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Keeping Your Part of the Bargain


Never mind that it was a bargain I made with myself.
Thirty thousand, one hundred seventy-six words. There. Treacherous Tumbles is finished. Not edited in the least, but finished. Wow, was that ever the kind of wild ride I never thought I’d go on. It was definately different and a lot *ahem* naughtier than anything else I’ve written.
I had a minor freakout last night when I went to open the TT file. I couldn’t find it anywhere. I searched and wondered if I’d moved it somewhere else. I found the stuff I’ve cut from it but not TT file. And then I had to laugh at myself because TT was never filed as TT. It’s always been filed as Decker, since it didn’t have a title when I started writing it. Whew.
And now, for your view pleasure (or not, whichever): A snippet from Treacherous Tumbles.
The blurb: Texas Ranger Byron Decker has sworn to protect the state against outlaws. But who will save him from the devil’s harpies?
Widow Priscilla Patton has loved Deck since her school days, but no amount of cajoling can convince the carefree Ranger to make an honest woman of her. A rift between them sends him straight into the arms of a murderous boo hag, a demon sent to collect souls for the devil. Armed with only a cryptic old story and her love for Deck, Priscilla must destroy the hags or lose her true love and maybe her life.
The door opened again, filled with dark figures. One stepped into the dying sunlight. Her skin was fiery red as though flayed and raw. Bulging muscles flexed in big thighs as she came down the porch steps. Boo hag in truest form. A row of white, bone-like knots ran down her back. She was much larger than she looked in human skin.
Another followed. Decker saw blackened scars on her shoulder and chest, evidence of the bullets that had wounded Mona’s evil hide. The trouble was, the damage didn’t appear to hinder her. She moved as fluidly as her sisters. The last hag joined them on the ground. A wicked smile formed on her face.
“Finish the dear widow off, but remember the ranger is mine,” Mona hissed.
A sharp gasp pulled his attention away from the hags. Priscilla opened her mouth to scream, but he slapped his hand across her mouth muffling the noise. Her eyes were round and wide. Sprawled across the toe of her shoe was a hairy black tarantula. It tapped a leg against the boot leather and twitched its feelers.
Fighting the urge to swear, he looked back at the boo hags. One sniffed the air, curling back her lips as though she sensed their presence.
“Rain tonight, sisters. We’d better hurry,” she said at last. “I don’t want to crawl back into my skin wet and cold. We need souls to keep us strong. I can’t wait to finish off the blacksmith.”
Without any magic Decker could see, they rose from the ground and were gone in a blur of red. The yard looked as though it never played host to three demons.
Priscilla’s gaze hadn’t strayed from her furry visitor. It had taken several steps and was a good foot away from her, but her lips were pursed tight.
“Step on it. Please?” she pleaded in a whisper.
“Leave it alone. Jesus, I thought we were spotted for sure.”
“Ugh, they probably sense evil and the house is crawling with them.” She shuddered, rubbing her arms like she was afraid spiders were all over her.
“I’ll check you for bugs later. Get the paint. We’ll have to hurry.” The demons were right, the scent of rain was on the air.
God, let it hold off for a few hours.
So few things scared him in life, but breaking into the house that demons called home scared the starch out of him. It wasn’t just Priscilla’s safety he had to think of, it was the entire town. If they boo hags were left to devour Austin it would become another ghost town, a memory and someday it might be completely wiped from the map.
Not while Byron Decker was on the job.
What to do with TT? Erm, well, it’s a little bit disturbing toward the end, so I’m not sure. Not that I didn’t give the characters their well-deserved HEA, but it does get a little gruesome before that. Um… yeah I don’t know.

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