I am pleased that Jan Sikes will be visiting today to talk about her new book, Jagged Feathers. Jan is an old friend and fellow member of Story Empire. Please welcome her to Fiction Favorites.
Thank you, John, for inviting me to your blog site today to talk about my new book, JAGGED FEATHERS! I appreciate your generosity.
I mentioned Vann’s faithful and loyal canine, Champion, in another blog post. The beautiful animal showed up on his front porch, injured and starving. But like in real life, sometimes our animals get hurt. Champion takes a bullet in a daring escape from the drug cartel henchmen. It kills Vann to see the animal injured again, and with no time to get him into town, performs surgery to remove the bullet after taking refuge at a neighbor’s horse ranch.
He touched Nakina’s shoulder. “It’s safe to come up now.”
She raised herself from the bottom of the boat onto the seat, trembling from head to toe. “Holy shit! I’ve never been so scared in my life.”
“Are you okay?” Her ashen face left no doubt.
She nodded and took a deep breath. “I think so.”
“Champion?” He reached down to let Champion know it was safe to come up, but the animal didn’t get up. With his heart in his throat, he knelt over the dog and encountered an all-too-familiar stickiness. “He’s been hit.”
Tears streamed down Nakina’s face, and the boat rocked as she joined Vann on her knees. “No!”
Vann turned Champion over to see sticky blood oozing from a wound near his hind leg. “Shit!”
Nakina stroked the big dog’s head while Vann probed through the thick fur and located the entry point. Champion yelped, then whined low and long.
“It looks like the bullet might be lodged in bone.” He reached in his pocket and pulled out a bandana, then tied it tightly around the wound. “We need to elevate his head and keep pressure on the wound.”
Nakina settled herself into the bottom of the boat and cradled Champion’s head on her lap.
The boat rocked when Vann stood and scoured the surroundings. The creek branched off ahead, and he knew which way to go.
He rowed like a mad man while keeping one eye on Champion.
“Where are we going?” Nakina asked.
“I have a neighbor, Colt Layne, a few miles down the creek. He owns a large horse ranch. He’s a good guy. He’ll help.”
Colt dropped his medical tools into the water and added antiseptic. “We’ll know more once I can dig around in there. Depending on where it is, sometimes it’s best to leave the bullet in and sew him up.”
As he reached into the boiling water with tongs, the door flew open. A ranch hand jerked his hat off when he spotted Nakina. “Boss, I’m sorry, but we’ve got a problem. Daisy’s foaling, and she’s in big trouble.”
Vann stepped forward. “Go on, man. I can do this. Go see about your mare.”
“I’m sure.” Memories from his special mission training flooded back. This was only slightly different from digging bullets out of cadavers. “It’s not my first time.”
Colt nodded, grabbed his hat, and sprinted through the door following the ranch hand, yelling over his shoulder, “Anything you need, just make yourselves at home. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
Vann pulled on vinyl gloves, grabbed the tongs, and fished out forceps. After some probing, he frowned. “I can feel it, but it’s at a weird angle. I’ll have to dig around.”
He met Nakina’s worried gaze. “Champion can’t feel a thing.”
She nodded. “Thank goodness.”
Minutes ticked by before Vann finally pulled the forceps out, holding a gold blood-stained bullet. He looked it over before dropping it into a pan. “Looks like a thirty-eight slug.”
Nakina passed the antiseptic, and Vann poured it over the wound, then reached for a needle and thread.
“What now?” Nakina’s voice shook.
“I’ll sew him up and wait for Colt. Champion will need antibiotics. He may be left with a limp.” Vann hated the many similarities between himself and the animal. “I guess that’s better than being lame or having to amputate.”
I have zero experience with any kind of bullet wound, especially in an animal, so a good amount of research helped me understand the process and healing time. Many of us have stated before how folks would view us as perhaps a little unstable or demented if they could see our search histories, but it’s the quickest and easiest way to find information and keep working. What is the most bizarre research you’ve ever done for a story? I’d love to hear it.
And just so you know, Champion recovers quite well.
BOOK TRAILER LINK: https://youtu.be/CwGRyRVMyLE
Vann Noble did his duty. He served his country and returned a shell of a man, wounded inside and out. With a missing limb and battling PTSD, he seeks healing in an isolated cabin outside a small Texas town with a stray dog that sees beyond his master’s scars. If only the white rune’s magic can bring a happily ever after to a man as broken as Vann.
On the run from hired killers and struggling to make sense of her unexplained deadly mission, Nakina Bird seeks refuge in Vann’s cabin. She has secrets. Secrets that can get them all killed.
A ticking clock and long odds of living or dying, create jarring risks.
Will these two not only survive, but find an unexpected love along the way? Or, will evil forces win and destroy them both?
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AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK