Cocky Alpha Shifters: Meet Madison Granger, author of An Unexpected Legacy


Cocky Alpha Shifters: A Shapeshifter Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy Anthology is coming April 12th!

Bad boys are good…cocky alphas are even better…

Meet Madison Granger, author of An Unexpected Legacy,
and read more about An Unexpected Legacy

Rafe Martin, Alpha of Crossroads wolves, tries to live a peaceful existence with his pack near the state forest in Central Louisiana. Most of the time, he succeeds. It’s only when others try to drag him into their problems, he has to remind them of his dominance and strength.

Lyric Taylor was born an Omega, the lowest of the low in pack standings. Abused and passed around freely to males in the pack, she has no hope of change or escape. Death would be a blessing, but her Alpha is too cruel to allow it.

When Rafe meets Lyric, he makes a startling discovery, forever changing his life.

An Unexpected Legacy delves into the dynamics of one Alpha and an Omega. Finding out, despite tradition, they are instead, Fated Mates. The story covers Rafe, the Alpha, dealing with this startling discovery, and how Lyric, the Omega, with Rafe’s encouragement, comes into her own, defying custom, culture, and her own birthright.


“You always worry about everyone else. When do you take time for yourself?” Daphne eased forward, wrapping an arm around Lyric’s waist.

Lyric shrugged, looking at the neat picnic area surrounded by large, shady trees. The pack’s land was much like the people she’d met—full of life, healthy, and vital. She thought about the Plantation pack with their crowded, dingy homes and dirt roads, and the comparison was ludicrous.

“I can’t change who I am or my situation,” she told Daphne. “If I’m helping others, I don’t dwell on me.”

“But you have that chance now,” Daphne exclaimed. “You’re already in a better situation—don’t think I’m the only one who’s noticed the way the Alpha watches you.”

“What do you mean?” Lyric shot her a panicked look.

“Lyric, he watches every move you make. Everyone’s noticed. There’s talk of Rafe finally taking a mate.”

“A mate! Well, that’s certainly not going to be me.” Lyric fought hard to calm her wolf. The beast wanted Rafe for her mate and would settle for nothing less. “Alphas don’t take omegas for mates. They need someone strong, to help lead the pack.” She turned sorrowful eyes on Daphne. “That doesn’t begin to describe me.”

Daphne was deep in thought before she finally responded. “I think it’s more between our wolves than our pack rank. If his wolf wants to claim you, it’s pretty much a done deal.” She eyed her knowingly. “What does your wolf tell you? I would be shocked if she’s been quiet all this time.”

“She’s noticed him,” Lyric admitted.

About Madison Granger

Convinced by friends to put a story to paper, Madison Granger started writing in 2015. Her beginning as an author was with a hybrid publishing house. Two years later, she became self-published and is now an Indie best-selling author of Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy.

Born and raised in Louisiana, living just south of New Orleans, she’s no stranger to the magical and different.

Madison shares her home with her daughter, granddaughter, and psycho cat, Mochii. If she doesn’t pay attention, her girls will let in the outside cats too.

Madison loves to read, listen to music (mostly country, with a little alternative thrown in), coffee, and horses. She collects dragons, gargoyles, and angels… and anything else that catches her fancy.

Find Madison online here:

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Q: Everyone has a secret party trick. What’s yours?

Not sure if it’s a party trick, but I have an uncanny knack for spotting typos, which is an immense help when I proofread or edit. I’m also an admitted Grammar Nazi.

Q: What book/movie was your “gateway drug” into paranormal romance?

Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice

Q: Which do you prefer, and why? Vampires, shifters, witches, or ghosts?

Shifters, hands down. Being strong-willed and a hopeless romantic myself, I’m drawn to the Alpha mentality and the idea of Fated Mates. With shifters, those two things go hand-in-hand.

Q: What was your favorite part about writing this story for Cocky Alpha Shifters?

Exploring the Alpha-Omega relationship and adding a twist of my own.

Q: If you could interview your main character from this story, what would you ask them, and how do you think they would answer? 

