Monday, August 6, 2018

CANYON CROSSING by Kristy McCaffrey #blogabookscene #westernromance #prairierosepubs @prairierosepubs @McCaffreyKristy

By Kristy McCaffrey

Blog-a-Book-Scene is a monthly themed blogging endeavor from a group of authors who love to share excerpts from their stories. Find us on Twitter with the hashtag #blogabookscene and #PrairieRosePubs.

August's theme is Alone Again, Naturally. This scene is from my short novella, Canyon Crossing. Annabel Cross is left stranded in the Grand Canyon.

She dreamt she died in Grand Canyon.

Annabel’s eyes flew open and she gasped for breath. Lying on a narrow precipice, hundreds of feet from certain death, the Grand Canyon beckoned to her, ready to cradle her in its otherworldly embrace. Did she still dream?

Carefully, she pushed herself upright, hardly daring to breathe. Perched on the edge of a cliff, she was inches from a dramatic fall. A side glance to the east told her the sun was rising. What had happened? She and her guide, Frank Smith, had made camp, eaten a meal of beans, biscuits, and coffee, and then gone to sleep. Where was he? Where was the mule, Speck, who carried their gear? Had they fallen to their deaths?

Annabel sought to calm her panic. She was only twenty years old, she couldn’t die now. A slight movement caused her to slip; she frantically grabbed a scraggly bush, fear filling her with desperation. Finally, she stopped, barely daring to breathe lest it dislodge her further. Her mind raced for a solution.

Maybe Frank was nearby.

“Help.” Her voice was weak.

“Help!” Better, stronger, but not enough. “Help me! Help! Help!”

“Are you hurt?” a man yelled from above.

Annabel’s gaze flew upward, not recognizing the voice. Still, elation filled her. “No. I-I don’t believe so.”

“If I throw a rope, can you grab it?”

“Yes, yes. I’ll try.” She attempted to quiet her shaking.

A knotted cord slapped the ground beside her. Slowly, she reached out with her right hand and grasped it. Letting go of the bush, she clung to the lifeline with both hands. In small increments she moved upward, all the while straining not to slip off. Just as her aching palms screamed for release, she neared an unseen ledge that harbored the man and the life-saving tether. As she struggled to climb over the edge, a large shadow reached for her and strong arms yanked her to the safety of flat ground. A man hovered above, breathing heavily.

“I can’t thank you enough,” Annabel said. Drained of strength, she lay on the ground, facing the sky. “How did you find me?”

She winced as the rising sun glowed behind him, casting the man into an enigmatic dark silhouette. Shading her eyes, a flash caught her eye.

He wore a badge, a silver star.

Available at Amazon for 99 cents.
Also in Kindle Unlimited.

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Patti Sherry-Crews said...

Love the concept of Blog-a-Book-Scene. It's fun to do and a good chance to get a snippet of other author's work. Great excerpt. Having been to the Grand Canyon and discovering how paralyzing my own fear of heights is, you've got me biting my nails here.

Kristy McCaffrey said...

Haha, I'm afraid of heights too. I was glad to 'write' the scene and not experience it firsthand. But I've hiked in the Grand Canyon and there are some iffy places. I was not a happy camper on the Grandview Trail.

Kaye Spencer said...

Kristy, Canyon Crossing may be the first story of yours that I read. I really like it. I've been to the Grand Canyon once, and I hung onto the guard rail with a death grip as I peered down. Heights are not my favorite experience. I'm glad the #blogabookscene is catching on.

Kristy McCaffrey said...

There area so many places without guardrails at the Grand Canyon. My sister, who worked as a park ranger there for a while, says that it's because you can't fence off a national park. But I never much liked being there when my children were young. It was very stressful to keep an eye on them. Glad you liked the story. :-)

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I liked your excerpt--and especially that bright and shiny star.
Naturally, I want to know how she ends up saving the deputy marshal.

I would NEVER be on a ledge or anything else high up. I wouldn't mind seeing the Grand Canyon from a safe place, but certainly not up close and personal like that glass walk-about thingy. YIKES!
I also like the cover.

I didn't get a tweet for this, but I wanted to retweet it.
All the best, Kristy.

Elizabeth Clements said...

Loved this excerpt, Kristy and you tease the reader by not revealing how she landed there and where's the guide. I could imagine the sun rising and silhouetting the hero. A woman alone, in danger, would feel reassured by a glimpse of that badge....wouldn't she?