I know I promised an installment today for Shuffle, but I didn’t get Barefoot Dancing done until late. By that time, my wrists and eyes hurt, so I went to bed.
I don’t have a looming deadline next week, so I’m going to give you three installments to make up for my appalling lack of consistency with my blog and my story lately.
But yay! The last Rags to Riches story, Barefoot Dancing, is complete and with my editor. I will say there might be other stories at some other point with some secondary characters, but right now, it’s a complete series. I hope you’ve enjoyed my rich guys and the men they fall in love with.
Next up is my Amber Allure book, Search & Rescue. I gave you a glimpse of it in a sneak peek. I hope to be able to sub that by the first of Sept. We’ll see.
Have a great weekend and I promise there will be 3 installments next week.
My website was off line for most of the day, so I wasn’t able to post anything for Works in Progress. Also I wasn’t able to get Shuffle ready to be posted. As long as the server is still up, I’ll give you an installment on Friday for Shuffle.
I hope you have a good Thursday.
Shuffle of Angel’s Feet copyright c. 2014 T.A. Chase
They stayed quiet as they rode, not wanting to draw attention to themselves. After about a half hour, Job started recognizing landmarks and knew they were close to Travis’ ranch. When Barking Dog halted the group, Job found they’d stopped at a fork in the trail.
“You know how to get to Eagle’s from here,” Barking Dog told him.
“Yes, sir. Thank you for helping out.” Job held out his hand and the brave shook it.
“Thank you for saving Laughing Brook.” Barking Dog let go of Job’s hand then motioned for the others to follow him.
Job waited until they disappeared before he headed in the other direction. He kept his gaze moving from one side to the other. It wasn’t that he thought there would be any dangerous, but Job hadn’t lived as long as he had by letting his guard down.
He brought his horse to a halt right before the crest of the hill that he knew was behind Travis’ main buildings. After dismounting, he ground tied the animal then took his time getting to the top of the hill. Hell, he wasn’t expecting trouble while visiting his cousin and maybe he was foolish for being so cautious. Job snorted. Nothing wrong with taking some care.
Propping his shoulder against a tree, he stared down into the valley. There were five buildings now instead of the two that Travis’ older brother, Ralph, had built before he was killed. There wee three corrals with horses milling around in them. Men were coming and going from the barns, plus riding out to the range where the cattle are kept.
Job saw someone step out onto the back porch, raising a hand in his direction before going back inside.
“Should’ve known Eagle would’ve spotted me,” Job muttered, returning to his mount.
Only a few of the men paused to watch him ride in from behind the ranch. Job didn’t doubt that there were others in the barns, rifles in hand to make sure they were ready in case Job wasn’t a friend. Considering how much trouble his cousin and Eagle had from the town in the beginning, Job wasn’t about to start thinking they were being paranoid or anything like that.
“Well look what the cat dragged in.” A man stepped from the biggest barn, rifle cradled in his arms.
Job grinned. “Kerry, you bastard. What the hell are you doing here?”
Kerry, one of Travis’s younger brothers, laughed. “I decided to stick around. Make sure Travis and Eagle have someone they can trust watching their back.”
“Plus it’s not like Michael would give you any important jobs to do.” Job swung down and shook Kerry’s hand. “And when Travis leaves for family things?”
“Either I go with him or Eagle does, and I get to be in charge here.” Kerry gripped Job’s hand hard before letting go. “Travis and Eagle are up at the big house.”
“Thanks.” Job glanced at his new horse. “Where should I put him?”
“Follow me.” Kerry whirled around, leading the way back to the barn he’d just left. “What happened to your saddle?”
“Lost my horse a couple miles back. Had to leave my saddle behind. At least I got a chance to get my shit.” He walked the horse into a stall before stripping the saddlebags and blankets from the gelding’s back.
Kerry studied the horse for a moment. “That looks like one of ours.”
“Ran into Eagle’s brother, Barking Dog, and he gave it to me.” Job ran a cloth over the horse’s body, rubbing him down.
“Must be an interesting story,” Kerry commented.
“Yeah. I’ll tell you about it later.” He threw his bags over his shoulder and nodded at Kerry before heading toward the house.
Job tapped his knuckles against the doorframe while peering into the kitchen. Eagle looked up from where he leaned against the sink.
“Come on in, Job.” Eagle strolled over to pour a mug of coffee then held it out to him. “Figured you’d want some.”
Letting the bags drop to the floor, Job reached for the mug. “Thanks, friend. Wasn’t able to have any this morning.”
