Saturday, August 20, 2016


by Molly Noble Bull

Dr. Rey Gonzalez is a medical doctor with a Law degree, and he won the Republican primary in the 34th Congressional District of Texas. I live in that district, and I am endorsing him in his bid for the U.S. Congress in the coming general election in November 2016.
Welcome, Dr. Gonzalez. It is such an honor to have you here.

Dr. G.: 
Thank you, Molly. You know, I figured that running for office would bring many unexpected experiences. One of them has turned out to be my opportunity to meet fellow Texans who love their state and country as much as I do, and who I would otherwise never have had the pleasure to meet had I not decided to run for public office. You’re one such Texan, Molly, and I’m happy to be here.

Like everything in Texas, ours is a big district. You live in Brownsville which is way down at the tip of Texas—as far south as you can get and still be in the state. I live two hours north of you, and northerners need to learn more about you.  
So let us begin. Tell us all about Rey Gonzalez, including your early life and family.

Dr. G.:
My full name is Reynaldo Gonzalesz Jr., although I’ve always gone by just “Rey.” I was born and raised in San Benito, Texas, a small town in the Rio Grande Valley. I was brought up in a pastoral home, being that my parents have been pastors of a church since before I was born. They still pastor. I have one older sister and a younger brother. I was educated in public schools up through and including high school. After high school I attended Baylor University where in 2002 I earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics and Pre-Med Studies. At the age of 21, I became the youngest adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Brownsville. I taught for one year until I was accepted to medical school. During the year that I taught at the university, I obtained my private pilot license, accomplishing a childhood dream of one day learning how to fly an airplane. I graduated from medical school with an M.D. degree in 2008, which is the same year that I enrolled in law school. I graduated from law school with a J.D. degree in 2010, finishing all three years of law school in exactly 24 months.  
I am single, 36 years old and my hobbies include traveling and piloting airplanes. I have taught Sunday school to the youth and young adults at my church for many years. I often plan my trips, both business and personal, around my Sunday schedule in order to be home in time to exercise the privilege of teaching this class.
Professionally, I am a sole practitioner in my law practice in south Texas, utilizing my knowledge of medicine to help my personal injury clients obtain justice. Today, I am a candidate for Congress because no longer can I stand by only complaining about the direction my country is going without taking an active role in demanding a return to reasonableness, to wholesomeness and a respect for our traditional values.

Thanks. As a pro-family—prolife Christian and an issues voter with a love for the U.S. Constitution, I would like to begin with the social issues. Tell your views on abortion, especially later term abortion, gay marriage, unisex bathrooms, etc. (I hope you write a lot here, but answer only what you feel comfortable answering.)

