Sunday, May 16, 2021

#WeWriWa: A Father’s Nightmare . . . TEXAS RENEGADE


Nothing could be worse than losing a child, even if that child isn’t yours by blood. Half white, half Apache, Kenitay became Jack Bass’s son when the Texas Ranger married his mother, a former captive of his Apache father’s band. With the era of the Apache fading, Jack takes him to Arizona’s Fort Apache for a chance to see his father one last time before he’s relocated to Florida with others of his tribe. Told to stay put on the porch while Jack tries to make arrangements for the visit, the boy’s curiosity gets the best of him at the sight of his father’s ragged people being herded toward the train. When he takes that first step off the porch for a better look, he leaves behind a family broken by indisputable evidence . . . that he’s been accidentally killed. Until a wary, bitter adult appears on their doorstep thirteen years later.

As Jack walked forward until the two men were eye-to-eye, Kenitay experienced a strange chill looking at him from an equal height as they stared at each other for a few heartbeats. Then, in a tone so gruff it rumbled, Jack said, “Next time I tell you to stay put, goddammit, you stay put!”

Jack’s big hand caught the back of his head to pull Kenitay into an embrace so tight he could barely draw a breath—not that he could manage one through the emotion squeezing his chest. This wasn’t at all the welcome he’d expected . . . but it was the one he’d dreamed of on those lonely nights when the emptiness got so big it seemed to swallow his soul. His stepfather’s grasp, his mother’s tears—he’d pictured it a million times and each time, painful reality cut like a fresh blade. If he was holding onto a lie, if felt so good he couldn’t make himself release it. He soaked up the warmth of his mother’s hug and let his head rest briefly against the familiar comfort of Jack’s shoulder as his spirit wept with the joy of their reunion even as his mind struggled to explain it.

Why the tears thirteen years too late?

(and the rest . . .)

That’s when Jack’s fingers meshed in his hair, pulling his head up and holding him firm so there was no way to avoid his piercing stare.

“You’d better have one powerful good reason for staying away and letting your mama nurse a broken heart.”

That soft accusation was what Kenitay needed to bring scattered emotions in check. He levered back, his features taking on an impassive mask. He couldn’t look at his mother, that would have been too hard. Finally, he asked with a tint of disbelief, “You want a reason from me?”

“Right now,” Jack demanded in a terse voice.

“I don’t owe you anything.”

“After you tore this family in two, I think you do!”

Reconnecting with the father whom he’d believed hadn’t cared enough to look for him, Kenitay grew up amongst a bitter people, a relocated prisoner in Florida. Now, hunted by the law for murder, he’s on the hunt for a fortune in silver and the men responsible for the price on his head. Enter Leisha Bass, daughter of famous tracker Harmon Bass who is Jack’s uncle and perhaps the only man who can help him. But desperate to prove herself in the shadow of her father’s legend, Leisha has her own reasons for taking on that task and sticking close to the enigmatic man who holds a secret that could destroy her.

I fell in love with these characters all over again while rereading this book from 1996 (!). I can’t wait to get it back into document form to tweak and polish, and to find a cover worthy of the original which is one of my favorites from all my books. Now, on to the final (so far!) book of the series . . .

After long days struggling to find the perfect mix of colors, looks, and heights (in a greenhouse, silly, not on a dating app!) I’ve been digging in the dirt to the horror of my fingernails and my abused back to create this year’s patio garden oasis for mornings with coffee and my cats. It’s my favorite chore of the year and when I’m finished . . . ahhhh, perfect! But first, putting the pieces together.


I’m so excited to be going out to lunch with one of my critique partners tomorrow – maskless! It’s like being naked in public (though probably not as horrific). We’ll still be social distancing and be suited up inside until we get to the table, but it’ll be great to see someone’s lips moving when you speak to them! And to know they aren’t making faces at you.

Happy Spring, fellow Warriors! Bloom where you’re planted!


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20 comments:

  1. Wow, lots of powerful emotion in this scene!

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    1. I'm always exhausted after writing them. Wonder if I could use it as a swap out for cardio?

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  2. I. Am. So. Hooked. I love a good western!

    Nice colors on that table. I see a few of my faves there. I do a lot more container gardening now than I used to. Last summer, my hubby helped a neighbor cut up a huge oak tree that fell in his yard. The center was hollow. You know exactly where a gardener's brain goes when they get a chance at a planting container like that! "You can't cut it all for firewood! I need a couple hunks of it for planters." :-) I'll post pics when I get them filled and planted. :-)

    Nancy, thanks for your kind encouragement on my post. You rock!

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    1. I can't resist a western, either!! Loved writing this series and can't wait to add to it.

      The picture shows only a small portion of what filled a trunk and half the back seat of my car! My ornery back won't let me do the dirt so containers on the patio are perfect. And I can drink coffee and even dine as if in a garden - without the rampant mosquitoes!

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  3. Power scene. Family emotions are the strongest.
    I, too, am currently in pain from gardening. But it is so worth it.
    Tweeted.

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    1. My feet are the worst. I put in so many greenhouse steps my Fitbit thought it had been stolen! Yes, totally worth it and thankful once a year!

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  4. Very emotional scene indeed. A lot going on here...skillfully done.

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    1. Make 'em squirm or make 'em weep are my mottos!

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  5. This excerpt really packs a wallop. I can see and relate to everyone so well in just a few lines. Amazing!
    I always overdo it in May. Unfortunately, yesterday was all about pulling blackberry vines, the scourge of the backyard.

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  6. I agree with Jack. I'd be wanting an explanation and a damn good one at that.

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    1. Oh, it's a damn good one. One of those things outside either of their controls that stole the best part of their lives together.

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  7. The feelings they have for each other could serve as a strong foundation to rebuild their relationship.

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  8. Great scene filled with emotion. Nicely done.

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  9. Poor kid. Either way he chose, he was going to miss out on a parent.

    I mostly stick to perennials, bulbs, and shrubs when it comes to flowers, other than hanging baskets, to cut down on having to replant them every year. No, I throw my back out for all the veggies I grow. But it's deliciously worth it!

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    1. Oh, I remember those years with a veggie garden. Nothing like just stepping out back to grab beans and lettuce for dinner.

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  10. This sounds like a fabulous book! Great premise--the storyline doesn't pull you in, it YANKS you in! Looking forward to the new release of it!

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