A Peace Series Novella
by Sandra Hurst
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Brent Harrington is gone and Cyn Redman really couldn’t give a rat’s ass. While the whole town celebrates or mourns the end of the Harrington dynasty, Cyn’s life is falling apart. Her mother has recently been diagnosed with cancer, throwing Cyn’s heart, as well as her future plans into turmoil.
The last thing Cyn is looking for is Jericho, the quiet, soft-spoken ranch hand from the McBride place. Between the clinic closing, her mom’s health, and Cyn’s long-delayed college plans, there are already too many uncertainties. Could Jericho be the anchor she needs so desperately as her world falls apart? Or is he just another excuse not to let go of Peace and move on.
A mythmaker at heart, Sandra Hurst has been writing poetry, fantasy and science fiction since her school days in England. Hurst moved to Canada in 1980 and was deeply influenced by the wild lands and the indigenous cultures that surrounded her. Y’keta, her first full-length novel, is set in a mythical land, untouched by science or technology, an ancient world where legends walk and the Sky Road offers a way to the stars.
A member of the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society, the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association, and The Mythopoeic Society, Hurst works to build fantasy worlds that allow her readers to join her in exploring the depths of human interaction in a mythical game of ‘what if.’
Her first novel, Y’keta, is long-listed for the prestigious Aurora Award, for best Canadian fantasy novel (Young Adult) and the American-based RONE award for break out fantasy novel.
She now lives in Calgary, Alberta with her husband and son, both of whom she loves dearly, and has put up for sale on e-bay when their behaviour demanded it.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
Complaining to herself, Cyn slumped off the sidewalk and headed across the
street toward the grocery store. They usually had soup or something on sale. It
was better than an empty stomach on a cold day. She didn’t even see the dirty
brown pickup truck until it veered away from her and slammed into one of the
garbage cans that were cemented to the sidewalk up and down main street. A tall
man unfolded himself from the cab, cursing quietly. “Miss? Ya’ll okay? I didn’t
see you there.”
Cyn shook her head and kept walking away until a hand grasped her
“Are you okay? Answer me, please!” The deep voice with its hint of a
southern accent was quiet but firm, and the hand that gently shook her shoulder
knocked Cyn out of her daze and somehow centred her thoughts.
“You…” Cyn’s voice was shakier than she thought it would be. She
swallowed thickly and tried again, “You almost killed me.”
“You need to watch it when you step out into the street, ma’am. Peace may
be small, but we do have cars here.”
“Who are you to talk to me about Peace,” Cyn said, her dark eyes flashing.
“I’ve lived in this litterbox since junior high school.”
“My name is Jericho Matthews.” Jericho let go of his grip on Cyn’s shoulder
and stepped back slightly, politely ignoring the fact that the shaking hadn’t gone
away yet. “I work up at the McBride ranch. Don’t come into town much, so I
guess we haven’t met.”
Cyn looked up at the cowboy. She couldn’t believe just how far up she had to
look to meet his dark-brown eyes. She tilted her head back so that she could look
at his face rather than his chest, nice though it was. Cyn scowled, trying to get a
sense of the man from his features. She wished her mom was here—Mom could
see through people like they were made of glass. “Let me go, please, Mr.
Matthews. I need to get back to work.” Cyn tried to keep her voice steady, but it
still sounded shaky and much younger than the twenty-six year-old she really
was. “I’m sorry that I didn’t watch what I was doing. I hope your truck isn’t
knocked up too bad.”
Damn, Cyn thought, that’s all I needed—truck repairs are just one more
thing I can’t afford to pay for and I will not worry Mom about this kind of stuff.
“Not to worry, Miss…?” He made the polite statement a question and Cyn
sighed ruefully. She hadn’t told him her name. She was kind of hoping not to.
Cyn had decided months ago that she didn’t have room in her mind for anything
other than her mom and their future. Everything else, everyone else, was
“Redman,” she finally admitted, when it looked like Jericho was going to
stand there until she gave him a name. “I’m Cynthia Redman. I work at the
counselling centre across the road.”
Jericho took her hand and held it gently. His skin looks so dark against mine,
she thought. Cyn had never had her mom’s beautiful copper skin.
“Let me walk you back, Miss Redman,” Jericho said, giving her a guiding
push back down the street toward the clinic. “You still look really pale, and I’d
feel better if you were inside somewhere warm.” As Jericho steered her down
the slushy sidewalk and back toward the doors of the counselling centre, Cyn
couldn’t help stealing glances. He was an anomaly in a town full of bellowing
ranchers and chirping old ladies. He didn’t talk much, didn’t ask questions, just
walked quietly beside her with his hand once more resting on her shoulder.
