Double Trouble: Chapter 86

Wednesday Briefs

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


Chapter 86

Darrin leaned against the corral and studied the group of bulls inside. Their information had been correct, these were outstanding animals. If they had any more muscle rippling through them, they would resemble top competing body builders. They also moved well, they wouldn’t have problems traveling over the distances they’d need to cover on the ranch. Just perfect. Well, there was one issue.

“What do you think?” Mitch asked.

Darrin watched as a bull lowered his head and snorted when one of the numerous dogs got too close. The mounted cowboy on the far side of the bull whistled, and the dogs moved away. Darrin cut his eyes toward Mitch.

“Do the dogs come with the bulls? Because I don’t see any way to deal with them other than using these heelers. I’m not sure the dogs are enough either.”

One dog slipped closer, and the same bull took a run at the group with the pair of dogs splitting apart while the third dog drew the bull’s attention. The bull slid to a stop and snorted again. Darrin turned back. “You remember that bull that almost nailed us during grad school. If it hadn’t been for those Catahoula hounds the guy was using, we would have been in bad shape. I don’t know, Mitch. They’re outstanding bulls, no doubt about it. But do we want a bull you can’t be on foot in its pen?”

Mitch considered and Darrin recognized the beginning of one of their conversations. The intense conversations that usually involved fireworks and gunfire. The sound of a ton of animal with an attitude hitting metal fence sent Darrin jumping for cover and stopped the impending argument. Once the sound stopped reverberating through him, he found the bull that had targeted him. It was easy to identify because it stood a few yards away and gave him the look that Darrin didn’t want to see on an animal he dealt with regularly. The bull snored again, but this time he ran at the cowboy.

The young man on horseback shifted from relaxed to primed for action. The bull bellowed and dropped its head as it built speed. The man’s mount had worked these bulls before, because with a step and a last minute pivot he avoided the bull’s charge. It spun and snorted again, but the cowboy gave the combative bulls more space. The dogs also spread in a semicircle flanking the cowboy.

Darrin turned away shaking his head. “Sorry, but we can’t deal with bulls that are this rank. We have teenagers who don’t pay as much attention to the animals as they should sometimes. We’d be begging for trouble, hell we might as well put huge red targets on each of us. These bulls are exactly what we need. But we can’t risk their temperaments.”

The ranch manager considered before speaking. “Our bulls aren’t for every ranch. In these parts we put two or three of them with seventy or eighty cows and we check them every week or so. To survive they have to fight off some nasty predators. Hell, a few years back a grizzly came through and killed one of our momma cows. So I can see how they might not fit your operation.”

He’d just finished speaking when the bull charged again, and this time hit the fence hard enough that Darrin knew Mitch felt it too. Confirming his suspicions, Mitch shook his head as he gazed at the bulls.

“He’s right. These bulls are just what we need. But they are too aggressive for our operation.” He turned to the manager and held out his hand. “Jim, we appreciate your time. Wish things worked out better, for both of us.”

Jim pulled a small notepad from his pocket and wrote frantically before ripping off the page and handing it to Mitch. “Our neighbors have been building a herd for several years and used a lot of our breeding stock. They’ve been picking the most docile animals from our herd, and some calm animals from other herds. Give them a call, or you should be able to find them using the map I drew for you. They’re only a few miles away. You might as well see what they have while you’re close.”

Mitch and Darrin said their goodbyes and piled into the truck. Mitch called the new ranch, but there was no answer. But following Jim’s scribbled map, they pulled into the driveway a short time later. They rolled to a stop in time for a woman with her hair twisted into a bun, wearing jeans and a flannel shirt to burst through the door.

“That’s fine! I don’t fuckin’ care. You can damn well argue with yourself because I have to keep this ranch running.”

Darrin and Mitch watched the drama unfold as a second woman, a darker version of the first, appeared at the door.

“Go pout, Charlotte. You signal me when you’re ready to play adult long enough to talk about the ranch budget.”

Mitch was putting the truck into reverse when both women turned toward them, having just realized they had guests. One woman, and Darrin never knew which one, yelled at them.

“Hey! What the fuck are you doin’ here?”


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.

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Cover Reveal of “On Fire” by Alicia Nordwell

I want to share a big thank you to my host for featuring the cover reveal today for my latest Dreamspinner Press release, On Fire, made by Garrett Leigh. Without further ado…

onfire_final

A fun tidbit: I actually took the picture of the mountain (it was not on fire at the time, lol)

A picture is definitely worth a thousand words when it comes to a cover, and these guys are hot, but I bet you’d like to know more about their story, so here goes!

