Monday, October 26, 2020

Books for Writers: Writing Military Science Fiction: Infantry

Writing SciFi Military (or Any Military) Stories

Writing Military Science Fiction

I don’t write military science fiction. Not really, but I come close, at times.

One of my SF short stories is a space opera story that involves a starship full of military combatants on leave. Getting the military terms right is an important part of the story.

In my Texas Ranch Wolf Pack series, several of my characters have an elite military background. 

Personally, I do not have a military background. (Thank you to those who do! You're all heroes!) The closest I come to it is a brother who proudly served in the U.S. Air Force. I won’t name him, since any mistakes I make in writing about the military are outside of his control. 

When writing military scenes or fight scenes in my books, I spend more time researching than I do writing. The need for this became obvious when I wrote a scene where the main character released the safety on a Glock. 

If you know weapons, you know a Glock doesn’t have a safety. I didn’t know that at the time, but my granddaughter saved me. She read the scene and rushed to my office to show me her Glock and explain my error to me. (Thank you , Nomi!) 

Since then, I’ve been much more careful to research my facts before publishing. Then I found Writing Military Science Fiction: Infantry by William S. Frisbee, Jr. 

This book was a sponsor for a show on the Keystroke Medium YouTube Channel. I highly recommend Keystroke Medium to authors. When the ad came up, I went straight to Amazon and put it on my list to purchase the next time I made an order. A few weeks later, I ordered the 8.5x11 inch paperback. It's a reference perfect for any writer who writes any story that includes military terms, actions, weapons, logistics, tactics, and more. 

I’ve gone from hours of research online to picking up the book to find the knowledge I need in minutes. This helps to keep my books from being thrown at the wall amidst screams of, “That's wrong!” 

Nothing destroys the willingness of a reader to suspend disbelief quicker than getting basic facts wrong. If you write any type of military fiction, whether it be military action, military science fiction, military romance, space military, or any story that has main characters who are in the military or any character dealing with modern weapons, this book will save you time and help you get your facts straight. 

While I decided to purchase the paperback, the book also comes in Kindle ebook and (at time of writing) is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited (KU), meaning you can borrow it and read it without extra cost if you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription. Want to try KU free for two months? Click the link at the bottom of this article!

What's in the book?

The list below barely scratches the surface of the contents:
  • Evolution, nature, and levels of war
  • Strategies and types of war
  • Military organization
  • Tactics
  • Space assault
  • Military etiquette
  • Weapons and technology
  • Types of terrain
  • Much, much more...
This book is a go-to reference for any writer who wants to get military or weapon facts right.

Take care and stay safe.


Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Panther's Choice: A Halloween Short Story


Panther's Choice: New Short Story

October 21-25, 2020, this short story is available at no cost. After the special, you can read it with your Kindle Unlimited Subscription.

Don't have a KU subscription? Click the link at the bottom of the article for a free two-month trial. 

Panther's Choice is the story I've been working on while working out plot issues in my WIP, Tala Ridge Storm (Book 2 of the Tala Ridge Shifters series). I'm still hoping to finish Tala Ridge Storm before the end of October.

However, while working on the next novel/novella in the series, I sometimes need a break to figure out a plot point. During those times, I work on shorter fiction. 

In the Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series, Nate asked Ben and Dottie to take over managing the Texas Bay Inn and the World Enclave Representatives that stay there. 

Dottie's daughter, Marsha, isn't happy being forced to leave the ranch and her friends. Then the Russian Siberian Ambush Queen and her son come to visit.


Big Cat Shifters and Halloween?

Artur, son of the Russian Tiger Ambush Queen, sneaks out to participate in the humans' celebration of Halloween. 

Marsha, adopted sister of the Texas Clowder Queen, can't let him go alone. 

Two shifter teens roaming the streets while humans trick or treat...

What could go wrong?

I hope you and your family are healthy and happy.

Take care and be safe,

Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Wolf's Heart Special


October Special

Wolf's Heart, Free October 16-20, 2020

If you haven't read Wolf's Heart, here's your chance to get the ebook free!

Wolf shifters trusting vampires? 

Just not done. Or is it?

Wolf shifter Jonathan is on his way home from San Antonio when he finds a wrecked car with an unconscious woman behind the wheel.
Stacy, cold-blooded vampire that she is, quickly succumbs to the below-freezing temps after wrecking her car in an attempt to avoid hitting a doe.
She's never met a shifter before. Trusting him isn't a good idea.
The only vampire Jonathan ever met who didn't try to kill him was General Brighton. 

Trusting Stacy isn't smart.
Falling in love isn't smart, either.

