Charlie was playing near the edge of the forest while Gina knelt in the small garden. She glanced occasionally toward the log cabin at the other end of the clearing. Charles would return soon. The setting sun sent shadows across the grass. Charlie poked at the brown earth with a stick.
A cougar slunk forward between scrub oak branches and watched carefully, ears forward. Her tail twitched.
As the cougar crouched into position to spring, Gina’s head snapped up. Her hand reached for a thick stick lying nearby. As the cat sprang, so did she; the woman was faster.
“No!” she shrieked as the animal lunged toward the child. “No!” The stick flew through the air, hitting the cat’s side. It arched away in mid-spring, missing its quarry. Charlie let out a cry and the cougar snarled. Then it was gone.
“Mamá?” the child whimpered.
She reached for him wordlessly.
from Old One Eye Pete
I’m pleased to announce that Not Just Any Man, my mountain man novel set in New Mexico, is now available in paperback and ebook. Here are the details:
Just a man. Known for his character, not the color of his skin. That’s all Gerald, son of a free black man and and Irish servant girl, wants to be. It’s an impossible goal in slave-holding Missouri, but in the West, mountain men and villagers alike seem to accept him without question.
New Mexico is all that Gerald hoped for, but shortly after he arrives in Taos, he realizes he wants more than he’d thought: A girl with her own complex ancestry and a high mountain valley with intriguing potential.
To make either dream possible, Gerald needs to earn something more than a scratch living. The only way to do that is to trap beaver. It’s a tough way to earn cash and the wilderness is an unforgiving place.
Can Gerald survive the Sangre de Cristo mountains, the Mohave Indians, and the arid south rim of the Grand Canyon as well as the fellow trapper who hates him for the color of his skin? Can he prove to himself and the girl he loves that he is, after all, not just any man?
Not Just Any Man is set in the late 1820s in Old New Mexico and is filled with historical characters and events.
You can order it from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online outlets, or from your favorite brick-and-mortar bookstore.
“I seen him! I seen him!” The boy stopped, breathless, just inside the kitchen door.
“You mean you saw him.” His mother shook her head at him as she lifted the lid from the Dutch oven in the fireplace to check the biscuits. She smiled. “Who did you see?”
“Kit Carson! He was on the other side of the street, going into the Governor’s house.”
She nodded. “I heard this morning that he was back. What is he like?”
His shoulders sagged. “He didn’t look anything like the pictures in the book Grandpa gave me when we left Kansas City.”
“That was just a story,” she pointed out. She turned to stir the great pot of venison stew.
“I know,” he said. “But he wasn’t what I expected at all. He’s just a man.”
Copyright © 2013 Loretta Miles Tollefson