Ride the Whirlwind
M/M Romance, Time travel, Historical
Release Date: 09.17.19
Cover Designer – Jay Aheer
Soulmates across time. Two hearts, stronger together.
In present day, Maxton is good at finding trouble and bad at everything else. Then he receives a letter from his friend Laurie, who went missing. The letter is dated over one hundred years in the past.
In 1892, Trent Harrington, sheriff of Trinidad, Colorado, cast off by his family, lives a respectable but lonely life, devoid of any closeness. He knows he will be alone forever.
Trying to escape a past that keeps chasing him, Maxton drives south to Mexico. When his car spins off the road, he is swept up in a desert whirlwind, which takes him back in time to the year 1892. There, unused to the laws of the wild west, Maxton gets arrested and is subject to the terrifying whims of two deputies who can do whatever they want to him.
Sheriff Trent Harrington of Trinidad is tasked with escorting Maxton to Trinidad. The request isn’t unusual, but the young miscreant is. Maxton draws Trent’s heart out of its shell with his flashing green eyes and lush head of hair. It isn’t right. It isn’t natural. It’s illegal. Yet Trent cannot resist the impetuous young man.
As the two men travel through the dry, lonely desert to their destination, will they find in each other the love and companionship they never thought they’d have?
A male/male time travel romance, complete with the scent of desert roses, brilliantly colored sunsets, starlit nights, roast rabbit over an open fire, growing honesty and trust, and true love across time.
Buy Link: http://mybook.to/RideTheWhirlwind
Contains references to Honey From the Lion and Wild as the West Texas Wind but can be read on its own.
Ride Blog Post – Looking for Lathalad – by Jackie North
Readers of Ride the Whirlwind have been asking, “Who is Lathalad?” and “Where did the name Lathalad come from?” Some have done Google searches before asking, and the only reference they can find is the newest book in my Love Across Time series. So here you go, here is the story.
When I was a girl, I wanted a pony for my birthday. I asked and asked, you know how you do, asking the same thing over and over. And lo, much to my surprise, on what I remember being my 12th birthday, there arrived the cutest, roundest Welsh pinto pony on my front lawn.
I was a big fan of the Marguerite Henry books, my favorite being King of the Wind. The book is about Sham, the Godolfin Arabian, who sired a line of famous racehorses. One of Sham’s offspring was named Lath, because he was as thin as a lath, which is a narrow strip of wood used to bolster the walls of plaster-built homes.
Since my pony was so round, I enjoyed the irony of using that name and, also, because I wanted to lather my pony with love, I invented the more majestic name of Lathalad. But I called him Lath.
Lath was sweet, and even tempered. He was mostly white with a few dark brown splotches. He had blue eyes, and a mostly white mane and tail, and the tail had a black streak running down the center of it.
He would bugle a greeting to me in the morning when I went to feed him, and didn’t mind my clumsy attempts to hitch him up to an old tire when I attempted to make him into a cart horse. We would ride the grass-swept fields, and race in the rain, and I usually rode him barebacked and barefooted. Sometimes I rode him in my nightgown, just for fun, so I could feel like a heroine in an old-fashioned book, if you can imagine.
Being on my own to care for this sweet pony I struggled to pay the farrier to shoe him, and had to beg my parents to buy hay for him. In winter I would smuggle oatmeal out to him and dried corn and whatever I could manage. He had a fondness for thistle flowers. For water, we had an old tub that I would fill with the hose, and in winter, I would carry out two five gallon buckets of warm water.
He never had a barn to shelter in, and I don’t think I ever had the vet out to see him, I couldn’t afford it. For a corral, we had an electric fence that enclosed about half an acre, which was a goodly size for a pony. Raking that corral clean is a chore I loathed because it was hot and lonely and never ending. Oddly, in spite of his white coat, Lath never seemed to collect dirt on him and his mostly-white coat always seemed pristine and clean.
Lath wasn’t glamorous or especially fleet, on account of his bad front hooves, but he was mine and I loved him.
Since the battery on the electric fence was always going out, Lath would escape and go over to the neighbor’s corral to visit with the other horses. I’m pretty sure this annoyed our neighbors because one day when I came home, Lath was gone.
According to word of mouth, someone had called animal control and taken Lath away. When I called animal control, they said they were going to put him up for auction, but if I had a hundred dollars, I could get him back.
I was only fourteen or so when this happened, and I never could get animal control to take me seriously. I made many calls, but could never find out what I needed to do, or where to send the money, or where I could even get a hundred dollars.
I begged my mother to help me, to maybe call animal control for me, but she never did and so in spite of all my struggles and my broken heart, I never saw Lath again. I never knew what happened to him, whether he went to a loving family or whether, on account of his bad hooves, they simply put him down.
To this day, my heart aches when I think of him. Once, when I was driving home from work, going the back way through the country, I saw a pony in a field. He looked a lot like Lath, so much so I could have sworn it was him. I was about 24 at the time, and it’d been ten years – do ponies live that long? But still, I like to imagine it was him and that he spent the rest of his days in comfort and peace, grazing in a field of green grass.
