A Peek into ‘Horsing Around with Murder’

Here’s an excerpt from the trail ride scene in HORSING AROUND WITH MURDER. For the record, my heroine, a former hippie who’s on the far side of sixty, is in charge of a dude ranch due to a family emergency. Horses terrify her.


The jingle of spurs caused Beth’s heart to thunder in her chest, and not in a good way. She stopped short at the sight of  Zeke dragging the largest horse in the world, make that the entire universe, across the paddock.

They stopped beside her. She was pretty sure the animal’s eyes shot red sparks. A moment later, it whinnied, revealing wicked, yellow teeth.

She scooted backward. “My, what big teeth you have, grandma.”

Zeke shot her a shrewd look. “Just as I suspected. You’re a novice rider.”

“I’ve ridden before.” Once, six decades ago, and it hadn’t ended well, but she saw no need to share that information.

“You’ll be fine on this gentle giant. I hand-picked him for you. His name’s Alamo.”

“Correct me if I’m wrong,” Beth said, “but didn’t everyone at the Alamo die?”

“You’ll be fine,” Zeke said, grinning.

Beth pretended his really great smile hadn’t affected her. “I thought we were friends. You expect me to ride that … that … behemoth? You must have something …” she wanted to say, “less scary,” but substituted, “smaller.”

“Nothing you could handle.” Zeke led the horse to a three-step mounting block positioned beside the fence. “Up,” he ordered. When Beth didn’t budge, his grin broadened. “Chicken?”

That got her moving. With the help of the mounting block, much undignified straining (hers), and Zeke’s assistance, which involved the use of an embarrassing quantity of sinewy muscle to heft her bulk into the saddle, she found herself on board Alamo and clutching the reins in both hands, her legs spread to the max. Miracle of miracles, her tortured ligaments and tendons didn’t squeal out loud.

“Ouch,” she muttered. Hey, it had been a long, dry spell.

“You okay?”

“Peachy,” she said through gritted teeth.

Flinging her arms around Alamo’s neck in a death grip was out of the question. So was throwing up. She assured herself that before long, she’d get the hang of this horseback-riding thing. How hard could it be?

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