Hello pulp friends – here is a teaser of WANTED POSTER for your reading pleasure. I’d love to hear what you enjoyed, favorite quotes or characters. THANK YOU FOR READING!
Happy Tales! xoxo Paige
Oh, and catch my behind the scenes on my experience writing Wanted Poster on my Between the Pages blog – They Call Me Paige Turner – writing WANTED POSTER
A Pulp Westen By Paige Turner
~ WANTED POSTED ~
Chapter 1 – WANTED POSTER – Sunday, Aug 23, 1896 – 7:45pm
The country hadn’t changed much since the last time Elias rode this stretch. Bumpy as all hell, trees growing taller as he approached California; the middle of America still flat, dusty and desolate.
He’d already made the voyage to Colorado and found exactly what he expected, nothing. This time he knew, he’d have to go all the way back home.
It was getting dark as his coach made its way down Main Street. All the buildings he knew as a child were still there, a few more added over the years. The street still covered in silky, packed dirt, the buildings still wooden, rough and unpainted; and at the heart of town, the same dingy saloon.
Elias stepped out and stretched his legs. Good to be on solid ground. The rains hadn’t come yet and he was spared the two feet of mud he remembered playing in as a kid. Turned and walked up the three rusty planks, pushed open the doors to the Black Heart Saloon. The velvet red walls slightly dusted and faded now. The worn floor boards creaking as Elias found a seat at the bar, took off his hat, put his money on the counter and ordered a drink, any drink would do.
Scruffy, unshaven ol’ bartender poured him one. “Name’s Henry. Whiskey’s all I got. Whiskey’s all you get.” Gave him a tall one, Elias shot it down without hesitation.
“I’ll take another good sir.” Fumbled in his coat pocket till he found what he was looking for. Rolled out the heavy parchment. “Excuse me.” Cleared his throat. Set another coin on the counter. “While I’ve got your attention – have you seen this man?” Elias pushed the poster over the shellacked counter.
The bartender barely looked at it before he answered. “Now that’s the best rendition I’ve seen of ol’ Clay Wallace yet.” Paused to rub the beard on his chin. “You a newsman or a lawman?” His already beady eyes sharpened with the question.
Elias looked him dead in the eye and answered him directly. “I’m not the paper. I’m not the law. You know ‘em?” Pointed back to the pencil sketch of his old friend.
Henry let out a long sigh, “Been a long time since I laid my eyes on that fella.” Henry really put the emphasis on long. “I still recall the day he disappeared.”
They both did. Elias could never forget.
Henry took a long stern look at the fella before him. Gloved hands. Probably smooth; evident he’d been spared hard labor. Henry cooled his heels and answered truthfully. “Yes sir – I know him. Now here’s what I’d like to know – who’s asking?” His voice as calm as a frozen lake mid-winter. The action of the saloon only amplified by his stillness.
“Under my contract, I’m obliged not to tell.” Elias took his shot.
That would make two of them. Tight lipped sons of guns.
Henry shifted his weight. “By the looks of it – you’re not from around here.” The words stung, Henry saw it. Elias was born and raised here – before this god-forsaken town even had a name.
Henry let them words hang heavy in the air. Caught a glimpse of his shoes as he waked in; rolled his eyes over them polished boots – never seen mud – them streets back East smooth and paved. Returned to the matter at hand. “Haven’t found him yet – have they?” The old bartender gave a hearty laugh and wiped down his bar. “Everyone keeps looking for good ol’ Clay, but I reckon, none’ll ever gonna find him. Just like his good ol’ daddy. Up and left – never to return.” A few townsfolk walked up to the bar; Henry left to pour.
Elias chuckled, he’d find him alright – it was only a matter of time. Rolled out another Wanted Poster and slid it out before him.
As Henry returned he spied the new roll and gave a long smile when his eyes fell on her. “Now that’s a face I’ll never forget.” Shook his head nice and slow. His smile quite the tell. Looking up from his daydream he snapped. “Never met her.” Kept wiping away at his bar.
Elias wasn’t having it. “You mean to tell me – you never met the wanted bounty-hunter called Ravenswood? Lethal woman, cold as ice . Kill you now for any price.” Elias shrugged.
