Sunday, February 17, 2013

Much Ado About Mavericks (Hearts of Owyhee #3) by Jacquie Rogers: Character Interview, excerpt


Interview  with Jake O’Keefe


Jake stars in the third book of the Hearts of Owyhee series, Much Ado About Mavericks.  She’s quite a character, full of enthusiasm and a bit of sarcasm, but is always a straight-shooter.  So don’t ask anything you don’t want answered honestly.


Laurie: Make yourself comfortable, Jake.  Would you like a cup of coffee and a snickerdoodle?


Jake:  Coffee sounds good.  Wouldn’t mind one of them there cookies, too.


Laurie: [Places coffee and a saucer with a cookie in front of Jake] Let’s get the name out of the way right off the bat.  Why do you have a man’s name?


Jake:  It ain’t really a man’s name, it’s my initials.  My birth name is Janelle Katherine O’Keefe, but after my mother died and Pa took me on the cattle trail with him (I don’t even remember this on account of I was only two years old), the fellers started calling me J.K.  Then that got shortened to Jake and I’ve been Jake ever since.  [Takes a bite of snickerdoodle and nods her approval.] 


Laurie: What’s with the britches and shirt?  Why don’t you wear women’s clothing?  Wouldn’t that help you blend in with the other ladies?


Jake:  Have you ever tried branding a calf with your skirt on fire?  Women’s clothes ain’t practical and it makes no sense to wear them to work in.  Plus, I never owned a dress.  Never needed one.  As for blending in with the other ladies, I don’t blend too good anyhow since I’m a head taller than most of ’em, so no use wasting my energy on it.  Plus, I’m not good at that woman stuff—like these here cookies.  You done real good, but they’d taste like second-hand shingles if I’d made ’em.  Whip—that’s an old cowhand who’s a cook on the Bar EL now—he tried to teach me to cook once.  Said there was easier ways to get poisoned than my cooking.  Best stick with what I’m good at.


Laurie: So what’s your long-term plan?  I don’t see a person with your demeanor working for someone else the rest of her life.


Jake: Old Man Lawrence was downright cagey about a chunk of land he said I could buy in return for working for him.  I call it the Circle J and I aim to raise blooded horses.  When he kicked the bucket, I saw why—he wants me to train his no-account lawyer son to be a cowhand or else I don’t get the title.  That’s a low-down dirty rotten thing to do.  But whatever it takes, I’ll get that title to my ranch.  The bunkhouse, barn, and corrals are already built.


Laurie:  Who built them?


Jake:  I did—every stick.  [She shrugs.]  Well, the strays did help some.  Hindered some, too.


Laurie:  The strays?


Jake:  Aw, they’s just boys I found here’n there that didn’t have no kin or home.  Homer’s nine and Teddy don’t know how old he is, but I figure him at five or six.  I hired them on as hands but like I said, they’s more hindrance than help sometimes.  They bunk with me at the Circle J.  [Jake finishes off her coffee and Laurie offers her more.] 


Laurie: Would you like another cookie? 


Jake: Might take a couple for the strays, if you don’t mind.  They’re partial to sweets.  Mrs. Lawrence bakes cookies for them sometimes.  She ain’t mean like the old man.


Laurie:  Tell me about that “no-account lawyer.”


Jake: That would be Skeeter, the old man’s son.  His real name is Benjamin Lawrence.  I never met him but from what I hear, he wasn’t no good for anything, so the old man shipped Skeeter off to be a lawyer.  He left just before I hired on, so that’s why we don’t know one another.  Why the old man hung this burden around my neck, I have no idea, but the sooner the greenhorn goes back to Boston, the happier I’ll be.


Laurie:  I hear you’re starring in a book, Much Ado About Mavericks, and it’s part of the Hearts of Owyhee series by Jacquie Rogers, so I’ve asked her to tell us about it.

A sexy ranch foreman who just happens to be a beautiful woman.
A Boston lawyer who wants to settle his father's estate and go back East.
Rustlers who have another agenda in mind.
Mayhem endangers them all--but can the foreman and the lawyer ever see eye to eye?

