Monday, January 27, 2014

Tuesday Tales - Mirror

Welcome to Tuesday Tales! This week I`ll be sharing excerpts from my 2013 NaNoWriMo novel, Laco Law – The Gnarled Oak. Laco Law is an M/M historical western romance, set in the fictional county of Laco, Texas in 1867.

This week our word prompt is 'Mirror’. In this excerpt Clay and Zeke ride out to see what they can find out about the Double Sun ranch.

A note for my readers:  This is a gay romantica novel, and so the romance that occurs is man on man. If this is not your cup of tea, no one will think less of you if you read no further.

 As this is my NaNo work, it is quite rough. I do ask that you overlook any glaring mistakes you may find. Please do check out the other wonderful writers after you`re done reading by clicking on the Tuesday Tales link at the bottom. Thanks for stopping in!

            We rode up to the front of the grand home. The front door opened. A small Chinaman scurried out, his almond-shaped eyes as wide as they could grow. He was dressed in white pants with a matching white shirt. His black hair was pulled back severely from his face. His long plait hung over his left shoulder.

            “Morning, is your mistress to home?” I called, still seated on my horse. The reception we would receive could be questionable after all. “Mister Barnabas Wright gave us permission to come calling on Mrs. Price. We`re the law from Laco,” I said while tapping my silver star for emphasis.

            His eyes seemed riveted to Zeke I noted. When I cleared my throat the thin man nodded several times, backing up the wide wooden steps as he bowed over and over while I dismounted with a small groan of pleasure.

            “Laco lawman happy welcomed,” he said. “Indian no welcome. Stay outside while lawman visits proper.”

            I started to argue with the servant. Zeke slid from his horse. 
            “It`s fine. I don`t want to go inside anyway.” He took Hessie`s reins. I stared at his stiff back as he headed to the watering trough, Dog at his side. A tug on my elbow pulled me from my deputy. I removed my hat as I climbed to the front door. Rattan furniture was placed on the porch to encourage restive conversations.

            My boots sounded heavy on the dustless entryway. The door was closed quietly behind me. The tiny fellow with the amiable smile rushed into a room to my left. I followed, ducking slightly to avoid hitting my forehead on the door-frame. I noticed the woman in the wheelchair first off. The room, although it was filled with delicate furniture, vases, frilly lace curtains, gilded mirrors, and flowers paled in comparison to the blonde woman smiling engagingly up at me. 

          She was nearly swallowed by the huge front wheels of her mobile chair. Her eyes were intelligent pools of bright blue. Her skin was flawless. She wore her hair swept up softly. Her day gown was the same blue as her eyes. Over her lap was a thin blanket. Her feet were turned in terribly as they rested on a metal footrest. This was a woman born into money I sensed right off.

            “Ma`am,” I said with a polite nod.

            “Please, Sheriff, won`t you sit and have some lemonade with me? Charlie, fetch us a fresh pitcher of lemonade, and a tray of those vanilla cookies Sophia whipped up last night.”

            “Yes, Missus Price,” Charlie grinned before bowing out of the room. I eased myself onto a tiny couch that had legs that I feared would buckle within minutes. Mrs. Price beamed at me. My ears grew hot.

            “I had heard that Laco acquired a new sheriff. No one told me he was so handsome,” she said, tipping her head to the side. I stammered awkwardly under her perusal. She laughed at my unease. “Well, aren`t you a delightful man?! Handsome and humble! I wish I had a daughter to foist upon you, Sheriff!”

            “I`m not exactly the marrying type, Ma`am,” I confessed. She pooh-poohed that away.

            “Every man is the marrying kind, Sheriff. He just has to be offered the proper dowry.” It was said lightly but the words dropped around us like cold iron ingots.

            “Not meaning to argue, Ma`am, but not every man can be led to marriage with only the promise of a large dowry,” I murmured just as Charlie entered with a rolling cart laden with silver trays, crystal pitcher, and two tall glasses. Mrs. Price watched her butler with the eye of a predatory bird. “I hope you don`t think me presumptuous, Ma`am, but have you noticed anything untoward occurring within the boundaries of your land?”

            “Untoward? I`m not sure I quite understand what you mean, Sheriff. Charlie, please pay attention! You`re spilling sugar all over the floor,” Mrs. Price scolded. I met the brown eyes of the servant. His face showed his shame, but his eyes were trying to convey something else. Whatever it was, it fled when he had to go fetch a broom to clean up the spilled sugar from the shiny tile floor. “I hope it`s not too sweet?”

