Jena Wade – Cover Reveal – Just A Week

JenaWade_JustAWeek_COVERLGJust A Week Cover Reveal

Title: Just A Week

Author: Jena Wade

Release: July 14th, 2016

Publisher: Loose Id

 

Blurb:

Just a week is not enough time to fall in love, but Fate doesn’t care. Seth’s carefully crafted plan for how his life will go doesn’t include falling in love with a guy in his horrible hometown. He wants to start a new life anywhere but at home. Until Maddox storms in with his multi-colored hair and carefree attitude.

Long distance relationships don’t work and Seth isn’t into gambling with his future. But the more time he spends with Maddox, the more he’s willing to throw caution to the wind. Now his plan for the rest of his life has been turned upside down and seems to include things Seth never thought possible, including a lifetime of happiness in his hometown.

 

Excerpt:

I headed out the door and grabbed the book I started a few days ago out of my car. In high school I would always go to the park and read when it was nice out. My parents were happy knowing I got fresh air, and I was happy just to get lost in the world of whatever book had captured my attention.

I found my usual bench unoccupied. Thank goodness. It sat underneath a giant oak tree that provided a good amount of shade. About a hundred feet away sat a set of playground equipment for kids. Since it was Sunday evening, there weren’t many kids around.

The screech and clicks of skateboards on metal had me looking around like I’d just entered a parallel universe. What the hell?

Where there used to be old basketball hoops with raggedy nets, there now stood a half-pipe and other random obstacles used for skateboarding tricks. A half dozen teenagers and young adults whizzed around each other. Some on boards, others on rollerblades. All of them moving at high speed.

There was a lot of laughing, and every so often someone shouted, “Check this out,” before trying some stunt on the rail, usually resulting in a fall or stumble.

Squealing kids on a swing set I could drown out. But this, I wasn’t so sure about. It was new. And distracting.

One young man in particular stood out. Mostly because he had bright orange hair that spiked in every direction, possibly looking like it could impale a person if they were to touch it. Like a cactus. He also looked a bit older than the teenagers that surrounded him, which might explain why they all seemed to look up to him like he was a god.

He wore a black zip-up sweatshirt, though it was warm enough to go without, and jeans that were skintight.

Once I started watching him, I noticed that the other skaters watched him too. He had talent. He kept his balance well, and his moves seemed effortless. While the other skaters floundered and wobbled as they zoomed around, he kept calm and collected.

I didn’t understand the appeal of skateboarding, especially on a half-pipe. What was the purpose of putting yourself in harm’s way like that? Might as well throw myself down a flight of stairs if I wanted to break a bone.

Orange-haired Guy stood on the deck of the half-pipe. He stared down the slope below, his face unreadable. He didn’t call the others to gather around and watch, though I had a feeling they would anyway.

He took a deep breath and hopped on his board.

I held my breath, like I was the one up there. I watched in wonder as he gained momentum, back and forth, up and down the half-pipe. Once he had enough speed he began his flips. It looked amazing to me. Him flipping in the air, his feet staying on the board as he spun, then landing perfectly to do it all over again. I guess I had never bothered to watch any skateboarding before. Maybe I would have if they had looked like this skateboarder.

My nose pressed against the chain-link fence that surrounded the skate park before I even realized I had walked closer. At least I started breathing again.

He stopped just as quickly as he started. Landing back on the deck of the half-pipe, like he hadn’t just done something incredible. And maybe it wasn’t to him; maybe that was just another day in the life. To me it was pretty cool.

The other skaters around cheered and gave him high fives as he made his way through the park. Just like that, he left. He hit the sidewalk and hopped back on to his board, flying down the street like it was made for him.

I snapped out of it. What the hell just happened? I don’t gawk. I never gawk.

I rushed back to my regular bench, picked up my book, and headed home, no longer in the mood to read. At least not outside. At home inside my room there wouldn’t be any distractions. Visions of the orange-haired guy floated through my head, and I couldn’t shake them. I blamed the jet lag.

Never mind the fact that I didn’t fly home. Nor did I go through any time zones. Traveling had tired me out, and I wasn’t thinking straight.

Just a week. Then I would be back where I belonged and where things were normal. Routine. The way I liked it.

