Behind the scenes: Temptation

Where exactly did this cowboy-meets-she-wolf story come from? Read on to find out the inside scoop about the inspiration and evolution of Temptation, Blue Moon Saloon Book 2.

The characters

Janna started as “just” Jessica’s peppy younger sister (which I figured Book 1 needed, given all the darkness and angst in Damnation), but she quickly evolved into a strong personality that helped business pick up in the saloon. She’s a sunny, upbeat person who’s intent on enjoying each new day rather than dwelling on the tragedies of the past. She also plays a mean game of pool, and she’s very outgoing, so she’s the perfect waitress for the Blue Moon Saloon. Like many of my heroines, Janna has a fierce independent streak and isn’t completely sold on the concept of fated mates – until she meets Cole, that is.

And Cole – well, just give me a second to sigh and fan myself! Simply speaking, Cole is hot, both in terms of looks and character. I was inspired to write a cowboy bullfighter (not the kind of bullfighters they have in Spain, but the kind who keep riders safe at rodeos!) by author friends who introduced me to the world of Pro Bull Riding. Whew – what a scene! Once I started watching bull riding events, I was hooked, and I knew my next hero would be a bullfighter. (Scroll down to the bottom of this post for links of real-life bullfighting saves that inspired the action scenes in Temptation. They’re pretty amazing, even if rodeos aren’t your thing!)

I think if Cole and Janna would have met at some earlier point in their lives, they would have hooked up and been just another cute couple who seem to have it all. (I bet you know the type.) But by enduring real some hardships and helping each other out of personal crises, they become stronger, deeper people who truly earn their happily ever after. Don’t you agree?

The story

Janna is one of those people who doesn’t let anything get her down, so I knew I needed a big challenge for her – something that would really throw this otherwise fearless woman into doubt and dismay. And of course those nasty Blue Bloods are still after any shifters who dare cross species lines. Those elements were a given. The question was how to work Cole in, and is it turned out, that was easy. He’s a natural fit!

From the very start of my early outlines of this book, Cole was a human with no idea about the shifter world. I love that dynamic – a shifter female struggling to figure out how to tell the man she loves about who and what she truly is. I especially love this because it turns the “usual” premise of so many shifter stories on its head by reversing the male and female roles. Add in an evil outside force like the Blue Bloods, and you have the engine to drive an exciting and suspenseful western paranormal romance.

My favorite scene

Personally, I love the opening scene where we can see into Cole’s head as he wonders what the heck is going on with his shifting moods, strange new abilities, and that crazy inner voice. I think the reader quickly understands what’s happening, even though Cole doesn’t suspect he’s turning into a shifter.

It’s kind of an aside, but I really enjoy the platonic older brother-younger sister interactions between Soren and Janna, too. She’s just sassy and cute enough to get away with pushing Soren and keeping him from drowning in the sorrow of his tragic tale. (Don’t worry – he gets his happy end, too. You can read all about this burly bear hero and the process of his Redemption in Book 3 of this series!)

Finally, I love the epilogue, in which Janna and Cole finally get to enjoy some fun, light-hearted loving. They’ve been through so much – now they get their reward! I also love how we get to see the Blue Moon gang slowly developing into a pack of their own. Wouldn’t you just love to claim a couple of rooms of your own at the Blue Moon Saloon?! I sure do!

Biggest change from early drafts to final edition

Actually, this story didn’t change that much from its earliest outlines to its final form. At one point, I had Cole being a bull rider instead of a bullfighter, but then I fell in love with the selfless bravery of bullfighters and made Cole one of those elite few. As for Janna, she started out as Jenna, but it was too hard for readers to tell “Jenna” and her sister “Jessica” apart, so I changed it to Janna! I think it fits her really well, actually!

Cross-links with Twin Moon Ranch

Having a cowboy hero star in this book fit in well with with the overarching story line of the Twin Moon wolves, because Tina and Rick are still in the early stages of running their own ranch at the time Temptation takes place – and that’s the perfect place for Cole to get a satisfying job at the end of this book. (If you missed it, you can read Tina and Rick’s story in Desert Heart.) Cole isn’t really the saloon-worker type, though he sure will pitch in when they need a hand. In fact, you’ll see him in action at the saloon in Book 3, Redemption.

You’ll also get a glimpse of Kyle and Stef in this book. Their scene is brief but adorable, because we get to see them a few years into their relationship with the baby boy they both adore. I just love revisiting “old” characters to see what’s new in their lives – in this case, that feeling of inner peace that neither Kyle nor Stef had when they met in Desert Fate.

Action videos!

Cole’s looks were inspired by an anonymous cowboy I spotted at one bull riding event. A real cutie, I have to say! Sadly, I don’t have a picture, so I can’t share him with you. Cole’s moves, on the other hand, were inspired by Jesse Byne, a bullfighter whose incredible agility and instincts wowed me in these real-life videos. Check them out - espeically the clip that starts at 01:30, with his amazing duck-under-the-bull move coming a few seconds later at 01:40!