Book Of The Month
Gunslingers, ranchers, cowboys, gamblers, and more make their appearance in this exciting collection of short stories set in the American Old West.
Author Holly Bargo takes an unflinching look at this most romanticized of American eras with bigotry, oppression, and hardship leaving their marks. Resilient and resourceful characters rise above those and other challenges with strength and, oftentimes, humor. Clean, sweet romance weaves its magic through many of the stories.
The 12 stories contained within this book were previously published, six in the collaborative collection titled Six Shots Each Gun published with Amazon bestselling author Russ Towne and six published in Holly Bargo’s own collection titled Satin Boots.
Hunched over as she weeded a row of carrots, Des- sie leaned back on her heels and wiped the sweat from her forehead with the back of her sleeve. With a sigh, she turned to look at a man silhouetted against the afternoon sky. She took in what details she could: tall, broad shoul- ders, narrow waist, long legs. He wore a pistol at each hip. Cautious, because she did not recognize this stranger, Des- sie slid one hand into her pocket for the heavy pistol she’d begun to carry when her suitors didn’t want to take no for an answer.
“I’m not interested,” she replied, blinking against the sun.
“I ain’t sellin’.”
“Then why are you here?”
“I heard tell there was a woman lookin’ to manage her daddy’s farm all by herself and thought I’d see if she needed some assistance.”
Dessie pressed her lips together in a thin line. With her free hand, she waved to indicate her property. “I do, but I’m not looking to marry anyone just to get a helping hand.”
The man’s white teeth flashed beneath the lowered brim of his hat. “I ain’t lookin’ to get married, ma’am. I’m lookin’ for paid work.”
Dessie chewed on her bottom lip as she considered this new development. She most certainly could use a strong back and extra pair of hands, but she was short on resources. She decided to be honest with him.
“I don’t have much money, mister, but I can offer you a place to stay in the barn and three meals a day. You take care of the livestock and crops; I’ll take care of the house, chickens, and garden.” The cow in the barn lowed. She sighed and added, “And I’ll milk the cow.”
“And laundry,” the man added. “Add laundry and I’ll start this afternoon.”
She frowned, then decided to compromise. “I’ll wash your dirty clothes with mine, but I won’t be washing extra loads just for you.”
“Fair enough, ma’am.”
She rose to her feet, grunting as her knees protested, and held out her hand. “Do we have an agreement, mister?”
He took her hand and shook it. His palm was dry and dusty. He nodded and replied, “Yes, ma’am, we do.”
Dessie gestured toward the barn. “If you have a horse, you can stable it there. I’ve got some extra stalls available. Then pick up a sickle and head behind the barn. You’ll see a field of winter wheat. It needs harvesting.”
“Call me Dessie. What should I call you?” “John, John McClintock.”
She nodded at him and watched as he walked away from her, noticing the bow in his legs indicating a life spent in the saddle. She wondered just what she had welcomed into her life and hoped she hadn’t just made the biggest mistake ever.
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
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Looking for a place to swap blogs? Holly Bargo at Hen House Publishing is happy to reciprocate Blog Swaps in 2019.
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