 

Bio:

Jena Wade began writing in January of 2013 as a New Year’s resolution and so far she has stuck to it.

Jena lives in Michigan with her husband, two dogs, and one brand new baby boy. By day she works as a web developer and at night she writes. She was born and raised on a farm and spends most of her free time outdoors, playing in the garden or tending to her landscaping.

Links:

The Jena Wade: www.thejenawade.com

Loose Id: http://www.loose-id.com/authors/erotic-romance-authors-g-k.html?cat=699

Twitter: thejenawade.twitter.com

 

 

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Double Trouble: Chapter 76

Wednesday Briefs

The continuing saga of three generations of ranching family. Below the story you’ll find links to flash fictions.


Chapter 76

Danny woke several times, always realizing his entire family surrounded him. Well, at least most did. He could only see silhouettes in the dark room so he couldn’t be certain. What he was certain about, Samantha never left his side.

A few times her tears hit his arm. Why are you crying? I’m fine. I must’ve ran into something after that crazy cow tried to get into the pen with me. He moved and realized he had several pins through one leg and it was fucking painful. He eased his head to one side to find Josh sitting on the edge of the bed. As his thoughts surfaced, and he worried about what was happening with him. He swallowed, trying to get moisture down his dry throat. When he tried to speak he realized it was a bad idea.

“What’s going on?” Danny croaked.

The room filled with a flurry of activity and everyone crowded to his bedside.

“Danny!” Samantha screamed as she jumped on the bed to hug him. But as she did, pain lanced through Danny.

“Ah shit, sis! Take it easy. That hurts.”

Samantha flew backward like she’d touched an electric fence. After a minute passed, Danny realized his family was staring at him. He fumbled for the bed controls and got his head up higher so he saw every one. They watched him with a variety of expressions, all of which made him feel as if he would break into pieces if he so much as move a finger. The sensations didn’t lessen, and they wore on Danny’s nerves.

“What is everyone staring at? What happened? Why the hell are you looking at me like I were about to die.” He glanced around and panicked. “I’m not dying am I? Shit!”

Everyone held their collective breaths before they started laughing. Josh reclaimed his seat at the edge of the bed and patted his arm. “Do you remember what happened?”

Danny looked somewhat sheepish and dropped his gaze. “Ah, yeah. I remember.”

Trent started talking. “Why don’t you fill in the rest of us since you’ve been unconscious since yesterday.”

Danny sat more upright in the bed. “I’ve been out since yesterday? Really?”

Trent nodded. “Yes, really. Now would you like to grace us with your version. Your sister told us her’s several times now.”

“Ah, yeah. Well, I figured I should practice riding a bull. We had a couple of the small ones in the near pasture at the house.”

“Where the working corral happens to be located,” Josh added.

Danny studied him for a second before continuing. “So anyway. I thought a few practice runs wouldn’t hurt. Nothing big.”

“And you talked me into opening the gate,” Samantha said.

“Okay, you two. Let him talk,” Trent said.

Danny continued, “So I tightened my grip and I signaled for Samantha to open the gate. It was a decent ride, but the bull mostly ran at shit. Sam yelled that the eight-seconds was up and I baled off. The calf went running around like crazy. That’s about it.”

“You remember anything that happened afterward?”

Danny shifted through his memories and cocked his head at Josh. “One cow wasn’t happy. I figured I rode her calf. But she couldn’t break the fencing. Nothing else until a few minutes ago.”

Josh stared at him with the you-fucked-up-again look Danny knew too well. But his voice lacked the sharp edge it would have if he were in too much trouble. “The cow went through the fence and was determined to hurt you for upsetting her baby. So she did her best to stomp you into the ground.”

Danny looked around and his eyes landed on his sister. “What happened?”

She tried to speak, but emotions got the best of her and she burst into tears. When it became clear, she wasn’t going to be able to talk, Josh looked over again. “She saved you. Distracted the cow away from you and penned her up with her calf. Then she called the ambulance.”

Danny looked at Samantha with wide eyed surprise. “You did all that?”

She wiped her eyes and shook her head in disbelief. “I did you dumbshit. You’re my brother. Even if you haven’t got the brains of a piss ant.”

Trent frowned. “That might be optimistic.”

