Friday, June 29, 2012

It's just hot.

I know its hot, so I'm hoping this will help you think cool. Sometimes a good story can be read anytime not just at the holidays. Welcome to Cordial, Texas, 1880. A town that supposed to be known for its friendliness. But, when a man thinks he has nothing to live for, life has a way of coming full circle.

Dobson Winters is a miserable man. After his wife's death, he shut himself off from the rest of the world, but a deathbed ultimatum changes that. Now, he must find Holly Watson and marry her to save his soul. Redemption comes in an unexpected package and it takes the gift of a child's unconditional love to change a man heart.

Read an excerpt here...

Dobson Winters was not the kind of man that celebrated things. He didn't celebrate his birthday, the Fourth of July, or Thanksgiving and he wasn't about to lend his blessing or his money to the town of Cordial, Texas to decorate the square for nothing. Christmas was a holiday best left alone.

"Just a few decorations, Mr. Winters," the banker began. His eyes nervously darted to the bowler hat sitting quietly on his lap.

"The answer is still, no."

"But, Mr. Winters, sir, the children will be most disappointed. They look so forward to the holiday. The decorations are old and faded." the preacher in black, sitting next to the banker spoke.

"Look here, Reverend," he began. "Christmas is a holiday created for the likes of Sam Russell at the General Store and those self centered pious folks, who step inside your walls to pray for the fortune when they should be hard at work bringing it in. I got over ten thousand head of beef to answer to. I got no time or extra wealth to pay for decorations used one day out of a year."

The thin little minister sitting beside the banker blanched and tugged at the white collar around his neck as if his words suddenly made it grow too tight.

"Really, Mr. Winters, have you no heart?" the banker scolded. "Think of your wife she loved the holiday. Why not a day goes by that we aren't reminded-"

The banker's words proved the last straw. "Gentleman, our meeting is over." As he spoke, he rose to his feet. Stepping back, his hand closed around his father's double barrel shotgun he'd cleaned just that morning. The two men who sat before him scrambled to their feet.

"Now, Mr. Winters." The Reverend's eyes grew wide.

"Dobson," the banker cautioned. "Be reasonable."

His eyes narrowed. He flipped the breech latch and broke the gun open. The men began to sweat as he glided two cardboard shells home. "You know, my daddy once told me a seat full of buckshot deters most highway men from pickin' a man's pocket." The click of the barrel as it closed sent the two men into action. Tripping over their feet, Reverend Thomas of Cordial's First Presbyterian Church hurried toward the front door, followed closely behind by Thomas Carter.

The banker slammed his bowler onto this head and cut Dobson a hard glare. "The town council will hear of this - about how you treat your guests. Just because you founded the town, don't give you a right to be rude."

"It gives me every right," he snapped, his upper lip curling back, so the men might see the white of his teeth. "I didn't tell you to set up your tents or build homes around my stockyards. But, you did it. Nor did I request any sheriff to monitor the saloon you all invited in to town. Yet, I put up with it." He shoved the barrel against the banker's backsides. The man let out a yelp as he and the preacher wrestled with the front door. "Oh, I pay my fair share of taxes and usually keep my mouth closed. In fact, until today, I've lived up to the town's motto, never a discouraging word. Well, not today boys, I will be damn if I pay another dime."

In their hurry to leave, both men collided, their shoulders wedged as they tried to press through the door in unison. Squeezing out the entrance, they lengthened their strides as they moved toward the buggy.

"But your wife," the minister called over his shoulder. "She wouldn't want the town to go without a Christmas."

His heart constricted. How dare they. How dare they bring her up! "Don't you ever go there, you two bit Bible thumper." He could feel his face grow red from the heat of anger as his eyes bore into the Reverend. The little man's Adam's apple bobbled as if it were a boulder being tossed downstream through a rapid. "Now, git!" he bellowed. Moving to the edge of the porch, he turned the gun barrel skyward curled his index finger over the trigger, and let loose one shot.

The percussion of the gun echoed in the still air. Both men let out a yelp like a wounded dog. The speed of their retreat increased. They fumbled, their feet slipped, yet somehow they managed to scramble aboard and turn the horse around. "You haven't heard the last of this," Thomas Carter shouted as the Reverend brought the lines down upon the horse's back. The iron rims hissed against the ground as they left at a fast trot.

"Damned fools," he snarled. In the quiet of the ranch grounds, he watched them pass the barn and caught one last look as they tossed him a glare mixed with fear and pure hatred. He broke open the barrel and pulled the empty shell from the smoking gun. By golly, they got the message that time. Tossing the spent shell onto the ground, he pulled the unused ammunition out and returned it to his vest pocket. He turned and stared at the empty doorway of the two-story log home he'd built. A momentary expression of hurt rolled across his face deepening the lines next to the grim turn of his lips. She should be here. By all rights, Miranda should be there, standing in the doorway, waiting for him.

To purchase your copy of A Cordial Christmas for $0.99 please follow the links below,

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday Matinee Segment

Growing up it used to be the thing to take in a western at the movie theater on Saturday afternoons.. So here's a bit of my indie book The Rancher's Irish Bride for your viewing pleasure...

