“Call Down the Storm”: An excerpt

Since I couldn’t think of anything witty or informative to say tonight, I’m just going to leave you with an excerpt from my first novel The Path of Memory:

Illuminated by the midnight moon, Stephen saw a large crowd of people gathered around a smaller group in the middle. Dona was one of those in the smaller group.

She was being held by a big man who had her hands restrained behind her back. Her left eye was turning black and there was blood running down her chin from a pair of split lips. In front of her was a group of four more men, the leader standing slightly in front of the other three and holding a knife. The knuckles of his right hand were stained with Dona’s blood.

“I’m gonna cut you up, bitch.” The man with the knife said. The others in his group murmured their agreement but made no moves of their own. Apparently they sensed something dangerous about this woman. They were smarter than their leader.

Suddenly, the man who held the knife lunged at Dona, aiming for her heart. But he had obviously had too much to drink before this fracas started and he was slow. Dona, drunk or not, was quicker. Leaning into the man holding her hands, using him for leverage, Dona’s right foot struck out and the toe of her boot caught her attacker under his chin. His head snapped back with a click that was audible even over the murmurs of the gathered crowd as his teeth clicked together.

He fell over onto his back and the man holding Dona grabbed her around the neck, cutting off her wind. Knife-man regained his feet and touched the corner of his mouth, where a thread of blood trickled down his chin from a bitten tongue.

“Now you did it. Prepare to meet your maker, bitch, because that was a real stupid thing to do.” The man moved toward Dona again, slowly and more warily this time. Stephen took a moment to note Dona’s empty holster, then he spoke up.

“Is there a problem here?” he asked, walking slowly down the porch stairs, keeping his voice steady and calm. When he spoke up, the crowd parted to let him through. He stood there with this hands held casually at his sides, yet only inches from the butts of his guns, taking the measure of the five men surrounding Dona. Knife-man turned to Stephen and the man holding Dona loosened his hold a little, although not enough.

“Stay out of this, bounty-hunter. The business I got with your whore ain’t no business of yours.”

“Well, now. I beg to differ,” Stephen said, not bothering to correct the man’s assumption of his and Dona’s relationship, and drew his gun. A murmur of anticipation sighed through the crowd and they all moved back a bit. The man holding Dona released his hold a fraction more. It was all the opening Dona needed.

With a roar of rage, Dona smashed her head back into the nose of the man holding her. Blood sprayed from the middle of his face and he fell to the ground, crying out in pain. Lightening quick, Stephen drew his other gun.

“Dona!” he yelled, and tossed the gun in her direction. Before Knife-man knew what had happened, he had a gun pointed at his head. The others in his little group raised their hands to the starry sky and stared, amazed, at Stephen and Dona. The watching crowd had grown silent, waiting to see if there would be any more bloodshed, hoping to see someone die.

“Drop the knife,” Dona told the man in her gun-sights. He clutched his weapon so hard that his knuckles were white, pale in the moonlight. Dona’s voice was deadly calm. When he didn’t release the knife, Dona cocked the hammer on Stephen’s revolver.

“Drop it.”

Stephen saw what was about to happen a split second before Knife-man lunged at Dona. He never stood a chance. Before he had even moved a foot in Dona’s direction, her gun roared and the top of his head disappeared.

There was a moment of unbelieving silence when nothing moved, not Dona’s other four tormentors or the gathered crowd. Then two of the men who had been in league with the deceased rushed over to help the man with the broken nose up off the ground and the four ran for their horses.

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from The Path of Memory and keep an eye out for more to come!


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