To Rafe: In learning about the Omega Legacy, and that a Legacy is only mated to an Alpha of worth, how does that make you feel?

A: Humbled. I don’t know about this worthy stuff; all I know is that I’m grateful to be blessed with a Fated Mate. Lyric is everything I ever wanted, and then some.

To Lyric: As a Legacy, do you have any words or plans for other Omegas?

A: I think there should be changes within the packs as to how Omegas are treated. Just because they aren’t born leaders doesn’t make them any less of a shifter.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about short stories as a reader?

To be honest, I prefer novels or a series.

Q: What was your preferred music/sound track for this story (assuming you have one).

If I tell you, you can’t judge me… LOL I listen to Pandora and the Nickelback station.

Sassa Daniels Interview, Paranormal Unbound Author

Set the shifter romance free, the readers said… So they did.
Dragons, Bears, Wolves, Vampires, Witches, and more. Delve into the magical tales in this paranormal romance and urban fantasy collection for zero pennies.
What more could you ask for? Snag your happily ever after today!


Sassa Daniels, one of the authors featured in Paranormal Unbound,  tells us about her contribution to this anthology: Rejecting the Alpha

He thinks she’s his mate. She has other ideas.

Cast out from her pack after trying to frighten off her alpha’s mate, spoiled pack princess Francesca di Angelo is finally learning to stand on her own two feet.

When Russian alpha, Leonid Sobakhin shows up, insisting she will be his mate, Francesca is determined to defy him.

Will she be able to resist the raw, masculine charms of this alpha male and forge a path of independence? Only if she can hold her nerve.

Rejecting the Alpha is part of the Claimed Mates series. It is a prequel to The Alpha’s Prize, but can be read as a standalone.


Q: What book/movie was your “gateway drug” into paranormal romance?

It’s hard to remember. I watched loads of vampire and werewolf films when I was young but, if I had to choose one that really piqued my interest in the romantic aspect of the films, I’d have to say Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I really wanted Dracula to get the girl.

Q: Is your story in Paranormal Unbound a stand-alone or does it introduce readers to other characters/ worlds of yours?

It can be read on its own, and you can accept that the ending draws a line under events, but the characters do have their own story – The Alpha’s Prize

Q: IF it is a lead into another world please tell us about that world/those books.

The story fits into my Claimed Mates series. It starts with the MacDonald wolf-shifter pack, who are the last of their kind in Scotland. The first two books, The Alpha’s Mark and Marked by the Wolf take place in Scotland and feature shifter – non-shifter pairings. The third book, Claimed by the Alpha, moves to Italy, where Sadie MacDonald, of the Scottish pack, becomes mate to Italian alpha, Marco di Angelo. Book four in the series, Taken by the Wolves, sees Carolina di Angelo, of the Italian pack, becoming mate to Duncan and Neil Macdonald. It’s set in Scotland. The fifth book, The Alpha’s Prize, features Leonid and Francesca, from Rejecting the Alpha. There’s a sixth book currently being written, which will tell the story of Alessio di Angelo, from the Italian pack and a seventh novella will focus on Davide di Angelo, who pops up briefly in my story for the anthology.

Q: What other Shifters Unleashed anthologies have you participated in/ what stories?

I have a story, Claiming His Mate, in the Alpha Shifters Furever anthology. It tells the story of Christian Vukas, a Croatian alpha, and Erin Phelan, an Irish shifter who’s destined to be his mate, whether she likes it, or not.

Q: What up-coming anthologies can we find more from you? Please tell us about those stories.

I also have stories coming out in the Shifter’s Unleashed anthologies, Cocky Alpha Shifters and Shift Happens. For Cocky Alpha Shifters, I’ve written a story of an arrogant Russian tiger-shifter and a woman sent to research an article into his famous mother’s sudden disappearance from the limelight. I’ve had a lot of fun with this one, since the hero, Alexei, is a cocky swine and my heroine, Eleanor isn’t about to put up with any crap from him. For Shift Happens, I’ve got a couple of ideas I’m playing with, but it’s not due out until later in the year, so I haven’t finalized that one yet.