A voice of reason sounded which Danny welcomed. His grandfather Mitch, “All right. Everybody out. The boy needs rest and so do we.” Mitch cleared the room. Pressing the last person out, he leaned close to Danny.

“That kid from the rodeo has been here several times to check on you. He might be in the hall now.”

“Jamie?” Danny asked.

“Yeah, that’s his name.”

A grin stretched across Danny’s face. “I’d be okay with that.”

 


If you’d like to see a snippet from the other Wednesday Briefs authors you can go to the groups website. Or click on the name listed below to go directly to the story.

Double Trouble: Chapter 75

Wednesday Briefs

The continuing saga of three generations of ranching family. Below the story you’ll find links to flash fictions.


Chapter 75

“What are you doing? Do you like to be in trouble?”

Danny turned to his sister. He started to say something, but then shook his head and kept on moving a few of the larger bull calves down the working chute. It wasn’t the same as real chute gates like they’d have at an arena. But he’d spent quite a bit of time perfecting his plan. He moved the biggest bull into the chute and closed the gate behind him.

“You’re going to get yourself killed. Then you will really get hurt.”

Danny snorted and tilted back his gray wool hat. “If I get myself killed, I won’t care much will I.”

Samantha twisted her lips as she glared at Danny. “You know what I mean. You’ll get hurt again and they’re going to be so mad.”

Danny focused on getting his gear on the bull. “You gonna stand there and bitch at me more give me some help?”

“Are you kidding? I won’ t get in trouble.” Samantha grinned at him. “Remember, I’m the good twin.”

Danny cocked his eyebrows as he positioned his rope on the first bull. “You aren’t the good twin. You’re just better at not getting caught.”

She moved to the gate and helped Danny get his gear into position and then pull it into place. She shook her head at the way Danny had jury-rigged a gate opener before looking back at her brother. “This really doesn’t seem like a bright idea, Danny. These bulls are kind of small but they might fuck you up worse than a big one.”

Danny snorted as he slid down over the first bull and wiggled into place. “Yeah right. You’re the good one and dropping the F bomb. Come open the gate for me. I need someone to keep time too. Come on, don’t be a wuss.”

“I’ll make you think wuss. I am older than you.”

Danny rolled his eyes. “Yeah, by like ten minutes.”

Samantha smirked. “I’m still older. So suck it.”

“Well, isn’t my sweet sister developing a potty mouth.” He glanced up to find Samantha with her arms crossed and a stubborn look he was too familiar with. “Oh come on. Don’t be all pissy about it.”

She glared at Danny until suddenly the bull shifted and there was a loud clang as metal hit metal. Danny grinned when he saw her resolve melt.

“All right, I’ll open the gate and keep time. But if this shit goes bad, I was shopping in town or something.”

“Fair enough. I just want to get in a couple of practice rounds so I don’t lose my edge.”

Samantha rolled her eyes again. “Edge. Right. Let’s call it that.”

Danny lowered himself onto the animal’s back. Each time he touched its skin, it exploded into a fierce round of bucking and snorting. He wondered if this was a good idea. But with his sister standing close he wasn’t about to let her know that he was getting afraid.

He dropped onto the bull and this time it sounded like and injured calf, which had all the cows running to pace up and down the fence and bellow back at the large calf. The sound was deafening but Danny ignored the uproar and wedged his hat tight and gave a quick nod.

The side gate was old and didn’t open very fast; Samantha had to fight to open it at all. He cursed himself. He’d intended to oil the hinges, but it has slipped his mind. Because of his oversight, the bull squeezed through the opening and took off at a dead run at the other side of the large working pen. Danny struggled to get it to buck and not act like a runaway horse.

One cow made a particularly loud protest and struggled to come through the wire fence. But his ride distracted his efforts by running the opposite direction. About the time he did, the air horn Samantha was using to signal the end of his ride went off. Danny breathed a sigh of relief at the sound and jumped free of the animal. He saluted high into the sky and gave out a triumphant yell when he landed.

The cattle’s noises were still deafening, but he glanced over to see Samantha frantically trying to get his attention. At the same time he caught a movement to his side. He turned and found a thousand pounds of angry red mother charging him with horned lowered. Danny tried to escape, but this time his luck seemed to have run short when he tripped and sprawled across the powdered dust.

Wind knocked from him the cow pinned him against the ground. He tried to scramble away when the cow caught him with a powerful rush that sent him cartwheeling through the air. Danny hit the ground; his head snapping back and his world went black.


If you’d like to see a snippet from the other Wednesday Briefs authors you can go to the groups website. Or click on the name listed below to go directly to the story.

 

Cover Reveal – Cosmic Inception – Alicia Nordwell

 

COVER REVEAL
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Christine Griffin

Pre-order Release Date: 6/17/2016

Official Release Date: 7/18/2016

Genre: MM Science Fiction
Length: 288 Pages/110k
Rating: Adult/Mature
Buy Links:
Blurb:

Their journey will span the universe and back, but there’s no guarantee they’ll make it together.

Though Nick and Fieo are drawn to each other, their relationship has never been easy. Their differences go beyond their races, but they’ve managed to work together to prevent the spread of corruption, growing closer along the way. Nick still battles the effects of years of oneliness, fear, and pain but surprises everyone when he refuses to stay behind when Fieo is sent on a vital mission to find the Collectors. Fieo objects, but there’s no stopping Nick when he sets his mind to something. Over the course of their mission, it becomes clear Nick is more than anyone ever imagined, but the mystery of his past threatens to derail his future.

The search for the truth will take Fieo and Nick far from Caeorleia, to worlds both familiar and completely alien, and put stress on their already tenuous relationship. It’s a journey that will either tear them apart or finally bring them together.

Excerpt:
Chapter One
“Look at you.” The humid warmth of the garden enveloped and welcomed me. I stroked one finger across the fluffy yellow pod of a waist-high flower. The small strands curled in and then opened back into a wider puff, sending out a glowing powder that drifted high into the night sky. I chuckled. If I didn’t know better, I’d say the small flower was ticklish. I rubbed the pollen off against my shorts, glad I hadn’t tried to smell it. “You haven’t told me about these yet, Jirulm.”
The elderly Caeorleian was mumbling as he plucked clusters of hard orange buds off spindly stalks. I’d picked up the habit of talking to the plants from him, and it wasn’t hard to see why. They were so alive.
I had flowers, and fruit, and vegetables. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d get to live on a planet with wild flora. My schooling and job training had focused on creating new strains of food crops that were grown in chemical vats in the midst of a planet covered in metal and concrete.
Not exactly natural. Or very appetizing, if you knew where they got the basic building blocks for the food. No one had ever questioned it—I hadn’t either, until I’d taken the job with the Federal Food Service Corp after I couldn’t find a job anywhere else. Horrified when I learned the truth, I’d spent a few days unable to choke more than few mouthfuls down at a time, and they rarely stayed down. My mistake had been telling a coworker my plans to reveal everything to the public.
Of course when you’re a prisoner and starving, you tend to ignore the fact your food was grown from cells harvested from composted humans, and you ate it anyway. Beggars couldn’t be choosers.
And I’d begged. A lot. At least five years spent on a spaceship as the experiement of scientists had sucked all hope from me. But then the military scientists’ plans had gone wrong. Ryker and Seral had been sent to the planet in a bid for more information. The doctors assumed the Caeorleians would blame Ryker, one of the hated nelho scum they named the human soldiers waging war on their planet. Instead, something completely unexpected happened. Seral joined in besedad with Ryker, bonding them together.
In a daring attack against the human military, using the nanos they filled Ryker with to spy on the Caeorleians, Seral had brought down the scientists’ enormous ship and spread the reengieeered nanos like a plague to the rest of the fleet. Along they way, they also rescued Dade and me, the only other two survivors of the scientists’ experiments.
And once again, I was wide awake in the middle of the night. The memory of the moments right before rescue came, when I was forced to watch as the human scientists cut the alien woman open, and listen as the sadistic doctors planned to cut my belly open to compare organs, disturbed my sleep almost nightly and left me sweating and shuddering in my bed.
I didn’t mind being awake in the early morning hours all that much. Some of the flowers in my garden only bloomed at night. Besides, I didn’t have much to do, so I could nap during the heat of the day. With a planet this tropical, it made sense for Caeorleians to be seminocturnal. Night was the only time I could count on finding Jirulm, the gardener who taught me about the plants in my garden. Ovrumi suggested I would enjoy gardening when he caught me wandering in the corridors, flinching away from the others passing by.
“It’ll be time to prune those soon, Nicklaus,” Jirulm said. The hum of his voice was low, nearly indistinguishable from the light wind rustling through the plants.
“But they’re just barely blooming.” Sure, flowers indoors brightened up the rather plain walls of the Residence, but all the ones in my suite were potted. I didn’t like to snuff out their already brief lives.
“Good thing, too.” He examined the flowers, pulling at one of the fluffy heads. “When agvarali have absorbed enough energy to glow, the heads detach during the final bloom and migrate along the breeze.”
“Oh, I bet that’s beautiful.” I could just imagine the small glowing fluff balls floating along a soft night wind, though I wasn’t sure if I’d get to see it. Fieo, the stubborn ass, refused to believe I’d be going to find the Collectors with his team, so I had no idea when the departure was planned. I’d assumed sooner rather than later, but maybe I’d still get to see the final bloom—some of the heads were already glowing a faint yellow.
Jirulm snorted. “Beautiful… and dangerous.”
I cocked my head sideways. “What do you mean?” Sometimes getting information out of the old alien was like pulling teeth. But when he did speak, he knew basically everything there was to know about plants on Caeorleia.
“They gather energy, like sampanga trees, but so much in such a small sphere means when they touch something—or something touches them, like a careless finger—they explode.”
I snatched my hand back. “Explode?”
His lips twitched at the corners. It was probably the closest I’d come to seeing a smile on his face. “Oh, not enough to kill you, but you could easily lose a finger in the energy jolt that spreads the seeds. Luckily, these blooms are harmless.”
“That doesn’t sound harmless! Why plant these in a garden if they’re so dangerous?” I couldn’t believe they were actually cultivating the damn things.
“They attract insects to pollinate the other plants.” Jirulm tapped one long stem, and one of the creepy flying bugs crawled out of a waving puffball and flew to another vine a few beds over. “See.”
That was one aspect of gardening I could do without. I did not like bugs. I had nightmares of them crawling inside my ears and laying eggs that would hatch into little buggy babies just dying to burrow into my brain. I backed away from the agvarali. “Well, feel free to prune these while I’m gone.”
Thoughts of going into space again on the mission kept crowding into my mind, disturbing the peace I usually found in my garden. I tried pushing them away and succeeded for a while as Jirulm rambled on. After checking the natural spring fountain in the center of the garden that fed the irrigation lines, he left me alone. There was a small carpet of grass around it, the blades a dull gray in the silver light of the moons. Nighttime lent a certain somber feel to the garden, muting the usually vibrant displays; I sighed as I settled on the grass to stare up at the stars twinkling.

