Shotgun Shells and A Drink of Water

Shotgun Shells and A Drink of Water

A failed government agent resigns and heads out cross-country on horseback, away from the world of spies and assassins to where he belongs, the western grass lands and family ranches. James Straw doesn’t even own his name; it has been given to him by the unnamed agency. In the northeastern part of New Mexico, the drifting cowboy finds a place to hide in a brush-covered canyon and a old miner’s cabin. Eventually Straw is driven out by hunger and the needs of his horses and finds himself in the middle of a growing fight over water rights and real estate expansion. Hired by a local small rancher, Straw finds himself drawn into the intimacy of a family, and questions about the origins of the rancher’s water rights. A young lawyer, New Mexico-born and well-versed in issues about water rights, is hired by the land developer. She flies from Albuquerque to the ranch in the company of an eastern representative, and in the confusion of a trail ride and a mountain lion, the drifter is mistaken for the rancher, Tim Wofford. James Straw goes along with the deception, needing to know what the land developers are scheming relative to procuring water enough to create an artificial lake and attract more investors. The Wofford clan is pitted against the investors with the withdrawn and suspicious James Straw caught in the middle.Money and power cannot sway Tim Wofford, nor can the attraction Straw feels toward the female lawyer change his loyalty to the Woffords and his determination to keep the Wofford ranch in the family. Violence on a solitary mesa, dirt roads, and healing herbs belong to the past yet are a challenge to the powers. Those who would steal waters rights and threaten lives in order to control the land and its profits cannot destroy the small ranchers and their values of family and honor.

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