Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Ride The Whirlwind by Jackie North - Blog Tour with Author's Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway

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Ride the Whirlwind
Jackie North
M/M Romance, Time travel, Historical
Release Date: 09.17.19

Ride the Whirlwind-ebook

Cover Designer - Jay Aheer


Soulmates across time. Two hearts, stronger together.

In present day, Maxton is good at finding trouble and bad at everything else. Then he receives a letter from his friend Laurie, who went missing. The letter is dated over one hundred years in the past.

In 1892, Trent Harrington, sheriff of Trinidad, Colorado, cast off by his family, lives a respectable but lonely life, devoid of any closeness. He knows he will be alone forever.

Trying to escape a past that keeps chasing him, Maxton drives south to Mexico. When his car spins off the road, he is swept up in a desert whirlwind, which takes him back in time to the year 1892.
 There, unused to the laws of the wild west, Maxton gets arrested, and is subject to the terrifying whims of two deputies who can do whatever they want to him.

Sheriff Trent Harrington of Trinidad is tasked with escorting Maxton to Trinidad. The request isn’t unusual, but the young miscreant is. Maxton draws Trent’s heart out of its shell with his flashing green eyes and lush head of hair. It isn’t right. It isn’t natural. It’s illegal. Yet Trent cannot resist the impetuous young man.

As the two men travel through the dry, lonely desert to their destination, will they find in each other the love and companionship they never thought they’d have?

A male/male time travel romance, complete with the scent of desert roses, brilliantly colored sunsets, starlit nights, roast rabbit over an open fire, growing honesty and trust, and true love across time.

Contains references to Honey From the Lion and Wild as the West Texas Wind but can be read on its own.

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Trent stepped off the stagecoach, took his small, leather-handled carpet bag from the top of the coach, and breathed a sigh of relief. It wasn't that he got sick on stagecoaches, no. It was that there were so many people jammed into a space that rocked for hours and became filled with dust, that is, when it wasn't filled with the smell of stale sweat and the scent of nerves on edge. Stagecoaches had to be the worst way that God invented for man to travel. There were better ways, like on foot or by horseback. Never mind. He had arrived in Dilia.
Taking off his hat, he wiped his forehead with the back of his arm, which left a broad sweat stain on his shirt sleeve. He sighed again, put his hat back on and looked up and down the street for the jail.
He had two telegrams in his breast pocket beneath his vest, but he was no closer to understanding what was going on, or why he'd been waylaid from his plans, his very straightforward plans, to head back to Trinidad from Deming, deep in New Mexico Territory, where he'd been asked to witness a hanging.
Deming had been quite far to travel for such a gory, unsavory task as a hanging. However, the governor of New Mexico Territory, one LaBaron Prince, had asked for him in particular, seeing as how he'd been present at the capture of Fenton Barrow, otherwise known as Pretty Boy Barrow, known for stagecoach holdups and petty larceny and the stealing of cows.
Now that the unpleasant task had been completed, with witness documents signed, he'd been more than ready to head home to Trinidad. Unfortunately, he'd gotten a telegram from the small town of Dilia, instructing him to detour to Dilia to transport one Maxton Barnett to Trinidad.
In Dilia, the sheriff and his two deputies had in their care a young miscreant who they wanted taken away before the whole town rose up in rebellion. It all sounded rather dramatic, and not what he'd expect from a fellow sheriff, even if the telegram explained, in very short words, the crime of picking pockets and, mysteriously, other unsavory acts.
Only his sense of duty would encourage him to follow through with the request to pick up the low-life criminal and escort him back to Trinidad, from whence it was said he'd come. Then, of all the queer things, just before he'd gotten on the stagecoach in Deming, he'd received a second telegram, this time from Mr. Laurie Quinn of the Adeline Hotel in Trinidad.
Mr. Quinn was known to him, a recent newcomer to the town with enough energy for three young men, a dazzling smile, and a sweet laugh that would light up the darkest room. Trent had done his best to remain unmoved, but it was hard, especially when Laurie had the most beautiful brown eyes, and dark auburn hair shot with gold. He was like a handsome out of a painting, with slender hips, and long legs, and a vivacious air and zest for life.
But not only did Laurie's companion, a dour, grim-faced, broad-shouldered man by the name of John Henton, keep Trent from responding, he was also held back by his own promise to himself. He could not make the same mistake that he'd made back home in Aiken, South Carolina, one that had involved kissing a sweet-faced choir boy after church one Sunday.
The kiss had been brief and there'd been an energy in Trent to pull the choir boy into his arms and do more than just kiss. But he'd been unable to act upon that flash of heat and desire as his father had discovered him, waited till his mother died, and then banished him, separating Trent from his sister Lucy.
It had been five years since he'd talked to either of them, though once in a while a letter would come from his father berating him further and taunting him with news about Lucy, but never really telling him anything about what was going on with her. It was like part of him had been cut off, leaving him numb and aching, staring at the ceiling in the middle of the night, wondering how it might have turned out differently if Father hadn't discovered him.

