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Teaser Tuesday: Stained by Ashes

I got more comments back on Stained by Ashes from one of my beta readers this morning, so that’s what I’ll be sharing from today. A little bit from Chapter 2 and a hint of some trouble to come.

Adam lifted his hand in a wave to his boss and waited for the wagon to approach him. “Patrick, what are you doing out here? I was riding back to the ranch.”

“So soon? I wasn’t expecting you until sometime tomorrow, Adam.”

Adam shifted in the saddle, his shoulders lifting and falling again. “I didn’t stay as long as I planned.”

“I can see that.” He didn’t say more than that. Adam had told him about the last receptions he’d gotten there. “I’m heading into town for a meeting with the other ranchers. I planned to stock up on supplies before I headed back in the morning.”

“What are you meeting about?” Adam turned his horse so he rode beside the wagon. “Rustlers again?”

Patrick shook his head. “Homesteaders. Some of the ranchers, mostly the bigger operations, think they pose a problem.”

“Since when does making their own way pose a threat?”

“Never said I agreed.” He fell silent for a few minutes. “Most of the ranchers around here haven’t even purchased the land they claim. Twenty years ago they only had to build on it.”

“What about yours?”

Patrick shook his head. “Not when I first built here. I filed the deed later when more people came in. Will’s is filed, too. No one can take our land away without a fight.”

Adam’s jaw clenched, and his hands tightened on the reins briefly. It was his most common reaction when someone mentioned the other man’s name. He liked William, really he did. They even formed a sort of friendship while working together in Colorado.

Still, every time he heard that name, he had that irrational spurt of jealousy. It made no sense.

Maggie had never been his.

Still hoping to have this out sometime this summer.

Teaser Tuesday: “Away From That One”

Time for another teaser from an upcoming release. I’m still teasing you about Stained by Ashes. I have it back from one beta reader, but I’m waiting to get it back from the other before I start edits on it. So, still no official release date. But, you can always read Stained Snow while you’re waiting. 😉

Two steps took him to the side of the horse she currently stroked. He tipped his hat forward. “Ma’am.”

Her head jerked up at his voice, and irritation turned to interest. Her face went blank. “Sir, if you’ll excuse me.” She stepped back.

“Do you need help with anything?”

Her gaze flicked across the street, he imagined to look for her father and brother. Whether because she feared what they would do if they came over, or uncomfortable and wanting help, he didn’t know.

“Thank you, sir, but my brother has it handled. Now, please, I’d ask you to leave.”

Fear shone in her eyes, and he didn’t think she directed it at him. He nodded at her and took a step back, lifting his fingers to tip his hat again. “Good day then, Ma’am.”

She kept her eyes on him as he took another step back. He didn’t want to take his from her, but he had to turn before he ran into someone else. As he did, Lucas and Louis crossed the street toward them. The old man’s eyes were trained on his daughter, but her brother glared right at him. He veered away from his father and came toward Adam.

Adam settled his hat further on his head and stepped away. He’d moved too late. Louis caught him, wrapping his fingers around Adam’s arm. “Keep your dirty paws off my sister, half-breed. You won’t make her your squaw.”

Rage boiled under his skin, in his blood. That was all these people would ever see him as. He had too much of his mother’s blood to fit in with them, and too much of his father in him to let it go. He pushed Louis away from him. “I didn’t have my hands on her. I asked if she needed some help. And I have no desire to take a wife.” That was a lie, but he wouldn’t let it show. He wouldn’t like anything more than to find someone to marry, someone he could make a family with. Like he’d dreamed of doing with Maggie.

“Louis, leave him alone.” Her soft voice came from behind him. “He did nothing. People are allowed to speak to me when I’m in town.”

“Not him. Get in the wagon, Leah. We’re going home.”

She trembled for a moment then turned to do that. He wanted to strike out at the man for talking to her like that, for putting that fear in her eyes. Before he could do more than think it, Patrick spoke his name. “Come on,” he said when Adam turned to him. “We have things to see to before we head home.”

He hesitated, trembling with outrage as the younger brother jumped into the back with his sister. Then the wagon pulled away. He saw Leah watching him before it disappeared down the street.

“Adam, come,” Patrick said again. “We have things to do.”

A breath shuddered out of him, but he followed his boss. As they moved down the street, Patrick set his hand on Adam’s shoulder. “It’d be better to stay away, Adam. I don’t think about you what they do, but Kline would never let anything happen between you two. You should keep even your eyes away from that one.”

He’d told himself that when he first saw her. It still stung to hear someone else say it, but he kept his face impassive as he looked at Patrick. “I don’t have my eye turned toward anyone. Let’s get that stuff so we can get out of here.”

He had no desire to be in town anymore.

Teaser Tuesday: Leah

Time for another teaser from Stained by Ashes. This is now off with a couple beta readers. Once I have it back, I’ll have a better idea of a release date. For right now, I’m saying it will be this summer. Last week, we met Adam. So, today, this is where we meet Leah for the first time.

Leah Kline held on to the horse’s bridle. She knew who she needed to deal with to get her way. “Come on, Barrett. I’m so tired of being stuck out here. I want to go into town. It’s not like I’m going to listen in on your precious meeting.”

“I don’t have a problem with you going into town, Leah,” Barrett said as he tightened a harness strap. “I know Father already told you no. Do you think I want to go up against him? Especially when Louis will back him up.”

“You can convince him, Bare. You’ve always been able to charm him.”

Barrett snorted at that. “You’re the one has him wrapped around your finger, Sister, not me. If you can’t convince him, I won’t.”

Leah leaned her head against the horse’s neck. “He doesn’t want to listen to me. The only thing he cares about is this fight with those farmers.”

“He’s trying to protect all of us, Leah.”

“I know, but it’s just going to town,” she said. “Nothing’s going to happen while we’re there. I don’t see why I have to stay here all the time. I feel like a prisoner.”

“You are not a prisoner, and you know it.”

She winced at the voice behind her. She hadn’t realized her father was near enough to hear her words. She looked up at him. “Pa.”

He brushed her off and moved to the other side of the wagon. “Get in the wagon if it is so important for you to go.”

The smile spread across her face, and she headed for the back of the wagon. “Told ya,” Barrett said as she passed him.

She resisted the urge to stick her tongue out at him as she would have when she was younger. She wanted her father and brothers to take her seriously. She couldn’t act so childish.

“I would not be so smug, Barrett,” their father said. “You will be staying with her and keeping her out of trouble.”

And while waiting for Stained by Ashes to release, you can always read Stained Snow if you haven’t yet. If you have, thank you and I hope you enjoyed!

Teaser Tuesday: Stained by Ashes

Stained Snow released on Friday, so no more teasers on that one! But you can buy it on Kindle or borrow if you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription. So now I’ll start teasing for the next book, Stained by Ashes. For anyone who has already read Stained Snow, you’ll recognize this character.

Adam’s jaw clenched, and his hands tightened on the reins briefly. It was his most common reaction when the other man’s name was mentioned. He liked William, really he did. They had even formed a sort of friendship while working together in Colorado.

Still, every time he heard that name, he had that irrational spurt of jealousy. It made no sense.

Maggie had never been his.

He shoved away those thoughts. “Who’s leading this charge?”

Now, Patrick’s face tightened. “Lucas Kline. He has the biggest holdings and the most to lose. And he’s the devil’s own spawn.”

Adam hadn’t had much to do with the old man. He’d had a few run-ins with his son, Louis, though. Another son, Barrett, had kept those run-ins from getting too violent. Adam had heard something about a daughter as well, but he’d never seen her in town.

“What’s your position?” Adam decided to let the comment on the cattle baron pass. He couldn’t disagree, and that conversation wouldn’t go anywhere.

“They’re not hurting anyone, and these barons have land to spare. Like you said, these farmers are trying to make a life for themselves here.” They rode in silence for a few minutes before Patrick added, “I’d like to stay out of it, but I feel a war coming. I’d like to stop that if I can.”

Adam kept his own thoughts to himself even as they ran the same path as Patrick’s. He wasn’t so sure anything they did could stop a war if enough men, with more power than them, were intent on starting it.

I’m hoping to have this one ready to publish early this summer. Now, I just have to finish getting it polished and sent to beta readers.

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