Cowboys, Creatures and Calico, Vol. 1
A Halloween Anthology, with stories by Linda Carroll-Bradd and Lorrie Farrelly, Cher’ley Grogg, Tanya Hanson, Shayna Matthews, Sarah McNeal
Published by Prairie Rose Publications, October 2, 2014
About the Book:
Halloween is here along with some romantic western-y ghost tales to share around a campfire! Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico, Vol. 1 is guaranteed to make you wonder what in the world–or in the “other” world—is going on. But are you sure you really want to know?
Blurb for Wanderer, Come Home, by Linda Carroll-Bradd:
Widow Vevina Bernhard sees mysterious lights at night and believes her Texas ranch is haunted. She needs protection for herself and her 4-year old son but the town’s sheriff offers no help. Ex-Ranger Kell Hawksen hires on as a farrier but still tracks clues on a stagecoach robbery. On Samhain, fire erupts and Vevina and Kell battle both the danger and the depth of their feelings.
Excerpt from Wanderer, Come Home:
Muscles tense, Kell pressed his lips tight to hold back a protest. What kind of sheriff expected this treatment from a widow? Not one who was on the up and up. Maybe he didn’t need to introduce himself yet. Better to wait and see how this plays out. He stepped out onto the boardwalk and, with quick strides, moved to his saddlebags and grabbed the carving stick he liked to whittle. From his pocket, he pulled a jackknife and settled into a chair in front of the hitching rail. In his experience, people were more ready to start up a conversation with someone otherwise occupied than with a stranger sitting and staring at passersby.
To his right, the doorknob rattled and the door opened, increasing the volume of the conversation.
“I expect ye to do yer job and check me fields, sheriff. I’m not promising ye’ll be allowed entry farther than me front porch.” The door shut with a bang, and Mrs. Bernhard breathed out a sigh. “Blasted lazy man. Oh now, Timmy. Don’t ye be using that bad word.”
“As cuss words go, that’s one not too bad.” Kell stood and lifted a finger to the brim of his hat. The sweet scent of lilacs teased his nose. “Ma’am, I couldn’t help but overhear what you said inside.”
She turned and gazed upward. “I suppose our voices were a bit loud.”
The woman was just a mite of a thing, had to be eight or nine inches shorter than him. But she apparently had the heart of a lioness. “Name’s Kell Hawksen, and I’m new in town.”
“Mr. Hawksen.” She bobbed her chin, making her bonnet strings bounce. “I’m Vevina Bernhard and this is my son, Timothy. With such a big name for a little boy, he’s known as Timmy.”
The boy gazed upward, his eyes a perfect match to his mother’s.
“Since you live around here, maybe you can point out a good hotel.” He hadn’t seen one on his ride in but he wanted to keep her talking. Her face was alight with intelligence surrounded by strawberry-blonde wisps of hair at the edge of her bonnet.
“Of course.” She twisted and pointed with her free hand. “No hotel, but I’ve heard of a good rooming house operated by Mrs. Treadwell. Go to that corner, turn right and it’s the third house down.” She turned and glanced at the full length of his body then squinted at his face. “Ye being here in Comfort on business?”
“Looking for work, actually.” And getting to the bottom of your mysterious lights might be quite entertaining. “I’ve served as a sleuth and a guard, I’m handy with a hammer and know my way around horses and cattle.”
“Oh, be ye a farrier, by chance?” Her eyes widened and she leaned forward. “Several of me horses need tending, and the new blacksmith doesn’t travel to outlying ranches.”
Outlying? He wondered how far outside of town the ranch was. “Not by profession, but I’ve always cared for my own horses.” He watched several emotions cross her expressive face as she considered his statement. Interest changed to caution and then to resignation.
After a long look at her son’s face and a few strokes of his shiny straight hair, Mrs. Bernhard dipped her chin then lifted her gaze to meet his. “I can offer ye room and board plus twenty dollars a month. Ye’d be rooming in the bunkhouse with two cowhands who are wintering over following this fall’s cattle drive.”
“No foreman?” His preferred job.
“He and his wife have their own small house. Right now, he’s laid up with a broken leg.”
“I thank you for the job offer and accept, ma’am. How far outside of town is your ranch?”
“Shady Oaks is about three miles on the westerly road. I need to shop at the mercantile before heading back. But if ye’d like—”
Lifting a staying hand, he shook his head.
Mrs. Bernhard tilted her head and pressed her lips together.
“I’ll accompany you, if that’s all right. Maybe help with carrying your purchases.” No better way to check out a town than to linger a while in the general store.
About the Author:
As a young girl, Linda was often found lying on her bed reading about fascinating characters having exciting adventures in places far away and in other time periods. In later years, she read and then started writing romances and achieved her first publication--a confession story. Married with 4 adult children and 2 granddaughters, Linda writes heartwarming contemporary and historical stories with a touch of humor from her home in the southern California mountains.
Link for Cowboys, Creatures and Calico, Vol. 1 on Goodreads: