Monday, June 4, 2012

Taryn Raye and her Castaway Hearts

 I've invited Taryn Raye to join me on my blog this week. Taryn writes what I call traditional historical romance. By that I mean that the story and the history behind it is written in a historically accurate language. So many historical romances today seem to have a contemporary feel to them in language and structure and I found it refreshing to run across Taryn's which fell into the style I prefer. So, of course I wanted to share it with others.

Twice orphaned, Catherine Barrett arrives in Virginia a stranger to her closest kin and secretly engaged to the one man her family would disapprove of- her seafaring grandfather’s apprentice. Add to her troubles, the rich and intriguing older brother of her secret betrothed, Dawson Randolph, a plantation owner who is as heartless as he is handsome. Heartbroken when her intended sets sail for his maiden voyage, Catherine finds it difficult to adjust to her new life, hoping to befriend the one man who is, undoubtedly, the match her grandparents wish for her. Dawson’s distaste for her secret engagement to his brother makes it clear he has no designs for marriage to anyone. Especially her.

Ten years since the tragic loss of his young wife and infant son, Dawson Randolph is convinced love and marriage is a fool’s game and resents being pardon to his brother’s hidden engagement. Damned by his instant attraction and his own growing desire, Dawson vows to befriend her against his better judgment. Determined to bring her happiness in a time of fear and uncertainty, Dawson puts aside his animosity to become her confidant, only to realize Catherine holds the key to his heart. When tragedy strikes at sea, Catherine’s guilt pushes Dawson to the fringes of her life as madness consumes her.

Can his love save her before she drowns in her own grief? Or is he doomed to love her from a distance, always in the shadow of her love for his dead brother?

She spoke not another word to him, or anyone, during the meal, embarrassed by the joy she felt when he first walked in and the way her heart sang when he smiled in her direction. Despair followed the joy when the conversation turned to Nathaniel and the Lady Hannah. Catherine slipped away from the men’s company as quickly as she could afterward.

As soon as Catherine settled onto the grass, she glanced back over her shoulder before she worked silently to spread the laces further apart on her stay. Rachel pulled them extra tight this afternoon and Catherine pried at the bars of her cage in desperation. She would not sing as a caged bird, but at least she could breathe if the boning wasn’t stabbing her.

“Do you mind if I sit with you for a while?” Startled, she jerked around, hearing Dawson’s voice behind her before she focused on his figure in the near darkness.

“If you wish.” Catherine held her voice steady, though she wanted desperately to cover her chest.

I’m practically falling out of my stay. A wave of heat washed over her but she was determined to keep hidden in the shadows. She plucked a few grass blades and took a deep breath, reminded that she must be on her best behavior. She had to learn to keep her defiant emotions under control.

Dawson took a seat beside her, the rustle of grass like a shudder. She could feel the warmth of him near as the breeze from the ocean wove around them and she caught the earthy scent of his tobacco and musky soap. It tickled her nose and intrigued her senses.

Lord, give me strength to resist this man.

What genres are you most drawn to to read and to write?
I love variety—from romance to historical, suspense to paranormal, and urban fantasy to classics. I’ve never felt a need to limit myself and my interests when it comes to books because you never know what great novel you might miss out on if you stick to only reading certain genres. When it comes to writing though, I tend to stick to mostly contemporary romance, but to me they are stories with heart that also have other things going on that contribute to the life of the story.

Describe your hero and tell us a little about him.
Dawson is a brooding hero. He’s a bit arrogant, but quietly loving and gentle in private. He’s about propriety in public, but he also has a wild spirit that matches Catherine’s when they’re alone. Her very presence gives him a freedom to cut loose, to laugh, to live, to learn to love again.

He doesn’t want to fall in love again, though, doesn’t want to risk getting hurt after his wife and infant son died in childbirth years ago. It’s left a very large hole where his heart was. So devastated, he almost took his own life after the loss, so when he meets Catherine, it takes all he has to learn to just “like” her a little, or at least admit that he likes her a lot. No other woman had interested him since his wife died. He doesn’t know what to do with the feelings he has for Catherine. He thinks it’s just lust, just physical need or even just jealousy of his brother having something he doesn’t. He wants her though she’s not “his” to have.

