Heir To Triple M
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by Alice Blue
Category: Romance/Historical Fiction
Description: After a disastrous marriage, Burt Martine refuses to have children of his own. Younger brother, Kenneth, claims he is having a son, but Kenneth is murdered. Burt travels to Texas to bring home an unwilling pregnant widow, Carlie Martine, so there will be an heir for the huge Triple M ranch. Traveling together with a herd of cattle from Texas to Colorado brings about many changes in both their outlooks.
eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, 2008
eBookwise Release Date: June 2008
11 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [459 KB]
Reading time: 300-420 min.
4 Books! ?In this intense western, Burt Martine discovers that pretty Carlie, his brother's widow, carries the heir to Triple M; the ranch has a hold on Burt?s soul, but does it rule his heart as well? Heir To Triple M is a solid western romance, long on cowboy attitudes if a bit short on depth of character. The plot carries you forward, as you will wonder from the start just what did happen. The background ? from the trail to the ladies dress shop ? all fit the theme beautifully. Dialogue also keeps a sense of the times alive. The writing style is comfortably readable, the story engaging, and the mystery adds a bit of intrigue.? Reviewed by Snapdragon, Long and Short Reviews
Southern Colorado 1886
Kenneth Martine felt himself slide from his exhausted horse and crumple in a heap on the hard ground. Home at last. He heard his mother call out "Get Burt!" to someone he couldn't see for the blurring of his bruised eyes. Thumping feet hurried across the wooden porch and hit the dirt of the yard. He tried to grin but it hurt too much. Big brother Burt was only five years older, but he could fix anything. He'd be here soon. Ken rolled to his left side, facing the house, but that hurt, and the pain was overwhelming.
Ma stood in the house doorway. With his one good eye he saw her white apron go to her face just a moment before she ran out into the yard to reach him. Ken heard her stifled cry of anguish. Big, sturdy arms lifted him. That had to be Burt. God, it would be good to see him, even with the one eye the outlaws hadn't pounded shut.
"Put him on my bed," Ma said firmly to Burt as he hurried at her side. Ma being such a strong-willed woman, Ken knew she'd take care of him.
Pain hit him so hard, dark clouds curled about him. Visions of Carlie's beautiful face hovered in the fog smothering him. He groaned, knowing he'd never see her again. He heard voices, Burt's and Ma's, close above him. They talked across his body while they laid him on a cloud of comfort. The comfort didn't last; it was only temporary compared to the last days, or could it be weeks, of agony?
"It's bad, Burt," Mother said. "I already smell infection. Kenneth, can you hear me?"
He tried to answer, but it required too much effort. He knew his family was hurting by their broken voices, and he couldn't help them. He could tell by Burt's voice he was furious. That was good. Burt would take care of things for him. Ken felt like he was eighty instead of twenty-three. His pants leg was being cut as he struggled for consciousness. The trouser cloth popped apart with a snap where the swelling from his bullet wound hurt so much. The sudden lack of constriction gave momentary relief.
"Hot water, Burt, and whiskey." Lord, it was good to hear Ma's voice. If only Carlie could be here, too. She knew about nursing from working with Doc Pritch.
"That looks bad, Ma," Burt said. "Bill has gone for the doctor. If he can find him sober enough to wash his hands, they should be here in a couple hours."
"I ain't gonna last that long," Ken told them. He couldn't be sure they heard. "Listen." His eyes closed. He struggled to open them. With his one good eye he stared up through the straggles of his own graying hair, into Burt's amber colored eyes, so like his own.
"Listen. Jobe Fetters did this. Him and his gang." Ken knew they'd mashed his nose. He couldn't breathe very well. He gasped for air and forced himself to go on. "My wife Carlie is in Still Creek, Texas. My wife and baby. Bring ... her ... here. I promised."
"Where is Still Creek?" Burt asked. He tenderly brushed the hair back from Ken's face as he turned it on the blessed softness of a feather pillow.
Ken couldn't answer. He struggled against the darkness engulfing him. He felt the blood-stiffened clothing being slid from his aching body.
"OMIGOD! What's this pinned to the skin of his chest?" Ken heard Burt's anguished voice as though he were miles away. "A deputy's badge! He's festered all around it. Wash carefully, Ma, and I'll pull it free. Poor, damn kid, they've tortured him."
Excruciating pain engulfed Ken as the pin was torn from his flesh. He almost blacked out completely. He had to be able to talk to them. One less pain now, he thought, but the soreness remained. He sighed heavily, trying to get his wits about him.
"Look at his wrists, Son." Ma said but she still kept scrubbing around the infected leg wound. "He's been tied. Oh, my poor baby!" Her hot tears fell on him even as she worked.
"Cold water now, Burt. He's already feverish. He must have ridden a long way without being tended properly."
"He must have ridden a long way tied up, by the looks of this." Burt spread a soothing cream on Ken's swollen wrists. That felt good. So did the cool cloth on his battered face.
"He's coming around again, Ma." Burt leaned close. Ken felt Burt's breath on his face. "Bank money bags," he told Burt. Ken felt Burt's body heat against his arm. Burt leaned even closer. "Skunk chased at picnic ... Ollie hid ... shot rattlesnake ... lightning tree ... crevice." He sighed heavily, glad he'd gotten out the information he'd refused to reveal to Jobe; the information it was so terribly important to get to Burt, because Burt would fix everything and get the people's money back to them. And he'd bring Carlie home.
They must have set another lamp near his head, Ken reasoned. A bright shaft of light shone all around him. He tried to talk but did anyone hear him?
"Hello there, Pa. I ain't seen you in years. I see you got little Timmy by the hand."
* * * *
They buried Kenneth Martine in his best suit beside his father on the hill up from the house, in the Martine Triple M cemetery. Little Timothy Martine's grave was close by. Once the neighbors had all gone and dusk had settled over the big Martine ranch house, Burt sat with his mother in adjoining rockers on the long front porch.
"A promise is a promise, Burt," Mother Martine finally said after rocking a while. "I don't know where Still Creek, Texas is, but I expect someone does. Since you so strongly declared you will not have another child after losing Timmy and Lauretta, then that baby of Kenneth's is my only hope for a grandchild. If you're thinking about heirs, Kenneth's child is the only heir to Triple M. Bring that mother and child home, Burt."
"What if she doesn't want to come here?" Burt said.
"I'm sure you'll find a way, Son. You always do. Bring them home."