Friday, May 7, 2010

What makes a GREAT Leading Man?

BRADYN PRESTON. He was wounded, alone, and in sore need of a stranger's help when he showed up at Rian's doorstep. She was determined not to let him give away her hiding place or ensnare her heart. But Fate had other plans it would seem. Now she can't picture her life without him. But, what makes the handsome, ex-gunslinger so irresistable?

Is it his blue eyes?

She stared at his mouth and willed herself not to look into the eyes that glittered like two sapphires. She was afraid alright. The flutter in her stomach, the ridiculous arrhythmic beating of her heart, the sweat she felt tickling the small of her back; they all signaled fear. Fear of the worst kind.
“Look at me,” he said quietly.
His voice was strangely warm. Rian reluctantly lifted her eyes to meet his and in that instant the fluttering in her stomach became a churning, whirling tornado. She had no doubt that she would have fallen right off the stool if it wasn’t for his hands on her waist. ~ To Stand with Angels

His rugged good looks?

His comment brought an unwilling chuckle. She shook her head. “You seem to have a strange fascination for wild women who intend you no good, Mr. Preston. I should say you got your just desserts that time.” She tried to subdue the hint of laughter in her voice.
“Well, now, I don’t know,” he replied with mock sobriety. “Can’t say as I’ve been with a lot of wild women. I prefer to prey on lonely women. The sort who live alone on homesteads in the middle of nowhere.”
Rian shook her head again. The man was exasperating. “Of course,” she drawled sarcastically. “Next you’ll be telling me you—,” she turned and stopped mid-sentence.
Bradyn looked like a completely different person. With his face shaved he was the picture of masculine beauty. The black eye and jagged cut somehow enhanced his appearance in a way she couldn’t understand. Leaning there, a slender hip against the table, his muscular arms folded over his bare chest, he met her gaze with a fixed stare of his own. ~
To Stand with Angels

His tanished past?

"I grew up brawling and cheating and getting into a thousand kinds of trouble. Mama said I was wilder than a mustang and meaner than a drunk with a ten-day drinkin’ binge hangover.
“My father died when I was ten, then mama went back to dancing in the saloons and keeping company with strange men. She told me once; ‘You can take the girl outta the saloon, but you’ll never take the whore outta the girl, Bradyn.’ Shames me to say it, but I ran away from home when I was fifteen. Haven’t seen my mama since.”
Bradyn’s face twisted into a sneer as he ran his eyes over Rian’s still face.
“You’re a smart woman, Rian. I’ll wager you can guess what happens to a fifteen-year-old runaway hellion. I got myself into one filthy mess after another. If it wasn’t drinking and fighting, it was thieving and chasing women.”
Rian offered a faint smile. He guessed she was recalling their conversation about Tucson Maude. He supposed it wasn’t very hard for her to imagine the younger version of Bradyn Preston out looking for a good time and only finding trouble everywhere he went. It seemed little had changed in his life in all these years. He was still in trouble. ~ To Stand with Angels

The strong, independent demeanor that has every girl wishing she was the one who could reach his heart?

Contessa Lang sat on the bar, twisting an unruly strand of curly blond hair around her index finger nonchalantly. Liam is in a piss-poor mood tonight, she thought with sour frustration. He had been in the same dismal dumps for nearly a week, ever since he’d come back from Denver, but tonight his mood was worse. Tessa wasn’t used to being ignored and Liam had barely spoken a word to her all day. He was angry at her. He had been ever since he’d found out about her fling with Bradyn Preston.
Tessa had not denied it. She hadn’t seen the point. Sure she’d cheated on him. But Bradyn Preston had been a beautiful man. What girl in her right mind wouldn’t have jumped at the chance to be romanced by the good-looking stranger?~ To Stand with Angels

Maybe it's just his irresistable wit...

“You here alone?” he asked amid unhurried bites.
Rian frowned at him. Her unease at his question was obvious. “Of course not. My nephew lives here with me.”
“Your nephew? How old is he?” Bradyn stopped eating and cast a side-long glance in her direction. “He’s not that scrawny little kid that was in here before, is he?” He took a slow sip of the coffee.
“You certainly are very nosy,” she deflected. “I don’t see how that is any of your business, Mr. Preston.”
He stifled a grin as she took a seat on the bedside chair and folded her hands in her lap as primly as any school marm. “You’re absolutely right,” he said as he lifted another spoonful of cornmeal to his mouth. “I would just assume that a woman of your fine appearance would have the good sense not to live in the middle of the wilderness alone. And, if you don’t mind my saying so, having a kid ain’t much better than being alone. In fact, it’s probably quite a lot worse.”~ To Stand with Angels

Or that crooked smile that plays at the corner of his mouth everytime something strikes him as humorous?

The first streaks of morning dawned cool with the crisp freshness of a land washed clean and revived to a brilliant green with the passing of the rainstorm. Rian stretched and yawned with lazy abandon. Her arm brushed across the pillow next to her own. The pillow that Bradyn had rested his beautiful head on last night. She frowned and turned on her side. Bradyn was not there.
Rian sat upright and panic wrapped its tiny talons around her stomach. He hadn’t left yet…had he? Without saying goodbye? She quickly pulled her clothing on, the whole time terrified that she would rush out to the barn to find his horse and saddle gone. Afraid to find he’d left her life as suddenly as he had entered it, she ran down the stairs two at a time. Her heart was thundering along with uneven pace.
“Where are you off to in such a hurry?”
She stopped a few feet short of the front door, a wild, wide smile parting her lips and relief flooding her heart. She turned to see Bradyn sitting at the kitchen table, a mug of coffee in his hand, staring at her. The same familiar, crooked smile was on his face. ~
To Stand with Angels

Whatever it is, we surely do love it...
and that's why Bradyn Preston is a GREAT Leading Man!

"To Stand with Angels" ON SALE NOW! Visit for more info!


  1. Hi C.J.
    Great excerpt. I love the cover. A very tempting read and will soon join my TBR pile.

  2. Excellent post. Bradyn sounds like just my type of hero - slightly flawed but worth the work. :) I am so psyched to have won a copy of this! Can't wait to read it. It's one of those premises that make other writers wish they'd thought of it.

  3. Thank you much! Bradyn is a great far as fictional dudes go. =D