“A large hazelnut latte, please.” Jericho said, “And for me…” The girl behind the counter winked at him saucily, her blue eyes more than a little interested. “A fresh Chai for you, coming up.”
“Erm.” On a fair complexion, Cyn guessed, she would have seen a bright-red blush, but on Jericho it was more like the ghost of a blush. It flashed under his dark skin and an embarrassed smile flickered through his eyes and was gone.
Jericho coughed, paid for the drinks, apologized for making a mess, and gestured for Cyn to lead as they headed back toward her waiting laptop.
Cyn took a long sip of her gloriously hot latte and licked the milk froth from her top lip, blushing a little when Jericho’s eyes fixated on her mouth. She hadn’t meant to do that. Well, maybe she had. My emotions are getting out of control, she warned herself, terrified that letting her guard down with Jericho would let the “too much” boil over.
NOT PG 13. –
Sliding his hand into the hair at the back of her neck, he angled her head down toward his, eyes fascinated by her lips. “Miss Cynthia, may I…”
Cyn had had enough of waiting for her southern gentleman, leaning in she closed the gap between their lips. Closing her eyes and letting go of all the reasons she shouldn’t be doing this, she gave herself to this moment, and to Jericho. His lips were firm and soft, the hand against her cheek felt callused, but not rough. He gently explored the contours of her face, shooting fireworks through her heart and, as he pulled her closer, warming her body until it melted against his. Her hands wandered, almost instinctively, over the muscled outlines of his chest, delighting in the contrast between the soft denim shirt and the hot, hard man who wore it. Jericho growled softly, nipping at her lips in appreciation. She sighed, opening further to him, asking, although she didn’t quite know what for.
He knew. His hand grasped her head tighter and his agile tongue slipped between her lips to stroke the roof of her mouth. One large hand cupped her breast, the soft weight no more than a palmful for the big cowboy. She gasped when his thumb brushed lightly over her nipple, making it pebble tightly beneath the soft chiffon.
The giggles of a couple of teenagers shattered their privacy. Jericho and Cyn looked at each other with embarrassment, recognizing the same young couple that they had chased out of the stairwell earlier. “Cynthia, I…” Cyn put a shushing finger over his lips. “Shush, Jericho,” she said quietly, nodding at the pair of teenagers peering through the windows of the stairwell door. “I think we’ve given them quite enough to talk about for now.”
What is something unique/quirky about you?
Ooh, you really want to go there? I think that answer would depend on who you talk to. My son would cringe and point to ‘opera nights,’ evenings when I don’t speak and insist on singing my answers to any questions. My husband might point to my fits of insomnia and my late-night Facebook addiction. But really! You meet the best people online at 3am.
If there is one thing I would say was unique or quirky about me it would be my breadth of interests, I’m a bit of a Hermione, a collector of odd facts and knowledge about anything from the Kaiju culture of manga Japan, to Shakespeare, to Opera, or the band Nightwish. There isnt much that I wont listen to, read, learn about and find value in.
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!
I don’t know how interesting other people will think this is, but to people of my vintage, it rocked!
I was just out of high school, it was the early 80’s and music meant everything. Early one Saturday morning I was working to set up chairs for a church service the next day. My church had its Sunday morning service in one of the smaller theatres connected to Calgary’s big concert auditorium. We were doing sound stuff and putting out chairs when three sloppily dressed guys wandered into the back of the theatre and motioned us over. The guys asked what we were setting up for, and when we told them it was for church the next morning, they quickly jumped in to assure us that if their band got too noisy we should just come in and let them know, they didn’t want to disturb us. They were performing in the main auditorium that evening and they were getting ready to do their sound checks.
They introduced themselves as Peter, Gene, and Chris. It wasn’t until I saw the tour bus outside that I realized I had just met ¾ of KISS out of makeup!.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I grew up in England, surrounded by old Celtic and Arthurian stories and legends, learning from them how important imagination was. When I was 8, we moved to northern Canada and the legends changed. Stories of the Fae and the little people were replaced by legends of the Thunderbird and stories of the woodlands. I never stood a chance. What could I be but a writer?
I now live in Calgary, Alberta with my husband and son, both of whom I love dearly, and have put up for sale on e-bay when their behaviour demanded it. My day to day life is a balance between my outside life as a paralegal counsellor and my inner life as an author/poet. In between writing projects, I work on improving my craft, study the Cree Language and aboriginal history, write book reviews, try to keep my blog current, and study mythologies from around the world.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Words, Wings, Wit, and Whimsy.