Memories burning in Henry’s head. Moseyed on back over. “Oh I’ve heard stories about Raven, shoot she done shot a bounty outside this door. But I didn’t know it. The night she walked in here – Ohhhh Weeeee I tell ya – she was just a long tall glass of water.” Made him thirsty to recollect.
Elias couldn’t help but chuckle, she’d left quite the wake. “When was the last time you saw her?” Raven made quite a name for herself in Gold Dust and just about every other town she tore through.
Hold onto your seats folks. This here’s one hell of a ride.
The curious bartender returned to the present. “Honestly son, I haven’t seen her since the day she walked in here – must be twenty years ago – came looking for a night’s stay and that’s what she done got and paid for. Truth is, I’ve learned more about her since the moment she left then I ever did in person.” His voice was rough and somber.
“And Wallace?” Elias’ narrowed his eyes on the old timer.
Henry took pause. Even the air stilled. There was nothing to hide. “It so happens to be the same day – many speculate they ran off together. Though how they planned it before hand – well the devil only knows…” The last part he muttered, catching a glimpse of his guest at the corner of his eye – Henry was reminiscing a little too much. Elias didn’t flinch, cool as a Mint Julep.
“All these years and Clay has never returned – here – to his hometown? Didn’t he have family here?” The tired was catching up with Elias as he rubbed his eyes. Or maybe it was the whiskey.
“No sir.” Henry looked at the empty glass before him. “Clay’s mother, well, she was but a young thing – poor dear never did make it through the birth. His father was a mountain man – didn’t know how to care for a baby. Handed off his son to a fine family, went back to Colorado just as fast as he could. He’s never came back neither. Them Wallace men sure have a funny way of living. The Barnet’s took in the boy – nice family, good family. Ran the stagecoach till the train arrived and took the misses back East – had enough of the territories.” He paused to scratch his chin. “Soon after the incident the mister followed his wife home.” Looking at his empty glass. “Can I get you another – on the house – on account you’ve been chasing all these ghosts.” Henry reached for the poison before his reply. With a nod he poured them two. “Cheers.” Tapped their glass, swallowed the fire down.
Sneering from the drink, Elias coughed out his question. ”Incident?” All ears.
“You mean you ain’t from the insurance company, the mine or the line?” Henry looked at him hard.
“No sir. I ain’t here on account of them.” It wasn’t a total lie. Well not anymore. Truth was – today – Elias was here for himself.
Henry pulled his barstool over, lit himself a cigar. Took a few puffs to get it going. Elias waited patiently – the old fella hadn’t really changed. Little salt, little pepper. “Story as I heard it, only two men knew what was on the stagecoach that day. Blake Paxton took a sworn oath before Paxton Mining and the Judge, so did the good Nathaniel Barnet. Their names been cleared.” Henry puffed on his smoke. “No one could have guessed that Black Bart himself would hold up the stagecoach on that one particular day. Whooo Weee. And there’s no way he was accounting for the extra cargo – if you catch my drift. Can you imagine, all that gold, all that gold out there?” Henry had drifted off. “Now Black Bart was a gentleman, never fired his shotgun once. But it don’t mean he didn’t use his shovel.” Henry paused to dust the cobwebs from his memory. “Couple things happened that day that just don’t add up.” Henry waved off a patron to finish his yarn. “One, they never did recover the stagecoach. Not even the horses were found let alone the gold. Not a trace of it.” He’d been repeating this tale as old as time. “Two, you mean to tell me, brothers, as close as they were, tied at the stake, left to die – one wrangles free and leaves the other behind?” Shaking his head now. Lost in the memories. “No sir, it just don’t add up. It never has.”
No it didn’t.
Henry poured another round. Shot it down. Cleaner than the water out here. “No. The way I figure it – either they’re dead or they’re gone so good they ain’t fixen’ to be found.” Henry paused to pour for his new guest before continuing his thread. With a tattered handkerchief he blotted his forehead only to stare his audience in the eye. “One man lived to tell about it. But he never did say much.” Paused a moment. Elias sat still. Henry continued. “Course – if I lived through what he did – I guess I wouldn’t be talking much neither.” Henry stopped to pull on his beard. “I don’t know what to think. Been a long time. Hard to believe he ain’t accounted for yet. Makes me fear the worst.” Poured himself a glass and drank it down.
