Halloween Treat: Texas Druids #3 Sample, Scene 3


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BOO! Here’s the final (long) scene in Chapter One of Dearest Druid, the conclusion of my Texas Druids trilogy. If you enjoy it, let me know by hitting the like button. You can also help get the word out by tweeting and reposting on Facebook.

Rose lay tossing and turning in her bed. The house was silent. No doubt everyone else had long since fallen asleep. Not her. Her mind kept dwelling on Jack, wondering if she’d been wrong not to use her healing power on his wound. Truly, it ought to heal well enough on its own if he didn’t get it dirty. If he did, infection might set in, leading to far worse trouble.

She could have saved herself the worry, and him a good deal of discomfort, by laying her hands on his torn flesh, but she hadn’t wanted to confirm his suspicion that she possessed some sort of magic. What if he went around telling everyone? She couldn’t chance that. They’d likely believe her a witch, as many had done when she was a girl in Chicago, and in the convent after . . . . No! She refused to relive the dreadful events leading to her expulsion by Mother Superior – and the horror that followed.

Forcing her restless mind onto a different path, she wondered how the injured horse was faring. Tye had stabled the animal in the barn but couldn’t get close enough to examine his leg for fear of being trampled. He hoped the fractious stallion would calm down by morning. Was his leg broken? Rose hated to think of the poor creature suffering.

Slipping out of bed, she shivered as her bare feet touched the floor. The night had turned chilly. Hugging herself, she padded over to the window. It overlooked the ranch yard, affording her a view of the barn and bunkhouse, where the ranch hands were quartered. No light shown from either building. Coming to a decision, she donned the dress she’d removed earlier, stepped into her scuffed high-tops and laced them up. She grabbed her shawl and, realizing she would need light to examine the horse’s leg, crossed to her dresser and picked up a squat oil lamp and a lucifer to light it.

As quietly as possible, she crept from her room and down the stairs, ears tuned to any sound from the sleeping household. Once outside, she paused to look at the bunkhouse again. Still seeing no light or sign of movement, she set off toward the barn, stepping carefully in the dark.

The barn doors were closed. Lifting the heavy wooden bar that held them shut was no easy task, but she managed it without making too much noise. A glance around assured her she went unobserved. Retrieving her lamp from the ground where she’d set it, she drew one door slightly ajar and edged into the humid, animal scented interior. It was pitch dark without even the meager light of stars and moon.

Fishing the lucifer from her pocket, she fumbled a bit, but finally succeeded in striking the match and lighting her lamp. With the darkness held at bay, she walked past a stall occupied by a sleepy mare and her foal, another that stood empty, then paused outside a third. Within stood the angry stallion. Only the animal didn’t appear angry now; he looked forlorn with his head down, facing a far corner.

Witch jack o' lantern flipped    Witch jack o' lantern

Jack eased past the open barn door and glided noiselessly into a dark corner where Miss Devlin wasn’t likely to see him if she happened to glance his way. Unable to sleep thanks to the aching gash in his back and his unwanted thoughts of Tye Devlin’s pretty sister, he’d gone for a walk. Moments ago, he’d been on his way back to the bunkhouse, determined to sleep, when he spotted the young woman leaving the main house. Curious, he’d followed her to the barn, careful to remain in deep shadows in case she turned to look behind her.

Now, he watched her walk quietly to the last stall on the left, where Tye had placed the troublesome stallion. She paused outside the enclosure, raised her lamp to see the horse, and began to speak in a soft tone. Jack crept closer, straining to hear what she said.

“Hello, darlin’. Come here to me. Ye needn’t be afraid. If you’ll let me, I’ll try to take the pain away.” She continued to croon reassuring words until, to Jack’s amazement, the horse limped over to her and extended his head over the stall gate. As docile as a pet pony, he allowed her to scratch his forehead and rub his muzzle. All the while, she kept talking to him in that soft, sweet tone.

Jack was fascinated by the sight, but when she lifted the latch, preparing to enter the stall, he tensed in alarm. He opened his mouth, ready to order her not to go in there with the dangerous stallion, but something stopped him, perhaps the horse’s calm behavior. Or mere curiosity to see what the fool white woman would do next. Edging closer still, he watched her enter the stall. She didn’t bother closing the gate, and Jack expected the mustang to make a break for freedom, but surprisingly, the horse didn’t move.