Ride Blog Post - The Bitter Taste of Medicine - by Jackie North

Back in the old days, if you got an infected cut, you might die, but not before suffering through a nasty bout of sepsis. If you broke your leg, they would probably have to cut it off and then you might die. Or if you had a baby and suffered from puerperal fever, you were likely to die within days, and nobody would ever know the reason why.

Of course, today we know that surgeons wash their hands before surgery, and when you take out a splinter, you wash the area and apply antibiotics. You wash your hands before eating, and you wash your hands after visiting the bathroom. We have hot water and soap and we have a whole host of drugs that can help us if we get an infection. Fewer people die of the simple things that used to kill them outright back in the day.

Oh, my, so grim! I’ve got this huge mass of information in my brain that’s just begging to be shared! So now that I’ve shared it with you, perhaps it will quieten down. 

In the meanwhile, I wanted to focus on laudanum, which is the romantic sounding but very detrimental drug of choice back in Frontier Days. It’s basically a tincture of opium mixed with other flavors. It was cheap, readily available, and highly addictive. Doctors, parents, and quacks all handed it out with a liberal attitude that shocks us today. It was even in baby medicine!

Naturally, I wanted to utilize the knowledge that Maxton (the modern-day character from Ride the Whirlwind who is thrown back to the year 1892) has about laudanum. He’s got a broken arm (a green-stick fracture of his forearm, really), and Trent wants to give him laudanum. In retrospect, the scene is rather funny, because Maxton knows it’s addictive and would rather have a Coke. Which, back in the day had real cocaine in it. Today, there’s no cocaine in Coke, but it’s still additive on account of all the sugar!

Here’s an excerpt from Ride the Whirlwind where Trent offers Maxton some laudanum:

The problem with that was Sheriff Trent Harrington's broad shoulders. Hard as a rock. Unyielding. At least the sheriff was on his right side so Maxton could cradle his left arm and keep it safe. Until, that is, the coach took a sharp shimmy to the side and he banged into the wall, smacking his wounded arm against the wooden frame. He cried out and clutched his arm to his stomach, wincing, his eyes watering. Making everybody in the coach stare.

"God damn it," said Maxton, growling at them. "Never seen somebody with a broken arm before? Mind your own damn business."

The shocked looks he received made him laugh even as he tried to breathe through the pain. Beside him on the bench seat, the sheriff was looking at him, frowning, all chiseled and muscle-bound and irritated. It was easy to see that he didn't think much of Maxton or his task of taking Maxton to Trinidad, but that's where they were headed.

The sheriff seemed to be one of those types that would do everything to the letter. He would be focused on the job at hand, which meant that maybe, just maybe, he wouldn't get it in his mind to amuse himself by smacking Maxton around or tying him to anything to make sure he wouldn't get away.

On the other hand, he'd been pretty clear about not wanting to put Maxton in fetters, as he called them, but he was a sheriff with a badge and could do what he liked. And he was now looking at Maxton like he wanted to change his mind about the fetters.

"Will you please watch your language?" asked Trent, dipping his head, keeping his voice low.
He was close, too close, and there was nothing Maxton could do to block the sight of that strong jaw. Trent smelled clean, too, for all it was so hot and dusty.

"Will you please fuck off?" asked Maxton. He made his voice drip with sarcasm to keep the shake out of it because Trent was looking right at him with an expression in his eyes that said he was on the verge of giving Maxton's head a good, solid clout.

That's what people in charge did when they felt they had Maxton right where they wanted him and, in an effort to control him, did what bullies always did. They hit. They caused pain. And then they locked him up so they could hit him some more. Years of foster care, and years of juvie, had taught him this.

It didn't matter that it was 1892 and the sheriff looked so dignified and clean cut that it made Maxton want to squint his eyes at the brightness of him, people were people. They were all the same. It was Maxton on one side, his own side, and the world on the other. Except for Laurie, who was his own man and had never acted like that.

It made Maxton ache inside to think that Laurie wasn't dead, that he would soon see his erstwhile roommate, and that he'd be able to sit in Laurie's shining presence and not have to pretend to be who he wasn't. Laurie never cared that Maxton was sometimes sullen, that he swore a lot, that he had so many black marks on his record it was a pure sheet of ink. Laurie simply made everything bearable, made it better. The thought of seeing him again was like a dream Maxton had stopped hoping for months ago.