Some things never leave you, you know?
Thus, when I had written in Wild as the West Texas Wind that Layton Blue had had his horse shot out from beneath him, I pictured in my mind that it was Lathalad that he’d lost. Then, when Maxton and Trent were crossing the New Mexico desert by horseback in Ride the Whirlwind, I thought that this would be a perfect way to honor and remember that sweet little pony I once knew.
There are no pictures of Lathalad. But in Ride the Whirlwind, I’ve described what he looked like. And, except for the height, the two Lathalads, mine and Layton’s, are exactly the same.
Here’s an excerpt at the point in the story where Trent has decided they will travel by horseback, and needs to get some likely mounts:
Though he very well knew that pride went before a fall, Trent felt quite pleased with himself. He’d managed to purchase two sturdy mounts: Old Sue, a calm-eyed mare who looked pleased to be saddled up and given something to do, and Lathalad, a pinto with remarkable blue eyes, an even more remarkable mostly-white coat with a few brown splotches, and a narrow black streak running down the center of his long, white tail.
He was a beauty for sure, but carried a scar across his breast, which might be the reason he was a tad skittish when he was brought out and trotted around. Trent worried until the man at the stables convinced him the horse could carry a man and supplies easily, that he was built for long rides. As well, Trent caught Maxton looking at the horses, and thought that the gelding was of the appropriate size.
And here’s another excerpt, where Maxton gives Lathalad back to Layton:
“What the fuck am I supposed to do with a horse?” asked Maxton.
“He’s pretty,” said Mr. Larosi, and he swept his hands in a curve as if encompassing the breadth of the horse’s loveliness. “Blue eyes, long tail. You ride along, attract the ladies, eh?”
Barely holding back a scoffing sound, Maxton hung his head, one hand on his hip as he kicked at the hay-strewn dirt.
“What gelding?” asked Zach. He poked Maxton in the side. “Hey. I’m talking to you.”
“It’s the horse I rode across the desert on, with Trent.” Maxton threw his hands in the air, almost in a mockery of how Mr. Larosi used his hands. “Trent was on Old Sue—”
“She was sold to the lady milliner,” said Mr. Larosi helpfully.
“And I rode Lathalad—”
“The painted horse with the blue eyes,” said Mr. Larosi. He drew his thumb across his chest in a sharp, diagonal line. “And the scar, sharp and deep.”
There was a solid click as Layton latched the box stall shut, but it was the way he stood there that drew everybody’s eyes to him.
“Lathalad?” he asked, and his voice was thin, as if he was about to faint. “Here? Where is he?”
The second Mr. Larosi jabbed his thumb in the direction of the other side of the bar, Layton ran.
Out of the shadows, from one of the box stalls, Maxton heard a horse make a sound he’d never heard a horse make before. Not that he had much experience with horses, but he had some.
The sound was like that of a soft bugle, over and over, like a rhythm. It almost sounded joyful, and as they got closer, Maxton saw that it was Lathalad making that sound, which he’d never made in the desert when Maxton was riding him. Pressing against the stall door the whole time, the horse’s nostrils were wide, his head held high, ears pricked into sharp points as he watched Layton came closer.
Layton flung open the door to the box stall and wrapped his arms around the horse’s neck, and the bugling sound became low and somehow sweet as the horse bent its neck to curve close to Layton.
It was quite clear that this horse, Lathalad, knew Layton somehow, or at least that’s what it must be, though Maxton didn’t really know. Horses weren’t his thing, but they were Layton’s thing, it was plain to see, for Lathalad was, it seemed, greeting Layton and Layton was loving on that horse so hard, it was almost painful to watch.
“Holy shit,” said Zach.
“What the fuck, dude,” said Maxton.
“It’s his horse, his old horse,” said Zach, almost in a whisper. “The one that got shot out from under him. He thought Lathalad had died. But he’s not dead.”
“No, he’s not,” said Maxton, though he wasn’t sure how all of this made him feel. “He carried me for days while we traveled here, steady as you please.”
Layton wiped his eyes as he leaned into Lathalad’s neck, petting and petting him, saying something to the horse in low tones.
“The boy who loves horses,” said Mr. Larosi. “The gelding’s keep is paid for till the end of the month.”
There was a pause as Layton grew still. Then he turned to look directly at Maxton, his eyes large and very blue.
“You’ll take good care of him, won’t you Maxton?” asked Layton. “Won’t you?”
It didn’t take Maxton but a second to realize what he needed to do. The only worry he had was how his offer would be received. But maybe it would be okay. Maybe.
“Would you like to have him?” asked Maxton. “You can have him. He’s yours anyway. He never reacted that way to me, that’s for sure.”
He tried to keep his voice light, to make a joke out of it, but his breath caught in his throat when he saw the expression on Layton’s face, the way it looked as though he was seeing the first beautiful sunrise after days of darkness.
“You mean it?” asked Zach, and his voice was fierce, not with anger, but with whatever emotions were running through him, and they were, Maxton could see it in his eyes.
