It Takes a Man
by Cheryl Pierson
A short story in
Hell on the Prairie
Wolf Creek: Book 6
This week Romancing The West features the July 2 release, Wolf Creek: Hell on the Prairie. It's an anthology of seven short stories, all featuring characters in or connected to the Wolf Creek series, and offering in-depth understanding of your favorite Wolf Creek residents. There'll be giveaways on each post, so please check back each day.
- Monday: Troy Smith discusses his character, Marshal Sam Gardner, and his role in Wolf Creek.
- Tuesday: In Drag Rider, Chuck Tyrell has some fun with Billy Below--how'd this character get his name?
- Wednesday: Clay More tells us about doctoring in the Old West and in his story, The Oath, how Wolf Creek's Dr. Logan Munro deals with the conflicts his oath.
- Thursday: Cheryl Pierson's story, It Takes a Man, gives us an in-depth look at Derrick McCain.
- Friday: Jerry Guin tells us how his character, Quint Croy deals with his new job as a lawman, and how Asa Pepper ended up owning a bar in the rough part of Wolf Creek, called Dogleg City in Asa Pepper's Place.
- Saturday: Jacquie Rogers penned a guest appearance by Elsie Parry in her story, Muleskinners: Judge Not, that runs concurrent with Wolf Creek 1: Bloody Trail.
- Sunday: In New Beginnings, James J. Griffin gives us insight into the past of the town's blacksmith, and how a surprise changes his life.
If you're not familiar with the Wolf Creek series, you're missing out! Written under the house name Ford Fargo (the house name for Western Fictioneers), each book is the collaboration of some of the best western writers in the business, steered by Troy Smith, who also writes two WC characters. Links to all the Wolf Creek books are at the end of this article, just above the contest announcement. For more information on the story world, visit Wolf Creek, Kansas.
RTW: Today's guest is Cheryl Pierson, the author of the fourth story in Wolf Creek: Hell on the Prairie. Cheryl, please tell us a little about your background.
CP: A native Oklahoman, I live in Oklahoma City and write historical westerns and western romance. My Wolf Creek character, Derrick McCain, who is featured in It Takes a Man, is also included in Wolf Creek 1: Bloody Trail, and Wolf Creek 5: Showdown at Demon’s Drop. Look for more about Derrick and his half-brother, Carson Ridge, in the exciting Wolf Creek Christmas anthology coming this fall, and thanks for dropping in on the citizens of Wolf Creek!
Six Guns and Slay Bells: A Creepy Cowboy Christmas, was nominated for the 2013 Western Fictioneers Peacemaker Award in the short story category. I also have a new release, Kane's Chance, that will appeal to all ages. It’s a coming-of-age story of a young boy in the old west, a novel you won’t want to miss. My newest western historical romance, Gabriel's Law, is also now available.
Right now, my website is under construction, but you can click on my Amazon Author Page for a listing of all my work.
RTW: Your character has been through quite a lot already in the Wolf Creek series. Tell us what's going on with him in It Takes a Man.
CP: Derrick McCain and his mother, Fiona, have been sent for by Collin Ridge, a prominent Cherokee statesman who is very ill. As Derrick unravels the mystery of his past relationship with Ridge, he is introduced to a beautiful young Cherokee woman, Leah Martin. Leah has some secrets of her own; secrets so humiliating that she is willing to do anything to quiet them. When her father arrives with a sadistic man he intends to marry her off to, Derrick steps in to protect her. In doing so, he must make a decision of his own--one he will have to live with for a lifetime. It takes a man to stand by his commitments. Will Derrick be able to live up to the choices he makes?
RTW: What prompted you to write Westerns? What keeps you writing them?
CP: Growing up here in Oklahoma, I've been steeped in all things western from the time I could remember. My parents weren't rodeo people, but I always loved westerns on television and when I checked out books from the library I gravitated toward cowboy and Indian books. I had a set of plastic cowboys, Indians, fencing, and animals that I played with by the hour, and yes, I had my six-shooter cap pistols and my Annie Oakley costume!
I started out writing western historical romance, and I still do write that genre, but now I also write westerns with paranormal westerns sprinkled in here and there. After being told once again by an agent recently that "no one reads westerns anymore," I'm even more determined to keep writing the best darn westerns and western romances that I can to prove him wrong. I guess one thing that keeps me writing westerns is just being told something silly like that. I know too many people who love westerns and western romances to ever believe that. The west will never die. Didn't John Wayne say that? LOL
RTW: If you lived in 1871 and lived in Wolf Creek, Kansas, what would your job be and how well would you get along with your character, Derrick McCain.
CP: Good question There weren't a lot of opportunities for women, so I might have been a school teacher, or maybe a waitress. I'm sure with Derrick being a single, good looking guy I would get along quite well with him. Maybe I'd have been Doc Munro's assistant--that way, I'd have seen quite a lot of Mr. Derrick McCain!
RTW: What surprised you the most about Derrick? Are there more surprises coming in future Wolf Creek books?
CP: What surprised me the most about Derrick has been his growth through this series as a person, and finding out about who he really is. He's learned that his father wasn't who he always thought he was. He's also learned that his childhood best friend was actually his half-brother. He's still learning to deal with all this along with the resentment toward his mother for keeping it from him.
Yes, there are more surprises to come in future Wolf Creek books. We aren't nearly done with Derrick yet, and he does have that half-brother, Carson Ridge, along with some other bends in the road ahead of him. Maybe some of them will be more pleasant than what has happened to him in the past.
RTW: What would give Derrick the ultimate happiness?