Q: When you write do you visually base your characters off actors/famous people? Please give some examples.

Sometimes. Gerard Butler was definitely who I had in mind when I wrote Finn MacDonald in The Alpha’s Mark. Michele Morrone, from 365 Days, is who I’ve been thinking about as I write Alessio di Angelo’s story.

Q: Why should we read short stories?

Because they give you a quick, satisfying glimpse at another world. They can also be a great introduction to a new-to-you author, giving you a taste of their style and the type of characters they create.

Q: Random party question: what’s your favorite pizza?

It’s a very specific pizza – the Pollo ad Astra from Pizza Express (a UK chain). It has a thin base, topped with chicken, sweet peppers, red onion, mozzarella, tomato and Cajun spices. But, really, I’ll eat anything as long as it doesn’t have pineapple on it.

Q: What’s coming next for your readers?

In the next month or so, I have the third novel in my Russian Bratva series, The Lenkov Dynasty coming out. I also have a dark fantasy story in the anthology, Captured by Darkness. I’m also finishing off my Claimed Mates wolf-shifter series.


Francesca gasped, her mouth falling open in apparent shock. “What?”

“Your cousin had finally consented to me taking you as my mate.”

Rage flashed in her eyes, the first sign of the temper she was well known for. “Marco has no say in what happens to me.”

Leonid shrugged lazily. “Doesn’t matter. I want you as my mate. I’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen.”

Taking advantage of her apparent speechlessness at his declaration, Leonid leaned in to kiss her. His lips hovered over hers but, before he could stake his claim, she shoved him away with surprising force. “Get away from me, you filthy mongrel.”Baring his teeth in anger, he grabbed her arm and pulled her up against him. “You are mine, Francesca. The sooner you accept it, the better.”



Sassa Daniels is a USA Today Bestselling Author of steamy romance. Writing across a range of genres including paranormal, sci-fi and contemporary romance, she loves to create strong, dominant heroes and the feisty heroines who’ll challenge them at every turn. Born and raised in the Scottish Highlands, she still lives there with her family. She recently quit the world of academia to focus on writing.

WIP-it Wednesday Witches of Wet Waterfalls

That’s a whole lot of Ws!

Halloween Witch holding magical light in her hand


Witches of Wet Waterfalls is currently in the works!

My next day was set on edge when Oz took off at some point in the wee hours. That wasn’t unusual for him. He lived a rich and mysterious life as a wolf twenty-five days a month. At least I hoped he did.

He was a mountain man through and through. He loved to camp, and go hiking, and fishing. And he had loved showing off while doing all of those things every time he took me out camping. Which, scheduling issues aside, was frequently. So I hoped that in wolf form he was outthere enjoying the things he loved. I didn’t like to think that he was sad and alone waiting for me to call him a good boy and play fetch. I never called him a good boy.

Yuki would. When the guys wolfed out, she treated them like giant puppies. And they responded in kind. But around me, Oz didn’t act like a typical canine. He responded logically as if he had a human brain in a wolf’s body. Hanging out at the salon would never be that man’s idea of a good time. And he hung out there a lot.

With our current situation with Dylan, I was concerned, nervous. Oz not being around weighed me down. A decided lack of attention from Dylan all day tugged me down.

But the weight that sank me was Yuki.

There was no doorbell at the salon. It wouldn’t matter if there was, we played the music too loud to hear some little tinkling noise. I caught the movement of the door in my peripheral vision.

Yuki slogged in and slumped in the first chair. Her eyes looked bigger than usual, and there was a tremble to her lower lip. I set aside the broom I pushed around, getting the bigger clumps of hair up before mopping.

“Hey sweetie, is everything okay?” I couldn’t imagine what would have set her off. I hadn’t seen her this sad in a very long time.

She nodded. “Can we go home?” She wiped at her nose as if she had the sniffles.

A depressed Yuki makes the sun want to hide behind clouds. She was also incredibly adorable. She looked like a dejected doll. Yuki liked above the knee full skirts worn with layers of ruffles and crinolines. Her skirts gathered about her so she looked like she sat in a colorful cloud. She reminded me of a doll, all big eyes, pigtails, and fluffy dress.

Pepper McGraw Interview, Paranormal Unbound Author

Set the shifter romance free, the readers said… So they did.
Dragons, Bears, Wolves, Vampires, Witches, and more. Delve into the magical tales in this paranormal romance and urban fantasy collection for zero pennies.
What more could you ask for? Snag your happily ever after today!


 Pepper McGraw, one of the authors featured in Paranormal Unbound,  tells us about her contribution to this anthology: Full Moon Shenanigans

The full moon’s coming and it’s time to embrace the wildness within.

Glory isn’t sure about mating with Max. Her bear’s huge compared to his wolf and if he’s not careful, he’ll end up getting squashed.

Max is determined to show his mate they belong together, and with a full moon on the horizon, he’s hopeful the wildness to come will prove his wolf is a perfect match for her bear.


Q: What book/movie was your “gateway drug” into paranormal romance?

I’ve been reading PNR so long, I can’t really pinpoint exactly who I started with. I think I started with books about psychics and witches and the first of those may well have been Kay Hooper’s Special Crime Unit series. I quickly graduated to all things paranormal by leaping into Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon. At that point, it was all over. I was hooked and haven’t stopped reading since. As far as paranormal romance on screen, I’m a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the TV show), though its dearth of true HEAs may bring its classification as a romance into question. And yet, I love it anyway.

Q: Is your story in Paranormal Unbound a stand-alone or does it introduce readers to other characters/ worlds of yours?

Full Moon Shenanigans is part of my Shenanigans series. Reading it will provide an introduction to a number of characters in that series and will hopefully give a sense of my writing style as well.

Q: IF it is a lead into another world please tell us about that world/those books.

The Shenanigans series is centered around the concept of Shenanigans being a place (or many places) of sanctuary where paranormals can gather in peace without worrying about the need to hide their true selves. A Shenanigans might be a bar or a restaurant or a hotel or a shopping mall or really any public space where a paranormal might wish to open a business. The name Shenanigans is a beacon for paranormals, each location part of a larger, worldwide collection of public spaces created by paranormals, for paranormals. Full Moon Shenanigans, the book in Paranormal Unbound, takes place in a bar Shenanigans owned by two bear shifters, where the local wolves and cougars like to gather for some drinks and fun. It’s the story of Glory, one of those bear owners, and her mate, Max, the beta of the local wolf pack.

Q: What other Shifters Unleashed anthologies have you participated in/ what stories?

I have a story called Catnapped in Shifters Do It Better that launched my series, A Pawsitively Purrfect Match. It stars a number of matchmaking cats and shifters and I had a ton of fun writing it. I’m also excited about another Shifters Unleashed anthology that should release this December called Shifter Christmas Howlidays. I’m already planning another adventure for it starring more matchmaking cats with their shifter victims—I mean clients.

Q: What upcoming anthologies can we find more from you?

Please tell us about those stories. The anthology I’m the most excited about at the moment is Midnight Magic which comes out this May. My story is called Guardians of the Veil and is all about two Fae Guardians who should never have met. Fae Guardians have their own destiny and it doesn’t involve having fated mates or falling in love. These two, however, will break all the rules, and in doing so, may reshape the destiny of future Guardians and change the fate of the Fae forever.

Q: When you write do you visually base your characters off actors/famous people? Please give some examples.

I honestly don’t, at least not consciously anyway. I’m more likely to focus on creating characters that foster specific emotions in the reader.

Q: Why should we read short stories?

They provide a brief escape into an alternate reality/world and I firmly believe we all need an escape every now and then.

Q: Random party question: what’s your favorite pizza?

Vegetarian pizza, preferably with barbeque sauce rather than traditional pizza sauce.



One moment Glory was standing at the counter, waiting for Travis to fill her tray with the shots she’d requested, and the next a set of arms had wrapped around her, pulling her tight against a warm and solid chest.

“Glory, my love.” Max’s voice sounded deeper than normal. He buried his nose in her neck and inhaled.

