Title: Trapper’s Moon
Author: Gini Rifkin
Genre: Historical Frontier Romance
As a free trapper, mountain man Kade McCauley is wary of the Hudson Bay Company. Their form of vengeance against those who are not part of the company can be deadly. When he and his partner are attacked, he fights back, only to discover one of his shots struck an innocent. A woman who touches his soul, and he will do anything to keep her safe.
While searching for her Native American tribe, Blind Deer crosses paths with Kade—with near-fatal results. Once she is patched up, she decides it is safer to travel with him than alone Their uneasy alliance turns to genuine caring, but Blind Deer's past gets in the way, and she must choose between love or old obligations.
But nothing in life is carved in stone except the mountains, and those formidable peaks have been known to change the course of a man's life—or a woman's.
Kade couldn’t move. He rested flat on his stomach, head to one side, dirt-packed around his body. It felt like half a mountain was heaped on his backside. At least he could breathe—barely. The hood of his woolen capote had flopped forward over his face, keeping all but a sprinkling of the dirt from entering his mouth and nose.
What in hellfire had happened?
His right hand grasped what felt like a rotting hide, and the ferocious smell surrounding him did not encourage him to take a deep breath—even if he could. He moved his left leg—a large stone bit into his anklebone. Other than that, it felt undamaged. He did the same on the right. Searing pain followed. He couldn’t remember ever feelin’ a hurt that bad. Then he flexed his shoulders. Here was agony equal or greater.
The pain came in waves, crashing through his body from top to bottom. As he forced his muscles to relax, the weight of the earth and the confines of the space began to take its toll. His pulse raced, and he gritted his teeth, terrified at not being able to move.
Anger momentarily blotted out the overwhelming fear. Is this how things worked? He’d finally scraped together a little money, thought this might be the best season of his life, and now it could be his last. And then there was Blind Deer, a woman who piqued his interest, one he wanted to know better, get closer to. In kaleidoscope fashion, one dreadful picture after another rampaged through Kade’s mind—plunging him into a full-blown panic. What if he made it through only to live forever a stove-in crippled?
The muffled sound of Tucket’s voice and Maggie’s barking penetrated the dark tomb, bolstering his spirits and snapping his thoughts back to the present. They would get him out. His breathing slowed, and to ease his soul he grasped at the most comforting notion he could think of—Blind Deer, so beautiful among the meadow of flowers. And what about the kiss they’d shared, innocent yet charged with hope as well as the desire for more. Usually thoughts of Blind Deer sent his body and mind into a tailspin, encouraging him to do and say things he’d never even considered before. Now the
vision quieted his fears, and he smiled, not minding the taste of dirt in his mouth.
The sound of earth and rock tumbling downward gave little warning before more weight crushed in on him—the helpless sensation rushed back full force. An odd roaring noise filled his head, and a tingling started in his hands and feet, creeping upward along his limbs. He felt weightless as if floating in water. Is this how the beaver felt when they drowned in his traps? A great sorrow welled up in him. He’d never looked at things from their point of view. Never dwelled upon what happened between setting the trap and stretching the hide.
The blackness thickened, covering him with an almost sympathetic embrace. His lungs screamed for air, his body screamed for freedom, his brain simply screamed.
Watching as Tucket gingerly approached the dark abyss, Blind Deer inched her horse and the string of animals as close as she dared.
Unafraid when it came to helping his friend, Tucket went right to the edge, risking himself in an attempt to see how bad-off Kade might be. When he stared down into the rift and swore an oath strong enough to uncurl buffalo hair, her worst fears were realized.
Maggie barked and whined and paced along the jagged lip of the hole. Cut off from her master, coyote/dog seemed confused as well as frightened.
The horses and mules, less jumpy now, gave Blind Deer incentive to dismount and tie them securely to a section of nearby trees. Then ignoring Tucket’s order to stay put, she edged toward the rift.
Still hovering on the edge, Tucket motioned her back with one hand. “Hold on there, missy. Don’t come any closer.”
“How bad is it? Does he live?”
“I can’t tell. He’s too deep to reach from up top. He’s under a layer of dirt and rubble. We better get down there fast. You willin’ to help?”
“Yes, of course.” Again disobeying his words, she crept forward on hands and knees and knelt at his side. Apparently distracted by his worry over Kade, Tucker did not challenge her defiance in disobeying him.
“I knew you’d come through for us, little gal. I might could jump right on down there. But even with the mule a helpin’ it be tricky doin’s for you to haul Kade or me back up. So, it looks like you’re gonna be the one goin’ over the side.”
As he spoke Tucket eased backward and into an upright position. She scrambled to do the same.
Without another word, he set off to get what they might need for the rescue attempt.
Her chest tightened at the thought of going into the dark cleft, but she didn’t have time to dwell on the horror as Tucket quickly returned with a few lengths of rope and Hattie, his favorite mule.
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It’s a brand-new year, full of possibilities Did you make any resolutions/goals for 2020? If so, please share one.
Stay as healthy as possible so I can continue to write, and care for my Noah’s ark of abandoned farm animals.
Why is your featured book a must-read in 2020?
Trapper’s Moon exemplifies the courage and spirit of adventure needed now as well as in 1836 in the American frontier. HEA’s may be a given, but for my characters, Kade McCauley and Blind Deer, getting there is riddled with danger as well as romance. A rugged yet kind-hearted hero, and a determined heroine, both face life-changing decisions, but Fate often has the final say. And anything can happen on the way to that notorious yearly gathering known as the mountain man rendezvous. Come join the adventure, and revel in the romance.
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Runs January 1 – 31, 2020.
Drawing will be held on February 1, 2020.
Gini Rifkin writes adventurous romance. Her settings include the American West, Medieval England, Victorian England, and contemporary fantasy. When not reading or writing, she has the privilege of caring for a menagerie of abandoned animals including ducks, geese, rabbits, goats, donkeys, and cats. Born in Illinois, she was raised by two terrific parents and one very special older sister. When struck by wanderlust, she moved to Colorado and met her husband Gary. They shared the journey for 30 years, spending vacations canoeing, doing Mountain Man reenacting, and traveling around this great country. Although Gary has passed on, he left her with the skills to soldier on alone, and a little bit of him lives on in every hero she creates. Her writing keeps her hungry to learn new things, and she considers family and friends her most treasured of gifts.
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Amazon Author https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002QRS66U