Whether you have been with us from the beginning or are meeting us for the first time, it brings me great joy to have you here, for you are now a part of the Gallagher family. I do not know what I had once imagined would happen to this delightful group of people when I first met them, but with each story came new ideas and characters with whom I was not ready to part. Wild Montana Winds experienced many changes over the course of its writing. I always knew the story would be about Colton Dawson: ranch hand, tracker, mountain man, and of course a member of the Hawk’s Peak family.
The woman meant for Colton changed a few times in my mind. All the others in this series had met their perfect match, and I could not rest until Colton found his. Ainslee McConnell proved to be that match—and then some. I love them together and I love them as individuals, proving once again that Hawk’s Peak is one of my favorite places to spend time.
You will meet previous characters and read mention of events from the first five Montana Gallagher books. They are here to enhance Colton and Ainslee’s story, for neither would have his or her own tale without those who came before.
Did you know: "In the winter of 1807-08, a mountain man named John Colter traveled solo into the Grand Tetons. He became the first person of European descent to see that mountain range and the area that later became Yellowstone National Park." (The Mountain Men of Montana) Now, Colton isn't as hardcore as men like John Colter, but I like to think he could hold his own in their company.
Excerpt from Wild Montana Winds
The men scrambled, one of them reaching for the woman again. She raised her arm, holding something Colton couldn’t identify, and brought her hand down onto one of her attacker’s arms. A loud shriek followed. The woman lifted her skirts and jumped from the buckboard.
Colton swore and rushed toward them, firing another two shots at the fleeing man, who caught a bullet in the shoulder. The woman ran away from the wagon—away from him. Impressive considering her skirts. Knowing what awaited her if left to her own defenses, Colton abandoned the bleeding culprits in favor of going after her.
She spun around and threw a knife, narrowly missing him.
“I’m not going to hurt you!” Colton brought his horse up alongside her and cut her off. Sliding off the animal’s back, he held up his hands, one still holding the rifle. “I’m not going to hurt you,” he repeated.
“Och, I’m to believe ye?”
Colton turned his back on her, a sure sign of trust, and slid the rifle into its scabbard. When he faced her again, she’d backed away another half a dozen feet.
She raised a neat brow and pointed to his hip. “Ye’r still armed.”
“And you almost killed me with your knife.”
“’Tis a dirk.”
He studied her with both curiosity and interest. Her thick curls of dark hickory hair fell loose and free around her shoulders, tangled from the wind and her struggles with her attackers. He moved his eyes over her, from the brown leather boots peeking beneath her full skirts, over her bodice and face, stopping at her eyes. They were almost the same shade of grayish-blue as her dress.
Colton knew the voice, or one similar, and he hadn’t heard the likes of it since Brenna Cameron, now Brenna Gallagher, arrived at Hawk’s Peak less than three years earlier. “Your dirk almost hit me. Either you have good aim or you got lucky.”
She smirked as though daring him to guess which.
“I’d like to go back and tie those men up before they hightail it.” Colton looked beyond her shoulder. “Then again, it appears to be too late for that.”
“Then ye should have gone after them instead of me.”
“I don’t care if they live or die.”
Excerpt from Journey to Hawk's Peak copyright © MK McClintock
I hope you make time every now and then to escape into a good book and relax with a pot of tea, or your beverage of choice, and a tasty treat.
The Tea: Moringa with Spearmint & Sage from Traditional Medicinals
The Treat: Apple Cupcakes with Pecan Streusel (recipe below)
The Book: Wild Montana Winds, book 6 of the Montana Gallagher series.