Setting her lamp down near the gate, Miss Devlin slowly approached him, offering her hand. He snuffled at it and allowed her to step close. She gently stroked his neck, causing a visible tremor to pass over the glossy brown surface. The stallion butted her gently with his head, obviously liking her touch. She giggled and scratched around his ears. Jack shook his head, hardly believing his own eyes. The woman sure did have a way with horses.

She went on talking to the big brute as she slowly stroked downward along his injured right foreleg. He gave no sign of fear or rebellion, although he did shift sideways when she touched the soar area. She said something Jack couldn’t understand – in Irish? – and the horse immediately settled. Then she squatted, rubbed her hands together briskly, and wrapped them around the swollen part of his leg. She bent her head and her lips moved, praying, Jack guessed.

All at once the stallion whinnied and danced away from her. Jack prepared to dash into the stall and drag her to safety, but she calmly rose and resumed speaking to the wary horse.

“There now, don’t be afraid. I’m sorry it hurt for a moment. ’Tis feeling better now, aye? By morning you’ll not know ’twas ever sprained.” She moved close again, patted the mustang’s neck and gave him another good scratch around his ears. He nickered softly in response.

“There’s a good lad,” she murmured. “Now, I’d best be getting back to my bed. Good night to ye.” With a final pat, she bent to pick up her lamp and exited the stall.

While she paused to latch the gate, Jack slipped out of the barn, not wanting to get locked in there. He hid himself in deep shadows again and waited while the young woman struggled to replace the heavy board that barred the doors. He would have helped, but didn’t want her to know he’d been spying on her. He also didn’t want to frighten her.

Once she was safely back in the main house, he headed for his bunk. Sleep eluded him as before, this time because he was anxious for daylight so he could see the results of Miss Devlin’s midnight visit. As soon as dawn broke, he rolled out of bed, pulled on his boots and strode back to the barn. When he stopped outside the stallion’s stall, the horse neighed angrily and charge the gate. However, he didn’t try to knock it down, evidently having learned his lesson yesterday. He stopped short, stuck his head out and bared his teeth. Smiling at the threatening display, Jack stayed well out of reach.

What interested him was the horse’s right foreleg. Crouching to look it over between the slats in the gate, he clearly saw the swelling had disappeared and the horse wasn’t favoring the leg at all. It appeared completely healed. Jack straightened and slowly retraced his steps to the barn’s open doorway. Crossing his arms, he stared at the house.

“So, Rose Devlin, you do have magic. You’re a medicine woman.” He chuckled. “You’re also a little liar.”

Haunted house

Halloween Treat: Texas Druids #3 Sample, Scene 2


As promised, here’s the second scene from Chapter One of Dearest Druid.

In the kitchen of the main house, Rose gathered a pan of water and a rag while Jack swung a chair around at the table and straddled it. Uncomfortably aware of him, she waited for him to unbutton his shirt and push it down, allowing her to see the cut running across his left shoulder blade. Hesitantly, she stepped close and began to gently wipe blood from around the wound with the dampened rag. Her tall sister-in-law, Lil, stood watching nearby. Tye had already gone back out to the corral, wanting to examine the stallion’s injured leg.

“It doesn’t look too bad,” Lil commented. Her protruding stomach brushed Rose’s arm as she bent close to study the wound. She was due to give birth to her and Tye’s first child in late March or early April.

“Nay, the cut isn’t very deep,” Rose agreed.

“Do you need me to fetch a needle and thread?”

Rose shook her head. “I think not. A bit of healing salve would help, but I haven’t any with me.”

“That’s all right. Ma keeps a jar of the stuff, something her ma’s people use. I’ll get it.”

Left alone with Jack, Rose nervously cleared her throat. “I need to wash out the cut. ’Twill hurt a bit.”

“Go ahead,” he said, the first words he’d spoken to her since entering the house.

