Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cowboy Lovin' Day 21: Stacey Coverstone


Readers, please help me in welcoming western romance author of Outlaw Trail, Stacey Coverstone...

At nineteen, Josie Hart has lived a hard life on her New Mexican farm. A cryptic letter gives her a chance to change all that and guides her on a perilous journey toward freedom. But, there are others who want what she's after, and will stop at nothing to get it.

Grey Paladin seeks justice after having had his fortune stolen out from under him. He'll do whatever it takes to retrieve what's rightfully his and reunite with the only family he has left. That is, until a feisty girl stands in his way.

When Josie and Grey form an uncertain partnership, they must battle outlaws, nature, and each other while riding two hundred miles of dangerous trail to reach their destination. What they discover at the end is something that's been sorely lacking in both their lives--leading them each to rethink what the future holds.






EXCERPT:

Josie let her weary eyes skim over the parchment once more. The trail will be long, her pa had said. Will I have the courage and strength to follow it? Will I be able to fulfill his last wish and make my own dreams come true?

For the first time in her life, she felt hopeful about the future as she clutched the map tightly in her fist. Though excited, she was dog-tired, both mentally and physically. Her eyes started to drift shut.

She had barely nodded off when the sound of snapping branches roused her. Her head jerked and her eyes flew open. Her spine went rigid when a low voice addressed her. “I’ll take that map now.”

She fished around in her pants pocket for the Derringer. Her hand touched the cold metal, and she squeezed her finger around the trigger of the gun and stumbled to her feet.

“Stay right where you are, and take your hand out of your pockets,” the voice ordered. “You won’t get hurt if you do as you’re told. Do it!”

She squinted at the tall figure standing in the shadows at the mouth of the cave and heard the click of a revolver. Ragged breaths escaped her throat. “Are you going to kill me?” she asked in a throaty whisper, as she showed him one empty hand.

“That depends on how much trouble you decide to cause. Just hand over that map and I’ll be on my way.”

Inhaling deeply, her eyes roamed over the parchment still clutched in her fist. The trail will be long. Don’t give up. Her pa’s words rang in her ears. Nothing was going to stop her from going after whatever lay at the end of that trail. Her pa had died so she could have a better life. No one was going to take that from her.

“If you want it, you’ll have to pry it from my cold dead fingers,” she replied with bravado.

The man said nothing.“Show yourself,” she challenged. Josie’s fingers twitched as she let her hand creep back into her pocket. She gripped the pearl handle of her Derringer again. “How do you know about this map? Who are you?”

The man took one step forward, but she still couldn’t see his face. When he spoke again, she sensed he was someone of little patience.

“I don’t have to explain anything to a girl,” he snapped. “Walk around that fire and lay the paper on this rock over here.” His gloved hand pointed to a stone ledge, which jutted out from the cave wall.

“I’m not a girl,” she snapped back. “I’m nineteen and this map belongs to me. I’m not about to give it to some coward who won’t even show his face.”

Apparently striking a nerve, the man swiftly strode forward out of the darkness, with his gun raised and leveled at her. The fire danced upon his features. She gasped. It was the stranger who rode the white stallion—the one all in black who’d been watching her in Dry Gulch. Her heart lurched. He tilted his dusty hat up with a finger to show her eyes the color of dark molasses. She could feel the heat radiating from those fiery pupils as they bore into her.

“Is that better?” he asked.

“It’s you!” she exclaimed. “Why are you following me?”

“I think I already explained. I’ve come for the map. Now, hand it over.”

She gripped the parchment even tighter. The man’s brow creased. “Pass that paper to me. I’m not in the mood to play games.” He advanced, stopping in front of her. His tall, muscular frame towered over her petite body.

Quick as a snake striking, she jammed the map in her back pocket and thrust the double-barreled Derringer into his rib. Just as speedy, he shoved his revolver against her temple.

“You’re fast, but not fast enough,” he drawled. “Put down the gun.”

“You put yours down first,” she countered.

Neither one moved. Josie’s chest rose and fell in erratic rhythm. The pistol felt cold as it pushed against her skin.

“Are we going to have a Mexican standoff?” he wondered aloud.

She felt his warm breath on her face. He stood so close, his musky smell, mixed with sweat and the faint scent of lavender made her woozy. “I know how to use this gun,” she managed. “I’ll shoot you. Don’t think I won’t.” She cocked the Derringer to show him she meant what she promised.

The tall, dark stranger looked down into her eyes. A muscle ticked along his jaw. After several long moments, she felt the release of pressure from her temple.

“Toss the gun down on the ground,” she commanded, as she kept her gun pointed at his ribcage.

“I’ll toss mine when you toss yours.”Josie searched his face. “Are you crazy, or just stupid? You stalk me, want to rob me of my personal possession, and you think I’m just going to throw down my gun? Why should I trust you?”

“Because I’ve never killed a woman before,” he said without skipping a beat. “And I don’t intend to start now.”

His response surprised her. After considering his words carefully, she removed the gun from his rib. “On the count of three, we’ll both throw our guns onto the ground. Do I have your word as a gentleman?” she asked.

The man in black threw his head back and laughed. “Whatever gave you the idea I’m a gentleman?”

She rammed the Derringer into his gut again and narrowed her eyes. The gun pressed into taut, rigid muscle. She realized he could probably break her in half with one hand tied behind his back, but she was not going to be intimidated. She had too much to lose to let him scare her out of what was rightfully hers.

“I’ll kill you right now, mister. And it won’t bother me none. Believe me. I’ll take my map and high-tail it outta here, leaving you dead as a stone.”

The man grinned, baring a perfect row of sparkling teeth. “You’re a tough little half-breed, aren’t you?”

“Half-breed!” she shrieked, lunging at him. She pounded on his chest with her fists and clawed at his shirt. He grabbed her wrists and both the pistol and Derringer flew out of their hands and clattered to the hard ground.

Stacey Coverstone
Western Romance Author
http://www.staceycoverstone.com/

Thanks, Stacey! Outlaw Trail sounds like a great read!
Readers, don't forget that today is the last day to enter Anna Kathryn Lanier's giveaway for a free ebook download as well as a TWRP Gift Card...

5 comments:

Carol L. said...

Hi Stacey,
Outlaw Trail is on my To Read list for sure.
Carol L.
Lucky4750@aol.com

Stacey said...

Great! Let me know what you think, Carol. If you'd like to join my newsletter, please go to my website and click on the icon. That way you'll be able to receive announcements as soon as one of my books releases. I have 2 more coming this April and June.

Stacey
http://www.staceycoverstone.com

Andrea I said...

I've added this one to my TBR list and I'll go sign up for the newsletter.

Autumn Jordon said...

Beautiful cover. The book sounds great. Will have to check it out.

AJ

Becky said...

Outlaw Trail sounds really good. I enjoyed the excerpt. I have added this book to my list to get.