Friday, September 28, 2018

COMES AN OUTLAW, Book 1, Ghostland Series, #ghost, #westernromance,

Comes An Outlaw is Book 1 in my new Ghostland Series. If you follow my writing, then you know I like to write about ghosts. 

Did you know I saw them as a child...ghosts, that is. Well, that's a story for another day.

Here's the deets on Comes An Outlaw (which I think  you'll love)

When a tragic accident claims her husband's life, Jesse Santos must find a way to keep the ranch, the only home her 12-year-old son has ever known.

The ranch hands have abandoned her, a gang of cutthroat ranchers want her land and an ancient Yaqui Indian insists a spirit has taken up residence in the house.

When Coy Santos gets out of prison, he returns to his childhood home to see his family. He discovers his parents died several years ago, his brother only recently. But no matter how much trouble his brother's widow is mired in, he's not sticking around. He's an outlaw, after all, and not settling down with a widow…even if she is the most beautiful woman he's ever laid eyes on.

Setup and Excerpt:
Set-up and Excerpt: Coy sits beside an unconscious Jesse bed waiting for an Indian shaman to arrive.

Coy snuck a peek over his shoulder and swallowed a curse. When are you going to get here with that old Yaqui, kid?

Turning back to Jesse again, Coy squeezed her hand. He knew she couldn't hear him, but talking out loud kept him calm. “For a year, I shared a cell with a Pima Indian. He used to pray to the four winds every morning and at night he’d tell us stories. They were always about Coyote, the trickster. His favorite was when Elder Brother tricked the trickster. It goes like this: After the waters of the flood had gone down, Elder Brother said to Coyote, ‘Do not touch that black bug; and do not eat the mesquite beans.  It is dangerous to harm anything that came safe through the flood.’ So Coyote went on, but presently he came to the black bug. He stopped and ate it up. Then he went on to the mesquite beans. He stopped and looked at them a while, and then said, ‘I will just taste one and that will be all.’ But he stood there and ate and ate until he had eaten them all up.

When the Indian stopped talking, some stupid fool would ask, ‘What happened to Coyote after he ate the black bug and mesquite beans?’ He’d smile and say, ‘His stomach swelled up and he died.’”

The blessed whinny of a horse outside filtered through the window. Thank God, you’re back.

Grange bounded into the room. The boy focused on his mother lying in the bed. “She’s dead, ain’t she?” Hat in hand, he walked toward her, his face scrunched into a mask of anguish. “No! No!”

“Grange, lower your voice. Calm down. She’s not dead.”

He dropped to his knees and expelled a long breath. “But the buzzards….”


“Buzzards were circling the house when we rode in.”

The Indian shuffled into the room. “Buzzards know ghost in house. Dead is dead.”

Coy shoved to his feet and pushed the chair back under the window to make room for the tall red man dressed in a breechcloth, deerskin leggings and knee-high moccasins. His salt and pepper hair was tied back in a tuft with a red string, framing a face marred by deep lines and crevices. In one hand, he carried a pig-hoof rattle, in the other a lance decorated with painted bands and designs in forest green, sun yellow and blood red. He wore an eagle-bone whistle around his neck and more bells and whistles hung from a hide belt around his waist.

When his dark eyes settled on the skinned snake at the end of the bed, he stretched out an arm, picked it up and draped it around his neck to join the eagle-bone whistle. Coy couldn’t remember seeing a more statuesque, regal-looking man.

Kajame peered down on Jesse and seemed to take everything in at once—her breathing, the sick pallor of her skin, and the fine bead of perspiration clinging to her forehead. He touched her head, both shoulders and then her abdomen.

Without missing a beat, he closed his eyes and emitted a deep, resonant chant. E ya ha w... ye, he ye ye he ye... ho w ... ye. E ya ha w... ye, he ye ye he ye... ho we ... ye.

Beneath hooded eyes, Coy snuck a glance at Grange. His panicked expression had turned to one of mild worry. Silence descended for a brief time before the Indian shook the pig-rattle over Jesse’s body, uttered a few guttural words and slowly turned his head of dark hair to the rocking chair under the window. Shifting his body toward it, he let loose with another chant that echoed in the room. ‘Ha ai ya ha ai yo yu! Ha ai ya ha ai yo yu!’

Coy knew in an instant he was chasing the ghost away. A surreal ambiance smothered the air and the fine hairs on Coy’s neck stood at attention. He didn’t know what to expect next. Would the chair implode; would they hear a commotion if the apparition departed? Long seconds later, after nothing significant happened, nothing a sighted person could see anyway, Kajame dug into a pouch around his waist and added a pinch of black powder to the glass of water resting on the small table. He lifted Jesse’s head and allowed the liquid to trickle down her throat.

“Snakeroot,” Grange said and looked at Coy. After Kajame and Grange exchanged a few Yaqui words, the boy spoke again. “He says he will stay with her, continue the chants and give her more snake root soon. There’s nothing more he can do but wait until the sun comes up. He says the gods will decide now.”

Coy and Grange walked softly from the room and settled into chairs at the kitchen table. It was going to be a long night.

Thanks so much for dropping by!

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