Slocum Giant 2013 : Slocum and the Silver City Harlot (9781101601860)

BOOK: Slocum Giant 2013 : Slocum and the Silver City Harlot (9781101601860)
12.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Casting Pearls Before Swine . . .

Marianne never let him finish. She attacked, the knife free of her pocket now. A savage slash at his eyes sent Carstairs stumbling back. He caught his foot on the box filled with the silver chunks and fell hard. His head snapped back as he collided with a big rock. Wary of a trick, Marianne edged forward, the knife handle turning damp in her sweaty grip. She made a few tentative stabs at him, but Carstairs lay still. Blood oozed from the belly wound, which was only a shallow scratch and not the disemboweling stroke she had intended.

“Hey, Carstairs, where are you? We heard a commotion. Where'd you git off to?”

From the argument between the men coming from the camp, she faced three or four miners. Marianne stood over Carstairs, who moaned and tried to sit up. A single quick thrust would end all her problems.

She could kill a man. But she couldn't murder one, not even a lowlife like Carstairs.

She almost panicked when the miners came toward her. Marianne bent and grabbed the box that had downed Carstairs, opened the lid, and then emptied it onto the man's chest. The silver gleamed in the starlight.

She threw down the box and ran as if a pack of rabid dogs were coming after her . . .

DON'T MISS THESE ALL-ACTION WESTERN SERIES FROM THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

THE GUNSMITH by J. R. Roberts

Clint Adams was a legend among lawmen, outlaws, and ladies. They called him . . . the Gunsmith.

LONGARM by Tabor Evans

The popular long-running series about Deputy U.S. Marshal Custis Long—his life, his loves, his fight for justice.

SLOCUM by Jake Logan

Today's longest-running action Western. John Slocum rides a deadly trail of hot blood and cold steel.

BUSHWHACKERS by B. J. Lanagan

An action-packed series by the creators of Longarm! The rousing adventures of the most brutal gang of cutthroats ever assembled—Quantrill's Raiders.

DIAMONDBACK by Guy Brewer

Dex Yancey is Diamondback, a Southern gentleman turned con man when his brother cheats him out of the family fortune. Ladies love him. Gamblers hate him. But nobody pulls one over on Dex . . .

WILDGUN by Jack Hanson

The blazing adventures of mountain man Will Barlow—from the creators of Longarm!

TEXAS TRACKER by Tom Calhoun

J.T. Law: the most relentless—and dangerous—manhunter in all Texas. Where sheriffs and posses fail, he's the best man to bring in the most vicious outlaws—for a price.

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) • Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England • Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.) • Penguin Group (Australia), 707 Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3008, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.) • Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India • Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.) • Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., Rosebank Office Park, 181 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parktown North 2193, South Africa • Penguin China, B7 Jiaming Center, 27 East Third Ring Road North, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100020, China

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

SLOCUM AND THE SILVER CITY HARLOT

A Jove Book / published by arrangement with the author

PUBLISHING HISTORY

Jove edition / March 2013

Copyright © 2013 by Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Cover illustration by Sergio Giovine.

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

ISBN: 978-0-515-15354-5

eBook ISBN: 978-1-101-60186-0

JOVE
®

Jove Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

JOVE
®
is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

The “J” design is a trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

1

Marianne Lomax smiled sweetly as she tugged down her bodice to reveal more than a little of her swelling white bosom. With a deliberate shake of her shoulders, she set her breasts to jiggling—and captured the miner's full attention. He swallowed hard and spilled some of the drink she had fixed for him.

The auburn beauty wished he would drink more. She had a few customers who got so knee-walking drunk that she didn't have to do a thing but assure them they had been superior in bed and that she would never forget how expert their lovemaking had been. More than once she had dropped hints about this around Silver City to bolster the men's reputations. Salesmanship went a long way in keeping the best customers.

In her mind that meant ones who never caused trouble and who paid her what was more than the going rate for sexual favors in the larger cathouses.

