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Teaser Tuesday: Surprise

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).

Teaser Tuesday: Change Coming

I’m back with another teaser from Stained Blood. This one comes right after last week’s.

Carl was scowling now as Jacob continued to talk. His gaze shifted to his son then back to the man challenging him. “You can’t really mean to do this,” he finally said.
“I do,” Jacob insisted. “You’ve had your chance with this town. Now, I think it’s time for something different.”
“You’ll never convince this town you have its best interests in mind. You’re nothing but a shiftless rambler. Everyone knows it. You have to stick around town to be able to protect it.”
Barrett watched every muscle in Jacob’s neck and face tighten. “There’s a lot you don’t know about me, sheriff, if that’s what you really believe. And there’s a lot more to keeping the people in this town safe than just pinning a badge on your chest and kicking your feet up on the desk in there.”
Carl’s face went red at that, and Barrett jumped in. “That’s great, Jacob. I’m glad you took my advice and decided to run in this race.” He turned to look at the sheriff. “After all, what kind of race would it be if you were running all by yourself?”
Carl turned his scowl on Barrett, but it seemed to disarm him at the same time. The red faded from his face and his breathing settled, his fists finally unclenching. “I can’t stop you,” he spit into the dirt at Jacob’s feet. “But don’t think it will be so easy to best me.”

So, is change going to come to this town? Or will everything end up staying the same?

Teaser Tuesday: Secrets

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. 🙂

Teaser Tuesday: ‘Fighting Dirty’

I have one more teaser from Stained by Ashes. I’m just going through the final polish of this, so I probably won’t be sharing any more from this. The good news: it will be available to read fully soon. This week’s teaser picks up right after last week’s. Here it is:

Louis didn’t have any hesitations in fighting dirty. Even as Adam pinned his legs to the ground, Louis was digging his thumb into Adam’s wound. Everything around him went a bright white, and a scream wrenched out of him. Somehow he kept his grip on Louis through it.

As his vision cleared again, Louis’ hand reached up toward him. Blood covered his fingers. Wet, sticky blood. Adam’s blood. More of it would cover the ground soon if he didn’t stop this.

He ignored the hand reaching for him and shot his fist into Louis’ jaw. The other man’s head knocked back, but he only had a moment before Louis was heaving him off. Trying to, at least. Adam held on. Until Louis reached for his face, his thumb trying to gouge out Adam’s eye.

Adam jerked back, and Louis’ nail scraped the corner of his eye. It still brought a stinging pain, and blood painted Adam’s cheek from Louis’ other fingers. He shuddered a little, then plowed his fist into Louis’ stomach before leaping to his feet. He got ready for Louis to come at him again, but, a scream came from the cabin.

Leah.

He turned back, worried what Louis would do while his back was turned. The other man was already scrambling into his saddle. Lucas sat slumped in his own saddle, glancing between the two of them and the cabin.

“Your daughter is in danger, and you do nothing but sit there,” Adam said, contempt dripping from his voice. “You disgust me.”

Louis was already racing off, and for a moment, Adam thought about chasing him down. Leah needed him more right now. He started to run toward the cabin, pulling out his own gun, but pain sliced through him with every step. Blood ran down his side, and he clamped his free hand over it, wishing that was enough to get it to stop. He wouldn’t let himself bleed to death before Leah was safe. It couldn’t happen.

Is Adam going to be okay? Will he get to Leah in time? Or will she save herself? You’ll have to read the whole story to find out. 😉

Teaser Tuesday: “Not a Killer”

I got the rest of the chapters of Stained by Ashes back from my second beta reader last week. I’m still working through them, but I’m almost done, then I’ll have to do a final clean-up round of editing. I’ll have it out before the official end of summer, though. Getting really close now.

And for today, here’s a little teaser(from some added material):

“Louis, no,” his father said. “You’re not a killer.”

A smirk twisted Louis’ face. “Taking care of trash like this doesn’t count as killing, Father.”

But, Lucas had distracted Louis enough for Adam to close the distance between them. By the time Louis turned back to him, Adam was close enough to bring his boot up and knock the gun from his hand with a swift kick.

“What’d you do to her?” Adam asked, grabbing onto the front of Louis’ shirt.

“The better question is what did you? Wasn’t it bad enough to ruin her reputation?”

“I love her,” Adam said between gritted teeth. “I-“

Louis jabbed at Adam’s side, connecting with the skin that had just been torn by a bullet. White hot pain stabbed through him, and his knee gave out. He felt a boot connect with his other side, then his hands smacked against the ground.

