Midweek Tease: Continuing with Hello Again

MWTease15

Welcome to Wednesday and this week’s Midweek Tease. Many thanks to Angelica Dawson and the other authors on this forum that make this hop possible.

Since I’ve had a couple of requests to do so, I’ll post once more from Hello Again, my paranormal/romance/suspense based on a Native American myth.  Ten days ago, six tornadoes touched down in the Ottawa area, something previously unknown in this part of the country. Luckily, no one was killed although many were injured and an incredible amount of damage occurred. Now, join Charley for the ride of her life!

Hoping to outrun the worst of the storm, Charley drove as quickly as she could along the uneven, unpaved surface. The wind had picked up, and while the sky ahead of her was blue, the blackness behind her was unsettling, but not as bad as what she saw ahead of her.

Whirling vortices of dust seemed to form out of nowhere, blinding her, forcing her to reduce her speed. This wasn’t ideal dust devil climate, so what the hell was going on? Had Mother Nature finally had enough of man’s abuse and mistreatment and gone crazy? What else could account for this hell-bred weather?

Leaning over, Charley popped the CD out and tuned the radio, hoping to pick up a weather update, but all Matilda could offer was static. She’d passed a church, but the parking lot had been empty. The sign on the side of the road indicated that the Nakoda Oyade Education Center was a mile ahead.

“Let’s hope somebody’s home,” she said aloud, her nerves on the edge of fraying.

Five minutes later, the compound came into view, but like the church, the parking lot was empty.

“Maybe it’s some kind of tribal holiday,” she said, biting her lip. The few houses she’d passed along the way were deserted as well.

“There has to be somebody someplace. It’s a reserve. People live here.”

Fat raindrops splashed against the windshield. Up ahead, a small copse of trees, on the east side of the road bent almost to the ground, shaken by the sudden heavy wind that made steering all but impossible. Lightning flashed and thunder rumbled, rattling the car as the rain increased in intensity.

Sighing, she pulled over to the side of the road, noticing the drainage ditch at the last minute. Another two feet and she and Matilda would’ve been in big trouble. Maybe she should turn around and go back to the education center and park up close to the building. A blast of wind rocked the car viciously and convinced her to stay put.

Unfastening her seat belt, Charley put the seat back, closed her eyes, and prepared to wait out the storm. She hadn’t slept well last night. The wind rocking the vehicle was strangely comforting rather than disturbing, reminding her of the evenings she’d sat on the swing in the backyard, cradled in Mike’s arms. She could feel the heat of his body, smell his aftershave, that woodsy cologne he’d favored. Drifting down memory lane, she relaxed, warm and comforted as she hadn’t been in years.

Suddenly, the warmth was ripped away from her, replaced by a blast of cold that seeped right into her bones, startling her awake as nothing else could’ve done. The woodsy scent she’d imagined was replaced by the petrichor of the storm, the airborne aroma of decomposing plant and animal matter attached to the dirt and mineral surfaces around her, borne on the heavier winds. The steady pitter-patter of rain on the windshield was replaced by the hard rat-tat-tat of hail.

Black clouds, heavy rain, hail, this heat and humidity … What the hell was she thinking? She’d seen the news last night. This was the perfect combination for a tornado, and since there wasn’t much around taller than her car—even the damn bushes were kissing the ground—staying inside like this wasn’t the smartest thing she could do. As much as she missed Mike, she didn’t have a death wish, and sitting in the car like this, out in the open, was suicide.

“That’s the first smart thought you’ve had in five years.”

She shook her head. She must still be daydreaming. Her conscience sounded so much like Mike, it was unsettling, but she needed to smarten up now. The Emergency Preparedness Guide Miri had insisted she memorize was clear. There was no perfectly safe thing to do in a situation like this, but, in the event of a tornado, if she could safely exit the car and get lower than it, she should. Considering how she felt about storms, it would be like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire, but sitting here doing nothing wouldn’t work either.

