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Time away

Sorry to announce but I am taking a break from writing. The pressures of life are making it too demanding to continue. I hope after several months away the fun will return, with new stories to tell.

Thanks for your understanding.

Jon

Slapout: Chapter 10

Wednesday Briefs

Small time town with big time drama.


Chapter 10

Eli stood in the dim light of early morning watching Cullen prepare bottles for the latest residence in the lambing. The low tones of profanity drifted toward him and he started to step in to help. But a second later Cullen solved his problem and filled the bottle with warm milk for one lamb.

As he watched, a chilling predawn breeze slipped through the door. He pulled his denim jacket tighter around. His movement signaled Cullen to his presence.

Cullen grinned as he readied another bottle. “It doesn’t do you much good to have hot water installed in the equipment room if you get up and watch me mix the formula.”

Eli smirked and bumped his fist against Cullen’s shoulder. “I was already awake. I was going through the records to see where we could do better.”

He stopped what he’d been doing and locked his eyes on Eli. “What do you mean we need to do better? I thought the ranch was doing good.”

Eli chuckled as he relaxed against the doorframe and slipped his hands in his pockets. “Don’t get all twisted in knots. I said I was looking for ways to improve, not that we are about to go under. That’s why we have the sheep. They’d help maximize our forage use.”

Cullen studied him for a few seconds before he nodded and turned back to the task at hand. The dim light laminated the room as he heated the milk substitute. Once they were both warm, he grabbed the two bottles and headed for the door where Eli stopped him. Cullen looked up to find a smirk across Eli’s face.

“Give me a bottle. They’ve never nursed from it on their own and will fight you. It’ll be easier if I feed one of the little monsters.”

Cullen studied him but then sighed and held out the other bottle to Eli. “Okay, I give. It would make it simpler for each of us to take one.”

He took the warm formula from Cullen and grinned. “I’m glad you agree. I’m not the most reasonable person at ungodly hours.”

Cullen rolled his eyes but kept his comments to himself. They flipped on the lights in the barn and every animal housed inside cried for attention. Eli found the early morning cacophony deafening as they made their way to the small enclosure holding the ewe and her twins. As they moved closer, the mother gathered her offspring around her, faced Eli and Cullen and stomped her foot at them. When she repeated the action a second time, Cullen looked toward Eli.

“What’s up with her? I don’t remember a ewe getting so aggressive before,” Cullen said.

Eli shrugged, “Some of them get protective of their babies. Usually about all they’ll do is make threats though. Not like some cows I’ve had before who would try to crawl into the pickup to get you if you mess with their calf.”

“You’ll let me know which ones those are—right?”

Eli chuckled, “Those cows go to market in a heartbeat. But we’re getting off track. We need to get more food down these two.”

Cullen stepped into the pen, snagged one lamb and held it against him as he tried to coax her to nurse from the bottle. But all he accomplished was to irritate the lamb and have a squirming pile of tiny sheep in his arms. He had spent far too long when the distinctive sound of nursing filled the space.

Eli’s lamb was enthusiastically nursing at the bottle. Frustrated, he grunted toward Eli. “You want to share your secret? All this little shit does is clench its teeth and fight me.”

“You have to show it who’s boss. Shove that nipple into its mouth.”

Cullen shot him a sullen glance before refocusing on manhandling an eight pound lamb. But he was losing the battle. He’d struggled with the little sprite for several minutes to no avail. But he refused to quit, even when the other lamb finished its meal.  Eli knew it was time to step in before Cullen’s frustration ruled his good sense.

He stepped closer and laid his hand on Cullen’s shoulder. “Here, let me help. That little shit is a fighter like its mom.”

Cullen tensed, but then the tension disappeared. “Yes, before the knot-head hurts itself.”

Eli took the bottle and waited until Cullen had a tight hold on the trouble maker, then carefully pried its jaws open. After a brief struggle, Eli slipped the rubber nipple into its mouth.

The lamb fought before swallowing several squirts of milk. It frozen place, then suckled again for a second as if it were sampling the goods.

The animal looked up at Cullen for a long second, then nursed with all the ferocity of a piranha after raw meat. After a few seconds of furious nursing, Cullen turned to Eli.

“I think she’s got it now.”

Eli chuckled and squeezed Cullen’s shoulder before heading back to the house, his cozy bed and a few more hours of sleep.


The links listed below go directly to the individual stories.

Slapout: Chapter 09

Wednesday Briefs

Small time town with big time drama.


Chapter 09

Eli stopped what he was doing and leaned against the pitchfork to watch when he spotted Cullen topping the ridge. A second later an agitated ewe came into view, and he knew what had happened. They still had a few nursery jugs unoccupied in the barn. But if Cullen kept bringing back every newborn lamb from the pastures, they would need smaller pens, or more of them.

Once Cullen had rode close enough to hear him, Eli gave him a welcoming wave. “Find more babies who need your special touch?”

Cullen’s expression never changed and Eli braced himself for bad news. “What’s wrong?”

“Coyotes. A pair. They were after her lambs.”

