As with all novels I write, Raven Falls is special due to the heroine having three brothers. I have four. lol
Here's an excerpt to whet your appetite.
‘It’s not something to get excited about Chris. It’s serious.’
‘I’ve never seen a cattle rustler.’
Cameron walked into the room. ‘You don’t want to either. They pack a mean punch.’
‘They look like anyone else, except they steal cattle Chris.’
‘They still pack a mean punch. Detectives from New South Wales and Victoria have joined with Queensland to work together on standardising their enforcement policies. Apparently it’s a specialist field. The rustlers need to know the industry, how to work cattle and they also need to know how to communicate with the people in the industry.’
‘It could be anyone living in the area.’ Samantha looked at Cameron.
‘Basically. The thieves are getting wiser when they move stock. They re-brand them and re-identify them even when they have electronic tags.’
‘It makes it tough for the honest worker,’ Christopher added.
‘It only takes a few hours for them to move stock across the border into Queensland making them harder to trace. It’s a nightmare.’
‘Are we carrying rifles today?’
‘I am. Not sure about you.’ Cameron gave Samantha a sceptical look. ‘What do you think Sam?’
‘One rifle will be fine. It’s not that bad at present. But if things do get worse, we’ll need all the manpower we can get.’
‘There’s been a few occurrences now,’ Cameron said.
‘I’ve only heard of one recently.’
‘It’s a bigger problem than anyone realises. Not all thefts are recorded and not everyone knows they’re losing cattle.’
‘We need to keep a close eye on them.’
‘And I don’t know that? They’re herding stock across the border into Queensland,’ Cameron said.
‘Are we moving some of the cattle up to the top paddocks?’ Christopher asked.
‘The first pipeline’s in and it feeds the lower paddocks. It’s been running for a while now. We’ll check it out. Perhaps put a few hundred head down there, keep the rest up near the high end of the ridge. Rotate them as best as we can.’
Christopher nodded, seemingly enthused by the workload ahead and added, ‘I do know how to shoot, Sam.’
‘I know you do Chris, but for now one rifle is enough.’ Samantha didn’t want an accident to happen, although he was right about being a good shot. Her father had taught him well. After his departure, Cameron took over the job.
‘Mike’s saddling up your horse this time to make sure it’s on right,’ Cameron remarked.
‘What d’ you mean? I had it on right last time.’
‘How come the goddamn thing slipped off and you got a broken arm in the process?’
‘I hit a branch on a tree, and fell off.’
‘Come on you two, it’s over and done with. Just be careful Chris.’
Christopher’s eyes brightened once again. ‘I’m ready to go when you are Cam.’
After breakfast, a knock sounded on the front door.
‘It’s most probably Brad.’
‘What’s he doing here today?’ Samantha’s insides took a dive. She didn’t want to set eyes on him, not after what had happened last night. She made a dash toward the back of the house, and piled some washing into the machine.
Deep masculine voices drifted through the house and she stilled, listening carefully.
‘How’d the hot date go last night?’
‘I thought Sam would have told you all about it.’
‘She didn’t say a word.’
‘It wasn’t a hot date. It was to give her a break from you guys.’
Cameron chuckled. ‘You think we’re too much to handle?’
‘I think being a young woman, looking after three grown men would be draining.’
Annoyed, she tossed more clothes into the washing machine and switched it on to drown out their chatter.