Ever Talked to a Goat?

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I’ve chosen a turning point in my novel Orion’s Gift. This book actually has many turning points, but that’s what will keep you turning pages. One of my favourite parts of the book is when Shiree, Kevin’s bullying ex-wife, tries to get back to Loreto (and the airport) to make her getaway after hurting Kevin in an effort to make him share his inheritance. Be warned, she is a crude woman:

Excerpt:

I was shaking so much I could barely manage to keep the car on the road. I only hoped that turning left at the highway was taking me south, back to Loreto.

“Dumbass Kevin! Such a stupid jerk. What did he have to go and fall off the goddamn cliff for? I mean all he had to do was say ‘Okay, I’ll share the money.’ Greedy bastard.”

I hoped he wasn’t dead. He was a nice enough guy, and I didn’t really want the kids to be without a father—for some reason they still cared about him. But still, why should I care about him anymore? He’d obviously moved on. That skinny stray he was with … God! You’d think he could pick a girl who wasn’t so undernourished. Scrawny bitch. What rock did he turn over to find her? But what did I care anyway? The bimbo was working on him at the bottom of the cliff, so maybe he wasn’t dead.

“Aw, who the hell cares? If he’s dead, I should get all the money. For sure I’ll check it out.”

I had to tighten my grip on the steering wheel. The roads down here were so goddamn twisted. You hardly got around a corner going one way and it started to turn the other way. Couldn’t they bloody well make up their minds when they were building the damn road?

“Oh, shit!” I slammed on the brakes. “What the hell are those? Goats? Goats, crossing the goddamn highway? Jesus, what a place.” They took their sweet time prancing across the road. A few of them decided it was easier to walk along the highway in my lane rather than keep crossing. I leaned on the horn and gave them a nudge with the car bumper. They scrambled down into the ditch.

“About bloody time,” I yelled out the window.

“Krikey! I’m losin’ it. Talking to a goat.” I groped for my purse and dug around in it for my ticket. I nearly went off the stupid winding road trying to read the departure time.

“Aw, crap! Might as well slow down. I’ve missed today’s flight out of here. I’ll have to stay at a hotel in Loreto and catch tomorrow’s flight home.”

*****

Next morning I parked the car and dropped off the keys at the counter. The rental people were nowhere in sight. Just as well. They wouldn’t see the damaged front end till I was gone.

Over at the airlines counter, I dug out my ticket and pushed my way to the front of the line to check in.

“My ticket’s an open return. I want to be on today’s flight.” I showed her my passport. “See? All in order.”

Momento, Señora,” the airline employee said. She picked up the phone and talked in Spanish so fast I doubted the person on the other end of the line could understand her. “Please come this way,” she said. She held up her hand to the next customer in line, telling them to wait. I smirked at them over my shoulder.

She took me to a side room. “Sit down please,” she said. “One moment.” Then she left, and I thought I heard the lock click on the door. I checked it and sure enough it was locked.

“What the hell?” I banged on the door. “You didn’t have to lock it,” I yelled.

It took a little longer than I expected, but at last the door opened. A police escort onto the plane? But a niggling thought wormed its way into my brain. Maybe I wasn’t going to get out of here so easily.

“I have a ticket,” I said. The two uniformed men ignored me. Maybe they didn’t speak English. I waved my ticket in front of their faces. “Ticket? See? I have ticket.”

“Señora. You must come with us. Please turn.” Next thing I knew I had cuffs on.

The nerve of them treating me like that. My throat felt dry and I swallowed hard.

“Hey! What the hell do you think you’re doing? I’m a guest here. I have a ticket to go home.” One was already propelling me out the door. The other grabbed my purse from beside the chair. Passengers standing in line turned to gawk at me. I stuck my nose in the air and looked away as I marched past.

Outside the air-conditioned terminal, the midday heat walloped me extra hard. I felt perspiration beading on my forehead. Things were not going according to plan. It couldn’t be about Kevin. Nobody could say I did anything to him. The stupid oaf just fell off the cliff.

The guy who had me by the arm opened the back door of the police car.

I jerked my arm away. “What do you think you’re doing?” I yelled. “I’m not getting in there.” He grabbed my arm again and pulled but I braced myself. Next thing I knew, I had a pain in my ribs and I went flying headlong into the back seat. “Police brutality!” I screeched. Surely there’s someone around who can do something.

The goons drove off. Yelling hadn’t worked, so I changed my tactic and tried to talk nice to them, but they just shook their heads and laughed as they talked to each other.

My body was drenched in sweat and my stomach burned.

Orion's Gift

For a few more days, this novel is on for 99 cents at

amazon.com (for Kindle)

and at smashwords.com (for other e-reader types) with the coupon code UQ49E. Apply the coupon code after you click to buy the e-book to get the 99 cent price.

Might Shiree end up in a place like this? The Santa Rosalía Jail?

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While her ex-husband and his new skinny stray enjoy the freedom of dry camping in Baja in places like this:

Baja Desert[1] Baja Desert[3] Baja Desert[4]

You’ll have to read Orion’s Gift to find out.