Biting her lip, Rose wiped bits of wood and dirt from his wound as gently as she could. He didn’t so much as twitch, causing her to admire his fortitude. While working over him, she contemplated his copper skin. She’d thought his face to be dark from working outside in the sun, but he was the same copper color beneath his shirt. It suddenly dawned on her that he must be an Indian. Her heart skipped a beat and a tremor of fear raced through her. She’d heard stories of terrible atrocities committed by Indians upon white settlers. Lil and her mother were part Cherokee, though, and she’d never been afraid of them. But Jack was a man. White or red, that was reason enough to fear him. Yet, she couldn’t forget he’d saved her from injury, possibly even death, with no thought for his own safety.

Warily stepping around him to rinse out her rag in the pan of water, Rose surreptitiously studied her silent companion. His features were square-cut, with a high brow, hawkish nose and sharply chiseled mouth, bringing to mind the term noble savage. He turned his head and caught her watching him. Face heating, she lowered her eyes and hastily returned to cleaning his wound. To her dismay, she encountered a small, jagged edge of wood embedded near the top of the gash. “Begorra! You’ve a sliver buried under your skin. I’ll have to remove it.”

“Do it,” Jack said curtly.

By now, Lil had returned with a small jar, which she deposited on the table. Looking up, Rose asked, “D’ye perchance have some nippers I could use to pull out the sliver?”

“Nippers?” Lil looked mystified.

“Uh. Tweezers, I mean.”

“Oh. Yeah, I think Ma has a pair. I’ll see if I can find ’em.”

Again, Rose found herself alone with her stoic patient. She couldn’t think of a thing to say. Hoping Lil would hurry, she wiped more blood from Jack’s seeping wound, then rinsed out the rag once again.

“You come from Chicago?” Jack asked, drawing her surprised glance.

“Aye, I did.”

“Mm, I figured.”

“Ye did? How did ye . . .? Oh, ye knew Tye and my sister came from there, I suppose.”

He nodded. “You got more kin up there?”

“Only Da. Um, my father, I mean,” she explained, wringing out the washrag.

He didn’t say anything more. Stepping behind him to dab at the troublesome cut, Rose dared to inquire, “And yourself? Where d’ye come from?”

After a moment’s silence, he said, “I grew up in Texas, up near the Red River, but I’ve moved around since then.”

“I see.” She wanted to ask where he’d moved around to, but Lil returned at that moment.

“Here you go.” She handed Rose a pair of tweezers that had seen better days. “They’re kind of bent.”

“They’ll do,” Rose said, squeezing the small instrument. Finding it operable, she stepped close to Jack. “Are ye ready?”

“Do it,” he repeated.

“Very well.” Rose gingerly probed with the tweezers, trying to get hold of the end of the embedded sliver. When she finally succeeded, she took a deep breath and pulled.

Jack sat stone still through the probing process, but Rose felt him stiffen as she carefully drew out the long, ugly sliver. He made no sound, however, and Rose wondered how he could be so brave. When it was over, she breathed a sigh of relief as she staunched a fresh flow of blood from the wound. Pressing gently along the length of the wound, she felt no other bits of wood.

“I think that’s all of it,” she said, hoping she was right. She was tempted to use her hands to close the gash, but resisted the urge. Instead, she reached for the jar Lil had brought, uncapped it and took a sniff, detecting the scent of yarrow and other herbs she might use in her own healing ointments. Reassured, she dipped her fingers into the aromatic concoction and scooped out a generous dollop. It had to sting as she spread it over Jack’s wound, but once again, he showed no sign of pain.

“There, that should be enough.” She glanced at Lil. “Will ye help me wrap a bandage around him to protect the wound?”

“Sure. Just have to work around Junior here.” Grinning, she patted her rounded middle.

Halloween Treat: Texas Druids # 3 Sample


Friends, do you need a break from Halloween preparations and political adds? If so, here’s a little treat from me to you, the first scene from Dearest Druid. Look for the next scene on Tuesday, and a third on Wednesday. Enjoy!

CHAPTER ONE

Bosque County, Texas; February 1876

Rose Devlin stood outside the corral fence, watching her brother Tye struggle to stay on the angry brown stallion he was attempting to tame. Horse breaking, he called it, but man breaking seemed more like it. A few moments ago, the infuriated animal had bucked Tye off, causing Rose to cry out in alarm. To her amazement, he’d hit the ground rolling to avoid the horse’s hooves and had risen nimbly to his feet.