She shivered in desire, then cleared her throat. “Did you just smell me?”

“You’re intoxicating,” he muttered and scraped his teeth along her neck.

“Jeez, Max. Come on!” Travis slammed several shots onto the tray in front of them. “Glory’s working and you’re in public for heaven’s sake. And she’s my sister. Hands off!”

Max rumbled and glared at Travis.

For a moment, Glory feared the two of them would get into it, but then Max stepped back and allowed Glory to pick up her tray.

“I’ll walk with you,” he said.

She rolled her eyes and led the way across the room to a table of horny wolves. She knew they were horny because the scent was overwhelming. And it didn’t help that the bar was packed with she-wolves too. The mated pairs were busy making out, adding to the scent of crazy, while the unmated singles were hooking up or looking to hook up.


They were all such dogs.

Pepper would love to be able to shift into an animal (any animal, really, though she’s rather partial to cats). Unfortunately, since she wasn’t lucky enough to be born a shifter, she’s had to settle for writing about them instead.

She’s an advocate of animal rescue and supports local shelters and Trap-Neuter-Release programs for feral cats. She’s had the supreme honor of winning occasional head butts and meows from the local ferals in her neighborhood and even of convincing a few to come inside and adopt her as their own.

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Julie Morgan Interview, Paranormal Unbound Author

Set the shifter romance free, the readers said… So they did.
Dragons, Bears, Wolves, Vampires, Witches, and more. Delve into the magical tales in this paranormal romance and urban fantasy collection for zero pennies.
What more could you ask for? Snag your happily ever after today!


 Julie Morgan, one of the authors featured in Paranormal Unbound,  tells us about her contribution to this anthology: Deadly Alchemy


Alchemy promises the power over life and death…but, how do you choose who lives and who dies?
Amelia Rimos was never afraid of hard work. Her dedication pays off when she proves her critics wrong and discovers the most unthinkable, impossible thing: a cure for the Undead. Half the world hails her as a savior, but, the other half—the part that dwells in death and darkness—sees her as nothing more than an opportunity for target practice.
The naïve optimism that spurred Amelia to greatness has now become her weakness, especially when two men use it to their advantage to either win her heart…or tear her apart.
Can she unravel the riddles of her heart and save the world before she succumbs to their…Deadly Alchemy?


Q: What book/movie was your “gateway drug” into paranormal romance?
A: The Lost Boys, Interview with a Vampire, Bram Stokers Dracula, not necessarily in that order. I fell in love with all three of them for different reasons.
The lost boys – they were the bad boys. Gods I loved them!
Interview with the Vampire – a young Brad Pitt.
Bram Stokers Dracula – the love story of Dracula and Mina. It was amazing!

Q: Is your story in Paranormal Unbound a stand-alone or does it introduce readers to other characters/ worlds of yours?
A: it’s book one of a trilogy. It does not end on a cliff hanger, however, the characters reappear in each story as it continues.

Q: IF it is a lead into another world please tell us about that world/those books.
A: Book 2 is Fatal Alchemy. Amelia, John, and Mikel all return, and this time, we meet and get to know Sarah and Marcus as their story unfolds. Sarah is an alchemist like Amelia and Marcus is a vampire. Adam and Sophia also play a pivotal role in the story.
Book 3, Wicked Alchemy, all the characters come together in a war of Vampires and Werewolves, but it’s not against each other. In this story, the enemies are forced to work together to take out a common enemy who is destroying other vampires and werewolves. It also brings the story full circle and ends it completely, giving a totally happy ending to the series.

Q: What other Shifters Unleashed anthologies have you participated in/ what stories?
A: Almost every one of them!
• Immortal Legacies
• Once you go shifter
• Furever Free
• Sultry Shifter Nights
• Shifters Do It Better
• Hearts Unleashed

Q: What upcoming anthologies can we find more from you? Please tell us about those stories.
A: At this time, I think this is it, but this could absolutely change. I’ll be taking part in the Speed Dating with the Denizens of the Underworld series Gina Kincade has put together as well. These stories are beginning to come up for preorder!