“I never 'spected to find a filly as fine and frisky as you, Miz Marianne,” the miner said. He spilled more of his whiskey on her sofa.

She came close to rushing to him and clawing out his eyes. That sofa had come all the way from Georgia and had belonged to her mama, rest her soul. The furniture was about all she had left to remind her of better days in the green hills with the gentle breezes and . . .

“Let me freshen up that there drink, Clem,” she said, knowing she had to tend to this disagreeable business so she could get it over fast. Marianne rose gracefully, being sure to show enough ankle to keep the man's interest focused on her and what was going to occur. So much of what she did was showmanship. Most of the silver miners were done, otherwise, in a minute or two, and often felt cheated. A slow buildup, a bit of tease, a flash of forbidden flesh, and they were more than happy to pay her.

She almost laughed at that. She could hit him between the eyes with an ax handle and never break his concentration on her. He worked a claim out at the edge of Chloride Flats, where the richest silver strike in New Mexico still brought in prospectors and others itching to get rich. The town struggled to put up enough buildings to house them all. Most of the miners lived in tents, and the largest of the structures in town were adobe or two-story wood frame saloons and bawdy houses.

Just sitting in her parlor was a treat for a man who camped with sand fleas and biting gnats in a tent that likely leaked like a sieve when it rained.

“Why, thank you kindly, Miz Marianne,” he said. Clem held out his glass in such a way that she had to bend over to refill it.

Marianne played the game well. She enjoyed this, bending so her rump was in the air just a little so she could shake it. Her bodice slid down a little more, giving Clem a decent view of the deep, shadowy canyon between her breasts.

“Oh, my, I am being so bold. Will you forgive me?” She pulled up her blouse in such a way that it tightened across her breasts, showing her penny-sized nipples through the cloth.

The miner didn't miss this part of the show either. She sank down beside him on her mama's sofa and considered ways of moving him to the only other item of furniture in the room where he could spill all the tarantula juice he wanted. She had taken the fainting couch in payment from the Silver City carpenter rather than take his last silver dollar. For a town where silver flowed like a river, too many were living on the edge of poverty.

As she was.

“Oh, I am suddenly dizzy,” she said, taking two exact steps back, being sure the fainting couch was under her and then flopping back. She theatrically lifted her arm to cover her eyes even as she flapped her skirt.

“Are you all right, Miz Marianne?”

“I am taken faint and need to be revived,” she said, drawing up her skirt even more until she exposed her leg past the knee.

“You want some of this here whiskey?”

“I need more than that, Clem. I need a man who can massage me so the circulation returns to my limbs.”

“I don't rightly know how to do that.”

“It'll come naturally to a
man
like you.” She hiked her skirts even more to reveal snowy white thighs and the fact that she wasn't wearing any undergarments. Flapping the cloth a bit caused a small breeze across her privates. To her surprise, she was getting wet.

It wasn't because of Clem. She enjoyed the buildup to the actual act of the miner being on top of her, pumping furiously until he was done. Too few men she had ever found took the time to be certain she was enjoying the sex as much as they were.

Too damned few, but there had been some.

Clem wiped off his dirty hands on his flannel shirt and then knocked back all the whiskey to get some Dutch courage. This was a man who risked his life mining silver, would wrestle a grizzly and win, and he was afraid of a slip of a girl like her. Marianne needed the money he had to offer for her favors, but she also reveled in the power over the socially inexperienced and how she controlled them.

The miner dropped to his knees beside the fainting couch and hesitantly touched her calves. Marianne recoiled.

“Did I hurt you? I didn't mean no—”

“You sent a shiver of anticipation throughout my entire quivering body, Clem. More. Do it some more.” She lounged back and hiked her feet up to the edge of the fainting couch, then spread her knees lewdly to give him a sight he wasn't likely to find again anywhere else.