Dr. G.:
I too am a pro-family, pro-life Christian. Elective abortion, except for the purpose of saving the mother’s life, is the single-most abhorrent practice to the art of medicine and has become a terrible stain on the moral fabric of our country. The world has seen other terrible practices in the past. For example, in some countries, euthanasia (doctor assisted suicide) is legal and doctors help their patients die, violating the most sacred trust society has endowed them with: to preserve life. Another terrible practice which the world has seen is forced-sterilization, justified by those in the eugenics movement. Forced sterilization is the practice of forcing someone deemed to be “inferior” in some personal trait to undergo surgery to permanently prevent them from having children, thereby preventing the passing of their “bad genes” to the next generation. This idea was used by Nazi Germany as a justification for its mass murder as they attempted to create a perfect race. I would place abortion on the same level as those practices except for one key difference: abortion is an injustice committed against the most defenseless among us - the unborn child; and for the mere reason of convenience. Because of those differences, I place abortion a level higher than euthanasia and eugenics on the scale of abhorrent practices.
As a physician, I have taken an oath to preserve life; to do no harm. The Pro-Choice movement’s argument citing a woman’s right to self-determination is invalid because it ignores that the unborn child is a separate person, with its own heart beat and distinct blood type and finger prints – thus, not the woman’s “self.” Late term abortion is no more repulsive than abortion at any other time during the term of the pregnancy because life is precious at all stages, from conception to natural death.
Congressman Vela has tried to appeal to the conservatives in our district by portraying himself a center-left democrat, opposing some democrat-supported bills. But his occasional opposition to a democrat-supported bill is never one which makes a difference in the outcome of the bill. It only serves him to have something to show his conservative constituents during his re-election bid. If he were truly a conservative, however, he would oppose bills that were of consequence to the conservative movement. For example, when given the opportunity to oppose the funding of Planned Parenthood, even after the revelation of Planned Parenthood’s policy on the sale of aborted fetal tissue, Mr. Vela voted with Nancy Pelosi to fund Planned Parenthood. I would vote to completely defund Planned Parenthood and instead support the funding of other organizations which could use the funds to support all of the other services which Planned Parenthood currently provides which are not related to abortion and which are, admittedly, necessary and of great value to women throughout the district.
On homosexual marriage. I oppose all marriages which are not consistent with God’s definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. I caution conservatives against opposing things with specificity because then you would have to oppose a long list of practices, such as: homosexual marriage, polygamy, marriage to an inanimate object, marriage to your pet, etc. Instead I find it prudent to state what I do support. I support traditional marriage. I support the wholesomeness of the family environment which a traditional marriage creates for children and which a homosexual marriage cannot provide, despite all arguments or anecdotal “evidence” to the contrary. A good rule of thumb that has helped guide me is: If God has defined something, use His definition. God has defined marriage and He has not asked for our help to update its definition.
Americans who are homosexual, transgender, or bi-sexual are, no doubt, Americans with rights worthy of protection. But these Americans do not have special rights which supersede the rights of other Americans. The President’s recent order to require all public places, including public elementary schools, to allow grown men to use girls’ restrooms if they “feel” like a woman would have surprised me years ago, but under the current political environment, it didn’t. There are two points to be made here: First, granting this right to LGBT Americans clearly violates the rights of privacy of little girls (also Americans) to use a restroom outside the presence of a man. Second, this order is a solution to a problem which the LGBT community created in the first place. One cannot kill one’s parents and then reasonably expect to receive sympathy based on one’s new status of orphan. Similarly, the LGBT crusade has created a problem where none existed, then called their creation a civil rights violation, followed by a nonsensical “solution” which only serves to further entrench proponents of either side of the debate. On final analysis, this arbitrary order to correct a fictitious civil rights violation gives rise to a true violation of girls’ rights to privacy. So, to make my stance on the issue clear, I stand with the overwhelming majority of Texans when I state that Texans were never confused about what restroom we should use and I reject the left’s attempt to inject confusion and create a new civil right. We Texans are more than capable of clearing up any confusion on that issue, ourselves, if any confusion about restrooms ever did become a real issue. Until then, we are right to challenge the President’s order and insist that truly consequential issues, such as immigration reform and the threat of terrorism, become the President’s focus.

For several generations, my family have made their home in South Texas, and my father and grandfather were Texas ranch cowboys. I learned at an early age that the people who crossed the river into Texas from Mexico were kind, gentle people and that we were to help them with anything they needed—food, clothing, whatever. But not all those crossing that river today are kind and gentle. Some came from China and the Middle East. Tell your thoughts on the immigration problems Texas faces today. Should we build a wall? If not, what?

Dr. G.:
If a patient comes into the emergency room complaining of generalized swelling, admitting that she simply did not feel like going to her dialysis appointments in the last week, the solution is pretty easy – get her to dialysis. If, however, she tells the doctor that aside from the swelling, she is bleeding profusely from a gash under her blouse, then the gash becomes the priority. You don’t need to be a doctor to know this. A similar priority-shifting analysis applies to our immigration policy problem. The fact that immigrants are coming illegally to the United States is a problem. That immigration reform is needed is obvious, and many administrations have attempted to fix our immigration policy shortcomings without success. However, the most pressing issue, sticking with the bleeding-patient analogy, is the hemorrhaging occurring right this moment. The porous border is our bleeding gash – it requires attention first. In light of recent intelligence reports in which terrorists have already planned on using the southern border to gain access to the United States, securing the border is not only an immigration issue, but a national security issue of the highest order.
As your question suggested, Americans are a generous people. We give aid after catastrophes anywhere in the world. We defend basic human rights to anyone in the United States, regardless of their immigration status. But when our veterans suffer hunger and are made to wait 6 months before they get seen by a doctor at the VA, but illegal immigrants get concierge service at free clinics and free medicines and groceries, something is terribly wrong.
I will not pretend to know what the solution is – whether it is building a wall or some other mechanism. I have learned throughout the years that one of the most valuable tools in the toolbox of a problem-solver is the ability to say, “I don’t know.” There are professional men and women in the border security world who could best advise Congress and The President as to how to best secure the border. Instead of declaring the solution off the cuff, I advocate for listening to those experienced professionals and implement their suggestions.  

National defense is a very important issue to the people I know, and our military has been gutted. Bases have closed or are closing; the Grid is unreliable, and though our military is still filled with good honest people, it is becoming more of a social action group than defenders of our freedom. How do you feel about this issue, and what do you hope to do to fix this problem?