Q: When you write do you visually base your characters off actors/famous people? Please give some examples.
A: Oh totally. I HAVE to have a muse when I write! For example: when I wrote The Concubine and Her Vampires, it’s a reverse harem vampire story, I had five vampires and one woman together. The men were, in order:
1. Theo James
2. Daniel de Tomaso
3. Stuart Reardon
4. Aidan Turner
5. Shemar Moore

Q: Random party question: what’s your favorite pizza?
A: ham and pineapple!



Just as fast as before, he is in front of me. He runs his hands down his jacket as if dusting debris from it, lifting his eyes to meet mine. “Allow me this favor, madam. I can guarantee the vampire would have attacked you. I took it upon myself to save you from such fate. Please, allow me the honor of getting you home safely.” His tone has changed from sarcastic to serious.
My brows lift in surprise and I blink a few times. “Fine,” I offer and my gaze drops to the ground. A throbbing begins in my shin, and when I raise my leg, blood is oozing from a cut. I gasp and remember the glass vial of the liquid sun I dropped earlier. I immediately look up to the vampire in front of me. He has just had dinner and now I am presenting myself as dessert.
He reaches into his breast pocket and withdraws a handkerchief. Taking a tentative step forward, he lifts his palms up as if offering surrender. “I simply wish to apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Nothing more.”
The vampire bends down in front of me and slowly glides his hand around my calf. The touch is cool and his skin soft. Slowly, he moves his hand up my leg as he pulls it toward him. The other hand presses the handkerchief to my shin.
“Umm, thank you, sir…”
“Michel. Michel Gauthier,” he offers, and then looks up, catching my gaze.
I offer a hint of a smile then nod. “Thank you, Mr. Gauthier.”
He looks back down at my leg and continues holding the material against my wound. “Please, I insist you call me Michel. I believe the vial you intended to use on me…”
“No!” I clear my throat as he quickly looks up, “My attacker, not you.”

USA TODAY and Award-winning Bestselling Author, Julie Morgan, holds a degree in Computer Science and loves science fiction shows and movies. Encouraged by her family, she began writing. Originally from Texas, she now resides in Central Florida with her husband and daughter where she is an advocate for Special Needs children and can be found playing games with her daughter when she isn’t lost in another world. For more information please visit her at

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Merciless Few MC Anthology

New release





𝙅𝙤𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 Merciless Few MC Fan Clubhouse:

𝘈𝘭𝘭 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘤𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘴 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘰𝘨𝘺 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘣𝘦 𝘥𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘉𝘪𝘬𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘈𝘨𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘴𝘵 𝘊𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘥 𝘈𝘣𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘉.𝘈.𝘊.𝘈.

Get your knees in the breeze and ride along with the Merciless Few MC!

One Club.

Fifteen Chapters.

Give no quarter.

Show no mercy.

We are the Merciless Few MC, an outlaw club hell-bent on saving those good souls tormented and abused using any means necessary. When you ride with the men of the Merciless Few, loyalty and respect are earned. But will love open their hearts or break them? Join our chapters as we take you on a thrill ride you’ll never forget.

Fifteen talented authors have joined together to write their own unique stories about a brotherhood of alpha bad boy bikers! 

All proceeds from this anthology are going to Bikers Against Child Abuse B.A.C.A.

Authors: Aleisha Maree, April Lynn Baker, Carson Mackenzie, Emily Rose,

Isla Cross, JA Lafrance, Linny Lawless, Lila Grey, Nathan Kingsly, 

Roux Cantrell, Rowan St. George, S. Courtney, Shannon Heighton Hicks, 

Sunny Mawson, W.A. Marlow


An Improper Derailment: Chapter 20

Where Mary gets rather opinionated.

Untitled design

Catch up with Chapter 19…

Start the series from the beginning…

The dust settled and Mary looked about her. “What was that?” she asked in disbelief. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many cows in one place.”

“Cattle,” Marshall corrected. “When you have that many animals, cattle.”

“I don’t care what you call it was like a veritable field of cow— cattle,” she corrected herself.

“A stampede. Probably a cattle drive gotten out of hand,” Hanska said.

