by Shanna Hatfield
In my sweet romances, my heroes are often men who are a little rough around the edges, but generally hold a healthy respect toward women and stick to some unspoken code of chivalry we may never know or decipher.
While some may think these types of men exist only in my imagination, I know they are real. I take my inspiration from those I’ve met or known.
My own beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller, is a great source of gallant deeds. Although he isn’t much of a talker, if I can get him to be serious for five minutes, he typically manages to say something that melts my heart. (But don’t tell him I shared that with you. I think that breaks rule #63 in the code.)
When I look for validation that the code is alive and well in others of the male species beyond Captain Cavedweller, I find it.
For example, I recently met a PRCA bull rider. He’d never seen me before. Didn’t know me from any other stranger. In fact, he couldn’t be blamed if he was quite full of himself since he’s one of the top athletes in the rodeo circuit.
The opposite seemed quite true, though. As introductions were made, he quickly snatched off his hat, politely tipped his head, and called me “ma’am.” Respectful, kind, and genuine are words I could easily use to describe him. He couldn’t have been more mannerly if Emily Post herself had been whispering in his ear.
In my contemporary sweet western romance Learnin’ The Ropes, the crusty ranch foreman outlines what he believes to be the code all men should live by to the new greenhorn the boss hired.
The rules are as follows:
- Once you give your word and a handshake, it’s as binding as signing a contract.
- Never betray a trust.
- Never lie, cheat or steal.
- Treat all children, animals, and old folks like you want to be treated.
- Call your elders sir and ma’am.
- Treat women with respect and care.
- Always tip your hat to a lady and take it off at the dinner table and in church.
- Work hard and give your boss an honest day for your pay.
- If someone needs a hand, lend yours to the task.
- Respect the flag and our nation.
- Be clean - both on the outside and inside of your person.
- Never stop learning.
- Never make fun of someone who gave it their best.
- Never wear your spurs or dirty boots in the house.
- Fight fair, be brave, and stand up for what’s right.
Despite what others might think or say, I’m convinced the Cowboy Code rides on.
When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.
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Shanna's Featured Western Romance: Learnin' the Ropes
He didn’t plan on a beautiful boss, a crazy dog, and a ranch in the middle of nowhere. Out of work and out of luck, auto mechanic Ty Lewis responds in a moment of desperation to a classified ad for a job in Harney County, Oregon. Offered the position on a remote ranch, he bids goodbye to his sister and his life in Portland. When he arrives in the tiny community of Riley to begin a new adventure, he encounters the behemoth dog that rules the ranch although he has yet to meet his boss, an elusive employer named Lex Ryan.
Lexi Ryan, known to her ranch hands and neighbors as Lex Jr., leaves behind a successful career in Portland to keep the Rockin’ R Ranch running smoothly after the untimely death of her father. It doesn’t take long to discover her father did many crazy things during the last few months of his life, like hiding half a million dollars that Lexi can’t find. Ty and Lexi are both in for a few surprises as he arrives at the Rockin’ R Ranch and begins learnin’ the ropes.
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