Whiskey Shots by Darrel Sparkman by Darrel Sparkman - Read Online

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Darrell Sparkman, author of the western novel OSAGE DAWN, presents two romantic western short stories in this latest edition of WHISKEY SHOTS. "Stage To Abilene" is a story about a marshal with a warrant to serve, a girl that decides he is too good a man to die, and an unexpected way to come up with a winning hand. Marshal Matt Bodine knows he can beat Texas Red Wyrick, but what about the others who will be with him? "Comanche Trail" is a story of unexpected romance, from an unlikely source, at an unlikely time. John Becker rescues a waif of a girl from Comanche renegades. He soon finds out she is the most irritating, frustrating, and absolute pain in the butt woman he has ever met--and can't be without.
Published: Whiskey Creek Press on
ISBN: 9781603133425
List price: $2.99
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Whiskey Shots - Darrel Sparkman

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girls.

Stage to Abilene

by

Darrel Sparkman

The stage was a dusty whirlwind as it careened along the road, two days from Abilene. Grizzled and wrinkled from age and years of throwing his tough old face into the wind, Frank Drummond shifted his cud of chewing tobacco—stretching his left cheek to impossible proportions as he eyed the figure standing in the road ahead. He started to spit an amber stream over his left shoulder, then abruptly changed his mind and aimed it into the soiled can at his feet. If he spit over the side it would blow back into the passengers, and that’d about got him shot once.

Drummond turned to yell a warning at his shotgun guard, but Miguel was already alert to the figure waiting for them. The guard held his rifle casually, but the business end accurately tracked the stranger in the road as the stage ground to a stop.

There was silence for a moment as the dust chasing the stage caught up with them. Both men riding on top of the stage watched warily as the man lowered his head to let the dust go on by. Slim hipped and wide of shoulder, the stranger held his forty-pound Texas saddle on one shoulder while his right hand held a new Henry repeating rifle. Drummond noticed the man’s typical cowhand dress was a little better in quality than most, the boots hand-tooled and solid black. A black gunbelt held a Navy Colt in a tied-down holster whose walnut grips were worn smooth with use.

The old stage driver knew the signs and knew the look. The Kansas plains of 1870 were awash with castoff and battle scarred veterans of war; cattle wars and arguments over water and land rights had been just as deadly. Ranchers were building barbed wire kingdoms, jealously trying to hold huge amounts of range land, and men were dying. Hired warriors were common occurrences along the Chisolm Trail and the word ‘Gunman’, a term being idolized by the newspapers and dime novels produced back East, was on everyone’s lips.

The dust swirled on past and the man’s grey eyes came up from under the brim of his hat. Drummond saw his face at the same time his eyes caught the glint of the star pinned on his shirt. He had to adjust his first impression—but not by much, but enough to bring a smile to his face.

Jesus, Gawd. Matthew Bodine! Thought you was over in the Nation.

Been awhile, Frank. Matt dumped his saddle on the ground and grinned at the two men on the box. I could use a ride.

What happened to your horse? Injuns? Drummond was turkey-necking all around, trying to see if any hostiles were about.

Gopher hole. Half a day south of here.

Nice day for a walk. The accented voice of Miguel Franco was soft and musical.

Matt glanced at the Mexican, noting the familiar way the man handled his weapon. Not really. He tossed his saddle into the boot at the back of the stage and walked around to one of the side doors. Stopping on the shady side, where he could see into the stage, he paused to look at the passengers. One by one he met their eyes, and they could see in their reflections—assessments made—opinions cataloged.

Drummond came up from behind. We’ll squeeze you in somewhere, Marshal.

I can ride on top if there’s no room. Wouldn’t want to crowd anyone.

Nonsense,