March is Women’s History Month. Also, The Ides of March and St Patrick’s Day. It’s a busy month. 

 

Women's History Month is an annual declared month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. It is celebrated during March in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, corresponding with International Women's Day on March 8. 

 

There’s a saying, ‘If March comes in like a Lion it goes out like a Lamb.’ I think with the Polar Vortex, rain, and wind that qualifies as coming in like a Lion. Let’s hope for spring and March leaving like a lamb. 

 

Covid may be starting to improve. People are getting vaccinations against it. We’re still wearing masks and social distancing. I’m beginning to feel things may improve and my muse is back from a winter vacation. 

 

I’ve started to write. Not a lot, but more than I have been. I’m also taking a break from my novel and writing a novella. We’ll see how it goes. 

 

I do a BIAW and many of the participants are saying they aren’t motivated, can’t focus, or aren’t interested in writing, or their story. For many the Covid has affected people, writer, emotionally and mentally. As Covid retreats I hope our writers become more normal and excited about writing.


 

Targeted by Beverley Bateman

U.S. Cover

Here’s another excerpt from Targeted.

 

A few minutes later Janna swung up on Blaze’s back and trotted out the gate. They continued to trot for a short distance while Janna got the feel of the saddle and his gait, then she nudged him gently. Blaze broke into a cantor and headed toward the trail and up the hill. Within minutes she’d adjusted to his gait.

The familiar scent of pine trees reached her nostrils, the smell of the outdoors. A breeze ruffled her hair. The silence was unbelievable. You didn’t get that in the city and you never got complete silence.

“Let’s go, boy.”

Blaze increased his gait to a gallop. His hooves pounded across the dry ground. Janna tightened her grip on the reins, enjoying the freedom as she rode past familiar parts of the ranch. It felt good. She’d missed this. Maybe she could keep the ranch and spend a few months of the year here.

Yeah right—never going to happen.

Besides, there was Kye. She had been sure she was over him, but he still caused emotions she didn’t want to feel. Anytime he was around those damn feelings kicked in. She wanted him to hold hr, kiss her and make love. She remembered their lovemaking. Oh yeah, did she remember their lovemaking? 

And then there was the fact someone was trying to kill her. If she hung around very long they might succeed. Of course, they’d tried once in Seattle so they could try again wherever she was. She wouldn’t be safe until whoever it was, got caught. 

She gave herself a shake and concentrated on the ranch as they rode. She tried to remember the layout as they galloped along. It had been a long time since she’d ridden around it with Duke and she’d been a lot younger. Back then she hadn’t paid too much attention where they rode. She enjoyed riding and being with Duke.

Janna pulled lightly on the reins and Blaze veered to her right.

The sun beat down on her back. It felt good. So did the fresh air and the smell of cattle when she rode past a small herd. A little later she recognized the fencing between Duke’s place and the Hawkins ranch. Colorado spruce dotted the landscape along the fence. Farther along Janna spotted Green Mountain ash on a small hill. Janna smiled. She’d even remembered the name. Gradually things were coming back to her. There were some good memories here.

The motion of riding in the saddle felt soothing. She needed to do this more often. She’d forgotten how much she’d enjoyed her time on the ranch and she loved riding.

They headed toward the grove of tall pine trees at the back corner of the property. The tall trees were bunched close together. No sun got through their thick branches.

The grove bordered the Blackfeet land. It was the burial ground for Blackfeet chiefs, medicine men and other elder tribe members and was considered a sacred grove, a holy place. The Native Americans came here for guidance and to talk to their elders. It was on Duke’s property. Somehow the Blackfeet had never registered their claim and the grove became part of the ranch property. But Duke had always respected the Native American claim to the land, and they had free access from any side of the grove.

Now with Duke gone and her life being threatened the grove could also be in danger. She needed to protect it.

Janna reined in Blaze and halted a few hundred yards away. Leaning forward on the saddle horn Janna stared into the grove of Lodgepole and Ponderosa pine trees.  They stood tall and stately, crowded close together to form a dark impenetrable forest. Other people, like Kye, said the souls of past native chiefs lived there and could only be seen by members of their tribe or the owner of the ranch. The story went that the spirits sometimes helped people with difficult decisions.

She’d asked Duke about it once.  He’d told her the spirits lived in the grove and sometimes appeared to him and talked to him. He’d smiled and said, “If I have important questions, I ride out there.”

“Do they talk to you?”

Duke shook his head.

When she’d been a child, she’d hoped to see them. Now, as an adult, she’d dismissed them as a myth.

A shivered shook her spine. Smoke or low clouds formed amongst the trees.

Were their people there, in the smoke?

Hazy figures gradually took the wispy forms of the native Blackfeet chiefs and elders. A chill crept down her spine. Duke had been telling the truth. Now they stood tall among the trees regarding her.

Janna squinted into the darkness and swallowed several times.

Was her mind playing tricks?

The leader was dressed in the full Blackfeet chief regalia. A couple of others appeared to be medicine men and one was a woman. 

They waited.

“I’m Janna. Duke left me the ranch.”

The forms, or spirits, as she was beginning to think of them, nodded.

“He’s dead.”

They stared at her.

Of course, if he left the ranch to her he was dead. They must think she was a complete idiot.

They appeared to be waiting for something—questions? Comments?

“Was Duke murdered?” It popped out of her mouth and shocked her.

Where had that come from?

The elder in the center nodded. The others followed in agreement.

Janna sat stunned. “Was it a robbery?”

This time they shook their heads.

If you believed in the spirits and what they had acknowledged, Duke had been murdered. Kye was right, but then he’d probably checked it out with the spirits, too.

“Who did it?”

They stared at her.

Okay, they didn’t speak.

“Am I in danger?”

They nodded.

She sat quietly staring into the grove.

“Should I keep Eli with me?”

This time they smiled and nodded.

“I am going to sell the ranch. Many people want to buy it. One of them is a government agency.”

The spirits shook their heads.

“So you’re saying I shouldn’t sell to them. What about the conglomerate that wants to buy it?”

Again they shook their heads. The smoke began to dissipate.

“I have more questions.” Janna watched the smoke disappear.

 

The dark forbidding grove stood tall and imposing. After several minutes she turned Blaze toward the ranch. Maybe the spirits only answered so many questions or stayed for so long. The encounter felt surreal. Janna tried to digest what had occurred.


 

Other than my group blog on my blog, March 23rd, I’m not doing a lot of guest spots this month.

You can still follow me follow me on my blog Tuesday and Thursday at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for how I’m doing, tips, hints and guest authors. There are some exciting authors and their new books this month. Have a good month. 

Beverley Bateman Blogger

 

And you can follow me follow me on my blog Tuesday and Thursday at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for how I’m doing, tips, hints and guest authors. There are some exciting authors and their new books this month. 

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

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