Friday, March 11, 2016

California Moon


California Moon
by S.I. Hayes
Blog Tour
LGBTQ Shifter Romance


Blurb:
Danny Johnston is a young bounty hunter, who for three years to hone her craft has lived and loved as a man. In pursuit of a lead to her family’s killers, Danny is thrown from her horse and attacked by something she cannot identify.
Jake Dorsey is a man traveling on his own while trying to leave his demons behind. When he finds Danny’s horse and returns it, he is awestruck, aware of the bounty hunter’s reputation.
They decide to travel together, if only to ease the burdens of traveling alone. Secrets and complicated situations compound as Jake believes Danny to be a man, while Danny believes Jake to be a Human. 
When the truth is finally discovered, will starting an affair prove simple or will Danny be left to make the hard choice? Can she forgo vengeance for love or will the desire to keep her blood oaths prove stronger?



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DANNY
CHAPTER 1
           I'm fucked, completely screwed, and not in that fun breasts bouncin' up and down, sweat stingin' your eyes kind of way. Although I may get that too if I don't do somethin' quick. There are too many of them, and I'm exhausted already. I spent the better part of six months trackin' that bastard Shaun Guiled, and not only have I lost him on the brightest moon I've ever seen in my life, but now I'm surrounded by a handful of savages. Ugh, totally fucked here, anyone around? Of course not, I work alone. Only way to do it and keep myself alive. Well, till now. What was that thing that jumped my ass? Wolf, bear? Whatever. I gutted it pretty good. Probably went off and died. Should go have a look if I get out of this mess. I need a distraction, if they rush me I'm in for it. I've heard the stories. No need to get a firsthand account. From a distance no one can tell, but if they get a hold of me... Well I don't want to think about that. Not right now. Maybe later if I survive.
My right hand's tore up, can't draw both guns. Shit! Damn it to hell! I pull my Colt from the left, pointin’ it at them. Their heads tilt and they laugh at me. Ugh, I hate it when people laugh at me. I pull back the trigger firin' into the air, their horses spook, and I haul ass toward the woods. Immediately I hear the sounds of hooves thunderin’ the cold hard ground. I'm not gonna be able to out run them, but maybe I can disappear into the trees. My legs are burnin', my head's swimmin' but I manage to make it to the woods. I spot what looks like a hollowed out log. Prayin' it's not a badger den, I stuff my skinny ass in fast.
***
          Phew, well that was close. I lay in that log till the sun came up. Popped a squat on the other side, makin' sure not to make much of a stink. Hehe. That badger I was worried about turned out to be a rabbit. Nothing like breakfast in bed. Anyhow, I’m what some would call a Bounty Hunter. I call it dishin' out justice and gettin' paid to put down animals that shoulda known better.
It's a good gig, and I'm pretty damn good at it. Better than slingin' dishes. My mamma was happy for the coins I sent her from that, but hoo, if she thought I wasn't in New Arizona bustin' tables she'd be mighty angry with me.
         But I can't worry about that. See, mamma and daddy was killed by some of those rustlers heading out to California. It was a mess. The paper report said that a group of men entered the General Store and just shot up the place. But I've seen the real reports. The place was destroyed, tore up somethin' fierce. There were photos. Those photos told a more brutal story. Bodies piled up, blood and gore everywhere. Some of the women inside were brutalized beyond recognition. The owner’s wife lived, lucky they didn't see her. But she said she knows she heard them talkin' about California. Seems to have lost her little head about the whole thing. Ravin' about monsters and everythin'. I don't know about all that, but I know my information seems to be on par with her directions.
So I'm headed to California. I can't let what happened to my mamma and daddy go without retribution. I took on with some Bounty Hunters and have even made a bit of money and a name for myself along the way. The name Danny Johnston is known. That's a good thing, it keeps me left alone. No one goes against someone with a name for them self. Least not if they wants to keep breathin'.
            A few months back, I finally got a photo of the guys who did my mamma and daddy in. Now I know exactly who I'm lookin' for. And the rat bastard that I lost last night was one of 'em. I wasn't gonna kill 'im, just knock ’im 'round real good till he told me where his boss, Jimmy Deranged Straights was hidin'. He got that name because word is he's crazy as a fox in a hen house. I don't care if it's true or not. I'm gonna get him. But I got nipped by somethin' big just before those Savage Wilds showed up. Not exactly sure what happened; one second I was barrelin' down on my guy the next my horse reared and off I went on my ass. Then this furry thing was on me, grabbed me and shook. Felt like it damn near tore off my hand. Though it looks pretty good compared to how it felt last night. Anyways, I stabbed it with my big ole huntin' knife, twisted and pulled, and growlin', it ran off. That was when I heard the other horses. Looked up and there were those savages just starin' at me. We know how that went. But what got me here? That's kinda long, but I'll make it short.
       My mamma Purdy and daddy, Daniel Johnston, came out in sixty-five and started farmin' right away. My daddy was smart, he was fast too. Grew corn and raised horses. By the time I came along he had a good herd of them wild horses he caught and broke. They named me Danielle after him, mamma always called me that, but daddy called me Danny. Brought me up like the son they didn't have. Taught me to ride, hunt, and fish the streams by our little house. House he built all by his self, well mamma helped where she could. Her Irish blood makin' her good and sturdy as my daddy always said. She tried her hardest to make a proper lady out of me. Twirlin' my red hair and making a fuss. But it barely stuck. Unless pushed and pulled up into a corset, I was skinny and shaped like a boy. I was always gettin' dirty and takin' off my dresses. Damn things were so tight. Never could understand how mamma could stand it. Runnin' 'round half naked of course caught the eye of the boy of the farm and cattle rancher who sometimes bought feed from my daddy.
Mike Whittler. He was a couple years older than me. Just eighteen, but doin' good. They lived spittin' distance away. so if I climbed the big old climbin' tree and shimmied on to the tin roof, I could see him when he was workin'. The hot sun made him shine like those golden wheat fields and he liked to work with his shirt off when he knew I was lookin'. And boy did I get scolded for that! I didn't care. Neither did he.
         I told my daddy that I liked him and my daddy made that happen. The only thing that made me sad was that Mike wanted to go to the New Arizona Territory and make his fortune like everyone else. If we stayed, he would get his daddy's ranch in time, and I wanted to stay in Neutah. But he wanted somethin' that could be just ours. I didn't get it, but my place was with my husband, so at sixteen I married Mike and off we went. It took some time to get there and it was lawless as all hell on the road but still, we were good.
         It was scary but beautiful. The canyons were impressive, but the closer we got to Flagstaff, the less I was impressed. I missed the Neutah Mountains. Snowcapped and tall, they were always sorta around. But not New Arizona, thought the colors of the soil made it interestin’, never seen something natural that was so red, ‘cept my hair.
       Mike said he had big plans for us, that he wasn't gonna just be some ranch hand all his life. I didn't care what he did so long as we were together. But the work was scarce, and I started pushin' drinks and plates until he fell into a Marshall spot. It took him away a lot, but we lived comfortably. Workin' was nice, the clothes sucked, but I was a girl and needed to look the part. When I did, I made good tips, which was helpful. But when I was home with Mike, he didn't care what I wore. Said he preferred me naked any day. He was good to me like that.
      Then he didn't come home anymore. I got word that he had been shot accidentally and the infection got him. I mourned, was gonna go home, then I found out about my parents. There wasn't anythin' I could do about Mike. Accidents happen, but these robbers? I'm gonna catch 'em and I'm gonna get the bounty while makin' sure they don't hurt any more people. I packed up all my stuff that I thought I would need, including Mike's shotguns and colts. I don't know the caliber. I used to, but I was never interested in all that. I only cared that they shot straight and hit their mark when I used um. I chopped my hair to my shoulders, slicked it back under my hat. Slapped on some pants. See, this new west, as they have been callin’ it, is great if you're a man. Sucks to be a girl. Unless you can pass for a boy. I pass. Safest way to travel alone is to be a man. I may be young, and talk low, but I ain't stupid.
     See, I know it's dangerous for a gal, even one as crafty as I, to be alone out here. Too many variables that could get ya killed. Too many lawless men roamin’ looking for a good squeeze. Done up this way I can hook up with others and ease my traveling burdens without any guff. That's how I got started collectin' bounties for cash. I'm real good with a gun, and even deadlier with a knife. It's been two years since then. Now I've got a real direction of where Jimmy and his crew is headin'. So I'm off to San Francisco Valley. He's supposed to be holed up there enjoyin' his money. Let him get nice and comfortable. He ain't gonna see me comin’. I just gotta sew up this hand and find my damn horse!