Other News

Tala Ridge Storm

With 38,151 words written, Tala Ridge Storm, book 2 in the Tala Ridge Shifter series, is getting close to being done. I have about 5 to 6 chapters to go, so I expected to be able to publish this month.

New Story

I'm also working on a new short story in the Texas Ranch Wolf Pack World. As yet untitled, this story will feature Dottie's sixteen-year-old daughter, Marsha Paddock. 

When seventeen-year-old Prince Artur, the spoiled son of the Russian Siberian Tiger Ambush Queen, sneaks out to enjoy Halloween, Marsha thinks it might be fun to go with him. Shifter teens trick or treating for the first time... What could go wrong?

Take care and stay safe,

Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Wolf's Son: An Online Jigsaw Puzzle


Jigsaw puzzle made from Wolf's Son Cover

Wolf's Son is a Puzzle!

Do you enjoy online jigsaw puzzles?

The puzzle is designed with 96 pieces to keep them from being too small to see well.

To add to the challenge, some pieces will need to be rotated to make them fit (right-click on the piece to make it rotate).

If you've read this story previously, it has been updated. 

The scene from the blog post Vignette: Nate has been added to this short story. 

If you've read the previous version of this short story and the story snippet in the blog post, you know the full story. 

Take care and stay safe!

Lynn Nodima

Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series

Monday, September 14, 2020

Follow My Blog

 Follow Me!


The Follow Me link doesn't seem to work. It will let me follow myself, but when others try, it won't add them.

Unfortunately, it's the only one available through my provider and I can't fix it. So, here are other ways you can follow me:

I have an Instagram account where you can follow me, too, but I'm still trying to learn how to use it, so I don't post there often.


As long as I've been writing blog posts, I've never added a 'Follow Me' link to the blog.

Unfortunately, this means I don't have a clear idea of how many regular readers I have. 

The statistics show how many visits I get to a single page or post. I even know how many visits I get per day across the entire blog. But I would love to know how many people come by often.

One of my author friends has thousands of people following her blog. I know my readers don't, at least not yet, number so high. But just to see how many regular readers I have, I posted at Follow Me link at the top right corner of the screen.

Please consider adding yourself to my followers. I can't tell you how much I appreciate knowing more about my readers and followers.

Other News

I've been alternating between two manuscripts, again. 

Tala Ridge Storm, book 2 in the Tala Ridge Shifters series: I'm still working on Tala Ridge Storm. The plot has filled out nicely. Plotting is an activity I don't do until the book is about half-written. Then I need an overview of where it's going and what previously mentioned foreshadowing needs to be picked up and finished off. At this point, I have a rough sketch of the rest of the book. Words written: 24,458.

Not For Sale, book 2 in the Billionaire Brothers series: This is a sweet, clean billionaire story and is a long-overdue book. The main male character is Kiel Helms, the brother of Grant from the first book. Words written: 9,895.

Updates and Corrections: One of my tasks this season is to correct the grammatical and spelling errors readers have found in my books. (Thank you for letting me know!)

I work very hard to eliminate these before publishing, but there's no such thing as perfect, so... I have updated and corrected the first six books in The Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series. 

If you purchased an ebook, go to your Amazon account.  Hover over the Accounts & Lists link. On the popup, find and click on Your Content and Devices. Search for the title of the book. If an Update Available link is located beneath the book title, click it, then click the Update button. This will give you the most recent version of the book. If it's not available (and sometimes if the corrections are minor, Amazon won't provide that option), you can't update to the newest version. (Sorry! 🐺)

Take care and stay safe!


Saturday, September 12, 2020

Introducing: Heather Karn, a YA Paranormal Author

Introducing Heather Karn

When I picked up Negative Energy by Heather Karn, I thought she was a new writer to me. 

Negative Energy is a standalone book, but it is also the sixth book in The First Blood Series. The series has one book to go to be complete.

Visiting her author page on Amazon, I discovered that I have read other books she's written. Specifically, the Weregal Chronicles

Heather writes young adult paranormal books. While romance is in at least some of her books, profanity and overt sex are not there. 

If you're looking for a new, clean paranormal young adult series, check out Heather's books. And if you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription, Heather's books are in KU! 

(If not, check out the link at the bottom of the page for two free months. With a subscription, you can read all Heather's books without buying them!) 

Negative Energy Blurb:

Shannon Dart’s magic is out of control. Rather, her flaring temper causes her magic to blow up the nearest object. With ninety days to learn control, and a bully set on making that impossible, Shannon is at her wits end. That is, until a wolf shifter appears in her first hour class after his pack moves to town. There’s something about this shifter that Shannon can’t put her finger on.

