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Authors: Don Bendell

Blood Feather

BOOK: Blood Feather
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A life or death choice . . .

The man's eyes opened wide, and he clawed for his gun. It was just clearing the holster when he looked up at the business end of Joshua's Colt Peacemaker, and he saw flame stab out from it twice in an instant and immediately felt two bullets slam into his chest and pass through his body. He could not breathe, and he felt his body roll backward over his horse's rump as he fell face-first onto the ground behind his dun. He was dead before he hit the dirt with a loud thud.

Joshua swung the gun toward the leader and held it on his chest. It was cocked.

“Now,” Strongheart said, “if you boys decide to kill me, it will be with bullets and not a rope, but I am shooting, too, and it starts with you, partner. You die with me no matter what. Now, I have done nothing wrong and am not going to be strung up by a bunch of vigilantes just because you do not like half-breeds. So, mister, it's your turn to make a decision . . .”

Titles by Don Bendell

BLOOD FEATHER

STRONGHEART

CROSSBOW

The Criminal Investigation Detachment Series

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION DETACHMENT

BROKEN BORDERS

BAMBOO BATTLEGROUND

DETACHMENT DELTA

BLOOD FEATHER

A Sequel to
Strongheart

A Tale of the Old West

Don Bendell

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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

USA | Canada | UK | Ireland | Australia | New Zealand | India | South Africa | China

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

For more information about the Penguin Group, visit penguin.com.

BLOOD FEATHER

A Berkley Book / published by arrangement with the author

Copyright © 2013 by Don Bendell Inc.

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.

Berkley Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group.

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

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

For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

eISBN: 978-1-101-58511-5

PUBLISHING HISTORY

Berkley mass-market edition / August 2013

Cover illustration by Bruce Emmett.

Cover design by Diana Kolsky.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

Contents

Also by Don Bendell

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

Epigraph

Foreword

Acknowledgments

 

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Epilogue

 

About the Author

DEDICATION

My sister Bette Ann (Bendell) Lunn is eleven years older than me, so became like a number-two mom to me. Bette was loving, protective, nurturing, and although I am now in my sixties, she tries hard not to baby me still. What I appreciate most about my sister is the love of music she passed on to me. Now retired, she studied and then taught music her whole life and is an inductee into the Colorado Music Educators Hall of Fame. Besides rock and roll, I was exposed to piano and organ concertos by her when I was small, and she took me to concerts where I developed a love for symphony, opera, and all music.

My brother Bruce Bendell passed away several years ago and was nine years older than me. We were always close, but when I was a boy he made sure I would not grow up a sissy. For one birthday, he gave me two pairs of boxing gloves, an army fatigue uniform, an M1 cap rifle, and a pair of six-shooter cap guns. He and I did American Indian fancy dancing starting when I was barely out of kindergarten, and he was a tremendous artist, singer, and hilariously funny.

I had several stepbrothers and stepsisters, but I had just one who was very close to me and close to my age. She became like a sister to me and still is. Kathy, known as Roberta Kathleen (Magenau) Schmitt was one of the hottest girls at Coventry and Kenmore High Schools. We shared secrets, and she taught me how to fast and slow dance and told me that knowing how to dance would always get me women. She was right. She has been through a very rough life, but like me, she is a survivor who is determined to always land on her feet and never give up. Kathy always has had a sharp wit, a ready laugh, a twinkle in her eye, a love of God, and a sensitivity which will bring a tear if I just say something slightly sentimental.

My wife's aunt, Joyce Ann (Kittenger) Edwards, is a retired art professor, but more importantly, she introduced my wife to me more than three decades ago. Joyce is like another older sister and shares my love of art. She was a professor at the University of Akron (Ohio) and was my art director and still photographer when I made the feature film
The Instructor
. We became like siblings even before she introduced me to Shirley. Like Shirley and me, Joyce loves God, and is a consummate
drama queen
, and I say that with a loving smile on my face.

Last but not least, my younger sister is actually my sister-in-law Jan. Janice Lee (Ebert) Guy is so much like my wife, her big sister, in so many ways, I could not help but love her. A beautiful blonde, she is a successful small business owner partnering with her husband Jerry, to whom she is totally devoted. Like Shirley, she can outwork (or outdance) anybody and everybody and has to be told to slow down, turn out the lights, and go to bed.

This book is dedicated to these five siblings. I love each of you very much, and each of you has positively touched and helped form my life in different ways.

Thank you,

Don Bendell, 2013

To be feared is to fear: No one has been able to strike terror into others and at the same time enjoy peace of mind.

Seneca

FOREWORD

Strongheart
was my first new Western for Berkley Books, and I am very happy to be back in the saddle again. In fact, my ranch south of Florence, Colorado, is named the Strongheart Ranch, and I am a real cowboy with a real horse. My own horse is named Eagle, although I have another horse, Gabriel, who looks identical to Strongheart's horse Gabriel, but I found him and bought him after
Strongheart
was released. I hope you will enjoy this sequel to
Strongheart
and escape with me back to a time when a man's word was his bond, women were ladies, and men were men, and you survived only if you were hardy. These were the people who made America.

I hope you like Joshua Strongheart's further adventures as much as I do and come with me on an escape from computers, television, news stories, traffic, and our fast-paced society, to a time when our country was simpler, tougher, and more natural. Let's take a journey back to the Old West, to the real America.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

No author has influenced my writing more than the late great Louis L'Amour. Louis L'Amour was born March 22, 1905, and grew up in Jamestown, North Dakota. To me, he has always been the premier storyteller of the American West. Many of Mr. L'Amour's Westerns were made into very popular motion pictures. For example,
Hondo
and
Apache Territory
. Sadly, he passed away from cancer in June 1988, and a great light was extinguished in the halls of Western literature. Shortly before his death, he was told he had sold more than 200 million books worldwide.

Like the late Louis L'Amour, I ride on every piece of ground I write about as much as I possibly can, and now also do so with Gabriel (Gabe), who is as I said identical to the mount of Joshua Strongheart but was found and bought after
Strongheart
came out. In that way, you, the reader, get a truer vision of the mountains and valleys, the countryside, the smell of the sagebrush, the heat from the sun baking a rocky canyon, and you hopefully will almost hear the clicking of horses' hooves on rocks and can escape into my world for a little bit. Enjoy the ride, partner.

Don Bendell

BOOK: Blood Feather
4.87Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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