Friday, August 1, 2014

First Fight Friday: Teton Sunset by Peggy L Henderson

Goats solve their differences head-on. They don’t give the silent treatment or yell, they butt heads, and then it’s over.

Cowboy Marvin has learned humans resolve issues differently especially those romantically involved. His curiosity sparked, he has invited authors to stop by on Fridays and share the first fight out of their latest book.

Peggy L. Henderson 

is here for ...

First Fight Friday 

with a scene from 

Teton Sunset

Life for Lucas Walker is a constant adventure, a daily game to be won in the vast Teton wilderness.

She is known to the native people of the land as Ghost Woman. Hiding from a terrifying past, she has lived alone and under conditions too harsh for even the hardiest men.

Brought together through life or death situations, Lucas and his unwilling charge find themselves fighting dangers only found in the untamed mountains.

“If you’re feeling up to it, you can help me strip the meat so we have enough provisions to get off this mountain.”

Tori stopped in her tracks. She slowly turned, and stood to face him.

“We?” She raised her eyebrows. “I’m glad you’ve finally decided to leave, Walker, but I’m not going anywhere.”

The grin on his face froze. His forehead wrinkled. Then he laughed.

“You can’t stay here, woman. Another season up here alone will finish you off for good.”

Tori’s hands shot to her hips, and her eyes narrowed. “How dare you tell me what I can and can’t do? This is my home, and I’m not leaving.”

Lucas shook his head, and thrust his rifle at her. “Hold this so I can get this buck strung up on that tree. I want to get it skinned and gutted.” He motioned with his head to a tree with a low-hanging bare branch.

Tori reached for the rifle. When her hand wrapped around the barrel, Lucas tugged the weapon to him, forcing her to take an involuntary step closer. Her eyes darted to his.

“Don’t get any crazy ideas,” he said in a low tone, and leaned forward. His breath tickled her cheek, and Tori bit her lower lip. An unexpected rush of heat shot through her insides, and her face flushed.

Damn him. Why do I have to feel so unsettled around him, like some weak ninny?

“I wouldn’t dream of it,” she retorted, her voice dripping with sarcasm. The idea of putting a bullet in his chest held a certain appeal.

Lucas released his hold on the rifle, and stepped back. His eyes remained on her as he peeled the buck off his shoulders. Only when she propped the rifle against a nearby log did his attention fall completely on the deer. He tied a leather strap around its hind legs, and hoisted it up into the tree. Quickly and efficiently, he stripped the carcass of its hide, and removed the entrails.

Tori watched him work. Her pulse still quickened at his closeness a moment ago. Although he smelled predominantly like the deer he’d killed, Lucas’ usual pleasant woodsy scent, mingled with the musky smell of warm skin, lingered in her thoughts. She mentally shook her head. Her loneliness for human company must be playing with her mind. The idea of going with Lucas was inconceivable.

“Do you have family back in St. Louis?” he asked, his back turned to her while he sliced meat off the carcass.

“No,” she called quickly. He glanced over his shoulder with narrowed eyes.

He turned from his work to face her fully, not a trace of a smile on his face this time. “You can’t stay on this mountain, Tori. You almost died.”

“What I do is none of your concern, Walker.” Tori stood her ground. Was there a hint of worry in his demanding tone? He advanced on her, still holding his bloody hunting knife, the deer apparently forgotten.

“Why are you such a stubborn female? I’m offering you my help.” He stood so close, Tori stepped back. His intense blue eyes seemed to stare a hole right through her.

“With the exception of you sewing me up, I haven’t asked for your help, Walker. I appreciate what you’ve done for me, but I can take care of myself.” Tori refused to look away from his penetrating gaze.

Lucas shook his head, a thoroughly perplexed look on his face. “A year alone up here in the high country addled your brain,” he said. “No one in their right mind lives like this, all alone.”

Tori’s hands shot to her hips, and she leaned forward. “I bet you wouldn’t say that if I were a man,” she hissed between gritted teeth. “I’ve had just about enough of you and your bossy attitude. Since you came here, you’ve done nothing but order me around. I won’t stand for it any longer. Finish stripping your kill, then be gone with you.” Her voice rose with each word she uttered. The nerve of that man.

She wheeled around. She’d had about enough of him. Intent on locking him out of the cabin, she stormed off. A strong hand clamped around her arm, stopping her efforts to put some distance between herself and Lucas Walker. No sooner had he pulled her to a stop, when an arrow whirred through the air, narrowly missing Lucas. She had no time to react when he threw her to the ground and fell on top of her. Pain shot through her chest at the impact, and she winced.

“Dammit,” he growled. He glanced up, looking around the clearing.

“Don’t move,” Lucas commanded, and in the next instant, sprang to his feet and sprinted for the log where she’d propped his Sharpe’s a few minutes ago. Another arrow shot through the air, and he dodged it at the last second. Lucas crouched behind the log, and aimed into the trees. His noise of his shot echoed through the otherwise quiet of the clearing. He dashed toward her and hauled her off the ground, then darted for the cabin. Another arrow flew past.

