Author: Nya Rawlyns
Book: The Eagle and the Fox
Series: A Snowy Range Mystery, Book #1
Page/Word Count: 274
Categories: Contemporary Romance, Cowboys & Westerns, Gay Romance, Mystery & Suspense
Release Date: June 9, 2015
Publisher: Jade Horse Publishing
Cover Artist: Dreams2Media
Kit Golden Eagle is running. From poverty, from abuse. Forced to live by his wits, the Ojibwe teen slowly succumbs to living a life of hate and lies.
Josiah Foxglove is given a second chance when he takes over his family’s spread in the shadow of the Snowy Range. A veteran of the Gulf War, he came back broken in body and spirit.
Marcus Colton buried his long-time lover and best friend three years ago. Lonely and still grieving, Marcus finds solace in keeping his business afloat but that doesn’t help him get through the long, dark nights.
Three damaged souls converge as violence wracks the small community of Centurion, WY. The town protects its own so when Kit Golden Eagle shows up, it’s easy to place blame on the stranger. It looks open and shut, but for Josiah and Marcus the facts simply don’t add up.
Something’s rotten in Centurion, something that smacks of a hate crime…
Marcus whispered. He wasn’t sure why he did, but it seemed appropriate, although his idea of stakeouts was limited to what he’d seen on TV. The actors always complained it was boring. It wasn’t, not if your stomach was tied into knots, and the whiskey you chugged in a fit of pique decided to revisit you in the form of acid reflux.
Josh hissed through the speaker, “Don’t know if we missed him, or if I’m farting in a stiff breeze.”
Josh snorted, the sound rocketing through the cab and sending Marcus into a giggling jag. He’d barely gotten himself under control when Josh yelped, “Sunny bitch. I think I see the van. Damn fool’s coming down that mountain dark. Jesus Christ.”
Marcus warned, “Best not to start our engines until he’s made the turn and gets ahead of us.”
“Copy that. I’ll take point. Stay back. I don’t want you running up my ass if I have to stop fast.”
“You’re making it hard to concentrate, cowboy.” They’d been teasing each other, slinging innuendo like hash at a country diner. It had helped diffuse the tension.
Josh murmured, “Here he comes.” Marcus tensed, waiting. “What the hell?”
“What? What’s going on?”
“He just flashed his left turn signal.”
Marcus frowned, perplexed. “That’s kind of dumb. Why’d he do that?”
“Signal? Who for crying out loud? We’re the only idjits out here.”
“Maybe we aren’t.”
4✨s – I’m not sure why I hadn’t read this before, since I’ve enjoyed many other books the author has written. Nya Rawlyns offers a true sense of western life and small town community, descriptions of both landscape and characters feeling natural and authentic. I love mysteries accompanied by action and adventure and a romance between mature characters was the crowning touch in this tale. At 47, Marcus has mourned the loss of his never publicly acknowledged partner Tommy, for three years. Josiah, 38 years old, came home two years ago from war, damaged and scarred, confining his life to the care of his sister, her kids and their horse ranch. Marcus’s helper at his feed store is a teen girl named Petilune, who seems to be mentally challenged in some way. Marcus tries to watch out for her and help the best he can because her family life is so terrible. She is also the lynchpin of the entire narrative. Kit Golden Eagle has an influence in her life as well but remains an enigmatic figure, his role never fully revealed.
Josiah and Marcus have tiptoed around each other for a long time, uncertain of each other’s sexuality and lacking confidence. Trouble surrounding Petilune finally draws them into a slow dance to become a couple, all while trying to unravel the cause of trouble in their town. The mystery did overshadow the romance but when it becomes the focus, Josiah and Marcus are so beautifully real. Their shyness in revealing their aged and battered bodies and delight in how aroused they can make each other was delightful to read. Josiah’s sister and their various friends in town are well rounded as characters, surprising in the level of empathy and understanding they offer. The pace did seem a little slow at times but would then lead to a crucial point in the mystery while also adding detail to Josiah and Marcus’ building romance.
I was so invested in reading this, since I wanted the puzzle solved, got plenty of excitement and I just adored Josiah and Marcus as a couple. There were some difficulties that kept this from being a five star read. A minor point is the blurb mentioning Josiah returning from the Gulf War, which occurred in the early 90’s, yet the ubiquitous use of cell phones makes me think it should be the Iraq war. A major problem I had was how much was left unresolved when the story ended. I can’t figure out if it was deliberate, allowing the reader to imagine their own answers or if there was, or is, a follow-up yet to come. In reading the blurb for book two, it does not appear to be related to this story at all but perhaps I’m wrong; either way, I’ll absolutely read it. The fault in the ending did not take away from my enjoyment of the story overall. I wholeheartedly recommend this book, because of the romantic elements, sense of place and the quality of the writing.
About Nya Rawlyns:
Nya Rawlyns has been writing for over fifteen years across a variety of genres – suspense/mystery, contemporary western, romance, romantic comedy, women’s fiction, literary fiction and contemporary young adult fantasy. A lifelong equestrienne, she has competed in dressage and distance riding. Her love affair with words began as a young child and continues unabated. She lives in Pennsylvania with her daughter, horses, cats, chickens and has a family of friends and supporters who provide not just inspiration but absolute belief in her characters and stories. Most days she can be found daydreaming and listening to the voices in her head.
Interview with Nya Rawlyns:
- What was the inspiration behind The Eagle and the Fox? I’ve had the good fortune to have spent time riding and exploring in and around the Snowy Range area in South Central Wyoming. From the scenic byway threading the mountain passes east to the vast, rolling rangeland stretching to Laramie and beyond, on horseback or by truck, the land, its hard-working people and its stark beauty gifted me with unforgettable memories.In The Eagle and the Fox, two men shaped by the tragedies in their lives and the harsh realities of surviving in an unforgiving landscape, rediscover the meaning of friendship and the power of opening their hearts once again. Anyone who has ever been to this place, met and talked to its people, would immediately recognize these men: strong, resilient, steadfast and loyal, brave to the point of recklessness, and protective of their own – be it their families, their land, or the creatures under their care.
In a way, writing their story is my way of paying homage to a place that’s forever etched into the very fabric of my soul. The Eagle and the Fox is a story of second chances, of friendship and love, and above all… respect.
- What is your writing process? Total. Immersion.I am what you call a pantser: a sit-down, open page, go to that alt universe where stories and characters marinate, invite them in for a drink and some good gossip, take notes and then write! Easy peasy.
Or not, mostly not.
Talk about marinate… I often spend weeks mulling over this and that – scenes, how characters sound, their quirks, their backstories. And slowly, from the opening line to the final scene, a direction emerges, the path often weed-strewn and ill-defined.
Where some authors produce extensive plot outlines, I do biographies of all the major characters. It usually amounts to TMI which then must be wrangled into a tidy packet of my-eyes-only to avoid info dumps on unsuspecting readers.
Most of my stories are character-driven, though with a suspense-mystery it’s nice to have a plot, too. Hitting that balance can be tough and it’s one of the things that makes writing a joy and a challenge.
- What do you think makes a good story? Conflict (internal or external, typically both), authenticity derived from experience or solid research, realistic characters (especially the ones you love to hate), an ebb and flow to the narrative structure, a credible plot (it can be simple or complex, but it must be convincing), though mostly… it must have heart.Make me sigh, make me cry… I will follow an author anywhere if I ugly cry… make me laugh or cringe in terror or shout to the high heavens you can’t do that to him! Make me care.
- Do you have any strange writing habits or rituals? All writers are strange in their own delightful ways. I’m no different. My quirks: losing sense of time, forgetting to eat, dress, pay bills, waking up in the middle of the night and racing to my laptop before the newly revealed pivotal scene fades away (it always does as I’m too creaky to actually do any “racing” nowadays). You know… the usual.
- What can readers expect from you next? I’ve been on hiatus for a few months, turning my creative energies toward the kitchen and culinary experimentation. I share my adventures on FaceBook (and misadventures, because there’s nothing quite like forgetting you are hard-boiling eggs to put life in perspective and the fire company’s number on speed dial). I enjoy the instant gratification, the thumbs up or down from my daughter (mercy, everybody’s a critic!), and a sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing I made healthy choices that actually taste pretty good. But, the wild west’s siren call cannot be denied forever. I’m in phase 2 of the mulling process with completed biographies for the actors, along with a clear idea about where the story will take place and that it will be a seasoned romance about reconciliation and acceptance. Working title: Saving Sheridan.