There was a lot of beauty in the darkness.

About the Author

Alicia Nordwell is one of those not so rare creatures, a reader turned writer. Striving to find something interesting to read one day, she decided to write what she wanted instead. Then the voices started … Yep, not only does she talk about herself in the third person for bios, she has voices in her head constantly clamoring to get out.

Fortunately for readers, with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided for her own sanity to keep writing. Now you can find her stories both free and e-published!She can be found quite often at her blog, where she has a lot of free fiction for readers to enjoy or working hard, or maybe hardly working, as an admin on GayAuthors.org under her online nickname, Cia.

Oh yeah, she’s a wife, mom of two, and lives in the dreary, yet ideal for her redhead complexion, Pacific Northwest. Except for when she disappears into one of the many worlds in her head, of course!

Find her at:

Cia’s Stories: http://www.ciasstories.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alicia.nordwell
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AliciaNordwell
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4479520.Alicia_Nordwell


Double Trouble: Chapter 74

Wednesday Briefs

This has been a week with more tears than I’ve shed in a long time. It’s a week when everything comes into question.


Chapter 74

Danny stormed into the house, slamming the screen door. Trent kept the smirk from his face as their son stormed through the house and to his room. The silence was tense and Trent knew this wasn’t over. Then the explosion of emotions he was waiting on happened.

“It’s not fucking fair!” Danny said.

That was the cry he expected, and wasn’t at all surprised to see a storm across Josh’s face a moment later when he walked through the door. Trent didn’t have the time to open his mouth before Josh began.

“He’s yours. All yours. No one but one of your children would be so stupid.”

