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Authors: Lietha Wards

Unexpected

BOOK: Unexpected
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Unexpected

Lietha Wards

 

 

 

 

© Copyright 2014 by Lietha Wards

All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Lietha Wards

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published by the author.

 

This is for those who enjoy a historical novel, the supernatural, and romance.  Also, let’s not forget the villain, a sexy mysterious hero, a beautiful strong-willed heroine, and the struggle between good and evil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prologue
:

Bakersfield 1872

 

Butch
McAllister stepped out of the front doors of his hotel onto the rough planked boardwalk as the dark curtain of the night set.  There was a slight breeze, and because of the dryness this time of year, it kicked up dust devils in the street.  Yet, Butch’s suit never had a speck of dirt on it.  It was immaculate, and it was also intentional. How he looked was very important to him, and he always looked superbly clean and elegantly wealthy. 

He reached up and straightened the collar of his expensive custom tailored navy jacket with a crisp snap of his fingers while taking in his surroundings. He then smoothed down his bowler hat as his sharp grey eyes gauged the area like a lion surveying his pride. It was a gesture of show and intimidation towards the townsfolk that watched him behind paned glass and drawn curtains. He was arrogant, and rightly so. He owned half the town.

Normally
he was sporting an egotistical or sadistic smile at his accomplishments, but he was too angry at the moment. His expression was flat—angry. 

People
in Bakersfield knew that Butch was a dangerous man.  He rose from rags to riches on his own, even after his no good son-of-a-bitch father told him he’d amount to nothing, usually while he was kicking the shit out of him.

He ran away from home at twelve
and never looked back.  He didn’t even know if his parents were still alive and couldn’t care less. Now he was forty three and rich. 

He was also mean.

Being the son of a Baptist preacher, you’d think he had some morals, but he didn’t. Not one. It also wouldn’t be a surprise to those who knew him to know that he didn’t make his money honestly.  As far as he was concerned, that would have taken too long. He got start from petty thievery on the streets of San Francisco and became wealthy through ruthless and immoral measures.  In fact every cent he made was from a dishonest event. He may not have been an educated man, but he was clever.

He knew how to get what he wanted and
was unconscionable on how he did it.  That trait he credited his bastard father with.  Well, at least he always thought he did, but maybe his father saw something in him that he didn’t at the time. Perhaps, he had a point. His father told him repeatedly that he was beating Satan out of him.  Too bad he was unsuccessful.

He wasn’t emotionally attached to anything
, and even his mother, who people said was as sweet as they come, didn’t elicit that bond children have with their loving mothers. In fact, there wasn’t much he did care about except money and power.  Since he already had money, he wanted power, and he knew exactly how to do just that. 

When he was in his
mid-thirties he’d settled into the town of Bakersfield after he’d won the Hotel from a poker game that he cheated in.  It wasn’t as if he expected to stay in the small town, but soon he acquired more land, wealth and power. He also owned the Saloon at the other end of town, the cathouse next door, the judge was on his payroll and so were twelve of the ugliest, meanest, loyal men he could find. He felt like a king. This was something he couldn’t achieve in a large city like San Francisco, so he decided to stay. 

Butch
pulled out his gold embossed pocket watch and checked the time. He always considered himself a handsome man and dressed in expensive suits and surrounded himself in expensive things. His hair was starting to grey, but instead of feeling old, he considered it distinguishable.  His nose was pointed and slightly crooked, but he managed to take attention off it with the meticulously trimmed handlebar moustache he took great pride in displaying. He wasn’t a tall man, just barely reaching five-foot-six, but his air of confidence and deadly expression made him seem taller.  People stepped out of his way and wouldn’t look him directly in the eye very often.  He liked that.  To him, it was a measure of respect when people feared him.  It fed his ego and made him feel omnipotent.

He carried polished silver six shooters with pearl handles
in custom made holsters on his hips and a small derringer up his sleeve.  It wasn’t just for show either. He knew how to use a gun like the best of them. Growing up on the streets of San Francisco taught him how to look after himself.