He licked his lips, rubbed at his bushy mustache, and moved closer. His callused hands made her shiver as he parted her thighs even more. His mustache tickled as his face came closer. And then all hell broke loose.

The front door crashed open and slammed so hard against the wall it rebounded.

Marianne struggled to get her feet under her, but Clem was in the way.

“Git yer face away from her pussy or I'll thrash you good and proper!” The threat came just before a deep-throated roar like a mountain lion ready to attack.

“What's goin' on?” Clem flopped back and sat heavily on the floor to the side of the fainting couch, giving Marianne a chance to pull down her skirts and try to stand.

A hand more like a ham hock shoved her back. Marianne's arms windmilled as she struggled to keep her balance. She lost the fight and sat heavily on the couch, staring up at Lester Carstairs.

“You can't bull your way into a lady's house like this!”

“Lady?” Carstairs spat. The dark, viscous gob hit Clem on the shoulder and spattered onto his cheek.

This infuriated the miner. He surged to his feet, hands balled into fists.

“You cain't talk to her like that. You think you can bully ever'body in town, but it's time somebody stood up to you!”

“Clem, no!”

Marianne's warning came an instant too late. While the miner was declaring his intentions, Carstairs reared back and unloaded a punch that came from a mile off. His huge left fist crashed into Clem's belly. The miner grunted. But Carstairs was already delivering an uppercut with his right. This connected solidly. Clem's eyes rolled up in his head, and he crashed backward, falling stiff as a board.

“You have no right!”

“I got a right. I'm layin' claim to you, whore. You're the purtiest in town, and you're mine now. Mine and nobody else's 'cuz you got what I want!” He stepped forward, hands reaching for her.

He froze at the sound of twin hammers cocking on a double-barreled shotgun.

“You touch my ma and I swear I'll kill you where you stand.”

“You don't want to get my blood all over your ma, now do you, boy?” Carstairs turned to face his diminutive attacker.

“Run, Randolph, go!” Marianne cried to her twelve-year-old son.

But the boy pressed his lips together in grim determination and aimed the shotgun straight at Lester Carstairs's chest. The shotgun was almost too heavy for him to heft and the barrels swung about in tiny circles. Marianne saw what was happening but her son didn't. Carstairs wasn't a man who scared easily. More than one man in Silver City had pointed a six-shooter at him and lived to regret it—or had even died because of such folly. He wouldn't have any more compunction about killing a boy than he would a gunfighter.

The shotgun strayed the barest amount from dead center on his torso, giving Carstairs the chance to step up and bat it away. His powerful fingers closed around the blued barrel of the ten-gauge and yanked. Randolph couldn't hold on.

“I ought to turn you over my knee and whup your ass, boy,” Carstairs said. He grabbed for Randolph, but the boy had gotten over the surprise of losing his shotgun.

As Carstairs immediately found out, this wasn't the boy's only weapon. As he grabbed for the boy, Carstairs let out a howl of pain and jerked away. Blood gushed from his hand. Randolph had cut him with a small knife. Waving around the short-bladed knife made Marianne think of David and Goliath. But outside of Biblical stories, might made right. Carstairs would take any amount of punishment to get the boy now.

Marianne drove forward, her shoulders crashing into the backs of Carstairs's knees. The man cried out and fell over her. By the time he got himself upright, she had the shotgun trained on him. It didn't waver in her grip.

“I don't know what my son's loaded this with. I hope it's buckshot since that'll tear a hole the size of my fist in your belly and make you beg for dying,” she said.

“You wouldn't—” Carstairs screeched in fear as Marianne pulled the first trigger. The fainting couch exploded in a welter of wood splinters and cotton stuffing.

“Damn, I missed. I won't this time,” she said.

“I'm goin',” Carstairs said. “But you remember this. You're
my
whore. I take what I want.”

Randolph lunged and tried to cut Carstairs again, but Marianne held him back. She followed the man all the way out the door. Only when she heard a horse trotting off did she sag down, shaking.

