After a fifteen year absence, her husband's brother, Coy, returns to his childhood home. He doesn't plan on staying, and he certainly doesn't intend to settle down with a widow and her son…no matter how pretty she is.
He's an outlaw, after all, and made a decision to put an end to his gun-slinging days long ago. Will his conscience let him walk away from family, or will his heart overrule his head?
For the next few days, Keta Diablo and Jezebel “Jesse” Santos from Comes An Outlaw are visiting Wild Women Authors and we couldn't be more pleased. First up is Jesse.
Where are you from? Arizona, near the Vulture Mountains.
What did you think the first time you saw Coy Santos?. That's right, we have the same last name even though we've never met before. You see, Coy is my late husband's brother. After a 15 year absence, he came to the ranch to see his parents and his brother. Of course, he didn't know Cain had married while he was gone. And, he didn't know his parents died several years ago, and his brother, Cain, 6 months ago.
What did I think the first time I saw him? I thought he was a gun-for-hire, or possibly a bounty hunter, someone who lived by the gun and would no doubt die by the gun. On a physical level, the man was breathtaking and I felt an immediate draw to him.
What was your second thought? A part of me wanted him to keep right on riding to Utah where he planned to settle down on his own little piece of land. The other part, wanted him to stay for a time. Perhaps his presence, not to mention his shiny pistol, might deter the cutthroat neighbors who wanted my ranch.
Did you feel it was love at first sight? Love….no. Attraction, intrigue, curiosity? Definitely yes.
What do you like most about Coy? That he was full of surprises; not the man I thought rode in one day, but a thoughtful, caring man--garnished with a slice of self-assuredness and courage.
This gets better and better. How would you describe him? Tall, lean, midnight hair, gray eyes and chiseled features.
Oh yeah. How would Coy describe you? You know, for the longest time, I didn't know what he thought about me. He keeps his emotions and feelings quite guarded. But then, one day he told me he liked everything about me, and that's why it would so hard for him to leave.
What made you choose writing as a career? I've always loved reading, grew up with a book in my hand. I suppose my love for the written word led me toward writing. I started out writing a few family-type stories, histories on my ancestors, and from there it blossomed into fiction.
What is your biggest fear? I'm going to assume you mean in life but maybe you mean about writing? Let's take life: I loathe bears, not too fond of heights and worry continuously about the health and safety of my kids. Er…who doesn't these days? Back to the bears…I think in another life, I was attacked by a grizzly. And that's quite a gruesome thing to think about.
How do you relax? Gardening, volunteering at my local animal shelter (no bears there) and reading.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Scarlet O'Hara. What a deep, conflicted woman. Second choice: Scout Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird. It's a toss-up who made that book a big hit, Atticus or Scout, but I'm placing my money on Scout. She was tenacious, transparent, and in so many ways a typically innocent young girl with the heart of a lion. I just love her.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Make sure the person looking back at you in the mirror likes what they see. (Who else but a mother would say that?)
Thanks for this insight, Jesse. Now it's Keta's turn at bat.
What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer and why? See above. Gone With the Wind, To Kill A Mockingbird and I really enjoyed The Windflower.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? I probably couldn't pinpoint an exact element, but, I think every story we write holds a little piece of us. Whether that's in style of writing, character depiction or plot, a little bit of us is interspersed somewhere. I don't think it's possible for writers to not pass on their personal experience, events in their life through their writing.
What project[s] are you working on now? Finishing the third book in my Sky Series. Sky Tinted Water, Book 1, Sky Dance, Book 2 and now look for Sky Dreams coming to a Kindle near you soon!
Keta brought along an excerpt for us:
The town of Red Butte sat five miles behind him, which meant his destination should appear around the next bend. He wondered how much had changed since he'd left fifteen years ago. Hell, he wondered if anyone would even recognize him. Guess he'd soon find out.
The one-story house came into view. Painted buttercup yellow and trimmed in white, with a wrap-around veranda the same color as the trim, it looked the same. At least that hadn't changed. The red barn still stood and to the right of the house, the riotous garden remained. Childhood memories flooded Coy. He could almost smell his mother's Blue Bells and Forget Me Nots, taste her home-grown beans, squash and the mouth-watering ears of corn, fresh off the stalk.
A dog barked from somewhere near the steps of the porch. As he drew closer he spotted the long-haired cur, part Australian Shepherd and a breed he couldn't identify. The dog trotted up the steps when he brought his horse to a halt, settled in beside a young boy, and then flashed an ominous row of white teeth his way.
