Category: Mary Connealy

Christmas novella time….part 2

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Do you remember that I gave away a novella last month? A Christmas novella?

Well, no, I’m not doing a rerun. I have TWO Christmas novellas and here’s the second one and I’m especially excited about showing it to you today because I’m doing a FACEBOOK LAUNCH PARTY for it tonight.

facebook-party-1Click Here to say YES to my invitation to the party and your chance to win!

This novella contains books from Mary Connealy (me!), Ruth Logan Herne, Julie Lessman and Anna Schmidt

My contribution to Cowboy Christmas Homecoming is

Longhorn Christmas

 (oh c’mon, you knew it’d be named something like that!)

It was a lot of fun to write and these ladies were really fun to work with.

Here’s an excerpt from

LONGHORN CHRISTMAS

Chapter One

The trouble with lassoing a Texas cyclone was—now you had a cyclone on the end of your rope.

Then what was she going to do with it?

            She dropped a loop over the monster’s head and ran.

            Her cowpony dodged around a clump of trees as the red cyclone with an eight foot spread of horns charged. With whipfast moves, Netty snugged the lasso around an aspen and kicked her horse to get out of range.

            Cyclone, a longhorn mama, with a noose tight around her eight foot spread of horns, lunged at poor Blue. Her razor sharp horns swiped her horse’s rump but she only snared the blue roan’s tail. The horse was scared enough he didn’t take any notice, not counting running for his life of course.

Cyclone came up against the end of the rope and was yanked back so hard she flipped over, onto her side. Then, like a striking snake, she turned and charged the trees. The yellow leaves still clinging in the late November breeze quivered and quaked.

She bounced off the trees then turned back and locked her furious eyes Netty. A big old hank of horse hair dangling from one horn.

            Trembling, Netty stayed atop her horse for a few second, shaking so hard she was afraid if she dismounted she’d just sink down to the ground in a heap. Blue was as bad as Netty. Both of them were quaking as bad as those aspens.  

Cyclone bellowed and pawed the dirt, then turned to thrash at the trees that held her tight.

Netty had to finish.

She swung off Blue, clung to the stirrup until she was sure her knees would hold, ground hitched the horse, and turned to do what she’d come for.

Drive off starvation for another few weeks.

            “Are you all right, Mama?”

            Starvation for her and her son.

            Well, Netty was scared fit to beat all, but her son didn’t need to know that. All she had to do with this job. And with no one to watch her six-year-old son since Ma had died, there was no choice but to bring him along.

            “I’m fine Jeremy.” She looked about forty feet away to a good-sized red oak tree where she’d perched her boy up high—out of Cyclone’s reach. Safe until she could finish this and fetch him.

            But first she had to save the calf.

Cyclone had busted out of the canyon gate and Netty’d been glad to see the back of her. As much as she needed every cow, Cyclone, amid a herd of wild dangerous animals, was the deadliest.

And then today, Netty’d ridden out to hunt food, and found a mess.

            Mama standing guard over a baby she couldn’t reach and was desperate to protect.

Netty worked hard to save every baby on the place. Her hold on survival for her and her son was tenuous and losing a calf, especially a perfectly healthy calf, was serious business.

            But she didn’t rope the cyclone for money, there wasn’t enough of it in the world.

The truth was she couldn’t bear the thought of that baby trapped down here away from its mama, dying a lingering death.

Netty strode to the crevice in the jumble of rocks and looked down. The little red-roaned calf looked up and bawled piteously.

            Carefully, picking a thin ledge for footing, Netty dropped into the hole. It was about five feet, not too far down, just too far for the baby to escape, Netty got into the little notch in the ground, roughly shaped like an upside down triangle. She scooped the poor baby up and hoisted it high and set it on the ground.

Then a terrible bawl from Cyclone—she must’ve spotted the calf—a snap loud as a gunshot sounded, and the rope gave way, just as Netty crawled up out of the hole. Cyclone charged.

            “Look out, Mama!” Jeremy shouted in terror.

            Netty dropped back into that hole and landed face down on the bottom. She looked over her shoulder to see one of those long horns slashing down at her. She flattened against the ground. The horn snagged the coat she wore but the horn didn’t catch. Netty ripped at the coat just as Cyclone rammed her head into the crevice.

            Netty facebook-party-win-a-little-comfort-for-christmasflattened and sucked in her stomach to get as low as possible. The maddened cow missed her again.

            Cyclone gouged at her, hooked a horn, then shoved her head in. Hot breath blasted the back of Netty’s neck.

            Cyclone pulled her head back, snorted and dove. Pulled back again. The calf bawled pitifully and that finally turned Cyclone aside.

            Netty lay still, gasping for breath. That’s when she heard Jeremy screaming………

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Stop by Facebook tonight at 8 – 10 Eastern Time. Why is this Eastern Time!!!??? Everybody knows CENTRAL time is the REAL time. I did NOT approve this!

Anyway, stop in from 7 – 9 CENTRAL TIME and join the party (or as we like to call it, “The Wild Rumpus.”)

We’re giving away a prize every 20 minutes or so, and a book is included with each prize package…or sometimes a book alone. I’m giving away a velvet throw, Ruthy’s doing a dried soup mix, Julie is doing Ghirardelli Chocolate, a scarf from Anna. All with the idea of finding a comfortable spot and settling in with a good book!

And I’m giving a book away today here at Petticoats & Pistols, too. Yep, Cowboy Christmas Homecoming. To get your name in the drawing, let’s talk about comfort. Cold weather is coming….we’ve had a lovely fall but this is Nebraska, winter has NEVER ONCE SKIPPED US. It’s forecast to be 61 for a high today. And then tomorrow comes. High in the 30s, love of 20. Excuse me while I weep.

What do you do for comfort? Chicken soup? A velvet blanket? Rewatch Holiday Inn or…It’s a Wonderful Life…or Miracle on 34th Street…or Elf? Turn on Mannheim Steamroller Celebration…such a perfect Christmas album. Chocolates and hot tea? A fireplace (try this and turn your computer screen or, if you get it on your TV, your whole TV becomes a fireplace… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDfjXj5EGqI&t=312s

Let’s talk comfort today on Petticoats & Pistols.

 

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