He only took time to drag in a painful breath then lunged back to his feet. Louis was already raising a fist to swing at him, but Adam went in close, so he couldn’t land the blow. Adam brought his own knee up into Louis’ stomach, then with his arms around the other man, threw them both to the ground.

The landing had bright colors flashing through his head as pain surged through him. Louis tried to scramble away from him, but Adam had spent his early years wrestling with boys who thought they were better, stronger, smarter than him. He knew how to fight like this. When he wasn’t being held at gunpoint or having his arms held behind him.

 

Teaser Tuesday: Louis Did

Working on more of Stained by Ashes today. Well, transcribing my second beta reader’s notes into the master file actually. Have through Chapter 21 done for now. For today, I’ll share some of the last that I edited yesterday. From Chapter 19:

She shook her head, but the pain in his voice felt like it ripped her heart out. She took a step forward and unable to stop herself, reached up to run a finger along his jaw. He didn’t flinch like she’d been afraid he would, but he stood completely still. “Adam.” He shuddered then lowered his eyes to hers. She saw the pain there, and the longing. It was too much, and she dropped her hand. “You keep saying they, but you think my father did it.”

“Or he hired someone. There were three other men. He didn’t have a chance. They didn’t give him one.”

“You tracked them? To our ranch?”

He hesitated. “I lost the trail west of it. Close enough to meet up when the job was done.”

Her stomach twisted at his words. “Pa never goes out that way.” Louis did. She’d seen him meeting some friends out that way before. “Adam, please stay away.”

“Leah, if he-”

She held up a hand, her fingers barely caressing his lips. “It wasn’t my pa. I’m sure he’s done things I won’t agree with, maybe a lot of things, but he didn’t kill your pa.”

“Who else would have done it?”

She thought about saying it, but she couldn’t voice that. She and Louis had never gotten along, but he was still her brother. She shook her head. “Please stay away, Adam. I don’t want you hurt, but I can’t let you come after my pa because you lost yours.” She turned away as a tear slipped down her cheek. She hurried to her horse and climbed into the saddle. Adam cried her name but she kicked the mare into a lope, needing to get away before it all tore her in two.

If things keep going the way they are, I shouldn’t have a problem having this out before the official end of the summer. Hoping for that at least.

Teaser Tuesday: Stolen Moments

I just finished editing all the chapters I’ve gotten back from my beta reader for Stained by Ashes. I should be getting more back soon, but for now, I have a teaser from the beginning of the first chapter I don’t have back yet. Things have been going good for Adam(and you may be able to figure out what happened just before this), but they’re about to take a turn:

Adam sat on his horse, watching as Leah rode off, deeper into Kline land. He wanted to ride the rest of the way with her, or even better, taken her back to the Bailey ranch. Neither would have been a good choice. He knew that, even if he despised the truth of it. He hadn’t wanted to let her go at all, but they had shared one more kiss before parting. If he kept her with him, he didn’t doubt her father would have him in shackles for abduction. It wouldn’t matter what Leah said. This was best for now.

He stayed there until she moved out of sight. He turned his horse. He’d felt so light when they left the cabin, until he’d had to say goodbye to her. Now, a heavy weight laid on his chest. He wondered if it was his fear he’d never see her again. He wanted more than these stolen moments with her. He needed them.

He couldn’t have them.

Adam ran a hand through his hair then shoved his hat back down on his head and headed back for Patrick’s ranch. He shouldn’t have been missed yet. Although if he couldn’t get this crazy grin off his face, he wouldn’t be able to lie about why it took him so long to return. Everyone would know.

Yet his lips pursed, and he whistled a tune as he rode back toward the Bailey ranch. He turned off the main trail, knowing a less used one that would get him back home faster. Not that he was ready to push aside what had happened this day. He’d have to stop thinking about it if he didn’t want everyone to know. Also, the sooner he returned, the less questions there would be. He wasn’t sure he could lie about what had happened today.

He crossed a stream, guiding the horse through the trees. The ground remained soft from the hard rain they’d had days before. He tried to nudge the horse around the worst of the mud. Not that the animal needed a lot of help. He had a good feel for where to walk.

Adam had only ridden maybe a mile when he realized something was wrong. It could be his presence that had the birds quiet, but that was unlikely. They would have flown out ahead of his arrival if he disturbed them. There was something else here. He saw the birds perched in the trees, other animals hiding in the brush, but none of them moved. Almost as if they sent off a signal to some instinct in him.

Still planning to have this out next month, before the official end of summer.

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