Character Interview and Contest Give Away: Gambling On A Secret by Sara Walter Ellwood

Please welcome the lovely and talented Sara walter Ellwood and her fun and entertaining hero and heroine, Dylan and Charlotte. Please be sure to comment and leave your name for a chance to win.


So tell us a little bit about yourselves. Who are you? Give your full name and title. Do you have special abilities?

Hello Kary, thank you so much for having me here today. Hope you don’t mind that I brought Dylan along for moral support. I’m not very good at these sorts of things. Never really wanted to be in the limelight.

Oh, you asked me a question. Sorry. I’m Charli—Charlotte—Monroe and I’m the heroine, I guess. Sara keeps calling me a runaway-turned heiress. I suppose that’s right. I grew up in Tulsa, but when my mother was killed in a car accident when I was fifteen, I went to live with my grandfather on his 25,000 acre ranch in western Oklahoma. I was his only heir, and when he died, I inherited his massive fortune. He was CEO of Monroe Farm Equipment. Never heard of them? Now that surprises me. The company is as big as John Deere.

I’m mostly Irish with a bit of German and Native American mixed in there too. At least, I think that’s it. I’m not really sure since I never knew my father. As for special abilities… Umm…No I don’t have any.

*Dylan grins and shakes his head*

What? *Charli narrows her eyes at him*

Oh, nothing, but I’d have to disagree about the last answer. You have a lot of special abilities. Especially the way you wear those short, skimpy robes.

*Charli raises an eyebrow* I don’t think she was asking about those abilities. And we aren’t supposed to be talking about them either. Now hush.

*Dylan shrugs* You’re the one who dragged me along to this.

What are your goals?

I’m attending Colton College to get my degree in social work and psychology. I want to open my ranch to young girls and boys—teenagers—who just can’t stay at home for whatever reason. I want to give them a chance to work through their problems before they feel the only option they have is to run away. I never want another child to live through what I have while I lived on the streets in Las Vegas. *Charli shudders and wraps her arms around her middle. Dylan hugs her shoulders with one arm and pulls her to his side.*

What were your conflicts and obstacles in your story?

*Dylan snorts* Other than the ranch she bought is falling down around her?

*Charli smiles* But you’ll fix it up for me… As soon as you stop drinking. *She sobers* But seriously, my biggest obstacle is my need to hide my past. No one in Colton can ever know the whole story about me or it would ruin everything. My grandfather made sure my past was buried deep when I finally came home.

Yeah, right. *Dylan leans back in his chair.* But I know someone who’d love to know all about that past to use it against you.

Will you stop already? Your uncle is not that kind of man. He’s my friend.

*Dylan scowls* That bastard is not my uncle. He stole my mother’s birthright. And we both know what he wants—you and your ranch.

Next question, please.

What did you think of Dylan Quinn when you first met?

*Charli tilts her head to the side and studies him* He didn’t smile. His gray eyes were dull as weathered boards. He had a lot of ghosts in his past. He showed up twenty minutes late for an interview for the position of my ranch manger, and I really wanted to write him off. But something about him just wouldn’t let me.

But mostly, I just thought that he was too big and ruggedly handsome and that he drank too much. The fact he’d been a Special Forces commander scared the hell out of me. Even though I really didn’t know what that meant until later.

*Dylan grins* Hell, all you wanted to do was fix me.

*She laughs* That too.

What is your greatest strength? Greatest weakness? How have they influenced you and your relationships to date?

Oh, I hate these kinds of questions. I have no idea what my strength is, but I know what my weakness is. I trust the wrong kind of men. Have done it all my life, and it has lead me down some dark and dangerous paths.

*Dylan smiles* Her greatest strength is easily her determination. Charli is a survivor. She had to be.

*Charli blushes*

It’s true. *Dylan softens his gaze and holds her hand.* I think the way her strength affects her relationships is she never gives up. She goes after what she wants.  Now if it’s always the right thing or not? Well, that’s where we’ll have to wait and see.

In your story, what moment was the most memorable, the most meaningful to you? Why?

Oh, finally an easy one! The Memorial Day banquet. I’d never seen anything as moving as the Missing Man ceremony. It still gives me chills to think about looking around the room full of former and current soldiers, all of them standing at attention many them with tears in their eyes as they stared at the beautifully set table while Dylan’s cousin narrated the ceremony.

*Dylan shifts in his chair and rubs a hand over his neck.* Remembering the war dead is hard for all of us. I have too many friends who are represented by those empty chairs.

*Charli squeezes his hand* But you finally said goodbye to your men. That’s why it’s so meaningful.

And finally, is there anything you would like to share?

Just the blurb and an excerpt, if that’s okay. Oh, and a warm wish for a great day.



When Charli bets everything on a secret, will she find the deck stacked against her?


Former runaway-turned heiress Charli Monroe is hiding her sordid past and planning a future in Colton, Texas. Attending the local college for a degree in social work, she intends to raise cattle on her newly purchased ranch, which she plans to open as a home for troubled teens. Only a few glitches—the Victorian mansion is crumbling, the barn needs a roof, and her oilman neighbor wants more than friendship. When she meets Dylan Quinn, Charli is willing to take a chance on the town drunk to help her rebuild the rundown ranch.


Dylan has his demons, too. The former Special Forces commander can’t get past his ex-wife’s betrayal and the botched mission that left him with much more than a bad limp. Certain the greedy oilman next door to Charli wants much more than just her heart, Dylan’s even willing to stop drinking in order to protect her.


When things get dangerous and secrets of the past are revealed, is he only looking out for his new employer, or is she the new start he so desperately needs?


CONTENT WARNING: Details abuse of a minor, drug abuse, alcoholism, swearing, spicy sex, murder.