Dr. G.:
I agree that our military’s preparedness is at its lowest state it has ever been, not to mention the deplorable state of moral among those serving. The size of our military is dangerously small and I question the wisdom of letting politicians determine the needs of our armed forces instead of military leaders. Here, too, where there are experts I advocate for conferring with those experts to fix problems in ways which they suggest are advisable.
The President’s answer to a debate question four years ago demonstrates his thinking on this issue. He was asked about the size of our navy and the concern for the dwindling number of ships in our fleet. Instead of acknowledging the danger the low number actually poses to our security and influence around the world and offer a pledge to strengthen the navy, he mocked the questioner by referring to “these really big ships – we call them aircraft carriers.” “We don’t need many small ships,” he went on, “when we now have these big ones.” I believe that we should open military bases and encourage young recruits to join the ranks, not be closing bases under the pretext of exchanging quality for quantity.
A congressman can support the armed forces with his vote on all legislation which will buttress a stronger military. But, if he can get on a committee which deals with military preparedness, he can exert even more influence on this issue. If elected, I will pursue an appointment onto such a committee or subcommittee in order to influence an awakening in our national dialogue about the need for a strong, robust and proud military.

Texas was once known as the place to be, and jobs were aplenty, not so much anymore. Jobs and the economy are important to South Texans. What can be done to keep the jobs already here in Texas and stop companies from relocating overseas?

Dr. G.:
While the current economic down turn has affected many Texans with lost jobs, Texans are not alone in this situation. In fact, Texans have been blessed to have suffered among the least in terms of jobs lost and wages cut when compared to the effects the economic recession has had nationwide. As the economy recovers, Texas’ economy, as reflected all the way down to the kitchen table, is poised to be among the first to feel the return to a state of prosperity like the one you cited in your question. Why? Because Texas already gives excellent tax incentives to foreign companies to relocate to Texas. Texans enjoy not having a state income tax. Property taxes are among the lowest in the country. And Texans are resilient. We know how to take care of our neighbor in a time of need – getting through rough times with grace.
On a national scale, the rest of America can stand to learn a lesson from our great state. Texans should lead the country in demonstrating the best practices in creating an environment where companies want to remain in the United States. For those companies which insist on taking their business to foreign countries though, strict penalties in the form of taxes, should follow. If they cannot be encouraged to stay, then they must be discouraged from leaving.
Jobs and economic development in the 34th Congressional District of Texas will be my priority as your member of Congress – with one major difference from that of our current congressman – I will focus on this priority while always remaining conscious of our traditional values. We will not sell ourselves for 30 pieces of silver.

Nobody talks much about the national debt these days, and it just keeps growing and growing. What are your ideas as to how we can pay-off the huge national debt?

Dr. G.:
I suggest that the national debt can be paid off in the same way my family and yours pays off debt – spend less, save more. This should not be a difficult concept. Any operation which depends on a budget – whether you’re talking about a family of four or a Fortune 20 company – knows that spending more than you take in leads, inevitably, to a state of unsustainability. The federal government is no different – except that unlike you and me, it can print money, so it does. The Constitution is a historic document which has been the legal basis of our advancement in America as a society and as a force for good world-wide, so I understand the justified reluctance to amend it. However, I believe that if a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution were passed, legislators would quickly identify those federal programs which can be eliminated in order to balance the budget and get our financial house in order. I support a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
Our congressman, instead of standing with the rest of his district to protest the growing debt, stood with his party to vote to increase the debt ceiling. With this maneuver, Congress gave itself permission to spend more than it can afford and send the country deeper into debt. The next generation of Americans will have to find a way to deal with all of this debt. I submit that the next generation is here. The next generation says, “enough.” A vote for Filemon Vela is a vote for Nancy Pelosi and her runaway spending. A vote for Rey Gonzalez is a fresh start with a new generational perspective demanding change to the status quo.

Climate change and the green issues are big topics for the democrats, and to a degree, it is a problem for all of us. What are your thoughts on Green Energy and organic foods/ regulations?

