The Arizona/Mexico border present day. Michala Papadopoulas is working the morning shift in her family's restaurant at Twenty-six Mile Station when Rance Saddler, an Australian/American horseman comes in for breakfast. Wearing desert boots, khaki trousers, khaki bush jacket and a plumed slouch hat, Michala is unexpectedly attracted to him and after he sit down comes over to take his order and introduce herself. During breakfast he tells her that he is the new owner of the 56,000 acre Mackenzie ranch in the Las Padres Valley and is moving his horse business there from California. During breakfast the County SWAT team comes in, led by Michala's boyfriend, Gary George Goode or Triple G as he's known. Rance sees G's manner toward Michala and her embarrassed reaction to his open familiarity with her. Promising to become a regular customer once he brings his horses in, Michala buys his breakfast for him to welcome him to Arizona and to her family's restaurant. After he leaves Triple G asks Michala about him and then makes some off color remarks about his hat and his accent offending her. The valley Rance has inherited is ten miles long and abuts the Mexican border and is known locally for three things; the mountains forming the valley are said to hide a lost Spanish Gold Mine from the 1700's; the old ranch itself was once an Army camp up until the early 20th Century and is rumored to be haunted by the ghosts of the troopers who served there; and the valley itself has become a major drug route for the Reyes Drug Cartel from Mexico into the U.S. Joaqualina Reyes, head of the cartel, tries to buy the valley from Rance. Her offers are refused and her brother, a General in the Mexican Army, sends his troopers across the border to threaten Rance, which threats are ignored. Tired of dealing with the Aussie, she sends a hit team north to kill him. Breaking up with Triple G and having become romantically involved with Rance, Michala is caught up in the Las Padres Valley kerfuffle, and along with four Apache brothers, the Tosays, who Rance has hired to work for him, helps to train Rance to deal with the cartel and fights along side the brothers to keep him alive and in possession of his valley.
About the Author
An Army veteran, bush medic, rescue team member, college graduate, adjunct weapons instructor and riding instructor, Mr. Simmons lives in Tucson, Arizona where he instructs Three Day Event riders when not engaged in back country activities.
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