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Mystic Mustangs - Book 1
Wolves & Cougars

Lexi's dreams of a mysterious man chasing her up a mountain trail, both scare her and make her feel safe. Horses gallop and wolves howl in the darkness, calming her. Lexi is drawn to the magic of the mountains where shape-shifters roam protecting the mustangs in a pact they made with the Little People. The new wolf leader's ambition threatens to break the pact, risking fury of the ancient mystics.

The last of the auction horses sold, and Michelle stood gazing into Brent’s green eyes. “Well, it was good to meet you. I’ll give you a call sometime next month, when Lexi and I have the trip planned. Is there any time that won’t be good for you and your friend?”
“No, summer pretty well takes care of itself unless there’s a drought. Anytime should work.” Brent watched Lexi put the tack into the trailer. “You said you were going to Jackson Hole and Yellowstone first?”
Michelle nodded and followed his gaze. “Lexi and I celebrate our birthdays together, and we figure we could party in Jackson Hole before we headed out.” Michelle noticed with dismay the attentive way Brent watched her friend. She felt sick and angry with herself for being jealous.
Brent turned back to Michelle, tilting his head as if studying her curiously. He smiled, and she relaxed. “Then, you’re planning to stay for about a week in Montana?”
Jacob was loading the six horses he had purchased, and he finally got the last stubborn horse tied in when he overheard the end of their conversation. “A week for what?” he asked. Jacob looked at Michelle, and then his eyes passed over her to the cowboy.
Michelle was dumbfounded and desperately tried to get Lexi’s attention so she could come bail her out. She stared at her as she swung another saddle into the trailer, and willed her to turn and look at her. With her attention focused on Lexi, Michelle missed the uneasy expression on Jacob’s face when he walked up to the man and held out a hand. “Jacob Weston, and you are?”
“Brent Stromwell. It’s good to meet you.” Brent stared Jacob straight in the eyes and noticed he winced uneasily at the name.
Michelle finally ran up to the front of the trailer to get Lexi. “We got trouble, girl. Your dad overheard Brent and me talking about this summer.”
“Shoot, I better get over there.” Lexi and Michelle walked quickly back to the two men. They stopped about five feet away, noticing a sort of standoff between them. “What the heck?” Lexi had never seen her father take such an aggressive stance with a stranger before.
“Montana?” Jacob asked suspiciously. “What brings you down here?”
“I had an estate matter to settle, and a little research project for a friend.” Brent smiled and nodded towards the girls. “Turns out it was a lucky chance meeting, as your two girls are heading out our way this summer.”
Jacob looked at the man… and he knew. He straightened and clenched his jaws and fists. “The hell they are, mister.”
Brent lowered his voice. “Jacob, you know you can’t stop this. She’s getting the dreams, isn’t she? How else would she know about the trail?” His green eyes briefly flashed amber.
This is it, then, Jacob thought. He turned and saw the confused look on the girls’ faces. “Lexi, Michelle, in the truck,” he ordered. When the girls silently walked away, Jacob turned back to Brent. “She’s only twenty one. I got four more years.” His hands curled and loosened in frustration. The instinct to fight and protect was strong, but the real enemy was the mountain. “They got my Vanessa. They ain’t getting’ my daughter.”
Brent put his hands up in mock surrender. “Hey, don’t shoot the messenger.” He was uncomfortable with the weary determination in the older man’s eyes. The fact that it was Nicholas waiting… well, he wouldn’t think about that right now. “You can’t stop this, Jacob. No one can. That girl will end up walking to Montana, if you try to keep her here.”
Brent wasn’t surprised at Jacob’s anger. He just knew how useless his words were. “Vanessa told you what would happen, Jacob. Her father was an elder and you should be leader right now. You knew you shouldn’t have taken Lexi out of the mountains.” Brent could see the desperation in the man’s face. He said softly, “Hell, Jacob, come with her. Come back to the Baáhpuuo and spend your time with Vanessa, watching the iichíile running free. You never should have left.”
Jacob was uncomfortable this stranger knew so much about him. He thought he had covered his tracks over the years, always keeping a low profile. “This business doesn’t have anything to do with Lexi.” He fought tears, and added, “Tell Vanessa she can’t have her.”
“It isn’t Vanessa that’s pulling her. You know that. Jacob, you try to stop those girls from coming out and you’ll lose your daughter, just like you lost your wife. You might do better explaining to Lexi what’s going on. If you don’t, this summer’s going to be a lot harder on her.” Brent turned, and he gave a slight tip to his cowboy hat. Before he walked off, he looked back. “Jacob, it’s not me. I wish it were, but it's not.” He turned and walked back towards his truck.
Jacob stared after him for a few seconds, and then slowly made his way back to the pickup. He needed time to think this out, and he was not looking forward to the ride home.
The girls had been fidgeting in the cab, waiting for Jacob. “Michelle, Brent’s going to tell Dad all about our plans. I wanted to break it to him slowly. We’re probably going to end up arguing the whole way back to the ranch now.” Lexi nervously watched through the side mirror while the two men talked. She saw her dad coming back to the truck while Brent walked away.
The door opened and Jacob climbed in. He was silent for a moment, gazing at nothing through the windshield. Gripping the key, he plunged it into the ignition, pumping the gas pedal a few times until the diesel chugged to life. “I don’t want to talk about this right now. We’ll discuss it when we get home.”
“Dad, I’m sorry. Michelle and I just started talking about this last night, after we found the picture.” Lexi twisted her hands together nervously.
“Lexi, please, when we get home.” He turned onto the small rural highway leading back to the ranch.
The ride was silent, as everybody’s minds filled with explanations. Michelle looked out the window, Lexi looked down at her lap trying to figure out how to convince her dad to let them go on the trip, and Jacob stared straight ahead, lips tight in concentration. Lexi thought he was angry. Actually, Jacob was trying to figure out a way to stop the inevitable. He truly believed getting Lexi far away from the mountain would save her. How wrong he was.
They dropped Michelle off at her house, and she mouthed, ‘I’ll call you tomorrow,’ to Lexi. It was just passed dark when they pulled into Sunchaser, and Jacob jumped out and began unloading the horses. Lexi walked over to help him, and he said, “Lexi, just go on in the house. I need to think about this. We’ll talk in the morning.”
“I’m sorry, Dad. Please don’t be mad at me.”
He could hear the pain in her voice at the thought she had hurt him, and he turned to see tears threatening to spill. Jacob could not stand that. This was not her fault. “I’m not mad at you, honey. It’s just tough watching you grow up.” He tried to smile. “My stubborn old head has to sort it out.” Jacob hugged her, and then looked into her eyes. “You, go on in and get some sleep. It's been a long day.”
“Okay, Daddy.” Lexi kissed his cheek and strolled slowly towards the house, kicking blades of grass.
“Yes, Dad?” She turned to see her father smiling at her, and she knew everything would be alright.
“That was a good call on the barrels for that black gelding. It was a nice ride.” He knew she had put a lot of extra time on the horse.
“Thanks, Dad.” Lexi smiled and picked up her pace as she walked to her room.
Jacob led the last auction horse into the pasture and wandered into the barn. He walked passed Travis and Judas to the stall on the end. Slowly holding out his hand, the horse stepped forward and rubbed its nose against his palm. “How you doing tonight, Daisy-May?”
He scooped some feed for her, filled her water, and added another flat of hay to the net. The entire time, the horse stood still, staring at him. Jacob looked at the halter, a deeper blue in the shadows, but a definite first place prize for the small mustang. “She’s done well by you. It's a shame our brothers could not get the restrictions in the Red Desert out there in Wyoming that we got on the Pryor range. But you’ll have a good life now, just as we promised.”
Jacob left the barn and gazed across the quiet pastures at the new horses, grazing and milling around while they learned their new surroundings. He inhaled the heavy humid Florida night and sighed. Weariness seemed to crush him while he considered the fifteen year sacrifice he and Vanessa had made to protect Lexi. They should have known it would do no good.

