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Authors: Austina Love

Tags: #Paranormal, Romance, Ghost, Shapeshifter

RainRiders

BOOK: RainRiders
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Table of Contents

Title Page

The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

Rain Riders

For my beloved Austin whose spirit lights my way.

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

About the Author

Summoned from beyond the grave, the Rain Riders strike terror into the men chasing Shye. But will she get her farm back before the angered spirits kill the man holding the deed?

Drug runners have taken over Shye’s land in an underhanded scheme. Even worse, a man she’d called a friend has issued an ultimatum. With only seven days to make a life changing decision, she struggles to find a way out and Trip worries that she’s in too deep. His attempts to protect her fail when the Ghost Dancer calls to her again. Will Shye want to come back after riding with spirits of the greatest warriors in history?

While preparing the soil for their new crops, a group of cynical men defile an ancient Native American burial ground. What they unearth amuses them as they make plans to sell the artifact for big money. Their greed invokes a supernatural force unlike any other. Can they undo their mistake before the Rain Riders take their souls?

The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Rain Riders

Copyright © 2013
Austina Love

ISBN: 978-1-77111-491-2

Cover art by Martine Jardin

All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.

Published by Devine Destinies

An imprint of eXtasy Books

Look for us online at:

www.devinedestinies.com

Rain Riders

Sweet Hitchhiker 4

By

Austina Love

For my beloved Austin whose spirit lights my way.

With respect to my Native American ancestors most of whom I have never met. While writing this book I heard the drums of my past and experienced a reawakening in my soul. Though I do not resemble them in appearance, their spirit is in my blood. Visions I saw can only be attributed to my connection to those who walked before me.

Everything I describe regarding Native Americans in this book came from my imagination and visions from my mind.

Special thank you to my readers. My wish is that you feel the story and become swept away by the mystical aura I felt when writing it.

To Jay, thank you for everything.

Chapter One

“Hey, Draven, you should take a look at this.”

Pike turned his head sharply. “Just get back to work. We’re not out here to piss around. If we don’t get the last of these seeds in before the next rain we may not have a crop to sell. Carter’s incompetence already set us back.” He studied the men in his crew for a second. They had all gathered in a tight circle and were openly fascinated by something.

“I’m serious, man, this thing is cool. Looks like it’s been here a long time.”

At that, Pike’s interest piqued. Dollar signs flashed before his eyes. Casually he strolled over to the group, not wanting to look overly interested in their find. So far the cultivating had gone slow. Clearing plots of ground in the thicket was much more difficult than plowing an open field. But they couldn’t plant their crops in plain view.
No…cash crops of this nature needed a bit of camouflage.

“What do ya have?” He nudged his way into the circle. “A stick? You stopped working to play with a damn stick? I swear all you lazy asses have done is piss around looking for useless Indian relics.”

“No…listen…” Aiden, one of the workers, held the long stick up then slowly flipped it end over end. “Sounds like water. We found it while digging over there.” He pointed to a patch of mossy soil in the thicket. “It was buried under layers of rocks and practically molded to the ground. I can’t believe what awesome condition this piece is in.”

Pike moved in for a closer look. The stick was about four feet long and resembled a tall thin cactus thick enough to wrap one hand around. Upon closer inspection he noticed many tiny holes where the cactus spines had been. Both ends were sealed with a carved handle on one end while the other end was blunt as if used for walking.

“What the hell is it?” he asked, captivated by the sound it made when turned upside down and back again.

“A rain stick,” Aiden replied. “Native Americans use them in dances to summon rain. But I’ve never seen one crafted like this. It looks ancient. Rain sticks made today are more polished and decorative. This one is extremely primitive, yet skillfully made.”

“Really…let me see that thing.” Pike said with skepticism, taking the peculiar branch into his own hands. “I don’t buy into those Indian legends, nothing but tales of old men.” He scoffed while giving the stick a good going over. It definitely felt and looked like cactus tree and in spite of its age was still solid and carried a slight sheen. “Wonder what they used to preserve it and how they got it to sound like water’s inside.”

“I have no idea what could’ve preserved it this long. But the way they create the unique sound is by pushing the cactus needles though the branch.” Aiden used one finger to direct his attention to the numerous pinholes. “The branches are hollow so before sealing them the craftsman would place pebbles inside, then seal it back up with a handle on top and a solid piece on the bottom. The cactus needles and pebbles rolling from end to end emulate the sound of rain. Typically, something like this wouldn’t have survived buried in soil all these years. It must carry powerful medicine to remain perfectly preserved for so long.”

Pike shot Aiden a curious look. “How do you know so much?”

“I’ve lived in the Black Hills all my life. Been to a lot of Native American gatherings. Have a lot of Indian friends. You didn’t tell us this land had been owned by them.”

“Eh, just some Indian chick and her family. Not like a whole tribe lived here.”

Aiden raised questioning brows. “You don’t find handmade instruments used in ceremony just anywhere. Pieces like this are usually crafted by a medicine man or tribal elder, then buried with them when they leave this world to join their ancestors.”

“What are you saying? That we’ve stumbled upon a priceless artifact?”

With a shake of his head, Aiden’s expression deepened. “What I’m saying is that we’ve disturbed sacred ground. This had to have been a burial site and we’ve gone and desecrated it. I suggest we place the stick back where we found it and move our crops to another part of the property.”

“Yeah right.” Pike laughed. “One—this is the most remote place on the farm and two, the soil is perfect. We’ve got just enough tree coverage to hide the crops yet let in sufficient sun. I’m not moving the site just because you found one old Indian relic.” He flipped the stick again, only slower this time to hear the needles inside fall from one end to the other and mimic the sound of rain. “And we’re not putting it back. Whoever owned this thing is long gone…they won’t need it now.” His comment drew laughter from the other men. “This little find is probably worth some serious money.”

“You’re joking, right?” Aiden reached for the stick. “We should put it back and hope the spirits will overlook the disturbance.”

“Hell no.” Pike jerked the instrument away. “Keep working. Maybe we’ll find more valuable shit in this Indian backland.”

“Forget you!” Aiden backed away. “I already put my ass on the line taking this job. I used to lease this land to plant corn. When Carter took over this farm he put me out of work. I have a wife and kids to consider. I’m not placing them in harm’s way. I’ll find another job somewhere.”

“You’re gonna give up all this money because of some Indian relic?”

The look in Aiden’s eyes was somewhat unsettling. “Ain’t no amount of money worth losing your soul to the Rain Riders.”

“Say what?” Pike arched his brows in disbelief. “You really let those redskins get inside your head, man.” He cast a glance over his crew. “If any of you pussies feel the same as Aiden here, speak up now or get back to work. We’ve already stalled enough.”

The men looked from one to the other then at Aiden. One more crewmember stepped from the group. “I’d rather play it safe,” he said. “I’ve got a sweet little fiancé. I’m not willing to take more risks than I already have.”

“Anyone else?” Pike bellowed while glaring at the two cowards.

Nobody else spoke up. They shook their heads and moved back.

“Good, now get your asses back to work. I want these seeds in by dusk.” He turned toward Aiden and the other man. “I don’t usually allow men to leave once they’ve signed on. But since this might be a religious thing you can go. I don’t need trouble with spiritual leaders and such. You know the deal. Keep your damn mouths shut about everything including this rare relic here.” He gave the stick a shake. “If I find out you’ve uttered a word, your ass will be mine, got it?”

The two of them nodded in silence.

“Now get the hell out and don’t look back,” Pike told them.

They made haste leaving the area and disappeared within minutes over the sloping hills.

“Wusses,” he muttered under his breath while walking over to the site to have a look around. “If anyone stumbles across more Indian items, I want to see them. This land does not belong to you so don’t get any stupid ideas of stealing valuable finds. Anything found gets turned over to me.”

“The farm doesn’t belong to you either,” one man dared to point out.

“I’m the boss. Just because I don’t hold the deed doesn’t mean shit. Gage wouldn’t have a clue on how to run this business without me so don’t any of you forget it.”

A flurry of nods and surreptitious looks spread among the group but they relented and returned to working the ground. Pike supervised the handling of seeds and kept a close eye out for any more archeological finds. They day wore on with no additional discoveries. As the sun sunk into the western Dakota skies, a blood red moon took its place, inching into the dusky horizon. Pike decided to call it a day.

“All right, let’s clean up and clear out,” he ordered.

Quickly and in orderly fashion the crew finished their current tasks then made sure no tools or visible evidence of their presence had been left behind before hopping into the back of the pickup truck. Pike tossed the rain stick onto the seat beside him and drove everyone down to the house.

Gage was waiting when they parked near the front porch and piled out of the truck. “What’s that you’re carrying?”

“Ah, some Indian relic the men found while digging up the soil,” Pike replied with a casual shrug. “Aiden got spooked and took off, him and another guy.”

“What if they talk?”

“Everyone who works for me knows what happens if they go shooting off at the mouth.”

“That branch must be something significant if two of your men got spooked and walked off the job. They won’t find money like this anywhere else around here.”

“Aiden’s been living among the Indians too long.” Pike laughed. “He’s all brainwashed into thinking some ancient relic buried with them is gonna stir up the dead or something. He was babbling about this stick and other bullshit. I figured this little find might bring in a nice price at auction.” He held up the rain stick and flipped it over. “Check it out…gotta hand it to those natives, they made pretty cool shit at times. Never saw anything like this.”

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