With Jackson’s help, Shannon is hopeful to learn control, especially when her magic responds to him. However, the rising tension between the magical coven and the wolf pack create problems for the two friends. If Jackson is the key to unlocking Shannon’s control, can they find a way to make it work while keeping their distance, or are they bound to fail?

Negative Energy is the story of how Shannon and Jackson met years before the events in First Blood. Can be read separately from the series.

Take care and stay safe!


Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Wolf's Son: Now Available on Amazon


Wolf's Son

Wolf's Son, a prequel to the Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series, has been published!

For the past three years, Wolf's Son was only available to those who subscribed to my newsletter, Lynn's Muse. 

In the past month, several of my readers have mentioned they would like to review the story. As a freebie to join my list, there was no easy way to review it. 

So, I decided to publish Wolf's Son on Amazon in ebook format.

The book is still FREE for anyone who wishes to join my newsletter list

Subscribers receive two to four emails per month giving new information about upcoming books, or other news about me or my writing process.

However, not everyone wants to subscribe to mailing lists. I understand this. I'm a little choosy which lists I subscribe to, as well. I've been asked how to get the book (short story) without subscribing. Until now, this wasn't possible.

If you've read Wolf's Son, please consider leaving a review.

Sneak Preview

Grant Rollins wrapped his newborn son in a small blanket and put him in his mother’s arms. The wonder on her face matched that in Grant’s heart. I have a son! Visions of running through the pack howling his news vanished when Linette gasped. In her arms, their tiny baby shimmered, then changed to a squirming, whining pup.

Blinking at the panic in Linette’s eyes, Grant shook his head. “It can’t be,” he whispered to his mate. “It can’t!”

Beneath his son, Linette’s chest labored with her panicked breathing. “Grant, if Jackson finds out...”

“Shhh.” His heart raced and sudden beads of sweat dripped into his eyes. “Shhh.” Closing his eyes, Grant pressed his hand to his pup’s tiny head. Change and do not shift again without permission! A soft puppy whine ended as the pup shifted back to a baby.

Grant leaned close to his mate and pressed his hand to her forehead. Jackson will not harm him. We must leave. Now. Tonight. Before the others know he has birthed.

Wordless, she nodded. Her pain shivered through him. It’s too soon to move her, he told Fareth.

If we don’t, she and the pup will die.

Grant’s jaw ticked. Over my dead body. Fareth, his wolf, agreed. 

Other News

I'm finding that splitting my attention between two stories helps clear my mind. So, at this point, I've written 24,412 words in Tala Ridge Storm

I'm also working on book 2 in The Billionaire Brothers sweet romance series, Not for Sale, with 8,084 words written. 

By working on two stories at the same time, I can switch from one to the other when I have a minor plot issue to resolve. 

If you enjoy reading billionaire romances, check out Lynn's Clean Romances Blog.

Take care and stay safe!


Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

New Tala Ridge Alpha Jigsaw Puzzle

 Tala Ridge Alpha: New Puzzle

Just a quick announcement that the new Tala Ridge Alpha jigsaw puzzle is now available on

Since so many of my readers enjoy the online jigsaw puzzles, I try to make sure each cover and each revised cover is available as a puzzle.


Other News

I'm still working on the sequel to this story, Tala Ridge Storm. Sometimes, it takes a while for the story to gel in my mind.

However, with the addition of new characters related to characters in the previous book, Tala Ridge Alpha, I think the plot is coming together nicely.

I hope you and your family are doing well during this continuing health crisis.

Take care,

Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series

Thursday, August 13, 2020

My Wolf Mousepad

My New Carolsmousepads Wolf Mousepad 

As an independent author, I have an office set up in my home. My office equipment and supplies have been collected over the past twenty-plus years. I don't tend to get rid of anything that is still useful, so I have things I've had for many years. For instance, I've had the same Brother printer since 2006. It's no longer available, but I can still get ink for it, so...

My computers get upgraded every two to three years. Other stuff, not so frequently. After our move in January, I had to have a new desk. The old one wasn't in shape to make the move.

Rather than paying hundreds for the desk I really wanted, I opted to have a folding table. It works and saved lots of money. The only problem is that the table is solid black.

My previous tables/desks had faux wood surfaces, so I didn't need a mousepad. Since I purchased this table, though, I've fought with my mouse not wanting to work.

Lion Mousepad

Reader Emails

I do read emails from my readers. Recently, I noticed that one of my readers, Carol Beddow, had a link to her Etsy site in the signature on her email. Curious, I visited her online shop and loved the images of the mousepads she makes. 