He tucked his
watch away in his waistcoat pocket and gave the street an uninterested glance with cool grey eyes. There were a few people out and about that evening. However, the respectable citizens of Bakersfield avoided him like the plague. As if on cue, a mother hurried her two children across the street, away from him, after seeing him step out of the hotel.

Christ, he h
ated kids.  Nasty, dirty things, always screeching or whining and displaying snot filled faces. He half smirked at the pleasure he found in her reaction to him. Yet, it was a brief episode of twisted delight to distract him from his foul mood. Now he needed whiskey and sex.

Three of his men flanked him as he turned and walked down the boardwalk toward his saloon
.
He never went anywhere alone anymore because there were people who wanted him dead. As a precaution he surrounded himself with men that were mean, could shoot, and would do anything for a buck. So, unless they were on his payroll, he didn’t trust anyone, and even that was a stretch.  Money can make men loyal, and he trusted money, so he paid them well.

Nevertheless
, there were problems with men like that, because it didn’t pay for brains. His men obviously weren’t smart enough to accomplish the tasks they were assigned, like today.  He breathed out in frustration.

He gave them one small errand and they couldn’t even do that right.
If he had a choice, he wouldn’t have any of them.

There was a time that
he could protect himself, and might still be able to, but he couldn’t take that risk despite how talented he was with a gun. Over the past few years he had made too many enemies. He’d hurt a lot of people, destroyed a lot of lives, and sooner or later, someone would try and be brave to exact revenge.  Desperate men did desperate things and he’d made a lot of men desperate.  He was certain that someone would shoot him in the back if he gave them the chance. They were too damn cowardly to face him and do it.

People were afraid of him for a reason.
Human life meant nothing to him. He had no problem lying, bullying and killing people to get what he wanted.  He was good at it.  Damn good. He also found sick pleasure in it.

Over the last year, he’d been pushing people unwillingly off their land because the railway was coming through the town.  He was intent on owning as much as he could to make him even richer than he was now
, and then he had intentions to run for governor. He’d already clinched the town mayor position because he’d stuffed the ballot box and controlled the security around it.

However,
despite all his efforts, there were still a few families left to give in to his intimidation tactics.  One was the Hamilton ranch just north of the town and they were the cause of his current disdain. 

They were
in the direct path of the railway and owned the land up to the edge of town right where he expected the station to be. As soon as he convinced them, he was sure others would follow.  Yet, so far nothing worked and he was growing more and more irritable. The Hamiltons were well respected and the longer they held out, the longer he was going to get resistance from the rest of the ranchers.

Now he
anticipated Ryker Hamilton to give in when his Pa died last year but he still wouldn’t surrender despite how intimidating and threatening Butch could be. It was maddening at how courageous Ryker was. He began to wonder if the young man feared anything, so he decided to test it and sent six of his best men out to throw some fear into him.  Yes, it was probably a bit of an overkill. Yet, what had happened a few minutes ago in his private rooms on the top floor of the hotel, told him he’d failed. That was the result of his foul mood.  The one that made him crave a drink from his saloon and a woman.  It wasn’t often that he dealt with failure, and he didn’t handle it well.  Inside, he was in a rage with the news he’d just received.

Moments ago, h
e was sitting behind his imported high polished black walnut desk smoking an expensive cigar, completely content, when his man came in alone.  Right there he knew something was wrong, not because there were five men missing, but Elroy’s condition.

Butch
had two more armed men in there with him who were playing cards at a small decorative table in the corner. They stood up abruptly when they saw Elroy bleeding all over his imported oriental rug.  “Elroy, quit bleeding on my carpet.  It’s worth more than you,” he said sternly, not caring if the man was going to die from blood loss.

