and if he was expecting Jack to be so stupid enough to answer it, he was swinging in the breeze. “Mr Hayes is waiting for us in the map room,” he finished carefully, stopping at the door marked with a simple room number and nothing else. He knocked, listened for the “Enter” and opened the door, standing aside to allow Jack to go in first.
It was brightly lit inside the room this Bailey guy called the map room, and Jack’s first glance showed him charts adorning walls, large papers rolled in piles to one side and others spread out on tables alongside PCs. Each table was under-lit, for seeing small details on the topographical maps, Jack guessed. No sign of the elusive Riley, he thought as he scanned the room, then started as a face suddenly appeared from behind one of the map desks. Bizarrely, the man had been sitting on the floor hidden from view. Now, he unfolded long legs to stand tall in front of him.
“Campbell,” Riley Hayes said simply, and he extended his hand in greeting. Not much Texan in that voice, it seemed.
Jack moved forward, cocking his hip against the table and leaning. “Hayes,” he replied, his voice deliberately redolent of the south. He grasped the outstretched hand and shook it firmly.
“You got our letter.” Riley released Jack’s hand quickly and eased away.
“I got the letter from Mr Bailey,” Jack agreed carefully, his eyes trailing across every inch of the man in front of him. It was the first time he’d met Riley. Their social circles were very different. Beth’s friend, Steve, though, moved cheerfully between both. The Murray family had money and standing, and Steve had a lot to say about the older Hayes brother, none of it complimentary. Jeff, it seemed, loudly expressed the same hate for anyone with the Campbell surname as Hayes Senior did, and he wondered if Riley felt the same way.
“It was deliberately vague,” Riley began, “because there is something, well, quite a few things, we need to discuss.”
“I’ll leave you both,” Jim said abruptly and left. Jack had the feeling the man wasn’t one hundred percent behind his boss on whatever this was. He was curious, but he was not going to show it.
“Is your daddy joining us?” he finally asked, cataloguing every expression that crossed Riley’s face at his words. Disbelief? And was that anger? Interesting.
“What we talk about here has nothing to do with my father,” Riley said firmly, and pressed his lips together in a determined line. One of his hands moved to touch his hair and then dropped. Jack followed the action, taking in the perfectly gelled spikes pushed back off a high forehead, the hand that hovered uncertainly and then dropped. It was telling to see an unconscious habit that maybe Riley was trying to contain, along with any hint of personality in his thousand dollar suit and his carefully knotted sapphire blue tie.
“So why am I here, Hayes?” Cut to the chase, always the best way.
“Riley. Please… call me Riley.”
Jack narrowed his eyes. This was altogether far too friendly. No Hayes ever approached him, let alone asked him to call them by their first names.
“Jack,” he finally offered, then followed Riley as he walked through a side door and into an office. There was no name on the door, but it was a plush, thickly carpeted corner space, shiny and wooden-smart, with a stunning view of the city.
“Coffee?” Riley offered, gesturing towards some kind of coffee machine that had possibly been made from bits of the space shuttle, going by all its gleaming silver shine.
Jack was not going to be pandered to. “Let’s just get on with whatever Hayes scheme is gonna screw with the Campbells this time,” he stated almost tiredly. He owed it to his family to find out what they wanted, but playing games was not on his list of priorities. Riley stood motionless by the desk, just stood there, his hands in his pockets, and Jack stared back, for the first time actually looking at his nemesis. Riley looked to be younger than him by three or four years, was maybe a couple of inches over six feet, definitely taller than Jack himself, who was just shy of an inch below six. The middle Hayes was very handsome in a smooth urbanite way with his tailored suit, silk tie, and clean-shaven face, and his complexion was the light tan of a man who was mostly indoors and only had the Texan sun on his face during weekends.
His eyes were a mix of autumn brown and green, and he was worrying his lower lip with his teeth, a sure sign of nerves if ever Jack had seen one. His blond hair was short and spiky, in a structured style. They hadn’t talked before, never had occasion to, and despite often seeing Riley’s photos in magazines and papers, Jack had never actually seen hazel eyes so clear or cheekbones so defined in a man. He was certainly easy on the eyes, Jack couldn’t discount that, well-proportioned and almost poured into his dark suit, definitely someone who would catch his eye if he were out looking.
“Not wanting to screw with you, Jack, just want to talk,” Riley finally said, sitting down on one of the sofas to the side and indicating Jack should join him. He took his time, sliding to sit across and almost opposite, hands and Stetson on his knees. “I know about the ranch,” Riley started cautiously.