The lights in her room were off, but Jacob thought he could hear her moaning through the opened window. “The damn dreams,” he muttered. He knew they would only get worse, and he was powerless to stop them.


* * * *


The man chased her up the mountain, and she did not try to talk to him this time. The horses galloped faster and she tried not to panic. She was determined to go further into the dream. Just before she got to the clearing, she looked up and down the trail.
Her legs seemed to move on their own volition towards the fire, and she walked to within ten feet and saw someone else standing by the circle of flames. It was an older version of herself, with a large grey wolf sitting beside her. “Come to me, honey,” the woman called. “Lexi, come back to me.”
Lexi looked at the woman, but she did not move towards her. Something about moving ahead made her very nervous. The wolf was gone and the man with the dark hair was standing silently beside her. Lexi glanced back down the trail, and she saw her father standing about fifty feet away with silent tears washing down his tanned cheeks. A herd of horses stood behind him, with the stallion pawing the ground. Her father called out, “Come back. Lexi, please come back to me.”
Jacob was standing over her bed, shaking her shoulders and trying to break the trance she was in. “Lexi, please come back to me. Come on, honey, wake up.” When he had woken to her moaning and walked into her room, his face turned ashen at the familiar expression on her face. It was the same expression he had seen so many times on Vanessa, when he tried to take her from the mountains and the night spirits wrestled in her mind.
“Dad?” Lexi struggled awake. At some point she had begun crying in her sleep. “Daddy, what’s going on? I think I saw Mom in my dream. She had a wolf sitting next to her, and she wanted me to come to her. It scared me.” The chalk pallor to her face and trembling voice attested to her fear.
Jacob sat down on the bed and held her. “Oh, baby, I’m so sorry. It’s alright. It’s going to be alright.” He switched on the light. “Come on out to the living room. I think we need to talk.”
5.0 out of 5 stars
Well written, couldn't put it down! March 31, 2012

By Pamela

A secret of the ages comes alive. Dreams aren't to be ignored. Lexi may be raised far from the mountains where her beloved mustangs roam free but deeply imbedded in her soul is a secret that slowly unravels.

Lexi has a fascination with wolves.Something draws her towards these beautiful beasts. Although her avid love for these creatures seem harmless, her dreams turn nightmarish. Her intrigue and curiosity leads to a summer trip. She soon learns....


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