The hail and rain came down so hard, she could barely see through them, but there was that drainage ditch beside the road—no doubt one that would fill up with water—but what choice did she have?

“Charlotte, get out of the damn car now.” Her father’s voice echoed in the vehicle, loud in spite of the noise from the hail.

“Dad?” She shook her head vigorously. “This is not happening.”

But the sense of urgency in the voice she couldn’t possibly have heard forced her to don her jacket and reach for two of the pillows on the back seat, grateful she’d worn jeans today after all. She opened the door and a heavy gust whipped it out of her hands. Fighting the wind’s pull, she got out of the car, sliding on the dime-sized chunks of ice that covered the ground as completely as snow would in a blizzard. She clung to the vehicle, walked around the trunk, stepped over the trailer hitch bar, and threw herself down on top of the layer of ice in the bottom of the drainage ditch beside the road, shivering at the unexpected cold, placing one pillow under her head and the other atop it. So far, there was no accumulation of water, but at the rate the rain and hail were coming down, it was only a matter of time.

Hailstones pummeled her body. Water seeped through her clothing as the ice beneath her melted. No doubt she’d have a few nasty bruises when this was over. Colder than she’d been in weeks, she quickly doubted the wisdom of leaving the car. Obviously, she hadn’t really heard her father’s voice, no more than she’d heard it the day Mike had died. She’d made a decision based on her circumstances. What if it had been the wrong one? Perhaps she should get back inside the vehicle. At least it offered some protection. She was about to do that when the noise around her increased.

“You are the most stubborn woman in the universe.” Mike’s frustrated voice was loud inside her head, filling her with joy. She wasn’t imagining this. She could hear him. “If you’d been willing to meet me halfway, it wouldn’t have come to this.”

“Mike!” she cried, happier than she’d been in years.

She hadn’t imagined his voice. He’d finally come for her. She raised her head, prepared to get out of the ditch when something larger than a chunk of ice landed across her legs, sending a shaft of pain ripping through them. Her left leg was on fire. She was pinned to the ground like a bug in a science display.

No! She had to get up and go to Mike. He was here. He’d come for her. She tried to get up but she couldn’t move her legs. She was trapped under what must be a branch—hell that had to be a whole goddamn tree. Where had it come from? She’d seen lots of bushes, but no full-sized trees in at least an hour.

The buzzing grew louder, the hail stopped and the same warmth she’d felt in the car seeped into her as if she were being covered by a heavy blanket, momentarily numbing the throbbing in her leg. A loud, low roar, reminiscent of two freight trains passing by filled her ears, and in the noise she heard metal clanking over and over.

Oh my God! Matilda!

The scream of steel being torn apart made her ears ache. The car and the trailer had to be caught in the funnel, and if they were, then she’d lost everything. It was a good thing she’d listened to that inner voice and had gotten out of the vehicle, even if her body would look as if she’d gone ten rounds in a boxing ring, but what would she do now?

More terrified than she’d ever been, Charley clung to the pillow over her head despite the sting of dirt and other debris ripping at her hand. It seemed to go on and on, and suddenly, the hard muddy ground beneath her became slimier. Water moved slowly around her as runoff from the fields above her began to fill the ditch. She was going to die alone in this ditch.

“You’re not alone, Charley. I’m here.”

Mike’s words calmed her. Of course he was here. He’d come for her.

“No, I haven’t, but he’ll be here soon.”

Something hard and heavy hit the pillow over her head, and she spiraled into oblivion.

Hello Again is available from any Amazon retailer and is free to read with KU!

Now, please check out the rest of this week’s teasers.

#MidWeekTease October 3, 2018

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Tuesday Tales: From the Word DEBUT.

New TT imageWelcome to this week’s Tuesday Tales, the on-going blog where a select group of authors share scenes from their works in progress with you. Each week, we write to a prompt, be it a picture, like last week, or a word, like this week. Posts are limited to 400 words for Word Prompts.