Maxton's head began to fill with a woozy, unbalanced feeling, and outside the stagecoach, a cloud of dust was rising up, like one of the wide, wooden wheels had hit a pocket of dirt and sent it spinning. Blinking, he tried yawning to pop his ears and alleviate the sense of dizziness, the sense that he was going to pass out as he was brought to attention when Trent nudged him.

"You will mind your manners and not upset these good people," said Trent, speaking only to Maxton. "Do you understand?"

Behind those words was a dire threat as to what would happen to Maxton if he didn't follow orders. Maxton knew the type of person the threat represented, which was obviously Sheriff Trent Harrington in a nutshell. In spite of the almost-white hat, he had a badge, a gun, and could do what he liked. And he had the muscle to back it up, though it seemed he wasn't going to do anything while the stagecoach was in motion.

Besides, the hard brush of Trent's shoulder erased in an instant the dizziness, the feeling of panic growing in Maxton's stomach. Maxton's arm throbbed as he clutched it, nodding, and that seemed to help as well. The dust outside the stagecoach settled, and the floorboards beneath his sneakered feet felt solid again. He didn't quite understand what had been happening to him, but now it had stopped, so he nodded.

"Fine, okay," he said, making his voice surly. He cast a look up at Trent, trying to read him. Those blue eyes were inscrutable, and the rest of his face was the picture of dignity. "Fine, yes, all right," said Maxton now, making his voice less surly so that Trent would know he'd won this round. "I'll behave."

Giving in felt like losing part of himself, as it always did. Later, he'd build that part up again by doing what he wanted, saying what he wanted. Fighting back. Keeping himself whole.
Except Trent didn't smile in a satisfied way or look down his nose at Maxton's capitulation. Instead, he wrinkled his brow and looked a little sorrowful, resigned to the fact that he had to boss Maxton around, but not enjoying it.

Of course, Maxton didn't really know the guy and could be reading this all wrong. Usually, he was usually a pretty good judge of character. This sheriff wore a badge, sure, but didn't act like he wore one, the way he had in the cell when he'd ordered the deputies around. Now, he just looked like a guy who was doing what needed to be done and the second it was over, he'd back off.

This took all the stuffing out of Maxton, and he slumped against the hard wooden seat.

"Once we arrive in Villanueva," said Trent, in that same low, calm voice. "We'll get you cleaned up, get a meal inside of you, and you'll feel like a whole new man."

"With a broken arm," said Maxton, jutting his chin in defiance. You had to keep up appearances, you couldn't ever let them know how you truly felt.

"Perhaps we can get some laudanum drops for you," said Trent, and he was looking off into space as though making orderly lists in his head. "To help with the pain in your arm."

"That stuff's addictive," said Maxton, only seconds too late realizing that in 1892 nobody cared about drug use. After all, didn't they used to give cocaine to babies? Didn't they put it in Coke? Was Coke even invented in the year 1892? Maxton couldn't remember, but he could sure use one right now to clear his throat and wash out the nasty taste in his mouth from not brushing his teeth in days and days.

"We won't give you very much," said Trent, which indicated that he'd not only been listening to Maxton, but also that he cared about his concerns. Which was totally weird, and was freaking Maxton out.

"Okay," he said, nodding, cradling his arm closer to his stomach.
He was going to have to watch his step with this one, as he was acting like he was one of the good guys, and not a bully. Oh great, Trent would probably want them to behave like they were friends, which was almost worse because the good guys always left, going off to someplace better, to be replaced by another, meaner bully in charge.

Jackie North has been writing stories since grade school and spent years absorbing the mainstream romances that she found at her local grocery store. Her dream was to someday leave her corporate day job behind and travel the world. She also wanted to put her English degree to good use and write romance novels, because for years she’s had a never-ending movie of made-up love stories in her head that simply wouldn’t leave her alone.

As fate would have it, she discovered m/m romance and decided that men falling in love with other men was exactly what she wanted to write books about. In this dazzling new world, she turned her grocery-store romance ideas around and is now putting them to paper as fast as her fingers can type. She creates characters who are a bit flawed and broken, who find themselves on the edge of society, and maybe a few who are a little bit lost, but who all deserve a happily ever after. (And she makes sure they get it!)

She likes long walks on the beach, the smell of lavender and rainstorms, and enjoys sleeping in on snowy mornings. She is especially fond of pizza and beer and, when time allows, long road trips with soda fountain drinks and rock and roll music. In her heart, there is peace to be found everywhere, but since in the real world this isn’t always true, Jackie writes for love.

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