Saturday, August 15, 2015

Sample Saturday

EEK! It's Saturday again, and I almost missed it.

Here's a scene from Book 2 of the Owen Family Saga, Ride to Raton. James Owen has just had "firm" words with the man for whom he is working to pay off a debt of honor. He is also two weeks or so out from being shot by a disgruntled drunk, which is why he's so cautious.

James turned on his heel and walked out the door. He paused at the doorway leading outside and looked into the yard. Everything seemed normal. Then he strode toward the stables.

As he entered the dimness of the interior, James stepped to one side of the door and stopped, hand on his pistol butt. This was the time for an attack, while his eyes were adjusting to the half light, so he listened. The scuffling sound he heard sent him into a dive behind a stall partition, trying to draw the revolver as he went down. He fell hard on his left shoulder, landing on scar tissue from a bayonet wound he’d received during the war. He swore softly, rolling to a crouch with his pistol in his hand.

James blinked several times to free his eyes of fragments of straw, but remained otherwise motionless, trying to locate the source of the danger. There was no sound but the pounding of his heart in his ears for long moments, then, the shuffling noise he had first heard came again from the other side of the shed.

From the darkness beyond the door, through the rectangular light, and into the darkness again, scurried a large rat. James holstered his revolver and wiped sweat from his eyes. He got to his feet and started toward where the hay fork hung on the wall.

James heard the report of the pistol at the same moment a lead ball whizzed past his right ear. He hit the straw covered floor again. James rolled to his left, toward the protection of the nearest stall. The shot had come from the direction of the shuttered window near the back of the shed, close to where the harnesses were draped to dry on pegs, looking like so many brown spider webs in the dim light.

Ma, they’re at it again. Can’t a man pay his debt and leave a place still in one piece? With his revolver in his hand, James waited for what would come next—another shot, a rush of men, or the marshal, Tate. As he waited, a bead of sweat ran out from under his hat, down his temple, and into his beard. His side and shoulder throbbed with pain. Six little beans! Why’d I ever stop in Pueblo Town?

No shot came, and James slipped out of the stall and rushed to the doorway. He glanced into the alley. No one was in sight, so he slid through the door and made his way to the back corner of the shed.

Holding his breath, James craned his neck around the corner. One man stood there with a revolver pressed to a crack in the shutter and one eye up to a knothole in the wood. Two steps, and James was behind him. The man reacted to the slight noise of his coming by whispering, “That you, Li—”

James laid the pistol barrel un-gently alongside the man’s head and caught his body as he crumpled.

No. It’s me, James Owen, and I’m tired of dodging lead for no good reason, he thought as he holstered his gun and laid the limp body on the straw covered dirt. Tarnation. This can wear a man down.

Thanks for visiting. You can purchase Ride to Raton in your chosen version from the vendors below.

Ride to Raton: Book 2 - in print and ebook formats
Print: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | ebooks: Smashwords all formats | Kindle | nook | Kobo | iTunes Bookstore

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