Describe your heroine and tell us a little about her.
Catherine has a lot of wild spirit in her and a naïve outlook on life, but she also has a zest for it. She’s lonely when she first arrives in Virginia, desperate for acceptance, friendship and love from the family she’s never really known and the new people she meets. Her life up to this point had been full of freedom and simple country living. Arriving in Virginia, she soon discovers that conformity is more common in dress, behavior and society than what she’s accustomed to.

She wants to belong and wanted Dawson to like her as a friend because she’s secretly engaged to his brother. She wants his family to like her and love her because of her plans to someday be part of the Randolph family. The idea that Dawson doesn’t like her or approve of her relationship with his brother fills her with consternation, but so does the attraction to Dawson she knows she shouldn’t be feeling.

What brings the two together and what threatens to keep them apart?
To some extent, their families bring them together- her grandparents wish to match her with Dawson and his parents are eager to see Dawson happy again after losing his wife and child. In addition, a part of what brings them together is Catherine’s need for the freedom she’s being denied and Dawson’s willingness to supply her with her heart’s desire- midnight horse rides on the beach and companionship. Much as he wished to avoid her, he’s drawn to Catherine because her loneliness echoes his own.

Her secret engagement to his brother stands in the way of their courtship for a while, but as they spend more time together, it becomes clearer to both of them that they share something more. Before they can admit this to each other Nathaniel, his brother and her betrothed, is killed in a storm at sea, and it then becomes Catherine’s grief and depression that nearly takes her life and keeps them apart.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Life is better with love. Dawson felt his past loss so deeply, he couldn’t bear the idea of that hurt again. Catherine came in and reminded him that the warmth of feelings you can have for another person overshadows that kind of pain. Even for Catherine—she thought she knew love, but what she discovers through her blossoming friendship/courtship with Dawson is that love is not something you should have to hide away from others and in truth, there is no way to hide it when it’s real. Not only that, but true love can rescue you from the edge.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Currently, I’m working on manuscript #11, tentatively titled Perfect Recipe for Love, which is the 3rd book in the 2nd series I’ve written. I started it for National Novel Writing Month in 2010, made the 50k word count to “win” and then put it on the back burner while I did edits on other manuscripts, submitted and contracted Castaway Hearts and just haven’t gotten it finished yet with all the changes going on in my life.

Here’s the blurb-
Restaurateur and young adult mentor, Ben Pryce wasn’t looking for love when he entered Ripple on the Pond Commune to hire out help with some go-green projects for his restaurant, Ben There, Ate That. In fact, he was the playboy of the restaurant biz, wooing with delectable concoctions and the finest wines, but none of the dates he had went much further. The idea of building a rooftop garden for his business seemed like a simple matter of moving with the time, being cool and saving money, until he met Sunflower “Sunni” Fields.

Free spirited and earthy, Sunni Fields needed extra cash to start her own small restaurant at the commune where she grew up or she wouldn’t have taken the outside job to begin with. Hoping to help out with costs now that her aged grandfather has come to live with them, and tired of bending to everyone else’s will, Sunni just wants a small taste of freedom, even if it means stepping outside the little world in which she’s spent the majority of her life. Handsome restaurant owner Ben Pryce looks like juicy forbidden fruit, wrapped in a tempting package, especially when her parents try to pair her off to a young man in the commune who makes her skin crawl and who’s unwarranted possessiveness makes her want to leave the commune for good.

From such different worlds, can Ben and Sunni walk away from this attraction when their two worlds collide or have they found The Perfect Recipe for Love?

Here’s a short excerpt from the first moment Ben & Sunni meet.