Elroy struggled
awkwardly to wrap his wounded hand in the sleeve of his duster wary of his boss’s harsh unpredictability.  If he’d worked for anyone else he would have stopped to see the doctor about the bullet wound through his palm, but he knew Butch. First and foremost, he had to report to his boss despite the throbbing pain, or he’d more than likely end up with a bullet between the eyes instead. He knew he looked like hell.  He was sweating profusely with trail dust sticking to the dampness, and shaking like a leaf. His boss had no problem pointing that out either.

“You look like shit,
” he said flatly.

“We were attacked!” he burst out still
awkwardly struggling to contain the bleeding. “Everyone is dead!”

“We ran off his help weeks ago.  How many men did he have with him?”
Butch asked calmly.  Not much got him excited anymore.  This was just another obstacle.  He was smart, patient and knew that things would work out in his favor because he had the means to make it happen, and they always did. As for his steady demeanor, it disappeared when Elroy gave him more information.

“I
only saw one man Boss,” he mumbled in shame.  There wasn’t even a thought in Elroy’s simple mind to lie to his boss and say there was more because he knew exactly what he’d do to him if he found out the truth.  In fact, he still may not escape punishment. Even if it was embarrassing to admit that they were defeated by one man, it was better than the alternative of lying to him.


One?”
  Butch’s brows rose.  “One man killed
five
of my men?” He waved toward Elroy’s in frustration. He honestly didn’t care about the dead men.  Obviously they weren’t as good as he thought they were if one man took them down.  They were also easily replaceable.

“I swear boss. It
was
one man! B—But he was really big—” Elroy dropped to his knees in front of him. “My hand—It’s—“

“S
hut up Elroy.  You’re lucky I don’t shoot you for your failure,” he said angrily. “One man,” he repeated to himself.
This was interesting.
Butch stood up from behind his desk and walked around to lean against the front facing him.  “Where is his body?” 

Elroy shook his head rapidly.
His eyes widened in fear. 

Butch caught it. And knew what it meant.
“He’s not
dead?
” Although he really didn’t need to ask, Elroy’s pale complexion became almost transparent with fear.

“No one saw it coming boss.”

He tilted his head and his eyebrows rose in fascination, and inside, his gut was heating up with growing rage. “You are telling me one man killed five of my men and none of you idiots shot him?”

 

Chapter One

 

The drifter adjusted his dusty black Stetson as he came over the rise.  The sun was just setting behind him casting long shadows from the landscape features and it darkened the land ahead of him to orangey-brown.  It was fall, and the weather was unusually dry for this time of year.  A few years ago, it was the same.  The green field grass had long since turned brown. He expected the winter months to make up for it. There’d be a lot of rain.  He’d seen seasons like this for a while and could read them well.  He actually liked it, the neutral landscape.  For some reason the dull tones of fall in Southern California made him feel good and the cool evening air made him comfortable.  He wore a long duster the same color as his hat, but it wasn’t necessary. He was really warm blooded.  Rarely did he feel the night chill anymore.  He’d adjusted to the climate over years of his drifting.

He narrowed his sharp
smoky brown eyes and scanned the slope as his horse shifted under him looking for a comfortable stance.  He was through here a few years back and it hadn’t changed much. The sage brushes that had long since died in the heat curled over the ground with the slight breeze.  His eyes lifted to the distance. There was a rocky bluff about a quarter of a mile off. He was thinking of maybe stopping there for the night. 

Then he heard something.
He cocked his head slightly while listening.

There were voices—male, but faint and deep laughter. He already knew that his mount couldn’t hear what he could because his hearing was better.  So was his eyesight.
Regardless, he was thinking that it would be nice for some company and a fire to keep the chill off for the night.

“This way boy,” h
e murmured to the large quarter horse-draft cross he rode. He tipped the reins against the neck to make him turn to go down the hill.  His packhorse followed behind untethered.  He had been partial to that particular horse breed forever.  They were large, strong and could handle endurance.  It also worked well for him because he was a big man.

BOOK: Unexpected
2.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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