Dr. G.:
This issue is also one which I think I approach differently than the typical politician because of the generational difference between me and those of the previous generations. I also approach this issue differently because I am a man of faith and science. I believe that as technology advances, truths which were always there, are simply being revealed to us. What we do with those truths is entirely up to us. But if we recognize that what is discovery to us is familiar to God, then we might begin to appreciate that man’s scientific research is one of God’s methods for revealing truths. If this is the case, then the result of research is a revelation which God intends for us to know at this time in our history for some purpose. But what purpose? Should we relegate truth to a prominent place on a prestigious journal only to place it among other journals in lofty libraries of the world, or does God intend for us to actually modify our lives as He reveals truths? I submit that the latter makes more sense.
Scientific advancements have revealed that our climate is changing. This is a fact and it does no help to our cause in denying what is observational truth. As you correctly state in your question, this is a problem for all of us. Human activity on Earth during the last century has undoubtedly contributed to the change in our climate. This is also a fact. What we do with these facts is also entirely up to us.
Regulations are useful. Unnecessary, run-away regulating by overzealous legislators is not – all the contrary. I believe that in the same way that we must take a step back from political correctness without going to the extreme of abandoning basic social norms of courtesy and respect for others, we should seek to stand against unnecessary regulations which unduly burden industry and innovation, without abandoning altogether our responsibility to protect the climate for future generations through sensible regulations.
Should we drill for oil? Yes, safely. An oil spill isn’t disastrous because the oil wasted affects our pocketbook. It is disastrous because it destroys the environment which the next generation is counting on us to care for. Should we drill for natural gas? Absolutely. Should we embrace green energy as additional sources of energy which may someday provide so much energy for humanity that our dependence on oil and natural gas is eliminated? Of course!

Many South Texans, perhaps most, are Christian believers who consider God and family of the utmost importance. Share as much as you will about your personal relationship with God and his only begotten son, Jesus.

Dr. G.:
I began to play the piano at my church at age 10. One day, at the age of 12, while I sat at the piano ready to play a song for the alter call, my pastor, who is also my mother, asked a question which resonated in the ear of that 12 year old. She described church-goers and people who liked church enough to attend regularly and who, by all accounts, behave like Christians, but who have never accepted Christ as their Savior. Then she explained that Jesus came to save those folks, too. She asked, “You are already playing the part. You know the songs. You come to church. If you’re not saved, what are you waiting for?” At that moment, I understood that Jesus died not to turn “bad” people into “good” people – because there are already fine folks who live without Him - but rather to make dead people, alive. That evening, I closed the piano keyboard lid, bowed my head, and accepted Christ as my savior.
I do not have a sensational conversion story to tell - just that of me as a 12 year old understanding my need for a Savior. I have walked with Him ever since. I seek to honor God with my life and credit Him for all my accomplishments, personal and professional. If the Lord gives me the privilege of having a wife and children someday, I hope to tell my children at my death bed, that I was faithful to their mother and to the Lord.

We covered a lot of topics in this interview. Now please share whatever you would like to say to those living in District 34.

Dr. G.:
I would like to motivate those in District 34 who are tired of simply complaining about the direction in which our country is going to become active in three ways:
First, I encourage believers to fervently pray that God would bring about an awakening of sorts that would turn our nation toward Him. We should pray for intelligent, well-educated God-fearing men and women to take the courageous step of seeking elected office. We should pray that when elected, that they remain true to their calling, seeking to honor God above all other interests. We should pray that conservative voters truly inspect their candidates and vote according to their conscience, not party loyalty.
Second, I encourage voters to motivate everyone in their circle of influence to vote. This seems like the easy part, but conservatives have been so discouraged in recent years, feeling outnumbered, that they don’t even bother to vote anymore. Let us work to combat this idea and get folks to the polls during early voting.
Finally, I encourage all those who want to see me elected to contribute financially to the campaign. All donations are helpful. Please go to to donate online, or send a check or money order to P.O. Box 2207, San Benito, TX 78586. Together, we can make a difference in Washington.

Thanks Dr. Rey Gonzalez for this inspiring interview. May you soon be known as United States Congressman Rey Gonzalez from the 34th District of Texas.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Best Writing Advice I Ever Received

Posted by Teresa Slack
Nearly every time I speak to a book club or writers’ group I am asked a variation of the following question--What’s the best writing advice you ever received? I’ve received plenty of advice and inspiration over the years. But the best is often the simplest.

This advice came from country music singer Toby Keith. He said; “You can’t tell a writer to write better. You can only tell them to write more.”

Not exactly rocket science, but for me it was spot on. Don’t write better. Write more.

Regardless of our abilities or experience, there’s no excuse for not writing more. Even if it’s garbage and most of it will be edited into oblivion, we can still do it.

Imagine your doctor said you needed brain surgery. You could schedule with the guy fresh out of school who knew all the latest techniques and innovations. You would be his first patient. Or you could have the one who performed your type of surgery every day, and she was known throughout the country for her skills and experience.

You can choose whomever you want, but let me tell you, I’d pick the one who did my surgery every day.