On the walk to the barn, Ben met an eager and friendly mutt who circled and sniffed at his heels. Rather than bark, the gangly pup’s tongue lolled out in a goofy grin as it fell in step beside him and hurried along as though knowing where Ben headed.
He entered the barn to the snuffing of a horse and the rustle and aroma of sharp tangy hay.
“Hello?” Though not sure what this Sunni looked like, he was certain she wasn’t the chestnut mare in the stall at the end of the barn. Muffled humming rose from a stall to his right followed by a line or two of Me and Bobby McGee.
Greeted by a firm little ass in tight daisy dukes, gyrating to an unheard tune, Ben smiled, cleared his throat and tried again.
“Excuse me…” The words were barely out of his mouth when a shovelful of manure flew over her round bottom and hurled right into his face.
Ben sputtered and wiped furiously, cursing a blue streak.
“Oh my, I’m so sorry.”
The voice was angelic, but tinkled with amusement at her blunder. Quickly, he felt a guiding hand take his. He couldn’t help but notice they felt nothing like rough calloused working hands.
“Here, sit.” The voice instructed gently. He felt for the seat she insisted was beneath him. Water sloshed in a bucket nearby before a cloth wiped cool water across his face. “Hold still. I don’t want to get horse manure in your eyes or all over your nice shirt.”
“Is this the greeting all outsiders get?” Ben laughed after the young woman wiped the cloth over his mouth. Her hands were soft and touched him with the care of a lover.
He didn’t know yet what this woman looked like, but his body had already responded to her voice and her touch in a shameless way he hoped only he was aware of.
“No. Usually we make you strip off all your clothes and run naked through the corn field.” Humor danced in her words and fanned his twisted ache of desire. “I think you can open your eyes now.”
Standing over him, her blonde hair swung loose around her shoulders. She seemed to radiate light and warmth.
“I’m Sunni, by the way.” She shot her hand out to shake his. “And you’re Ben Pryce.”
“Yes I am.” Ben shook her hand with slow enthusiasm as he took her in from head to toe.
A bright yellow bandanna that had been twisted and tied into a headband held her loose blonde hair back. She wore a yellow tank top to match with those snug-fitting denim cutoffs on the longest tanned legs he had ever seen. Scrunched socks and work boots finished off the outfit, caked with fresh manure and bits of straw.
Desire stabbed through him. It wasn’t just the voice and the touch. This woman’s body screamed sensuality in the most natural way. Damn, he couldn’t think straight.
“Again, I’m so sorry.” She shook a couple of ear buds in her hand, her cheeks rosy from exertion. “I was jamming with Janis. I totally wasn’t expecting someone to come up behind me.”
Sunni nodded, her blonde locks fanning in a shimmery cascade.
“Of course, she was the best.” Ben nodded. “Cut short in her prime.”
He had similar taste in music, but wasn’t about to give up too much information about himself. This was business.
Fixing his gaze on Sunni Fields now though, pleasure was the only thing that came to mind.
(Here are my links)
Castaway Hearts is available in eBook & print from my publisher-

Also available on Amazon for-

Various formats on

Here are just a few places you can find Taryn Raye-

Thank you so much for joining me here on My Muse's Musings. I'm so pleased to have you.
Teresa Reasor


Cheryl Norman said...

Love forbidden love stories! I must read Taryn Raye's Castaway Hearts.

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for having me Teresa and thanks for stopping by Cheryl!

Hallee Bridgeman said...

I'm a huge fan of brooding heroes. :) They're always my favorite.

Unknown said...

Me too Hallee! Thanks for stopping by!

Unknown said...

Wonderful message - true love can rescue you from the edge. Can't wait to see your WIP in print, too. A shovelful of manure in the fact. What a hoot. Kathy

Unknown said...

I like the name of Ben's restaurant, very clever and original. It makes me want to buy the book because it sounds fun.

Unknown said...

Thanks Katherine! I'm hoping that once I get this one and the last one in the series done, I'll be able to concentrate on the edits and preparation to get both my series ready for publication.

And thank you, Donna! I'm glad you like the sound of it and I hope it is a fun read. I enjoy it, but who's to say... puppies-bacon-chocolate- right?

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