His gaze left the dog and wandered to the boy with a baby screech owl perched on his left shoulder. A brown slouch hat sat atop his head, the chin strap resting on his chest. His hair was long and jet black, his eyes gun-metal gray. A rope-belt held up his baggy wool trousers and the white cotton shirt set off his youthful, tanned face. A face that held a wary expression yet exuded a cocky air.
"State your business," a female voice called out.
Too busy taking in his surroundings, the dog and the boy, his tired brain overlooked the woman on the porch. Now that he'd taken a good look, he couldn't imagine how any man with blood running through his veins could fail to notice her. Tall and lean, weathered leather trousers clung to her long legs like second skin. A red flannel shirt hung long and loose on her body but failed to hide her womanly curves. Her hair was thick and straight, falling past her shoulders in a tangle of burnished copper. Watchful and intense, her large, round eyes glistened like liquid pools of blue ice.
When he brought a knee up to dismount, she cocked the rifle. "You don't hear so good. I asked you to state your business."
"My business? I was about to ask what you're doing here and follow it up with just who the hell are you?"
"Don't bother dismounting, and don't even think about going for that sidearm at your hip. Though the buzzards might like it; they haven't had their breakfast yet this morning."
"Right friendly, aren't ya?"
"To my friends, yes."
"Where's the folks that used to live here?"
She jerked her chin toward a cluster of cottonwoods in the distance. He remembered the trees and the black wrought-iron fence surrounding them, the family graveyard. His heart wrenched for a brief moment. He hadn't considered the possibility his parents might be dead.
"Where's Cain? He off again on one of his infamous ghost hunts or is he hiding inside with his nose buried in a textbook?"
Something crossed her eyes for a second…surprise, sorrow? Maybe both. "You know Cain?"
"I should, he's my brother."
Definitely shock this time. "Your…your brother?"
"Now who can't hear so good?"
"I heard you. He, well, he didn't talk much about a brother."
"No, don't imagine he did." He put his hands out at his sides. "Look, it's mighty hot out here under the sun, and my horse needs water." Sweating under the sweltering heat, his temper flared. "For the record, never point a rifle at a man unless you intend to use it."
"I still might."
He shook his head and blew a puff of air.
"All right, climb on down but keep your hands where I can see 'em." She eased up on the rifle and turned to the boy. "Grange, grab a bucket of water for his horse."
The kid scrambled down the steps and headed for the well nearby, the mutt close on his heels and growling as he passed. "Easy, Fetch," the boy said.
"Fetch? How original."
"At least he's got a name," the boy muttered under his breath and kept on walking.
Coy turned back to the woman. "The kid's right. Forgive my manners. Name is Coy…Coy Santos, Cain's younger brother. If he's not here right now, I'm sure he'll vouch for me when he gets back."
She leaned the rifle against the railing and met his eyes. "I'm Jesse, and that boy watering your horse is my son, Grange."
He looked toward the cemetery again. "So Ma and Pa are gone, huh? Didn't realize I'd been gone so long."
"I'm sorry." She tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. "Your pa died seven years back, your ma…." She looked off for a minute as if recalling the event. "Must be five years ago now."
"Well, I guess time slips away without us realizing it." He caught those shimmering blue eyes again. "You didn't tell me your last name."
"Santos," she said and paused to wait for his reaction. When he didn't offer one, she added, "Cain's wife."
The merciless sun must have scrambled his brain. She looked too young to be his brother's wife; she couldn't be more than thirty years old. And Cain, well, he was almost twenty years older than him. Above that, she had to be the most handsome woman he'd ever laid eyes on. There had to be more to this story, and he intended to find out how she ended up married to his bookish brother. "Your name is Santos?"
She nodded. "Yes, Santos, apparently the same as yours."
"The boy is Cain's son?"
Another nod as she glanced toward the boy.
"Guess I missed out on a whole lot of news from home."
"There's more." She turned on her heels and walked toward the door leading to the house. "Can't very well turn family out. Come inside, breakfast is warming on the stove. I'll let you know what else you missed."
If you're as intrigued by this excerpt as we are, you can find Keta here:
Author home: http://ketaskeep.blogspot.com
Author home: http://ketaskeep.blogspot.com
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Keta-Diablo/e/B002BODURI/
To purchase The Good, The Bad and The Ghostly, go to: