Publisher: Solstice Publishing
Publication Date: June 21, 2017
In the arena below them, a cowboy finished his bull ride as the buzzer sounded.
“Not bad, Kip. Eighty-five. Let’s hear it for Kip Kipland, everybody!”
A smattering of applause broke out in the stands as rodeo clowns rushed onto the grounds to roust the bull back to the chutes.
“Next up, from the beautiful state of Wyoming, from the lovely county of Fremont, our own Weston Beaudurant….”
On the announcement of Weston’s name, the crowd roared. Olive rose, waving her flag vigorously and screaming for her brother more loudly than anyone else. “Come on, Weston! Show these folks how to ride!” She turned to Mad Bull. “You sit back and watch your fifty bucks multiply for all of us!”
“Uh-oh. Looks like Wes pulled himself a tough draw. He’ll be ridin’ Baby Face!” The announcer crackled over the loud speaker.
At the chutes, Weston straddled Baby Face as Zeb helped Weston lash his hand securely to the beast. The Brahma snorted and pawed the ground impatiently, attempting to twist his massive head inside the tight confines of the chute.
As they worked, Cody, dressed in the full regalia of a rodeo clown, grabbed hold of the chute gate.
“Ready?” Cody asked Weston.
Weston, making sure his hand was secure, looked back at Cody. “Let’s go!”
With a quick nod, Cody stepped back and opened the bull pen gate.
Head down, like a fiend released from the gates of Hell, Baby Face charged out of the pen, nostrils flaring.
“My money’s on you, Wes!” Cody called out after him.
The beast was savage. His great body torqued and undulated, his front legs clawing at the air as his body rose to the sky, his hindquarters kicking out behind him. Weston clung to the Brahma, his own body as fluid as the bull’s, his legs muscled and powerful, but the cowboy was no match for the monster, and before the third second passed, with one prodigious kick that sent the bull’s nose scraping the hardscrabble ground, the Brahma hurled Weston to the dirt.
The throw was brutal, skittering Weston across the ground. He slid forcefully all along his right side and shoulder. The crowd groaned in unison, and in unison they rose.
Baby Face cantered across the arena, circling Weston where he lay stunned. Cody sprinted out of the chutes waving his arms, his legs flying, followed by a multitude of clowns, swaying, yelling, cavorting, and caterwauling to distract and corral the Brahma.
Suddenly, Baby Face stopped circling. He pawed the earth and lifted his colossal head to the sky. He snorted, and then, he charged, straight for Cody Goode.
Seeing the bull stampeding, Cody bolted toward the gate, running in the zigzag pattern he’d been taught, he’d utilized, that had saved him countless times before. But the Brahma bounded with lightning speed—how could something so cumbersome, so massive, so ungainly move so quickly, so lethally. Before Cody could reach safety, Baby Face reached him, butting him viciously. Cody spun up into the air, spiraling through the sky like a kite on a string.
Weston, one hand pressed against his rib cage, pushed to his feet. At the chutes, Zeb leapt into the arena, Olive’s voice crying out to him from the stands, imploring him to stay back, stay away! In the air, Cody twisted grotesquely, his body folding back upon itself, a scarecrow, a bird clipped of its wings, landing with a heart-wrenching thud to the dusty earth, then, lying stone still on the ground, like a rag doll.
Weston and Zeb rushed up to their friend, their faces drawn and pale, Weston limping visibly. A thin stream of blood trickled from Cody’s nostrils. Weston, his face contorted with the effort, knelt down beside Cody. He lifted his head onto his lap.
Cody’s body sagged heavy and lifeless. Zeb bowed his head, placing one hand upon Weston’s shoulder as the boyhood friends fought tears in the bright October sunshine.
In case you’re interested to know more about Weston Beaudurant, here’s more about him:
Standing just over six feet tall, Weston is ruggedly handsome, with dark hair and weathered Mediterranean skin he inherited from his mother Alifair. His steel blue eyes come from his daddy, Wesley.
Alifair was originally from Romania and a family of “travelers,” or gypsies as they are more coarsely called. She grew up on the back of a horse. From her Weston learned to ride and rope, as well as love and read nature. He also learned to read people–something else Alifair did was tell fortunes.
From Wesley, Weston gained a life-long appreciation of books, philosophy, architecture, and building—all things of which his father was a master, though the one thing he could never abide was the veterinary trade that his rancher father also practiced. He’d gone out on calls with him since he was a child, and that was enough for him.
Another trait he inherited from his mother was the yearning he read in her eyes but of which she never spoke, the same yearning he saw buried beneath the blue in his own: wanderlust. A yearning to bust out, to be free to wander the open road.
Weston Beaudurant was raised a dutiful son and grew into a duty bound man. When his daddy died while Weston was still in high school, he took over Snowy Moon Ranch. Three years later when his Momma died, he left college for good.
A man of fierce loyalty, and deep obligation, never-the-less, Weston leads a life filled with friends and good times, especially with best friend Zebadiah Chantry, now married to his sister, Olive, Mad Bear Thunder Gatherer, and Cody Goode.
Never wanting for female attention, Weston’s doesn’t lack for companions, though the brief relationships never turn into anything more serious.
Weston keeps his secrets soaked in whiskey.
In the town of Wild River, Weston has been a hero since the day he saved Cody Goode from a bunch of thugs in the boys’ bathroom. He could play any sport: crack QB on the football team; best shortstop ever; three hat tricks in one season. Never prideful or arrogant. Always a team player. Smart as a whip.
Weston was the person everybody knew they could depend on; the one they could turn to in time of need.
But to whom can Weston turn?
If the mighty oak does not bend, in the face of the storm it will break.
There is a mighty storm coming to Wild River, and it is headed straight for Weston Beaudurant.
What will this commanding presence do as the winds of the most powerful force known to man begin to blow, shattering the quiet world and those whiskey-soaked secrets Weston Beaudurant lies hidden within?
Western Song (eBook)
About Leigh Podgorski