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by on September 18, 2012

First dance. First kiss. First round of heavy petting (goodness, is that term even used anymore?). First time making love. Memories we tend to cherish because of their tenderness or romanticize about, if the experience was less than we’d hoped for–or was downright humiliating.


But what if your first is something you never planned on? Something you dread? Something you have no control over?


Take my hero in Those Violet Eyes, part of the Honky Tonk Hearts series from The Wild Rose Press. Win has lost part of his leg in the War in Iraq. He gets along fairly well wearing his prosthesis, but he’s yet to allow a woman to see his stump. Will he be rejected? Will a woman, any woman, find him repulsive? To spare his shattered male ego, he’s accepted he may never share intimacies or have a close bond with a woman again.


Then he meets Evie, and his desires slowly erase some of his insecurities. Still, even as they grow closer, he worries how she will accept his war injuries. Evie becomes upset by something and Win rushes to her side. In his haste, he’s forgotten to reattach his prosthesis.


Win reached for his crutches and followed her inside. So far she hadn’t seemed repelled by his stump, but she hadn’t seen it in the light either. His stomach clenched. If she rejected him, he didn’t know how he’d handle it.

Her back was to him as she poured the coffee. “Living room’s through the door. Go on in and have a seat. I’ll bring the coffee.”

Win moved into the living room. Clean, neat with older furniture. The kind of room a person could relax in. He settled on the sofa.

Evie set the mugs on the stand by his elbow and looked at his leg. What the hell is she thinking? She kneeled in front of him. “I didn’t know how much of your leg you’d lost.” Warm hands ran from his knee down. “You’ve got both knees, but your leg ends about three inches below that. You’re kind of red here.” She trailed fingertips over his stump and gazed up at him. “Hurt?”

“It’ll hurt if you stop.” He couldn’t believe she was touching him there, as if that part of his body were no different than his cheek or his elbow. Oh, how he needed that touch.

“Does walking so much in your prosthesis irritate your…your…” She tilted her head and regarded him. “Tell me the right term, Win.”

He shrugged. “Stump.”

“Stump,” she repeated. Then damned if she didn’t lean over and kiss it.

He didn’t realize how fearful he’d been that she’d reject him. In fact, he was sure she would. “Evie.” The anguish in his voice surprised him.

She jerked back. “Did I hurt you?”

He wrapped his hands around her arms. “Come here.” He lifted her to his lap and threaded his fingers into her damp hair. “It doesn’t repulse you?” He tilted his head so his forehead touched hers. “I was afraid…”

Evie pressed her hands to his cheeks. “I’m attracted to your mind, your heart, your soul and even that surly mood you’ve got goin’ on sometimes. I’m sorry about your wounds, but the loss of a limb does nothing to change the man you are.”

Win laid his head against the back of the sofa and exhaled an audible breath. “I was so worried…” He rushed here to comfort her and help her with whatever problems she had. Now, here she was comforting him. If he had any questions before about whether or not he adored her, her attitude just now lured him the rest of the way into love. How had he lived without her all of his life? How could he face the future without her and her sweet acceptance of his battle scars?

“A lot of women couldn’t handle an amputee.”

“Is that why you’ve been blowing hot and cold with me? Were you afraid I couldn’t handle less than physical perfection?”

“Made sense to me.”


Win is also suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome. One night, over ice cream, he tells her what she can expect if their relationship moves to the next phrase. This is the first time he’s shared the effects of his PTSD with anyone.


Evie chatted about her cousin on the way home. Win was silent is response, his mind a whirl of emotion. He hadn’t planned on telling her as much about himself as he had back at the Dairy Queen. The woman had a way of calming him until he felt a measure of peace. Perhaps it was those eyes of hers that watched him when he talked, watched him and willed him to tell her more.

Even so, he couldn’t talk about that horrendous day when one minute he and his buddies were talking about a female rock star’s crazy outfits and the next minute a deafening white explosion ripped apart their world. A burning pain like he’d never known followed by sights he could never forget. Body parts. Blood—his and others. The awful coppery stench of it. Death, so much death.

Win started trembling and sweating. His breathing came rapidly. He jerked the truck to the side of the road. Braked hard before he wrecked and harmed Evie.

“Win? Win, what’s wrong?” She reached out to touch his arm. “Why, you’re trembling. Sick?”

He shook his head and took deep gulps of air.

“Honey, did our talk earlier stir things up?”

“Damn.” He slammed his fist against the steering wheel, feeling weak and hating it, especially in front of her.

Evie turned toward him, getting on her knees, and wrapped her arms around his neck. She offered him the comfort of her body and her strength. This little spitfire had more inner strength than most men. This much he knew about her; he’d seen it in her attitudes about life and how she faced things. He trembled in her arms as he struggled to work through the flashback.

“It took a strong man to lay everything out in the open about PTSD. I was so proud of you.” Evie ran her fingertips back and forth across the back of his neck. “What a pair we’ll make. Me and PMS. You and PTSD. Why, you ought to change the name of your ranch to Alphabet Soup.”

