So my second western novel Redeeming trail went live on amazon today. You can get your very own copy here for $2.99. I thought I would be nice and share the Prolog and first chapter today to peek your interest. So they are below:
Rebecca Ryder sat in her front room holding the letter that had just arrived from her son. To say she was shocked by what she read would be an understatement:
I thought I should let you know how things are going. I did what you and Father suggested and prayed about what God wanted me to do now that Nate is gone.
I am convinced I am to continue on to Redemption in the New Mexico Territory and fulfill the call I accepted to work for Pastor Bickel. I know Father thought I would come home now Nate isn’t around to advise me. However, I am confident God wants me to continue on.
Mother, I wanted to tell you, I did find the Grace Hopewell Nate was worried about. I am not sure what his plan was, but she has stolen my heart. I know this will come as a shock to you and Father, but we were married before we left Franklin, Missouri. You read right Mother. I am now married. We will continue to Redemption where Grace will fill the role of school teacher. I will take on the circuit just as Pastor Bickel asked me to.
Lastly, I guess I had better let you know I seem to have picked up a bit of a reputation for being good with my six-gun. While I’m sure Nate would be proud, the whole thing bothers me a bit. I am coming to realize if God gave me this gift, and put me in place to gain this reputation, he must have a reason for it. Please keep me in your prayers, that I will be exactly what God wants me to be. Also, that I will be the kind of husband Grace needs. I know you would love her Mother. I hope to one day introduce the two of you.
Rebecca didn’t know what to do. Her son was married. She had prayed for several years that God would give him the perfect mate. She just never expected he would find her on the way to Redemption.
Now she just had to figure out a way to get David to go west so they could meet their new daughter-in-law. She didn’t know how she was going to do it. Her husband hated everything about Redemption. He still blamed Nate and that town for the death of his mother. Well, she would just have to start praying about it now that Nathan had a wife. Maybe God would arrange things and while He was at it, maybe he would reconcile the father to the son.
Diamond Dale Cavanagh sat in the saloon in Independence, Missouri playing five card stud like he did most nights. Only tonight he was having trouble concentrating. There was a guy from the current wagon train who claimed there was a new gunslinger in the territory.
Joe was telling his tale and garnering free drinks with every repeat. “I tells ya the Preacher reaches out and beats him to his own gun and pistol whips him on the head. Kid Cody falls to the ground, out before he even realized he’d been outdrawn with his own six shooter. Then the Preacher walks over to the desk clerk breaks open the shooter and drops all the cartridges in his hand, then gives him the gun. He tells him you should send someone to get the sheriff so this cowboy can sleep it off. Then he turns like an eastern gentleman and offers the school marm his hand and escorts her to dinner purty as ya please.”
Dale tried to ignore the drifter but the tales just kept coming about how this Preacher took out three more men that night in a fair fight. He faced down the Kid’s brother, Black Bart, the next day. Later in the week he took on the rest of the Missouri River gang, killing all but two of them.
Dale folded his hand and walked over to the story teller. “Now I think yer just spinning tales fella. Ain’t no one that fast or good.”
Joe looked at the gambler with the diamond buttons on his shirt. “Lookie here mister I’m a tellin’ ya straight The Preacher’s quick as a greased pig and faster than lightnin’ on the plain. Why iffen an owlhoot meets The Preacher he’s a gonna met God either on his knee’s n prayer or face ta face.”
Dale looked the drifter in the eye and saw he believed every single word he was saying. Just about then the Western Union agent came in a shaking his head. “Well boy’s who’s buyin’ me a round? I just delivered the most interesting piece of news to the Marshal not five minutes ago. Seems like Kid Cody done went and got himself killed.”
“What you talkin’ bout Rusty?”
“According to the sheriff in Franklin some feller named the Preacher just out drew him and shot him dead.”
Dale downed his drink and motioned to the rest of his boys they were leavin’. If there was new talent in Franklin and the Missouri River Gang was gone then it was time for the Cavanagh Gang to increase it’s territory a bit east. Besides Dale needed to see this Preacher fella for himself and maybe add to his own reputation. “Mount up boy’s its time to head out to Franklin. I think we need to see this Preacher for ourselves and test his resolve.”
Twelve men climbed in the saddle and turned east. In a cloud of dust and the sound of thundering hooves the Cavanagh Gang set out for Franklin and a chance to see Diamond Dale brace the Preacher.
The wagon train was in sight of Boone Lick. Nathan Ryder halted the train to rest, water the teams and allow the wagoneers a chance to grab a bit of lunch and stretch the kinks out of the drivers. Nathan and Abner walked a bit away from the group to talk about the rest of the day.
“Abner, I don’t want to drive them too hard today. Where is the best camping point for us to stop tonight without pushing too hard? Besides you, Tim, Levi and me, most of these people are used to the easier livin’ in the east.”
Abner Gunderson took off his hat and scratched at the stitches on the side of his head. “I reckon yer right Nathan. Let’s see.” He pulled a map out of his breeches pocket and looked at it for a minute. “I figure we ought to be able to make it ta Arrow Rock round five tonight. That’d be the best place to make camp tonight. It’s got a stream that runs down off the rock and a wide space we can circle the wagons.”
Nathan nodded. “Sounds good. Let’s put some jerky in our stomachs and then round ‘em all up. Once we get there I want us to all eat together tonight and make some decisions. Also, I want to make sure the Richmonds and their servants understand what is expected on this trip.”
“I was a might surprised when ya let that tinhorn and his four wagons join the line. Are ya sure that was wise? That woman’s gonna right drive us crazy I’m a thinkin’.”
Laughing, Nathan nodded. “Yer probably right Ole Timer but I’ll tell ya like I told Grace this morning. If worse comes to worse I can always administer another lesson in life in the west or let you or Levi administer it.”
“That sounds right fun. I wouldn’t mind seeing that dandy try them there Queensbury rules on ole Black Bart fer sure.”
“Levi, Abner call him Levi.”
“Opps, I plum fergot.”
The two men went and got a bite to eat. After they were both satisfied Nathan looked at his wagon drivers and yelled, “Wagons Ready?”
From up and down the line came the answer, “ALL SET.”
Nathan and every other driver mounted up. Nathan, grabbing the reins in firm hands bellowed, “Wagon’s HO!!” Snapping the reigns set Tiny and Mouse to pulling the Ryder wagon westward once more. Never knowing trouble in the form of Diamond Dale Cavanagh and his Cavanagh Gang was heading toward Franklin with bloodlust for The Preacher, David Nathaniel Ryder the Third in their hearts. Trouble was going to find them soon enough and it would dog them this whole trail.
Well that’s all you get for free. Go grab your copy.