“The ranch?” Jack kept the tension out of his voice. He hadn’t been expecting that to come up. He’d assumed it was some shit about his dad again. The ranch had been nothing to do with his dad. It was his mom’s, his, no one was gonna mess with the ranch.
“I know you have financial difficulties there, that times have been kind of hard. The mortgage is a hell of a drain on your resources.” Steel shot through Jack’s spine, and he sat up from his relaxed slouch, suddenly and oh so very straight. “I want to offer you a way of getting out of that, of not losing the ranch,” Riley finished, nodding, probably expecting Jack to say something positive back to him.
Jack blinked steadily. What the fuck?
“We are not for sale,” he answered coolly. His heart was thumping in his chest, belying the calm on the surface.
“No, I’m not looking to buy the D,” Riley reassured instantly. Jack frowned. That playboy Hayes even knew the name of his family’s ranch was a shock. “I’m looking for another way that maybe I can help you. Pay off the ranch debts, the death taxes, and release you from the burdens of it all so you can make the place pay for itself again.” Jack scooted forward, his temper starting to build in the base of his spine. What the fuck is this man on? Riley hesitated, standing and crossing to the window to stare at the city far below.
Jack didn’t push. He remained sitting, dusty and temper-tight in worn denim, watching Riley who was clearly struggling with whatever he had to say.
“A year,” he finally started. “I would need your help for a year, with a contract. In return I would agree to pay off every debt, and pay you on top of that.”
“A year of what? Working for you?”
“No.” Riley sucked in a huge lungful of air and then let it out in a noisy exhale. “A year of marriage. I want —need— a partner, to be married for one year and for many reasons. Not the least of which is giving me a win-win situation with my father.”
“Marriage.” What the hell? “You— and me?” Jack managed to form that simple question on sheer shock alone as Riley nodded earnestly. Jack couldn’t bring himself to move. He just sat there, stunned.
“So what do you think?” Riley finally asked as Jack rose to his feet.
For several beats, Jack neither moved nor spoke. Tension coiled in his body, what he imagined to be a combination of shock and disbelief.
“I’ll tell you what I think, Hayes.” Riley’s surname dripped acid as Jack snarled the single word. “Your family has fucked with me and my mine one too many times.”
“It would be beneficial to us both.”
“Fuck! What kind of planet are you living on?”
“I don’t understand.”
Jack shook his head, Riley looked confused. He clearly couldn’t see that he was crazier than a cat hill coot.
“This crazy shit is a fuckin’ bad dream and a waste of my time.” He’d had enough.
“Jack, please, can you just listen?”
Jack paused with his hand on the door handle.
“Fuck you.” Distaste and furious anger dripped from his voice as he turned the knob.
“I know what you need. I know about Elizabeth.” There was sudden steel, and a sly superiority in Riley’s words. Clearly the younger Hayes was finally showing his true colors.
Jack stopped, the door half open. Grief and a sudden anxiety twisted in him before calm returned and he analyzed Riley’s words dispassionately. Anyone who read the Dallas Morning News knew about Beth. It was open knowledge she suffered from a congenital heart problem, had been ill on and off for most of her life, and had spent more time in the hospital than out. But Riley’s tone, the sly use of the words “I know about Beth” set Jack’s teeth on edge. Something didn’t sound right.
Medical bills had piled up, but the Campbell family had worked their way through. It was what they did. They dealt with the crap, pulled together, and made a difference to their lives through sheer single-mindedness. It left them near broke, but it didn’t matter. Beth had gotten her medical treatment, the operations, and the drugs she needed. They managed, and they certainly didn’t need any help, financially or otherwise. So if Riley freaking Hayes thought that bringing up Beth was gonna swing things his way, he had another thing coming.
Jack laughed low in his throat. “Hayes, after the Dallas Times spread, everyone knows about Beth,” he said over his shoulder. That article had hurt. It must have been a slow news week, because some low-life journalist had decided to dig up the old feud story and focus on the next generation. It had headlined as The Campbell Curse Strikes Again. Josh was portrayed as abandoning his family, Jack as the useless high school dropout, Beth as the poor little innocent, suffering nobly under her death sentence. “There is nothing you can give her that is better than what we can. That was lame and kinda sad.” He turned back to the door ready to walk away. Game over.
Riley’s next words froze Jack to the spot. “My money can’t help make her better, Jack, but it can help her get through her pregnancy.”