Orion’s Gift

Baja Camping

Baja Camping

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A few years ago while dry camping in Baja, our friends, veteran campers in this area, showed us the way to a spring about a 45-minute hike from our camp. In this semi-desert landscape a spring of sweet water was a rare find.

Once away from the ocean, everything looked the same in the desert. I was glad of the friends’ experience, as it would have been easy to get lost. The way to the spring was marked by cairns of rocks. It was a lot of faith to put in a pile of rocks, but it worked well enough that day.

Many types of cacti dotted the landscape, all of them prickly. Hidden dangers lurked all around. Coyotes and cougars prowled after dusk. Smaller creatures like tarantulas, snakes, and scorpions might be anywhere, just minding their own business, but terrifying all the same.

We passed by an old dry well, not covered, or marked, or barricaded. In the dark anyone could walk right into it and drop thirty feet onto rocks below.

On account of the heat, sun hats, sunscreen, and bottles of water were a must.

Times are different now but in those days, the chances of stumbling onto drug dealers  were minimal. I felt perfectly safe when, a few weeks after finding the spring with our friends, I went for a hike by myself.

Later when I mentioned to our host at the beach where we were staying that I’d been for a nice hike in the back country, he waggled a finger at me and shook his head. He warned me not to go by myself again. It was no place for a woman alone.

Path to the spring

Path to the spring

The Spring

The Spring

Still, with such a perfect setting, I couldn’t resist putting this trip to the spring into my novel, Orion’s Gift, about two young people who meet and fall in love in Baja. Sylvia, a beautiful California girl, leaves her upscale home near San Diego after receiving an upsetting letter. She meets Kevin, an Alberta man, who, after receiving a substantial inheritance from his father, leaves a bad marriage behind. Their love seems perfect until they learn that their spouses are tracking them down.

In this excerpt, against the advice of her host, Alfonso, Sylvia has gone to the spring for a quiet day of sketching.

Orion's Gift

Excerpt from Orion’s Gift

I was disappointed when I first saw the spring a few weeks ago, but I had my water bottle and didn’t need the spring water to be drinkable. The water level of the pool was even lower now and smelled a bit skunky, but it provided water for a good-sized palo verde nearby. The area to the back of the spring was a cool oasis on a hot day. Large flat rocks and smooth boulders under the tree made perfect tables and chairs for sitting and doing my sketching.

A light breeze made the late afternoon heat bearable, and I soon became absorbed in my work. I had a good collection of the various types of cacti in my sketchbook. I ran my hand over the book’s cover. Kevin gave me that. The first day I met him. Sweet of him. I closed my eyes to go back to that day. My brow furrowed and I opened my eyes again. What was that whiff of something in the air? An awful smell. Then it was gone. I looked around. Everything was quiet except for the buzzing of a few flies someplace nearby. Maybe it was the skunky water of the spring. Never mind. I picked up my pen to get back to my drawing. The beautiful palo verde took shape on my pages. I was happy with the results.

I took a break and ate my orange. Back to work again. But oops, sticky fingers. I could use my drinking water, but why waste it when I had spring water. I climbed around the boulders back down to the spring. It had a bit of green stuff growing on the surface, but there was plenty of clear water near the edge and I only needed a wee bit to swish the orange juice off my fingers. Actually, the water didn’t smell bad at all.

Back at my makeshift drawing station, I finished the last drawing. Twice more my nose wrinkled at some awful smell, always when the wind changed direction. Finally it wasn’t pleasant to stay there anymore. I packed my things. It was getting late anyway. Carefully, I picked my way among the boulders, back down to the spring. A gust of wind brought the most horrible smell my way. I almost vomited. Must be a dead animal someplace nearby. Curious now, I checked behind some of the bigger boulders. I found nothing, but the smell grew stronger. The buzzing of flies grew louder. Wings flapped past me and over my head. I ducked and tried to still my pounding heart. A second large bird flew up from a pile of rocks. What on earth was that heap of clothes doing out here? The smell was nauseating. I wanted to run, but I had to know what it was. The mound of clothes … had the shape of a man. A man without a head. My eyes widened and I clamped my hand over my mouth as I screamed. I wanted to let loose and scream out my terror, but I immediately thought, What if whoever did this was still nearby? Oh my God! A man’s body. I think! But there’s no head. It can’t be real. But the flies, the vultures. Then I saw it. A few feet away on a big flat rock lay the head, eyes gone, tongue hanging out, bloodied and torn. He looked familiar. I let out a shriek and, gasping for breath, I ran. I ran, not knowing or caring where I was, as long as it was away from the horror of what was once Manuel.

Orion’s Gift is available for Kindle on amazon.com: http://amzn.to/SFebny

and at smashwords.com for all e-reader types: http://bit.ly/Ru0EEr The paperback version is available at both sites as well.

Also by Anneli Purchase, The Wind Weeps, available on amazon.com: http://amzn.to/TO3AJE

and at smashwords.com: http://bit.ly/yPQvEP