This will probably be the final teaser from Stained Blood. At least until I’m making the final edits to it. I’ll have it polished and hopefully sent to betas by the end of this week. My CP also said she should have Flames of Renewal(Flames #2) back to me sometime this week. So, I’ll be working on edits for that shortly. but, one more piece of Barrett & Deryn’s story.
Barrett sank into a chair, unsure how much of the truth he should include. He kept his words clipped, even though he feared it would alert the sheriff. He couldn’t force himself to keep up his usual garrulous image. “He’s got a poster with Deryn’s likeness. Says her name is Adara Monihan. She’s his sister-in-law.” His jaw tightened, and he opened and closed his fists a couple times until he forced himself to relax it. “What he’s accusing her of…I won’t say she’s innocent, but it’s not what he makes it out to be.”
The sheriff’s face hardened. “What’s she accused of, Kline? I don’t want to be harboring an outlaw in my town.”
Barrett let out a brief snort. “Outlaw? You’ve looked at her, right? Does she look like an outlaw to you, Carl? Would you have called Leah one if she’d managed to bash one of her captors over the head and escape before we got to her?” He didn’t want to tell Deryn’s truth, whatever it was. But, he did want to get his point across.
Now, the man’s face paled a little. “Of course not, Barrett. She would have done what she had to to survive.”
He gave a short nod. “As did Deryn. If you hand her over to him, I fear she wouldn’t even make it to the railroad.”
Carl laced his fingers behind his head and leaned back in his chair. “It’s no secret in this town you’ve started courting her, Kline. How do I know you are not trying to cover for her.”
Barrett pushed to his feet. “You would ask that of me?”
“Well, your own father did help cover up nearly half a dozen killings. Could say it runs through the blood.”
Flames consumed him as he stood there staring at the sheriff. He grew so hot, the edge of his vision became a red haze. “You would ask that of me?” he questioned again. “Didn’t I do whatever it took to find Leah when my own brother would have had you railroad an innocent man? Didn’t I testify to everything I knew and suspected my own blood had done? Yet, still you believe mine is tainted.”
I’m back with another Teaser Tuesday from Stained Blood. This comes from another new scene I’ve added into the story. Barrett’s about to learn something new about his friend, though he’s not quite ready to process it yet.
Matthew reclined back against a mound of hay, his hair was mussed, his cheeks flushed a bright red. And his lips looked swollen. A couple buttons were undone on his shirt, the material gaping where others were in the wrong holes. Barrett knew that look. Barrett had sported that look often enough himself.
Then, he turned his head and stared at Jacob. His dark hair was mussed as well, sticking up at angles as if it had been pulled that way. Where Matthew’s face was flushed, his was pale. Only one button of his shirt was buttoned, the rest gaping open, and that certainly looked like a bite right below his collarbone.
Barrett shook his head as his mind tried to put the pieces together. He took a step back, his head still shaking from one side to the other. No. He hadn’t seen what his eyes told him he had. Only one thing made one look like that. And there was no woman in sight.
“Barrett, where are you going?” Jacob asked. Even his lips looked like the color had drained from them.
“Out. I need to get out of here.” He couldn’t even think about this right now. Not at all.
“You aren’t…you’re not going to tell anyone. Are you?” His voice quivered as if he feared the answer to that.
“What would I tell them, Jacob?” he asked. “I don’t know a damn thing.”
Just what was going on before Barrett arrived? What will Barrett do with this information? How will Jacob act around him now? All things I’m trying to work into the following scenes(since this wasn’t in the first version…Jacob didn’t really start talking to me until I’d finished it).
I have another teaser for you from Stained Blood. This is another new scene for this draft. There are spoilers for Stained by Ashes if you haven’t read it and plan to.
He shouldn’t be worrying about it so much. It was not his problem to find a solution for. His father was gone, likely in California right now. Unless he’d gotten off the train somewhere else. It didn’t matter, as long as he wasn’t back here. Louis was dead and buried, his wife, Lorena back with her family in Nebraska. At least the last he heard she was. And Leah was married to Adam. No longer his problem.
Leah had never actually been a problem for him. But, she wasn’t a worry for him anymore either. The only one he had to worry about now was himself. He snorted at that thought. His father would have said that was the only person he’d ever worried about.
Sometimes he worried his father was right.
Something down the street caught his attention. Jacob was standing down in the street, his hands on someone’s shoulders. Matthew, he realized after a moment. He was the only man in town who dressed any dandier than Barrett himself. Barrett smiled a little at that thought and brushed a hand down his brocade vest. He started toward them then realized they were arguing. Jacob shook his head vigorously, but Matthew nodded and put his hands on Jacob’s shoulders. Then, he cupped the other man’s neck, only for an instant. Then, they were stepping back from each other, Jacob’s shoulders slumping slightly.
What had just gone on between them? Barrett couldn’t put his finger on it. But, something had definitely happened.
So what is going on between those two? What is Barrett worrying about?
Back with another teaser from Stained Blood. I’ve been making progress on adding words to the next draft. A little more than 3000 words this month. I’m hoping to have this done by the end of March then off to beta readers. For today, I have some words I just wrote this morning.
He stepped down into the street and headed toward the stable. Maybe he just needed to get out of town for a little while. It wouldn’t solve any of his problems, but maybe he could think if he didn’t feel like everyone was watching him so carefully. Like they were just waiting for him to turn into his father or older brother.
How long would it take for them to believe he wasn’t like them? How long would it take for him to believe it?
He shook away that thought. He knew he wasn’t them. But, that fear lingered. He couldn’t drown it even with bottles and bottles of whiskey. He’d certainly tried over the last several months.
No more. He had to find a better way of dealing with the rioting storm inside him. Even if that meant galloping his horse across the hills until they were both worn down. He’d saddle up now and not return until the sun was setting if that was what it took.
Barrett stepped into the stable and saw Jacob first. Only a moment later he noticed the other figure standing there. And another moment before he recognized Matthew Johnson, the sheriff’s oldest son and only one from his first marriage. A woman he’d lost around the same time Barrett’s father had moved them to the territory.
Matthew hadn’t been around town for a while. There were stories of where he might be, as there usually were. Barrett wasn’t going to try to guess which ones were true. He always figured it would be easier to just ask. “Matthew,” he greeted. “I wasn’t aware you were in town.”
“Just arrived on this morning’s stage,” he said, not quite meeting his eyes. Neither did Jacob. Which was quite odd indeed. “I should be going, Jacob. See if my father is up to a visit with me.”
There was some strain there, but Barrett was unaware of what had caused it. And it wasn’t his issue to worry about. Jacob nodded and patted the other’s man’s arm as he stepped away. “Where has he been?” Barrett asked when it was only the two of them again.
“He was writing for a paper over in Lincoln. He’s been in Caspar the last few weeks, though. I don’t know how long he plans to stay in town. It may depend on how his father receives him.”
There was something in Jacob’s voice that Barrett just couldn’t place. And he wasn’t going to strain to figure it out. Not his business, he reminded himself. Jacob was a friend, but if he didn’t want to confide in Barrett there wasn’t anything he could do about it.
“I was going to take my horse out,” he told the other man.
“I’ll get him for you.”
“I can take care of it.” He knew it might be part of Jacob’s job, but he was perfectly capable of doing this himself.
“I know you can. But, I wished to speak to you anyway.”
Just what secrets are being kept around here? And what’s up with Matthew? I’ll let you know…when I find out. 😉 He just showed up during this draft. I know some of what’s going on but as usual my characters like to keep some things from me until they’re good and ready to let me know. 🙂