“You rode in on one of Barking Dog’s horses. How did you run into him?” Eagle returned to his spot at the counter.
Job flopped into the chair at the table, taking one gulp of coffee before he answered, “I had a run in with some men who’d kidnapped a Comanche girl. Got the girl out then ran with them chasing us. My horse went down a day ago and I only had a chance to grab my saddlebags before we had to hide.”
Eagle tensed. “A girl? She okay?”
“Her name is Laughing Brook and while they’d beat her up a little, she’ll be fine. I stopped them from doing anything else. Your brother and his friends found us, gave me a horse, then brought me here.” Job scrubbed his hands over his face.
“Travis went into Bitter Creek for supplies. He’ll back later on tonight. Why don’t you wash up and rest a little bit? I’m sure you haven’t been able to get some shut eye while trying to get Laughing Brook somewhere safe.” Eagle motioned towards the hallway. “I’ll show you to a room.”
“I was bringing her here, but they cornered us in a cave in a canyon. Wasn’t sure how to get out, but she found a tunnel and Barking Dog was waiting for us.” He pushed to his feet, drank the rest of his coffee and picked up his bags. “Lead on, friend.”
Job kept his gaze on Eagle’s back, not wanting to get caught staring at the man’s backside. He knew how to keep his hands to himself, especially since Travis would kill him if he thought Job was even remotely interested in his fella. Oh Eagle was a good-looking man and it didn’t matter one bit to Job that he was a half-breed. Indians could be just as good or as bad as white folks.
But he never forgot how his cousin looked at Eagle during their fight with the ranchers and the other man who tried to kill them. Job wasn’t about to destroy Travis by trying to steal Eagle from him. Job snorted silently. Like Eagle would be interested in you anyway, jackass. He loves Travis and that’s all the man can see.
Losing Sight of the Target is available now at Amber Allure. Click here. It’s part of the Winter Games PAX, so it’s on discount as well. It’s not up at ARe and Amazon yet, but as soon as it is, I’ll post a link for you all.
I’m working on Shuffle and Barefoot today. I’ll get the next installment done and posted, then I’ll be working on Barefoot. I hope to get it done by the end of the week.
I hope you have a great day.
Shuffle of Angel’s Feet copyright c. 2014 T.A. Chase
He had no way of knowing how long they’d been in the darkness before he saw a hint of light in the distance. He could also see the outline of the girl in front of him as well. Thank God. Wasn’t sure how much longer I’d be able to deal with feeling like I’ve been buried. His thankfulness disappeared when he stepped out into the sunlight and found himself surrounded by twenty Indians.
Narrowing his eyes while they adjusted to the light, he studied the men circling him. Job set his rifle down along with his saddlebags then held his hands up to show he meant no harm. They were Comanche, some of the most feared warriors in the West. He didn’t stand a chance with them, but he hoped the girl had told them he’d saved her from the other white men.
“Hey there,” he said friendly-like, not sure if they spoke English or not. “I was just helping your girl there out.”
The girl chattered at the oldest brave and Job met his gaze. There was something familiar about him, though Job didn’t know why since he rarely interacted with Indians—or white men for that matter.
“Laughing Brook says you took her from those men who stole her from us,” the brave said in pretty good English. Hell, he spoke better than Job did.
“Yeah. Crossed paths with the bastards a couple of days ago. Saw her with them and could tell they didn’t have any good use for her.” Job shrugged and relaxed a little, but he didn’t lower his hands. “Figured I should do something.”
The brave studied him. “You look like someone I know.”
Job lifted the corner of his mouth. “You do too.”
“I’m Barking Dog.” He crossed his arms over his chest.
“I’m Job Ramsey.” Job let his hands drop to his sides. “You wouldn’t be any relation to Eagle Burlington?”
Barking Dog nodded. “He’s my brother.”
Nodding, Job said, “Travis is my cousin.”
“Good.” Barking Dog turned away, saying something to the rest with him. He motioned for Job to follow. “My braves will take care of the rest of the men who took Laughing Brook. I must return her to her mother. You will come with me. We have a horse for you.”
“Appreciate it.” Job grabbed his saddlebags and rifle before trailing after the brave.
Maybe he should feel some kind of emotion about the fact those white men were going to be killed for what they’d done, but Job just couldn’t bring himself to give a shit. They were going to hurt the girl then kill her eventually. He didn’t hold with hurting women. Not that he saw them as defensive because God knew he’d seen his mother take after a man with a knife who was trying to steal one of her chickens.
