Excerpt for Redland Ridge: The Jed Cuss Chronicles #1 by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Redland Ridge: The Jed Cuss Chronicles #1

By Alex Pryte

Copyright 2018 Alex Pryte

Smashwords Edition

The Search

He felt every bump and jostle in the saddle as Graham trotted faithfully over the crest of the last hill before the Redlands. Jed couldn’t remember the last time he stopped. So he did. Letting out a deep sigh as he sank back into the saddle, he sat completely still for the first time in hours.

It might not be proper for a wizard to think such things, but his ass hurt. The soreness prickled and burned deeply as he scooted around the saddle to no avail. Nothing like eight hours of bouncing up and down over rocky terrain to give you a pain in the ass. After a few more moments of in-saddle stretches, Jed jumped down. His large, round, spurs clanked in the red dust, sending up a cloud that framed the man like a tall scarecrow against the blinding sun. Jed was tall with a slight build, but even from under his trench coat you could tell he had substance to his height, like a lean dog that had spent too much time outside. He wore a Stetson hat over his shoulder-length blonde hair, and he carried a .45 revolver on his belt above his left hip to complete the cowboy look. He also carried a long whip coiled neatly on his right hip. Unlike your average bullwhip, it was thin and covered in small metallic scales, glimmering softly like a fish that had jumped out of the water. Once Jed had dismounted, Graham shook his back, probably sore himself, sending clouds of dust out of his short, chestnut fur. Jed stretched his hands to the sky, and started cracking every bone he could in his body, setting off a slow series of pops from his neck, to his back, to each individual finger.

After completing his stretch, he looked out over the dusty desert landscape, speckled with scrub vegetation and cacti. It wasn’t a proper desert – the kind with miles of smooth sand for as far as the eye could see. No, the Redlands were not even proud enough to lay claim to that kind of desolation. It was a sea of scrub country that appeared infinite and inescapable. The entire area of the Redlands was perhaps one hundred thousand square miles of scrub-covered, dusty plains with the occasional town, cluster of hills, or oasis sprinkled across the map. He stood on the eastern most border, looking down at Wyndfort, a small town built up around a trading post. It stood out like a crumb on a plate – a single vertical bump on the flat country before him. Maybe a thousand or so people called the wind-worn shacks at the bottom of the hill home. It served a single purpose: the first stop for explorers wanting to venture into the wasteland for an opportunity at riches.

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