She gifted me the beautiful mousepad that was my favorite (see the photo at top), with an image of white wolves on a blue background.

I am impressed with the quality and asked her to answer some questions. I also asked permission to spotlight her product on my blog. 

First, let me tell you that I am not an affiliate for her shop and do not earn anything if you purchase from her. However, I love her products. I am sincerely considering ordering some of her mousepads for gifts. It will be hard to decide which to order, though. She has so many gorgeous designs!

Carolsmousepads: An Online Store

Carol Beddow is the owner of Carolsmousepads, an Etsy store where she sells her creations. Carol graciously agreed to answer some questions for the blog.

This dragon reminds me of Magnus!
Questions and Answers 

Me: A lot of people make crafts using yarn and fabric, but this is the first time I've seen mousepads created by an individual. Where did you get the idea?

Carol: I used to make appliqued sweatshirts and I had an old mousepad (with cigars on it) that I hated.  So I experimented with the process and made some new mousepads for me.  

Me: How long have you been making mousepads?

Carol: I started off small and have been making them for about 10 years now.  

Tiger Coasters
Me: At your Etsy store, I also found coasters. Are they made similar to the mousepads?

Carol: I also make coasters with the exact same process.  (It's a heat bonding process.)

Me: Of all the mousepads you've created, which is your favorite, and why?

Carol: I have lots of favorites - wolves, tigers, cats, and dragons.

Me: Is there anything else you'd like my readers to know about you, your Etsy store, or your products?

Carol: I am in the process of putting a couple hundred more designs on my site - it just takes time to Photoshop, write a description, etc.

I also have half mousepads (4 x 8) for people with a small space.  They have been quite popular

I love finding the right mousepad that someone loves - it just makes my day.  This year, most, if not all, of my shows are canceled so I'm depending on Etsy more.  I normally do 10 - 12 shows a year.

I always tell people at my shows if they don't see something they like, shoot me a text or email and I'll see if I have it.

Me: Thank you, Carol, for sharing your CarolsMousePads products with us. 

15% Off Coupon

Carol has also provided a 15% off coupon for anyone who purchases from her site. 

Click on to get your discount!

My Recommendation

The wolf mousepad I received is well made. The fabric on the top is tightly mounted to the backing. In my opinion, it should last for a very long time. My husband was impressed, too, and is searching through her store for one for his office.

If you love shifters, or just love animals, and need a mousepad, visit Carol's Etsy Shop. You'll find a mousepad with the creatures you love. Lions, tigers, wolves, bears, dragons, cougars, eagles, and more! 

And if you need a gift, Carol has mousepads with flowers, dragonflies, cars, and landscapes (among others), too. Take a look!

More mousepads by Carol:

You can find even more designs in Carol's Etsy shop!

Take care,

Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Tala Ridge Alpha: New Cover!

Tala Ridge Alpha (Book 1)

Tala Ridge Alpha: New Cover and New Blurb!

Announcing a new cover and a new blurb for Tala Ridge Alpha

After much consideration, I decided to change the book cover for book 1. 

As in the Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series, this cover will be the basis for future covers in the Tala Ridge Shifters series.


When two teenaged wolf shifter alphas square off, who survives?


Tala Ridge Alpha is the first book of a young adult paranormal shifter series.


First introduced in the Texas Ranch Wolf Pack series, Terrell, the teenaged alpha of the Tala Ridge Wolf Pack, faces leadership challenges he never expected.


Tala Ridge Alpha:
Large Print Edition
It's hard enough stepping into a role Terrell  wasn't prepared for, but dealing with Buck, the teenaged alpha of the outcasts, is fraught with danger.


Is the pack safe with unknown wolves sniffing around?


Will the two teen alphas find a way to work together?


Or will the past they had no part in shaping make them enemies?

When two teen alphas square off, will their packs survive?

For Comparison: Old Cover

So, what do you think? 

Old vs new, which is better? Please let me know in the comments.

The new cover is the basis for the covers in this series. 

I'll post the cover for my WIP, Tala Ridge Storm, soon.

Other News

A side-character from Tala Ridge Alpha has decided to play a bigger role in Tala Ridge Storm. Can you guess which one?

Take care,

Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series

Friday, August 7, 2020

Wolf's Princess: Online Jigsaw Puzzle

Wolf's Princess cover puzzle
Wolf's Princess Jigsaw Puzzle

Wolf's Princess Jigsaw Puzzle

The cover of Wolf's Princess, my newest short story, is now an online jigsaw puzzle!