“You shoulda killed him, Ma. I would have, but he—”

“You're twelve years old,” she said sternly. “You don't go killing grown-ups. And where'd you get that knife?”

“Billy gave it to me. It was a gift.”

“He show you how to cut a man, too? Don't answer that.” Tears ran down her cheeks, but she wiped them away. “Fetch some water and see if you can't wake up Clem. He got more 'n he bargained for tonight.”

“Do it yourself. I don't want anything to do with your johns.” Randolph ran off, sobbing.

“Randolph! Wait!” But it was too late. The boy had disappeared into the darkness, probably to spend the night with that friend of his, William McCarty.

She leaned against the shotgun and decided it was probably for the best. She didn't like having to sell her body to keep her son fed and clothed, but she'd do whatever it took to raise him right. It was a shame he had to see her with any of her customers.

Marianne picked up the whiskey bottle and dabbed some of it on her fingers. Waving this under Clem's nose caused the miner to twitch. When he opened his lips, she poured a little of the potent liquor in. He choked, gasped, and his eyelids shot wide open.

“It's all right, Clem. He's gone.”

“Did he—”

“No, he ran off 'fore he could get around to that.”

“You and him, you his woman like he said?”

“Never.” The vehemence of her denial convinced Clem.

“I'm feelin' kinda woozy, Miz Marianne.”

“You go on, Clem, and get some rest. I'll be here for you when you're ready.”

“All I got's a greenback dollar,” he said, fumbling in his shirt pocket. She pressed her slender fingers against his.

“Nothing happened. You keep it. Or go buy yourself a half bottle of rotgut with it.”

“I took up your time, Miz Marianne. Don't seem fair not to pay you somethin'.”

“What's not fair is Lester Carstairs,” she said, guiding the miner to the door. She closed it behind him, seeing that it had to be repaired. Carstairs had kicked it in and broken off the latch.

Marianne found herself so angry she paced, then wanted to scream. Carstairs had taken it into his head that he could have her anytime he wanted because she sold herself. Not many of the girls in the cribs in Silver City wanted anything to do with Les Carstairs. He had a reputation of beating up whoever he was with, and rumors had it more than one girl had disappeared, probably murdered at his hand and buried up in the mountains, never to be found.

“How am I going to fix that door?” She stopped and stared at the broken wood, then decided she might as well clean up now and worry on it in the morning.

She had a powerful lot to worry on. The mortgage payment on the house was due in another week, and she was still four dollars shy. What she would have gotten from Clem would have helped, but she was afraid she'd have to ask the banker for more time. He wasn't likely to give it since houses, like any building in Silver City, were in short supply. He could foreclose and sell it for ten times what Marianne had paid for it only a year earlier. There hadn't been the silver find then and not more than a hundred people had made Silver City their home.

Now that many came in a week, seeking their fortunes.

She dropped the shotgun onto what remained of the fainting couch, then went to the small kitchen to fetch a broom and dust pan. Cleaning up the debris was about all she was capable of doing at the moment. As she rummaged in the small closet to get the broom out, she heard a muffled voice coming from the front of the house.

“Randolph, get on in here. We need to talk.”

She returned to the front room, intending to have him help her clean up. But her son wasn't anywhere to be seen. Marianne started to tug open the front door when the window to her right broke. Her mouth dropped open as she saw the whiskey bottle with the flaming rag stuck into the neck.

Then the bomb exploded, sending broken glass and fire straight at her.

BOOK: Slocum Giant 2013 : Slocum and the Silver City Harlot (9781101601860)
12.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Featuring the Saint by Leslie Charteris
Channel 20 Something by Amy Patrick
Death of an Old Master by David Dickinson
Kara Griffin - Gunn Guardsmen by On Highland Hill
LeftInTheDarkness by Stephani Hecht
Cottonwood by Scott Phillips
Come and Join the Dance by Joyce Johnson