Elias sat their enthralled with the tale. He’s heard it once or twice, but never from good ol’ Henry. Never like this. Never here. Where it all began.
Henry was strolling down memory lane. “One way or another, no one has ever returned. Sad really. I’d grown fond of them boys… both of ‘em.” Took a pause – in case his guest wanted to add anything himself.
It had been a long time since Elias thought about that decision. Now that’s a lie. They could have done things differently. They could have known better. Coulda. Shoulda. Woulda. Notioned towards the bottle. Had to wash that bullshit down with something.
Henry resisted the urge to ask why this fella was poking around, now after all these years. Looked him hard in his wary eye.
Not a beat. Not a flinch. Not a tell.
“It’s getting late.” Reached over to shake his hand. “I thank you good sir. I appreciate your hospitality.” Elias stood from his seat, left some coins on the bar and turned on his heel.
There were 42 paces between the bar and the door. Pushing it open, before he stepped outside – four words stopped him dead in his tracks.
“Mister Barnet! Your hat.” Henry hollered.
Elias never told the old-timer his name.
CHAPTER 2 – SUCKER PUNCH – Sunday, September 3, 1876 – 10:42pm
The Harvest Moon hung low in the sky; perched at end of Main Street illuminating the town of Gold Dust. The horse knew the way and kept steady towards the soft glow on the horizon.
Something was making a stir that night. The air thick with mischief. Even the ladies upstairs made mention of their dates roughhousing. Sensible people stayed indoors. Worried mothers locked up their daughters; good husbands left the shotgun next to the bed and put out the dogs. Lucky for them, their sons snuck off hours ago.
The rest of folk were partying it up on Main Street like it was their last day on Earth. Whiskey flowing, Everett tearing it up on the piano, the tempo growing, dancers kicking higher, a world made of tinder and ready to burn.
Every table at the Black Heart Saloon was running a game. In the corner with his back to the wall was Clay Wallace, local boy running his usual poker game – Five Card Draw. His best friend, adopted brother and partner in crime, Elias Barnet paying close attention; one eye on the deck at all times. The stakes were getting higher as the night progressed. Some piles were running a bit low. Couple of fellas called in earlier than usual, some didn’t. Beg pardon to say, but that young blood Curtis was as dumb as a bag of nails and damn lucky. Too bad he came with a short fuse too. Elias already gave him a talking to not an hour ago. But Curtis didn’t pick up what they were putting down. Some kids only learn the hard way.
Henry wiped down an already dry bar, surveying his establishment. Smoke grew thicker; nerves ran shorter – any moment now something was going to blow – you could feel it. Seemed like this happened every full moon. Wipe Wipe Wipe. Nervous habit.
Then a rush of cold air broke his spell; as if on cue, the doors to the saloon pushed open and them Grant Brothers walked in. Flint headed straight to the bar while Slim and Toby rounded out the holes at Clay’s table, tossed in their money, let the games begin.
Henry had every right to be worried; them Grant Brothers looked rowdy tonight. Poured Flint a shot and gave him a toothless smile. Gave Everett a nod – he could sense it too – time to call the ladies down – diversify the situation. Rang the bell – with painted smiles, low hanging silk, revealing lace and cinched waists, the girls worked through the room – slowly easing some of the tension or at least – redirecting it. Henry blotted his face with his handkerchief; scanned the saloon slowly. They’d settle down. Right? Come to their senses. Right? There really wasn’t too much to worry about. Right?
That is – until she walked in. All six feet two inches of her. Legs for days. Long black hair hung braided down her back, grit from head to toe. Without a look around Raven walked to the bar. With each step a hush grew over the saloon, everybody trying to catch a glimpse of that woman. These boys never seen nothing that looked like her before. Good Damn; she was a long, tall glass of water on a hot summer’s day. Henry cleared his throat. Reckon he spoke too soon. Like a month in a flame – trouble finds a way.
As quick as they paused – the games resumed, the temperature rose while the music roared. Henry eagerly proceeded to the situation before him.
“Welcome to the Black Heart Saloon. What can I get ‘cha?” Gave the raven-haired beauty a wink.
“I’ll have a whiskey, thank you.” Pulled off her hat, set it down on the bar. “Make that two – I’m thirsty.”
“Yes ‘em.” Henry poured three and gave her a toast. “I go by Henry…”
That’s one way to ask a question. “Pleased to meet ya Henry.” She smiled. Don’t mean she’s gotta answer. Not tonight. Not ever. They both drank their poison down.
Couple of cowboys ambled their way towards her, but Raven never took an eye off the mirror behind the bar. In no mood tonight. Could feel the danger level rising between these four walls. Figures, the only watering hole for miles along the way to San Francisco. It did put the odds in her favor. Shook her head, scratching the dirt off her neck. Henry shooed them cowboys away and kept an eye on his newest guest. You see, women don’t show up much in these parts – unaccompanied. The West was no place for a single gal. No wedding ring on this pearl – though by the likes of her – didn’t need one neither. Two Six-Shooters on her hip, a scowl on her face, rouge on her lips and cheeks.
Guess they do exist.
With an outstretched finger Raven called him over. His staring was starting to piss her off. “Henry. Where can a nice gal find proper accommodations for herself and her horse?” The look in her eye made it clear he was to answer the question – not qualify the statement.
“Well Miss – please allow me to assist you. The ladies have a clean bath out back, got a spare room upstairs and a stable at your disposal. I reckon you don’t need to look much further – we’ve got everything you need at the Black Heart.” Now fiddling with his suspenders, grinning away; she could crush him with one hand if need be.
Raven unleashed a clever smile. “Is that so?” Leaned over real close. “Henry – I plan on paying in cash…” Eased back to look him in the eye. “…Not trade.” Poured another and wiped that grin off her face.
“Miss – I never meant to…” Raven shushed him with one finger. In a huff Henry proceeded. “I reckon you could try the Inn across the way, they have accommodations suitable for a lady such as yourself.” He stammered. “The General Store won’t open till morning, but they too have a bath and the horse – and well the Livery is just down the way – but I’d be more than happy…” Call him butter; Henry was on a roll.
Stopped him before he could make a fool of himself. So charming, old timer still had the hustle. With a twisted smile Raven motioned with a nod of her head. “She’s the black beauty out front. Likes it when I call her Bella.” Henry stomped off with his instructions. As he got to the end of the bar Raven hollered. “I want fresh hot water in that bath too Henry – don’t think I won’t notice.” Didn’t flinch as he disappeared. Women! – rolled his eyes – they’re all the same.
Boy was he wrong.
Letting out the knots in her neck, Raven slid around on her barstool to take in the scenery. Gave a polite nod to the stranger next to her as her eyes scanned the room. Red velvet walls, dark carved wood and crystal chandeliers cast a spell around her. As all small town saloons – a coral full of roosters sinning and gambling the night away. The air thick with tobacco, lies, cheats, booze, bodices and lace. Table after table of stern faces, covered cards, low lying hats, somber piles, bloodshot eyes and stacked chips. Even a few fools hitting the dice. But it was clear as day which table was having the most fun, tucked far in the corner. A small grin escaped her lips as her eyes laid on the blonde running the show – his back to the wall, slightly hammered and dealing fast. Over his shoulder – the muscle – dark, grown-out hair; one hand on his gun, one eye on the deck. At the table, you could tell who was familiar and who was strange.
If it weren’t for Clay – Raven would have spotted him, even with that stupid hat on. But for a second, she wasn’t looking for him, all she saw was Clay.
But Curtis saw her all right. The moment she walked in. Been chased by her all the way from Texas. The bounty on his head having grown with each crime. Speaking of – he was growing mighty tired of running from the law. Deg-Nab-It! Thought he’d earned a day or so riding through the valley none-stop. Stole a mighty a fine horse or two along the way. Guess them stories are true – there was no out-running Ravenswood once she got her claws in you.
Raven turned around, poured a whiskey, went down hard – felt great – poured another. You could feel the static in the air, the night was a long fuse. Then the tension ignited. Lord I swear it happened in the flicker of a hummingbird’s wing.
Curtis knew his chances of getting out of there unscathed were running low by now. It was one thing to fool a card table, it’s another thing to do it on the same night a very ambitious Bounty Hunter walks in. Of all the bars to walk into – she had to walk into to this one. Should have known better – only town for miles. Shake my head.
