After her pa is killed, sixteen-year-old Randy is on her own. Instead of staying with the fussy Miss Marla like her pa wanted, she decides to leave the New Mexico Territory and head West so she can see the ocean and spread the ashes of her family there. She starts her journey with her temperamental horse Al, her revolver Pearl, and her guns as her only companions. However, she’s a girl with some Annie Oakley style sharpshooting skills and an old family friend she runs into knows it. As she rises to fame across the American West, she’s getting plenty of attention from the wrong kind of people: a smitten reformed horse thief, the betting fool old man, a flirty Butch Cassidy, and a band of outlaws that want her dead.
Randy didn’t plan on falling in love or becoming legendary as Miranda Carter. If only Randy,the boy she’s falling for (the reformed horse thief), and the old man can survive the outlaws that are dead set on revenge.
You won’t be able to put down this fun action and adventure tale with romantic elements that takes place in the Old West.
Targeted Age Group:: Young Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I have had the idea for this Western for years. I loved the Little House on the Prairie book series growing up and watched plenty of episodes of that show and many other Western programs growing up. As I learned about Annie Oakley, I wanted to incorporate what she did in my character. Sharpshooting and marksman contests were quite popular in the late 1800’s. I also researched a lot of legends from outlaws and also used some of what I learned in the story. I would like to think it has some of the fun of the most recent Lone Ranger movie and Randy has some of the spunk of Mattie Ross from True Grit. I’ve lived, worked, and driven across the west, everywhere this story takes place and that was first hand experience for their journey.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I have 5 daughters so I have a lot of great inspiration from them and I can’t help but add a little of myself in Miranda Carter. I love that she can hold her own, stand up for herself, and yet she’s very vulnerable at the same time. I had a lot of experience with Arabian horses as a teen and I used a lot of that experience when writing Al the horse. Trevor is one of my favorite male characters I’ve written. I can’t say he comes from anyone or anything in particular. However, Bronson was very inspired by a real person, my grandfather. His stories from growing up in New Mexico, the roping skills, and some of the ornery things he’s done, were all inspiration from him. I hear my grandpa whenever Bronson has something to say.
Miss Daisy hollered at someone outside. They had a hired farmhand that was there in the morning, but the tone in her voice was alarming. Randy pulled the lace curtain back slightly to peer outside. A well-dressed, greasy-haired man was standing at the bottom of the steps all haughty-like. Daisy waved her arms angrily at him. He pointed at Al standing at the side of the house and started walking over that way. Randy pulled out Pearl and slid the revolver in the waist of her skirt. She had her shotgun in hand as she limped as fast as she could to the front porch.
“Forgive me Pa,” she whispered checking to see if her shotgun was still loaded.
“Who is it, Miss Daisy?” Randy asked heading over to the side rail of the porch.
“What do you think you’re doin’ with that gun?” Miss Daisy’s hands went right to her hips.
“Takin’ care of you. What’s goin’ on?” Randy ignored Miss Daisy’s protests and had the gun ready as she stood near the rail when the strange man approached Al. “He don’t take kindly to strangers.”
The man turned to face her and his eyes widened when they met the barrel of her shotgun.
“And I don’t either. What’s your business here?” Randy asked.
“Now see here, little girl. I was here to talk to Miss Daisy about how she got herself such a fine specimen of a horse on her property when she can’t pay the fees for the town’s protection.”
“Well, see here, Mister. That horse is mine, not hers. And where I come from, no one pays for the town’s protection. Especially when one can take care of it themselves.” She pointed the gun at his chest.
“Now if you ain’t from here, you shouldn’t go makin’ enemies of the law keepers in town.”
“I wouldn’t be makin’ no enemies with the law keepers here if they weren’t givin’ me good reason to. Now back off from my horse. He will hurt you before I do. I guarantee it. And I’m a pretty good shot. I never miss.” Randy squinted at him and knew what game he would try to play with her to see if what she said was true.
“Now, smart mouth little girls don’t last long around here either, mind you.” He headed for the rail. She shot at the ground in front of his foot. He backed up and glanced over at Al again. Randy whistled signaling for Al to leave. The horse took off at a full run.
“You’ve got a lot of nerve.”
“And so do you.” She pointed her gun at him again. He wanted to make her shoot her last round.
“You hurt me and you have my deputies to answer to.”
“Yeah, well what you gonna tell them? You were shot by a smart mouthed little girl? Go ahead, try me. I’d love to see you go back and tell the men how I messed ya up. I’m a good shot, I’m tellin’ ya.”
“Who are you?”
“You might ask me who my pa is first.”
“Who is your pa?
He looked at her puzzled until it started to register.
“I knew you’d know him. Do ya believe me now that I’m a good shot?”
“Naw, I think ya like playin’ behind the name.” He glared at her.
There was an empty can beside her foot. Randy watched him as she slowly bent over to pick it up. She flung it over his head and blew the can apart. He reached for the shotgun after she fired. Randy already had Pearl pointed at his head.
“Now if you weren’t trying so hard to outsmart me, I would show you where my pa had my name engraved on the handle on this here revolver after I earned it by beatin’ every man in a marksman contest. I love this gun. I named her Pearl. That was two years ago and I was fourteen. I’m even better now. Not much of a challenge with ya right here, this close. I might get dirty. So what kinda game are ya up for? Shall we call it even? I would hate to have all the other retired Texas rangers around here have to come in to clean up your kind of law.” Randy tilted her head to the side.
The man backed away slowly, knowing he was beat. “Why are you here alone anyway?”
“I’m visitin’ my Aunt Daisy while my pa was called away to chase some horse thieves over in Silver City. He’s caught cattle thieves before and was paid with that fine horse. He gave the stubborn beast to me.” Randy relaxed her stance and eased Pearl back into her skirt’s waist. “So I suggest ya let my Aunt Daisy be because she has all the protection she needs with me, my pa, and his friends.”
The man scowled pointing his finger at Randy and then at Miss Daisy.
“Or I’ll make sure my pa pays you a visit on his way through.”
The man mounted his horse and turned to head back for town. “There’s no need Miss Carter. Carry on. Miss Daisy can take care of herself here on out.”
Randy looked at Miss Daisy to be sure she was all right with that. Miss Daisy’s face was as white as could be. She nodded faintly while she clutched her chest.
“Will do!” Randy hollered to make sure he heard then helped Miss Daisy to a chair before she fainted.
“Child! I can’t believe the nerve you have.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare ya.”
“No. I just thought for sure he was gonna finish you. You said your pa was dead.”
“He is. You, Zhang, Trevor and my Indian friend are the only ones that need to know that. No one else knows and they don’t need to either.” She sat down in the rocker on the porch beside Miss Daisy.
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