Dakota Skies - Excerpt 3

Excerpt Three

Lila skipped over, eating something big and orange. Her nose was already twitching at the smell. Carrots were a major thing in town. When they came in via the big boats, Mr. Miller always bought as many as his storerooms could handle. Jay wondered for a moment how such a small thing managed to sink her teeth into one.

Maybe her mouth is the strongest part of her, considering she rarely stops talking.

Leading Houston to his stall, Jay hoped to escape. Unfortunately, Lila followed and just… didn’t… shut… up.

“I heard you were back, where have you been? You’ve been gone for so long. You didn’t say good-bye, and I’ve been worried sick. Anna never did give me an explanation.”

Anna scowled, backing it up with a growl. “Probably ‘cause it weren’t none of your business, and it’s Sheriff Carter to you,” she spat.

Anna’s reply only momentarily interrupted Lila.

“Humph, anyway, I’m glad you’re back. You’ll have to come over for afternoon tea. Mother will be so pleased to see you, and I’m free today.”

The girl never took a breath. Jay hoped the gods would be kind and let her keel over from lack of air.

No such luck.

If he’d considered her annoying before, it was nothing to what she’d become—unbearable. While she screeched, Jay released Houston and closed the door to his stall.

Lila was between Jay and freedom. Each time he moved to walk around her, his exit was blocked. All the time Lila bounced on the spot, spouting off at a pace that made her words roll into one. Dangerously, as her mouth constantly moved, so did her hands. She waved her carrot perilously close to Houston’s head as it hung over the gate. Jay could see him following its movements, waiting for the opportune moment.

Houston’s big weakness was apples. Jay could never let him loose in an orchard. He’d get drunk on the juice that would fester in his stomach. Carrots were next in line.

Lila’s animated actions came to a stop as she waited for Jay’s answer, though he’d lost track of what the question was. The carrot dangling in Lila’s hand was under Houston’s nose. The moment arrived and the horse made his move. In one swoop, he gobbled it easily from her clutches. Her shriek caused all the horses to shuffle to the back of their enclosures.

When she noticed everyone doubled over with laughter—including Joseph—tiny Lila became enraged. She didn’t see the funny side of it. Instead, she stormed off, waving her arms, muttering to herself.

To the trio’s surprise, she shortly returned with a gun and aimed it at Houston. Merriment abruptly stopped as the shock of what she was about to do took root. Thankfully, the weapon was too big for Lila’s small hands; she was having trouble cocking it. With rage contorting her face, and her tongue between her teeth, she concentrated on pulling back the hammer for a few seconds. She completed her task, then refocused her aim.



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