I am very proud to be associated with talented author, Lyn Horner. She is one of 15 Western Romance authors featured in the newly released Anthology – Rawhide ‘n Roses. I have invited her here today to tell us more about her story.
Being a contributor to this collection of short stories has been a real learning experience. I thought it would be fun and wouldn’t take much time. Right. The problem is I don’t often write short stories. How was I going to tell a complete story, a romance no less, in two or three thousand words? Most chapters in my novels are longer than that. What had I gotten myself into?
Well, I quickly learned the key is to cut out all “fluff”. I ended up cutting at least a third of my first draft, a painful process as you know. We authors don’t enjoy dumping sentences, paragraphs, even whole scenes for the sake of brevity, even if it does improve the story. Now I’d like to share a snippet from my short story.
The Lawman’s Lady
by Lyn Horner
Marshal Trace Balfour doesn’t care for schoolmarm Matilda Schoenbrun’s straight-laced attitude. However, a few moments alone with the spinster lady makes him realize she isn’t quite what he expected. It also makes him curious. Why doesn’t she like to be called Mattie? Most of all, what would she look like without her specs and with her hair down?
“Move aside,” Marshal Trace Balfour ordered, pushing through the noisy throng gathered in the street outside the Golden Slipper Saloon. Their shouts and laughter had drawn him from his office up the block. Among the crowd, he saw the local Methodist preacher, the undertaker and the owner of the mercantile across the dusty street. Several ranch hands, in town on their day off, made most of the racket.
Trace also noticed the schoolmarm, Matilda Schoenbrun. With her brown hair wound in a tight bun at her nape and wearing a drab calico gown of the same color, she brought to mind a brown jay such as he’d seen as a boy in south Texas. When she spotted him, she threw her shoulders back and narrowed her lips, looking down her bespectacled little nose, setting his teeth on edge.
“Marshal, please put a stop to this!” she demanded in a haughty voice.
“Ma’am, that’s what I aim to do.” Touching his hat to her, he shouldered aside a pair of cowboys whose laughter and catcalls almost drowned out the shrieks coming from a pair of females rolling in the dirt. Trace recognized them as saloon girls form the Golden Slipper. With red and purple skirts bunched around their knees, they fought viciously, scratching, biting and pulling each other’s hair.
He’d rather face a gang of bank robbers than deal with these snarling wildcats, he thought grimly.
* * * *
Now what could be more appropriate today – St Patrick’s Day – than to also tell you a little about Lyn’s Book ‘Dearest Irish’
Set in1876, Dearest Irish stars Rose Devlin, the youngest of three psychic siblings who hide their rare talents for fear of persecution. Gifted with the extraordinary ability to heal with her mind, Rose inadvertently reveals her secret to Choctaw Jack, a half-breed cowboy she finds fascinating. Unfortunately, she harbors another, darker secret that threatens her chances of ever knowing love.
Choctaw Jack straddles two worlds, dividing his loyalties between his mother’s people and the family of a friend who died in the Civil War. Like Rose, he keeps shocking secrets that could cost him his job, even his life. Yet, he will risk everything to save his dying mother, even if it means kidnapping Rose.
Rose regained her senses slowly. Feeling herself rock to and fro, she groggily recognized the loping gait of a horse beneath her. But how could that be?
She forced her eyes open, taking in the starlit sky and the dark landscape passing by. Blinking at the sight, she realized she was seated crosswise on the horse – in a man’s lap. Just like that, the scene in her bedroom with Jack came back to her, and she knew whose chest she leaned upon and whose arm was locked around her.
Panicking, she cried out in fright. Pain lanced through her jaw, reminding her of the blow her teacher-turned-abductor had delivered just before she’d sunk into oblivion.
“Easy now,” the brute murmured. “You’re all right. Nobody’s gonna hurt you.”
She threw her head back to see his shadowed features. “I’m not all right, ye . . . ye kidnapper!” Cupping her painful jaw, she demanded, “Take me back this instant!”
“Can’t do that, Toppah.”
“But ye must! Tye and Lil will be looking for me.” Catching the odd word he’d spoken, she repeated it. “Toppah? What’s that?”
“It’s you. It means yellow-hair.”
“Oh. Well, don’t be calling me that again. Now turn this horse around and take me back,” she again demanded.
“Nope. We’re heading for the Nations. You might as well relax and enjoy the ride.”
“Enjoy the ride, is it? You’re daft!” She pushed at his steely arm and attempted to twist free, but, although his hold caused no pain, it was unbreakable. Feeling smothered and panicky, she shoved at his chest, managing to create a small space between them.
“Be still,” he ordered sharply. “Do you want to fall off and break your neck?”
Before she could reply, another man’s voice sounded nearby, speaking in an unfamiliar tongue. Unaware of his presence until that moment, Rose uttered a frightened cry and instinctively shrank against Jack. His arm tightened around her for a moment. He said something to the other man then spoke softly to her.
“Don’t be afraid, Poe-lah-yee. That’s only Tsoia. He is my friend, my blood brother. He won’t touch you as long as he thinks you’re mine.”
“Yours! I’m not yours!” she shrilled, once more stiffening against him.
“You might not want to let him know that.”
Twisting her upper body and craning her neck, Rose caught a glimpse of the other Indian’s shadowy form. He rode near them and, unless she was mistaken, he led another horse.
“What did he say?” she warily asked.
“He said you screech like an owl,” Jack replied, a grin in his voice.
Rose huffed in annoyance, not liking the comparison. After a moment’s silence, she asked in a softer voice, “And what did ye call me a minute ago?”
“Poe-lah-yee. It means rabbit.”
“Rabbit! I told ye before I’m no scared rabbit.” Although she did feel like one just now, she privately admitted. “Oh, and my hair’s not yellow, ’tis strawberry-blonde. That’s what they’re calling the color back in Chicago these days.”
“That right? Well, I guess I could call you Poe-aye-gaw. That means strawberries.”
“For goodness sake, can’t ye call me by my proper name?”
“I dunno,” he drawled. “Poe-aye-gaw is kinda nice, or maybe P’ayn-nah. That means sugar. Yeah, I like that one.”
Sugar? Did he think her sweet? And what if he did? It made no nevermind to her. Snorting in disdain, Rose squirmed uncomfortably in his lap.
Buy Dearest Irish here:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CK9LGA2 (Kindle & print)
Find Lyn Here: