Saturday, June 26, 2010
Exclusive Excerpt from the brand new THE CROSS OF SINS!
Riding Arturo bareback, with Acacia by their side, Shane and the horses thundered across the land as the sky thundered above them. They came to a halt, Arturo rearing upward, at the edge of a shallow ravine.
Shane jumped from Arturo’s back and stood staring down into the dark.
He heard a frightened whinny, then, as lightning shot across the sky, he caught a glimpse of young Jax, trapped in the gully. He seemed unharmed, but somehow he had managed to fall or find his way down there and couldn’t get back up.
Shane quickly sized up the steep ravine. “I’m comin’ little buddy! Hold on!” Then he turned to Arturo. “Arturo. Rope! I need you to get me a rope from the stables. Rope! Do you understand?”
Arturo’s head bucked up and down, his hooves clomping, and as swiftly as he raced across the ranch, he disappeared into the darkness.
At that moment the heavens opened and the rain came down in a deluge.
It turned the sides of the ravine into a muddy slippery slide as Shane scrambled and rolled his way down, his clothes soaked through by the time he hit the floor of the ravine.
Jax came bounding up to him.
“Hey, mister! You okay? You hurt?” Shane checked the colt’s lanky legs, his hips, his ribs. No broken bones. Now all they had to do was find a way out.
Shane knelt in the pelting rain and stroked Jax’s wet coat. “Okay little buddy, here’s the deal. You’re gonna be brave and let me sling you over my shoulders, okay? Then you and me are gonna climb our way outta here.” He glanced up the wall of the ravine to see it quickly turning into a mudslide, then added, “Somehow.”
With some effort, Shane hoisted Jax over his shoulders and felt the weight. “Damn, you’re a growin’ boy, ain’t ya!” Then, with his fingers clawing into the mud and boots finding footholes wherever he could, the young cowboy started to climb his way out of the ravine.
He got six feet up when thunder cracked across the sky.
Jax squirmed nervously.
Shane lost his grip and slid all the way to the bottom again.
“Okay,” he panted to himself. “Maybe this is gonna take a little longer than I thought.”
He started clambering up the embankment again. Just then the rain got heavier. It poured over the brim of his hat. He had trouble seeing what he was doing, feeling his way, making a grab for a ledge or a sturdy-looking shrub with each flash of lightning.
Then the mud beneath his left foot gave way, the rocks in his right hand came loose, and Shane once again slid to the bottom of the ravine with an increasingly-frightened colt on his back.
That’s when both man and colt heard Arturo’s whinny at the top of the embankment.
Shane looked up and a coiled rope landed across his face. “Ow!”
Then suddenly he heard another sound.
Not Arturo’s whinny from above.
This was something altogether different.
Shane looked quickly up to the opened heavens, then left, where the ravine ran all the way up to the mountains. And all he could whisper was, “Oh shit!”