Brushing himself off, Tye had cornered the horse with help from a ranch hand named Micah Johnson, recently hired to help out around the homestead while the other hands were occupied with the upcoming roundup. Mr. Johnson had lost the use of his left arm in the war, but he’d deftly thrown his lasso over the horse’s head with his good right arm. While he control the animal, Tye had climbed back into the saddle.

Crossing herself in fear for him as she watched the renewed battle between man and beast, Rose gave a start when a strange man walked up beside her. She stared at him as he folded his arms along the top rail of the fence. He was almost a head taller than her, with copper colored skin and long black hair topped by a wide-brimmed dark hat. A black-tipped white feather jutted from the leather hatband.

“Howdy, Miss Devlin,” he said, casually glancing at her.

“Ye . . . ye know who I am, sir?” she asked, wondering who he was and where he’d come from. She thought she’d met all the Double C hands over the past three months.

He looked at her again, dark eyes studying her closely this time. “Everybody on the place knows you’re Tye’s little sister.”

She broke eye contact with him, embarrassed by his inspection, but her curiosity got the better of her. “Who are ye?” she blurted. Then, instantly regretting her boldness, she stammered, “I-I mean I’ve n-never seen ye before. Are ye new here?” Darting a sidelong glance at him, she was relieved to see he’d stopped eyeing her in favor of Tye and the bucking, snorting horse.

“Depends how you look at it,” he replied. “I just rode in yesterday. That’s why we haven’t crossed paths before. I return about this time every year to help out with the roundup and the drive north.”

“Oh, I see.” Rose knew he referred to the yearly cattle drive to Kansas. She’d heard plans for it discussed numerous times in the past month or so. Herding thousands of cattle over such a long distance sounded like a daunting task to her.

“I heard you fixed your brother’s eyes,” the stranger remarked. “How’d you do it?”

Rose licked her lips and clasped the small gold cross at her throat, seeking an answer that wouldn’t require mentioning her unusual ability. Before she could find words, the horse Tye was on emitted an enraged shriek and ran straight at the fence where Rose and her companion were standing.

“Look out!” Tye shouted.

Frozen in terror, Rose stared at the charging animal. She gasped when two arms closed around her from behind and whirled her aside just as the crazed horse reared and slammed its front hooves down on the top rail of the fence. The wood split with a loud crack, accompanied by a pain filled neigh from the horse. A hiss of pain also came from the man whose hard chest pressed to Rose’s back, his broad shoulders hunched around her. Had the horse struck him while he shielded her from harm? Or perhaps a piece of the broken fence rail?

With the danger past, he released her and stepped back. Turning to face him, she gazed wordlessly into his dark, fathomless eyes. They showed no emotion and not a hint of pain, yet they unsettled her. Quickly looking away, she saw Tye dismount and watched the troublesome stallion stagger along the fence, limping on his right foreleg.

“Stupid beast!” Tye shouted, shaking a fist at the horse. Leaving him for Micah Johnson to catch, he spun around, concern on his face. “Rosie, are ye all right?” he questioned, rushing toward her.

“Aye, I’m fine,” she replied a bit unsteadily. “But Mr. . . .” She looked askance at her protector, who’d moved a step closer.

“Call me Jack, Miss,” he said with a barely noticeable crook of his lips.

“J-Jack, I’m thinking you’re hurt. When the rail split I heard ye . . . .” She stepped behind him and blurted, “Oh, dear!” There was a tear in his shirt several inches long, and blood plastered the fabric to his back.

“It’s nothin’, just a scratch,” he said.

“A scratch! ’Tis far more than that.”

“Let’s have a look,” Tye said gruffly, stepping over the damaged fence. He joined Rose, scowling as he took in the other man’s injury. “She’s right. Ye need tending. Go on up to the house with Rosie. She’s got the healing touch.”

Jack pivoted to face them. Eyeing Rose, he nodded. “What they say is true, then. You have magic.”

“Nay, nay! There’s no magic. ’Tis merely a skill I’ve picked up.” It was a lie, but she dared not admit the truth.

The Next Big Thing


Author

This week I’m taking part in The Next Big Thing blog hop. I was invited to do this by M T McGuire. Please visit her site to see her Next Big Thing.

The object of this project is to showcase authors in many writing genres. I hope you will discover and enjoy authors you’ve never read before. At the end of my answers to the ten questions, you will find links to five authors I’ve invited to answer these same ten questions.

Okay, here’s My Next Big Thing!

What is the working title of your book?

The title of my work in progress (WIP) is Dearest Druid. This the third book in my Texas Druids trilogy. The first two books (1) Darlin’ Druid and (2) Dashing Druid are available on Amazon, along with a prequel novella, White Witch.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

While researching the 1870s, I came across an interesting bit of information. It seems that during the Victorian era many people were fascinated by supernatural subjects. Séances and clairvoyant demonstrations were popular. That’s how I got the original idea for a series of stories about three siblings who each possess a special psychic gift. Since they were to be children of Irish immigrants, it popped into my demented brain to make them descendants of a long line of Irish Druids – and send them on adventures into the Old West.

Dearest Druid grew out of the first two books. It focuses on Rose Devlin, youngest of the three siblings, who is able to heal the sick and injured with the touch of her hands. For the male protagonist, I chose Choctaw Jack, a character from book two. He’s a part Indian cowboy who needs Rose to heal a loved one.

What genre does your book fall under?

Like the first two books in the trilogy, this one is primarily a western historical romance, but with a unique paranormal element. Big All, a well known internet reviewer on BigAl’s Books and Pals, said, “Fans of historical romance and possibly even those who are into westerns, sans romance, should find much to like in Darlin’ Druid.” Both of the first two books have also been tagged on Amazon as action and adventure.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Fun question! The actress who immediately comes to mind for Rose Devlin is Molly Quinn. She plays Alexis, daughter of author Richard Castle on TV’s Castle, one of my favorite series. This young lady has the perfect strawberry blonde hair and bright blue eyes for Rose, and she’s obviously talented.

For Jack’s role, I think I’d choose Michael Spears, a Lakota Sioux actor. He appeared in Dances With Wolves and now plays Mika Dullknife on the TV series Longmire. He does a convincing job and he’s very handsome. Always a plus for romance heroes!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Oh my, one sentence? Good grief! (Scratching head; how to word this?) Dearest Druid is the story of two people from different cultures . . . No good. How ’bout this: Rose Devlin and Choctaw Jack spring from totally different backgrounds, yet they have much in common . . . No! (Groan and scratch head some more.) This needs to be really tight, not one unnecessary word. See what writers go through? Such fun! Sarcastic smile 

Okay, after much trial and error, here it goes for real.

Although Rose Devlin and Choctaw Jack are outwardly worlds apart, a need to let go of the past unites them as they struggle to save someone dear to Jack, overcome jealousy and hatred, and find love in the Indian Territory of 1876.

What do you think? Does it work? Well, I guess you can’t really answer that until you read the book. It will be released in March, 2013.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It will be self-published, like all my other books.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The first draft is still in the works. However, I’m working from a detailed outline, and when I finish the first draft, the book will be done except for line edits by my proof reader. I’m a plotter, not a pantser – someone who flies by the seat of their pants, so to speak. For me that doesn’t work. I need to know where my story is going, hence the need for an outline. From start to finish, this project will have taken me about a year to complete. My books are fairly long and I don’t write quickly. The fact that I’m often writing blog articles may have something to do with that, too.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I would like to think my writing style is somewhat akin to Linda Howard’s. She might disagree, of course. As for western romances, mine reflect my love of authors such as Rosemary Rogers, Kat Martin, Jodi Thomas, Catherine Anderson and Linda Lael Miller. Ms. Miller’s western time travel books are the closest to mine in terms of the paranormal theme, although I haven’t written time travel, yet. (I have one in mind which will be a collaboration with my friend Carra Copelin.)

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Since Dearest Druid is part of a trilogy, I guess I was partially inspired to write it by the need to complete the series. More than that, though, I’ve wanted to write a story with a Native American hero for a long time, possibly because I have a little Indian blood myself (either Choctaw or Cherokee.) Giving Rose the gift of healing was suggested by a friend, author Sharla Rae.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Perhaps the hot love scenes? Read the first two books for examples.Winking smile

Untitled

Now here are my author recommendations. Just click their names to go to their sites.

Carra Copelin

Alison Bruce

Anna Kathryn Lanier (will post her Next Big Thing on Nov. 12)

Ginger Simpson (will post her Next Big Thing on Nov. 19)

Mel Comely

A Dark, Spooky Night—Part 3–Finally!


My bad! I forgot to post the conclusion of the prologue to Darlin’ Druid on the 15th as promised. I am so sorry! For the past week I’ve been on overload, writing blog posts for other sites and dealing with a new health problem. In an effort to make up for my slip-up, I’m posting the prologue conclusion AND a portion of chapter one.

******

Prologue ~~ conclusion

Jessie screamed and recoiled, tumbling backward onto the wet grass. Trance broken, she huddled there, trembling with fear for several moments before she could bring herself to peek at the water again. Much to her relief, she saw only the candle flame and her own terrified image.

Scrambling to her feet, she emptied the bucket, doused the candle and stumbled across the field to the road. Then she hurried homeward, thoughts consumed by the twin messages she had received. The first was easy to decipher. To find the man of her dreams, the man she believed she was destined to love, she must travel west with her brother Tye, who intended to embark on the latest silver rush in far off Utah Territory.

The second message was less clear. Did it mean the owner of those mad, burning eyes also awaited her somewhere beyond the western horizon? Dear God, she hoped not.

******

Chapter One

Outside Omaha’s Union Pacific Station, Captain David Taylor awaited the westbound train. Tired of the wait, he paced to a corner of the building, crossed his arms and leaned back against the yellow frame wall. This new depot was a far cry from the rickety old Riverside Station he’d passed through some years ago, he mused. Built on landfill, the new structure stood near the Missouri River Bridge, which had recently replaced the slow ferry service David recalled with distaste.

Admiring the bridge, he did his best to ignore the passengers and baggage crowding the station platform. He loosened his collar and tugged his campaign hat lower against the hot noonday sun. Barely June but summer was already here, meaning Indian trouble and long days in the saddle. Even so, he’d be glad to get back to his Wyoming post. He wasn’t cut out for city life. Not that he regretted his trip to Cincinnati. He should have gone sooner, a lot sooner.

He scowled, recalling his Cousin Susan’s telegram. Mother failing. Asking for you. Come before too late. If you care.

If he cared? Aunt Martha was like a mother to him. Of course he cared. Still, he understood Susan’s rancor; he hadn’t visited his aunt since right after the war. He’d been trying to put his life back together, but that was no excuse.

Unlike her daughter, Aunt Martha hadn’t reproached him for staying away so long. That wasn’t her way.

Pain ripped through him when he pictured her lying frail and helpless in her bed. Then he smiled. Inside, she was as iron-willed as the day she had arrived on the River T twenty years ago. A widow with grown children even then, she had left behind a comfortable life and traveled alone to the remote Texas ranch, all in order to see him, her motherless eight-year-old nephew, brought up decent. And then she’d been told by her stiff-necked brother to go back where she belonged. Not that she’d listened, of course.

Aunt Martha had turned the River T into a real home, something his mother had never done, David bitterly reflected. Unlike that selfish hothouse flower, Aunt Martha had loved the ranch and the broad Texas prairie. If not for the war, he suspected she never would have left, but she’d refused to live under a Secessionist’s roof. Her adamant stand had led him to join the Union Army, an unforgivable sin in his father’s eyes.

Now, to please his aunt, David had promised to consider going home. But he doubted his father would accept his help, no matter how stove up the stubborn old mossy horn might be. Fresh guilt stabbed him. If he had been there to help run the ranch, maybe Pa’s accident never . . . .

A woman’s shriek rent the air, interrupting his ruminations and jerking him to attention. The sound had come from inside the depot.

“What the devil?” he muttered. Cutting a path between startled travelers, he shoved open the door and stepped into the building. The stuffy interior reeked of tobacco and sweaty bodies. Finding a gap in the crowd, David caught sight of a red-faced young corporal. The trooper bobbed and weaved, arms raised to fend off blows being rained upon him by a woman in a brown poke bonnet. Her weapon was a heavy looking black reticule.