“Full of intrigue, tangled pasts, and raw emotions, this one is guaranteed to keep you turning pages from start to finish and then wishing for one more chapter!” Carolyn Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Just a Cowboy and His Baby.




“Ferguson, what are you doing here?” Dylan barked.


Leon ambled toward them on the stone path. “I’m saving a young maiden from torment. What are you doing here, playing the part of the devil?”


“I’m Miss Monroe’s new manager.” The deadly edge of his voice matched the flintiness of his eyes. “If there’s anyone to save the young maiden from, it’s you.”


“Mr. Quinn, please.” She turned to Leon. “Leon, is there something I can do for you?”


He smiled, showing off perfect white teeth in a face handsome enough to belong to an actor. “I was just passing by on my way home and decided to stop. How are the boys working out?”


Dylan’s stance widened and his hands flexed at his slides. “What boys?”


“Charli and I have entered into a business arrangement.”


She lost the battle with the urge to wrap her arms around herself. As much as she appreciated Leon’s kindness, respected him, and was even a little attracted to him, something about him didn’t sit right with her. He represented her peers in the community. According to Mrs. Pratt, besides the Cartwrights, she and Leon were undoubtedly the wealthiest residents in the county. No one in Colton could learn about her past. It would ruin her, and Leon, no doubt, had the means to dig up the dirt.


“Really?” Dylan stepped closer to her in a protective manner. Whiskey tainted his breath as the warmth of the exhalations tickled her cheek. “What kind of business arrangement?”


She could protect herself. Dylan Quinn wasn’t any safer than Leon Ferguson. Stepping away from him, she forced her arms to her sides. “Mr. Quinn, I can handle this.”


She faced Leon. “I’m amazed by how much the men got done since starting on Monday. The foreman told me last evening they’d be reseeding another fifty acres for hay this morning. And they have the corrals fixed and started on the fencing in the north pasture.”


“Good, good.” He glanced at Dylan. “I’ll be going, unless you need a more reliable exterminator. I couldn’t help but overhear about your snake infestation. I can give you the name of the company that has gotten rid of the snakes in our lakes over on Oak Springs for years.”


Although he presented the perfect solution, she didn’t the like way Leon had looked at Dylan as he said the word exterminator. “No, Mr. Quinn is quite capable of getting rid of the snake.”


“Oh, I’m sure he is.” Leon tipped his hat. “Let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you, Charli.” Dylan’s jaw tightened as his uncle glanced at him. “It’s good to see you up among the living again.”


Leon headed back to his Porsche. With no pretense of lowering his voice, Dylan said, “Now, there’s a snake no one wants in their garden.”


Upon hearing the jibe, Leon’s shoulders jerked in mid-stride.


Rattled by Leon’s attention and the snake fiasco, she turned on Dylan. “You aren’t off the hook. I want those snakes gone.”


“We’ll see.”


“I hate snakes.” She shuddered and put her hands on her hips. “Maybe I should have asked him who the exterminator is.”

You can purchase Gambling On A Secret at the following locations:

Barnes and Noble:


Lyrical Press:




~One poster from every stop will win a Gambling On A Secret ebook

~One commenter from each stop will win a piece of custom jewelry.

(The winners of these two prizes will be announced the day after the tour stop.)

I also have 2 Grand Prizes!

~First Grand Prize is a SWAG PACK, including a signed copy of Carolyn Brown’s Just a Cowboy and His Baby. Also included is a copy of D’Ann Lindun’s Shot Through the Heart, a pen, a notebook, a horse themed mini calendar, a patriotic themed day planner, and more all tucked away in a reusable tote bag at the end of my blog tour.

~Second Grand Prize is a $10 Gift Card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble. If you follow the tour and comment as often as possible, you increase your chances of winning!

(The winners of the Swag Pack and Gift Card will be announced on March 1, 2013.)

(Swag Pack is only eligible for US residents to win. The jewelry and gift card are eligible to US and Canada residents only. The ebook is eligible to anyone, unless prohibited by law.)



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 Cera duBois.

You can find her at the following:






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About Kary Rader

Kary Rader is a stay-at-home mother of three, avid reader and slave to the characters and worlds inside her head. Always creative, she's drawn to stories with fantastical worlds and creatures. With a little bit of magic and divine guidance, there isn't anything that can't be accomplished. And it's the power of words that creates and destroys. Vanquishing evil and injustice while finding eternal love in the process is all in a day's work. And with the help of her critique partners and master cartographer imaginary places come to life. Come join her for an adventure and maybe you too will be claimed by passion and changed by love. Because there is no greater power than the human spirit and anything is possible if you believe. Let the fantasy begin…


Character Interview and Contest Give Away: Gambling On A Secret by Sara Walter Ellwood — 15 Comments

  1. Fun interview, Dylan and Charli sound like characters that won’t let you go…nice one, I can’t wait to read it. Warm wishes for a great day too thanks 🙂

  2. Nice job. Dylan, you did such a nice job of being there to support Charli. And Charli, I’m sure you’ll figure out how to overcome your past. Maybe even use it to help others… 🙂

  3. Thanks all of you for dropping by. I’m beginning to wonder if I should bring these two out in public any more… Geez! I keep telling Dylan to behave himself, but hey, he hasn’t listened to me before why should he start now….

  4. This sounds like a great story. I am very eager to learn more aobut Charli and Dylan and their pasts. Thanks so much for the great chance.
    manning_J2004 at yahoo dot com

  5. Congratulation!

    Cait you won a copy of Gamlbling On A Secret!

    June M you won a piece of my custom jewelry!

  6. Pingback: A Gambling Book Tour Days 2 – 4 | Romance Writer Sara Walter Ellwood