Tori turned her head just in time to catch a glimpse of an Indian rushing between the trees some distance from the cabin. She recognized him instantly.

“Black Sparrow. Run,” she called. Her Indian friend’s arrows would be no match against Lucas’ rifle.

Lucas shot her a split-second perplexed look. He released her and spun around, raised his rifle, and fired. “Sonofabitch Blackfoot,” he grumbled under his breath.

“Get out of here, Black Sparrow,” Tori called again. Lucas grabbed for her, and pushed her in front of him.

“Stop shooting at him,” she demanded, and kicked at Lucas when he wouldn’t ease his grip.

They reached the cabin, and Lucas elbowed the door open. Releasing her, he turned, swiftly reloaded his rifle, and fired into the trees again. A faint cry tore through the air.

“Got ya, you bastard,” Lucas called triumphantly.

Tori kicked forcefully at his legs.

“Stop your fighting and get inside the cabin, woman, before we both get killed.” He cursed loudly when her foot connected with his shin. “Dammit, Tori, what the hell is wrong with you?”

He shoved her backwards inside the cabin in front of him. Tori dug her heels into the dirt, refusing to be manhandled. She shot a quick glance over his shoulder, and caught a glimpse of Black Sparrow. He was clutching at his arm.

“Save yourself,” she called, just as Lucas released her and spun around. He aimed his rifle again. Tori had seen enough of his skills as a marksman to realize that his next shot would be fatal. Without hesitating, she did the only thing she could think of at the moment to divert Walker’s attention. She lunged at him from the side, and clutched his cheeks between her hands, then pulled his head around to face her. She pressed her lips to his mouth. Wide-eyed, she stared over his shoulder, just in time to see the warrior dart through the trees away from the cabin.

Lucas grabbed her arms and pried her away from him.

“What the hell did you do that for?” The perplexed look on his face belied the anger in his voice. He pushed her fully into the cabin, and kicked the door shut behind him. “Why the hell did you let him get away?” he roared.

“I couldn’t stand by and watch you shoot my friend,” Tori shouted back. She refused to back away from Walker’s intimidating scowl. Did it require kissing him to wipe the habitual grin off his face?

Lucas ran a hand along his chin. One might think she’d sprouted horns, judging by the incredulous look in his eyes.

“Friend?” he echoed loudly. “He’s a Blackfoot.” Lucas leaned toward her as if he could comprehend her reasoning better by standing closer to her.

Tori stepped back. Her lips still tingled from the contact of her mouth on his. What she’d meant as nothing more than a diversion had been a rather pleasant encounter. She shook off her confusing thoughts. Walker was certainly right about one thing. Her brain was addled from her months of loneliness. He obviously didn’t think her kiss was anything more than what she had intended it to be. He was as angry as a bear with buckshot in its rump.

“He may be a Blackfoot, but he’s been nothing but kind to me. I saved his life from a war party of Bannock last summer.”

Lucas scoffed. “Well, whatever debt he feels he owes you, let me tell you right now that he thinks it’s paid, for letting you stay alive. He’s not going to be so nice a second time.”

“Just because you wouldn’t act so kind doesn’t mean other people won’t, Walker.” Tori glared at him. His deep scowl wasn’t going to intimidate her.

Lucas’ chest heaved. Abruptly, he turned away from her and ran a hand through his hair. Then he spun around and advanced on her again. He stopped inches away, towering over her, and grabbed her upper arms.

“Let me tell you something, Tori,” he said slowly, his voice deep and calculating. “A Blackfoot warrior doesn’t understand anything but raiding and killing. Next he’ll be back to carry you off to his village, since he hasn’t killed you yet.” He released her just as quickly, then added, “And when he shows up again, he won’t be alone. I ain’t in no mood to get into a skirmish with a war party.”

He didn’t give her a chance to reply. Wheeling around, he grabbed his rifle up off the ground, and yanked the cabin door open. He stopped, his back still turned to her. “Pack whatever supplies you need. We’re leaving within the hour.” He stepped outside, and shut the door loudly behind him. Tori stood, staring at the empty room. Her eyes darted to the bolt on the door, and she rushed to push it in place.

“Damn him.” She punched at the wooded door. When had he disabled the bolt?

Tori yanked the door open. “I’m not going with you,” she shouted into the clearing in front of the cabin. Lucas stood by the deer carcass with his back to her, cutting strips of meat off its haunches. Apparently he was going to ignore her. After filling a leather pouch with meat, he headed to where his horse was tethered, and returned moments later, the gelding fully saddled. He tied the horse to the tree closest to the cabin, then stomped in her direction.

“I’m not going with you,” Tori said again when he advanced on her with that same dark scowl on his face. Wordlessly, he moved past her into the cabin, and Tori turned to follow him.

Lucas rummaged through the pile of clothes at the foot of her bunk, and shoved several articles into a leather pouch draped around his shoulder.

“What are you doing?” Tori demanded, and rushed to his side.

Lucas continued shoving shirts into the bag. “Packing,” he grumbled. “I’m taking you down off this mountain.”

