It’s a new year and as I’m adjusting to it, I’m delighted to announce my first release of 2017 will be on January 16. The novel is titled Canaan’s Land and it’s a full length romantic suspense novel. It will be available in both eBook and paperback – both formats can be pre-ordered now. Watch for links at the end of the post. First, here’s the blurb:
Canaan Moss is a farmer, a man struggling to make a living from the land his family has owned for generations. It’s difficult to accomplish in the 21st century Ozarks in a remote corner of Missouri but he’s scraping by, one day at a time, living lonely. He meets Kaitlin Koch, a local journalist who wants to do a feature about his farm but before it can happen, law enforcement agents descend on his farm. He’s arrested for a marijuana field he didn’t grow and for pot stored in an old barn. Cane’s innocent but no one except Kaitlin and his cousin believe that. As he tries to prove his innocence, he’s shunned in the community. After the true perpetrators break in and beat him so badly Cane ends up in the hospital, he’s in danger. He recognized the two men who hurt him and if he doesn’t get someone to listen, he can’t clear his name and he may just end up dead. Finding a happy ending with the woman he loves seems a remote possibility.
Interested? So, meet Cane.
He sipped sweet Moscato wine from the bottle, not the large one but one of a four pack he’d picked up at the market in town. Although he preferred a good vintage to malt beverages, Cane refused to drink from a fancy glass goblet like some hoity-toity gentleman. He needed the wine to ease his lingering tensions. His bath had eased his weary body but not his mind. As Cane had eaten his solitary supper, the ever growing stack of bills had seemed taller than a city skyscraper. He kept them in an old milk glass pitcher on the center of the kitchen table, but lately it brimmed full constantly and he juggled which ones to pay, which ones had to wait. Inflation made prices higher but cattle prices remained too low to keep pace so he struggled to make ends meet. Truth was, he’d begun thinking about finding a job in town, at one of the manufacturing plants or maybe the big home supply store, to bring in more money. Cane hated the idea but he could see the possibility looming large although he’d never wanted to do anything more than farm.
Like his ancestors, he was proud to be a farmer, living on land owned by Mosses since 1890. He kept the sign up by the road proclaiming Canaan Moss Farm as a Missouri Century Farm in good repair and had it repainted every other spring so the letters wouldn’t fade. His great-grandfather, grandfather, and father were all born here, in the big bedroom upstairs. Cane’s mother delivered him in the hospital at the county seat but he’d come home at two days old. He’d never lived anywhere else and didn’t want to.
Canaan was a name he’d inherited. His great-great granddaddy had been the first Canaan Moss and the name continued. Cane’s dad gave it to his first and what turned out to be his only son. All his life, Cane did his best to live up to it and carry on the tradition. Someday, he planned to marry and raise a family here but he hadn’t yet. He’d shared the home with his parents until first his dad passed away from a sudden stroke and less than two years later, his mom died from cancer, the same kind her mother and sister had suffered. He’d been alone in the rambling farmhouse for two years now.
What’s he seeking?
Somehow, the high ceiling rooms loomed emptier, and his footfalls echoed louder in the quiet rooms. At first Cane had savored the solitude, but now he had decided he wasn’t made to be solo. Someday, he thought, as he rocked a slow rhythm in the worn chair his grandfather fashioned for his bride from a fallen tree, someday he’d find a woman to share his home and heart. Cane possessed particular notions about the kind of woman he needed. He liked tradition so a woman that didn’t mind tying on an apron in the kitchen, who could cook up anything from roast turkey to crabapple jelly or a casserole, and knew how to mend and sew would be ideal. A gal who would gather wildflowers barefooted but could use her smartphone to stay connected appealed to him. Cane loved long hair on a woman but more important, he craved someone comfortable in faded denim or a sexy evening dress. Computer-savvy served up with comfort foods, a little sass paired with sweetness, and someone who could be hard-working when necessary but a bit of a harlot between the sheets, offered major appeal.
Out of nowhere, his world is rocked to the core….
Cane put on his oldest boots, the ones with flapping soles, and donned his favorite jean jacket. He put a cap over his head and marched out to the barn, a spring in his step he’d lacked for too long. The tractor fired up so he rolled it outside, let it idle for a moment, and headed for the field. He drove through the open gate and made his first pass down a row, then back again. Midway through, he heard the sirens above the tractor noise, chalked it up to an accident on the nearby highway, and continued. The loud wailing became louder and after several passes in his pattern of plow a row, skip two, plow another, Cane cut the engine to listen. It sounded as if the emergency vehicles approached his place but it was impossible. Still, he climbed down from the seat and started across the field toward the driveway so he could see.
