|Traps, suspense with romance|
Traps by Larion Wills
Returning from war, Ward wanted as little to do with people as possible and retreated to the forest. As a park ranger in the 70s, he tolerated the people while protecting the animals. Avoiding people as much as possible, he wanted to take pictures, write a book on the wild life, and stop the poachers. Having his publisher saddled him with a woman to retake the pictures he spends months on was an insult. Having her save his life when he fell into a trap set by the poacher was embarrassing, especially when he fell for her harder than he’d fallen into that trap. Ward wanted to stop the poacher; the poacher wanted to kill him, and Callie was caught in the middle. Little did the poacher know, she was as capable of fighting back as Ward and a private war started.
“Is it against the law to trap with those?” she asked.
“It is here,” he said darkly. “Damn poachers!”
She wasn’t sure if he meant it was against the law because he was there or because it was against the law in a federal park. She decided not to ask for clarification. “I take it from your tone of voice you aren’t referring to the occasional deer out of season.”
“Are many endangered species lost this way?”
“Yes.” He turned and walked off again.
Thinking he was too mad to give her more than the shortest of answers, she followed and received a surprise when he started talking.
“When the trappers started in this valley, it was teeming with otter, beaver, mink, and fox, anything with a pretty fur. Their numbers have dwindled to what you can count on your fingers. The same assholes poach bear primarily, cut out one small part of their guts, the gallbladder, leave the rest to rot. Other assholes powder the gall to sell as an aphrodisiac, both for money with total disregard to the fact they’re driving them into extinction. A single gall will be worth hundreds of dollars in the right market. ”
Callie made no comment, watching as he veered off, climbing up the bank to a tangle of logs left by some long ago flood. One hand went up to hold the lens he carried for her inside his shirt from sliding when he ducked beneath a log. His knitted cap brushed the log and started a cascade of snow.
Callie had an unobstructed view of him reaching up to brush the snow off he as stumbled slightly and the log above him fell.
For a moment, Callie couldn’t comprehend what had happened. One second he was there; the next he was gone from sight, under a log and snow falling from the surrounding brush and trees dislodged when the log fell. He was buried.
She took a step forward and tripped on the ski she forgot she had attached to her foot. Kicking off both skies, she ran, floundering several times to her knees in the snow. When she reached the log, it wouldn’t move. She dug and found his head, buried face down in the snow, and he was unconscious, not breathing.
The log had his arms pinned under him, and the weight of it was close enough to his neck he couldn’t lift his head free of the snow even if he hadn’t been knocked out. He was suffocating, and she couldn’t turn his head far enough to free his face. Nor could she turn it far enough to give him mouth to mouth to start him breathing again.
She put his cap under his face to keep his mouth and nose free of the snow and scrambled over the log. Reaching under it to press on his ribs in an awkward attempt at resuscitation, she accomplished nothing. The log was too wide to reach high enough to force air out of his lungs, and his backpack was in the way. She could see why the log wouldn’t roll on down the hill over him. His pack held it. She emptied the pack ruthlessly, splitting open the bottom with the knife from his belt. Indifferent to the cost of the contents, she tossed everything out of the way, scrambled back over the log to his head and pushed with her shoulder. The log slid to his hips. The weight off his lungs might have enabled him to draw in air, but the snow in his mouth and nose kept him from breathing freely.
She straddled him, working her arms under him to jerk her fists up into his diaphragm. Water from melted snow and snow crystals sprayed from his nostrils and lips. He still didn’t breath.
Changing positions again, she moved back to his head. His arms could be broken, and moving them could maim him. She had to move them, pulling them above his head to draw air into his lungs. She knew he could have broken ribs and pressing on them to force air out, clearing the passages more, could also drive jagged bone edges into his lungs. With no other choice, she pressed. Press on his lungs; drive the air out. Pull up his arms; draw air in. She could be killing him by doing it, but he would die if she didn’t.