After receiving emails from some of my readers requesting this puzzle, I jumped into and created it.

This site provides an enormous number of free puzzles to work. And your pet can't jump on it and scatter the pieces. 

Other authors created puzzles for their book covers, and I thought they were great. 

Since discovering the site, I've created puzzles from all my current, and many of my previous, book covers.


If you haven't seen it, I have a blog post on the backstory of this short story. 

Other News

A new character has popped up in the WIP (work in progress) story Tala Ridge Storm (TRS). 

I think this character, who was mentioned in passing in Tala Ridge Alpha, and her family have a major part to play in later chapters of TRS when her brother, a Huntsman, shows up. 

If you've read the Texas Wolf Pack Series, you will know the Huntsmen believe werewolves are abominations and must be destroyed. 

Hmm. What could happen? (Twirling my imaginary mustache and chortling.)

Take care,

Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Wolf's Princess: A New Texas Ranch Wolf Pack World Short Story

Wolf's Princess: Ophelia's Adventure

Wolf's Princess
Wolf's Princess
After having trouble with the Tala Ridge Storm plot (the second book in the Tala Ridge Shifters young adult series), I took a break and wrote Wolf's Princess to clear my mind.

In Wolf's Dragon, Nate and Janelle decide to take the family to a reclusive ranch for a vacation away from everyone but their children. 

That scene stayed in my mind, teasing me with what could happen. 

Wolf's Princess was, at least in part, based on an incident from my own life.

When my daughter was young, my family went on a similar vacation, except we were in the wilderness with no one around. 

While my husband went fishing, I suddenly became ill and passed out. 

My daughter, not quite three-years-old, went searching for her father so he could help me. 

She was no Ophelia and was unable to tell the full extent of her adventures before she found him.

I woke to him being angry that I allowed our tiny tot to wander up and down a riverbank looking for him while I napped. Already ill, I didn't handle it much better than he did. 

The thought of my baby wandering in the wilderness along a fast-moving river among rattlesnakes, wild hogs, and bobcats (among other possible predators) terrified me. 

Once he realized I was sick, he apologized and took care of us both. When I felt a little better, she sat with me while her father took down our tent and packed up the camping supplies. 

Long story short: I was stung by a red wasp and had an allergic reaction. After treatment, I was fine, but the terror of (at least in my mind) almost losing my daughter kept us from camping again until she was in her teens. 

I once told my adult son that each of my gray hairs has his name microscopically written on it, but my daughter caused her fair share. 

Wolf's Princess is available on Amazon and is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited!

Wolf's Princess Blurb:

Two-year-old Princess Ophelia isn't happy.

When King Nate and Queen Janelle escape to a secluded rustic cabin for rest, relaxation, and family time, Princess Ophelia is quickly bored. 

She slips away while her parents are sleeping to chase a rabbit through the woods. 

Her adventures, worthy of a parent's gray hair, reveal abilities even her parents didn't know she had.

Other News

Since writing Wolf's Princess, I've been able to resolve at least some of the plot issues with Tala Ridge Storm, and I'm busy writing. 

Take care,

Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series

Friday, July 17, 2020

Wolf's Man has a New Cover and a New Jigsaw Puzzle

Wolf's Man: New Cover, New Puzzle

Wolf's Man, the first book in the Texas Ranch Wolf Pack series, has a new, updated cover!

And, because fans asked for it, I've created a brand new online jigsaw puzzle from the cover.

Wolf's Man, of all the books in the series, has had the most different covers.

I've not been happy with the last version for a while, but I wasn't sure how I wanted to fix it.

Finally, I've managed a new version I like. I hope you like it, too.

Other News

I've written 16,000+ words in the second book, of the Tala Ridge Shifters series, Tala Ridge Storm. If everything works to plan, I should have it finished and published before the end of July. (Fingers crossed!)

I'll post a cover reveal for Tala Ridge Storm as soon as I have it.

Take care,

Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Tala Ridge Alpha Available in Large Print Paperback!

Tala Ridge Alpha in Large Print!

Tala Ridge Alpha, the second book in new The Tala Ridge Shifters series, has published in large print paperback format.


Wolf shifter children attend human public school for the first time. What could go wrong?

With the king’s tentative approval, Terrell, the youngest wolf shifter alpha in the world, sends the pack children to public school after Child Protection Services investigates the ranch for never registering their kids.
But Terrell’s concern over attending school with human students is overshadowed with worries for their safety when he finds other shifters attending the school.
Buck, the future alpha of the outcast pack, isn’t happy when outside wolves start attending his school.
Who are they?
How does their presence affect his pack?
When two teen-aged alphas collide, who wins? Who loses?

