Monday Sampler: The Final Ride by Linda W. Yezak
May 30, 2016
In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Caleb and Linda Pirtle is showcasing some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Monday’s Sampler features an excerpt from The Final Ride, a contemporary Christian romance by Linda W. Yezak. It is a modern-day and heart-warming taste of the Old West as it still exists.
The Final Ride is I Cor. 13:7 put into action: “Love . . . bears all thing, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Love bears all things:
Patricia Talbert’s aunt Adele is on a mission to change her mind from marrying a rodeo man and to get her to move back to New York. Patricia, once her senator father’s social coordinator, now owns a ranch in Texas she’d inherited, and is in love not only with the the ranch, but its foreman, a bull rider/cowboy church preacher/poet.
Aunt Adele has some pretty low-handed tricks up her sleeve, not to mention some strong ammunition, but Patricia puts up with it because “love bears all things,” especially when she can’t convince her aunt to get off her goal.
When Aunt Adele starts picking at Talon to enter the upcoming rodeo, Patricia’s ability to bear all things is stretched to the limit.
Love believes all things:
Patricia believes that Talon Carlson will keep his promise never to ride another bull, especially since the last one sent him to the ER with a concussion and a broken arm. But Talon is getting hit from all sides to break that promise. The coin is tossed between the vicious rumors about why he quit and his own desire to end his career on a better note, but either way, he intends to ride again. He just hasn’t gotten around to telling Patricia that–and she’s still believing he’ll keep his promise.
Love hopes all things:
When Patricia catches wind that Talon’s been offered a huge opportunity to go pro on the circuit, she hopes he won’t do it. She hopes he has the integrity to keep his promise, unlike her late, sorry-excuse-for-a husband, who would’ve been heading for the divorce courts had he not died instead.
Talon hopes Patricia won’t kick him off the ranch as soon as she discovers his decision to ride. He was raised on the ranch, felt close to the people there, had run it himself for quite some time before she showed up in her silver Mercedes. It means everything to him. But she means more. Still the urge to ride and squelch the ugly talk about him overcomes him and he gives in. He hopes Patricia is the woman he thinks she is, someone who won’t run off at the first sign of trouble in a relationship.
Love endures all things (spoiler):
Talon finally tells Patricia his plans and endures her cold shoulder for a while. His patience pays off, however. Though she doesn’t understand his need to ride, she doesn’t run away or kick him off the ranch. She decides to trust him. A big step for her.
She sits in the stands with a clenched stomach and wound-up nerves and watches him in the big event. She endures each ride as he climbs higher in the bracket and finally becomes one of the five finalists for the short-go. Each bull is bigger and ranker than the last, but this final bull is a known brute. They’d seen him ridden before–watched him buck the cowboy off and slam a hoof into his leg, shattering the bone. Patricia is terrified of that bull.
But he’s the one Talon chose to ride in the final round. If Patricia can endure watching this, she can endure anything.
Ben Kilgore, owner of the Flying K Ranch, glanced up as Talon approached. “Hey, buddy. Haven’t seen you in awhile.”
“Been busy.” Talon shook his hand. “Imagine you have been too.”
“Yep. Calving time keeps everyone busy.” Ben hooked his thumbs around his belt loops. “Rodeo season starts a week from Saturday. Didn’t see your name among the bull riders.”
“No, sir, I’m not riding anymore. Those days are done.”
Ben’s sandy brows arched slightly. “Never thought I’d hear that from you. Burnt Biscuit rattle ya that much last year?”
“You raise them tough, no doubt about that, but that’s not why–”
“Yeah, I heard you ain’t ridin’ no more.” Colton Royder strutted to them, then matched his boss’s stance–thumbs hooked in belt loops, legs spread shoulder-width apart–but instead of Ben’s friendly grin, Colton’s lips held a sneer. He’d never bested Talon in the arena, and apparently held a grudge because of it. “Reckon ol’ Biscuit put the fear of God in ya.”
Talon tipped his hat back. “He was rough, but like I was sayin’–”
“You was gonna tell us how you got a woman now to keep you off the dirt. Mighty convenient. You ain’t ridin’ because yer scared, but you got yourself a woman to blame it on.”
Talon squeezed the push-bar on the basket as if he could snap it off the cart and wrap it around Colton’s pock-marked neck, but he kept his mouth shut. No point answering a fool in his folly.
“Ever’one knows it.” The boy didn’t know when to shut up. “Soon’s we saw your name weren’t on the list, we had you figured.”
“That’s enough,” Ben growled and shot a finger toward the other side of the store. “You go on and get that feeder we came in for. I’ll be with you in a minute.”
Colton eyed Talon head to toe before strutting off. His sneer spoke louder than his words and dug deeper under the skin.
“Don’t mind him. He’s a blow-hard, but he’s a good hand,” Ben said. “Miss Pat is a fine woman. There’s nothing wrong with wantin’ to stay healthy for her. But I sure wish you’d reconsider.”
Talon couldn’t fit a single syllable through his clenched teeth, so he settled for a nod, then wheeled his cart to the checkout. He’d always considered Colton to be nothing more than a gnat buzzing his face. Never fell for his taunts, steered clear of him when he could. He’d never had trouble with his brother, Cody, or anyone else on Ben’s ranch, but something between him and Colton just didn’t mix. And the fact the kid could never outscore Talon in the arena didn’t help.
Professional jealousy may have motivated Colton to be such a jerk, but did the other men really consider Talon a coward? He knew every rider on the local circuit. More importantly, every rider knew him. Surely they knew better.