Guest ~ Starla Kaye


Who doesn’t love a hot cowboy? Today we’re thrilled to welcome guest blogger Starla Kaye, with a new release, a great excerpt and a contest. Leave a comment by midnight (US Central) October 6 to enter for a chance to win a copy of either MAGGIE’S SECRET WISH or STARTING OVER from Decadent Publishing and a special gift: a memories frame. 

Writing About Romance

I write romance in many sub-genres, mainly m/f, but I also write m/m and m/f/m. No matter what kind of romantic relationship there are basic stages involved. All relationships go through stages, face challenges, experience times of joy and times of stress. None of the stages last forever, but it can be a struggle to remain committed and determined to stay together. I believe it helps a writer to have a simple understanding of the complexities of relationships. Here are some of the possible stages a couple may go through:

First Stage: Blind Bliss

  • Head over heels in love
  • Partners believe they have so much in common, that they are completely in sync with one another
  • Annoyances that pop up are ignored or dismissed
  • Partners feel good in each other’s presence, depressed when they are apart


Second Stage: Awakening

  • Reality sets in and the love blinders come off
  • Partners still have many common interests, but they now begin to see differences in connection with those interests
  • Annoyances start bothering each partner
  • There are life-altering decisions to make that the partners have differing opinions on: having children, where to live, who works/who doesn’t, who pays the bills, getting along with in-laws, who will do the cooking
  • Partners begin feeling disillusioned and wonder if they made a mistake


Third Stage: Imperfections Abound

  • Instead of blind bliss about the other partner’s perfection, now each partner sees things more in your way (wrong way) vs. my way (right way)
  • Struggles begin because of stubbornness, spitefulness, or a need for control and lead to frustration, anger, and hurt
  • Partners begin to believe that if the other partner would change, then the relationship will work
  • Unhappy partners begin to consider giving up, divorcing or resigning themselves to their differences and leading separate lives


Fourth Stage: Acceptance Begins

  • Partners begin to realize that attempts at reasoning, begging, nagging, yelling, and threatening are not going to make the other partner change
  • Partners possibly experience a new determination to save the relationship by seeking outside help
  • Partners start to understand that neither partner will ever be perfect
  • Partners begin showing more compassion, forgiveness, and understanding to each other
  • Disagreements are fewer and less emotional, not as intense
  • Each partner makes conscious efforts not to push the other partner’s buttons


Fifth Stage: Not Bliss, But Peace

  • Partners realize that they have always loved each other and now see again how much they like each other as well
  • Partners feel connected again, having weathered the ups and downs of the earlier stages in the relationship
  • Each partner appreciates how the other one remained committed to making it through the struggles in order to reach this point
  • Each partner now feels more secure about themselves and now is more comfortable with the differences between them


THE CEO AND THE COWBOY is a story of two men trying to deal with confusion in their lives, trying to find their way, and hoping to find happiness one day. As the story starts, Calhoun has just witnessed the wedding of the woman he’d been engaged to for five years and never could walk down the aisle with. He has had a secret longing that he has never acknowledged and is still afraid to embrace. He meets a friend of his ex’s husband at the wedding, a striking man with a sexually enticing scrutiny. The man unnerves him even as he arouses him. Daniel is immediately drawn to the ruggedly handsome cowboy, his “hot guy” inner warning system going crazy. But he’s not really on the hunt for a new man in his life. He’s still dealing with the hurt and betrayal of his last lover.

I can’t exactly say that Calhoun (the cowboy) and Daniel (the CEO) land in that “blind bliss” stage where they are head over heels in love. But when they meet, they can’t resist the strength of their attraction to one another. They do experience that “awakening” stage where Calhoun wonders if they made a mistake. And they go through the “imperfections abound” stage when they struggle with stubbornness and frustration. Being a HFN romance, Calhoun and Daniel wind their way through the “acceptance” and “peace” stages. But there are a couple of twists along the way, one that particularly surprised me. My characters often surprise me as I tell their stories.

I hope you will enjoy the story of these two special men. The story has been so well received that I have been asked to write a sequel, which will, hopefully, come out late this year or early next year.


The whole thing about relationships and feelings confuses the heck out of Calhoun. He’s a simple cowboy and he’d been planning to marry a long-time friend for a while. When he finally realizes it doesn’t feel right, he lets her go. He probably shouldn’t have gone to her wedding to another man, but she wanted him there. But that’s when he really gets confused. His eye is drawn to a seriously hot businessman…and that sure does unnerve him…and yet….

Emotionally burned by the last man he thought he’d loved, Daniel isn’t anxious to replace him. But there is something about the proud, bedroom-eyed cowboy who shows up at his friend’s wedding. The CEO isn’t even sure if the cowboy’s gay, although the heat firing between them makes him wonder….

What he does know is that he plans to find out.



Decadent Publishing      Amazon US     Amazon UK



“Why did you really bring me here?”

Surprised, he stood quietly for several long seconds, debating how to answer. Then he decided actions might just be better than words at the moment. If he had the nerve. Yes! Yes, you do.

He moved directly in front of him, watched the man’s nostrils flare, and his eyes widen. But the cowboy didn’t step back, and he didn’t look ready to send a fist into his face. Nerves tangling in his stomach, he put his hands around Cordell’s neck and leaned closer.

The big man tensed, but still didn’t tell him to back off. He didn’t say a word, just stood there looking wary, but determined. Clearly curious. Cautious, too.

Unable to resist any longer, he slanted his mouth over the tempting lips. Fire seared him. Need. Desperation.

Cordell stiffened even more, and he was pretty sure his cowboy had never done this before. He appeared uncomfortable, and his heart pounded so hard he could feel it. Yet he didn’t pull away.

Not wanting to frighten the man off, he gently slid his tongue along the crease of those lips until, finally, they opened. He had to have more, but he had to go slowly.

Surprising him again, he felt Cordell put his arms around his waist, pushing under his suit coat, pulling him closer. God, yes!

Heat raged through him, and he felt the warmth of the body pressed against his. Their hearts thudded, chest against chest. Then the man shuddered even as they tangled tongues. They kissed hungrily, only Daniel apparently familiar with this first sexual dance. Cordell seemed lost in the moment. Although he sensed the cowboy hadn’t done this before, he had moved past being hesitant, gone straight for being desperate to satisfy a need he no doubt hadn’t known he had.


Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of either MAGGIE’S SECRET WISH or STARTING OVER from Decadent Publishing and a special gift: a memories frame. Contest ends October 6.

Find Starla Kaye at:

Website: Starla Kaye

Twitter:  Starla Kaye

Facebook: Starla Kaye Writer

Pinterest:  Starla Kaye



9 Responses to “Guest ~ Starla Kaye”

  1. i f you are surprised at the twists, that is great for us as readers.

    • Ann Q
    • Reply
    • Thanks for stopping by, Ann. Yes, I love being surprised when I read someone else’s book. So it is fun when I’m surprised as a I write a book myself.

  2. Great post about the stages of a relationship. Very true! All the best!

    • Thanks, Jessica…and thanks for the Retweets.

  3. Ah, blind bliss. That one gets us all in trouble from time to time, lol.

    • I agree, blind bliss is a trouble maker.

  4. I really want to check out this book. Thanks for the great post. 🙂

    smurfettev AT gmail DOT com

    • SheriV
    • Reply
    • I hope you enjoy reading the book and will watch for the sequel.

  5. I’m happy to announce that Jessica is my contest winner. Thanks to all of you who left a comment.


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