I’m continuing with my historical novel, The Price of Courage, Book Two of my Canadiana Series. This week, the word is DEBUT.  In English, the word means entrance, inauguration, first attempt, but I’m going to cheat, and use the word in French where it means beginning, since I honestly couldn’t figure out how to use it in the story any other way. So, Mea Culpa.

Enjoy!

“C’est le début de la fin. Seule, j’en peu plus.” Huguette watched the child scamper up the ladder to the loft, fighting the tears crawling down her cheeks. “I have excellent hearing, monsieur. If the wolves do not get us tonight … Without food and weapons to defend ourselves, we will perish long before winter passes. Perhaps it would have been kinder to leave us in our early grave.”

“That’s nonsense. If this is a beginning, it’s one of a safe and happy future for you and your children, and as far as being alone, men are like rocks along the shore in this colony. You’ll find another one, a better one. You’ll see.”

Yvette returned with a small, reasonably clean sheet and handed it to her mother before hurrying back to her own seat. Huguette tore the linen into strips.

“You’re a long way from home.” Lucien wound the bindings around her ankle, making sure the bandage was tight but not constricting. “The Mi’kmaq live on the other side of the river.”

“I came to the land of the Montagnais six years ago,” she admitted, her voice filled with sorrow. “My man was a soldier given this centime in exchange for his services. He has papers from your king.” She raised her chin proudly.

Lucien tied off the bandage and replaced her moccasin, aware it would supply additional support.

“How’s that?” He sat back, hundreds of questions buzzing in his head.

“Much better, thank you.” She stood, took a few tentative steps, and sat once more.

“I don’t understand why your husband left you like this.” Lucien struggled to hide his fury.

“Méderic Bouchard was not perfect, but he was a good man. He did not do this to us, nor did his cousins. Monsters came out of the storm, six Frenchmen far worse than any Wendigo I could ever have imagined. Their leader did this, although when one of his men tried to stop him, he cut him badly.”

“What happened?” So the Méderic Bouchard he’d met was an imposter.

“Please, can it wait until the children are asleep? Empty bellies will make sleeping hard enough for them.”

“I promise no one will go to bed hungry tonight. Those men won’t get away with their crimes.” Lucien stood and grabbed the wooden bucket on the counter. At the moment, he was ashamed of his countrymen. “I’ll get more water.”

That’s it. Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales

Midweek Tease: Another Scene from Hello Again

MWTease15Good morning. Welcome to Wednesday and the Midweek Tease. Thanks to Angelica Dawson for making this weekly blog possible. This morning, I bring you another scene from Hello Again, my paranormal suspense based on a Native American myth.

“What the hell?”

Once they’d adjusted to the darkness, Bill’s eyes bulged in surprise. Shirley had converted part of the living space into a makeshift stable. Two cows, one calf, and a handful of chickens were behind a wire and snow fencing wall in what must’ve been her dining room. While it didn’t smell as badly as he’d expect it to, it couldn’t be a healthy arrangement.HelloAgain-ebook-small

“Shirley, you can’t keep animals inside like this,” he began, cut off by the sight of the creature on the sofa.

“That’s a wolf! You can’t keep a wild animal like that in the house,” he cried, although at the moment he couldn’t think why the wolf would be a bigger problem than cows and chickens.

The old woman laughed, and he noticed how labored her breathing was. “My ancestors did, and it didn’t hurt them none, but it’s only for the storm. The twisters will take the barn, but the pigs will be fine as will the animals grazing. The storms won’t go that way. I couldn’t afford to lose my milk cows and chickens. As far as Wolf goes, he won’t hurt you.”

Bill stared at the large animal, easily one of the biggest ones he’d seen in the area. Mottled in color, his coat ranging from black through brown, although there was far more than the average amount of rust red in it, along with the gray and patches of pure white, the animal had to weigh at least a hundred pounds. His face was a framed mask of light gray, dissolving into rust once more, before fading to black on its forehead and the top and side of its regal nose. White filled its ears, and highlighted the area below the eyes and across the cheeks and throat, which, like the ears, was edged in black. But what was most unsettling about the large, silent creature, were its eyes—they were green, as green as his own, and they looked human.