“I love you, Evie. God knows I love you.” He buried his face in her neck. She always seemed to say the right thing when it counted. She had a way of putting the jagged pieces of his soul back together again. He wrapped his arms around her and drew her closer, wishing he could absorb her into his body, so he’d always have her with him. His breathing had slowed and the trembling was gone. All because of her. “Say something to get my mind on something else.” He had to get those explosion images out of his mind.

She kissed his neck. Then she gently bit his earlobe. “I’m wearing a black thong.”

Win stilled. His heart stuttered to a halt. Damn if she hadn’t switched images on him. Her world-class ass in a thong. He was rock hard at that provocative image. She was still on her knees, her arms wrapped around his neck. He moved his hand and ran it slowly up the back of her thighs. When he felt the warmth and firmness of that sweet ass, he groaned. Good God, she felt like velvet.

“Now, big guy, what are you gonna do about it?”




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  1. Totally love the set up of Those Violet Eyes, Vonnie and thank you for being here today. 🙂

  2. I’m thrilled to be here, ladies. What a luscious blog you’re got here. I’ve tooled around, reading everyone’s bio and past posts. A great place to be y’all…a great place.

    Thanks for having me and for allowing me to share Win Fairchild with you. Win is probably my favorite hero I’ve written so far. Watching Evie slowly bring him back to life was a treat.

  3. That’s such a lovely excerpt, Vonnie, and I can see why Win is a favourite of yours. Best wishes.

  4. Okay, so you KNOW I’m gonna be here if Win is making an appearance. LOL GAH! I LOVE THIS STORY! I may have to go read it…AGAIN…for the third time… It’s just so flippin AWESOME! Love both those scenes above. And the characters, and the connection they share, and the conflict… Once again, you’ve touched my heart, Vonnie. Love this. 🙂

  5. Great excerpts and I loved the pic at the top. It’s definitely something I’d like to read more of.

  6. Great post, Vonnie. I’ve had the pleasure of reading Those Violet Eyes and thoroughly enjoyed it!

    • Thanks, Brenda. Every story in the Honky Tonk Hearts series is a winner, in my opinion. I just recieved the contract today on my second entry to the series. BACK WHERE YOU BELONG. This one deals with bullying. My hero has a 13-year-old daughter.

  7. maccrowne permalink

    A luscious hero for a luscious story. I loved Win and Evie rocks! Thanks for allowing me a little visit with some favorite characters, ladies.

  8. Thanks, ladies for stopping by and leaving a comment. Let me mentally shift here for a few. I’m going over the galleys for RAIN IS A LOVE SONG, so need to leave Paris and step into Texas, where THOSE VIOLET EYES is set. If I seem befuddled…lol…okay, okay, so I’m always a tad befuddled.

    Nancy, you’re a dear for taking time from your own promotion to stop in. This is a lovely site, isn’t it?

    AJ, you’re the one who rocks. Love ya, doll. Anyone who would read a book of mine 2 and 3 times has a permanent place in my heart.

    Lisa, I’d love for you to read Win’s story. He’s a hunk of the first order, let me tell ya.

    Hugs, Mac, for stopping by. Ladies, if you know someone who’s been touched in one way or another by Breast Cancer, RUN–don’t walk–to Amazon and order Mac’s personal, touching and uplifting memoir on her battle with breast cancer. WHERE DO YOU WANT YOUR NIPPLE. Can’t say enough good things about it…just can’t.

  9. I love Win!! Gonna have to get out of work, I have some reading to do!

  10. Damn it all! I’m reading another book on my huge list this week and need to be reading this one! Thanks for the laugh, Vonnie. I can’t wait.

    • Message to self: Must read Vonnie’s story. LOL There really is a strong element of truth to the old saying, “So many books, so little time.”

  11. Thanks, Sarah. Reading is so important to the health of our souls, isn’t it?

  12. Great excerpts, Vonnie, but then you couldn’t find a bad one in this book!

  13. Riveting excerpts, Vonnie! This sounds like an awesome read!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Susan. Win and Evie’s story contains a lot of humor, too. Evie is a pistol, let me tell ya.

  14. See now, this is why I loved Win so much. Just reading that first snippet, of her touching his stump, made me cry all over again. and the second one, just makes me cheer, cause that man deserves his HEA. This one touches the soul, Vonnie. Oh how I loved this book. ❤

    • Now, aren’t you the sweetest, Joanne. I laughed and cried when I wrote this. My grandson was serving in Afghanistan at the time, so there was an underlying dose of author’s fear as I wrote THOSE VIOLET EYES.

  15. Wonderful excerpt Vonnie. Just wonderful.

  16. Love that excerpt, Vonnie. Makes me hurt.

    • So many of our young men are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with PTSD. I shudder at the horrors and stresses they went through. Their lives are forever altered. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment.

  17. Love Win. Lovelovelove. Have I mentioned that I love him. What a get hero in all aspects! Keep up the good work, Vonnie! 🙂

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