A Western Saga
Western Saga Anthology
Storm Riders (steam punk/western/time travel) “Storm Riders is a tale of how the wild west would look if the future came for a visit.”
Three destinies, three paths for each decision a person makes, but if one of the roads becomes tangled, a Storm Rider must step in and repair the rift before the dimensions collide.
Samantha Skelley and Denny Randeli are sent to 1879 Bodie, California, one of the wildest towns of the west. It should have been an easy snatch and rescue, but Ace McTavish is determined to put himself in harms way. Samantha and Denny are forced to help him with his plans before they take the next storm ride home.
Samantha and Ace’s attraction for each other sparks into forbidden territory, both knowing their relationship can never be. However, fate may surprise the star-crossed lovers and rewrite the passage of time.
The other stories:
Every Girl's Dream by Cheryl Pierson Forced to leave home in shame, Sheena McTavish is surprised by the kindness of a stranger. Callen Chandler, a U.S. Army scout, is stricken with compassion for the young woman.
Along Came Will by Celia Yeary Kathryn McTavish leads a full life. But recently, something is missing. Will seeks her company, yet proclaims he'll soon be off to look for adventure. Confusing to Kathryn, but is Will the most confused of all?
Safe Hands by Cindy Carrier Elisabeth Franklin widowed and aging, is terrified of strangers. Despite her neighbor's advice, she helps an injured Lane McBride, who fits a bank robber's description. Then the outlaws come calling.
Chapter One of Storm Riders
Samantha Skelley arrived with the first bolt of lightning, landing in a crouched position with ease. She stood and scrambled back out of the entry zone to wait for her partner’s arrival in this dimension. Last time they rode the storm, Denny landed on her, leaving bruises that took a week to heal.
Electricity sparked the sky and dark thunderclouds hovered like a menacing threat ready to unleash a torrid rain. She removed her goggles and fireproof gloves. The tiny hairs on her arms stood up on end and if she peeked a look at herself in a mirror, she knew the hair on her head would follow suit.
The next blue flash of light delivered the Storm Rider, Denny Randeli, her partner on this case. His wide lips slid into a grin and his eyes gleamed with delight. “Brilliant ride, just brilliant.” He dressed for this time period, tan trousers and a blue and white pinstriped work shirt under a vest. The tan duster added an extra flare, but it also served the purpose of concealing his many ingenious devices.
In his gloved hand, he held the Bowler he purchased in London on his last visit home.
“Isn’t the Bowler a little too British? I thought you’d go with a Stetson. This is the Wild West, you know.” Denny worked with the London institute, but after a nasty divorce, he transferred to the States.
He tore off the goggles and plopped the hat on his head, making his hair peek out from under the rim like dark peppered gray spikes. “Bosh, Bat Masterson wore a hat like this one.” He took in the surroundings with a quick once over. “Well, it appears we landed in the right spot.”
Wooden crosses and grave markers littered the cemetery with the reminder of how fragile life could be.
“Let’s find out if anything’s changed before we make our grand entrance?” Denny focused his attention on his Travel Component or TC for short. The copper lined TC case looked somewhat like a high-tech calculator. The device pinpointed and controlled their time travel, calculating the spot they chose and creating the thunderstorm needed to jolt them into the right dimension. They hitched rides with the storms. She thought of the TC as a GPS for time travelers. To think, the first time travelers relied on thunderclouds and an archaic device made of copper to make the jumps. Flying a kite in a thunderstorm with a key tied to the end of it came to mind. This form of storm riding proved unreliable, if not dangerous. If lightening didn’t strike the Storm Rider, he or she could end up in the wrong year in the timeline. She shuddered at the thought.
“Bodie, California, June 1879. One of the wildest towns of the west,” Denny said as he read the info listed on the screen on the TC. “Population ten thousand. The town supports thirty gold mines and numerous brothels and gambling halls.” He looked at her with an arched brow and pointed to the TC screen. “Good Lord, I forgot about the opium dens being legal in this time.” He continued reading the summery without missing a beat.
They were briefed extensively about Bodie before they made the jump, but with a time rift, events changed as fast as the history was being recorded. It proved lucrative to look over the history book’s rendition one more time before walking into town to face possible danger.
