COMING IN JULY 2011
A father’s incautious moment, a trusted friend’s indiscretion and a daughter’s naïve and
foolish mistake set the stage for a peaceful mountain valley to become a battleground. GOLD!
The one the magnet that could attract one of the deadliest band of outlaws in the west into
Shannon Hill’s serene world and turn her young life into a deadly blood feud to avenge her dead
father and kill Billy “Gunner” Farren and any of his bloodthirsty gang she can find.
Tucker Prophet, Ex-Captain in the re-formed Texas Rangers, and his men are on the same
trail for different reasons. It leads them along the Arkansas River, into the Colorado Mountains.
Billy Farren made a fatal mistake. He killed Tucker’s younger brother and only surviving
family member. The crime takes a back seat to vengeance and a sworn Texas Ranger gives up
his badge and will chase Farren through and beyond the gates of hell to see him pay with his life
for that killing.
Prophets Rest turns into a battleground as a daughter’s unfaltering love and deadly
anger team up with a brother’s vengeance to face Gunner Farren for the final showdown to
end this reign of terror.
“You say it’s all in there?” Prophet asked.
“Yes, along with the tools needed for mining.”
“Well, blast everything, who put it there? Maryanne said that it wasn’t her husband. That
leaves only the other two farm owners and neither one of them can tell us. Just who has been
mining that ridge if it wasn’t them? If that blood trail is as clear on the other side of the ridge as it
was here, it won’t be long until Farren and his men will be here, gunning for blood.”
“I put it there!” Shannon stated as she walked up to the group.
“Damn, you shouldn’t be up.” He rushed to her side.
“I’m fine, honestly. Don’t fuss so. I’m just a little shaky. If I move slowly it’s okay.” She sat on
a large tree stump. “Want to know what you found?”
“If you don’t mind. There’s gold hidden in there and I believe that’s why the other valley was
“All right. You found the Still Water Mine. Or rather, the gold my Papa, Red Baker, and
Shorty Hobbs dug from it. They have been coming up here for two years. Mama didn’t know.”
She cast a tearful look to Maryanne Hill. “I told Papa that someone was watching the valley.
Remember? He knew which valley I was talking about and he guessed what they were looking
for. I moved his share of the gold here two months ago so there wouldn’t be a reason for trouble
at the farm. I was wrong; trouble came anyway and Papa was killed because of that gold.
“Mama, I begged Papa not to use gold to buy our winter supplies last fall, but he wouldn’t
listen. He said that with the price of prime pelts and farm goods down, there was no other way to
feed us and have the seed for spring if he didn’t use the gold. I’m sorry, Mama.”
“That’s all right, baby. Your father and I didn’t have many secrets. If he was the man I
always believed him to be, it would be just like him to keep it from me to protect me. And, I did
know he and the others were prospecting in their spare time. But I didn’t know they had found
anything.” The two women embraced, tears flowed from their eyes as they faced the truth.
Shannon raised her hand to an aching head and Tucker saw the pain flash in her eyes.
“Here, let me help you back to the cabin.” He offered his hand.
“Thank you, it’s probably best I go back for a while.” She smiled.
She leaned into his shoulder as the two neared the cabin. The dizziness had returned. She
cast a sad eye on the temporary curtain they had hung on her door.
“I wish it had been me that shot that son-of-a-bitch. I would have killed him just for the extra
work he has caused me. Look at the damage in here.”
Tucker grinned. “Yeah, you’ll be all right.”
She punched him half-heartedly and they both started laughing. Sitting on the edge of the
bed, she cast her eyes at the floor.
“Please forgive me for not telling you about the gold. I’ve grown so used to hiding it that
it didn’t become obvious why this trouble started until I had my face rubbed in it out there just
now.” Tears dripped from her face to the cabin floor.
He reached down and took her hand. Shannon raised her head and he leaned down and
kissed her tenderly.
“Why all this started doesn’t matter much. These men would kill for the price of a bottle of
whiskey. Now, I know why Gunner Farren is here and I know what he’s looking for. He will come
“Hmmm? I’ll kill him if he comes here!” Shannon declared.
“For the gold?”
“No, not for the gold; I’ll have his blood for killing my Papa, Caleb, and the others; and, for
leading a gang of rapists and murderers to my home.” Fatigue was showing in her voice.
Gunner tried for the fifth time to focus his eyes. One drink too many the night before left him
hung-over and in a sour mood. He counted four men and one woman near what he thought was
a storm or root cellar. He simply couldn’t see that well.
One arm of the dual ridgeline faded to a rocky ledge forty yards from the rear of the copse of
trees around the cabin itself. The cellar was near the corral outside the trees, and there were six
horses in the corral. He raised his hand to shield the sun from his eyes and looked again, trying
to see the sixth rider.
If I send in two men down each ridge to hide in ambush, and me and Fred sneak up the
middle, we can sit in the rocks and draw them out so the others can pick them off one at a
time as they try to take out Fred and me.
He pushed his bulk from the ground and returned to the rough camp hidden at the tree line.
It was far enough away that it couldn’t be spotted accidentally and close enough for surveillance
and launching the final attack. Once there, he motioned three men to his side.
“You boys done been with me a long time an’ I’m depending on you sons-of-bitches.”
“You betcha, Boss. We can do what ya want.”
Lefty was silent.
“Well, asshole, can I depend on ya or not?” Gunner demanded.
“Yeah, Boss, you can,” Lefty replied. “But I gotta tell ya. I have a bad feelin’ about this. It jus’
don’t sit good.”
“A bad feelin’? What the hell does that mean? Look, you little redneck, I need you in this
attack. You been harpin’ for years I don’t give ya nothing important ta do. Now that I do, you
start crawfishin’ ta beat tha band. Shit!”
“Well, ya want me to say if I can do it? Yeah! But it’s just somethin’ about those fellers —”
“Shut tha hell up. We move at first light. You take Ed and when I give the word, ride down
the right side ridge trail and set up to cover that cabin. Pete, you an’ Paco take the left trail;
same thing, ya hear? Fred, you and me gonna spur off the left side and get in those rocks in the
“Like as not, them men will just give on up and turn tail when the shootin’ starts. If they
don’t, we ride em down an’ kill ever mother’s son of them. I saw at least one woman; she lives.
An’ I saw another horse; might mean one more hiding in there.
“Y’all listen; theys either five, or maybe six, in there. I don’t want no shootin’ unless you
have a clear target. Y’all hear me good; they won’t be nobody walkin’ away from that cabin by
nightfall! Now, y’all go get ready. Fred, I want all this over as quick as possible. Then we ride to
that valley and tear the damn thing apart till we get the gold. Go on, move.”