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An Unexpected Gift

Amber Dawn Bell

Chapter One

Dani Chisholm took a deep breath. Some things you never get used to.

She bent and examined the semi-covered, mutilated cow, then glanced at the tracks in the snow. “Damn. What’s a mountain lion doing this far down the mountain?” Must be looking for easy pickin’s. She patted the revolver she kept in a holster on her hip. Madeline, her palomino, neighed and reared back. “I know, girl. You scent the cat.”

She glanced at the sky, dreading having to take care of the cow by herself. Bad weather was on its way. The clouds told the story. Not that she could complain. It had been an unusually mild season so far. Thank God for small favors.

A strange feeling settled between her shoulder blades as if someone or something watched her. “Time to go.” She jumped on Madeline and slapped the reins against her neck. “Heeyaa!” Best to wait until mid-day and come back with the four-wheeler. Cougars tended to hunt at dusk and dawn. And light had just come over the mountain, illuminating the landscape.

As she rode closer to her house, a bright red object caught her eye. She squinted to get a better look. A car. “What now?” Due to her unwanted guest and the growling in her tummy, she momentarily forgot about the cat.

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