A Pair of Knaves
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by Lucien Parhelion
Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica/Romance
Description: Working a ranch is all very well, but there are faster ways to earn a buck when the gold rush is on. Silas Plummer has been choosing his marks and making a profit with his partner, Dr. Aaron "Arid" Gifford, for the past ten years, and they agree it's time to call it quits -- after they unload one last haul of mining shares. But the shares are a hot commodity in more ways than one, and speed is of the essence if the boys are going to realize the cash. Skedaddling from Cripple Creek to Chicago, Silas and Arid have to honor a scoundrel's agreement with a shady character from their past before they can conclude their business and enjoy retirement. From the wonders of the World's Fair to the seedier delights of Little Cheyenne, there's no end of challenges to keep their wits sharp. And all the while, Silas is wondering: does he really want this partnership to end?
eBook Publisher: Torquere Press/Spurs and Saddles, 2010 www.torquerepress.com
eBookwise Release Date: September 2010
2 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [119 KB]
Reading time: 71-99 min.
Silas wasn't sure what that had to do with their new destination, but you didn't jog the elbow of the man clipping the bull calf. He let himself be tugged toward the concert saloon and yet another doorman stationed outside its entrance.
Unlike at most places, this fellow didn't immediately launch into a speech about the wonders to be found within. He only eyed them up and down, offered a smile that showed a gold tooth, and opened the door to bow them inside.
After that, Silas anticipated something fancier than the usual cramped and crowded room with smelly, tobacco-stained sawdust on the floor, a piano player accompanying a woman singing smutty songs, and plenty of girls circulating to coax money from the customers for drinks and trips to cubicles rented out by the hour. Instead, he walked into a normal concert saloon in a segregated district. Maybe the spittoons were a little cleaner than usual and the lady singer a tad more of an artist. The Negro professor sure seemed to know his way around a piano, too. The customers also acted cheerful, willing to laugh at the spicier or more obscure bits of this singer's version of "Ta-Ra-Ra Boom-De-Ay" and even chime in on the chorus. But most of the girls were kind of homely.
As good as any other place to make their stand, he supposed. Now towing Arid along, Silas considered tactics and then sat them down in cane-backed chairs at an empty table, one next to a wall toward the back of the room but with a gas lamp directly overhead that provided plenty of light. Arid had already examined the crowd and was tipping his hat toward one of the older and plainer girls. Likely he meant to have some information out of her and didn't want to waste the time that coaxing over the house beauty might have required. For his part, Silas ordered a pair of lager beers from their swift-footed and dark-haired waiter, one who, in his opinion, was better looking than either the singer now gingering up the lyrics to "After the Ball" or the sporting woman moving toward them.
"Hello there," Arid's new friend said, sitting down at their table with a bright flourish of her skirts. She adjusted the cuffs at her wrists and smiled professionally. "How nice to meet you. I'm Julia." Her voice was husky. "Brandy and water," she told the waiter without missing a beat. He flashed teeth at her in a grin and was off to fetch what was likely to be some of the more costly weak tea for which Silas would ever have to pay.
Silas was busy studying the other customers. No obvious and immediate dangers, but he did see a couple of the actor-fellows from the lobby at the Ambassador two days back, one of whom was likely the man Arid had noticed.
Meanwhile, Arid was saying, "Good evening, Miss Julia. I'm Aaron, and this is my close friend Silas."
"Hello," Silas said absently, still surveying the crowd. Without thinking, he stuck out his hand. With a low sound of amusement, Miss Julia shook it. She had a decent shake, and Silas looked back at her with a bit more interest. He enjoyed a good, hard grip in a sporting woman. Then he blinked.