Trent waited for a few seconds to give Josh the time to rant if he needed it. When nothing else happened, Trent fought to wipe the smirk from his face and met Josh’s glare.

“I take it things didn’t go as well as you would’ve liked.”

Josh exploded again and paced the floor, his arms waving emphatically. “He’s an idiot.” Josh twisted toward Danny’s room and yelled. “Idiot!”

Trent had to look away for a moment to keep from laughing, and when he did look back at Josh he couldn’t wipe away the grin. “So what happen that he’s my kid now?”

“This whole rodeo thing was a terrible idea. It’s fucking dangerous!”

The humor left the situation for Trent with those words. “What happened? I thought it was a junior rodeo and was suppose to be safe.”

Josh paced across the floor, trying to pull himself together. Trent waited for Josh to calm himself enough to explain what had happened. He could imagine Josh’s fear turning into cold anger. But if he didn’t give Josh time to pull himself together the explosion of emotions would embroil the two of them and serve no real purpose. As he knew would happen, Josh began to slow his pacing until he came to a stop. He stood with only the sounds of his breathing filling the room and then turned to Trent.

“I thought he was going to get himself killed. The bull threw the kid ahead of him and he was knocked unconscious. The bull went crazy and was going to trample the kid. Danny jumped into the arena and distracted the bull while they got him out.”

Trent’s gut tensed as Josh’s words hammered into him. “Where were the bull fighters? Danny shouldn’t have been in there.”

“No shit! You think I don’t know that? That bull would have fucked him up if he’d caught our son. But he doesn’t seem to get that. The bull chased him over the fence. If it’d had horns, we’d be having this conversation at the emergency room.”

“It wasn’t that close. They were having trouble getting Jamie out. I couldn’t let them get hurt.”

Josh turned with a harsh look on his face. “What if you got hurt? What would we do then? You aren’t fucking superman you know.”

“No, if I was fucking superman I’d have to have the penis of steel.”

Both Trent and Josh stared at their son for a minute or so. Trent started laughing while Josh just shook his head.

“You could have been hurt, badly.”

“But I wasn’t, and that bull was a freak accident. Besides, I out ran it.”

“It pushed you over the top of the fence. I don’t really think I’d call that a winning foot race,” Josh said.

“He can catch the chickens.”

Everyone turned to see Samantha come into the room. Trent shook off the confusion first. “What are you talking about? He wasn’t chasing chickens at the rodeo.”

“No. That’s not what I was talking about. He can out run a chicken, so he can outrun a bull.”

They stared at her for several long seconds. “What in the hell are you talking about? That makes no sense. Chicken’s dodge, that’s what makes them hard to catch. We don’t even have any damn chickens,” Trent said.

Samantha grinned. “I was hoping you’d overlook that bit of my logic.”

Josh turned toward the bedroom shaking his head. “The whole damn family is slap ass crazy.”

“Does that mean I can keep riding bulls?”

Josh paused gripping the door knob and looked back. “Ask again when hell freezes over.”


If you’d like to see a snippet from the other Wednesday Briefs authors you can go to the groups website. Or click on the name listed below to go directly to the story.

 

“Crossfire” available again

For those of you who haven’t read “Crossfire”, it now available through Amazon for 99 cents. The original short story was about 10,000 words and appeared as part of an anthology. But the rights reverted back to me and I decided to make it available on Amazon. So I cleaned it up and republished it.

Crossfire

“Rick Anthis, a forty-five year old veteran of the Colorado State Police, and his husband, Gabriel Thorkelson, a deputy sheriff in a nearby county, enjoy the peace of their suburban Boulder home. Until gunshots rip through the tranquil neighborhood and Rick witnesses the kidnaping of his buddy, eight year old Jacob.

The clues are sparse until Gabe reminds Rick of something Jacob had said. Rick has a starting point. Rick and his CSI team locate the remote hideout, only to find they’ve just missed the kidnappers, and Gabe is missing too.”

If you haven’t read “Crossfire” before here is your chance to get a copy.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon DE

Good reading!

Double Trouble: Chapter 73

Wednesday Briefs

For more free flash reading check out the list of authors at the bottom of this post.


