Christmas novella time….part 2

Mary Connealy Header

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


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………


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…

Let’s talk comfort today on Petticoats & Pistols.


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Author of Romantic Comedy...with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series

34 thoughts on “Christmas novella time….part 2”

    • Heidi I’m wearing pink fuzzy socks right now. And I have to save those anti-slip pads. There are big green polka-dots.
      And btw I had to look up how to spell polka dot. Do you think it has anything to do with polka???

  1. I love to curl up on the couch with my fleece blanket, a cup of coffee and a good book. Sometimes I watch a Christmas movie and read my book during the commercials. Awhhhhh, such comfort.

    Cindy W.

  2. Warm blanket(s), a comfy winter nightgown, warm socks, a book, tea (cold or hot), and my dog and cat at my feet are the ticket for me. Sometimes my mom’s cat joins the snuggle. Nothing like being warm on the inside and outside with such faithful companions.

    Sorry I won’t see you on Facebook. I’ve made a lifestyle choice not to be “plugged in” all the time, which includes Facebook, constant phone chatter where ever I go, and yes ebooks. I read paper books and get news from the best newspapers like the New York Times. As for paper books, I find people in waiting rooms are more likely to talk to one another if they are not absorbed in a device; however, if you have a book in your hands, people are more likely to strike up a conversation, starting with what you’re reading. That may sound like not keeping up to the times for some folks, but for me it keeps me more inc contact with people in person than the other ways. Probably more than you wanted to know but it’s on my mind particularly now since I’ve heard Facebook and Google are trying to remove biased and/or hateful news sites since the recent election.

    • My winter jammies….flannel pants, a thermal long sleeved top. Pink. I could use a couple of pet foot warmers!
      Eliza my only phone is an old flip phone. I’m under CONSTANT pressure to get a smart phone but I see so many people just completely absorbed in their phone when they have companions who are being ignored. Of course far too often those companions are on their phones, too.
      The world has gotten weird

    • Books! I love that books keep being in the choices! LOL
      We had chili soup for dinner yesterday. So luscious.
      I hold the bowl with one hand and use it too keep my fingers from getting chilly (hah, chili chilly, I didn’t plan that!)

    • I like to add hot tea to this, but I get absorbed in the book and before you know it, my tea is cold.
      Earl Gray is my favorite. I just bought some new yesterday that promises to be extra good! (we’ll see)

  3. Considering my husband likes to leave the windows open year round (in Minnesota), I find great comfort in blankets. Lots of them. Wool socks, wool sweater, stocking hat, and, if the occasion demands, mittens, though it makes turning the pages difficult. Though putting my icy hands on his nice warm neck or back is very comforting too (especially his reaction–warms me to the core). Then after our temperatures have equalized, I can go back to turning pages again.

    I agree, Central Time is THE time.

      Have you had him tested??? (Not for frostbite, for insanity!!!)
      Get a space heater and aim it right at yourself. I have two or three of those. Very handy because while we don’t leave the windows open, My Cowboy is big on saving money by turning the heat down.
      🙁 I believe in this too, in THEORY! But in actual practice I sneak and turn the thermostat up when he’s not looking–you know like when he’d outside working in the cold? Then turn it down when I see him coming home (sometimes–if I think of it) Then hope he doesn’t look at the thermostat and say, “It’s set for 74 but the temperature is 78.”
      Okay, he’s totally on to me.
      And I can’t ever do well at being sneaky because I’m too forgetful. I forget my lies. And that’s just embarrassing.

    • And this reading thread running through all the comments is consistent isn’t it? That’s why we’re all hanging around P & P. 🙂
      I wonder what people who don’t read do for comfort?
      I PITY THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. What is better than snuggling up in a warm blanket with a good book and watching White Christmas while drinking a cup of Hot Chocolate..

  5. It seems like we don’t get winter down in Southeast Texas. The last 10 years or so have been very mild. I don’t care for snow or less than 25 degree weather but I do like some cold weather in winter. We need to kill all the bugs and I like to wear my coat sometimes. O usually just dot and drink something hot and read. Love your books.

  6. Mary, you already have me hooked! I’m dying to know why Jeremy screamed. Is the calf OK? I know, I need to read the book to find out. It may sound amazing, but I’ve never read any of your books. I guess you just make a new fan, and friend. 🙂

    Thanks for the drawing and I’ll see you at the Launch Party. Yeah!

  7. Sorry I missed the Facebook Party. Just too much to do before getting to the computer. It will be in the 70’s here tomorrow and in the 30’s on Saturday. I am moving everything away from our wood stove so we can use it. It is so much better at heating the room/house than a fireplace. We have one I can cook on if I want and I have. I keep a kettle on it so we always have hot water for tea, instant spiced cider and hot cocoa. I have several fleece throws in places I sit to work or read just in case I get chilled.
    I will get the Christmas music out, but not until after Thanksgiving. Mannheim Steamroller is one of my favorites. I have seen them in concert twice (we are volunteer ushers) and can’t wait until they come through again.
    White Christmas is my favorite holiday movie. We will also watch Miracle On 34th Street (1947 version), The Muppet Christmas Carol, Santa Claus: The Movie , Polar Express, Prancer , The Santa Clause and The Santa Clause 2: The Mrs Clause , How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated), While You Were Sleeping , and A Christmas Story,.

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