Two Chapter Preview:

Chapter 1

La Veta County Sheriff Cole Jameson absently picked up his coffee cup and sipped. Cold. Making a face, he set it down, the ceramic cup thumping on his ancient wooden desktop. Glancing at the door to the front office, he called, “Mitch, that new pot ready?”

Deputy Mitch Vaine leaned into the sheriff’s office and grinned. The deputy’s straight, even teeth, boyish good looks, and meticulously combed hair paid homage to his last name. “Almost, Boss!”

Cole shook his head when Mitch disappeared back into the front office and sighed before turning back to the BOLO he received from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, a warrant for a gang of three bank robbers headed south from Denver. So far, the perpetrators hit four banks. Two bank employees and one police officer sustained gunshot wounds in their last robbery.

The words on the BOLO faded as his mind wandered. Again. Since he escorted Micah Bird to the Tala Ridge Ranch for a CPS complaint, he’d found keeping his mind on his duties difficult at best.
Werewolves! In his county! And they’d been there for years. Even before the town was founded in 1886.

He heard the front door open and shut but left it to his deputies to see what whoever it was wanted. “Jameson! Where’s Jameson?”

He’d never forget that thunderous voice. He winced at the fury in Commander Terrence Bird’s roar, stood, and walked to the office door. Deputy Lincoln Stiles’ large form blocked Bird’s path to the office. “Sir, you need to calm down.”

“I want to see Jameson, right now!”

Tucking his thumbs in his holster belt, Cole tilted his head and narrowed his gaze at his former CO. Dressed in fatigues, combat boots, and a heavy jacket and black cap dusted with snow, all the SEAL commander needed to be combat-ready were his weapons.

Realizing the commander knew he and Micah were dating, Cole sighed. “Commander.”

Bird’s sharp eyes speared him. If looks could kill, the sheriff would be a pile of broken bones and goo. Refusing to be cowed by the man’s obvious anger, he jerked his head toward his office. Cole sighed. “Why don’t we take this somewhere more private?”

Lips pressed tight, shoulders bunched, Bird slapped aside the short gate separating the front office desks from the waiting area and walked past Deputy Stiles, brushing the man’s shoulder. Cole raised an eyebrow. There weren’t many men as big as Commander Bird, but Stiles matched him inch for inch, with one or two to spare. The dispatcher and the rest of Cole’s deputies watched wide-eyed. His former CO stopped a foot in front of Jameson, hands on his hips. Cole met his gaze, then jerked his head toward his office door.

“Have a seat, Commander. I’ll get us some coffee.”

Wordless, Bird shoved past him and walked to the visitor’s chair. Now that the commander wasn’t glaring at him, Cole took a quiet, deep breath, then blew it out. He glanced at Vaine. “Coffee ready, yet?”

“No, Sir. It’ll be another five minutes or so.”

Cole nodded. “Bring us two cups, black, when it’s done. Otherwise, y’all get busy.”

Ignoring the scamper to find something to do, he turned his back on his deputies, took another deep breath, and blew it out. Closing the door behind him, he walked to his desk and sat. “Morning, Commander.”

Bird leaned forward, askew elbows resting on the arms of his old-fashioned wooden chair. “What the blazes do you think you’re doing, Jameson?”

“You spoke with Micah?”

“Nah, Mom told me. Said you’ve been keeping company with Micah since before Christmas.”

“Yeah, well, that’s true.” Jameson fixed Bird in a level stare. “I won’t hurt her, Sir. I’m serious about our relationship.”

Bird tensed. “If you’re just...”

“I’m not.” Cole opened his top desk drawer and pulled out a small box. “If she’ll have me, I plan to marry her.”

Taking a deep breath, Bird visibly forced himself to relax. He glanced at the midnight blue ring box, then raised his gaze to his Navy friend. “Tell me.”

“I accompanied her to a CPS visitation before Christmas. She was pretty shook up by everything that happened. Afterwards, we had a meal and started talking. We had coffee the next day, and since then we’ve met for coffee or a meal almost every day.”

Cole shrugged. “I know it’s quick, but I love her, Terry. I’ll never purposely do anything to hurt her.”
Bird sighed away some of his anger. “I wanted her to find a safe guy, you know. Someone not likely to leave in the morning and die before coming home. Not a soldier.” He glared at Cole. “And not a cop!”

“I know.” Cole fisted his coffee cup and stared at the cold coffee. “I didn’t plan it, Terry, it just happened.”

“Because she got upset about that CPS visit? What happened?”

