During the month of October, I’m sharing excerpts on Throwback Thursday from my novelette, novella, and novel that have paranormal-lite storylines. I call them ‘lite’, because the paranormal elements aren’t scary. They’re otherworldly. I don’t write scary/horror stories, and I don’t read or watch scary/horror, because…well…it scares me. hahahaha
I posted an excerpt from my novelette, For Love of a Brystile Witch, on Oct. 5th, and an excerpt from my novella, Give Me Tomorrow, on Oct. 12th. Today’s excerpt, as well as next Thursday’s excerpt, are from my western romance The Gunfighter’s Woman.
This is the second edition of this book. I first published it under a pen name that I have long since put to rest and with a different title that was more straight western-typical than romance-genre-typical.
I’m contemplating a third edition with a new title. This second edition was published in 2016, and the title hasn’t aged well. I’m thinking..
THE STORY WITHIN THE STORY
I wrote this western romance around the old European folklore legend of The Wild Hunt, which usually tells of a spectral chase involving a ghostly/supernatural group of hunters in pursuit of some sort of mythological creature(s). The hunters are often portrayed as the souls of the dead. Seeing the Wild Hunt forebodes something bad is going to happen, and the person who witnesses the Wild Hunt will die or be abducted and taken to the underworld. Jacob Grimm of The Brothers Grimm is attributed with coming up with the basic Wild Hunt story. Wikipedia offers information that is specific to different country’s versions of The Wild Hunt.
Here in the American West, the legend of The Wild Hunt is associated with the cowboy song, Ghostriders in the Sky. It is from this song that I based my story of The Gunfighter’s Woman.
When beautiful widow Brenna Gérard comes upon semi-conscious gunfighter Matt Caddock, all hell is about to break loose. An unholy storm’s a-brewin’, and Brenna makes a split-second decision to save Matt from the spectral fire-eyed cowboys who forever chase the devil’s herd—and pick up lost souls along the way.
Once they reach the safety of the ranch, Brenna cares for Matt’s wounds and makes him welcome—no questions asked. But Matt must learn to accept the fact that Brenna is being guarded for a while longer by her deceased husband’s spirit—and he’s not leaving her just yet.
Though Matt and Brenna are fast falling in love, there’s the matter of a fortune in gold that stands between them—gold that Matt never wanted, but now must find and use to keep Brenna’s ranch from failing. Archer, an outlaw who Matt once partnered with, wants that gold just as badly—and he’s prepared to kill for it.
Can Matt settle the score with Archer and keep Brenna safe? And when the ghost riders return on the next lightning-laced storm, will they be taking Matt with them? Or will Brenna’s love be enough to ensure the future they hope for together?
Lightning slashed the sky with an explosion of thunder that shook air and Earth and deafened ears. The man came off the ground in a lunge, feet planted wide, and his attention fixed on the black billowing cloudbank rolling along McBride Mesa to the west. Mesmerized, Brenna stared at the clouds as they transformed into a mighty herd of cattle stampeding along the mesa’s rim.
As she watched, the herd curved east, dipping low along the ancient stone wall and then soaring into the sky. The herd doubled-back with the sinuous motion of a Chinese dragon in an undulating journey from ground to towering clouds and back down again.
The cloud-herd swung south and swooped down from Trinchera Pass, passing overhead on a blast of scorching wind. Eyes blazing with the fires of Hell, the herd pounded the air with steely hooves on peal after peal of thunder as it swung out north and came charging in low.
The clouds split open into a sandy ravine that cut a wide, ragged path to a range in the heavens. Brenna felt their breath in a whoosh of hot wind and saw their black horns glistening and brands flaming with each lightning blaze as the ghost herd plowed up that draw.
“No! Not going. They’re not taking me!” the man yelled.
“What is that?”
The man snaked an arm around Brenna’s waist and tossed her to the saddle then swung up behind her.
The Gunfighter’s Woman is available at Amazon in e-Book and print.
NEXT THURSDAY – Another excerpt and a fabulous rendition on YouTube of Ghost Riders in the Sky.
Until we meet again,