No…women were perfectly capable of taking care of themselves when need be, but if those bastards were any kind of men, they’d have left her alone. Of course, a lot of white men didn’t see Indians as people and treated them like savages or worse.
Job wasn’t one of those people. Mostly because he’d actually spent more time with the Indians than his own people. He’d left Kentucky when he was sixteen and wandered west, searching for something in those far away mountains. He hadn’t found it yet, though he couldn’t tell anyone what ‘it’ was.
“Were you on your way to see Ramsey?” Barking Dog asked.
Surprised the brave had even spoken to him again, Job nodded. “Yep. Figured I’d stop by for a visit. It’s been a while since I came through this way.”
Barking Dog pursed his lips. “Nothing much has changed, though only one of Ramsey’s brothers remains at the ranch with them.”
“I’m glad Travis has family.” Then Job paused for a second before he continued, “I guess Eagle is his family now.”
“We are there and the marshal stops in once in a while when he is nearby.” Barking Dog came to a halt before letting out a bird call.
A young man stepped from the trees, leading a string of horses with him. Job spotted which one was for him. A steel dust gelding standing a head taller than the other mounts. Barking Dog gestured toward him.
“You may keep him as our thank you for rescuing Laughing Brook.”
“Thanks.” Job knew he could get a saddle from Travis when he showed up. He’d ridden bareback before. It wasn’t comfortable and he’d be aching for a while afterwards. Thank God, there’s a blanket. It’ll soften some of the ride.
The others watched as he greeted the gelding, cupping its nose in his hands and exchanging breaths with the animal. Some people didn’t think that worked, said it was just an old wife’s tale, but Job had seen a elderly Indian do it with a wild horse and it seemed to gentle the creature. He’d take all the help he’d get.
“He’s a fine piece of horseflesh,” he commented after checking the gelding’s legs and hooves. “I recognize the bloodline.”
Barking Dog laughed. “We get the odd big one foaled once in a while, so we take them to Eagle to deal with. We have no use for them.”
“Considering it was one of Travis’ studs who help cause that, I think it’s a wise decision.” Job settled his bags over the horse’s shoulders then swung up. The gelding shifted under his weight before halting. “I think we’ll get along fine.”
“Good. Let us go.” Barking Dog motioned for the others to mount.
Job was shuffled to the middle of the group as they rode off. Laughing Brook was hanging onto one of the braves who looked to be her brother or something. Job held the reins in one hand while keeping a death grip on his rifle. He couldn’t wait to get to Travis’ where he’d be able to wash up and get a good meal before sleeping for a day or two. It’d been a rough trip so far.
I know..you’re probably saying she’s missing an installment already? But unfortunately, when I got home tonight, I started not feeling well. I ended up heading right to bed instead of writing the next part of Job’s story. I’m hoping that I’ll feel better in the morning and be able to get you your installment on Friday.
I hope you all have a great Thursday. Sorry.
Shuffle of Angel’s Feet copyright c. 2014 T.A. Chase
“God dammit,” Job swore as he ducked back from the edge of the cave wall. He glanced over at the young Indian girl with him. “I really wish you spoke English or at least I had Eagle teach me some Comanche. We need to get out of here before those fellas chasing us find us. Or that storm that’s been threatening starts. Something’s telling me this canyon gets flash floods and we’ll be washed away.”
The girl merely blinked and Job frowned. “Why am I wasting time talking to you when I should be looking for a way out of here?”
This was what he got for being a good Samaritan and helping the girl. Of course, any gentleman would’ve done what he had. Job snorted then shook his head when she tilted her head at him in question.
“I’m just crazy and a idiot who loves punishment, I guess,” he muttered as he stared out into the canyon, trying to spot the men who had chased them. “Lost a damn good horse too.”
They’d shot his horse out from under him, but he’d been prepared enough to grab his saddlebags once the animal had gone down. He and the girl had food and water. He also had ammunition enough to keep them safe for a little while.
“I wish I knew where I was at the moment. I thought I was closer to Travis’ place then I am. Maybe I ended up running the other direction instead.”
It wasn’t often that he got turned around while traveling. He’d wandered through the mountains up north without any guide. Yet he’d been on his way to his cousin’s place for his bi-annual visit. Travis might start missing him if he didn’t show up soon. Yet Travis and his partner, Eagle, had no way of knowing which direction Job was coming from.
He rubbed his forehead then turned to look at the girl again. Only she wasn’t there right beside him.
“Shit!” Shoving to a crouch since he couldn’t stand up straight in the cave, he moved toward the back of the open area. “Where the hell did you go, girl?”