Eli took a deep breath then let it out slowly. He considered how to deal with this, then met Cullen’s gaze. “Good job. They’d would have got both babies. You did the right thing bringing her to the house.”

Cullen relaxed. “I didn’t know what to else to do. I figured it would be safest to just bring ‘em out of the pasture.”

Eli lifted the lambs from the saddle and held them out to their mother. She had been running back and forth a few feet away. But when she spotted her offspring, the ewe came to a sudden stop, stepped closer and sniffed each lamb. Eli grinned when she bleated.

“That’s it girl. You follow along, and we’ll get you and your babies in somewhere safe. We’ll protect you from those nasty old coyotes.”

Cullen draped his leg around the saddle horn and laughed at Eli. “You know, baby talking to the sheep it’ll kill your whole macho man routine.”

“Oh shut up. It isn’t like you haven’t talked the same way to the animals. You’d think that horse and you have a thing going,” Eli said.

“Fuck you. Get the mother in the lambing pen before something else happens.”

Cullen snorted when Eli flipped him off before working the very excited ewe into one of the empty enclosures. She fell into the category of ewes who needed more help than he’d normally give. He stood on the edge of darkness marking the entrance to the cavernous barn. He held on to the lambs as the ewe made her displeasure known before plunging into the dark shadow.

Eli laid the twins on the bedding he’d strewn in a deep layer across a lambing crate after it’s last occupant returned to the flock. The ewe plunged past him and checked her offspring to figure out what Eli did to them.

Eli and Cullen waited to see how the reunion went. One of the lamb bounced back in seconds and looked for its food supply. They watched the other, hoping for a comparable response. But it lay sprawled across the bedding while it’s mother nudged it again and again while making sounds of concern. All of which had no effect. Eli motioned toward the tack room in a corner of the barn.

“Grab one of the plastic cups and a bottle. Let’s see if we can get milk into her.”

Cullen nodded and trotted for the equipment Eli’d asked for. A quick minute later, he returned with everything. He climbed over the fence then glanced over to see what instructions Eli had for him.

“Grab her and I’ll try to get a meal for the baby.”

Cullen cornered the ewe and held her tight. Eli knelt beside her and worked out the thick first milk into the cup. It wasn’t a fast done chore either, the ewes Eli ran were not built for hand-milking. But Eli persevered and milked what he thought would be a good amount to get down her.

As Eli moved to ready the bottle, he motioned toward Cullen. “Grab the lamb and lets try to get something into her.”

Cullen lifted the limp form while Eli tried to get the nipple in it’s mouth. They struggled with the lamb for several long minutes and Eli feared they were running out of options. He’d reached the point to consider tubing the newborn, when it swallowed.

“Damn,” Cullen said. “I thought this was going bad.”

As the lamb took a second drink, Eli couldn’t help but smiled. “I was right there with you. But she’s nursing.”

They broke into a soft chuckle as the sounds of furious sucking filled the air around them.


The links listed below go directly to the individual stories.

 

Release of Wrestling with Destiny

Fresh out of college, Tyler is ready to take on the world—or at least the world of steer wrestling. But after meeting Micah, he comes to realize he’ll have to choose between his two loves—rodeo and his man.

Tyler Lang was a champion steer wrestler at the collegiate level, and now that he’s returned home, he has his sights set for the National Finals in Vegas. His hometown Independence Day parade and rodeo gives him the chance to play the role of town hero, even though it wasn’t an honor he would have pursued. But later, while enjoying a celebratory drink, he runs into Micah Vella, a local rancher who had been a few years ahead of him in high school. Their evening together starts out as two friends watching the Independence Day fireworks. When Micah confesses he is gay, too, Tyler’s careful plans are thrown to the winds.

The couple work to build a relationship, but it’s feeling as if the world is conspiring against them. The pair battle setbacks from a continual plague of problems with Tyler’s gear, attacks that come close to getting them hospitalized and Micah’s father’s diagnosis of a life-threatening illness. With so many things going wrong and their lives in turmoil, Tyler comes to realize.

Download Links

Pride | Amazon

Slapout: Chapter 08

Wednesday Briefs

Small time town with big time drama.


Chapter 08

Cullen led his horse from its stall as he prepared to check the flocks. Eli had found the remains of a lamb yesterday so today he was not only checking for birthing issues, but something was getting past the dogs. He slid his rifle into the saddle holster and swung into the horse. The sun would break above the horizon in a few minutes and the day would begin its climb to the staggering heat typical for this time of the year. He enjoyed the early morning silence of the ranch. It seemed quieter here on the high plains than at his family’s farm in Georgia. It might not be as hot back home, but the humidity in the southeast made the air so thick it felt like you could slice it with a knife.

The horse eased to a stop at the gate and Cullen worked past the obstacle. He made his way to the south, and the first water tank in the pasture. Cullen released the windmill, and water began filling the trough. He liked to fill it each day even though it would have lasted for several days. He followed the adage his grandfather always gave about planning for the future.

Once the windmill functioned without a problem, he continued over a ridge marking a change in the terrain. The terrain became broken with grazing becoming much more scattered than closer to the headquarters. He eased the horse onto one trail, worn into the ground by generations of animals moving across the landscape.