He slipped between two stretched strands of barbed wire and gazed westward. As he did, the first of several vehicles topped the slight rise midway down the lane. Bright blue and red lights punctuated the sunshine with their garish hues. Cane stared, wondering what in tarnation could be happening and why the law came onto his land. Surely, he thought, they wouldn’t send multiple units if they came to repossess the truck or deliver a court summons for outstanding debt. He hadn’t called 911 and there were no neighbors past his farm who might have. It’s some kind of mistake. It has to be. Confident nothing could be wrong, he waited at the edge of the field and yard until the cars halted. There was a county sheriff’s car, a highway patrol vehicle, and an unmarked car with one occupant.
The sheriff, a man he’d known since toddler-hood, someone who had hunted and fished with his dad and was a candidate Cane had supported when he ran for office, stepped out of his car, gun drawn and pointed at him. “Canaan Moss,” he bellowed in a no-nonsense tone. “I have a warrant for your arrest. Put your hands above your head and remain in place while my deputy approaches with handcuffs.”
Anger flared. “What the hell? I haven’t done anything wrong. What is all this?”
Deputy Whitmore, two grades ahead of him in high school, approached, a pair of handcuffs dangling from his hand. “Cane, don’t fight me. It’ll go harder for you if you do.”
“Sheriff Tillman,” Cane said. His voice cracked as he realized this was real. “Gary? What’s going on? What do you think I’ve done?”
The deputy jerked his arms behind Cane’s back and clicked the cuffs shut with a sharp noise. He pushed him toward the county car, reciting the Miranda rights, “You have the right to remain silent. If you give up that right, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to have an attorney present during this and any questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you by the court."
Cane struggled against the handcuffs without success. “What are the charges?”
Gary Tillman stared through mirrored sunglasses and snorted. “I imagine you know good and well what,” he said. “Don’t play games with me, Cane. It won’t profit you. You must have known you’d get caught sooner or later.”
For the first time, fear bit down, sharp and hard. Whatever this was, it was serious. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I have no idea. I’m clean. My God, you’ve known me all my life. Worst I’ve ever had are a couple of speeding tickets when I was still a teenager.”
Tillman shook his head. “Cane, these are representatives of the regional drug task force. You know me and you’re acquainted with Bobby, the deputy. The highway patrol officers represent Troop D and the other gentleman here is Sampson Winters. He’s with the DEA. Now do you have an idea?”
“No, sir, none. I don’t do drugs, never did, never have. I’ll take any drug test you want and pass it. I’m clean.”
“That may well be. I can’t say otherwise but we know about the marijuana.”
The sheriff removed his dark glasses and placed them in his pocket. For the first time, his stern expression softened just a little and his voice carried a note of compassion. “Cane, you’re under arrest for growing and cultivating marijuana, and for possession. We found your patch.”
None of what Sheriff Tillman said made sense to Cane. As confused as if he’d awakened into a nightmare, Cane tried to figure it out but failed.
And then there’s Kaitlin….
Her light grey eyes reminded him of a hidden pond deep in a forest, still and powerful. Cane gazed into them and she looked back, without blushing, steady. He took that as invitation enough and he put his hands on her shoulders. Then he leaned forward and kissed her.
At first his mouth grazed her lips but when they touched his, Cane found them firm, yet soft, and he deepened the kiss. His arms shifted until he locked her into an embrace and kissed her, slow and full. Kaitlin gave him back the same and their lips moved in tandem. She tasted sweet, like the frosting, and he craved more.
Cane almost acted on his instincts but he reined in his desire. If he pushed, it might be too soon and he would scare her with his ardor. She might decide he must be crazy or just horny when what he wanted was much more complex. He’d be dead if he didn’t want to strip away her blouse and caress the tender skin beneath it or bury his face in the matching mounds of her breasts. Cane wondered if her nipples were a quiet pink or a richer brown. His hands itched to slide down her body, exploring, touching, feeling. He’d been raised old-fashioned enough he wanted to give the potential relationship time. He wanted to hold hands before he penetrated her body so he stopped.
Preorder the eBook here:
The paperback is/will be available here: