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Tombstone Ranch


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Blurb

The past, present and future life of Jake Mathers stretches out for a very long existence. A one night affair traps Jake in a life he never expected. One in which he spends a great of time being alone. Tombstone Ranch begins in Tombstone, Arizona 1881 and spans to the future, and a world on another planet. Will the future be any better than Jake's past?

When Les shows up at Tombstone Ranch, looking to get hired on by old Jake, he finds Jake isn't nearly as old as his nickname suggests. He also notices quite a lot more about his boss. Drawn to one another, their nights pass pleasurably in each other's arms, until Les finds out the truth about Jake. Any kind of relationship with a blood sucking fiend was never in Les' future. And Les isn't too damn sure of what to do about Jake.

Excerpt

Tombstone, Arizona—1881

The stranger from the east arrived on the late evening stagecoach. Jake sat at the table, dealing a round of cards as he entered. Looking up, he noticed the fine gentleman dressed all in black. His gaze traveled over the front of the man, he imagined the body beneath. When Jake looked at the man's face, he found a pair mesmerizing dark eyes staring back at him.

Disconcerted by his own immediate response, Jake forced his attention back to the other man at his table. When he finished dealing the cards, he looked at his own hand. The king on top was good, but the three on the bottom weren't worth a damn. He'd need another card.

"Call 'em, my boy." Raymond waited for Jake to decide.

Immediately, Jake knew from Raymond's grin he was all set and didn't want any more cards. Drawing the next card from the deck, Jake laid down a nine. His hand had gone over.

"Your pot, Raymond." Disgruntled, Jake gathered up the cards.

"'Nother round, Jake?" Raymond asked as he gathered the money to his side of the table.

"Nah." He stacked all the cards, then laid them down in front of Raymond. When Jake glanced toward the bar, he saw the stranger still watched him. As casually as he could, Jake got up and headed toward the bar counter.

"On a losing streak tonight, Jake?" the bartender asked as he set a glass down on the counter and filled it with a shot of whiskey.

Jake grabbed the glass and downed the shot, ignoring the question. With a laugh, Robert set the bottle down in front of Jake. Straddling the stool, Jake poured another drink before he turned to look at the man still eyeing him. "You want something?"

"Are you Jake Mathers?"

The cultured voice had a slight accent, and Jake figured the guy might be English. "Who wants to know?"

"I'm William Tolliver. Your brother Jason sent me to find you."

Inwardly, Jake stiffened. What the hell did his brother want now? Laying a gold piece on the counter, Jake grabbed the bottle then stood up. "Upstairs. In my room."

The bartender slid a key over the counter, and Jake took that as well. Not bothering to look back to see if William followed him, Jake went up the stairs at the back of the bar. When he reached the room, he unlocked the door then left it open as he went inside. Every damn time Jason sent somebody to track him down, his brother wanted him to return to Boston.

With no regard for courtesy, Jake plopped down on the bed and settled the bottle next to him. William entered the room, and Jake muttered, "Shut the damn door."

After he closed the door, William grabbed one of the old chairs and pulled it closer to Jake, then sat down. "I've got a message from your brother, Jake."

"Yeah, he wants me to return to Boston. Fat chance of that happening." Jake guzzled from the bottle, giving William a sour look.

"I suppose that part would be up to you. I'm only here to tell you that your father died. Since your name is on the will, you are needed to sign the paperwork."

The death announcement didn't surprise Jake, but the other part did. "Bastard disowned me as last I recall." "Your brother managed to convince your father not to do that."

Aware of the gaze that kept roaming appraisingly over him, Jake was too pissed to react to it. Taking another healthy drink from the bottle, Jake refused to say anything to the man.

In the silence, William sat forward and reached out, grabbing Jake's chin and forcing Jake to look at him. "I'm leaving on the stagecoach at dawn. Either you are on it or you're not."

Glaring at him, Jake jerked his head away. William got up and left the room without saying another word.

Silently, Jake fumed. No matter how many times he had told his brother not to bother intervening for him, Jason still did. It completely threw him to realize that his father hadn't cut him out of his will.

It meant both he and Jason were very wealthy men. The life of the Bostonian elite hadn't appealed to Jake and he'd struck out on his own, heading west to Tombstone. In the last ten years, he'd managed to make a decent living for himself. In between odd jobs at different mines and his gambling, he did quite well.

Restlessly, he rolled onto his stomach and set the bottle on the stand near his bed. Did he really want to go back to Boston? Part of him wanted to see Jason again. His brother had been the only decent thing in his life. With their father dead, Jake wouldn't have to worry about seeing the old man. Or listen to his tirades. The old man had done his best to drive a wedge between Jake and Jason. It didn't work because both of them had been too close, but it finally drove Jake out of the house when he'd turned seventeen.

Desire to see Jason rose in Jake, he missed his brother but still refused to return to Boston. By the time he finished nearly half the bottle, the alcohol fuzzed his brain and gave him little room for anything other than the maudlin need to see his brother again. Before he passed out for the night, he'd already made the decision to return to Boston.

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