Title: Sarah & Jude
Author Name & Publisher: Marie Piper (NineStar Press)
Publication Date & Length: January 4, 2016 — 26 pages
ude Farraday is as rough and hard working as any man on the Tate ranch in Nebraska, and by far the best at breaking horses. Sarah Tate, daughter of the ranch boss, finds herself drawn to Jude despite the danger a relationship between the two of them could bring. After all, Jude is a woman.
This was a well-written short story that I finished in under an hour. I loved being able to hear the character voices in my head, the way Jude spoke versus the way Sarah spoke. The plot is simple, which is expected for short stories, so I wasn’t wowed by it at all.
The connection between the two characters is strong, and Sarah has quite a bit of character growth in such short pages. The sex scenes weren’t has steamy as I expected them to be. That’s not to say they weren’t good, they were very well written. I guess I just expected more? Don’t know why. I did enjoy the world Ms. Piper created in just a few short pages. There were enough details to give it life and not make it overbearing.
Overall a great read for a lunch break!
This is a short, quick read that was entertaining and fun. There are some things that made perfect sense in this story and some that I questioned. Sarah obviously doesn’t quite fit into the stereotypical role of a woman on a ranch in the West in that time period. But I find two things strangely oppositional; she doesn’t feel like she fits the person her mother wants her to be but she doesn’t do anything to rebel, but also doesn’t hesitate to do things with Jude that would definitely not be accepted by her parents. Jude, too, has things that make me think; she does everything to fit in as a man, yet has no problem allowing Sarah to reciprocate love-making as a woman. She seemed extremely hesitant to allow Sarah to do that, but gives in quickly. Also, she knows how difficult it is for her to find a place in this man’s world, but has no hesitations about messing around with the owner’s daughter, knowing that if she was found out being fired would be the best result. Although these questions made me think more about the story, I found the idea that the two got together and decided to stay together a wonderful one for the time period. It was a sweet ending to a hot beginning.
The stallion jumped a little but he didn’t fight. He’d wait before making his move. Almost broken, almost tame enough to allow himself to be ridden peacefully, the black-as-tar horse was sixteen hands of pure power. The tall rider on his back coiled in anticipation.
Sarah Tate washed a mountain of clothes in the basin as she knelt in the grass, but her attention wasn’t on soap bubbles that warm afternoon. It was fixed on the scene in the pen. Sweating in the sun, Sarah brushed a stuck piece of fair hair off her forehead and stood up, wondering if there’d be blood or broken bones in the next few minutes.
Jude Farraday worked as hard as any man on the ranch, fixing fences and driving poles like a rail worker and breaking horses better than any other hand. With the same sun-leathered skin, scraggly hair, and rough hands as the other boys, Jude seemed no different than the rest.
Sarah couldn’t see why folks said Jude was unnatural. She was just a hard-working woman, not much different than Sarah herself, except she was built like a boy and wore men’s clothes and did men’s work. Sarah hated washing clothes and felt in some way she understood the woman’s plight, even though she was nineteen years old and had never worn pants in her life.
The male ranch hands sat on the fence and watched as Jude expertly tamed the stallion. Sarah’s father had given Jude the task especially; she was notably better with the horses than the other men, and the horse had been expensive. Folks argued that Jude shouldn’t be kept on the ranch, but Sarah’s father knew a good worker when he saw one, and it was his vote alone that counted. Jude knew horses. Jude was valuable.
Like a coil, the horse sprung into wild action. Hoofs hit the dirt and kicked up dust, and Jude rode hard, taking the ups and downs with a stony expression. The horse bucked and jumped as much as it could manage in an attempt to throw its rider, but Jude hung on and didn’t go to the ground.
Sarah stopped washing and made her way toward the pen.
“Miss Sarah.” Some of the men nodded or tipped their hats to her. She barely heard them as she leaned on the fence and watched.
“Come on, you son of a bitch,” Jude called to the horse, a brave smile coming to her face. Sarah noticed the lean flow of Jude’s body and the way her strong thighs clung to the sleek flanks of the beast. Jude’s dark braid flew behind her, same as the horse’s tail, flipping along with the horse’s jumps and sidesteps.
She was beautiful.
Marie Piper is a Michigan native who earned her B.A. in English Literature from Michigan State University, and now lives in Chicago. She loves travel, coffee, and surrounding herself with her book hoard. Marie has published several short pieces in erotica collections from House of Erotica, Coming Together, LoveSlave, Torquere Press, and recently celebrated the release of HAVEN’S FLAME, the first novel in her steamy Western Historical Romance series, FIRES OF CRICKET BEND. The second book in the series – title forthcoming – will be released in March 2015.