When one thinks of cowboys, images of rugged men living off the land and sleeping under the stars comes to mind. The reality of their seemingly serene lifestyle can be misleading. A cowboy’s life is far from easy. They face many dangers protecting their property, one of which can be life threatening.
Years ago a man would be shot, or even hung by the neck from the limb of the nearest tree, for stealing cattle. Nowadays, such extreme actions are against the law and thieves can face up to ten years in prison. Despite the drastic consequences, cattle rustling has continued to be a large problem.
To this day many property owners still believe in the old ways and would protect what is theirs by any means necessary. Though ways to deter thieves have been put into practice over the years, such as branding the stock, the outcome isn’t theft-proof.
Marking the cattle with a rancher’s brand makes it more difficult for a rustler to steal the stock. However, the thieves can easily rebrand an animal altering the ranch owner’s mark.
In the late 1800’s ranchers started to encircle areas of their property with barbed wire deterring potential rustlers and containing their cattle. Giving the animals less freedom to graze on the open range limited a rustler’s mobility. Though this effort stopped some, it did little to thwart a determined thief, and ranchers continued to lose stock.
Since then, micro-chips to keep track of cattle have been introduced. The procedure also helps with disease control. This method doesn’t sit well with some of the old-school cowboys. Some ranchers believe this is a costly program and gives the government too much control.
Another solution is ear tags, but these can be easily removed or knocked off by a persistent cow. Other forms of livestock identification include inner ear or lip tattoos. And now, many ranches opt to use the freeze brand technique.
Instead of burning a scar into the cows hide, a freeze brand damages the pigment and the hair will grow white where the brand has been applied. Though a more painless procedure for the animal, it can be costly and the mark isn’t always easy to see.
No matter what deterrent is chosen, it can be difficult to stop a persistent rustler. In The Drifter’s Kiss, Addison Reed knows all too well about thieves stealing her stock. At her wits end, she’s forced to depend on the help of a handsome stranger…a drifter no less.
The Drifter’s Kiss is one of seven stories in the contemporary western romance anthology, A Cowboy To Keep, on sale on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Cowboy-Keep-Contemporary-Western-Collection-ebook/dp/B072869SGV
Catch a cowboy … Keep a cowboy …
Don’t miss this great collection from USA Today, Amazon Bestselling, and Award-Winning authors!!
THE LEGEND OF BAD MOON RISING by Carra Copelin
Sheriff Ben Hammond is finally over the woman who shattered his heart, but when Dinah Horne suddenly returns, can he ignore the passion still burning bright between them?
CITY BOY, COUNTRY HEART by Andrea Downing
Trading horses for subways for two years seemed like a good idea to cowboy Chay Ridgway, but can city girl K.C. Daniels keep a rein on his country heart?
BLUE SAGE by Kristy McCaffrey
Archaeologist Audrey Driggs rolls off a mountain and lands at the feet of rugged cowboy Braden Delaney. Together, they’ll uncover a long-lost secret.
THE DRIFTER’S KISS by Devon McKay
Determined to take back what belongs to her, Addison Reed will do anything. Even trust a complete stranger.
HER MAN by Hildie McQueen
Deputy Mark Hunter falls for Eliza Brock during a murder investigation. Is it fate or bad luck, especially when she may be involved?
BORDER ROMANCE by Hebby Roman
Widow Leticia Villarreal wants to establish a horse-racing stable and old acquaintance John Clay Laidlaw offers to help. But can she trust him with her business and her heart?
PHOENIX HEAT by Patti Sherry-Crews
After losing her fiancé and her New York City business, Harper Donovan returns to Arizona and meets cowboy Frank Flynn. Will his past and their differences extinguish the heat between them?
The Drifter’s Kiss Blurb
Addison Reed doesn’t want to believe her foreman and family friend is responsible for her missing stock, but the man isn’t making it easy. Hoping to prove he’s innocent, she follows him into a seedy bar and finds herself in a bigger mess…kissing a complete stranger.
Drifter Sawyer Dawson never settled anywhere for long. In fact, landing a job on a ranch as the new foreman just fell into his lap, and he figured Montana was as good a place as any to settle down for a while. Of course, sticking around might have a little something to do with a sexy blonde with an affinity for kissing cowboys.
The Drifter’s Kiss Excerpt
Frustrated, Addison Reed tapped the counter with her fingers and targeted her stare on Jacobs. Not being able to trust the man was killing her. She needed something concrete to prove her neighbor, William Ramsey, was the one responsible for stealing her cattle.
Not her dearest friend.
Suddenly, the older cowboy rose, said something to Ramsey, and brushed past the waitress, heading toward the exit. He was leaving? Her heart seized in her chest, then began an erratic beat, thundering loudly in her ears. Now she faced another problem. She stood between Jacobs and the door. Unless she could get out first, he’d pass right by her. Perhaps he wouldn’t notice? Or maybe she could blend into the crowd?
She wavered between standing her ground and fleeing. Jacobs may be a thief and a liar, but he wasn’t stupid. If she stayed put, and he did see her, then her cover would be blown for sure and she’d never get the proof she needed. He certainly wouldn’t believe she chose the bar, which happened to be an hour’s drive out of her way, simply on a whim.
No. She couldn’t chance it. Wouldn’t chance it.
Addison raced to the door, but as she neared the exit the crowd thickened and slowed her escape. She glanced over her shoulder to see Jacobs closing in. Quickening the pace, the heel of her boot slid across the sawdust covering the floor and she lost her footing.
A firm grip grasped her shoulders stopping her fall.
“You again?” A husky voice rose above the blaring sound of the country fiddle rocking the room.
She raised her head and locked onto a familiar green gaze. Great. Of all the people in this place, she had to run into this handsome man. Twice? Frantic, she spared another glance behind to see Jacobs was almost within reach. Seeking camouflage and not knowing what else to do, she faced the stranger.
“If our first meeting made your night, then you’re going to love this,” she mumbled, then stood on her tip toes and planted a kiss on the cowboy’s lips.
Devon McKay writes contemporary romance with a western flair. If she's not typing at her keyboard, Devon’s busy with chores on her small ranch, working on a stained glass project, or walking one of her three dogs through the woods. Her greatest joy is putting a smile on a readers face and hearing from fans.
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