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Authors: BA Tortuga

Tags: #Male/Male Erotic Romance, Western, Sci-Fi

New West

BOOK: New West
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Table of Contents

Title Page

New West Copyright © 2013 BA Tortuga

Book Description

Dedication

Author's Note

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

About the Author

The New Reality Series Now Available at Resplendence Publishing

Also Available from Resplendence Publishing

www.ResplendencePublishing.com

New West

A
New Reality
Story

By BA Tortuga

Resplendence Publishing, LLC

http://www.resplendencepublishing.com

New West
Copyright © 2013 BA Tortuga
Edited by Darlena Cunha and Venus Cahill

Cover Art by Les Byerley

Published by Resplendence Publishing, LLC
2665 N Atlantic Avenue, #349
Daytona Beach, FL 32118

Electronic format ISBN: 978-1-60735-711-7

Warning: All rights reserved. The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

Electronic Release: November 2013

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and occurrences are a product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, places or occurrences, is purely coincidental.

When everything went to hell in a hand basket, and California fell into the ocean, blowing the first of the major utility grids, folks were plumb crazed. Then the earthquakes hit Maine. The Midwest. Japan. Italy. Australia. When the fault lines in Texas went, splitting the country in half, everything old was new again. Cattle country became solid gold, the cattle barons ran the world, and the rovers were moving thousands of hoofed gold pieces along paved trails to starving buyers.

Emmett and Ezrah are last surviving sons of Katie and Wyatt McAlister and the local baron is hell-bent on taking what little they have. They had a good herd to drive to what's left of Denver, and they were fixing to head over the desert when Emmett was shot and died in Ezrah's arms. Desperate, Ezrah contacted an old friend, a man who could still access the last of the world's technology, Jesse, to help him save the land. Jesse, a wild child from the desert—inked and wearing a port, a believer in spirits and ghosts and, totally gone native—is more than willing to help. After all, he'd been in love with that sweet little ass in denim since the moment he laid eyes on it.

To L. Always.

Author’s Note: In this universe, when the Native American populations were decimated, a number of the tribes in the southwest came together and formed a new tribe, calling themselves the Diné out of the respect for the former Apache and Navajo tribes (who often refer to themselves as the Diné). Absolutely no offense is meant to the real world c
ultures of the Hopi, Zuni, or any of the other peoples who sparked my imagination and have stolen my heart in my new home.
BA

 

Chapter One

 

 

 

The tinny ping of distant rifle fire didn’t make any sense to Ezrah when he heard it. After a week or more on the trail, the only sounds he recognized came with shuffling hooves, snorting horses and constantly lowing cows.

With the steady cloud of dust stirred by the moving herd blocking any telltale puff of smoke on the horizon, as well, Ezrah only realized what the noise meant when his brother Emmett grunted and fell sideways, sliding out of the saddle and landing on the rocky ground. Emmett’s mare danced to the left, rolling her eyes, damned near trampling his brother right there where he lay.

“Em!” Ezrah wheeled around, searching the jagged rocks, trying to find where the attack had come from.

He didn’t have to wonder who’d ordered it, whose men were out there with rifles ready to pick off his whole crew.

His family, him and Emmett, were the last holdouts against Lester Chastain, the cattle baron who’d driven most of the small ranchers off their land in their part of what used to be Texas. “The McAllisters K Bar W” was the only independent spread left. Fucking coward Chastain was, too, sending a crew to do his dirty work on the trail.

“Ez,” Emmett sputtered, sounding as if he were drowning. “Save the chuck wagon and horses, at least. You’ll need them on the drive. Please.”

“Saving everybody, god damn it.” Ezrah pulled his rifle, staying in the lee of the escarpment, letting the shadows hide him. The glint of the sunlight on a barrel caught his eye, and he let loose with a shot, trusting in his girl not to throw him.

“Ez? Emmett?” That was their trail boss, Cyrus, who’d been foreman on the ranch since Ezrah was five. His horse charged through the herd, and he pulled up by Ezrah, ducking as chips of rock flew from another shot. “I sent Allan down the trail to alert the rest of the drovers.”

“Help Em,” he told Cyrus. He shot again, and this time he saw a man fall, the body tumbling from high on the canyon wall.

“Got it.” Moving low and fast, Cyrus scooted away, leaving him to focus on reloading his rifle with the speed of a madman, trying to keep everyone alive.

They’d already lost Ezekiel and Ethan back home to Chastain’s cadre of hired rustlers, and Ellen and Ethel, too, and the girls were good enough riders. To lose one to an accident was ridiculous. Both was unthinkable. Ez wasn’t losing anyone else. He sighted along the right side of his last true shot, figuring there had to be more than one attacker.

He caught sight of a shadow, checked the sun, and shot to the left, aiming high to account for the rise.

Another cry answered him, the hysterical sound of a man being hit by a bullet.

Better. Ez let himself feel the sharp sting of satisfaction. You didn’t fuck with a McAllister, no sir. The shots stopped coming when two more of his drovers rode up, guns blazing, and he sent the boys up the ridge to keep chasing the Chastain men until they hit the badlands. He wanted those bastards to die out there.

“Emmett?” Ezrah allowed himself to go to his brother, kneeling by Em’s side, shooing away curious cows so no one got stomped.

“Ez.” There was blood on his brother’s lips, staining them a deep crimson. Foamy and bright, it made Ezrah want to gag.