Benjamin Lawrence is a highly respected attorney in Boston, but in Idaho Territory, they still think of him as that gangly awkward boy named Skeeter. When he goes back home to settle his estate, he's confronted with a ridiculous will that would be easy to overturn--but can he win the regard of his family and neighbors--and the foreman?

The Bar EL's foreman, Janelle Kathryn aka J.K. aka Jake O'Keefe, is recognized as the best foreman in the territory. But being the best at her job still isn't enough--now she has to teach the new owner how to rope, brand, and work cattle before she receives clear title to her own ranch, the Circle J. The last thing she expects is rustlers. Can she save her ranch without losing her heart?


The fragrance of the newly mown lawn intermingled with the familiar odor of cow manure.  “Smells like money,” his father had always said.  Ben didn’t agree—he’d made piles of money in Boston without ever once shoveling shit.
He had known no peace in Henderson Flats, or in that house.  His shoulders tensed more the closer he got, relaxing only when he assured himself he’d be stuck here only a short time.
“Jake!  Jake!”  Two small boys shouted and ran, arms waving, to greet them as Ben pulled the wagon into the yard. 
“Who’re these boys?” he asked, wondering if they weren’t his half-brothers.  He wouldn’t have put it past the old man—just to spite his mother.
“My strays.  Found ‘em, kept ‘em.  Good boys.”
The older boy grabbed the harness and the younger one scrambled up to the seat.  “Are you Skeeter?”  He studied Ben.  “You don’t look like no ‘skeeter I ever seen.”
Ben held out his hand.  “I’m Ben Lawrence.”
The little boy jumped on his lap.  “I’m Theodore Somethin’ Somethin’, but you can call me Teddy.”  He pointed at the other boy.  “That there’s Homer Franklin Collingwood.  I just about can’t say it in one breath.”
Ben chuckled.  “Yes, Homer does have quite a sobriquet.”
Teddy frowned, then smiled.  “Aw, yer joshing with me.  Homer ain’t no drunk.”  He scooted off Ben’s lap and onto Jake’s.  “So where’s Skeeter?  You was supposed to bring him back.”
Jake patted the little fellow, who couldn’t have been more than five or six, on the back.  “Folks change sometimes, Teddy.  He went away ‘Skeeter’ and come back ‘Ben.’  That’ll happen to you someday, too.  You won’t be ‘Teddy’ no more—you’ll be ‘Ted,’ a fine man’s name for the fine man you’ll be.”
Ben hopped down from the seat, smiled, and shook hands with Homer.  “You’re a sharp looking boy.  Glad to meet you.”
“I ain’t no boy,” Homer retorted, scowling.  “I’m a cowhand at the Bar EL and the Circle J.  Teddy is, too.  Jake’s our boss.”
Teddy ran beside Homer.  “Yeah, we gots jobs and make money and sleep in the Circle J bunkhouse.  Don’t want no wimmen, though.  Them old fellers, well, they’s always talking about wimmen.”  He hawked up a wad and spat, seeming mighty pleased with the six or eight feet it traveled.  He grinned, showing his baby teeth.  “Can you do that?”

Hearts of Owyhee series
Much Ado About Marshals (
Much Ado About Madams (
Much Ado About Mavericks (
Coming soon:
Much Ado About Miners

I'm a former software designer, campaign manager, deli clerk, and cow milker, but always a bookworm. Reading is my passion--westerns, fantasies, historicals of any era, and all with a dash of romance. If an author can make me laugh, I'll buy every book he/she ever wrote.

While I'm a country girl by birth, I currently live in suburbia with my very patient husband (important point: we are the staff of one cat) I don't think you can ever take the country out of a girl's heart. That's probably why my stories often take place in Idaho where I grew up. (Hearts of Owyhee series and some of my short stories, too.)

On my website (
) you can find lots of Bonus Features for my stories and other fun stuff. Please let me know if you've posted a review and I'll give you a sneak peek into my next book. Enjoy!

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Enter for a chance to win your choice of a Print or Digital copy of
Much Ado About Mavericks.
Print option open to US shipping only.



divavixenqueen said...

Nice Interview. Thanks for the giveaway.

Mary Preston said...

A wonderful character interview thank you.

Leslie Miner said...

This sounds really good. I love cowboys! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!