He’s settling down!
And he has a teenage daughter!
Well, after a double whammy like that, I had to get this heartthrob in the hot seat. However, as any of us in entertainment news can attest, Seth Kendall is harder to pin down for an interview than his superstar drinking buddies Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith. Fortunately, I was able to sweet-talk this soon-to-be unavailable hunk to sit down for a candid discussion.
Me: Seth, thank you so much for letting me come into your beautiful home and talk to you about what’s been going on with you lately. The last time we had talked, you commented that you had no desire of ever coming back to Texas, yet here you are. What’s changed?
Seth: (He laughs.) Everything. First, I knew my father’s death would have a major impact on my aunt. They were twins and had always been close. Second, and most importantly, I realized how empty my life was becoming. All I had was my music and I knew I had much more here in Texas. All I had to do was reach out and grab it.
Me: Why now? You’ve admitted to knowing about your daughter since before her birth, yet you were never part of her life. Why not?
Seth: I’ve beat myself up over this since her birth. I made a major mistake in letting Abby’s ex-husband talk me into believing I had no place in her life. I’m not going into all the personal details, but let me say, he messed with my mind, knowing exactly which buttons to push to keep me away.
Me: That brings me to the women in your life these days. Want to tell us about them?
Seth: I’m honestly not sure how I got through my life as well as I have without Abby. She’s always been the love of my life. When your life’s as hard as ours was as kids, it binds you together tighter than anything else can. And then there’s my daughter Emily. She amazes me every day with everything she does.
Me: We’ve known since you competed in the talent show America’s Rising Star that your father and you were estranged, but rumor has it that he was also abusive. Is this true?
Seth: When my mother committed suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills when I was only a little kid, it changed him. He never wanted me to be a singer. He saw it as me following in my mother’s footsteps and end up just like her—a drug addict and dead. But I knew I had to get away. I had to make it in the music business or I would end up like her. So, that became my life’s goal, which he hated, to the point of trying to beat it out of me.
Me: What about Abby? She’s Native American, correct?
Seth: Yes, she’s Native American, though her father was white. Her life was riddled with prejudice, not just for her nationality, but also for what her parents did for a living when they met. That’s all I’m going to say about it.
Me: We know Abby was married to a man who had once been your best friend and that he raised your daughter as his own—even though, you knew all along she was your daughter. Wow. That had to have hurt. What happened?
Seth: Abby and I were kids when she got pregnant. She was seventeen. I was eighteen. We were each other’s first. I’d just won a place on one of the biggest televised talent shows in the country. What else is there to say? We did some stupid things that we’ll regret until our dying days.
Me: Word has it that you’re producing a record for Emily. Is this true?
Seth: My daughter has amazing talent. I won’t let her to get into this business without some strong direction. The last thing I want is for her to turn into another Miley Cyrus or Brittney Spears.
Me: Okay, some fun questions every fan girl wants to know.
Seth: (He laughs.) This is exactly why I don’t do interviews.
Me: Come on, you’re off the bachelor market. We deserve to be left with something to fantasize about.
Seth: Okay, but I get the option to refuse to answer.
Me: Fair enough. Now that you’re living on a ranch, are you really a cowboy?
Seth: You better believe it. I don’t expect my ranch hands to do all the work. I also won a rodeo or two in my much younger days.
Me: Wow. I think that’s something no one ever knew. What event?
Seth: Roping. I won the silver buckle I wear when I’m performing my senior year of high school when I competed in a major local rodeo and won. My father wanted me to either focus on rodeo or football. I was the quarterback during high school and could have gotten a scholarship if I’d tried harder. I had more than one scout come out to watch me my senior year.
Me: How long do we have to convince you not to get married?
Seth: Not gonna happen.
Me: Bummer. So, when’s the wedding day?
Seth: New Year’s Eve. Abby and I are getting married quietly at my St. Thomas beach house with the sun setting over the beach.
Me: That sounds absolutely beautiful.
Seth: It will be. I can’t wait.
Me: Any babies in the future? You and Abby are still young.
Seth: I always considered myself young, until my teenager makes me feel ancient. But yes, we’re talking about having another child. Possibly as early as next year.
Me: That’s fantastic. Seth, we all wish you all the best for you and your family.
Seth: Thank you. Hope all of your readers love our story. I’m told if it were written in a book it would really pull at the heartstrings.
The last person Abby Crawford wants to face down is country music superstar Seth Kendall. Last time she did, she flat-out lied so he’d go to Nashville without her. She’s never understood why their mutual best friend proposed, but she went with it so her baby wouldn’t be fatherless. Now she’s a divorced mother of a teenager, and secretly Seth’s biggest fan.
Seth is home in McAllister, Texas for his father’s funeral…and a chance to meet the daughter he’s never known. He’s willing to face the music of his own making and admit he’s known about his little girl all along. For fifteen years he’s kept his distance because Abby told him to follow his dreams without her, insisting she didn’t love him. But now he won’t leave until he knows his daughter and she knows him, even if it means facing the woman who broke his heart for good.
Confessing she’s lied about her daughter’s paternity all these years won’t be easy for Abby, especially with her ex blackmailing her to keep the secret. And Seth doesn’t know the hardest truth of all: Every love song he plays on his guitar still plucks her heartstrings.
CONTENT WARNING: Spicy sex.
Seth leaned in. His lips were close enough to kiss, and his scent of sandalwood and something exotic enveloped her, taking her back to that night on the beach. His eyes flashed with the dangerous fire of his temper. It was similar to the flame of the passion she’d once seen in the green depths. Abby didn’t expect or want the heat curling in her belly, and shivered with a sudden and fierce desire.
“I’m her father, Abigail. I wanted to be her father after she was born. It was you and Mike who insisted I had no business messing things up.”
“I never said any such thing. You never tried. You just left.”
He pounded a fist on the counter top so hard she jumped. “Yes, I left! I wasn’t welcome at home. Dad ran me off with a shotgun. Mike wouldn’t even let me see my daughter. He made it quite clear you and he were happily married, and I had no place in your life. I was under contract to be in Nashville to start recording my first album.”
What did he mean, Mike wouldn’t let him see Emily?
Before she had a chance to voice her question, his eyes darkened as the pupils dilated, obscuring the stormy green. “But I’m no longer nineteen and scared shitless. I could make things very rough for you and this fantasy you’ve got working.”
A cold lump quickly replaced the tangle of heat in her belly. “What-what do you mean?”
He backed off and tapped the countertop. “I’m talking a custody battle. I could have a judge order a paternity test. I think we both know the media hoopla the results would cause.”
Her heart slammed into her chest wall. “You wouldn’t do that.”
“Try me. Now that I’ve met Emily, I want to get to know her.” He walked over to look out the kitchen window. The hard line of his jaw melted, and he swallowed so hard his throat moved up and down. “I was a fool when I let Mike talk me out of being in her life after she was born.”
“What do you mean?”
He glanced at her. “Don’t pretend you don’t know.”
The strings of guitar music provided a soft counterpoint to the hard tension in the kitchen. Emily was outside on the patio playing around with her guitar, waiting for them to finish with the dishes she and Seth had insisted on doing.
“All I want is to have some time with my daughter. That’s all I’m asking for.” When he looked over his shoulder at her, sadness replaced the anger in his eyes. “I’ll keep your little secret. I’ll just be her favorite singer. The family friend who made it big in Nashville. I don’t want to hurt her. As much as it galls the hell out of me, I see what Mike means to her.”
He moved toward her and shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “Besides, I don’t want to hurt Carolann or Frank any more than you do.” He glanced outside again, his voice husky as he spoke. “But I’ll sue you if I have to.”
A part of her wanted to give in to him, but a larger part wanted to punish him. Let him take her to court; she’d make sure the world knew what kind of jerk Seth Kendall really was.
She gritted her teeth and fisted her hands by her sides. “I’ll let you have tonight, Seth. But don’t ask for more.”
She turned away and strode through the French doors.
Sara Walter Ellwood is an award winning author whose novel Gambling On A Secret was named by bestselling author Carolyn Brown in the Happy Ever After Blog on USA Today as one of her favorite romances of 2012. Although Sara has long ago left the farm for the glamour of the big town, she draws on her experiences growing up on a small hobby farm in West Central Pennsylvania to write her stories. She’s been married to her college sweetheart for nearly 20 years, and they have two teenagers and one very spoiled rescue cat named Penny. She longs to visit the places she writes about and jokes she’s a cowgirl at heart stuck in Pennsylvania suburbia.
She also writes paranormal romantic suspense under the pen name of Cera duBois.
Lyrical Press: http://lyricalpress.com/heartstrings/
Barns and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/heartstrings-sara-walter-ellwood/1114954308?ean=2940016571454
***Please leave your email address to be eligible***
~~I will be giving away two ebook copies of Heartstrings at the end of each week of the tour, so make sure you leave your email address.
~Tour Grand Prize is a swag pack full of goodies! A signed copy of Carolyn Brown’s Just a Cowboy and His Baby, an ebook copy of my last release Gambling On A Secret, a notebook, a pen, custom jewelry set, $5 Starbuck’s gift card—all tucked into a keepsake box. (Sorry, only US residents are eligible. Comparable International Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card.) *Swag pack(gift card) is for the entire two-month tour. Winner will be announced on June 1, 2013