Emotions flooded through him— shock, disbelief, pain, and anger at the blatant lies. He turned slowly, willing the panic, the fury, to stay behind his mask. What did Riley mean? She couldn’t be pregnant. The doctors had said carrying a child full term could kill her. They had warned that her heart couldn’t take it.
Riley visibly winced, and Jack knew his mask had cracked. He tried damned hard to regroup, to settle his disbelief.
“Fuck you, Hayes!” he hissed. “Pregnant or not, we’ll manage. She’ll have an abortion.” That was the only solution. If this was true, then she’d just have to terminate. He wasn’t going to lose his sister after trying for so many years to keep her alive.
Riley hesitated, clearly measuring his words, his expression carefully blank. “All you can hope is that she lives through it. It’s too late to abort now, far too late.” Riley’s words dripped like ice, and Jack’s eyes widened even as he tried to tell himself this fucking bastard was lying. The thought of his sister pregnant, close to killing herself, not telling him… Skepticism shot through him. No. She wouldn’t have kept it a secret. She would have told him or Josh, if not their mom. Wouldn’t she?
The overwhelming force of what Riley was saying hit Jack in the gut, exposing an unexpected vulnerability. He knew then he would do anything to protect his sister, and he prayed Riley couldn’t see it. Jack straightened his spine, shoulders back, armor reinforced.
“Marry me,” Riley blurted out suddenly. “Marry me and I will get the best doctors. I know people, my money can buy people. I can get the best for Beth and have medical help on call twenty-four seven. All you have to do is say yes. Just one year, and your debts are paid, the ranch is free from mortgage and death duties, and your sister lives. Just one year.”
Jack blinked steadily, his head spinning, his heart pounding in his chest. He couldn’t focus on the monologue Hayes was spouting or register what the other man was saying. He needed to see Beth. She would tell him this was all wrong, that Hayes was lying.
Without another word Jack left, pulling the door shut behind him. He hesitated only briefly, getting his breathing and emotions under control, before heading to the glass elevator. He wasn’t aware of what he was doing, or where he was going, he only knew that Hayes didn’t follow. He thanked God for that, because he knew he would have likely killed him.
Riley Hayes, the playboy of the Hayes family, is a young man who seems to have it all: money, a career he loves, and his pick of beautiful women. His father, CEO of HayesOil, passes control of the corporation to his two sons; but a stipulation is attached to Riley’s portion. Concerned about Riley’s lack of maturity, his father requires that Riley ‘marry and stay married for one year to someone he loves’.
Angered by the requirement, Riley seeks a means of father’s stipulation. Blackmailing Jack Campbell into marrying him “for love” suits Riley’s purpose. There is no mention in his father’s documents that the marriage had to be with a woman and Jack Campbell is the son of Riley Senior’s arch rival. Win win.
Riley marries Jack and abruptly his entire world is turned inside out. Riley hadn’t counted on the fact that Jack Campbell, quiet and unassuming rancher, is a force of nature in his own right.
This is a story of murder, deceit, the struggle for power, lust and love, the sprawling life of a rancher and the whirlwind existence of a playboy. But under and through it all, as Riley learns over the months, this is a tale about family and everything that that word means.
My goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.
I’ve has been writing since age six, when I was made to stay in at lunchtime for an infraction involving cookies and the mixing bowl. You can’t tell a six year old not to lick the bowl!
I was told to write a story and two sides of paper about a trapped princess later, a lover of writing was born.
As an avid reader myself, I can be found reading anything from thrillers to sci-fi to horror. However, my first real true love will always be the world of romance. I love my cowboys, bodyguards, firemen and billionaires (to name a few) and love to write dramatic and romantic stories of love and passion between these men. (Yum)
With over 60 titles to my name and counting, I am the author of the award winning book, The Christmas Throwaway, which was All Romance Ebooks best selling title of 2010.
I’m also known for the Texas series charting the lives of Riley and Jack, and the Sanctuary series following the work of the Sanctuary Foundation and the people it protects.
I’m always so thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers.
RJ has brought some great giveaways to share. On this blog she is giving away one $10 Amazon or ARe voucher and one ebook from her backlist (or a furture book when released) to two different winners. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Wednesday, July 31st at 11:59 pm EST.
RJ is also giving away a $50 Amazon/ARe voucher with the winner drawn from all entrants on her blog tour on Saturday 26th July. Leave a comment here for that contest as well.
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