Tori reached into the pouch and pulled several shirts from it, tossing them on the other side of the bed.

“Like hell you are Walker. You can’t tell me what to do.”

“Is there anything else you want to bring?” Lucas glanced around the cabin as if she wasn’t even there.

“No, because I’m not leaving.” Tori moved in front of him, her hands on her hips. She glared up at him. “Get out of my cabin, Walker.”

Finally, he looked down at her.

“If there’s nothing else, I guess we’re ready to go.” He nodded in satisfaction. Before she had a chance to comprehend his intent, Lucas bent forward and grabbed her around the knees, then tossed her over his shoulder. The air left her lungs, and a sharp pain jabbed through her injury.

“Put me down, you lout,” she screeched, and pounded her fists against his back. “Walker, put me down this instant. You have no right to take me away from here.”

Ignoring her tirade, Lucas moved out of the cabin, pulling the door shut behind him. He strode to his horse, and unceremoniously dumped her into the saddle. Before she had a chance to squirm off the prancing animal’s back, Lucas swung up behind her, and wrapped a steely arm around her waist.

“You can’t do this, Walker,” she growled between clenched teeth, grabbing at his arm to try and dislodge his hold on her. He wouldn’t budge, much like the shackles she’d worn in her prison cell back in St. Louis.

“I think I just did,” he whispered in her ear, and nudged his horse forward.

Tori gritted her teeth. Anger flooded her like nothing ever had. How could she have, even for a second, thought that Lucas Walker was a trustworthy man?

“You’d better sleep with one eye open from hereon, Walker,” she grumbled.

“Oh, I plan to.” His lips lingered against her ear, and despite all the anger that welled up in her, a shiver ran down her spine, and it wasn’t due to fear of this man.

“I haven’t had both eyes closed since I came to this cabin, Tori.”

Copyright © Peggy L Henderson

Teton Sunset by Peggy L Henderson

Life for Lucas Walker is a constant adventure, a daily game to be won in the vast Teton wilderness. Facing every challenge head-on, he values the freedom to go where he wants, when he wants, and without attachments to any one person.

She is known to the native people of the land as Ghost Woman. Hiding from a terrifying past, she has lived alone and under conditions too harsh for even the hardiest men. Trusting another person is something she can’t do. 

Forced to put her life in the hands of a man who dares her to confront everything from which she’s tried to escape, she struggles to protect the walls she has built around her identity . . . and her heart.

Brought together through life or death situations, Lucas and his unwilling charge find themselves fighting dangers only found in the untamed mountains. Their battle for survival teaches them the ultimate lesson in how to trust and love someone. When the past catches up to them, they discover that the heart can't always be protected; sometimes the only way to be safe is to open it.

Teton Escape!
This is a wonderful fun story full of adventure and suspense and of course a growing romance that has its bumps or should I say mountains to overcome.
When they are both together, nothing ever seems to go right. Sparks fly, arrows fly, and so do emotions that either one of them understand.
The story is full of suspense and I was holding my breath in the last half. Lots of surprises that won't let you put this book down. I didn't want it to end.
I highly recommend this story that will take you away into an adventure of love that you can only dream about. 

The beautiful Teton Mountains is the background for this story of Lucas Walker, a handsome, rugged mountain man with an irresistible smile who swears he will never marry. Born and raised here in the wilderness of the Teton Mountain, he yearns to stay free and roam as he pleases. But fate has another future planned for him and he meets Tori, our heroine, a beautiful, feisty, young, and courageous woman. With a mind of her own, she holds a deep dark secret she cannot share with anyone for fear of her life. Once again, Peggy L. Henderson, with her wonderful talent, has given us another hero and heroine we can fall in love with and cheer for, woven into a wonderful story full of romance, passion and suspense, with an ending that brought tears to my eyes. 

Teton Sunset
is available to buy at these places:

Peggy's bio:

I never thought I'd be a writer, much less publish a book some day. I always wanted to be a veterinarian. I guess life just had other plans for me. When my husband and I decided to start a family, vet school pretty much went out the window. I used to work with a vet who had three children while going through vet school. To this day, she is my hero.

I live with my husband and two teenage sons in southern California. I have a Welsh pony and a miniature horse (down-sized from a barn of six horses). A crazy Labrador retriever who is a food vacuum, three cats, two parakeets, four bearded dragons (my compromise with my sons when they wanted a snake), and a small flock of chickens complete our menagerie of critters. I can’t imagine my life without my animals. My dream is to live in Montana some day.

Five years ago, I began writing a story that, for whatever reason, was stuck in my head for almost a year. I have been an avid romance reader for a long time, and the idea took hold to - why not? - write my own! What a simple idea, right?

It has been a long and difficult journey from my first sentence to a completed, and hopefully polished, manuscript. Today, I have a completed series of 5 books and two novellas in what I called The Yellowstone Romance Series, two books in my new Second Chances Time Travel Romance Series, and a trilogy set in the Grand Tetons, the Teton Romance Trilogy.

Follow Peggy L Henderson online

Thanks for sharing Peggy!

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