“With over two thousand buildings, sixty five of them are saloons. I bet they’re a rowdy crowd.” Denny let out a low whistle.
“You didn’t have to tell me. Their enthusiasm for life and good times are obvious.” She nodded toward the flickering lights below them. The light source probably consisted of torches, kerosene lamps, and candles since the town didn’t have electricity yet. The low roar coming from the structures didn’t take much imagination to know the townspeople weren’t the quiet easy-going sort. An occasional gun blast furthered her suspicions.
The sun hadn’t set and their walk over the rocky terrain wouldn’t prove too difficult. She glanced at the sky. The thundercloud’s intensity lessened with every second and would soon dissipate completely. The manmade storms rarely took full form once the TC didn’t aggravate the clouds.
Samantha adjusted the whalebone contraption biting into her flesh. Dressed like one of the ‘ladies’ that lived and worked in a row of one-room cabins along Bonanza Street, Maiden Lane, and Virgin Alley, the tight fitting outfit didn’t leave much to the imagination. She wasn’t exactly blessed in the boob department, but the way the bustier lifted her breasts, a generous amount of flesh peeked over the black leather. The skirt was long, but split high to the top of her legs on both sides. She checked the strap around her leg that held her gun and knife. “Dammit.”
“What’s wrong?” Denny looked at her.
“Where am I supposed to put the TC?”
Denny crouched down next to his tapestry style satchel. The institute came by the bag centuries ago, a gift bestowed to one of the time travelers after he saved a wizard from certain death. It didn’t look like much, worn and dull colored, but with the bag’s magical properties, they could pack everything they needed for the jumps. It was a valuable piece of luggage with an endless bottom. No item proved too big or too heavy. The only drawback was they could never put a living creature in the bag for transport. There was something about the molecules not lining up right upon reentry to the physical world.
Denny pulled out a velvet purse with a pull string. “I thought you might need this.” He tossed it to her. “There’s some coins in there, too. Never know what you might need.”
Denny always came prepared. They were here to save the package tomorrow morning and storm ride out of Bodie in the evening. This was a quick and easy assignment: save the package and put him on the right track again to close the rift.
“Thanks.” She opened the purse and dropped the Travel Component inside. She smoothed down her hair, hoping the bobby pins would keep her wheat-colored strands from falling down. “Next time, Denny, you can wear the uncomfortable get-up and I’ll scope the town out for a good spot to take the shot.
Denny carried two Colt Self-Cockers, the same guns that Doc Holiday liked to carry. He also brought from their dimension, a Remington 1500 with an electrical scope, a fairly new weapon the institute designed and Denny’s favorite. There could be no room for mistakes. They had one chance to save the package.
“I don’t look quite as charming as you do in a dress,” he teased. “You have better legs and...” His gaze lingered on her chest before meeting her eyes again.
She lifted one eyebrow in disbelief. “You’re kidding me, right?
“Sorry.” His shoulders lifted in a shrug. “I’m a man, luv. What can I say?”
“You can stop at man. I can fill in the rest. Let’s just save the package and get the hell out of here. Bodie is too rural for me. I like my warm showers and clean beds.” She took the path that would lead them into town.
He chuckled as he followed. “We all have our priorities. Do you have the coordinates for the safe house?”
“Make contact with the package and do your best to tell him what to expect.” They both knew the package didn’t always have an open mind and tended not to believe them, but still they gave it their best shot. “Then head over to the safe house.”
The noise from the town became louder as they neared; music, laughter and gunshots all part of a normal evening in Bodie.
“Yes, Daddy, I’ll be home before ten.” Her sarcasm was laced with laughter. Denny was a worrywart, but she loved him anyway.
She looked back and grinned. “You wouldn’t know what to do without me.”
He waved his hand at her and rolled his eyes heavenward.
Reviews for Storm Riders:
"Nutt's story, "Storm Riders" brims with creativity and imagination. Full of action and adventure, Nutt doesn't run short on the romance either. The chemistry between Ace and Samantha is combustible, but will time keep them apart? "Storm Riders" is a page turner." Stephanie Burkhart, author
Possible future book cover for Storm Riders.