CP: I think what would give Derrick McCain the ultimate happiness would be to find his place in the world. He's never really felt as though he fit in, but he didn't know why. Now that he realizes the truth of his parentage, he needs to settle that within himself. He's always been alone. I think he's about to find his ultimate happiness right around the corner.
RTW: And now we're ready to read a little of his story. Please set up your excerpt.
CP: Derrick McCain has just returned from his father's house to spend the night with his friend, Austen, and his wife, Josie. He catches a glimpse of Josie's beautiful cousin, Leah, heading for the river. Now that Derrick knows about what happened recently to Leah, he is filled with dread at what she might have in mind. He follows her to be certain he can protect her, should she decide to try to take her life.
It Takes a Man
by Cheryl Pierson
a short story in
Hell on the Prairie
Wolf Creek, Book 6
As Leah neared the outcropping of stone, her steps slowed.
Derrick stopped, waiting to see what she would do. She walked out onto the rock shelf and stood staring down into the rushing water.
As she turned, her body was outlined in the moonlight, and Derrick could clearly see what she’d hidden well at the dinner table beneath her shawl.
She was pregnant.
She watched the churning current, mesmerized for a moment, and Derrick read her thoughts. Desperation was written across her lovely features. She was about to do the unthinkable. The beautiful fire in her eyes guttering out forever seared him to think of –much less have on his conscience. He stepped out from the shadows, coming toward her at a leisurely pace.
Now, he understood the turn of the dinner conversation. Had he known her circumstances, perhaps he’d have been more circumspect in his comments.
Leah glanced up as he came closer. “What are you doing here, Mr. McCain?” She lifted her head, and Derrick could see the way she tried to push the dread of what she was about to do out of her expression. Her voice was low and almost sultry, with a forced hint of disdain.
Derrick smiled. “Carson and I used to play down here every chance we got.” He stepped up onto the outcropping of rock, and Leah moved away a step, just out of his reach.
He looked around, judging which way she’d jump, if she still was determined. The look in her eyes said she was.
“Current’s vicious tonight,” Derrick said, nodding at the water below. “Drowning wouldn’t be the way I’d choose to go. I thought you were stronger than this.”
Leah gave him a long stare. “You’ve never been in my situation, Mr. McCain, and you never will be. Sometimes, there’s …simply no choice.”
Derrick lowered himself to sit on the rock, his feet hanging over the edge well above the rushing water. “I understand about having no choice, Leah. Don’t ever think otherwise. Like I said earlier, there’s no fighting a war without doing some things you have no say in. I never set out thinking of myself as –a murderer –but, I’ve killed.”
“That’s different. If you hadn’t, your enemy would have slain you. War is ‘kill or be killed.’”
“You’re letting him take your life from beyond the grave.” His voice was low, his gaze intent upon her. He put a hand up to her, looking at her with expectation, until finally, she took it and sat beside him on the rock.
“Who?” She stared straight ahead, into the moon-dappled darkness.
“Clark Davis,” Derrick said quietly. “The man who raped you.”
She whirled quickly to face him, but the anger was only a cover for the painful humiliation. “I should slap your face for daring to –”
“To speak the truth?” Derrick asked softly. “I’m done with secrets. I’ve had enough of them to last me a lifetime.”
Wolf Creek: Hell on the Prairie
Available in print, or ebook at
and soon at other online stores
CP: Wolf Creek, Book 5: Showdown at Demon's Drop was released at the beginning of June, and I'm thrilled with it, since the plot revolves around the kidnapping of my character Derrick's sister, Kathleen. This collaborative effort is flawless and moves along at a fast clip, filled with action and suspense. It's available in ebook in all the major online stores or print.
Kane's Chance, my first venture into the Young Adult genre, was also released this month through Western Trail Blazer. It's a coming-of-age story of a young boy, Will Green, who is kidnapped by the Apaches after seeing his family murdered. Believing he will be killed as well, he's shocked when a man he doesn't know walks right into the Indian camp and rescues him. The story follows Will from the time he's ten through thirteen. This is a great story for old and young alike, and you can get it in print and in the Kindle version.
My hot-off-the-press western historical romance novel, Gabriel's Law, is now available through Western Trail Blazer. Here's the short blurb for it:
When hired gunman Brandon Gabriel is double-crossed, it seems that his luck has run out. But Gabriel has more than luck; he has Allison Taylor, a lost angel from his troubled past who shows up and turns the tables.When Allie and her ranch are threatened by an old enemy, long-buried secrets come to light and the stakes have never been higher. Can Brandon and Allie confront the past, face down their demons, and forge their dreams into a future?
RTW: You've listed lots of great reading for us! And here are all the Wolf Creek books:
Wolf Creek, Book 1: Bloody Trail
Wolf Creek, Book 2: Kiowa's Vengeance
Wolf Creek, Book 3: Murder in Dogleg City
Wolf Creek, Book 4: The Taylor County War
Wolf Creek, Book 5: Showdown at Demon's Drop
Wolf Creek, Book 6: Hell on the Prairie
Today, I'm giving away a signed copy of the first Wolf Creek book, where it all began! Bloody Trail was the very first story of the Wolf Creek series, featuring Troy Smith, Clay More, L.J. Martin, James Griffin, James Reasoner and me. I can't tell you how happy I am to have been included with these other fine authors and how proud we all are of the Wolf Creek series. Just leave a comment along with your contact info to be entered in the drawing for Wolf Creek 1: Bloody Trail!
Drawing will be held July 6 at 9pm Pacific Time.
Thanks to Cheryl for visiting RTW today.
Be sure to check back for more interviews with other Wolf Creek authors.
You can enter to win books all this week!