Thursday, November 26, 2015

What to do While You Wait for that Other Bird

Great news! When Doves Fly will be on a Kindle Countdown Deal starting on Turkey Day. So while the bird cooks--the other bird!--or during those long drives over the river and through the woods to Grandma's house, you can read a book reviewers are calling "gritty, complex storytelling" and both "timeless and fresh." Works on planes, trains, automobiles, wagons, and even horses.

Amazon UK

To request a signed print copy, use the contact form here:

Excerpt from When Doves Fly by Lauren Gregory

Two horses occupied the pen, and both looked used up.

The livery operator, even harder used than his horses, eyed Lily with an arched brow. He wore chaps molded to his legs and a cowboy hat with holes. Tanned rifts covered his face and shifted in strange patterns as he talked.

“Where ya headed?”

Cheyenne,” she lied.

“Where’s yer men folk?”

“I’ll be making this trip alone.”

“Missy, that’s a long ride. Oughtta at least wait for a party goin’ out.”

Lily set her jaw. “I’ll worry about that. How much for that one?” She pointed to the less-swaybacked roan.

“That’s Charlie. Let you have him for $50.00. Can you even heft a saddle on yer own?”

Her lips pursed, and she walked to a rack loaded with saddles. Struggling, she lifted one over her head. “Satisfied?”

The horseman shrugged. “All right. But ain’t no way you can make it all the way to Cheyenne on yer lonesome. Bandits roamin’ all over now, even if the ride don’t kill ya.”

“Will you sell me the horse or not?”

He opened a packet from his vest and stuffed a plug of tobacco in his cheek. “I reckon.”

“Do you have any mules?”

“For what?” His eyes narrowed.

She tossed him a withering look. “A pack mule, of course.”

His gaze wandered. “Nope. No mules.”

Lily followed his glance and walked to the corner of the building. Several mules munched hay at a paddock trough. She rounded on the man.

“Just what are those? Pigs?”

“Bad enough if I sell you the horse, but that’ll only getcha in so much trouble. I ain’t sendin’ you out on the trail with two animals you can’t handle.”

“Then I’ll have to find someone who wants to make money. Thank you and good day.”

He stuck his leg out, blocking her attempt at a huffing exit. “Listen, missy. You don’t look as if you been doin’ much trail ridin’. I’ll allow you might handle the horse on yer own, mostly ‘cause he’s too old and tired to do much but eat. But a jack’s a different animal, and tryin’ to lead one while you ride ain’t easy, even for trail men with some miles under their belts. What do you need to pack, anyhow?”

Lily pressed her lips together to stop their trembling. She wanted to tell him to mind his business but lifted her chin. “Goods.”

“Er … you can buy goods in Cheyenne, reckon? It’s a bonafide city these days. Stores and everything.”

Cheyenne isn’t my final destination. Will you sell me a mule, or are you going to spend all day asking questions?” Her nails dug into her palms.

He looked her up and down. “I can’t do it. Take my advice: don’t try it.”

She fumed but changed her tack and offered a sweet smile. “What if I take a hired man? Can I, please, have a mule then?”

“Do I look that brainless?”

“No, truly, I promise. You’re right; I shouldn’t do it on my own. I’ll hire someone. Do you know where I can find a reliable hand?”

The horseman considered her and wagged a finger. “I’ll give ya the address. And I’ll check up on it, too.”

She paid him $95.00 for the horse, mule, and a saddle. As he saddled the horse, he looked at her skirt.

“You know how to ride a western?”

She didn’t meet his gaze. “Of course.”

When he finished, she led the animals away, with no intention of hiring anyone.

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