cowboys, creatures, and calico vol 2

What better way to spend Halloween than with some handsome cowboys and feisty heroines who are determined to fall in love despite their supernatural powers—or lack thereof. Halloween's a good time to take a chance on love—and to see what these Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico Vol. 2 stories might reveal to the unsuspecting reader—YOU!

Cheryl Pierson's Spellbound will have you on the edge of your seat as safecracker Brett Diamond and witch Angie Colton take on a border gang leader who is pure evil. Can Angie's supernatural powers save them? No matter what, Brett and Angie are hopelessly spellbound.

C. Marie Bowen's Hunter and Lily Graham is an unforgettable tale of a beautiful school marm's love for her children that surpasses all. When a Cajun bounty hunter known only as “Hunter” shows up, Lily knows he, and no one else, can help her save a young girl.

Have Wand—Will Travel is Jacquie Roger's offering about a handsome young mage, Tremaine Ramsey, who has a wand and knows how to use it…sometimes. Will his magic be strong enough to pull off a daring rescue of his father from the evil Gharth? Or will he need the warrior Nora's love to help him see his Fate through?

Will Kaye Spencer's character, Mercy Pontiere, be able to break a centuries-old curse and find true love all at the same time? It all depends on Reid Corvane and what he'll do For Love of a Brystile Witch.

In Kristy McCaffrey's story, The Crow and the Coyote, Hannah Dobbin is after an evil Navajo sorcerer who murdered her father, and she's determined to see him dead. But she'll need a bounty hunter—The Crow—to help find this vile man. With Hallowtide upon them, more evil is afoot than they can handle; but love will find a way.

A failed bank robber, Tombstone Hawkins, along with a fake gypsy fortune teller, Pansy Gilchrist, set out to make both their deceased fathers proud in one final spectacular heist. Family Tradition is Kathleen Rice Adam's tale of the discovery of true love amid the commission of a crime—or the failure to commit a crime—while being overseen by the ghosts of the couple's fathers. How can there be a happy ending? It's Halloween, and anything can happen!

Praise

“Mystical, sometimes humorous, and well done stories. All were well written and flowed smoothly. If you like the paranormal, you can't go wrong with this collection.” ~ Rain Trueax, author of the Oregon Historical Romance series

“Love the anthologies from Prairie Rose. This one has…cute stories by some of my favorite western writers.” ~ Caroline Clemmons, author of The Most Unsuitable Wife

Read AN EXCERPT

Jack Boggs came upon the camp in the blackness of night. A form lay near a smoldering fire. A quick perusal told him it was female. Disappointed, he rested his gun against his thigh from where he crouched.

He'd followed these tracks all day, but instead of leading him to Ignacio Lopez, they ended here. He had no interest in befriending anyone, but perhaps the woman might have seen Lopez in the area.

The end of a barrel jammed hard between his shoulder blades. “Do not move.”

Shocked by the sound of a gravelly, Indian-inflected voice, he couldn't believe a woman had crept up on him.

He let the Colt slide to the ground before him, then slowly raised his arms.

“Stand, and move away from that gun,” she said.

Hopefully, she wouldn't notice the second one still holstered. He stood. The metal dug into his back again—from the feel of it, likely a double-barreled shotgun—prompting him forward. He stepped over his weapon, and heard the Indian woman retrieve it.

“Hannah, wake up,” the woman said as they approached.

Jack chanced a glance over his shoulder. A short, elderly Navajo woman eyed him with suspicion.

The female on the ground stirred, then sprang to her feet.

With a gasp, her hand came to her chest. “Oh, my word, Sani.”

Forced closer by the persistent Sani, he could see Hannah's disheveled dark hair framed a youthful complexion.

“I told you we were followed,” the old woman said.

Hannah's gaze shifted to him. “Who are you, sir?”

“The name's Jack. I'm in pursuit of bounty.” He ceased inching forward, and the shotgun dug into his back once again.

“What bounty would that be?”

“A bandito by the name of Ignacio Lopez. I mean no harm to you and soft shoes back there.” He nodded over his shoulder.

Hannah considered him, then agreed. “Sani, put the gun down.”

To Jack's surprise, the Indian woman acquiesced. Carefully, he lowered his arms. “Would either of you by chance know anything about Lopez?”

Sani came to stand beside Hannah, gripping the shotgun in one hand and his weapon in the other. Even in the dark, he sensed her brittle glare.

“We might,” Hannah answered. “Would you care to join us at our fire?” She scanned behind her. “At what is left of our fire?” she amended.

He gave a curt nod. “Might I trouble you for the return of my gun?”

Hannah motioned for Sani to give it back, which the old woman did, her features schooled in a skeptical frown.

He wasted no time holstering the weapon, hoping to gain their trust.

They all settled around the barely-glowing embers.

Hannah stoked the fire, re-igniting a small blaze, then spoke in soft undertones to Sani. Jack caught snippets of Spanish mixed with a dialect he assumed to be Navajo. He knew only a smattering, the Navajo language far more complex than any he'd encountered in the past few years of hunting bounties in Texas and the territories.

Hannah turned her gaze upon him, now viewing him as sternly as old Sani. After a moment of contemplation, she murmured again to the Navajo woman.

“It's rude to talk behind someone's back,” he said, removing his hat and running fingers through shoulder-length hair.

“I agree,” Hannah replied. “Are you called Crow?”

Even in the darkness, his jet-black hair was hard to miss. That had to account for why she guessed the moniker frequently attributed to him.

“Yeah,” he replied.

Hannah took a deep breath. “Well, then, Sani and I would ask for your assistance—in exchange, of course—for our help in locating Señor Lopez.”

“You know his whereabouts?”

She nodded, but then amended, “Well, maybe not his location precisely, but we've some idea who he might be with.”

“And who's that?”

She regarded him in silence. For such a young and pretty thing, she was turning out to be a shrewd negotiator. “Do we have a deal?”

“I've no idea what you're asking me to do.”

“You tell him,” Sani said.

“We're after a Navajo called Hastin Yazhe.” Hannah spoke quietly. “He has something I want returned, a silver cross that belonged to my pa. If the man you trail is in these canyons, Yazhe will get him—if not now, then eventually.”

Pinpricks pierced the back of Jack’s neck, bringing his attention fully to the young woman across from him.

“Who is this Yazhe?” he asked.

“A sorcerer. A demon. Depends on your religious leanings, I suppose. I believe him to practice evil.”

“Why would you come after him alone? Are there no men aiding you? Where are your husbands?”

“I've no husband,” Hannah replied, “and Sani has long been without her love. I wouldn't pursue this man if it wasn't of utmost importance.”

“And why is that?”

“He murdered my pa and left his spirit in limbo. When I get that cross back, I'll be able to undo the dark works that have imprisoned my pa's soul. I'll be able to set him free.”

A foreboding of apprehension caught Jack by surprise, sending a shiver down his spine. He knew something of spirits and superstitions, but he also knew that men begat violence for no other reason than that they could.

He also knew that the two women before him, while spouting paranoia, were entirely lucid—and deadly serious.

That concerned him most of all.

 

Copyright © 2014 Kristy McCaffrey

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