How old are you?
“While I grew up being told a woman never divulges her age – what the heck. I’m 28,” she shrugged. “I’m tired of doing what my mama tells me.”
What is your relationship status?
She rolled her eyes and sighed. “Single. Been engaged twice, but the last one is the one that opened my eyes.” Sadness, disappointment, and regret marred her delicate features. “I thought Bill was the one and shared my life with him completely. Even put him on the deed to my condo.” Her tiny fist pounded the table. “Ladies, let me be your cautionary tale. Go ahead and love with all your heart, but hang on to your independence.”
When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
Ashley finger-combed her wild, curly locks that tumbled past her shoulders. “Physically? Big violet eyes, long black hair, curvy – men look, so I assume I’m attractive. A keen fashion sense and fantastic dresser. I’m short, but I prefer height challenged. But more importantly, someone who has so much to give.”
What are peoples’ first impressions of you?
“Flighty, impulsive, because I’m petite – people tend to think ‘pat on the head’ cute instead of classy – drives me crazy.” She scowls and pouts and looks adorable. “I want people to see the smart, capable woman I am.” Her voice turns wistful. “Maybe someday...”
Name three of your favorite things.
“Easy – my best friend, Lauren Royall – she’s always there for me and has been my partner in crime on more than one occasion. Two and three – a day at the spa being pampered and whipping up something fabulous in the kitchen. Maybe I should have been a chef instead of an accountant? Can I add a fourth? Shoes, I love shoes, especially tall, spikey, kick-ass shoes.”
Name three things that tick you off.
“Top of the list – my mother… it would be nice if she could cut me some slack instead of constantly criticizing me and my choices. Second, men who use women and don’t respect them. Finally, Being taken for granted. I am not a doormat.”
What is your best memory to date?
Ashley leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms over her chest, thinking. A small smile finally softened her lips. “Spending time with Lauren’s family. They always accepted me for who I am, loved me unconditionally, and made me feel special. No matter what mischief Lauren and I got in to, I always felt like I belonged. My family is the exact opposite. Cold, critical, unloving. I’ve come to the conclusion after so many years of trying to please them, that I deserve more.”
What are you most afraid of?
She cringed. “That I will never find my soul mate. It’s not that I need a man to complete me, but I want someone to love me. I want someone to grow old with, to be there in good times and bad. I’m sure my luck has got to change one of these days, but that’s what scares me the most.”
What would you like it to say on your tombstone?
Never really thought about it. That’s a tough one… ‘Here lies an eternal optimist who brought sunshine into the world and love and laughter to all who knew her.’ At least I hope that’s what I do.
Now on to something lighter, what is your favorite drink?
"Give me a lemon drop martini and I am one happy lady. Sitting at a bar, sipping a sophisticated drink, makes me feel like one of those glamorous movie stars in the old black and white films.” A small smile played around her full lips. “But I try to match the beverage of choice to the occasion. For instance, tea with the garden club or beer at a sporting event."
What is your favorite food?
Hard to pick just one.” She paused, taking a mental inventory. “Garden grown tomatoes fresh off the vine and warmed by the sun. Just slice that delicious sweetness and pop it right in your mouth. Then there is Aunt Hazel’s Peppermint Stick ice cream.” She made a to-die-for face. “Hand churned, of course. I’d crank and crank for what seemed like forever then Hazel would unlatch the lid and hand me the dipper. I can still hear the crunch of ice against the steel container and wooden bucket.” She closed her eyes remembering. “That creamy goodness on a hot, sultry summer afternoon just cannot be beat."
What is your favorite song?
"Would you believe, ‘Singing in the Rain’? Those lyrics represent everything I want to be. ‘What a glorious feelin', I'm happy again… The sun’s in my heart and I’m ready for love.’ I’m a hopeless romantic and with my new plan, that’s going to be me."
What was your first impression of Zach?
"Trouble with a capital ‘T’. The man was exactly what I DIDN’T need. He struck me as a charming playboy, the typical love them and leave them type, and the kind of man where taking risks is second nature. No roots, drifting from one rodeo to another with no long-term prospects. To my ever-loving delight – first impressions can be so wrong. I had no idea the work and dedication it takes to become a rodeo champion. Far from being a drifter, the man has a plan for his life. In addition to looking like he’s just stepped down off Mount Olympus, he’s kind and loving and caring… and the perfect man for me."
Meet Ashley Drayton from "My Rodeo Man"
Bonnie Phelps, Author
Ashley Elizabeth Drayton may look like the perfect Southern Debutante, but she’s really a giant spitfire packed in a 5’ 2” body. “My Rodeo Man” pits Ashley against three-time World Champion Team Roper, Zach Kincaid, who’s fast becoming a legend on the rodeo circuit and has the reputation for being a lady’s man. Unlucky in love best describes Ashley’s situation. She’s fallen for one lying, cheating scumbag after another and has decided it’s time to turn her life around. With a plan to find Mr. Right firmly in hand, she’s going to curb her impulsive behavior and live happily ever after with a man who is a respectable, dependable, solid-citizen.
Want to learn more about Ashley? Read the following interview.