I don’t know about you, but I am my own biggest roadblock for not writing more. Or should I say my doubts, fear—and dare I say it—laziness are my biggest roadblocks. But they shouldn’t keep me from finishing the stories I believe I’m called to write.

Whether it’s the story idea that’s been pestering you for years, the article you should’ve written last week, or the blog post you’ve put off for too long, write it. Don’t worry that it’s too long or too short or not original enough. Don’t wonder if anyone will like it or if the market will support it. Write it. And don’t write better. Write more.

What about you? What’s the best writing advice you ever received? Share it here and let us encourage one another.

Teresa Slack’s first novel Streams of Mercy, the first in her Jenna’s Creek Series, won the Bay Area Independent Publishers’ Assn award for Best First Novel. It is currently available as a free download on Amazon through May 17th. Click here to get your copy and then check out the rest of the series. Teresa’s down-to-earth characters and realistic dialog have endeared her to readers and reviewers alike. Learn more about her and her books at her website or on her Amazon author page. Follow her on Facebook & Twitter to stay up to date with what’s coming next.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


by Molly Noble Bull 

As a Christian Republican, I am NOT part of what some call The Establishment. In fact, I am far from it. I am a pro-life, pro-family constitutional voter who was once, years ago, a southern democrat.
I prayed that the Lord would send us Christian candidates to get this country out of the mess we are in, and He did. In my opinion, the Republicans had some excellent candidates early on, and then Donald Trump got in the race.
To be honest, I liked some of the things Donald said he was for in the beginning. But that all changed when he went after Megan Kelly. The name-calling began to get under my skin after that, reminding me of every playground bully I ever knew in elementary school, and with each new insult I liked Donald a little less. I became worried when I realized that I was beginning to dislike him more than the democrats.
Ben Carson said that Donald Trump was two men. But a two-headed leader never works for me because you never know which head is speaking.
I woke up early this morning, and since I couldn’t go back to sleep, I found myself thinking up ugly names to define Donald Trump. I repented for my wrong thinking. Does Donald repent for his? 
In the New Testament of the Bible, Saul was a bad guy who hated Christians, but God turned him into a good guy, changing his name to Paul—also known as Saint Paul. May the Lord turn all our Sauls into Pauls, and save our country now and for generations to come.
At this point in time, I cannot vote for Donald, if he is the candidate, and I will not vote for a democrat. But I will vote for all the other Republican candidates. 
I don’t know why other women don’t like Donald. I can only speak for myself. But I am praying for him, and will continue to do that—right up until Election Day and beyond. 

P,S., I voted for Ted Cruz in the Texas primary, and as a published Christian novelist, I am endorsing him now as our future President of the United States. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


by Molly Noble Bull

It is true that sticks and stones can break bones. But words hurt. Words have hurt me. Words have hurt you. Unkind words have hurt just about everybody.
Yet Donald Trump defines people by calling them one of his now famous acid names. Every time he does it, I remember back when someone treated me unkindly, and I don’t want to remember those events. Nobody does.
I am a mom, a grandmother and former elementary and early childhood teacher, and I find myself constantly wishing I could wash Donald’s mouth out with soap or send him to the “time out” corner for his childish behavior. I am also a Christian. As a Christian, I forgave those who said or did something unkind to me and pray for them in the name of Jesus. But what of those who fail to forgive?
Can you spell stirring up anger? If I am an example, The Donald stirs up anger almost daily, and I don't like getting angry. That is not who I am. 
He has promised to become presidential once he gets the nomination. I hope he means it. But how can we know for sure? Can you imagine sitting on the edge of your chair each night, watching the evening news and waiting to hear what evil name the Donald called some world leader or his wife that day?
I don’t know about you, but my husband and I didn’t vote for Donald Trump in the Texas primary. Words hurt, and though none of the Republican candidates are perfect, only one has an acid tongue.
Check out my newest western, When the Cowboy Rides Away.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016



March 1, 2016 – Molly Noble Bull has won first place in the 2016 Texas Association of Authors Award, Christian Western Category, for her novel, When the Cowboy Rides Away, published by Elk Lake Publishing. The Texas Association of Authors is an organization whose focus is to promote the authors within the great state of Texas.

When the Cowboy Rides Away is a romantic, inspirational western novel set on a cattle ranch in South Texas in 1880, and the e-book version will be on sale at Amazon for 99 cents, starting on March 15, 2016. 

All entrants in the Texas Association of Authors contest must live in the state of Texas. Molly’s Texas pedigree is impressive. Her father and grandfather were ranch foreman—real Texas cowboys—and she spent part of her growing-up years on a sixty-thousand acre cattle ranch in South Texas where When the Cowboy Rides Away is set.

