Thought I’d share the delightful introduction Lorelei James wrote for our anthology. I was never more thrilled when she agreed to do it, and loved what she contributed! She sets just the right tone for the book! ~ DD
I ♥ cowboys. I always have; I always will.
When I was asked to write this foreword for an anthology devoted to hot cowboy tales, I yelled, “Yee-haw!“ Then I wondered how I’d only limit myself to a couple of paragraphs. It’d take so much more, a whole book (or thirty!) to explain how much I love writing about these rough and tumble guys who often appear larger than life—even when those same strong, capable men I admire so greatly would smoothly change the subject when being called iconic, because that humbleness is also part of who they are.
One question I get asked frequently is: why do you write about cowboys? Is it because I’ve been surrounded by cowboy culture since I was knee high to a grasshopper? Yes. Every day I’m grateful that I grew up in the western United States, where being a real cowboy isn’t just an attitude or a slogan on a T-shirt, but a way of life. Yet…there are different types of cowboys and each one holds a special charm. And what a fulfilling job it is, getting to spread that cowboy love and adding in those components of sexy naughtiness that makes a cowboy the ultimate man and the quintessential alpha hero.
It’s no surprise that cowboys have held the interest of readers for many years. In traditional western fiction, the cowboy is the embodiment of all that is good, honest, and true. Not only is the cowboy the guy you’d want at your side or watching your back during a gunfight, or a bar fight, but he’s the stand-up guy other men look up to and ladies moon over. A cowboy’s values are at the core of who he is. His love of land drives him day in, day out to provide for his family. And whoo-ee—there is something mighty compelling about a man who works with his hands and loves getting down and dirty. So much of who a cowboy is comes from what he does: caring for livestock, being a steward and student of the land, whether that land is in Wyoming, Texas, Hawaii, or someplace in between.
And yet, there is loneliness that comes with living in rural America, whether it was one hundred fifty years ago, or right now. Whether we’re talking about a rancher cowboy or those cowboys that put in many miles, alone, on the long stretches of back roads and highways.
Rodeo cowboys are the risk takers locked in that age-old battle of man versus beast. It’s more than showmanship—seeing those guys roughed up, dirty, and determined is the epitome of hard-edged sexiness. It’s a show of sheer grit when a bull rider climbs on the back of a fifteen-hundred-pound animal. It’s a test of wills as a saddle bronc or bareback rider tries to hang on for eight seconds as a buckin’ horse attempts to throw him in the dirt. Doesn’t it make you want to strip him naked, find his bumps, bruises, scrapes, and scars and kiss them all better? Those team ropers invoke many female fantasies of being double-teamed and thoroughly trussed up. Talk about power and guts—watch a bull dogger launch himself off a horse at a full gallop to bring a steer to the ground. These rodeo cowboys know how to perform and ride hard—on and off the dirt.
I’ll admit a cowboy’s physical attributes play a large role in the timeless appeal of these rugged men. Because, come on…is there anything sexier than a guy wearing boots, jeans, and a hat? Hearing the jingle jangle of spurs and the soft flap of a pair of leather chaps as he saunters toward you. Seeing a face shadowed beneath that cowboy hat—and then the dusty brim slowly lifting up to reveal a handsome face and a devilish grin. Swoon. Then there are those acres of muscles, earned the hard way from hours of physical labor, muscles that ripple beneath a crisply pressed western shirt. It’s mesmerizing, watching how a cowboy’s body moves as one with his horse as he’s working cattle or just riding the range. And isn’t that the definitive fantasy? Experiencing how well that hard toned masculine body moves between the sheets and the single-minded focus that carries from the barnyard and rodeo arena into the bedroom.
So when taking the elements of a traditional western and adding in erotic romance, you get the best of both worlds—a smokin’ hot, take charge cowboy who gets the girl in the end, rather than riding off into the sunset alone. It’s gratifying in erotic western romance to finally kick that bedroom door wide open and see just what the heck makes that man tick. To get a front row seat to his hidden passion, his sexual inventiveness, and to witness the sweetness that a tough man will show only to the woman who owns him, heart and soul. Because cowboys are a breed apart, it takes a special lady to see beneath that gruff exterior. A woman willing to unlock that passionate side, any time, anywhere—against the barn, or in a dusty pickup, over a hay bale, or in a soft bed at the end of a long day. A woman that knows actions speak louder than words. A woman who understands that once you’ve had a cowboy’s boots under your bed and a big, strong body keeping you hot every night, you’ll never settle for anything less.
Feeling that tingle of lust yet? Luckily, there are several great short stories in store for you to kick that lust into high gear. Can I get a yee-haw?
My hat is off to all the great contributors to Cowboy Lust! Readers are in for a real treat—so sit back, prop your boots up on the coffee table, and enjoy the ride.
Long live cowboys!
The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Rough Riders series and the Blacktop Cowboys® series