John Slocum is engaged with a fine filly when a hot-lead hurricane forces him to switch calibers and join the fray. It seems a posse is looking for a certain woman named Eliza Banner—she owes them serious money, and they're eager for some payback. But when Eliza makes an attractive offer of her own, Slocum knows that his luck has turned for the better, the worse, or the deadly…
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Slocum opened his fist and let Lem’s head fall forward. He kept the Colt aimed at the man as he stood up and dusted himself off a bit. “I meant to deliver this message to you in a more civil manner, but you forced the issue by lurking in alleyways and shooting through windows. Eliza Banner is to be left alone. Deliver that message to whoever hired you because if I have to send another one, it won’t be so nice.”
Pulling himself up, Lem said, “Oh, I will. You wanna tell me who the hell you are? That way we’ll know what to write on yer grave marker.”
Slocum turned, aimed, and fired in one smooth motion. The Colt Navy barked once and sent its bullet into the ground between Lem’s fingers. “I’m the man that’ll be keeping an eye on Miss Banner. That’s all you need to know.”
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SLOCUM AND THE LUCKY LADY
A Jove Book / published by arrangement with the author
Jove edition / March 2009
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There wasn’t much in the town of East Padre to hold anyone’s attention for long. Situated on the easternmost border of New Mexico, the town was a collection of dusty shacks and a few leaning structures that had been built up enough to support a second floor. When the wind blew, every one of those buildings creaked loudly enough to be heard all the way to West Texas.
East Padre had a few saloons, a billiard room, and more than enough whores to wander through them all. There were a couple stores and even a blacksmith, but those places looked to be struggling for customers in a town where most folks were only passing through before heading east into Texas or north into the mountains. Greener pastures lay to the west as well but, compared to what East Padre had to offer, any pasture was greener.
It was late in the day and the sun was dipping below the western horizon. Once the general store was locked up, East Padre was handed over to the drunks and rowdies who staggered in and out of the establishments that catered to their needs. An occasional shot rang out, but that was nothing new. The locals standing along the streets or gazing out their windows didn’t even flinch at gunfire. They simply cast their eyes about and looked to see if the town’s sorry excuse for a lawman would actually take the time to check on the matter. When neither the lawman nor either of his two deputies bothered to show, those meandering eyes simply turned in another direction. If someone was shot, there wasn’t much to do about it anyhow. The closest doctor was six miles away and any poor bastard who caught a bullet would surely die before he got so much as a stitch. If the patient lived, the wound wasn’t bad enough to warrant a fuss.