Cole hesitated. The pack alpha had decided the command to keep them secret placed on him years ago in Oregon was good enough. He thought he could talk about the local pack, but he wasn’t sure he should. Chewing the right corner of his bottom lip, he glanced out the only window in his office. 
“You know I can’t talk about that, Terry.”

“Yeah. That’s what Micah said. But she’s hiding something from me, Cole. Something that scares her. What is it?”

Rubbing an itch above his left eye, Cole opened his mouth, then snapped it shut when a sharp tap sounded on the door. “Sheriff? Coffee got done quicker than I expected.”

“Hold that thought.” Cole stood and walked to the door, opened it, then took both cups from his deputy. “Shut the door, Vaine.”

With a nod, the deputy pulled the door shut. Cole carried the coffee to the desk and set a cup in front of Micah’s brother. “Here you go. Black and strong enough to float horseshoes, since Deputy Vaine made it.”

The commander’s large hand lifted the cup. He sipped, then winced and nodded. “I think you could walk on that.”

Cole grinned. “Boy’s talented when it comes to coffee.”

Bird snickered, then his face settled back into a tight expression. “Just tell me if there’s something I need to be worried about, Cole.”

The automatic denial refused to leave Cole’s lips. He sighed and moved aside the first, cold cup of coffee to make room for the second hot one. “Terry, I can’t tell you anything, but I promise I’ll do everything in my  power to make sure she stays safe.”

“Meaning there’s something to worry about.”

Cole studied Terry’s worried eyes. “You remember Nate Rollins? Lieutenant-Colonel, Marines, Brighton’s Elite Unit?”

Bird blinked. “Sure. What about him?”

“He says everything is cool. He’ll keep everything safe.”

“Marines are involved in one of Micah’s cases?”

“No.” Cole tried a different direction. “You ever meet Captain Waylon Rickles?”

All expressions left Terry’s face. “I did. What’s he have to do with this?”

“You ever see him...” Cole grimaced at the pain erupting in his head. Pain warning him to stop talking. Aware of his former CO’s tense consideration, Cole sighed. “Never mind.”

“You know.”


“You know about Rickles.”

Cole’s gaze snapped to Terry. “Rickles is a...” He couldn’t force out the word.

Soundlessly, Bird mouthed, “Shifter.”

Face pale, Cole stood and swayed for a moment. Walking to the door, he turned and glanced at Terry. “I’ll be right back.”

Closing the door behind him, he marched across the outer office, ignoring Stiles’ heavy frown and the questioning looks from the other officers. Stepping out on the sidewalk, he pulled the door shut, then walked to the alley. With shaking fingers, he pressed the Tala Ridge Ranch button on his cell.

“Tala Ridge Ranch, Dusty speaking.”

“This is Sheriff Jameson. I need to see Nate and Terrell right away.”

Chapter 2

The alpha of the Tala Ridge Wolf Pack, twelve-year-old Terrell Pace, thirteen next week, he reminded everyone, tossed a baseball to his beta, Josh Tatlow. Mind busy considering the ramifications of King Nathaniel being called back to the ranch, he almost missed Josh’s return throw. His lightweight denim jacket more than enough to keep him warm, he took a deep, snow- and pine-scented breath and tossed the ball back to Josh. Most of his pack was still indoors, kids enjoying the warmth of the fireplace while playing games or reading, and the women preparing a communal meal for the evening.

The men and teens worked in the fields, feeding cows and horses, or chopping wood for the fireplace. Terrell found himself in the unenviable position of having nothing to do. Every time he decided to do something productive, one of the adults swooped in to do it for him. Ainle whined in the back of his mind, sympathetic but not knowing what to do to change things. “Ugh!”

“What’s wrong?” When Terrell didn’t throw the ball and didn’t answer, Josh walked to him. “Want to talk about it?”

“They won’t let me do anything!”

Surprise flashed on Josh’s face. “Like what?”

“Anything! Chores!”

Josh laughed and sauntered over to an old stump. Wiping the snow off, he sat and studied his alpha. 

“You know you’re like the king of your kingdom, right?”

Terrell dropped his glove and ball next to his boot and kicked a snowdrift. Shoulders hunched, he shoved his hands in his front jeans pockets. “So?”

“Well, it was before my time here, but I’ve heard talk. What would have happened if your father started doing something and someone didn’t jump to take it over?”

Understanding washed over Terrell and he looked up. “They were punished for making him do it.”

Sighing, Terrell gazed down the dirt road that led to the ranch gate. “So, they still don’t know me well enough to know if I’ll do the same thing.”