Chapter 73

The two of them jumped to their feet even though they both knew there was nothing they could do. Josh’s stomach knotted when the bull raced around the arena, throwing its head into the air and tossing plumes of dust as if he were challenging everyone within his reach.

All this passed in a few seconds and Josh realized the woman had shot past him and down the bleachers. He realized one of the people trying to help was Danny, and he was thundering down the steps just behind her. It was typical Danny to be trying to rescue someone, and it was all Josh to be running behind them to rescue Danny.

They reached the arena wall and a second later an angry bull slammed full force into gates a few feet from them. The near disaster woke Josh to the fact this was a dangerous situation. He grabbed the woman and pulled her back from the fence. “Give them a second. Otherwise someone else will get hurt.”

The glare Josh got should have turned him into ash. But he knew she was afraid for her grandson, and was prepared to fight the bull herself if that’s what she needed to do to protect him. She started to say something when the bull slammed hard against the metal wall behind them and launched her into Josh’s hands. She instantly shoved away from him but the glare was less venomous.

“Hang on,” Josh said, “give them a second to figure it out before you go racing in there. Otherwise they are going to be dealing with two injured people instead of one.”

Her lips drew into a thin hard line, but she gave Josh a quick nod before turning back to the scene that was unfolding. Josh’s stomach knotted to see Danny racing not at the injured cowboy, but at the bull. This was the point where all his levels of protective dad came into full force.

“Danny. Danny! Get out of there. Let the bull fighters do their job.” Josh wasn’t stupid, he knew Danny would never do something to save himself. Even if it was someone who he didn’t know. It wouldn’t matter to his son. He wasn’t the type to stand by and wait for someone else to be the guy in the white hat. Josh was about to do exactly what he’d told his new friend not to do, when there was a roar from the crowd.

Josh lurched to the fence, his worst fears, and greatest pride, was taking place before his eyes. Danny had not only managed to divert the bull’s attention; he was standing on the top of the barrel one of the bull fighters was using. It was fairly obvious Danny and the bull fighter were having a heated discussion. Which also meant neither of them were keeping an eye on the bull.

“Is that your son?”

Josh nodded without taking his eyes off Danny. “Yes. The idiot.”

“Well he’s my favorite idiot right now. Jamie looks like he’s awake. He’s walking out of the arena. He has some help, but he’s walking.”

The group was only a dozen or so feet from the gate when the bull seemed to notice his victim was escaping. In a split second, the animal spun and charged. Everyone had left the arena, except Danny. When Josh realized that, his heart sank.

Danny was running a hot path that would take him in front of the bull just as the other men got the injured rider to the gate. He was screaming like a madman and waving his hat at the bull to draw its attention again. The thought of what was about to happen made Josh want to puke. He couldn’t see any way this was going to turn out well.

Then the worst happened, at least as far as Josh was concerned, Danny’s trick worked, and the bull spun and raced after his son. He held his breath, trying to work out a way to save Danny. But he couldn’t think of anything. He refused to stand still though and started over the fence.

Then the impossible happened. Danny cut back, bypassed the bull, and jumped at the arena fencing. He hit the fence scrambling for the top with the bull following him up every inch. The bull swung his head at Danny as he jumped from the top, fortunately without horns the effort did little more than shove him over faster. Josh waited another moment to see Danny was fine and being congratulate by everyone within twenty feet of him. He sank to the ground, squatting low, and holding onto the fence for support.

He sat there alone for a few minutes, trying to gather his thoughts. He was rising to his feet slowly when he felt a soft touch on his shoulder. He glanced up to see the woman had returned. “Jamie’s going to be fine. He hit funny and it knocked him out for a minute. They’re going to admit him overnight to make sure he doesn’t have anything serious. I couldn’t leave until I told you how much we owe your son. He saved Jamie. They wouldn’t have got him out the gate without the distraction.” She offered a hand which Josh accepted. The handshake was firm and sincere. She released Josh and gave him a broad smile. “I hope we see you guys again. Jamie will be good as new pretty soon. He’s already talking about which rodeo he’ll be ready to ride at.”

She must be fucking crazy. Hell will freeze over before I’ll do this again. I don’t care what Trent and Danny say. But he turned to the woman and forced up a friendly country smile.

“I hope Jamie recovers soon. You never can tell when we’ll run into each other again. God has a strange sense of humor sometimes.”


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