After several minutes of searching, he heard the faint sound of the ewes and their guardian dogs. But he could tell by the sounds there was a problem. Cullen hoped he’d showed up early enough to prevent more losses. He urged the horse to a lope toward the flock. He topped the hill to find the sheep packed tight together with the dogs circling them.

Cullen studied the scene and spotted a ewe separated from the flock, and it looked like she was lambing. A few seconds more and he saw the cause of distress for the sheep and the dogs. He caught motion slinking under the camouflage of a clump of sagebrush.

A coyote. No, damn it. A pair.

He grabbed his rifle, snapped it to his shoulder and aimed.  The crack of gunfire echoed across the barren landscape.

“Shit!” Cullen yelled as the pair of predators disappeared. He knew this wouldn’t be the last time they used Eli’s flock as a moving buffet. To make matters worse, they probably had pups. But there was nothing he could do about the coyote right now.

He pulled the mare toward the ewe. She was circling a small area, refusing to go further than a few yards.

She’s got a lamb. Where is it?

Cullen swung his leg over the saddle and dropped to the ground. He let the reins trail from his hands as he searched the surroundings that didn’t seem to contain enough cover for a mouse. After a few steps, he realized the ewe could lead him to her baby.

He stood still and watched the wooly mama. A few minutes passed with them at an impasse before Cullen took a step toward one of the tiny clumps, and the ewe about lost her shit. He squatted and reached inside the grass and his hand landed on a damp textured something.

It didn’t take long to realize he had two newborns on his hands still wet from amniotic fluid, and one upset ewe.

“Take it easy, mama. We’ll get you and your little ones back to the barns. You just be patient.”

He carried two tiny lambs to his horse and after a few seconds realized this would be more of a challenge than he thought. But he got the lambs between him and the saddle horn. The calls of the two little ones and the protests from the mother would make this a long trip.


The links listed below go directly to the individual stories.

UPSTAGED I – OPENING ACT

NEW RELEASE

START OF A NEW SERIES BY S L DANIELSON AND CHERYL HEADFORD

UPSTAGED I – OPENING ACT

Sales Link http://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-1804-5-opening-act/

 

BOOK NAME Upstaged I – Opening Act

AUTHORS S L Danielson and Cheryl Headford

PUBISHED BY Extacy Press

WORD COUNT Aprox 75,000

NUMBER OF PAGES 246

GENRE New Adult. Contemporary Romance.

HEAT RATING 3

 

Blurb

Wannabe singer and band front man Erik Von Nordgren hates snarky brit Asher Berkley with a passion. From the moment he turns up at practice with his twin sister Daisy, who is one of the band the two have hated each other.
Through a series of ‘tit for tat’ incidents they annoy, frustrate and exasperated each other. The die hard goth with purple eyes and the hard core rocker with dreams of the big time have nothing in common and no need to cross paths. Except to wind each other up.
Until the day that Erik throws Asher in the school pool, when everything begins to change. Erik is so far in closet he’s in Narnia and Asher has a dark past and trust issues that stand in the way of any relationship, let alone one with the brash American who hurts him every time they try to get together.
A relationship doomed from the start, or so you’d think.

 

Author Bios

S L Danielson

  1. L. (Stephanie) Danielson began writing at the tender age of five. She knew it was her calling from the moment she put pen to paper. In her teens she began writing alternative works and the genre stuck. She created ever more elaborate tales and finally in her early 20’s years began to create works with her new love; male/male romance. She has since written more than 30 works (both solo and collaborations).

Stephanie is classically trained in business, accounting, and HR/training, possessing both an undergrad and graduate degree. She also owned and operated Romance First Publishing where the ultimate goal was to help other unknown, as well as known authors get their start in the publishing world.

Beyond writing, her other hobbies include: painting, gaming, and spending time with her husband and two cherished cats.

Cheryl Headford

Cheryl was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was 16, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.

Cheryl has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her nieces, nephews and cousin and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created, in play.

Later in life, Cheryl became the storyteller for a re enactment group who travelled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.

It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.

In present times, Cheryl lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son, dog, bearded dragon (called Smaug of course) and three cats. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close. She’s never been happier since she was made redundant and is able to devote herself entirely to her twin loves of writing and art

 

Author Links

S L Danielson

Twitter: @s_l_danielson

Website: https://wordpress.com/view/sldanielsoncom.wordpress.com

Blog:  http://ladyauthorsld.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3138749.S_L_Danielson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sldanielson

Google: https://plus.google.com/u/0/115303490884324370787

Pinterest  https://www.pinterest.com/ladyauthorsld/pins/

 

Cheryl Headford

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SevenPointStar

Facebook: Private: https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.headford.1

Author Page:  https://www.facebook.com/Nephylim.author

Tumblr:  https://www.tumblr.com/blog/nephylim-author

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4462803.Nephylim

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=140237118&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/cherylheadford1/

Blog: http://nephylim-author.blogspot.co.uk/

Website: http://cherylheadford.com/