Always finish what you start.
Trouble on the Smoky Hill Trail
A Pearl Brothers Western Adventure Book 1
by Andrew Weston
Genre: Historical Western Action Adventure
Something wasn’t right.
Whatever that something was, Alfred Johansen couldn’t immediately figure it out, as those moments between the end of a dream and half-wakefulness always left him feeling sluggish and unbalanced. Nonetheless, he knew his home intimately, and an air of latent menace pervaded the somber tranquility of the night. Unsettled, he shuffled quietly to the edge of the mattress so as not to wake his wife, stilled his breathing, and strained to listen over the wheeze of her gentle snoring.
To no avail.
No matter how hard he tried, the source of Alfred’s unease continued to elude him.
His sense of alarm increased. Heart thudding, Alfred levered himself up onto his elbows, and a gentle breeze cooled the sweat now forming across his brow. An unexpected sensation, seeing as how he religiously shut the doors and shuttered the windows every night before retiring.
While Alfred and his family reaped the benefits of the security offered by their small community of just over a dozen homesteads, all of them scattered in close proximity on the northern side of Walnut Creek, forty-five miles west of Alexander, Kansas, there was always a danger to living here. The nearest town, Gove, was twenty miles away to the north. A good full day’s ride by wagon, or less than half that on a good horse maintaining a steady trot. And even though the new Wells Fargo coaches still braved the old Butterfield Overland Express route, or the southern Santa Fe Trail running past Dodge, they were still too far away to be of help at times like this. So you had to learn, and quickly, to sort out problems yourself.
Highlighting Alfred’s predicament.
Procrastinating would achieve nothing.
He decided to go and check, just in case, and reached toward the bedside table where he kept his old 1839 model Colt Paterson, which had been converted to fire .44 Henry Rimfire cartridges. Just holding it would help to calm his jitters.
Except it wasn’t there. Oh, for pity’s sake. I must have left it out in the kitchen.
Irritated, Alfred swung his feet out of bed and almost tripped as his sock snagged a splintered floorboard. Scuttling forward a few paces, he bit back a curse and turned to stare at Rita, his wife. His night vision allowed him to make out the shape of her form beneath the covers. She hadn’t moved. Good. I don’t want to upset her unduly. . .
That thought died in his head as he caught sight of the window. One of the shutter’s was open, and the small rocks his wife used to weigh the fabric down and hold them in place were missing, allowing the cloth to swing free. Drawn like a moth to a flame, Alfred padded across to the window, brushed the cloth aside, and peered outside.
A half-moon peeked from behind purple clouds, heavy with the last snows of spring. By its light, Alfred could see the stones clearly, laid out in a neat line in the dirt, next to a tight cluster of footprints. Vilken (What)?
Withdrawing from the window, he started for the door and tried to reason things through. Who would be snooping about at this time of night? People around here know we don’t have much, and that our community is self-sufficient.
A barely audible thud, from deeper inside the house interrupted his musing. Somebody’s definitely moving about. One of the girls perhaps? Has something spooked them? He glanced toward the bedside table. Is that why my gun is missing?
The twins, Margit and Astrid, were coming up on seventeen years old. Precocious to a fault, they were spirited, reckless, and way too bossy for their own good.
Tsking quietly, Alfred relaxed a little. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve told them not to put themselves in danger by investigating things for themselves. Come morning, Ill. . .
Another sound, this one laced with hushed voices along with a stifled squeal of protest intruded. For some reason, just hearing it turned Alfred’s stomach, and his protective instincts finally kicked in. Djävla (Goddamit). I’d better arm myself.
His father’s shotgun hung from a couple of hooks above the fireplace out in the main room. Alfred wasn’t the marksman the Pearl brothers were, but that old gun would be forgiving enough in this situation to even things out a little. Indeed, the mere sight of it had been enough to douse the heat of troubled egos—with other settlers heading west, and wandering bands of Lakota and Cheyenne—several times over the past two years they’d been putting their little community together, so he had no doubt it would act as a deterrent now.
If he got to the darn thing, that was.
As cautiously as he possibly could, Alfred depressed the latch with his thumb, and prevented it from rattling by using both his hands to maneuver the bar into position. Once open, he lowered the lever and left the door ajar, before tiptoeing silently out into the short hallway leading from the bedrooms and into the living area. Whatever was happening, the sounds coming from his daughters’ room were becoming more frantic. Swallowing his anger, he began imagining all the terrible things he would do to anyone trying to take advantage of his daughters’ virtue, and quickened his pace until he was nigh on running. Just hang on, girls. Hang on for a minute or two . . . huh?
It wasn’t until Alfred was halfway across the room that three things hit him in quick succession.
Shootout at Russell Springs
A Pearl Brothers Western Adventure Book 2
second book in a brand new Western adventure series from Andrew
A tornado tears through the open plains of Kansas, leaving death and destruction in its wake.
Yet that force of nature isn’t the only thing that might ravage the land.
The Plains Indians are massing in their hundreds. Cheyenne, Comanche, Lakota, Kiowa, and Arapaho. All of them, turning their eyes toward the foreign settlers who encroach ever further into their ancestral hunting grounds with each and every passing year.
Already on the run from the law, the notorious Reno Gang also come calling, thinking that the residents of Elder Grove will be no match for a bunch of murdering horse thieves.
And just who are the two strangers from the east that come to town, acting all friendly, yet asking sly question about the Pearl brothers?
One thing’s for sure. . .
Another storm is brewing. And when it strikes, not everyone will walk away.
Uprising in Comanche Country
A Pearl Brothers Western Adventure Book 3
third book in a brand new Western adventure series from Andrew
It took the Pearl brothers considerable time and effort to shape the region around Elder Grove into a safe haven for all. For settlers. For travelers. Even for the Plains Indians who constantly roam the prairie in pursuit of buffalo.
But when a bunch of marauding army deserters commits a heinous act that rouses the massed tribes to anger, it puts all that hard work in jeopardy. Yes, the hornet’s nest has been stirred. So much so, that even the Comanche are provoked to war.
And their sting is deadly indeed.
How the Pearl brothers will react remains to be seen. But one thing’s for sure. Nobody will escape unscathed.
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An astronomy and criminal law graduate, he is the creator of a number of internationally acclaimed, bestselling works. Andrew also has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association, and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.
When relaxing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to supporting animal charities, and writing regular reviews and articles for Amazing Stories and the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.
More recently, he has turned his eye toward the creation of the ultimate western adventure, something that blends the very best elements of “The Dark Tower” with “Once Upon a Time in the West.”