Curtis cursed himself, born under a bad sign. Jarring back to reality – Slim threw down his cards in anger. “You win again Curtis.” Hesitating while he drew in his winnings. “Must be that fire-red hair of yours – makes ya so damn lucky.” Slim reached over to pull off his hat. Curtis snatched it and pulled down the brim, now filling his pockets with his winnings.
“Wait a minute – where do you think you’re going so fast? Let me see those cards.” Toby flashed a look at Clay and Clay nodded, Elias unhinging from the wall. After all, he did call him.
Their voices were rumbling and other patrons were catching a glimpse. There was no getting out of this now – not with them Grant Brothers. He knew he shouldn’t have pressed his luck – winning too much, too fast. Nervous, Curtis tended to make rash decisions. The anger welling up at the table was palpable. His voice screeched, “My apologies gentlemen but I’ve got to retire. It was a lovely game. See you all around some time.” Curtis tried to stand up.
Slim slapped him down into his seat.
Had Curtis just sat there a spell, cool as could be and played a hand or two – maybe folded a few times – he could have rode outta town with a nice stash and her blind eye. But nooooo – Curtis never did nothin’ the easy way.
Slim’s heavy hand kept him in place, but that was no matter, Curtis was itching to leave and out of options. They say there’s a sucker born every minute, too bad none of them were seated there tonight. Fresh out of tricks, Curtis made a go for it.
Fight of Flight? Whatcha gonna do?
Just like that he launched from his seat like rabid dog and started wailing on the stud beside him. Toby didn’t see it coming.
Before you could say ‘what the hell’s gotten into you!’ Slim grabbed that rabid dog by the scruff of his neck and launched him to the floor. Stunned, Curtis sat there, waiting for the attack but Slim didn’t hit ‘em. “What’s the matter with you?” Slim stepped back. Scrambling, Curtis kicked the legs out from the nearest chair and ran for the door. So Slim grabbed his collar, lifting him off the ground and turning Curtis into a puppet. “Where the hell do you think you’re going?” Curtis knew better than to throw punches at Slim, the whole bar now staring, ready to fight, Toby pulling up his sleeves.
Henry broke the silence. “Stop it right there. I do not tolerate brawling in my establishment. Take this outside!”
Hanging there, dangling from Slim’s fist, one last solitary card fell to the floor. Slowly, like a feather. The Ace of Diamonds drifting all the way down.
“You son of a bitch, you cheat.” Curtis swung hard, like his life depended on it – because it did. Slim held him out of reach. “You heard the man, no brawling. Just apologize to my fair brother here and return to us your ill begotten money.” Slim set him down, them Grant Brothers slowly surrounding him.
Fool he was, Curtis was playing to the gallery. “I didn’t like the looks of you the moment you sat down. Just a bunch sissies.” Curtis was drunker than a skunk but twice as quick; spat in their general direction and beat them to the door before they knew what hit ‘em.
Henry rolled his eyes – as long as they were out of his bar he didn’t care what happened. Returned to find his black beauty had gone while everyone else was pressed against the window.
All that remained was her hat, her glass and an empty bottle of whiskey. Man that woman sure could drink. Setting the empty bottle aside and washing her glass, Henry lifted up her hat to find…
CHAPTER 3 – ON HIS WAY OUT – Sunday, September 3, 1876 – 11:12pm
A friend kicked out his boot and sent Curtis flying out the door, his pockets tearing in the fall. Before he could pick up his loot Clay’s cool voice rang through.
“I don’t mind losing my coin in a fair game but we don’t take kindly to cheatin’ round here.” Clay had one hand on his gun, one hand holding his cigar. “I find there is nothing worse than losing to a lying, sneaking, coward.” Clay stood there, over him, shaking his head in disgust.
“I ain’t no cheat – I won fair and square.” Soaked liar twisting on the ground.
“Boy you’re nailed to the counter. You’re nothing more than a two bit – good for nothing – mud sill, I oughta…” Clay pulled back his arm, then motioned to his compadres to pick Curtis up. Slim and Elias happy obliged. Toby done disappeared in a fog of lace and perfume, them ladies fluttering over his “wounds” from the “attack.”
Curtis pushed them off. “Alright alight, pull in your horns.” Quickly he emptied his pockets. Waving his arms to show he had nothing to hide.
“Now scram. Get the hell out of here and don’t come back. I don’t want bad blood so take this.” Clay tossed him a coin.
Finding purchase under his feet, Curtis eased off the ground and picked up his quarter.
“I said scram kid!” Clay was growing impatient.
Curtis hated being called a kid. He was a twenty year old man; a liar, a cheat, a scoundrel, a proper criminal – but no kid. No, he stopped being a kid a long time ago.
Sitting at the empty bar, Raven rolled her eyes then proceeded to climb the stairs quickly to the balcony overlooking the street. Crawled onto the roof and found vantage behind the sign. Quietly, she drew her weapon, cocked it and aimed straight for Curtis ‘The Red’ McMurry Jr. Wanted in 3 states for cattle rustling, horse thieving, impersonating a US Marshall, robbery, rape and murder. The Law would take him Dead or Alive. To Raven, there was only one option left. She listened to those pickled roosters cluck their roles; thought they were generous giving that cheat a dime. But she knew, that kind of generosity – well – Curtis wouldn’t give a damn – only cared about himself. With nothing left to do, Elias shouted ‘Show’s Over’ and together they headed back to the saloon. It was their biggest mistake, never should have turned their backs on ’em.
Curtis found his footing and tossed back the coin. It whooshed past them and danced on the planks – standing there, the fight rising up in his cheeks.
Inside, Henry lifted her hat to find his Wanted Poster. One look – they truly did Curtis justice.
Under his breath, his knuckles dragging, Curtis slowly muttered. “Nobody calls me kid.” Clay didn’t have a snowballs chance in hell of surviving that shot. Curtis had a clean line of fire. Pulled out his gun and…
Clay took a look at Elias, surprise written all over his face. Could hardly believe his own eyes, as his hands searched his body for blood. Curtis fell over like a sack of potatoes. As the shot registered, Henry muttered, ‘what a woman’ and shifted towards the door. Outside Curtis lie lifeless in the dirt, one shot threw the skull. The fight gone from his eyes.
“What the hell?” Clay hollered, running his hand through his hair, catching his breath – lucky to be alive. A herd now gathering around the body.
At the door Henry held up the poster. “Looks like good ol’ Curtis was a Wanted Man.” Shaking his head in disbelief. “Colt, Miles – go fetch the sheriff and the undertaker. Clay – come on in and take a load off – this one’s on the house.”
At the bar it took Clay a moment to put it all together. “What the hell just happened?” Shot his liquor down.
Flint leaned over – “That hellfire that walked in – turns out she came to claim her reward. Been following this Curtis fellow for weeks. Now you don’t suppose he thought he had a leg up on her? Boy was he wrong.”
Stories travel fast.
Clay needed some clarification to the situation, turned to his crew. “You mean to tell me that raven haired minx shot ‘em?” Slim nodded. Clay had a grin as wide as the Missississp’. “Well I’ll be dammed – she saved my life. Where is she?”
Henry motioned to the sign – Bath = 2 Bits. Clay slapped his money down. “Put me down for one sir,” and headed through the back door before Henry had a chance to stop him.
No stranger to the Black Heart Saloon, Clay worked his way through the halls downstairs till he found the last door on the left. Wasn’t locked. Door opened without a hitch and with one step in he was mesmerized.
Her long wet hair pressed against her skin. The slope of her shoulders, the slender curve of her waist. Their eyes caught in her mirror. Clay stopped midway when he heard the hammer cock.
“Take another step forward and these words will be the last you’ll ever hear.” Raven lined up the shot over her shoulder all while smiling at him through the mirror. “Don’t count on me missing neither.” Her face a stern line in the reflection.
Arms up, Clay couldn’t take his eyes off of her. “My apologies Miss.” Tipped his hat. “Name’s Clay Wallace.” His words were clear, his eyes blue even more so.
“Spare me your pleasantries! You think it’s polite to walk into a ladies bath uninvited?” Raven wiggled her trigger finger. “Just cause we’re in a whore house Mr. Wallace – doesn’t mean I’m a whore.” This boy needed to learn a lesson or two and Raven was just the woman to do it.