Teasers 

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Shannon (S. I.) Hayes has been telling tales for so long as she has been able to talk, and began writing them down shortly thereafter. The In Dreams... Series, The Roads trilogy, began in 2006 after a D&D campaign ended, Hayes took the world and a series was created. It took five years as she spent many months at a time in an undiagnosed Bi-Polar fog. In 2010, she finally found the help she needed and she has been writing feverishly ever since. Shannon is the Co-Author of  Awakenings: The Wrath Saga. She has several blogs and maintains her own website. S.I.Hayes.com.
In her own words... I have a mind that is easily distracted and prone to wandering. Tangents are my forte, and if you think my characters are going to fit a cookie cutter shape of any kind, think again. They live, they love, they eat, sleep, and fuck. I believe that people are inherently sexual creatures and my characters, be they human or something altogether else, are no exception.
I don't adhere to a single genera, I toe the line on several and wouldn't presume to be a master of any. So I suppose you could call me jack-of-all-trade-paperbacks.
I am a truth seeker, in my life, in my work. I’d apologize for it, but I kinda can't help m’self. It's my best and worse personality trait, well mostly. Being Bi-Polar I guess you could say that is the worst. But I believe that the disorder has made me, well... Me.
I have taken this life and twisted, carved, shaped, and molded it into the worlds of my characters. Albeit with a chainsaw, and it has made all the difference.

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