“Right.” Scooping up a handful of snow, Josh molded it into a ball, then tossed it into the air. “And since Nate gave you your dad’s power, you’re more powerful than any wolf here, including Dusty.”

Terrell huffed. He wasn’t at all sure he was more powerful than Dusty, his regent. Nate assigned Dusty as pack regent and guardian to Terrell until he reached eighteen. It hadn’t taken Terrell long to realize that power wasn’t everything. Courage, skill, and cunning played a huge role in almost every aspect of pack governance. Abilities Terrell hoped to learn from his guardian, someday.

He stared at his feet, his too-short jeans leaving too much sock showing. Receiving his father’s alpha power, then facing vampires in the attack on the King’s pack had forced early puberty on Terrell. The challenge battle to keep his position and title intensified his growth spurt. In the past two weeks, he’d grown at least four inches in height. The growth spurt had him tripping over his own feet at times. And his bones ached most of the time. He’d be glad when the growing stopped for a while. His feet were shod in Dusty’s extra, too-long shoes because his own no longer fit, and unlike his jeans, he couldn’t just pull them up higher.  He didn’t recognize himself in the mirror either, his face longer and narrower than he remembered it being. Even his shoulders were wider, enough that he had to wear some of Dusty’s shirts.

He looked older than his years, too. Samantha and Larissa, the only two teen girls on the ranch started following him around, whispering and giggling. He sighed. His fated mate already found, their whispers and giggles did little more than annoy him. And since he couldn’t tell anyone yet about her, there was little he could do to dissuade them. But when school started, the giggles and whispers would be more about his unfitting clothing than the new maturity he showed.

“Know what? I’m going to have Nettie or Dusty take me shopping for new clothes tomorrow. Want to come?”

“Sure. It’s my job to go where you go.” When Terrell rolled his eyes and huffed, Josh laughed. 

“Anyway, I need some new clothes, too. Gramma said I don’t have enough for school.”

“Hmm. She’s probably right. I don’t think any of the kids have enough. Maybe we all should go and get some new clothes.” The young alpha pushed his hair off his forehead. “And maybe haircuts, too.”

Thunder rolled through the mountains and blue lightning flashed, washing out the late December sunlight shining down on the ranch yard. When it cleared, a white, twenty-six-passenger StarCraft Allstar bus sat in the driveway. The door opened and Nate, King of all Werekind, stepped out, followed by Magnus, the king's guard. “Hey, Terrell. I brought the bus you asked for.”

“Hi, Nate.” Terrell walked around the bus, examining it. He climbed the steps and surveyed the individual seats, each with a seatbelt buckled across the seat. “It’s a bit big, isn’t it? We only have sixteen kids.”

From outside the bus, Nate answered. “Choices were fifteen passengers or twenty-six passengers, so I got this one.”

Terrell turned, jumped over the steps and out the door, then scratched his cheek and winced. “I’m not sure when I can pay you for it, Sire.”

Nate clapped a hand on Terrell’s shoulder. “Don’t worry about it. Consider it a gift. After all, you’re going to be our test case for sending the kids to human schools.”

Heat suffused Terrell’s face and he ducked his head. “Thank you, Sire.”

“None of that. Where’s Dusty?”

Behind them, the door on the main lodge opened. “Hey, Nate! Wow! That’s a bus.”

“For the kids. When Ms. Bird mentioned the school didn’t have the funds to send a bus to the ranch, Terrell requested a bus.” Nate raised an eyebrow. “I’ll assume someone here has the proper license to drive it.”

“Someone will have a license before school starts in January,” inserted Terrell.

“Good enough.” Nate flashed him a grin before looking at Dusty. “You said the sheriff needs to see me?”

The silver-burn scars on his neck mostly covered by a turtleneck sweater, Dusty shrugged and nodded. “Yeah. He’s bringing someone to the ranch. He wouldn’t tell me what he wants, but he insisted you be here.”

Nettie, Dusty’s mate, told Terrell that Dusty received the silver-burn scars on his neck and wrists when an evil alpha kept him in silver chains because Dusty wouldn’t tell him how to find Nate, the boy who grew to become their king. As far as Terrell was concerned, the scars were a testament to Dusty’s unwavering courage and loyalty. His musings were cut short by Josh’s comment.

“Looks like they’re here.”

Terrell followed Josh’s pointing finger to see a La Veta County Sheriff’s car driving toward them.

In Other News

In the next book, Tala Ridge Storm, Alpha Terrell and Alpha Buck must work together to save a bus full of children. So far, I have nearly 3,000 words written. Back to work!

Take care,

Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series