Christ. He nodded at Cyrus, who went to collect the horses. “You’re gonna be okay, Em.”

“I ain’t.”

“Don’t you say that.” He said it fierce, needing Emmett to stay with him.

“I never have lied to you, Bubba.”

No. No, Emmett was his twin. They didn’t know how to lie to each other. They had told each other secrets in the womb. Ezrah swallowed hard, blinking away sweat and tears. “What do I do, Em?”

“You got to get the cattle to market. Momma’s depending on you.” Em coughed, blood spraying from him. “You got to do this. That land is ours, and we have to have the cattle sale. Only way we’ll keep getting orders.”

Ezrah shook his head, swallowed hard. “Em. Em, you got to hold on, man. I need you.” Emmett was the older brother. Ezrah didn’t know what to do without him.

“Ain’t no more rope to hold, Ez.” Emmett shook, eyes rolling. “You do good.”

“I’m going to make that son of a bitch pay. I’ll send him to Lucifer himself, I swear to God.” His eyes were burning in his head, and he was gonna break down any moment.

“Ezrah—” Emmett’s breath rattled in his chest, more bloody sputum on his lips. His brother never finished what he was going to say. Ezrah’s name was Em’s last word.

He stood there, shaking as bad as the earthquakes of ‘14. He’d never been alone. Never. Not even in Momma’s belly.

Everything inside him stilled, the blood in his veins dry as the desert. He didn’t even have tears to cry for his loss.

“Boss? Boss, what do you want us to do?” Cyrus stood there, about as pale as milk, staring back and forth from him to Emmett’s still form. The man had known him and Em most all their lives. Had helped raise them up.

It always seemed odd to give Cy orders.

“Get me a shovel and have the boys find some heavy rocks. I ain’t leaving him for the coyotes.” He couldn’t take Emmett with him, but he wouldn’t just take off and not bury him.

“Yessir.” Cyrus tossed him a folding shovel, then went to round up as many of the drovers as he could. The herd would stretch for a mile or more behind them, so four of the riders, at least, would be too far behind to help.

After pulling off Emmett’s little gold cross and wrapping him in the blanket from Em’s bedroll, Ezrah dug, putting his back to it, shovel slamming into the hardscrabble dirt. Ezrah gritted his teeth, working the tool in deep. His brother would rest easy if it killed him.

And it wasn’t going to.

He slammed his shovel in the hard dirt, pushing deep under. Somewhere there had to be someone to help him. Someone who could. Someone…

It wasn’t until he had a hole, was standing with the dirt high on either side of him that he thought of Jesse Understone. Emmett had gotten a package from the man, years ago now, with drawings of some mountains, a rattler from a snake, and a dried up piece of cactus evil enough to bite and bite. The letter had been rambling and odd, nonsense about a better life, about living beneath the earth and about how the stories of the old technology being gone weren’t all lies.

They had heard about Grounders now, even as far south as they were. Grounders knew things. Could find things.

If they had one…

He didn’t remember much about where Jesse had been, but he remembered Sandia. He had the money; he’d find a town and a spot to have a runner sent.

What did he have to lose?

Ezrah didn’t care what happened. He would live long enough to put Chastain into the ground. The bastard would pay for taking his family away, one by one.

Though first he had to get three thousand head of cattle to market and he had a letter to write.

 

Chapter Two

 

 

 

The letter came via horseback, the Arabian making the sand outside his ancient earthship swirl up into a dozen tiny dust devils that fascinated Jesse’s exhausted eyes as he stared through the windows made from green glass bottles more than a hundred years ago. He’d been jacked in, sliding deep into the depths of the Flow, when warning came someone was entering his little piece of desert. No one came here. No one.

Fucking paper letters. They were never good news. If you could afford to send one, especially one that actually found its target, you only had bad news.

He stumbled into the sunlight, the beads on the ends of his dreads clicking and clacking as the horse danced around the cholla, which had grown up taller than the house itself, disguising it even more.

“Jesse Understone?”

“Yup. ‘s me.” He held his hand out, ignoring the way it shook. He needed to find some food. Water.

“Here you go.” The kid waited, shifting from side to side, ass slipping on the saddle. Right. Some kind of tip was mandatory.

Jesse scrabbled around in his pocket and surprised himself when he came up with a handful of pesos, a button, and a piece of sour candy wrapped in wax paper. He chose the coins, handing a couple over as he popped the candy in his mouth. The button might come in handy, so he’d keep that.

The kid gave him a wide grin and a salute. “Thanks.”

“Anytime.” Fuck. The world was bright. He grabbed the letter and headed into the darkness.

Who the hell wanted to write to him? Writing. He thought it was ironic that it had almost been a lost skill until the ‘quakes. Then all the electronic shit had gone to hell, and writing had become a skill once more.

He plopped down onto his chair, the woven blankets musty with his sweat. Christ. He needed to get them aired out. Of course, that would mean going outside. Again. Ew.

He opened the heavy vellum envelope and unfolded the three pages inside. The spidery, old-fashioned script made his scalp prickle.

Ezrah McAllister.

They’d grown up together, him and Ez and Em and all the others. Hell, they’d been damn near inseparable, up until Jesse had found the Flow.

That had been as if taking the north fork of a river while the others took the south. Or maybe swimming upstream while the others took the boat down. Jesse couldn’t imagine what would cause Ez to spend the money to write him, and that scared him, made him hesitate to read the scribblings on the paper.

BOOK: New West
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