Shirley’s words penetrated his confusion. He couldn’t dwell on the strange beast right now.

“Twisters, as in more than one?”

“Yes, and they’ll be here shortly. I may be old, but the spirits are never wrong.”

“Why didn’t your spirits warn you about the motorcycle gang?” he asked. If ghosts were going to tell her about the weather, the least they could do was warn her about killers on the loose.

She shook her head. “The wanáği never send me visions unless I can help someone else.”

He understood a few words in the Assiniboine language, but that wasn’t one of them.

Wanáği?”

She moved over to the far side of the room. “The spirits of my ancestors who come to me. They told me to send for the RCMP. I didn’t understand why, but now I do. If I’d met you before, I’d have asked for you by name.”

“What do you mean?” The old woman wasn’t making any sense.

“You’ll know soon enough,” she answered cryptically.

The staccato of rain and hail on the roof sounded like a dozen Flamenco dancers. The noise stopped, only to be replaced by the buzz of a million bees.

“In here,” Shirley said, pointing to the door beside her.

Knowing the wind could blow out the panes of glass at any second, he was pleased to see she’d closed the inside shutters, but depending on the power of the storm, they might not be enough to protect the windows. He hurried into what he thought was a storage closet. Instead, he gaped at the modern, windowless bathroom. In the sink sat a flickering candle. Shirley had brought in a chair, and the wolf followed them inside and jumped into the antique-style claw-footed tub, stretching out as if it were the most natural thing for him to do.

“Sit,” she said, reaching out and petting the wolf on the head as if he were a dog. “These won’t last long.”

Closing the door, she sat on the stool beside the bathtub, wrapped her arms around herself and began to rock and chant in her native language. As if he understood his mistress was praying, the wolf lowered its head to its paws, a low barely audible keen coming from him. Bill considered joining them when the room plunged into darkness as the power failed and the buzz grew stronger until it sounded like a hundred motorcycles. Without the candle, it would’ve been as black as the grave in the tiny room. Bill glanced at the woman and her strange companion. If they were praying, he hoped to hell someone was listening. The scream of nails ripped from wood pierced his ears, followed by a silence, so profound, it was deafening.

Want to read more? Hello Again is free to read on Kindle Unlimited.

Check out the rest of this week’s teasers.

#MidWeekTease September 26, 2018


Tuesday Tales: From a Picture

New TT imageWelcome to September’s last post. It’s autumn, and while the cool weather won’t stay at the moment, it dropped by with a vengeance yesterday morning. We’ve had frost the last two nights and have to start getting the yard ready for winter. I’m missing summer all ready, but not the crazy weather!

This week’s Tuesday Tale is a shorter one, based on a picture and limited to 300 words. This is the image I chose, but I’ll own up to using it with a lot of poetic license. I’m continuing with The Price of Courage, my historical romance.

fence

The woman pulled the blanket more tightly to her.

“I am Nugoomee of the Mi’kmaq, but my Christian name is Huguette … Huguette Bouchard.” She stood taller, gaining power from her identity. “Those are my children, Yvette, five, and Jean-Michel, three.”

Lucien picked her up, tucking the green quilt under her, and handed her to Okwaho.

The woman recoiled momentarily at the sight of him.

“Okwaho is not the enemy,” he said, placing her on the bench near her children before leaving the cabin.

Lucien climbed the ladder and closed the root cellar door behind him. Bouchard! Had that bastard left his wife and children here to die?

“May I look at your ankle?” he asked, kneeling beside her.

The woman’s  cheeks pinked. She nodded, turned to face him, and raised her skirt, revealing feet shod in intricately beaded leather moccasins.  Slowly unlacing the boot, he slipped her foot out of it.

“I do not believe it is broken,” she offered.