Fear and panic didn’t hit her until he had coughed and sputtered his way back to breathing. She sat with her hands in fists on her knees, staring down at him. “Damn you,” she told him. “I don’t want to feel.”
Her voice choked, and her eyes filled with tears. Her body shook while she pulled in deep breaths catching in sobs. She wouldn’t feel. Any emotion was a hole in the dyke, letting others flood through. She wouldn’t allow it. She hadn’t for three years, and she wouldn’t again.
She had the dyke repaired when he began to stir back to consciousness. She had to get that log off him, and the job wasn’t going to be easy. One end was hung up against a standing tree. The log wasn’t going to roll or slide any further.
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Hi Larriane,(Larion, Thanks so much for sharing your romantic suspense with Cupid Reads. We love romance, especially dangerous ones.
Exciting excerpt! What's going to happen?!?!? I agree, Janet, we love romance when all that suspense and danger is added. Larriane/Larion, your story sounds amazing. Best to you and your writing!
Talk about between a rock and a hard place. Great excerpt, Larriane.
Hi, Cupid, or should I say Janet. It's great to be here. we're having a lovely day today. I hope everyone is. spring is in the air. I bought daffodils yesterday to put out in my garden. How is your weather?
Hi Pat and Pat. I'm so glad you stopped by.
JQ! Cupids line-up on your blog has proven to be quite the love-story. I love the authors you've been hosting and this one is also very near and dear to my heart. Larianne, your talent knows no end. Exciting excerpt!
Ah, Larion, daffodils. Love them. We are in FL so today is muggy and warm with a shower expected sometime. Overcast skies, but yellow daffs always lift spirits.
Hi Pat and Pat...great to see you here.
Traps is being released tomorrow, BUT if you want to get ahead of the crowd and get your copy today, the buy link to the Muse It Up Book Store is working now!!
super. it's hard to stay up with Lea. a day ahead of time, just in time for this is great.
And Karen, thank you for the compliments. I'm not blushing, but did give me a nice warm feeling. lol.
JQ I got some glad bulbs too. now all i have to do is find the time to plant them.
you've read how Callie saves Ward. here's what happened when they met. Warning, a little bit of language.
He formed a one-word opinion of her and Bennett’s taste in women. Plain. She looked bald in that light with her white-blonde hair pulled straight back from her face, pinned in a knot on the back of her head. If she had a figure, it was well hidden under the straight long robe she wore. For Bennett’s taste in traveling accommodations, he took his women bland, even if she did have a pretty face.
“I’m Ward Overland.”
She stepped back to let him in. “There’s coffee on the stove.”
He stayed where he was. “I want to get started.”
She hesitated for a moment before saying, “I’ll only be a few minutes.”
“You aren’t going with us,” he told her flatly. If Bennett wanted to have his bed comfort handy, that was his business. Ward was not dragging her along.
He didn’t care for stupidity, either. “Is he ready or not?”
To further irritate him, she asked, “Who?”
“Cal Bennett: that is who I was supposed to meet.”
She shifted to face him more directly. “I am Cal Bennett. Cal is short for Callie.”
A kick in the gut would have gotten much the same reaction from Ward. He jerked before exploding. “What the hell does he mean, sending me some powder puff woman? You can’t keep up with me out there.” Before she could answer, another question shot out of his mouth. “Cal? Cute trick. He knew damned well I wouldn’t agree to any woman.”
“I doubt if it occurred to him since he’s always called me Cal. If it’s a problem for you, you’re free to get someone else.”
Ward glared at her a moment before speaking in a growl. “I’ll tell Tillison—after you fall flat on your face—what I think of his professional photographer. Get dressed. One day will finish this farce.”
Excellent excerpt. What a tease. Thanks ladies. This was very exciting.
today is the offical day and to celebrate MuseItUp is giving a 25% discount on Traps for the weekend. heck of a buy.
if you'd like to know more about poaching, i've i blog on it over at Cynthia's.
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