Opposing opinions regarding marriage and divorce set off an ongoing and provocative debate between Allison Tyler-Wilcox, notable journalist, and the seven-times-divorced, mule-breeding Jake Sorenson, as Allison endeavors to discover why some people seem compulsively attracted to the idea of marriage.

Despite his matrimonial failures–and his current dubious relationships–Jake maintains he has been uncommonly “lucky at love.” During muleback rides and impromptu tango dances, Jake shares with the level-headed Allison his distinctly unique philosophy of life and love, leaving her confused for the first time about her marriage, her ideals, and her feelings for the roguish mule breeder.


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Backstory for Lucky at Love

I encountered the inspiration for Lucky at Love at wedding, ironically enough. I had heard all about the bride’s Uncle Stuey—his larger-than-life personality, his numerous marriages and divorces. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it sure wasn’t a mountain of a man with a wild spray of reddish-grey hair sticking out from under an ostrich-skin buckaroo hat. Surrounded by an admiring flock of women of every age and description, Uncle Stuey pronounced that some people should never get married, to which he raised his hand.

I remember standing there, marveling at this man in his sixties who wasn’t the least bit daunted by life or the opposite sex, or anything else for that matter. I too was mesmerized, for I couldn’t quite connect this guy with the stories I’d heard about him. Confidence obviously wasn’t a problem for him; he had it in spades with tons to spare, and it was probably what had attracted so many admirers.

Later, after the ceremony, while we were seated at the same table as the bride’s family, Uncle Stuey let my husband know that he was next in line should my husband get tired of me. I took the rather brazen remark as a kind of compliment—or warning—and continued to study this novelty of a sex symbol.

Three of Stuey’s siblings were also seated at the table. They delighted in recounting the parade of women who had gladly accepted his hand in marriage, only to have their hopes dashed by divorce. I got the impression there was much more to this rugged individual than met the eye.

As we walked back to our car, my mind struggled to understand the phenomenon called Uncle Stuey. Women seemed to drop at his feet, as witnessed by me when the mother of the groom offered to be wife number eight, in front of her own husband. But what about Stuey? After so many failed marriages, you’d think he’d taken the cure.

For me, that was the hook: how could someone admit he was the kind of person who shouldn’t get married, all the while knowing that if his heart told him to do it again, he would without hesitation.

During the ride home, I knew as a writer I had to delve into the mind of a serial matrimonialist. The character would have to share Stuey’s overall package. His looks had to be arresting—though not because of obvious beauty, rather an apparent lack therefore. He had to have the same fearlessness and confidence and some sort of raw animal magnetism. I had to capture the essence of Stuey, then look inside his mind and heart to find out what made him tick.

While I finished the book I’d been working on at the time, I came up with the idea of having the story told by a slightly obsessed, award-winning journalist. I decided she’d travel to rural Oregon to get a better idea of the man behind the enigma. Allison Tyler-Wilcox is the antithesis of Jake Sorenson. Yet when they face off at the Buckin’ J Ranch, they have an undeniable chemistry, regardless of their differing views on just about everything.

Lucky at Love started out as an “anti-love story.” All I can say is it didn’t really go as I had planned. As one male reader so eloquently put it, “It’s not a love story; it’s a story about love.”

I like that.

As a P.S., I must add that the inspiration for Jake had remarried by the time I finished Lucky at Love. I guess this proves that some guys just never give up…