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Brian D. Kelling
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When grieving widower Brandon McCallum heads for the mountains of southern Colorado, little does he know what awaits. All he wants is to build a high-country ranch, but what he gets is trouble, in the form of gold and bushwhackers. His life is further complicated by a beautiful young woman in Pueblo, and Brand must decide to love again. The trail leads to New Mexico, and McCallum must find the outlaws before its too late. With everything on the line, guns will decide their fate....
The first white Americans who crossed the Plains of North America thought they were great, alright—they called it the Great American Desert. And had you been out in the middle of this so-called ‘desert’ at that time—for they hadn’t yet discovered the real deserts of this country—and found yourself literally several weeks travel from what we would call civilization, it would be easy to understand how they could think it so. Travelling due west, once you got past the one hundredth parallel (roughly halfway across Kansas,) there was simply nothing there. No trees, no farms, no people. Nothing.
Of course, some of that changed. The Desert became the Great Plains. But even in the late nineteenth century, out there by yourself on horseback, it would be easy to believe you were the only human being within a hundred miles in any direction, and it very well could be true, although there was never any telling where an Indian might be.
It’s no small wonder the Plains took so long to be settled. Everything out there was hostile. The land, the weather; the animals, the native peoples.
Out there at the time I speak of—the 1870’s—one man rode a horse against the late evening sky. Two packhorses trailed behind on their ropes. The dark outlines of the little caravan made a sharp contrast against the flashing cloud lightning in the big western pre-dusk.
The very presence of this man and his pack animals was in direct opposition to the assumed dead wastes of the arid grasslands. Sure, Indians lived out there somewhere—they could. White men had, of course, made their inroads, but their towns were mostly farther west, near the mountains. The plains were just something they crossed through to get somewhere else. And the horses? Yes, it’s true there were occasional wild horses on the plains, but they were rare indeed, and the fact that these packhorses were connected to a human endeavour somehow removed them from that part of the equation.
This man, and the animals under his control, simply seemed out of place here, especially when one considered what the sky looked like to the west.
The rider and his little pack train were headed into bad weather; that was easy to see. Contrary to what you may have heard, bad weather rarely arrives unannounced in the West, with the possible exception of a Blue Norther. Usually, you can see the storms coming for many miles, and such was the case here. Not that it would help much.
The rider had his head down, hat against the wind. From time-to-time he’d peer up from under his breeze-bent hat brim, evaluating the storms. Then he’d look back to make sure everything was all right with the pack animals. After this, it was back to head-down, an effort to keep the cold wind out of his clothes. That was another thing about the West: it sure cooled off when the sun disappeared.
During one of his storm-checks, the rider saw a line of ground-level dust blowing his way. That would be the ‘gust-front’ of the storm, a stiff wind that would most likely bring with it a good twenty-degree drop in temperature. He pulled his canvas slicker tighter around his body and held it close with elbows against his ribs.
He said nothing, since swearing wouldn’t help. And other than to look around now and then, he did nothing except keep riding, since there was nothing else to do. Dourly, the man reflected on the fact that a storm like this was actually beautiful to see some twenty miles away from the shelter of a dry porch, and in the past he’d often done just that, sat there with coffee in hand and watched it release its pent-up anger against the earth.
Five years in Yuma at hard labor -- five years of breaking rock with a double-jack and dragging a ball and chain. Hack was finally free, but so badly beaten by guards he lay unconscious in the road.
A family of Mormans who were passing by picked him up and cared for him. He regained consciousness in their wagon, tended by a girl named Jenna. Jenna Frazier was a Morman woman, but she was also thin, well built, with long black hair.
Brandon McCallum took his time riding through the beauty of the Great Plains on his way to the Wet Mountains of Colorado. He had much to put behind him as memories of the Civil War and the death of his wife, Lilly, still haunted him much of the time. Coming into the town of Pueblo, he set eyes on the beautiful Gaileen Burdon.
Much to his dismay, Brandon discovered that Gail was to be married off to the banker Tom Wadsworth and tried to forget all about her while building his homestead and finding a little gold. After a snowbound winter, he made a trip into town and learned that Mrs. Gail Wadsworth had been kidnapped by a band of outlaws and her courageous husband had been killed trying to rescue her.
Never having been able to push the beauty of red-haired Gail out of his mind, Brandon wasted no time in joining with the local Marshall to locate and return the lovely woman to her family. He only hoped he wasn't too late. A full Colorado winter was a long time to spend in the company of outlaws.
Gaileen Burdon hadn't exactly wanted to marry Tom Wadsworth, but her parents had insisted. Fate stepped in and she found herself sequestered in a cave in New Mexico with the outlaw Griffen Bell. In an act of bravery, a new man entered her life, the handsome Brandon McCallum, Federal Marshall. Unfortunately, Marshall McCallum had to deliver the sad news to her. Her husband was dead.
During the long trip home, Gail discovered that Brandon was unlike any man she had ever met before. Could she ignore the feelings she had for Mr. McCallum? She was in mourning after all and should have been respecting the memory of her husband. But she hadn't loved him, and Brandon was the man every woman would want for her own.
Brian Kelling has crafted an epic tale of life in the American West. His attention to detail leaves the reader with a clear picture of what life was like for a single man wanting to start over. In a voice that carries a great depth of emotion, Mr. Kelling has created a love story that stands as large as a clear Colorado sky.
Reviewed By: Sabine Maurier, Novelspot Romance Reviews
Wind of the Mountain is a great Western told in the traditinal format, but includes an in-depth and believable love story, historical accuracy, and "Western" humor. Clean, and a real feel-good tale, this book takes up where Louis L'Amour left off. Of special interest is his descriptions of the West -- which I would term "peerless." This is a great read, and really makes you feel like you're there, regardless of your gender.
Reviewed by Chuck Faul, Building Rainbows
"Wind of the Mountain is not your ordinary western; it is a masterpiece of the legendary tales of the entire American West. The story of Brandon will touch your heart in so many ways. He and Gaileen's characters are believable and in-depth taking you on a courageous trip through the west as Gaileen discovers the hardships of being a woman and learning to adapt to so many things. I admired Gaileen's courage when she stood up to her mother about real love. This story, at times, left this reader breathless wondering what would happen next. This is a western that slides right up the charts with the western sage Monte Walsh. The way the author depicts the west gives you a visualization of everything.
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 222
Paper Weight (lb): 9.6
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