Several months ago, I started to write a short story for a western anthology that I wanted to submit to. I had an idea that wouldn’t let me go, no matter how hard I tried to shake it off. But this story was to be a western, with no romance involved. My “what if” concerned the long reaching effects of an Indian massacre and kidnapping on a young white boy, Will Green.
To tell a story like that, I was going to have to be inside the boy’s head. So the story would have to be told from the first person POV—something I just never do. It’s always been a temptation of mine to write something in first person. But could I pull it off? First person, a boy, a child. I had to try, because there was just no other way to do it.
Once I began to write KANE’S REDEMPTION, I could see that the “short story” was not going to remain “short.” The word count limit for stories for the anthology was 5,000 per story. When I stopped to count, I was already at double that amount. I laid the story aside and started another shorter story in order to finish it in time to submit. But when I came back to KANE’S REDEMPTION, I was free to make it as long as it needed to be.
By the time the story ended at around 25,000 words, I knew that it truly wasn’t finished, even then. So much had happened to young Will and Jacobi Kane, the man who rescued him from the Apache, that I knew this was going to be a series of novellas. In the first book, Will and Jacobi forged quite a relationship, first of necessity and then of a father/son bond. But that relationship was only just beginning.
I wrote KANE’S PROMISE, the second story in the series, that carries them on into the next year of Will’s life. When a posse comes calling to ask Jacobi Kane to help them track the Apache, will he go? He’s made a promise to his first wife to avenge her, as she lay dying in his arms, but now he has other responsibilities.
Ten-year-old Will is torn between staying with his pregnant stepmother and following Jacobi. He must make a gut-wrenching decision. But they are a family now, and family helps one another, no matter what. Knowing firsthand what it's like to be at the mercy of this particularly brutal band of Apache, Will know what he must do. Though Jacobi might not want him along, Will knows that's where he belongs.
Kane's Promise, the second in a series of three, is the continuation of Kane's Redemption, the story of Will Green, a young boy whose family was murdered by the Apache, and Jacobi Kane, the man who rescued Will from the Indians.
In Kane's Promise, Jacobi Kane must lead a band of lawmen in their mission to find and annihilate the remnants of the Apache renegades who were responsible for killing Will's parents and Kane's wife and children.
But Will knows he belongs at Jacobi Kane's side—not left behind in the safety of the cabin. Once they find the Apaches, all hell breaks loose.
Can Kane protect Will and see this battle to a final end?
DISCLAIMER: I know it's SIX Sentence Saturday, but it's late and I am filling in for Matt Pizzolato who had to attend a funeral and wasn't able to make it today. So please forgive the longer excerpt.
EXCERPT SET UP:
Will and Jacobi are getting ready to leave Colbert’s Ferry Station when Marshal Eddington, one of Jacobi’s old nemeses, causes trouble. He has just insulted Jacobi in front of everyone, and Will, unable to stand Jacobi’s silence, jumps down from his horse and attacks the unsuspecting marshal. Jacobi pulls Will off, but Eddington draws Jacobi into the fight. Here’s what happens:
“I ought to kill you!” Eddington’s eyes were murderous, and now that I had regained my senses, it dawned on me I had made us an enemy for life by making him look foolish in front of the other men. He looked back and forth at me and Jacobi, so I wasn’t certain who he meant to kill, but I was pretty sure he meant me.
Jacobi turned to look at Eddington, rising swiftly to close the few steps between him and the marshal. “If you ever lay a hand on him, Oscar, you’ll answer to me.”
Eddington was busy wiping the blood off his face but he looked up at Jacobi, his thick lips twisting in a sneer. “Go on. Tell me you know a hundred ways to kill me, and all of ’em would make me wish I’d never come into the world at all!”
“You said it, Eddington. Not me.”
Eddington took a final disgusted swipe with his dirty bandana at the trail of blood that kept trickling from his nose.
“I believe ’em, Kane,” he spat. “All those rumors about you bein’ part Injun your own self. You’re no better’n Laughing Wind hisself. A murderin’—”
Jacobi jumped for Eddington, who had quickly gone for his knife. Jacobi landed squarely atop the marshal’s belly and delivered a hammering blow to his jaw at the same time. He easily knocked the marshal’s blade out of his hand as if it were child’s play. Eddington let out a loud “oomph” when Jacobi’s fist connected with his belly.
But Eddington had learned a few tricks of his own, and he was surprisingly quick to be as fat as he was. I’d always felt sorry for his horse, having to tote him all over creation, as heavy as he had to be.
Jacobi knew what Eddington’s next move would be before he made it, it seemed like. I’d only seen Jacobi fight twice before. The first time was when Red Eagle found us and tried to jump us. I could tell both Jacobi and Red Eagle knew they were fighting for their lives, but I couldn’t see much, bein’ as how it was in the middle of the night. The fight Jacobi and Laughing Wind had had was just as serious—a fight to the death, for Laughing Wind. But, in the heat of the battle that had been going on around me, I hadn’t absorbed the skill Jacobi had. The way he rolled and punched and parried Eddington’s blows was like some kind of a dance.
After a few seconds, it was all over. I knew it wouldn’t take Jacobi long to end what he’d started.
Eddington had stopped trying to fight and was covering his head, instead. He was making the little girl noises again. Jacobi had sure beat the hell out of him, and it made my heart glad. I reckoned Jacobi understood just how I’d felt only a few minutes ago. I knew there wouldn’t be one word of lecture from him about me tearing in to Marshal Eddington, when he’d gone and done the same thing his own self. He rolled away from Eddington and came to his feet, breathing hard and just looking at the marshal for a few seconds. Then, he reached down and picked up his hat, dusting it off.
The other men had all gathered around, and even Mrs. Colbert and her daughters had come outside and stood watching. Marshal Eddington began to holler like a wild man when he saw everyone watching him.
“I’ve got witnesses! Kane, you’re going to pay, one way or another! You and that whelp of yours—”
Jacobi took a step forward, planting his foot squarely on Eddington’s wounded thigh, directly over the bullet hole.
“Son of a bitch!” Eddington screamed. He tried to roll, but Jacobi dropped to his knees, grabbing Eddington’s arm and twisting as he kept his weight on the wound.
“Don’t threaten me, Eddington. Never, ever threaten my family, or me.” He leaned close and spoke so softly no one else but me and Marshal Eddington could hear. “Don’t force me to pick one of those ‘hundred ways’, Marshal. I promise you, I will do it.”
Today I’m giving away a copy of KANE’S PROMISE to one lucky commenter. Please leave a comment along with your contact info to be entered—easy, huh?
You can find KANE’S PROMISE as well as KANE’S REDEMPTION and the thrilling conclusion of the Kane stories, KANE'S DESTINY here at my Amazon site:
Cheryl's Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson
Kane’s Redemption,Kane’s Promise, and Kane's Destiny are available at Barnes and Noble for Nook, as well.
Don’t forget to leave a comment to enter the drawing for a copy of KANE’S PROMISE.