Using as delicate a touch as he could manage, Lucien felt along the discolored flesh. While it was swollen, it didn’t feel broken, but it would need to be immobilized if it was going to heal properly.

“It needs to be bandaged,” he said, looking around at the mess. “Do you have strips of cloth for the purpose?”

“I used what I had … Yvette,” she called the girl over to her.

Oui, maman,” the child answered.

“Go up to the loft and bring down a sheet. We can tear strips from it.”

Before the child returned, Okwaho opened the door and motioned to him.

“I’ll be right back.”

“What is it?” he asked.

“There’s another body, next to the split log fence. Much blood will bring the wolves tonight. That fence will not help.”

That’s it. Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales

Midweek Tease: Hello Again Continued

MWTease15Good morning and welcome to this week’s Midweek Tease, the weekly log hop made possible by Angelica Dawson and a gifted group of writers, all will different styles and genres to entice and entertain you. This is an open blog hop, so, if you would like to be part of it, mention it in  your comments.

Today, I will introduce the third main character in Hello Again,  my paranormal, romance, suspense, based on a Native American myth. Shirley is a feisty old lady who sees far more than most of us can. Enjoy!

HelloAgain-ebook-smallBill stood in front of Shirley’s sod house, trying to talk some sense into the feisty old woman, wondering if perhaps her memory was failing. He was here because of her, dammit, and he needed her to remember that. The storm was getting closer by the minute.

“Listen to me, Shirley,” Bill said, hoping to convince her to put down the shotgun she kept poking in his face. “Emile said you asked for us. He sent me out here to talk to you about that biker gang. You aren’t in any trouble, I swear, but you can’t go around threatening an RCMP officer with a weapon like this.”

“The hell I can’t,” she said, with just enough bravado to make him agree with her. “But, I’m not threatening you, Sergeant.” Her voice was wheezy in the heavy, humid air, but she lowered her shotgun. “I welcome all my visitors this way. An old woman living alone can’t be too careful. Just because you’re driving a fancy police car,” she continued, emphasizing the po, “doesn’t mean you’re who you say you are. No need to talk to me as if my brain’s addled. Now that I’ve seen you, I know exactly why you’re here. Besides, this damn thing isn’t loaded. I emptied both barrels into the air to scare those thieving hoodlums away, but I can’t find the box of shells to reload it. I haven’t used the thing in years. Glad it worked and didn’t blow my fool head off, but those bikers took the bison calf and ripped up my garden something awful.”

Bill looked around the small farm. Shirley’s home, a modernized, one story, sod house, built using large, thick rectangles of prairie grass, covered with wheat-colored stucco for durability, blended seamlessly into the landscape. The tin roof was flat, and someone had painted the metal to prevent corrosion and eliminate glare. The front of the house boasted two windows set deeply into the thick walls. He’d seen a few of these soddies when he’d been stationed near Lloydminster. They were well-insulated and inexpensive, and from the wires running to it, he knew she had electricity. The small building, with the crescent moon cut into its door, on the far left near the back of the house, in front of what appeared to be a small hill, and the water pump on the other side of the house near the garden, suggested she didn’t have running water. The only other building, a ramshackle barn that had seen better days, looked ready to fall in on itself. A large rain barrel on the right side of the house near the garden would collect water from the roof and was most likely used to irrigate the plants, but the garden itself was in bad shape.

The remaining stalks of corn were broken, the squash plants trampled. Green tomatoes mixed with ripening ones on the ground and half the root vegetables had been torn out. This food had probably been intended to supplement her winter diet, and now, most of it was ruined.

Anger burned in his stomach. This place was isolated. Where were the members of her family? Shirley Smoke had been an elder’s wife, was considered a medicine woman, so why wasn’t she being treated with more respect? It was dangerous for her to be alone out here, even if there weren’t any biker gangs terrorizing the area.

Tamping down his ire, he smiled. “You could’ve been seriously hurt,” he continued. Unloaded or not, he still didn’t like having a weapon pointed in his face.

