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New release: Harsh Reality – Elle E. ire

Harsh Reality - Elle E. Ire

QSFer Elle E. Ire has a new FF action-adventure / horror book out: Harsh Reality.

After demon elementals kill the good folks Sheriff Cali McCade has sworn to protect, the last place she expects to find herself is the future.

Cali McCade is happy being the only female sheriff in the West until evil destroys her town of Oblivion and everyone in it. But when a magical creature sends her forward in time, Cali gets a chance for justice—and to stop history from repeating itself.

Now, on the set of Harsh Reality, a television show that challenges average people to survive in historical settings, Cali isn’t just the sheriff of Oblivion—she also plays herself on TV. It isn’t easy to find her path in this new world, but at least she knows what her “character” would do… even if it’s a little strange to be navigating a blooming romance with the woman playing Arlene, her long-lost love.

When the elementals show up to destroy Oblivion all over again, can Cali find a way to defeat the demons, keep her cover, and still ride off into the sunset?

Get It At Amazon | Publisher | B&N | Kob


Chapter 1

“Shee-it, them miners don’t usually head into the saloon drunk.”

Those miners, I thought, Ma’s voice carrying to me from the grave. Being raised by a schoolmarm meant proper speech stuck with you. I resisted the urge to correct my deputy. Again.

Shifting my weight, I let my chair thump forward onto all four of its legs. The porch bore the indentations from years of my abuse, and I rubbed the sole of my leather boot over its uneven surface. Lowering my hat brim against the setting sun, I followed Deputy Baylor’s gaze. Sure enough, a trio of men shambled their way up the main dirt street of Oblivion.

Nothing new about miners coming into town, but as my deputy had pointed out, these three weaved from side to side like the mayor after one of his benders. They dragged their gear behind them in the dust, adding unnecessary damage to picks and shovels. Where were their horses?

Maybe they’d been robbed. Which made them my problem, regardless of whether or not they started any trouble.

A sigh wooshed out of me, and I pushed myself up by the arms of my faithful chair.

“Think we should have a chat with them, Cali?” Baylor’s blue eyes twinkled beneath the brim of his hat and dirty-blond bangs.

My stare fell on Baylor like a bucket of river water in January.

Suddenly, the rail post at the edge of the General Store’s porch seemed particularly interesting to him. “Sorry, Sheriff McCade.”

Everyone knew I preferred to be called “sheriff” while on duty. Hard enough to maintain authority as a woman without drawing extra attention to my too-feminine first name.

I rested a hand on Baylor’s shoulder. “No, I’m sorry, Jake. Just hoping for a nice, quiet Monday, that’s all.”

He stood, his lanky frame too thin for his six feet of height, and watched the trio of miners disappearing through the saloon’s swinging doors. The tinkling of piano keys I’d barely been aware of ceased drifting across to us on the faint breeze.

“Don’t think you’re gonna get it.”

Hank never stopped playing the saloon’s old upright. Not in the late afternoon while trying to draw in the evening crowd.

“Neither do I.” Tucking my shirttail into my dungarees, I set off at a brisk pace down the boardwalks lining the street. Baylor kept pace behind me.

We paused for two horses pulling a creaking wagon to pass, and I took the opportunity to tighten the strip of rawhide holding my long hair in a plaited braid that hung heavy between my shoulder blades. The wagon lumbered on, its noise drowning out any trouble that might have been erupting in the saloon.

“Miss Cali! Deputy Baylor!”

Dang it.

I glanced at the still, wooden doors. No sign of real trouble except the silent piano. I didn’t want to stop. I really didn’t. But there were certain citizens one couldn’t ignore without consequences.

I closed my eyes, counted to three, then pasted on my best Sunday school smile and turned to face the man who’d called to us, aware of Jake doing the same.

To Preacher Xanthis, I would forever be Miss Cali, and Jake would be Deputy Baylor. Shiny stars, especially on a woman, meant nothing in the face of religious propriety. Besides, who could argue with a man whose sanity got called into question more often than a bartender poured whiskey?

I finished my turn, my nose ending up three inches from a bird’s beak, and jerked back to avoid losing a nostril or two.

“Whoops! Sorry, Cali. You startled her, is all. You know how much Pandora likes you.” A harsh squawk begged to differ. Xanthis put a couple of feet between us, pulling his black-sleeved arm against his chest, the perched bird along with it.

Bright gold and scarlet feathers stood out stark against the dark coat fabric. Intense black eyes studied me, head cocking from side to side, giving the impression of a creature of much greater years than the average pet’s lifespan. Whether Pandora “liked” me or not, she certainly found me intriguing. Or maybe tasty. I hoped I’d never find out. That beak looked sharp.

Not for the first time, I wondered what kind of bird she was. Not a parrot, and nothing I’d seen in these parts before.

“Dangerous animals should be kept in cages,” Jake drawled, keeping well clear. I noticed his hand rested on the grip of his six shooter. Seriously? He was going to shoot a twelve-inch-tall bird that hadn’t actually harmed anyone? We needed to have a little chat, later.

“Nothing dangerous about Pandora. You live right by the Lord, and she’ll leave you be.” The preacher stroked her ruffled feathers. “She might speak her mind, but she’s never bitten another good soul. Believe me, I’d know it. If she ever did, it would have a Purpose.”

No humor there, and from the tone, it was Purpose with a capital “P.” I wondered if our crazy preacher thought he’d trained Pandora as some sort of godly guard bird. He carried the darn thing everywhere, even up to the pulpit on Sundays. Why Oblivion’s townsfolk put up with such shenanigans was beyond me, but he was the only preacher we had, and souls, after all, must be saved.

Speaking of saving souls . . . I looked over my shoulder at the saloon across the street. No one had exited or entered the swinging doors after the three miners, and I still didn’t hear any sounds of distress–no breaking glass, no shouting. Maybe I was worried for nothing.

The piano remained silent.

Author Bio

Goldie Award winner Elle Ire writes science fiction and paranormal romance featuring kickass women who fall in love with each other. Her published work includes VICIOUS CIRCLE, the STORM FRONTS trilogy, REEL to REAL LOVE, the NEARLY DEPARTED trilogy, and HARSH REALITY all from DSP Publications. Elle is represented by her agent, Naomi Davis.

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