“Wherever are they driving them to?”

“Kansas City, most likely.”

“Where did they come from?” Mary continued her torrent of questions.

“Cattle come from all over,” Hanska started. “Ranchers have taken over this land. When I was a child, this land was the buffalo. Buffalo as far as the eye could see. And now you don’t see any. Killed off and replaced by cows.”

“Cattle,” Marshall grumbled.

“Cattle, cows same thing. Big smelly, massive animals,” Mary stated.

“Cattle smell worse than buffalo, they smell like the land. The land smells like them.”

“Land smells like dirt and earth, not beast and excrement,” Mary crinkled up her nose. “Those creatures make Kim here smell positively like daisies in comparison.”

Hanska, still perched on top of Kim’s back, chuckled, “I don’t think anyone has ever accused Kimimela of smelling like flowers. But I am sure she will appreciate the thought.”

Mary leaned back and placed a hand against the tric. She never thought she would compare one of the giant beasts to flowers before either. She smiled. “Kim is special.”

“Kim is special because you’ve taken the time to get to know her. Not all saurans are scary.” Marshall said.

Mary crossed her arms and looked up to him. “Yes, they are. Kim is scary. Maybe she’s less scary because I’ve gotten to know her. She could still stomp on me. She could still skewer me. She could still sit on me. She is still scary.”

Marshall shook his head, “You definitely have your opinion.”

“I do. And my opinion is that animals are smelly.”

“People are animals, are you saying people smell?”

“I do not smell,” Mary protested.

Marshall tapped the side of his nose. “However, it’s not problematic.”

Uncertain what to say to that, Mary stomped over to the opposite side of Kim.

She looked out across the plains, half trampled by the raging bovine stampede.

“You know, I didn’t don’t think I saw any cowboys,” Mary pondered.

“How did you see anything?” Marshall said from the other side of the sauran.

“You didn’t see anything. You were tucked up underneath Kim,” Mary said, tartly.

“Of course, I was tucked up underneath Kim. Safest place to be.”

“I think we were safe enough on top of Kim. You’re right. I didn’t see any cowboys either. That stampede was out of control. That proves white man can’t control everything there is,” Hanska scoffed.

“They certainly do try,” Mary agreed.

“Hey, what’s that supposed to mean?” Marshall was indignant.

“Really? Really? You’re asking me? What’s that supposed to mean?” Sarcasm dripped from Mary’s lips.

“I think he was asking me. It was a rhetorical question,” Hanska answered.

“There is no such thing as a rhetorical question from a white man,” Mary made a definitive statement. “I don’t think I’ve ever met one who didn’t think he knew better or was in control of the situation. Mr. Hanska, I am pleased to say that you are different. And I am happy to have made your acquaintance and learned that fact.”

“I am glad to have proven that  my people are different.”

“I don’t understand why or how you even know this man.” Mary gestured toward Marshall on the other side of the sauran. As if anyone was looking at her.

Hanska chuckled.

Marshall groaned. “Hanska saved me. I lived with his people. They took care of me.”

“What?” Mary asked in shock.

“That was a long time ago and it is a debt I will always owe them and never be able to repay.”

“Marshall has proven that he is not like other white men.”

“I beg to differ. Also, just like any other white man,” Mary paused, thinking about what she was going to say. She never realized she had had this opinion before. It was new to her. But she was determined that this was now her stance. “He showed up on the very day I received a telegram from my grandfather, another white man who, who thinks he can control me, who was trying to control me. Who is ruining my life.”

Mary kicked at a tuft of half trampled prairie grass.

“I think the only non-problematic white man I know is my brother in law. And the only reason he isn’t problematic is that he isn’t smart enough. No, he’s too stupid to know any better.”

Martial laughed.

“And you,” Mary continued. “You show up on the very day my grandfather ruined my life.”

“How did your grandfather ruin your life? Why do you say that? He’s in San Francisco. You were in Chicago.”

What perils will Mary face next on her journey to regaining the railway? Find out in the next installment… 

©2022 Lulu M Sylvian