To Hell You Ride Exclusive Excerpt w/ Julia Talbot

October 31, 2017

to hell you ride

 

Hey y’all!

Today I have an exclusive excerpt from To Hell You Ride, which is a historical old west story that Dreamspinner has been kind enough to put back out for me! Roy is a hard rock miner and Edward Clancy is an actor who’s no gentleman. Here’s where they first meet!

XXOO

Julia

***

Two weeks passed with no reply to his letter. This would have gone unremarked by Edward Clancy except for the fact that the theater manager called him out on his supposed rudeness, telling him he needed to be patient and kind to all their patrons. Reminding him, of all people, that everyone paid the same to plant themselves in a theater seat.

The reprimand, and its repetition before the next week’s performance, rankled. In fact, it angered him enough that Clancy found himself on the back of a mule, slipping and sliding his way up to nearly eleven thousand feet on the most dizzying, miserable ride he had ever encountered. Two and a half hours’ worth.

The mule did not seem to care for him much either.

“Whoa, mules! Whoa!” the lead rider called out, halting the entire line.

Clancy blinked his sun-dazzled eyes and resettled his beaver cap. Snow-covered shapes began to appear to him—little shanty huts and a few corrals and a few large buildings teetering precariously on the side of the mountain. “Which one is Miss Lee’s?” he asked the mule team man.

The fellow spat, leaving an ugly brown stain on the snow. “That ’un,” the man said, pointing to what was indeed the largest of the buildings. “She charges a dollar a day.”

“Oh, I have no intention of staying on.”

Watery blue eyes peered at him. “Don’t leave out again ’til tomorrow, weather permittin’. You’ll stay tonight or sleep in the snow. Be here at 7:00 a.m. sharp, you.”

The man waited for him to climb stiffly down off the mule before clicking and getting the line moving again, heading for one of the corrals. Clancy shook his head. Really, these western people… the driver had not mentioned at all that he would have to find overnight lodging.

Miss Lee’s was surprisingly tidy on the inside, for all that it smelled of fried meat. It had cabbage-rose wallpaper and wildly patterned rugs on the stairs, and a tiny, wizened Chinese woman met him at the counter.

“Rooms one dollar,” she said, smiling a rather toothless smile. Oral hygiene was not a concern here, obviously.

“I will need a room for the night,” Clancy said, digging out a dollar coin. “But I should also like to see Roy Marsh, if you please.”

Quick as a hummingbird, the woman took his money, snatching it out of his fingers as easily as any cutpurse. “Room 304 for you. Big Roy working.”

“Where does he work? May I inquire there?”

She looked at him as if he’d lost his mind. “He work deep. Dangerous. Boss not let you in.”

“When does he return home?”

“Late night. You see. I tell him.” She smiled again, and really it was an amazing picture she presented. “You want food, twenty-five more cents.”

“I think I shall manage without,” Clancy said, his nose wrinkling at the lingering odor in the hallway.

“You change your mind, you ring bell.” And with that she was off, making nary a sound as she disappeared behind a faded silk curtain. She had left a brass key with a piece of ribbon attached sitting on the counter.

Trudging, Clancy made his way to the third floor, the house unnaturally quiet, the only sound his labored breathing. By the time he stood in front of the door to room 304, his ears rang and spots swam before his eyes. He felt nauseated in the extreme, and the veins in his temples throbbed. Goodness, but the mines were high. How did men work in such conditions?

The room had a well-worn but washed look, neat as a pin. The simple bedstead and washstand were augmented by a wardrobe, the only other piece of furniture being a cane chair. Clancy set his hat aside on it and lay down, his inability to breathe properly making him feel weak and sleepy.

A pounding at the door woke him much later in the day, if the lack of light was any indication. It must, in fact, have been evening. Clancy could barely lift his head, managing no more than a croaked, “Yes?”

“Begging your pardon, sir. My name is Roy Marsh. Miss Lee says you’re wanting to see me?”

The voice on the other side of the door boomed through the panels, for all that the man seemed to be trying to whisper. Clawing at the ticking, Clancy managed to rise and stagger to the door, leaning heavily on frame as he opened it.

“Indeed, sir,” Clancy said. “You have maligned me. I wish to take that up with you. I fear, however, that I am indisposed.”

And with that Clancy was violently ill, all over Roy Marsh’s mud-encrusted boots.

 

Check out To Hell You Ride today!

 

ToHellYouRide_postcard_front_DSP

 

Blurb:

Big Roy is a hard-rock miner with a not-so-secret love for the theater, so when he hears a new troupe of actors are coming to the Telluride Opera House to put on a Shakespeare play, he saddles his mule and makes the trek into town to see it. The play doesn’t disappoint, but the beautiful lead actor, Edward Clancy, certainly does. Clancy is rude and arrogant, and Roy figures he’d never have a chance with such a man. He’s wrong, because Clancy needs some entertainment himself, being stuck in a hellish mining town for the long, snowy winter. Come spring, though, Clancy knows he’s going to want to move on, and he thinks Roy will be easy to forget. Then tragedy hits, and Clancy has to rethink his entire life. Can these two strike gold?

Second Edition
First Edition Published by SCREWDRIVER An imprint of Torquere Press, January 2007.

 

Author Bio:

Julia Talbot lives in the great Southwest, where there is hot and cold running rodeo, cowboys, and everything from meat and potatoes to the best Tex-Mex. A full time author, Julia has been published by Dreamspinner Press and Changeling Press. She believes that everyone deserves a happy ending, so she writes about love without limits, where boys love boys, girls love girls, and boys and girls get together to get wild, especially when her crazy paranormal characters are involved. Find her on the web at www.juliatalbot.com

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