Saturday, August 8, 2020

Excerpt and Paperback Giveaway: "Wild Horses on the Salt" by Anne Montgomery

About the Book:
Can Rebecca find hope in the wilds of the Arizona desert? 

Escaping her abusive husband, Rebecca hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand, her aunt’s college roommate, gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest. 

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor of the Sonoran Desert. Soon, she meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and the blacksmith, Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art. 

After Becca's husband tracks her down, she has to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away? 

Excerpt: 

An unfamiliar place. 

Becca blinked at the mid-morning sun that streamed through the room. She closed her eyes and opened them again. White-painted walls. Thick, unfinished beams crossed the ceiling. Where was she? 

She longed for a drink of water and was surprised to see a bottle on the square-topped table beside the bed. She sat up, grimaced at the pain in her side, and hugged the blue-and-white patterned blanket to her chest, noting the string of horse figures that galloped along the edge. She reached for the bottle, popped the top, and gulped. 

Then she remembered her aunt making the frantic phone call and paying for the plane ticket. The woman’s tears as she placed a few folded bills in Becca’s hand. The red-eye flight: four and a half hours in the darkened cabin and the rumbling white noise that purred her into a series of uncomfortable dreams. The bleary arrival at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, where a tall man wearing a tan cowboy hat held a piece of cardboard bearing her name in black marker. 

She’d been surprised by the chill in the air as she was ushered to the front seat of a pickup. Wasn’t this the desert? The place the TV weather folks always talked about when the temperature hovered near 110 degrees? She shivered, and the man turned up the heat. 

Later, under a star-splashed sky, she mounted several steps. The man motioned for her to follow, so she trailed him across a pathway composed of smooth river rock embedded in cement. When they arrived at a small cabin, he removed his hat and held the door open. He smiled, nodded, and disappeared. 

Becca studied the now bright room, which boasted an intricately designed Native American rug hugging a hardwood floor. A three-drawer pine dresser topped with a mirror rested between two large windows framed with white curtains. A radiator kicked on. Becca eased under the warm covers and quickly fell back to sleep. 

--- 

A knock on the door. 

“There’s still some lunch left. If you’re hungry, you’d better hurry.” 

 Becca curled into a ball beneath the soft cotton sheets and the horse-adorned bedspread. She didn’t want to move, but then her stomach growled. How long had it been since she’d eaten? 

She stretched, and her assorted injuries made her wince. She crawled from beneath the bedding, holding her side, surprised to see that she had fallen asleep in her clothes. Becca eyed the small garment bag that rested unopened on a chair in the corner. She needed to brush her teeth. She eased herself slowly off the bed. The bruises on her hip and shoulder were still fresh and achy. Becca didn’t glance at the mirror as she crossed the room. She’d had a black eye before. Under- stood the rainbow transformation that would render the area purple, green, then a sickly yellowish-brown before the wound would finally disappear from her skin, but not from her soul. 

Becca ran her fingers through her wavy hair, then opened the door. 

“Hello, Becca.” Gabriella Strand was tall with streaks of gray in her dark hair that was cut short and looped behind her ears. She wore teardrop-shaped turquoise earrings set in silver, a black sweatshirt that boasted a herd of galloping horses, black jeans, and a pair of worn black cowboy boots. 

If the woman standing before her was surprised by her appearance, she didn’t show it. Becca turned her bruised eye away. “Ms. Strand.” 

Gabriella laughed. “Oh, honey, no one has called me Ms. Strand in a very long time. It’s Gaby. Didn’t your aunt tell you?” 

“Yes. I’m sorry. She did...Gaby.” 

“No need to be sorry. Now, let’s get you something to eat.” 

Later, Becca stared at the empty plate before her. She’d devoured the ham, egg, and cheese scramble, four pieces of thick smoked bacon, a stack of fluffy pancakes smothered in real maple syrup, and a large pot of hot black tea. 

Gaby sat and wrapped her large hands around a mug of strong hot coffee. The older woman gazed at Becca with dark eyes, her face etched with fine lines that indicated a lifetime spent outdoors in the Arizona sun. 

Becca didn’t know what to say to this woman who she knew only through stories told by her Aunt Ruthie. The two women had been college roommates, both history majors at Northern Arizona University. After graduation, a continent had come between them, with Ruthie moving back to New Jersey and Gaby remaining in her home state. But the two women never lost contact, had often visited over the years. When it became clear that Becca needed to leave, her aunt had insisted she would be safe with Gaby. 

“You don’t have to say anything.” Gaby smiled. “I left some towels in your room. You can shower or take a bath, if you’d like. Then, rest. We’ll talk later.” 

All Becca could do was nod. 

About the Author:
Anne Butler Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, and amateur sports official. Her first TV job came at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, and led to positions at WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, and ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter. She finished her on‐camera broadcasting career with a two‐year stint as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery was a freelance and/or staff reporter for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archaeological pieces. Her novels include The Scent of Rain, A Light in the Desert, and Wild Horses on the Salt. Montgomery taught high school journalism for 20 years and was an amateur sports official for four decades, a time during which she called baseball, ice hockey, soccer, and basketball games and served as a high school football referee and crew chief. Montgomery is a foster mom to three sons. When she can, she indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, and playing her guitar. Learn more about Anne Montgomery at these sites.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn | Goodreads | Amazon | Wikipedia


GIVEAWAY 

Enter for the chance to win a paperback copy of Wild Horses on the Salt by Anne Montgomery! This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM ET on Sunday, August 23, 2020. Enter through the Giveaway Tools form below. 

19 comments:

  1. This book sounds amazing, as does your life!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your book sounds amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sounds like a great and exciting love story, love of nature and of horses

    ReplyDelete
  4. I like the cover. The book sounds wonderful.
    Theresa Norris
    weceno at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think that the book cover of Wild Horses on the Salt" by Anne Montgomery is highly detailed and interesting.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think love cover of this book is amazing. Thanks for your great generosity.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I enjoyed the excerpt & am ready to read more.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I really like the cover and the blurb. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  9. This book sounds awesome! It looks marvelous

    ReplyDelete
  10. I very much enjoyed the excerpt. Thank you for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  11. New author for me, sounds good!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I really like the cover as it really draws my attention unlike a lot of other book covers.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This book sounds great, and the cover looks amazing. I'm a book reviewer, and I'd be happy to review it if I win.

    - Daisy

    ReplyDelete
  14. This sounds like a really great read & I'm really interested to find out how it ends.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This looks like an amazing book. I really want to know what becomes of Becca and her struggles.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This book sounds interesting. Thank you

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comment. All comments are moderated and will go live after approval.