Double M: The Mallons [Double M Series Book 1] [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Sherry Derr-Wille
eBook Category: Historical Fiction/Romance
eBook Description: Mike Mallon is running away from his past. With his family's history, it is expected he will go to Mexico. Instead he goes north and founds the Double M Ranch in Corbit, Montana. Once there his life is intertwined with the men and women in the valley. Especially his wife, Janet, his best friend Nevada, the half breed, Maggie, and the town's founder, Ned Corbit. When the past catches up with Mike, it destroys not only his family but also touches the lives of everyone else in the valley. For better or for worse, Mike's temper ruins his relationship with many of those who have been closest to him. Only a bazaar twist of fate can right the wrongs and bring Mike the peace he so desires.
eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, Published: 2006
Fictionwise Release Date: November 2006
This eBook is part of the following series:
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4 Reader Ratings:
"Sometimes people have to take the most painful decisions. Starting a new life is never easy. Double M: The Mallons is a story about someone who has to do just that: start a new life, meet new people and leave the past behind. Easier said then done. Meeting new people means also loving new people, but what if the past comes after you and puts you and the ones you love in danger? Sherry Derr-Wille has written a beautiful Western story with plenty of romance, about someone who tries to survive after something that never should have happened. 4 Flags!"--Euro Reviews
Mike Mallon saddled his horse and rode toward town. The unseasonably warm January day bolstered his spirits.
Today, he could finally call himself a man. Today, he turned eighteen. His mother suggested a party but he graciously declined. His mother's parties always turned into extravagant affairs. All he wanted was one of her fine dinners.
The youngest of Ben and Christina Mallon's children, he often clashed with his mother's overprotective nature. His older brother, Phillip, now took on many of the duties at the Circle M. How Mike envied Phillip. Although Pa often said he trusted Mike, Phillip's abilities seemed to hamper Mike's attempts at independence.
He knew his parents' protective nature stemmed from the loss of his sister, Teresa. She would have been nineteen, if she had lived. He recalled how, when she was sixteen, Pa gave her in marriage to the young doctor in town, Matthew Lane. He remembered it as a happy time. A year later, they were expecting their first child.
Matt worried about leaving Teresa alone while he called on patients. After days of deliberation and arguments from Teresa, he moved her back to the Circle M.
Her labor came on quickly while Matt was caring for a dying man. Before he arrived home, she was gone, leaving him with a beautiful daughter. For a long time, Matt could not accept the child. It fell to Mike's mother to bury her grief in the love of her granddaughter.
Now, a year later, all was well. Matt continued to stay at the Circle M. Mike knew it would surely break his mother's heart if they were to leave. To his surprise, Christina told Matt, "You and Mary are welcome here as long as you need to stay. Should the time come when you find another woman to love, you will marry her with our blessing."
Matt masked his shock, as did the rest of the family, when they first heard her comment. It took several months, but now they accepted it as what would eventually happen. Mike found himself so lost in his musings, he was almost to town before he turned his thoughts to his reason for going there today.
His best friend, Taylor Collins, and his wife, Jenny, sent word to the ranch they wanted to see him. Mike laughed to himself, thinking about their reason for wanting him to come to town. He, like everyone else, knew they were going to have a baby soon. Hell, she was three months gone at their wedding.
His mother called it shameful but Mike didn't agree. He decided he took after his pa more than his mother. Pa said things like this happened, especially when young people got carried away.
His mother's strict Catholic upbringing, along with her proper upper class Spanish background, demanded no sexual contact until marriage.
Mike crested the hill just outside of town, when he heard shots. He spurred his horse and reached for the rifle in the boot of his saddle. As he rode down Main Street, he saw a man shoot Taylor. He pulled up his rifle, took aim, and fired. As he did, a terrible pain shot through his forehead, causing him to fall from his horse.
When he came to, he found himself in Matt's office, the room spinning.
"Well, you're back," Matt said. "How are you feeling?"
"Fine," Mike lied.
"Do you remember what happened this morning?" Matt asked.
Mike looked at Matt. He knew his eyes carried a blank expression before the curtain covering his memory began to lift. As it did, everything burst from the dark recesses of his mind. "Oh, my God," Mike cried, unable to believe the memory he'd triggered. "Taylor?"
"He's dead. So is Frank Purcell."
"What in the hell was going on out there?" Mike asked.
"The way I heard it," Matt began, "the Purcell gang came to town to rob the bank. Taylor tried to stop them. Frank shot Taylor. Then you came riding into town with your gun blazing. Frank got off the shot which grazed your head, but you shot him through the heart."
Mike tried to absorb what Matt said. It all seemed to be too much. He, Mike, who never liked violence, just killed a man. Of all the men to kill, he picked Frank Purcell. He certainly couldn't stay in Texas. If he did, he would be dead in less than a week.
"I've got to get out of here," Mike said.
"You've got to rest," Matt insisted. "I'll take you home, but you have to go to bed as soon as you get there."
"Bed! I'm a target for the Purcell gang and you want me to go to bed? You're out of your mind."
"All right, just try getting out of here on your own."
Mike looked at him, then got up from Matt's office sofa. He took a few unsteady steps toward Matt before collapsing in his arms.
"Now will you let me take you home? If you rest for the remainder of the day, you'll be able to leave around midnight."
Ben took Matt aside as soon as he arrived with Mike. "Just what was that damn fool trying to prove?" he questioned.
"You know Mike's temper, you ought to. It's a match to yours. When he saw Taylor being shot, something snapped. He's right, though, he has to leave Texas tonight."
"I've been thinking about that, too," Ben said. "He should head north, Wisconsin or Minnesota. This being January, he should wait until April, then start out for Montana Territory. I hear there's plenty of good ranch land out there. He can buy the land this summer and next spring, we'll drive up his share of the herd."
"Won't you be advertising where Mike is?" Phillip protested, joining the conversation for the first time.
"You're right, of course. When he gets settled up north, let him write us using a false name. If anyone asks where we're taking the herd, it will be to a farmer turned rancher we've been corresponding with for almost a year. No one will expect him to go north. With his background, they'll figure he went to Mexico."
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The slim crescent of a new moon shed little light as Mike mounted his horse and rode away from his home. As much as he hated leaving, he knew it would be for the best. With the Purcell gang looking for him, he didn't want to endanger his family. The thought of never seeing them or any of his friends again pulled at his heart and brought a lump to his throat.
Where will I go? How will I live?
Thoughts of seeing Taylor go down flooded his mind. What will happen to Jenny? Will she ever find another to take Taylor's place?
More questions without answers, he thought as his horse covered the miles taking him away from the only life he'd ever known.
Whatever the future held, he prayed he was man enough to accept it, to make the best of it.