Once he got to where he thought the cave ended, he glanced around. He couldn’t find her anywhere. He dropped to his ass on the dirt before leaning back against the stone.
“Serves me right that she left my ass behind. That’s what I get for trying to help someone out.” Job chuckled. “Why am I sitting here talking to myself instead of getting the hell out of here?”
He crawled back to the opening and stuck his head out to see if he could spot his pursuers. A bullet slammed into the rock next to him, causing splinters to dust his face. He jerked back, swearing as he got the idea that his time was up. Picking up his rifle, he double-checked to make sure he’d loaded it.
There had only been four men and he’d taken one out when he grabbed the girl. Three men and he had the advantage because they could only approach from below, so he’d be able to see them. Of course, they could decide to try and starve him out because he didn’t have that much food on him. He tended to hunt and gather what he needed every night.
“All right, men. If that’s how you’re going to play it.” He edged to the opening again and lay down to sight along the barrel of his rifle. He spotted one of the men hunched next to a big boulder.
Inhaling then slowly exhaling, he squeezed the trigger. The retort of the gunshot echoed through the cave and the canyon. He grinned when the man jumped up as the bullet clipped the boulder. If Job had wanted to, he could’ve killed the man right then, but he really wasn’t interested in shooting anyone lately. Had already done that at the start of this adventure.
Something hit him hard in the back of the head. Whirling around as best he could in the cramped space, he glared at the Comanche girl, who knelt at the back and gestured wildly to him.
“Where the hell did you come from?” He scooted back until he could join her.
She grabbed his hand, tugging on it to lead him toward one corner.
“I looked here, girl. Are you telling me there’s a secret entrance or something?” Job watched as she slipped into a crack in the rock face. “Well I’ll be damned. I never would’ve seen it this without you here. Guess you understood me better than I thought.”
He snatched up his saddlebags and began to work his way through the crack into the small tunnel behind it. The only thing keeping him from freaking out about how close it felt in the darkness was the knowledge that the girl was somewhere ahead of him and the fresh breeze blowing by his ear. Somewhere in front was another opening to the outside and he wanted to find it.
I’m so happy you’ve chimed in on what you’d like to see next on the blog. I’m going to take the weekend and think about them all. By Tuesday, I should have made a decision and written up a little blurb and picked out pics for the guys. I’ll be honest and say that I’m leaning towards either Job’s story from Bitter Creek or maybe a story set in Angel’s world. I haven’t written a historical in a long time and I think that’s what I’m interested in. Since lately I’ve been doing a lot of contemporaries.
And for those of you who have asked for stories set in the Home world to see how the guys are doing. Don’t worry. I have a spin-off series coming out next year. It’s titled Merging Violently, which is the name of the band in this series. It’ll featuring Merging Violently, an up-and-coming rock band that Derek has signed to his new label. They’re at Derek and Max’s ranch to record their first album. There the members of the band meet Cody (Home of his Own), Edward (Wishing for a Home), Matt (Leaving Home) and Scout (Home Sweet Home). So you get to see these secondary characters get their own HEA, but also there will be camos from the guys from the Home books. I promise.
Well, I’m off to run errands then I’ll be home working on Barefoot Dancing. Have a great Thursday.
Today is the day where you all get to tell me what kind of blog story you’d like to see next. I’ll be writing the next Preternatural book in November or so for release at some point early next year. I don’t have a problem writing just about any genre, so let me know what you’re thinking.
Have a great Tuesday.
Here’s the cover for Why I Love Bodyguards. I can’t wait to have all three of them in print side by side. This will be out in ebook form on September 14th. The paperback will probably be out in October. I added an epilogue and let you know what happened with Burke’s parents.
I’m hoping to get something for the new blog story up tomorrow. It might not be anything more than a little survey on which genre you’d like to read. but I will have something.
I’m working on Barefoot Dancing, Book 6 in Rags to Riches. Also, Search and Rescue for Amber Allure. And A Bittersweet Haunting, which I’m writing with Jackie Nacht and we’re hoping that will be done this week. It’ll be sent to MLR Press.
Once those three books are done, I’m going to finish up a YA I’d started a while ago. Decided to split it into two books instead of one really long one. So to be honest, book one is almost done. It shouldn’t take long for me to get it done and turned in. Then I’ll work on book two along with the sequel to Mountains to Climb. That one will be Climbing the Savage Mountain. I’ll be doing a lot of research on mountain climbing and K2, which is nicknamed the Savage Mountain.
I hope you all have a wonderful Monday. I’m off for a run then I’ll be back to write. Yay!