Alice Renaud lives in London, UK, with her husband and son. By day she’s a compliance manager for a pharmaceutical company. By night she writes fantasy romance about shape shifting mermen, water monsters and time-travelling witches. Her first book, “A Merman’s Choice,” was published in January 2019 by Black Velvet Seductions. It is the first book in the Sea of Love fantasy romance series, inspired by the landscapes and legends of Brittany and Wales. The second and third books, “Music for a Merman,” and “Mermaids Marry in Green,” are out now. Both the Sea of Love series and Mermaids Marry in Green won their categories in the Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Award 2020. Alice has also contributed short stories for the BVS anthologies “Mystic Desire,” “Desire Me Again,” and “Cowboy Desire,” all available now. Alice loves reading and writing stories and sharing them with anyone who’s interested!

Character Interview: Josh Reynolds from Space Cowboy Blues, a story by Alice Renaud in Cowboy Desire

Beverley: What’s your name?

Josh: Josh Reynolds

Beverley: Where did you grow up?

Josh: On a ranch in Montana. My Gramps used to say I could ride before I could walk.

Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?

Josh: 2 4th century, when humans have spread across the galaxy.

Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?

Josh: I always knew I wanted to be a cowboy when I grew up. I worked as a ranch hand on Earth until my early twenties, when I applied to become a space cowboy. Now I go from planet to planet. I examine the local animals that might be used like cattle or horses, take pictures and samples for the science boffins back on Earth, pocket my fee, then I’m off. To the next job… the next planet… the next herd of oddly-shaped creatures. Why would someone come up with a story about me? Well, my story, Space Cowboy Blues, in the BVS anthology Cowboy Desire, is based on a lockdown dream the author had.

Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?

Josh: Initially my stint on the blue planet Albastra is just another job for me. Then I meet the beautiful alien woman Melynas, and my objectives change. I want to help her and her people domesticate the hunoowins, the native blue unicorns, so the local boys and men can get jobs and no longer have to leave the planet to get work on other planets or on the spaceships.

Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?

Josh: I fall for Melynas, but everything on Albastra is lethal to humans, including her. One touch from her would kill me.

Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?

Josh: No, but the planet itself comes up with a solution. You’ll have to read the story to find out!

Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

Josh: I’m angry at the way the settlers from Earth treat Melynas and the other local ladies. I was brought up to treat everyone with respect, especially women. I’m even polite to robots – heck, some of these machines are smarter than me!

Blurb for Cowboy Desire

Cowboy Desire is an eclectic assortment of short stories. Including contemporary, historical, fantasy, and even outer space romance, Cowboy Desire offers fourteen stunning short stories. These fourteen authors provide a range of sweet to sexy stories all with a cowboy theme. They feature strong men and women battling the weather and dangerous terrain, here on earth and in outer space.

The collection is as diverse as the authors who wrote them. Here’s a chance to discover new talented authors and the characters they create. Within these pages, there are blends of tender, often moving, thought-provoking and downright sexy stories.

Blurb for Space Cowboy Blues

Josh is a space cowboy. His job? Taming alien species. But on the blue planet Albastra, the beautiful Melynas is more than a match for him. He’d love to get close to her… but everything on Albastra is lethal. Including her…

Excerpt from Space Cowboy Blues

Josh bowed to the woman and wished he was wearing a hat to tip it off. “Good day to you, ma’am.”

Surprise widened her dark eyes. “You are very polite, sir. You do not need to be so respectful, I am only a native female, here to serve you.”

What the hell? Anger kindled in Josh. Which jackass had told her that? “You deserve as much respect as me. More so, because it’s your planet we’re standing on.”

A slow smile spread over her pretty face. “Not all earthmen feel that way.”

“Well they damn well should.” Shame tinged Josh’s irritation. Humans had spread over the galaxy for the past three hundred years, conquering and colonizing world after world. When they encountered alien species, they didn’t treat them as equals. Settlers from Earth saw native people as inferiors.

He had to show this woman that he wasn’t like them. He cleared his throat. “I’m sorry if my fellow earthmen haven’t always treated you right, ma’am.”

She shrugged, as if it didn’t matter. “I’m delighted to meet you and welcome you to Albastra, Mr. Reynolds.”

“Josh, please. Call me Josh.” Albastra. So that was the real name of Planet 2215. A nice name, but not half as nice as her.

Her smile widened, revealing perfect teeth. They were pearly white, like a human woman’s. “Then you have to call me Melynas. Come, I will take you to the herd.”

Curiosity blazed in him. The settlers hadn’t sent him any pictures of the animals. He only knew that they occupied the same ecological niche as cattle and horses on Earth. “Are the creatures wild or semi-domesticated?”

A hint of mischief sparked in her dark eyes. “Very wild. The settlers haven’t dared go near them yet.” She paused. “That’s why they asked you to come, right? They say you’re one of the best animal herders on Earth.”

Josh could feel his chest expanding with pride. One of the best, eh? “We call ourselves cowboys.”

She nodded. “All right, cowboy. Let’s go.”

Side by side they walked through the tall indigo grass, heading for a hillock in the middle distance. It gave him the perfect opportunity to study her more closely. Her hands were sky-blue, like her face, but the strand of silky hair that had escaped from her scarf was as green as the ocean on Earth. A fragment of a poem surfaced in his memory. “Far and few, far and few, are the lands where the Jumblies live. Their heads are green and their hands are blue, and they went to sea in a sieve.” Edward Lear, his grandpa’s favorite poet. Gramps would have loved to see this planet and this woman. She was as beautiful as a fairy.

They’d reached the hillock. She bounded up the path with a lithe, otherworldly grace, and he lumbered after her, encumbered by his protective gear. He wished he could cast off his suit and take her hand. He wished he could run with her through the blue prairie, with the sun on his face and the wind in his hair.

But he would die if he so much as removed his mask. Everything on this planet was deadly for him.

Including her.

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