“Scoundrel! I’ll teach ye some manners, I will!” she vowed in a furious Irish brogue. Swinging wildly, she sent the corporal’s blue cap flying.

“Take it easy, lady!” he cried. “I didn’t mean no harm.”

Wondering what offense the man had committed, David shouldered his way through the crowd until he stood directly behind the woman. Slim and a head shorter than himself, she wore a calico gown, the same drab color as her bonnet. Some settler’s wife, he assumed. But where was her husband?

“No harm, indeed! Stand still, ye heathen, and take what’s comin’ to ye,” she ranted. As she spoke, the yellow-haired corporal spotted David’s uniform and threw him a desperate look.

Feeling duty-bound to step in, David cleared his throat loudly and said, “Excuse me, ma’am, but perhaps that’s enough. The corporal might be needed in one piece when he gets back to his post.” His remark drew laughter from several bystanders.

The woman snorted angrily. “Indeed? Well, I don’t give a fig whether the lout is in one piece or twenty!” So saying, she landed a solid whack on the corporal’s noggin that made him yelp.

“Get ’im, darlin’!” a man in the crowd shouted, egging her on.

Afraid the young soldier might retaliate, David reached out to grasp the woman’s arms, stopping her in mid-swing. “Ma’am, if you’ll just settle down . . . .”

“Let me go!” she shrilled, attempting to wrench free.

He should have complied with her demand, but some primitive instinct made him slip an arm around her and haul her back against him. A sweet scent of lilacs and woman washed over him, and he instantly grew aware of her feminine curves.

Sample more on Amazon for Free: Darlin’ Druid

Freebie Alert


Darlin’ Druid is FREE today only. This awarding winning western historical is book one in my Texas Druids trilogy. Don’t let the title throw you. My Druids are adventurers who seek love and fortune in the Old West, encountering plenty of adventure along the way. Each possesses a secret psychic gift that moves the plot along, providing a touch of Irish magic.

Other books in this series:
Dashing Druid — book two
White Witch — prequel novella to the series

Book three, Dearest Druid, will be released in March 2013. Happy reading!

A Dark, Spooky Night–Part 2


“Get on with it then,” she whispered, impatient with her fear.water & druidess.small

Trusting the fog to conceal her, she set her bucket down and drew a stubby candle and a lucifer from her skirt pocket. It required three tries before she managed to strike the match on the well and light the candle. Grateful for the light, she placed the candle atop the low wellhead then bent to lift a small bunch of lilacs from the bucket. Drinking in the flowers’ fragrance, she gently laid them aside and set to work pumping water into the bucket. When it was nearly full she positioned it at the base of the well so that the candle flame reflected in the pail’s glistening contents. Finally, she knelt and propped her flower offering against the well.

The cold dew swiftly soaked through her skirt and petticoat, chilling her legs and making her shiver once again, but the lilacs’ sweet scent calmed her. Breathing deep, she gazed at the flickering light in the water and chanted softly,

“Water, water, tell me truly,

Who is the man I shall love duly?

Under the sky, upon the sod,

Show him to me, in the name of God.”

Jessie repeated the incantation in Gaelic, and something shifted inside her, like a hidden door opening. Eyes focused on the candle’s reflection, she gradually lost touch with her surroundings. She no longer felt the cold or smelled the lilacs or heard the frogs. Sight was the only sense left to her, sight that reached out, searching.

The water grew hazy and a pair of gray-green eyes topped by dark, rakishly slanted brows appeared. It was him, the man who always saved her in fiery nightmares. As usual, his other features remained a blur, but she knew those gentle, caressing eyes.

“Where shall I find you?” she asked, her voice an entranced whisper. At first no answer came, but she waited and was soon rewarded.

“Look west,” a ghostly voice replied in her head.

She had but a moment to register the words. Then those familiar eyes faded away; from the dark depths emerged a second pair of eyes. Flame-orange, they glared at her with maniacal hatred. A black, clawed hand reached out for her.

Watch for the conclusion next Monday, Oct. 15th.