Beyond The Pass - by James Stoness

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Book Two of the Sykes Saga

Beyond The Pass Novel Cover

The real southwest comes alive beneath the creative hands of one of North America's newest writers. James Stoness brings you the romance and excitement as could only have existed in the 1800's.

Ride with Matt Sykes in this exciting tale of danger and romance in the untamed lands of the southwest.

Mathew Sykes has decided to return to the mountains to start a cattle ranch and begins the quest to find a crew, and a herd. Unknown to Matt, a couple of outlaws still exist from the gang that pursued him from his gold discovery, and they are determined to relieve Matt of his gold. When they find out that Matt has purchased a large herd, they decide to rustle it somewhere on the trail and hightail it for Mexico.

Matt's problems really begin once he begins the long trail drive to the ranch's location in the mountains a trip of several weeks. Bad river crossings take their toll, and almost take the life of Chrisy and Matt. A lightening started stampede stomps out the life of some of their cowboys, but they keep on, and eventually ride into a beautiful green valley, just beyond the pass.

The next few months are frantically busy as they set up living quarters, set aside hayfields, and develop the new ranch. And even as they do, the outlaws are hiding in the hills waiting for the opportunity to take the cattle; only a more ominous note emerges. The plan may change to taking over the ranch and disposing of the occupants.

How can Matt protect his place and his loved ones from a threat he doesn't even know exists? Come with him as unexpected help arrives at his side. But will it be enough? Only time and the smell of gunsmoke will tell.

From The Book:

That was enough for the frightened cattle. As of one mind they began to run, from a dead stop to full speed in a moment, and strangely enough most of them in the same direction.

Shouts went up, "Ride with them. Don't get caught. Ride for your lives."

A scream rent the air as a horse was pulled under, his unfortunate rider buried in the fury of hooves. Then another. Several other cowboys angled their fleeing horses toward the side of the solidly packed mass of cattle. Flashing, long horns clacked and crashed as the cattle ran tightly together. Cull looked ahead of him to see a horse starting to sag after being speared in the midribs by an immense steer. He spurred his own horse towards the mishap and grabbed the cowboy from the saddle just as the horse disappeared into the sea of mud. A frenzied cow came directly at him and just as a collision seemed inevitable Cull shot the animal in the head. He shot two more thus creating a small path towards safety. Again he spurred his rapidly tiring horse into the small gap left by the two falling cattle and bit by bit was able to attain the edge of the surging column of animals. His horse stood there, barely able to get its breath, for surely its superb effort had just saved its own life as well as those of its two riders.

"Thanks, boss. I was shor' done for," blurted out the ashen faced cowboy, when he was at last able to speak.

Cull gave a nervous laugh. "I guess I wasn't ready to let that red devil take you away from us just yet. We have a mighty long way to go, and we need you to help us."

The cattle had all passed, and Cull moved his unwilling mount toward the temporary camp. Dread filled him about what he might find at the wagons. The unprotected girls had been sheltering from the rain and the winds in the wagons. Slowly Cull approached the camp. A mass of confusion met his beleaguered eyes. A few calves stood bawling mournfully for their missing mothers. The chuck wagon toppled onto one side, a wheel slowly revolving on its axle. The sounds of pounding came from its interior. No one else seemed to be around. Evidently, he was the first to arrive after the stampede.

"Cowboy, you look into that wagon, and I'll go see about the girls," Cull commanded.

d another low down on his chest. Stanching the flow of blood with his bandanna, Matt picked the man up and moved him down the stream toward Beaver Creek. He hoped to find a shelter that would offer more protection to them and also water for cleansing the man’s wounds.


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