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Partners on the Trail

Author(s): Julia Talbot

Hank is a cowboy who's been around a bit, and has learned to live and let live, keeping his mouth shut and his gun holstered. Jasper is just a kid, and he hasn't learned that you can't charm your way out of everything. So when Hank has to do something drastic to save Jasper's life, he surprises them both. He's in love with the kid, after all, and Hank leaves town to try and keep him and Jasper both out of harm's way. What he doesn't realize is that Jasper has strong feelings for him too, and will track him down to ride with him again, because that's what partners on the trail do.


A sensible cowboy probably ought not be in town on a night like tonight.

The Oasis Cantina was just a'jumpin'. Skinny John Riley, who did double duty as barber and faro dealer, sat at the piano, tickling the ivories so hard his sleeve garter snapped. A pretty, pock-faced Mexican girl sat on old Ben Freedman's lap, giggling and wiggling so to make Hank blush and look away, but old Ben, he sure looked happy.

Still, Hank thought there were some things a man ought to make private.

Smoke swirled around his head from a roomful of lit cheroots, and every few seconds one of the spittoons would ping as another cowboy let loose a stream of juice. The one next to his left foot rocked with the force of a blow right about the same time as Hank lurched forward from a hard slap on the shoulder.

"Well, if it ain't Silent Hank." Roach Casum grinned down at Hank through tobaccy-stained teeth. "You're actin' right sociable, coming in here tonight."

He knew it well enough, it being payday on most of the ranches in a day's ride, and the one weekend a month they all got to came to town. Usually he avoided it like a man would a poxy whore. But tonight... Hank tugged his hat lower.

"Had enough of last month's stake for a whiskey, Roach. Let a man be to drink it."

"Sure, sure. Look, Hank." Here Roach got that shifty look that'd earned him his name, looking fit to scuttle if you lit a lamp. "Can I... D'you think I could borrow a dollar until next month?"

"You spent your grub money already?"

"Lost it tonight. I'm in the hole. You gimme a dollar and I'll pay up and leave, I swear. Go back to the Lazy S and sit until this time next month."

Lord, lord. Hank grunted instead of answering, pulling a dollar out of his pocket and handing it over, pulling it back and looking Roach straight in the eye. "Your word."

"You got it, Hank. You're a good Samaritan."

Sure he was. Roach hurried off, and Hank commenced to doing what he'd been interrupted at so rudely. Watching Jasper Allbright.

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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 978-1-60370-206-5
Genre: GLBT
Date Published: 11/15/2007
Publisher: Torquere Press

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