“Sure, I do,” said Maxton. “Of course I do. And we’ll figure out how to pay for his keep. I’ll find a job that brings in real money or whatever—”
What would Laurie do at this moment? He’d give Layton a friendly hug and tell him that everything was going to be okay. But that wasn’t Maxton, and he didn’t think Layton was the hugging type either. But he came close and bumped Layton’s shoulder. He petted Lathalad’s nose, and jerked his head to get Zach to come pet the horse too. Which Zach did, easily, because it was the right thing.
Layton needed a minute, and Maxton took a long slow breath, hoping to ease the tightness of his jaw because it was just too much, all these emotions running high, all this closeness. People being nice to each other just because. He might get used to it in time, but he was running out of the ability to process it and it wasn’t even noon.
Trent stepped off the stagecoach, took his small, leather-handled carpet bag from the top of the coach, and breathed a sigh of relief. It wasn’t that he got sick on stagecoaches, no. It was that there were so many people jammed into a space that rocked for hours and became filled with dust, that is, when it wasn’t filled with the smell of stale sweat and the scent of nerves on edge. Stagecoaches had to be the worst way that God invented for man to travel. There were better ways, like on foot or by horseback. Never mind. He had arrived in Dilia.
Taking off his hat, he wiped his forehead with the back of his arm, which left a broad sweat stain on his shirt sleeve. He sighed again, put his hat back on and looked up and down the street for the jail.
He had two telegrams in his breast pocket beneath his vest, but he was no closer to understanding what was going on, or why he’d been waylaid from his plans, his very straightforward plans, to head back to Trinidad from Deming, deep in New Mexico Territory, where he’d been asked to witness a hanging.
Deming had been quite far to travel for such a gory, unsavory task as a hanging. However, the governor of New Mexico Territory, one LaBaron Prince, had asked for him in particular, seeing as how he’d been present at the capture of Fenton Barrow, otherwise known as Pretty Boy Barrow, known for stagecoach holdups and petty larceny and the stealing of cows.
Now that the unpleasant task had been completed, with witness documents signed, he’d been more than ready to head home to Trinidad. Unfortunately, he’d gotten a telegram from the small town of Dilia, instructing him to detour to Dilia to transport one Maxton Barnett to Trinidad.
In Dilia, the sheriff and his two deputies had in their care a young miscreant who they wanted taken away before the whole town rose up in rebellion. It all sounded rather dramatic, and not what he’d expect from a fellow sheriff, even if the telegram explained, in very short words, the crime of picking pockets and, mysteriously, other unsavory acts.
Only his sense of duty would encourage him to follow through with the request to pick up the low-life criminal and escort him back to Trinidad, from whence it was said he’d come. Then, of all the queer things, just before he’d gotten on the stagecoach in Deming, he’d received a second telegram, this time from Mr. Laurie Quinn of the Adeline Hotel in Trinidad.
Mr. Quinn was known to him, a recent newcomer to the town with enough energy for three young men, a dazzling smile, and a sweet laugh that would light up the darkest room. Trent had done his best to remain unmoved, but it was hard, especially when Laurie had the most beautiful brown eyes, and dark auburn hair shot with gold. He was like a handsome out of a painting, with slender hips, and long legs, and a vivacious air and zest for life.
But not only did Laurie’s companion, a dour, grim-faced, broad-shouldered man by the name of John Henton, keep Trent from responding, he was also held back by his own promise to himself. He could not make the same mistake that he’d made back home in Aiken, South Carolina, one that had involved kissing a sweet-faced choir boy after church one Sunday.
The kiss had been brief and there’d been an energy in Trent to pull the choir boy into his arms and do more than just kiss. But he’d been unable to act upon that flash of heat and desire as his father had discovered him, waited till his mother died, and then banished him, separating Trent from his sister Lucy.
It had been five years since he’d talked to either of them, though once in a while a letter would come from his father berating him further and taunting him with news about Lucy, but never really telling him anything about what was going on with her. It was like part of him had been cut off, leaving him numb and aching, staring at the ceiling in the middle of the night, wondering how it might have turned out differently if Father hadn’t discovered him.
Enter the Giveaway:
Jackie North has been writing stories since grade school and spent years absorbing the mainstream romances that she found at her local grocery store. Her dream was to someday leave her corporate day job behind and travel the world. She also wanted to put her English degree to good use and write romance novels, because for years she’s had a never-ending movie of made-up love stories in her head that simply wouldn’t leave her alone.
As fate would have it, she discovered m/m romance and decided that men falling in love with other men was exactly what she wanted to write books about. In this dazzling new world, she turned her grocery-store romance ideas around and is now putting them to paper as fast as her fingers can type. She creates characters who are a bit flawed and broken, who find themselves on the edge of society, and maybe a few who are a little bit lost, but who all deserve a happily ever after. (And she makes sure they get it!)
She likes long walks on the beach, the smell of lavender and rainstorms, and enjoys sleeping in on snowy mornings. She is especially fond of pizza and beer and, when time allows, long road trips with soda fountain drinks and rock and roll music. In her heart, there is peace to be found everywhere, but since in the real world this isn’t always true, Jackie writes for love.
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