“I was protecting my land and my property,” she said grudgingly. “That bison calf was a symbol of my people and our heritage. Allowed to mature, he’d have sired more of his kind, but to them he was nothing but meat on a spit. I hope they choked on him. Those vegetables were supposed to feed me through the winter. Now what am I going to do?”

“I know you get money from Aboriginal Affairs, Shirley, so don’t play that card with me…”

“There isn’t much left from that check after I pay my bills each month,” she grumbled. “Utilities cost the earth, and with the price of food, there isn’t enough for extras. My widow’s pension barely covers the wages I give the men who harvest my fields for me.”

“What about your children and grandchildren? Can’t they help out?”

“Our daughter, Winona, disappeared thirty five years ago. We had a fight … I thought she’d come back—call at least—but after she left, we never heard from her again.”

Bill swallowed awkwardly. Winona Smoke, Shirley’s runaway daughter, could’ve been his mother. No one knew who’d left the hours-old infant in a basket, wrapped in a woven blanket proclaiming his native ancestry, on the floor of the ER at the Calgary General Hospital, but his hair color and eye color along with his skin tone told its own story. There were few red-haired, green-eyed First Nation people, and despite the blanket, woven in a traditional Sioux design and several years old, none of the local tribes had claimed the child, so he was without status. You needed to know the lineage to claim the title First Nations, and he didn’t. The odds were his mother had been one of the many homeless people who’d found herself in dire straits and had decided giving him away would guarantee him a better life. He didn’t blame her, not really. Sometimes life gave you lemons, and you couldn’t even make lemonade out of them.

He’d been raised as a crown ward, given his name by the doctor who’d found him, and placed in a foster home, but never adopted. He’d stayed with them until he’d aged out of the system. Now, they were both gone, and he was as alone as he’d been as an unwanted infant, as alone as Shirley was. He’d talk to Emile. Surely the council could do something for her, something that would keep her pride intact.

“You should’ve called 9 1 1 and someone would’ve come out here right away,” he said, forcing the uncomfortable thoughts out of his mind and getting back to the topic at hand. “Cattle rustling is a crime as is the destruction of property. We’d have arrested them on the spot.”

Fat raindrops fell on his cap. He’d been so involved with Shirley that he’d forgotten the storm. The heavy, black clouds were almost upon them.

“No time to talk about what I should’ve done now,” she said. “We’ll be safe in the house.”

Lightening split the sky, and Bill followed her inside.

Hello Again, and many of my other books are available to read for free through the Kindle Unlimited Program.

Now, please take a moment to check out the rest of this week’s teasers.

#MidWeekTease September 19, 2018


Tuesday Tales: From the Word MAD

New TT imageWelcome to this week’s Tuesday tales, the blog where select authors post scenes from their current works in progress for you to enjoy. This week’s word is MAD. Lots of room to work with that one. I’m continuing with The Price of Courage, book two of my Canadiana series.

Last week, Lucien was about to open the door to the storm cellar. Here’s what he found.  Enjoy!

Makeshift torch in hand, Lucien grabbed the metal ring and pulled the door open.

He glimpsed into the darkness and gasped as he made out three shapes huddled under a blanket.

“Have mercy, please. They’re only children,” a woman said in a language he recognized as a mix of Mi’kmaq and French.

“No one will hurt you,” he answered in the same patois. “We’re here to help. Yves,” he turned to the man behind him. “Bring in some wood and start a fire in the hearth.”

Yves nodded to Okwaho, and the men went outside, returning seconds later with kindling and logs. Using flint and tinder from his pack, within minutes, the man had a blaze going and the room grew warmer.

“It’s all right,” Lucien said. “You can come up now. You’re safe.”

When a child was hoisted up high enough that he could reach him, he did so and placed the shivering toddler on the bench near the fire. A second child made her debut, trembling as hard as her brother was. Both were in their nightclothes, their tiny feet in woolen socks.

A man had to be mad to treat children like this.

