Return to Silver Creek [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Chuck Tyrell
eBook Category: Historical Fiction
eBook Description: RETURN TO SILVER CREEK Arizona, 1882. Laura and Garet Havelock's cabin on Silver Creek is only temporary until Garet can build their dream horse ranch. But first he must leave her and go north for horseflesh to stock their range and make their dream a reality. The dream turns into a nightmare when Laura is attacked and abused by a vicious stranger. Garet returns to an empty home? and a heart-rending mystery. While he searches for his wife, he stumbles on a potential range war between sheep herders and cattlemen. When he and Laura are finally reunited, their troubles are far from over. Will they ever live to enjoy their dream ranch, or will the nightmare go on?? Beaten and broken, Garet must endure much to save his love and set the record straight -- with vengeance and blood. Chuck Tyrell is the global western e-book winner for his novel The Snake Den. "?The prison yarn is a staple of genre fiction, and Whipple has written a very good one in The Snake Den. Having researched and written a book partially set in Yuma Prison myself, I know he's done an excellent job of portraying that notorious hellhole. Shawn is a very likable protagonist, and the other characters are fleshed out and well developed. Given its setting and subject matter, it's not surprising that The Snake Den is considerably grittier than the fine Black Horse Westerns Whipple has also written under the Chuck Tyrell name. If this is an example of what we can expect from the Solstice Western line, I'm certainly looking forward to the rest of the books." - James Reasoner, author of Redemption, Kansas and Redemption: Hunters.
eBook Publisher: Solstice Publishing/Solstice Publishing, Published: 2012
Fictionwise Release Date: March 2012
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Garet said he'd only be gone for three weeks. He'd offered to get someone to come and stay with her, but she'd said no. After all, she'd fought off Apaches at Eagle Eye Mountain and crossed the desert by herself. Still, Laura Havelock got a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach as she watched her husband ride away with his two companions.
Laura tucked her long red hair under a broad-brimmed straw hat to shield her Irish complexion from the piercing sun of the Arizona highlands. She shaved soap into an old saucepan half full of water and set it on the stove. The heat would melt the hard soap into a thick liquid to add to creek water when she washed clothes.
Thank God I don't have to haul water for fifteen miles like they do in Vulture City. She looked across the meadow toward meandering Silver Creek, which cut through the Havelocks' H-Cross spread.
When the soap had melted, Laura perched on a three-legged stool in front of a battered copper washtub full of water from Silver Creek and soap from the basin. In one hand, she held the washboard. With the other, she slopped one of Garet's shirts in the sudsy water and vigorously worked it on the board. After half a dozen trips up and down the washboard, she dipped the shirt in the soapy water again, sloshed it around, gave it a healthy twist to wring out the water, and plopped it in another tub of clear creek water to rinse.
Though it was early May, the sun warmed the yard in front of the cabin, and Laura's work brought a light sheen of perspiration to her face. Garet had promised to build a house, but that had to wait until the horses were here and broke and sold. Laura caught herself staring into the distance, seeing the ranch house in her mind's eye. She smiled as she reached for another garment. She had no doubt that her husband would build the house. Garet Havelock was a man of his word.
Deep as she was in her daydreaming, Laura saw a mare grazing across the creek raise her head and prick her ears. A moment later, she heard the thunder of hoofs.
By the time the riders arrived, Laura stood at the front door of her home, long-barreled Winchester .44-40 in hand, cartridge chambered and thumb on the hammer.
The man in the lead looked as old and craggy as the malapai rocks scattered across the plain. A big thick man riding at his side held up a hand, stopping the others. When the old man spoke, it was as if gravel grated up and down in the back of his throat. "Where's your man?"
"He's gone for horses. Should be back anytime now," she said, her voice calm and her face expressionless beneath the wide brim of her straw hat.
The gravely voice continued. "I'm only gonna say this onct, so listen good. You and your man get outta here. I put up with the squatter because I could see he wasn't the staying kind."
The old man nodded his head at the garden plot Garet had broken for Laura. "Soon's folks start planting truck, they're thinking of staying. This here is Forty-Four range. Has been for longer'n you can count.
"I came to these mountains before Cooley and before Clark. I made my peace with P'tone and Pedro with no help from nobody, and I will not have two-bit nesters taking over my range. Not when I got fifteen thousand cows to feed."
The old man's horse danced. "Whoa down, hammerhead," he said. He turned his attention back to Laura. "I let you stay and first thing I know you'd be putting up fences. Them Mormons is bad enough.
"Now git. You can find somewhere else to settle."
Laura cocked the Winchester. The click was clear and loud in the silence following the old man's tirade.
"Mister, I don't know who you are and I don't care. But I'll make one thing clear. This claim belongs to us, me and my husband. It's proved up fair and legal, and we won't be pushed off." She lined the muzzle of the Winchester up with the old man's belly.
"She's alone, Pa." The one who spoke was a dark, handsome man with crackling black eyes and raven-wing hair. The likeness between him and the old man was plain. Laura moved her Winchester to a spot between the old man and his son.
"If you think anything of that son of yours, mister, you'd better ride. With him in front of me, I'm getting very nervous. And when that happens, my trigger finger tightens. And your son will be the first to die. I think you'd better leave."
A flash of anger touched the younger man's eyes, but the old man just glared at her. "My name's Loren Buchard," he declared, "and I own the Forty-Four. No one runs me off."
When Laura spoke, her voice was edged with steel. "Mr. Buchard, I'm not running you off. I'm saying that if your son threatens me, I'll shoot him. And if you don't want that to happen, it might be a good idea to ride on back the way you came.
"Now, any time you want to come over for a neighborly visit, you're more than welcome. But when you come to make threats, someone may die. As I said, if that happens today, the first to die will be your son."
Laura stood like a statue. Her blue eyes were pieces of ice boring into the faded black ones of the old rancher.
He blinked. Then looked at his son.
"We'll leave. For now. I'm not saying you have to lose anything. I'll buy your land."