Blurb:

Nothing beats getting out of the concrete jungle and into the quiet of the forest. Website designer Scottie Ness is taking a well-deserved vacation from the grindstone, and he plans to spend it in the solitude of Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest around Mt. Adams. He’s prepared for everything—except the lightning storm that traps him in a wildfire.

The firefighter who rescues him sustains serious injuries and ends up in the hospital. Jax Quintero might be abrasive, but the guy saved his life, and Scottie wants to thank him. As they spend time together during Jax’s recovery and exploring the state’s landmarks when he’s released from the hospital, Scottie discovers there’s more to Jax than a smart-ass adrenaline junkie. Jax reassesses his opinion of Scottie as an arrogant city boy who has no business in the mountains. Though Jax’s wounds prevent them from taking things as far as they’d like for a while, they can’t deny the heat building between them—and this is one fire they don’t want to put out.

Where can you pick up your copy?

On Fire is available for pre-order at Dreamspinner Press now!

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/on-fire-by-alicia-nordwell-7675-b

Contest!!

Because I love my fellow readaholics, I’m giving away a $5 gift card to Dreamspinner Press to celebrate finally being able to share On Fire’s awesome cover and my photo inspiration for Jax and Scottie.

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About the Author:

The number one question folks ask Alicia when she shares she’s a MM romance author: “Why gay fiction? Why write men when you’re a woman?” and her answer is: “Why the hell not!” Alicia Nordwell is one of those not so rare creatures, a reader turned writer. Striving to find an interesting story 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, 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. When she’s not on the computer typing away, she’s a wife and a mom of two 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!

She can also 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.

Blog: http://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

Flight – Anthology Release

front-coverThe 2016 Queer Sci Fi Flash Fiction anthology, “Flight”, is here, and I have a story in it! It’s a really cool concept:

A 300-word story should be easy, right? Many of our entrants say it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever written.

Queer Sci Fi’s Annual Flash Fiction Contest challenges authors to write a complete LGBTQ speculative fiction micro-story on a specific theme. “Flight” leaves much for the authors to interpret—winged creatures, flight and space vehicles, or fleeing from dire circumstances.

Some astonishing stories were submitted—from horrific, bloodcurdling pieces to sweet, contemplative ones—and all LGBTQ speculative fiction. The stories in this anthology include AI’s and angels, winged lions and wayward aliens. Smart, snappy slice of life pieces written for entertainment or for social commentary. Join us for brief and often surprising trips into 110 speculative fiction authors’ minds.

The book us available in eBook form (4.99), and will soon be available in paperback with b/w illustrations inside (12.99) and in a special collector’s edition with color illustrations (24.99).


Buy Links

Amazon eBook | Kobo | All Romance | Goodreads


Excerpt

from “Escape” by Jon Keys

The attacking flatlanders had drove them deep into the moors. His wife died years ago defending the clan’s children, but her death came at great cost to the attackers. The years had passed and only a final desperate gambit remained.

Lightning cut a jagged incandescent wound against the stygian sky, revealing the only escape. The children’s defender this time was his husband Pali, and the consequences were more dire. Failure was not a possibility for Nalo. They would appear any moment, and he was ready.

Double Trouble: Chapter 85

Wednesday Briefs

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


Chapter 85

Mitch woke to a snort that seemed to be next to his ear, but in reality was probably across the camp from the tent where he and Darrin were sleeping. He lay frozen in place and waited for the sound. His eyelids felt like each one was trying to hold up a five-pound weight. He faded into sleep and then was awakened by the sound again. This time the noise was close.

It had to be a bear.

Mitch pulled away from the paper-thin walls of the tent and reached over to shake Darrin.

“Huh… what… what’s up?”

“Be quiet!” Mitch hissed. “Do you hear that?” Continue reading

Release day for “Obsidian Moons”!

obsidian-moons_fbprofile_optizimedforfeedIt’s finally here! Obsidian Moons is out and ready for download!

Sequel to Obsidian Sun

Obsidian Series: Book Two

After achieving the impossible and releasing their people from the Varas slavers, Anan and Terja, a spellweaver and spellspinner, start the arduous journey back to their homeland. A winter trek across the grasslands is dangerous enough, but the traitor, Xain, is tasked with recapturing the slaves, and failure will mean his death. As added insurance, the Varas High Regent hires a Triad of legendary Ubica assassins and assigns a full regiment of his personal guards, along with their captain, to the task. Their mission is clear: recapture the escaped Talac slaves destined for the Varas pleasure houses—and the bed of the High Regent—at any cost.

