The Havenshire Resistance

Tessa nearly tumbled out of the saddle but grabbed a handful of mane, cursing herself for carelessness.  Sparks quivered and her nostrils flared. 

“What is it, girl?” Tessa whispered and scrutinized the trail for danger.  Nothing seemed wrong.  The leather saddle creaked as she leaned forward and patted the mare’s neck.  “It’s all right.  I don’t see anything.”  With a jab of her heel, she urged Sparks to move forward, but the mare whinnied, planted her hooves, and refused to budge.

Tessa’s heart thudded. 

The dense woods felt oppressive, terrifying.  What could she do?  Hours from home with unknown danger lurking ahead, she frantically searched the landscape to gain her bearings.  She saw no familiar landmarks, having lost track of her location while she dozed, but abandoning the trail might prove deadly.  A wrong turn could plunge them over a precipice or get them stuck in a springtime bog.  

She must face the danger head on.  Clutching her hunting knife she held her breath and listened.  Except for the horse’s snorts and the pounding of her heart, the woods were deadly silent—a sure sign of trouble.  What an idiot I am!  I missed nature’s warning signs by falling asleep.

Leaves rustled.  A dark body moving through the undergrowth drew her attention but disappeared behind a bush.  Tessa stiffened and Sparks jerked her head high, her ears pinned back.  Trenton trained his horses to stand absolutely still when he braced for an attack, and Sparks became a statue. 

A twig snapped. 

Look up!  Look at the branch.  The mental command startled Tessa and she stared at the branch. 

A snakelike tail twitched across the top of the branch, betraying a thick body hunched against the dark wood.  Tessa angled her knife blade into the sun and flashed light into the shadows.  She saw large almond eyes and the white fangs of a mountain lion. 

The branch exploded and a snarling yowl shattered the silence. 

Tessa jerked on her reins and Sparks reared, striking at the hated creature with her hooves.  Razor-sharp claws slashed at Tessa but missed as she tumbled out of the saddle. Claws scraped across the leather saddle, while Sparks whinnied and her hooves raked the turf.  Tessa hit the ground and rolled, amazed that she still clutched the knife.  She crouched, ready for another attack.  A dark shape blurred in the perimeter of Tessa’s vision—the lion’s mate?

Synopsis

Tessa nearly tumbled out of the saddle but grabbed a handful of mane, cursing herself for carelessness.  Sparks quivered and her nostrils flared. 

“What is it, girl?” Tessa whispered and scrutinized the trail for danger.  Nothing seemed wrong.  The leather saddle creaked as she leaned forward and patted the mare’s neck.  “It’s all right.  I don’t see anything.”  With a jab of her heel, she urged Sparks to move forward, but the mare whinnied, planted her hooves, and refused to budge.

Tessa’s heart thudded. 

The dense woods felt oppressive, terrifying.  What could she do?  Hours from home with unknown danger lurking ahead, she frantically searched the landscape to gain her bearings.  She saw no familiar landmarks, having lost track of her location while she dozed, but abandoning the trail might prove deadly.  A wrong turn could plunge them over a precipice or get them stuck in a springtime bog.  

She must face the danger head on.  Clutching her hunting knife she held her breath and listened.  Except for the horse’s snorts and the pounding of her heart, the woods were deadly silent—a sure sign of trouble.  What an idiot I am!  I missed nature’s warning signs by falling asleep.

Leaves rustled.  A dark body moving through the undergrowth drew her attention but disappeared behind a bush.  Tessa stiffened and Sparks jerked her head high, her ears pinned back.  Trenton trained his horses to stand absolutely still when he braced for an attack, and Sparks became a statue. 

A twig snapped. 

Look up!  Look at the branch.  The mental command startled Tessa and she stared at the branch. 

A snakelike tail twitched across the top of the branch, betraying a thick body hunched against the dark wood.  Tessa angled her knife blade into the sun and flashed light into the shadows.  She saw large almond eyes and the white fangs of a mountain lion. 

The branch exploded and a snarling yowl shattered the silence. 

Tessa jerked on her reins and Sparks reared, striking at the hated creature with her hooves.  Razor-sharp claws slashed at Tessa but missed as she tumbled out of the saddle. Claws scraped across the leather saddle, while Sparks whinnied and her hooves raked the turf.  Tessa hit the ground and rolled, amazed that she still clutched the knife.  She crouched, ready for another attack.  A dark shape blurred in the perimeter of Tessa’s vision—the lion’s mate?

Diane Rapp became an entrepreneur when she started her own dog grooming salon in Santa Barbara, California. She spent the next thirty years as a small business owner; she sold real estate, started an office supply/copy center, and performed free-lance advertising design.