The roar of the flames filled his ears as Clay waded into battle. Left hand up over his brow for protection, he tried to smoother the greedy tongues of fire with the burlap sack only to have it smolder to pieces in front of his eyes. He should have doused it in the creek, but the water level was so low it would have taken more time. He needed something, anything to deprive the flames the oxygen they needed.
Pulling his jacket from his back, he latched on to one sleeve and began to beat back the ever-advancing fire. The hot breath of the blaze spread across the dry grass consuming an ever bigger portion of the range. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see her rushing dangerously close to the burning grasses only to be beaten back by the scorching heat.
"Stay back. My men will be here soon," he ordered. Even as the words left his mouth, he knew she would not heed them. Together they danced, dodging the hot ash and orange cinders.
Soon shouts of other men and the roll of wagons filled the air as his wranglers joined in the fight. The men of the Rocking R converged on the growing fire. "Throw me a wet sack," Clay shouted to the man standing behind the barrels, tossing the burlap to the others. He dropped his smoldering jacket as a sack flew into the air sending a shower of cool water to douse his heated skin.
Rushing forward, he joined his men in a line of defense. Moving together, slinging water, and beating out the flames they began to turn the tide of the orange sea. Advancing, retreating, they continued the macabre dance, uttering a hailstorm of oaths strong enough to make a minister blush. Concentrating on saving his grazing land, Clay forgot all about Maeve Campbell until he heard the night air pierced by her frightened screams.
Clay paused. The scream came again from the right. He turned his head and his heart dropped to his boots. Her arms flailing, Maeve rushed away from the smoke and flames, the hem of her skirt consumed by orange. The more she ran, the faster the fire grew.
"Stand still!" he yelled. Turning to the man next to him, he snatched the wet bag from the wrangler's hand and rushed toward her.
"Stop running," he ordered.
Grabbing her closest hand, she turned, clawing at him, trying desperately to get away from the heat. With a jerk, she stumbled. He took the pause in her fight to open the wet rough cloth. His arms held out wide, he captured her body. They fell to the ground, his body covering hers to smother the flames. In order to silence her, Clay pressed his mouth to hers. As the heat melted away from his legs, suffocated by the wet burlap, another type of heat, one more consuming settled in his groin.
For a mad woman, Maeve McKenna tasted just short of heavenly. Her cries lessened, turning into soft moans. Instead of beating his chest, her fist gathered the loose cloth of his shirt and she clung to him. Unconsciously, his lips moved over the fullness of her bottom lip, capturing it for the merest of seconds before he let it go. His chest heaving, Clay broke the kiss and pulled away.
The light from the flames danced across her face as she stared at him in wonder, her lips full from his kisses. His body hard from want, he drew his brow together and knew he should not be there, should not be doing this. Steeling his mind from desire, he turned his attention to her skirts.
Slowly, he eased his body away and sat back. He lifted the wet burlap away from her, revealing the burnt edges of her skirt and petticoat. As his heart ceased to hammer against his chest, he could hear Maeve's own rapid breaths. His eyes rolled up her frame. The sodden blanket not only smothered the flames but it transferred its dampness to her clothing, making the muslin blouse nearly transparent.
Clay closed his eyes to count to ten and swore under his breath. "Are you hurt," he asked, looking at her again.
She shook her head. A soft breeze whisked away the remaining body heat and he watched her nipples pebble. The sight sent a molten finger of desire spiraling through his body to make itself at home in his stones.
Clay glanced away and spied the blackened shawl on the ground. Leaning to the left, he snatched it up and tossed it over her upper body. "Cover yourself," he growled. Scrambling to stand, Clay helped her to sit up and draw the blackened material around her shoulders. He moved to the side and slid his arm beneath her knees. "Hold on to my neck," he commanded and drew her to his chest, then stood.
Maeve's arms held tight around him as they moved toward the wagon. He could feel the weight of her cheek against his shoulder. Even though the scent of smoke was strong, a whiff of something clean, something almost flowery washed over him. Using utmost care, Clay placed her on the back of the wagon, next to the barrels of water. Loosening his kerchief, he held it up to the wrangler staring at them. "Soak it, "he snapped.
While he waited, he looked down at the angry red mark on her ankle. "You're burned." He glanced up, their eyes met.

To purchase your copy for $1.99 please use the following links...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday Snippet

When a man thinks he has nothing to live for, life has a way of coming full circle.

Her eyes made contact with the narrowing shafts of yellow from the grey wolf. One of his companions howled. The large animal's noses wrinkled as they drank in her smell. Only then did Holly understand, out here in the wild, she was no more than a meal for this pack to consume. Don't show fear. Now that command might seem simple. Yet, how impossible it would be to carry out? Her knees shook with each sliding step she took away from the wagon.
The wolf sensed her hesitation and moved forward. She watched his dark lips pull away from the long white teeth as a trail of slobber dripped toward the ground. Deep in his chest the threat to charge rumbled. With a gnash of his teeth, he made a half leap forward. Unable to help herself, she screamed and drew her arm up for protection. He growled again. With a shake of his head, white foam from his teeth flew over his body. His actions sent the others in the pack circling and snarling, urging him to strike. She froze. Her gaze focused on the jagged pieces of white in his mouth. She wondered if it would hurt when the closed upon her throat. Silently, Holly began to pray.

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