Fighting his fury at such an atrocity, Lucien removed his coat, bundled the shivering children in it, and left them on the bench where the fire would soon warm them.

He returned to the hole. “Madame, it’s your turn.”

Hélas, I can’t come up the ladder on my own. I hurt my ankle when they threw me down here,” she answered.

“Move out of the way. I’ll jump down and get you. Okwaho, come and help me,” he said, before dropping into the root cellar.

Like the pantry, the place had been looted, crocks of preserves smashed and trampled into the ground. Traces of tiny finger marks bore evidence that the children had scooped up some of the precious jam along with the dirt under it. His stomach roiled and he fisted his hands at his side.

Slowly, a figure emerged from the darkness. The woman’s eye was blackened and her lip split. She held a quilt around her, but he could see the scratches on her neck and the edges of her torn blouse. She limped, favoring her left leg. One hand cradled her distended abdomen. Horrified, Lucien approached her. What kind of monsters could do something like this?

Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales

Midweek Tease: More from Hello Again

MWTease15Good morning and welcome to this week’s Midweek Tease. After a trio of cold days to remind us of what’s ahead, the heat and humidity are back for a few days–summer’s swan song. Thanks to Angelica Dawson who makes this weekly hop possible.

This morning, by request, I’m posting from Hello Again, my paranormal, romance, suspense, based on a Native American myth. Enjoy.

“Sergeant Murdock,” Emile said. “Superintendent Anderson called and said you were coming. Nice to see you again.” He held out his hand. “Hot enough for you?”

Bill chuckled. “Definitely, but I’ll take it over a miserable freezing January any time. You’re looking well, old friend. I heard you had a little trouble last winter.”

HelloAgain-ebookHe shrugged. “The body wears out before the mind. The doctors in Regina fixed me up and put three stents in my heart, but this old man gets tired, especially in this heat.”

“I’d have thought you’d retire from the council and spend your days fishing with your grandsons.”

“I do that, too,” he said and chuckled, “but today, even the poor fish are having a hard time keeping cool. Besides, Sandra tells me we’re in for a very bad storm, but we’ll be safe here. My wife is right far more often than the weather forecaster in Regina.”

“Well, if that’s true, I’d better get your statement and get the hell back to the city.”

Severe weather like that could wreak havoc, and it was always all men on deck when that happened.

Glancing over at the flower beds in front of the building, their various native plants—including Saskatoon lily—all in bloom, Bill smiled.

“I see your granddaughter’s green thumb at work here.”

“The land speaks to Laurie as it did to my ancestors.” Emile raised his hand and pushed his headdress off his forehead. He motioned to the other men standing around.

Bill didn’t miss their barely suppressed anger, nor the fact that they stared daggers at him.

“You know my fellow chiefs?” Emile asked.

“I do, but something tells me they aren’t happy with me.”

Emile chuckled. “They aren’t happy with me, either. I’ve been an obstinate old man all morning. I’m the one who insists this matter must be handled by the RCMP. Others feel we should take care of it ourselves.”

“Murdock,” Lavallee spoke loudly, his voice filled with anger and frustration. “If you can’t stop those damn bikers, we will, and they’ll face Nakoda justice regardless of their skin color. We won’t let them terrorize our women, hook our children on drugs, or scare off our herds. Those men are evil. Mark my words, people will die.”

The other chiefs nodded their agreement, but didn’t say anything.

“I hear you,” Bill answered, knowing it wouldn’t take much to set off the powder keg caused by the heat and the exasperation Lavallee and the others felt. Hell, he felt it, too. When the biker gangs moved in, they inevitably brought drugs and violence with them. His hand instinctively moved to his chest, and he forced it down before anyone noticed. He’d had one close call with those sons of bitches. He wasn’t looking forward to another.

Want to read more? Hello Again is available on any Amazon site and is free to read with KU! https://www.amazon.com/Hello-Again-Susanne-Matthews-ebook/dp/B01FGN88I6

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