His eyes were wide. Had to dig fast. Pulled off his hat, holding it gingerly between both hands. “I’d never of barged in here like this – if it weren’t on account of owing you a debt of gratitude Miss.” Blink Blink. Clay sure knew how to charm them.
Boy did that change her tune.
Raven took a second. Looked him in the eye through their reflection. Them blues sure did sparkle. Made her weak in the knees – good thing she was sitting in the tub. With a slight grin, Raven uncocked her weapon and placed it on the chair beside her. Not once taking her eyes off him through the looking glass. “Thank me for what?” Her voice was smooth as silk.
“You look like the kind of woman who can shoot the wings off a fly. I doubt any man here is sober enough to make a shot like that – especially in the dark.” He wasn’t going to hold back one bit, nothing to lose, took a step forward, eyes glimmering. “I just wanted to thank you for saving my life.”
The smile on her face drove Clay wild with desire. Raven set the mirror down and pressed her hands on either side of the tub, rose up, water cascading over her fine body. Clay nearly fell over with surprise. When she turned to greet him, her brazen eyes flirted with temptation. “He was going to shoot you in the back Mr. Wallace. I did what anyone would do.”
He just stood there, starting at her, all of her, relentlessly taking it in. Every smooth, delicate detail now blazed in his memory forever. Wiped the drool off his lip.
Raven cracked a wicked grin, her eyes smoldering. “Why don’t you come over here and thank me proper cowboy.”
Ohh was she a devious one.
Didn’t have to tell him twice. Clay tore over, crushing his body against her, soaking her up, lips locked, hands tearing, hungry. Good thing the bar was rowdy. Clay reached down and lifted her up, water dissolving the shirt between them, feeling her skin cold and hard. Pulling at her lip, Raven draped her arms around his neck and felt the stubble against cheek. Clay set her down on the nearest table, her fingers feverishly fighting with every button. Clay working on his holster, the sound of his guns hitting the floor really turned her on. Raven pulled opened his shirt, clawing at his chest, Clay fought with his belt then threw down his jeans as she drew him in. So much woman, Clay didn’t know where to start.
Raven was hungry for a man, tall blonde and strong. Their hands feeling one another, tongues tasting, eyes teasing. God did she smell good, her skin slick and wet. Clay found his way to her neck and couldn’t help but bite, she tasted delicious. Raven let out a deep moan and he knew he was on the right trail. As much as he wanted to bed her he wanted to take his time, savor her. Ya never know when you’ll find a willing woman like her again. But the poor dear, well nature took over; those impulses just too strong. Kissing, touching, moaning, thrusting – on her demand – he happily obliged. Repeatedly.
There was no mistaking the sound of that table tattooing the wall. Thud Thud Thud. A relentless pace. Made a lady or two upstairs blush in comparison. Thud Thud Thud. No amount of song or dance could drown out the sound of their pleasure. Thud Thud Thud. The ladies called him Thoroughbred ever since. Thud Thud Thud. Try as they might their cards were blurry and the relentless pounding was hard to ignore. Thud Thud Thud.
The room broke out in matches and smoke. Sales went up, a stream of men and them lacy dames walking up the stairs, smiles plastered on their faces. Those at the tables placed their bets on who could beat good ol’ Thoroughbred.
Clay found her lips and kissed her, heaven in her arms. Raven kept her legs locked around him and stroked his back, took in his devilish scent.
Biting her lip she whispered into his ear. “I’m forever grateful for saving your life.” So was he, Clay kissed her, deep. Finally parting, Raven eased herself back into the bath. Clay dressed and leaned in for another kiss. Her teeth catching his lip as he pulled away. Snap. “Now shoo and let me enjoy my 2-bit bath.” Clay pulled at her nipple and gave her another kiss as she let out a long sigh. “Come find me later stud. I owe you a thank you now.” With a wink, she closed her eyes and settled in.
Clay shook his head, shouldered his holster and headed for the door. Before he could leave Raven called out.
“Tell Henry to collect that reward for me, I’m not leaving till I get it.”
TO BE CONTINUED…
Thank you so much for reading. I would love to know your thoughts, favorite quotes, or surprises you enjoyed – please share!
Happy Tales! xox Pulp Paige
Enjoy previews teasers and my upcoming novels at: Pulp By Paige Turner
Paige Turner is my pen name; Writing Pulp is my game.
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