Yeah, this baby has been picked at over the last four years. 🙂 But, I promise, it is a priority this year. Once we finish Immortal Symphony: Overture, we’re going to work on Lessons In Cowboy for its Christmas release. I’m also going to juggle Immortal Symphony: Counterpoint, Human Rights, and Under the Strawberry Moon the last half of the year, and I’m excited to do that. Now that K. has left her day job, we’ve had a lot more time to get our ducks in a row.
So! To get readers’ appetites whet for Lessons In Cowboy, I wanted to offer up a bit of a teaser for it. 😀
North followed Cade out of the living room into a room beyond the kitchen he’d yet to be in. There was a desk piled high with papers, folders, and books, with a computer screen peeking out from under a black Stetson. Across from the besieged desk was a worn couch, low table, and a liquor cabinet. “Your personal sanctuary?” he ventured.
“You could call it that.” Cade opened the liquor cabinet. “Ethan took over the desk about two years ago, but he keeps from my booze.” He slammed down two glasses and a full bottle of Jack Daniels. “You want your answers? This is how it’s gonna work. One shot, one question that I promise you I will answer. But it works both ways. I drink, I ask, you have to answer. Deal?”
Shot for a question? North wasn’t that great with holding his liquor. Danny discouraged drunken behavior because it tended to lead to tabloid fodder. How many questions could he manage before he passed out? He looked up from the bottle to Cade, seeing an infuriating smile on the thin lips. It was a smile that dared North to agree, challenged him to prove himself. “Deal,” he said, the word tight as he sat down on one end of the couch. “Pour it, Cade.”
Cade poured a shot’s worth of the golden liquid into each glass. “Take your shot and ask your question, North.”
North snatched up the glass and downed the shot, hissing as the burn settled in his gut. “You said you went to college. What was your major?”
“Literature,” Cade smirked, offering no more information as he poured a second shot into North’s glass. He picked up his glass and kicked back the liquor, and North envied the ease Cade swallowed. “My turn. Why have you been on your own since you were sixteen?”
North looked away from Cade. “My father didn’t like some of my choices. He told me to either live how he wanted me to or get out. I decided it was time to get out.” He took his second shot. “Literature? Why?”
“I already knew what I was going to do with my life. I didn’t need to go to school to learn how to run a ranch. I went to learn something wholly alien to me and my life. Literature was ideal. I knew how to raise and slaughter a cow, but I couldn’t understand a word of Chaucer.” Cade tipped the bottle again. “It was exactly what I wanted and needed.”
“So your big act of teenage rebellion was to go to college and get a degree in Literature?” he asked, the bourbon already making his head buzz.
Cade tsked and wagged his finger. “If you want the answer to that, you’ll need to drink.”
North grabbed the glass and drank.
“No, my act of rebellion was to marry Marissa and have a baby while still in school,” Cade said. Another drink down, and Cade refilled both glasses. “What were those choices your father disagreed with?”
“He caught me giving my boyfriend a blowjob in the living room,” North bit out. He hated remembering his family. If he could, he’d never speak of them ever again. North cursed himself for agreeing to the game, and he kicked himself for wanting to know more.