Molly has authored ten books in various genres, both fiction and non-fiction. In addition to western romance, she’s also written Christian gothic historic romance, adventure stories, humor, and stories for children. Molly is a wife, mother, grandmother, and former elementary and early childhood teacher.

You can explore Molly’s books on Amazon and Goodreads, and you find her website at Molly is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.
To arrange a book signing or an interview, contact Molly at

Praise for When the Cowboy Rides Away:

“Molly Noble Bull produces another western novel that is so authentic I felt as if I were there in south Texas. I’ve been there a number of times, and she has the setting perfect. I loved the characters who tugged at my heartstrings throughout the story, and I kept turning pages to find out how it would all end.” Lena Nelson Dooley, award-winning, best-selling author of over 30 books.

“A sweet western romance with good pacing of relationship development. I appreciated the surprising twist!” Janet Chester, author and co-author of 32 fiction and non-fiction books.


Sunday, February 7, 2016


by Molly Noble Bull 

I spent part of my growing up years on a cattle ranch in South Texas much like the one mentioned in my new western historical, When the Cowboy Rides Away. Scroll down, read the first chapter and let me know what you think. 

 When the Cowboy Rides Away 

Chapter One

Southern Texas
Early May 1880

Somebody was coming.
Maggie Gallagher slowed her sorrel mare. A small dust cloud hung over the North pasture like a puff of smoke. As she continued to eye the trail of sand and dust, it grew larger.
She glanced back at her younger sister. “Hurry up, Sarah. A rider’s headed this way. See if you can get ole Short Legs to trot.”
The little red-haired girl covered a yawn with the back of her hand. “I said I was coming.”
“Well, can you get that pony of yours to move a little faster? We need to go on out to the cemetery, leave our flowers, and rush right home. A caller will probably be waiting for us at the house when we get back.”
The main house was over a mile from the ranch cemetery and a mere twenty miles from the Gulf of Mexico—and it was almost always windy there. In fact wind and South Texas were like many married couples—together, but sometimes fighting.
The morning breeze felt cool on Maggie’s face, but that wouldn’t last long. By noon the temperature could reach 100 degrees. Her aunt often said that South Texas was the only spot on earth where the wind could be hot, even in the shade.
She loosened the bow under her chin and pushed back her blue-flowered bonnet. She might as well sit back in the saddle and enjoy herself. It was obvious Sarah was in no hurry.
Maggie thought about the dust cloud she’d seen. She wasn’t expecting visitors. But since company appeared to be on the way, she hoped it was Roger. He’d said he might ride into town. On the way back to his place, he often stopped by the Gallagher Ranch to leave Maggie the mail he picked up for her, and she was hoping for a letter from Aunt Violet.
He’d watered his horse in a creek with only a trickle of water in it and crossed a bridge. Now, Alex Lancaster guided his black stallion through thick brush, leaving a trail of dust and sand behind. He had to find Dee. Until he did, nothing else mattered.
But his horse needed rest. The animal wouldn’t hold up much longer without it, and he’d pushed him relentlessly since he rode north from the border, stopping at creeks and lakes when he found them, sleeping and then moving on again.
Now he wasn’t sure exactly where he was. The entry gate said Ranch Headquarters, One Mile, but it didn’t include the name of the ranch.
He thought the ranch he was searching for was at least fifty or so miles north of here, but as long as he was in the area, he might as well stop and check. At the least he could water his horse again, and maybe the ranch owner would give him directions.
Alex could barely see the outline of a two-story house in the distance, but that was enough to keep him moving forward. He would talk to the folks at the headquarters, cool off for a while, and then head out and keep going until he found her.
But would she let him explain what happened? Would Dee be able to forgive him?
Alex blinked, sucking in his breath. Would he ever forgive himself?
Maggie looked back. Sarah kicked her pony with the heels of her black boots, and the paint horse broke into a light trot. At ten Sarah Ann Gallagher was eleven years younger than Maggie. Yet she still wasn’t as comfortable on a horse as Maggie had been at six, nor was she as handy in the kitchen.
Maggie glanced at the clump of spring flowers clutched in Sarah’s hand. The bouquet looked slightly wilted despite the colorful blossoms. “Sarah, don’t drop your flowers.”
“I won’t.”
“Good. We’ll need them if we expect to put some on each of the graves.”
Turning her attention from Sarah, Maggie saw that the dust cloud was bigger now. She squinted for a better look. Was she imagining things, or was that a rider on a black horse? Roger didn’t own a black horse as far as she knew. Whoever was coming sure wasn’t him.
Alex wished he’d bought a straw hat before heading north; his felt one made his head feel even hotter. Sweat poured down his forehead. He pulled out a white cloth and wiped his face and neck, but it wasn’t so easy to wipe away memories of what happened in Brownsville, Texas.
He could still see Dee in her white wedding dress and veil, standing beside him in front of God, Pastor Garza, and a few other people. The joy he felt at Dee’s cottage in Brownsville on their wedding day would have lasted a lifetime if the pastor had been a real one instead of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Joe Garza was no more a man of God than Alex was a millionaire.
Alex knew that common-law marriages were legal in Texas because of the lack of preachers on the frontier, so in the eyes of the law, Alex and Dee were married. But Dee would never be satisfied with anything less than a Christian marriage; neither would Alex.
Alex was no lawman, but he’d thought he was a good judge of character—until Garza robbed a bank in Brownsville the day after the wedding. That was when Alex learned the truth about Joe Garza. Alex got so riled up when he discovered that Joe only pretended to be a minister, the bank robbery was the last straw in the hat. Alex had to go after him—lawman or not—and bring the crook to justice.
His jaws firmed just thinking about it. He’d trusted the man and encouraged Dee to trust him. But plainly their marriage wasn’t legal in the true sense. Once he realized that, he’d followed the fake preacher-turned-outlaw across the Rio Grande River.
Unknown to Garza, Alex hid in the brush while Garza buried the money. Later, after Alex reburied it, he searched the streets of the Mexican village for Garza. But he didn’t find him until that night when the outlaw came out of a cantina.
Alex rubbed the small scar on his chin as he recalled that fateful night.
Lively music had blared from inside the Cantina. A soft glow came from the lamps that lined the front of the white structure. Garza, in ragged trousers and wearing a wide sombrero, held a bottle in one hand. He’d stumbled around, no doubt from too much whiskey. Then he turned, saw Alex, and threw the bottle at him. Alex ducked. Garza pulled a knife from his belt. A fight followed. Alex’s nose was bloodied, but he avoided the knife except for a small cut on his chin.
The next thing Alex knew, he and Garza were incarcerated. Alex was thankful they were put in different cells and later in different prisons; otherwise, one or both of them might not have survived three years in a Mexican jail.
Alex had wanted to write to Dee while he was in prison, to explain everything and let her know he intended to return to her. But he wasn’t allowed to write Dee so much as one letter. Inmates in Mexican jails had no rights, not even American prisoners who were innocent. Now more than ever he had to find Dee and make amends.
Alex squinted straight ahead. The house was a little closer now but still some distance away. It stood on a rise and looked shiny-white in the blinding Texas sun. He wanted it to be Dee’s home, but it wasn’t, not this far south. In any case, Alex sensed that he had another problem. Someone was watching him.
He gazed around and didn’t see anybody. Still, he felt that somebody was out there. He knew ranchers didn’t take kindly to strangers on their land; whoever owned the white house wouldn’t either. He could get shot for trespassing, especially after nosing around that cabin.
Alex entered a plowed field. A feeling of foreboding shot through him. He pulled back slightly on his reins and looked over his shoulder. Had he seen something he shouldn’t have when he rode over and took a look at the wire fence and then the cabin? Was he being followed now? Or was he just spooked from spending three long years behind bars?
The black horse and rider Maggie saw earlier seemed to vanish in a burst of cutting wind that whipped the sandy soil all around them. Blinded for a moment, Maggie wiped her eyes and brushed away grains of the whitish sand sticking to her lips. As she opened her mouth to remind Sarah not to hold the stems so tightly, a gunshot reverberated off to their left.
Both horses shied. Sarah grabbed her saddle horn to keep from falling off.
“What was…what was that?" Sarah asked in a shaky voice.
Maggie jerked around in the saddle, gazing off in the direction from which the rifle blast came. Dust hovered just above the brush-line.
“Don’t worry.” Maggie tried to feign a calm response. “I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about.”
She wouldn’t tell her little sister they might have plenty to worry about. The shot came from the same direction as the dust cloud. If somebody was shooting on Gallagher land, Maggie wanted to know about it. It appeared the gun was fired from the other side of a group of small trees.
One of their ranch hands plowed that part of the ranch yesterday, but Maggie didn’t know who might be there now. The trees obstructed her view.
“It’s probably one of our cowboys shooting at a rattlesnake or something,” Maggie said after a long pause.
She couldn't share with her little sister that the gunman couldn’t be any of their ranch hands. With the exception of an elderly cowboy they called Big Lupe, all their men were working cattle on a different part of the ranch now.
The dust cloud moved away at a rapid speed.
“What’s happening?” Sarah demanded in an unsteady voice.
“Don’t worry. Everything’s going to be fine.”
Maggie was tempted to grab hold of the reins Sarah held and lope back to the house, pulling her sister and the pony behind her. But someone could be hurt out there and in need of help. She couldn’t leave without knowing.
“Why don’t you stay here?” Maggie suggested. “I’ll ride over there and see what’s going on.”
Sarah’s eyes widened and her face paled. “Please don’t! Do you expect me to stay here all alone?”
“I thought you could for a minute while—”
Sarah shook her head. “No! Take me with you.”
Maggie took a deep breath and released it. “All right, but stay behind me.”
They hadn’t traveled more than fifty feet through the tall grass when Sarah trotted Short Legs up beside her.
“Maggie,” she whispered, “do you really think somebody shot a rattlesnake out there?”
Maggie hesitated then decided to speak the truth. “No, I don’t. And don’t you make a sound.”
Sarah whimpered. But Maggie didn’t have time to stop and comfort her.
They skirted the trees; then Maggie saw something, though she wasn’t sure what. A dark object lay in the plowed field beyond the tall grass. It looked too big to be a coyote or a newborn calf.
“What is it?” Sarah whispered.
“I don’t know yet.”
The moment she said it, Maggie knew that what she saw was a man in dark-colored clothes.
Sarah gasped as if she came to the same realization. “Is he dead?”
“I’m not sure.”
Maggie’s heart pounded so loud she imagined Sarah could hear it. She knew better than to become involved in unknown situations, especially with her little sister at her side. Hadn’t her late parents warned her time and again about something like this? But as a Christian she couldn’t leave a wounded man out there in the open. Without attention the poor stranger could die.
Maggie dismounted slowly, handing her reins to Sarah. “You stay right here. And don’t try to follow me over there when I’m not looking, hear?”
Sarah nodded.
Maggie’s hands shook so much she had difficulty unhooking her small quirt from her saddle horn. If only she’d thought to bring a rifle.
Taking control, she gripped the thin leather whip firmly. She’d only planned to be away from the ranch house for a short time, and her late father’s pistol and rifle were heavy and burdensome. She’d left them behind. She would never leave the house unarmed again.
The braided leather quirt wasn’t much, but it was the only weapon she had. She felt slightly more confident and crept forward then glanced back at her sister.
“If anything bad happens,” Maggie said, “I mean real bad, I want you to hightail it back to the house and ring the bell. Promise?”
“I promise.”
“I’m counting on you, Sarah Ann.”
Terror rose in Maggie’s throat at the thought of what she might find if she moved any closer. After what happened that day five years earlier, approaching any man she didn’t know tied her insides in knots. And there was no way of knowing if this man was dead or alive—or dangerous.
Oh, she could play the part of a secure person; her role in life demanded it. She was responsible for rearing Sarah and Jon Anthony, her late sister’s child. But inside where no one could see, Maggie was soft like melted butter.
She needed to lean on her faith and pray. Somehow, simply knowing that God had promised to be with her always gave her the courage to continue.
Maggie turned back toward the man on the ground and started walking toward him again. Her heart slammed against her ribs with each step. Out of the corner of her eye, she combed the pasture for any strange movements that might indicate a gunman lurking in the area.
A flock of doves fed on the ground nearby. She took another step, and they scattered. Maggie jumped as if she hadn’t expected it to happen. The rustle and white flash of their wings when they soared upward startled her a second time. She looked around cautiously before going on.
Blood. Maggie gasped, digesting the situation. The sight of blood always made her queasy, and the man’s left shoulder was almost covered with it.

# # # 

Saturday, January 2, 2016


For ONLY 99 Cents  


When the Cowboy Rides Away, my Christian western with a touch of romance—published by Elk Lake, is available for free via Kindle Unlimited, and the e-book version is on sale for 99 cents until Tuesday, January 5, 2016, when the novel will sell for a little over nine dollar again. But if you decide to buy the paperback version instead, I promised not to try and stop you.
Take a look.

Attention Home School Parents and Others:

Is your homeschooler, 13 and over, looking for exciting inspirational reads for lit class? Author Molly Noble Bull teamed up with Jeanette Pierce, a retire English teacher, to produce two packages of books for home school families based on her novels that you and your family are going to like. One click and you can sample them at Molly’s Free Downloads. But you will have to wait a minute or two until they are downloaded
and then click,  Whenthecowboyridesaway
and Gatehaven 
To see all Molly’s books click, mollynoblebull