Love's Lonesome Serenade
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by J. Troy Seate
Description: Sin and saddles were rudimentary ingredients in the Wild West, but sometimes, romance on the range bloomed amidst the sagebrush. This star-crossed love between a saddle-tramp and a songbird is reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet or Running Bear and Little White Dove but with more sensuality and adventure. Smiley Red finds Katie in a saloon and, after making quick work of her aged keeper, he and she ride to Greasy Bend where they are safe in each other's arms. Until a posse shows up, looking for trouble?and Red. Smiley and Katie must face the elements in the Badlands until they can sneak back to Greasy Bend and hatch a plan that will allow them to escape once and for all. But the question is can they outrun and outsmart the posse?
eBook Publisher: Whispers Publishing, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: November 2009
2 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [33 KB]
Reading time: 15-21 min.
Katie was a two-bit dancehall girl in a no-account town called Purgatory. Smiley Red was a gun-slinging saddle-tramp who moved from town to town. Until he walked into the Crystal Slipper Saloon, that is, and heard Katie singing "I'm only a Bird in a Gilded Cage."
Trail dust covered his boots and Mexican spurs. Sand fell from his breeches and mixed with the sawdust on the barroom floor as he moseyed to the bar. He pushed back his hat and the broad grin he was famous for carved his freckled face as he listened to the skylark.
He thought her to be the finest piece of womanhood he'd ever laid his travel-weary eyes on.
After her song, he bought Katie a drink and asked her to share a table. She was a sprightly young woman with dark eyes framed by long, sooty lashes. Her raven hair was pinned up with a silver brooch as pretty as you please.
She didn't act like an ordinary dancehall whore. No attempt was made to seduce him or ask for drinks. He felt a sense of companionship with her right off.
Katie was equally attracted to the kid's flaming red hair and lonely blue eyes. But her company didn't come without a price. There was another man in the saloon that had invested time and money in Katie and didn't like the idea of this upstart, redheaded interloper occupying his investment.
"Looky here, Bart. Some kid's stealing your girl," one of the cowpokes leaning on the bar goaded.
Smiley Red glanced toward the voice. His blue eyes turned steely. "Best tend to your own rat-killin', feller."
When his hand touched Katie's, another voice boomed across the barroom. "Before you wet your didy, I'll thank you to unhand my paramour, unless you want your arm separated from the rest of you," said a man who rose from a poker table, whiskey in his voice.
The piano music stopped. The clacking of dominoes came to a halt. A barmaid's hand went to her throat. Some men held a lump in their jaw for even the tobacco chewing stopped and the spittoons fell silent. For a moment, there was a quiet not heard in the saloon since the last gunfight.
Smiley Red concentrated his attention on the man who'd spoken. His eyes became icy and a savage darkness flickered across his face. "Don't look to me like Katie here belongs to anyone, least of all an old fossil with skunk-grease in what's left of his hair."
Bart's eyes became narrow slits of anger. He was known to have a lightning-quick draw, drunk or sober. The heel of his hand rested on the butt of his pistol. He shifted his weight, bringing his piston side forward, the movement an obvious threat.
The bartender, called Beaut because he was uglier than Sunday and twice as mean, backed away from the line of fire as did the barmaids and the customers.
Red smiled crookedly and calmly stood. He might have been no more than a kid, but he showed no fear of the man who'd challenged him. "You willin' to die for a girl half your age?"
Katie moved away with the rest, but said to the kid, "Don't get yourself killed on account of me, Mister. I'm not worth it."
"I think you are," Red said with his cockeyed smile. "If this fossil don't like us having a drink, I guess he's just gonna have to shoot me."