The newly freed Talac travel toward their homelands with the full knowledge they are likely being pursued. The flight westward is fraught with new and unexpected dangers as Anan and Terja struggle to save their tribe. The battle for shelter, food, and a way to defend themselves becomes an all-consuming task, but they are reminded by the avatars of their gods that all is not as it appears.

Purchase Links

Dreamspinner eBook

Dreamspinner Paperback

Amazon

All Romance

Double Trouble: Chapter 84

Wednesday Briefs

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


Chapter 84

The pickup rolled to a stop and Darrin couldn’t imagine a more picturesque spot for the last few days of their trip. There were still a few ranches they wanted to stop at, but this would be a perfect central location. After the hot tub fiasco at the cabins, he didn’t want anyone else within miles of them. That wish was likely unattainable, but that didn’t keep he and Mitch from wishing for it.

The stream running below the campsite rippled over the rocks like an advertisement for the Colorado Rockies. Even though it looked refreshing, he knew that water was barely liquid having been snow just a short time ago. He walked to the edge of the stream and into the high mountain sunshine. A breeze wafted through the small valley and sat the aspen leaves dancing again. He couldn’t seem to get enough of the beautiful fall colors. Fall at home was just a slow transition from gray-green to a tan and brown winterscape.

“That water’ll freeze off anything that dangles into it.”

Darrin chuckled at his husband and shot him a small wave. “I have no intention of putting any part of my body into that water. I know it’s probably only liquid because it’d moving so fast.”

There was a scratching noise that drew Darrin’s attention. He couldn’t hear it again over the sound of Mitch scrambling down the bank to stand beside him at the water’s edge. He wrapped his arm around Darrin and tucked the tips of his fingers into Darrin’s jeans. Darrin enjoyed the moment of closeness and leaned against Mitch.

“This is a beautiful spot,” Mitch said.

“I was just thinking the same thing. Home will seem really brown after this.”

They stood soaking up the scenery for a few more minutes before Darrin pulled away from Mitch with reluctance. A few seconds passed and Darrin’s adolescence thrust itself forward and he swatted Mitch hard on the ass cheek and took off running up the hillside. Mitch raced after him. Darrin topped the ridge first, raced by the fire pit, and grabbed a piece of firewood. He spun and gasped out a warning.

“I’m armed. You better watch out since I’m such a bad ass hunter.”

Mitch tried to dodge past the piece of kindling, but then motioned dismissively and sat down to catch his breath. “You’re an evil man. There’s no oxygen in the air up here. Only you obsessive exercisers can function up here.”

Darrin gave Mitch a comforting squeeze on his shoulder and headed for the pickup. He leaned over and dragged the cooler off the tailgate. He popped it open and went through the ice laden water to see what sounded appealing for tonight.

After taking longer than it should have, he spotted a package of bratwurst that would make excellent tasting hot dogs for their supper. Besides, Darrin had been in elementary school the last time he cooked anything on a stick. But since he was cooking adult hot dogs this time it required more subtle approach than cook them until they’re charred.

He found a few appropriate branches and used his pocket knife to cut them down to size with little effort. Darrin speared a couple of lengths of meat for each of them and propped them over the glowing coals he’d created on one side of the fire. He settled in to watching his charges when Mitch pulled out the food locker from the bed of the pickup.

Mitch spread a thick blanket over the tailgate and put out the fixings for the evening meal. He looked around and then to Darrin.

“There’s not much else unless you want to open a can of beans.”

Darrin grinned and pointed toward one corner of the box. “Dessert. I packed the fixings for s’mores.”

A grin spread across Mitch’s face. “You went all out for this meal.”

“You better believe it big guy.”

The evening wound down as they enjoyed their nostalgic meal. The first hot dogs disappeared and were followed by others. Now they were down to stuffing themselves with the last of the chocolate, graham cracker, and roasted marshmallow treats. Darrin leaned against Mitch as he licked the last of the chocolate from his fingers. After a second yawn he nudged Mitch. “I’m about to fall asleep. Let’s put everything away and get some sleep.”

A few minutes later found them nestling into the thick sleeping bag and Darrin had spooned against Mitch’s warm back. They drifted off to sleep surrounded by the faint sounds of nocturnal animals.


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.