-Faith in Every Footstep-
written by Wesley Banks
published by Chasing Pace Publishing, 2016
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About the book – from Goodreads:
On the eve of one of mankind’s toughest races, accompanied by thirteen of America’s rarest dog breed, rookie musher Kyle Walker only has one thought in mind: win. Discovered in the lowlands of South Carolina, the Carolina grays have traveled over five thousand miles to face off in the 2003 Yukon Quest. But one dog stands above the rest—King.
When an unexpected storm strikes, Kyle Walker and the reigning champion are forced to turn back. Stranded at the checkpoint, Kyle and his dogs find solace in a young veterinarian with auburn hair and keen green eyes—Jenna Maynor.
In this storm another race is forming, one of an Inuit man racing to save his family. Presented with the choice to help, but at the risk of his and his dogs’ lives, Kyle Walker ventures into the unknown in search of a mom and two young daughters.
The Yukon Quest was founded on the premise that a dog driver and his team should be a self-sufficient unit capable of challenging varied terrain and severe weather. But these conditions may prove to be too much, even for Kyle and King.
About the author:
Wesley Banks was born in 1983 and grew up on the west coast of Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Civil Engineering. After spending over 7 years building movable bridges from Florida to Washington he decided to focus on his true passion: writing.
Wesley recently moved from Florida to Oregon to get back to the great outdoors that he loves so much. He lives with his wife Lindsey, and his two dogs Linkin and Story. Most of his time these days is spent writing, with as much rock climbing, hiking, or skiing as he can fit in.
~ Excerpt ~
Kyle opened the shed door and placed the axe, along with the freshly cut pieces of pine, in a worn groove along the left wall. The corrugated metal door clanged shut, and before he could turn around, he heard a familiar sound.
A low growl emanated from behind him. Every part of his body stiffened, except his neck, which he turned slightly to the left. The farthest part of his peripheral vision picked up the stark black coat. The cabin was nearly fifty feet across from the shed. He wouldn’t make it there in time.
One. Kyle breathed out slowly through his mouth and in through his nose.
Two. He tensed the muscles in his hands, arms, legs, and core.
Three. Without warning, he pivoted on his left foot, pushing off with his right, and sprang at the animal. He was too slow though. Even at nineteen years old and in peak condition, he was not nearly as fast as a Carolina gray.
The animal jolted instantly, feinting away from Kyle and then flashing back at him.
Kyle wasn’t defeated just yet though. He spun to his right as the black paws pierced the snow just inches away, and swiped back at the beast, clipping its front leg. Then he drove his weight forward and pushed the animal onto its side.
Kyle reached for the animal’s neck, but again he was too slow, grasping nothing but air. He rolled onto his back but knew instantly he had made a mistake, exposing too much of his body.
In a blur the animal landed on top of him, and Kyle lay face to face with two cuspate fangs. He reached forward trying to find a safe handhold, but the fangs fell on each side. His hands gripped at clumps of fur along the animal’s neck, soft but bristly in the cold.
Kyle baited the beast by relinquishing the grip in his right hand. He shifted his weight down and to the right, and just as the animal repositioned its paws, Kyle drove his left heel into the ground and flipped to his right. He meant to drive the animal into the snow, but he was left with nothing but bits of pitch-black fur between his hands.
Kyle pushed himself to all fours, but before he could stand, he found himself face to face with a pair of golden eyes. The moment the animal moved, Kyle knew it was over. He flinched and fell backward, but not fast enough. The wolflike creature stood atop him once again with a labyrinth of bared teeth.
But the snarl faded, and out came an elongated, soppy tongue. It tickled Kyle’s neck and face, leaving droplets of slobber along the way.
“King.” Kyle laughed. “Stop it. Stop it.”
King had been Kyle’s best friend since the day he discovered the rare breed of dog six years ago in the lowlands of South Carolina.