            I raised the sweaty glass to my lips. The lemonade was tart but perfectly made. I rested the glass on my knee. My pants were filthy. I surely did not belong in this sitting room.

            “No, Ma`am, it is just perfect.” I said. She smiled in acknowledgement of her skilled staff.

            “So, you seem to think my land is being used for nefarious purposes,” she said after nibbling the edge off a pale white cookie. “My husband would be the one to consult about such things. Since my riding accident, I`m afraid I`m relegated to house matters.”

            “Well , Ma`am, my Paw-Paw always said that while a man thinks he runs the show, it`s the woman who truly does. I suspect you are more than aware of what happens on your land,” I commented. Our eyes met. She grinned widely. What a beautiful, sharp woman she was. I could see myself falling for such a woman if I were not the kind of man I am. Even with her being ten or more years my senior.

            “I must say your accent is beyond charming.” Mrs. Price asked if I would wheel her to the window. I placed my glass to the cart, got to my dusty boots, then rolled her to the nearest window. A delicate hand with fine blue veins across the back pushed aside a curtain as sheer as a morning mist. “I see that the rumors about your deputy are also true. Tell me, Sheriff Moore, whatever possessed you to choose such a person as your right-hand man?”

            I looked through the pane of glass. Zeke was lounging in the shade of a huge oak beside one of many horse barns. Dog sat beside his master. Our horses were sleepily standing ass to face, using their tails to chase away the flies on the other`s long faces.

            “He saved my life. I figure that gives a man the right to be judged on his own merits.”

            She looked over her shoulder at me. “Hmm, you`re a rare breed of man, Sheriff,” she murmured as if deep in thought. “Most men would shoot such a man on sight. You make him your deputy. Perhaps the genteel ladies of Georgia raise a more sophisticated manner of man than the women of Texas do?”

            “Perhaps, Ma`am.” She nodded, fully aware that I knew she was searching for information.

            “Yes, I should think you do know about genteel ladies,” she said, her sight remaining on my deputy so long I began feel some unease settling upon me. When she was done, she let the lacy curtain drop back into place. “I wish I could assist you, as I find you quite pleasant to chat with, but I honestly do not know of anything out of the ordinary taking place on the Double Sun.”

            “I thank you for your time, and the refreshments, Mrs. Price,” I said. She inclined her golden head then produced a small bell from underneath the rose-toned blanket on her lap. She rang it gently.

Copyright 2013 ©by V.L. Locey


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See you next week with more from the old West!


Jean Joachim said...

What a fabulous scene! And I do NOT believe her or one minute. I love that he's not fooled by her, either. A sly woman and an intelligent man playing a bit of cat and mouse. Love this story. How is he going to get to the bottom of what's going on? I guess I'll have to keep coming back every week to find out.

V.L. Locey said...

Thank you for stopping in, Jean.

I don`t believe her either to be honest. Perhaps our two law men will stumble across a lead soon. I sure hope so, a young boys life just may be hanging in the balance.

Sarah Cass said...

I'm with Jean on this one! Fabulous scene with the to-and-fro between them...each trying to outsmart the other. She is clearly far more than her injury...and I'm certain he's right...she's knows more than she's letting on.

V.L. Locey said...

Many thanks, Sarah. I think this is one clever woman as well.

Jillian said...

hmmm. I'm intrigued. I think this lady knows more then she's willing to admit!

V.L. Locey said...

She might. Everyone seems to feel that she`s hiding something. Thanks for stopping by, Jillian!

SherryGLoag said...

I even wonder whether the woman is controlling whatever is going on, and how she's going to try and embroil the deputy sheriff into her coils.
An intriguing scene that captivates the essence of the time beautifully.

V.L. Locey said...

Thanks for dropping in, Sherry. This woman claims to know nothing, and yet there is that vibe that says otherwise. Let`s hope Clay and Zeke can get to the bottom of this mess soon!

writerszenblog said...

Beautiful scene! Realistic, the characters interaction is great, as are the characters themselves. I just love your writing style!

V.L. Locey said...

Thank you so very much, Trisha. I~m a huge fan of your writing as well.

morgan said...

What a beautiful, icy cobra that Mrs. Price is. I wouldn't turn my back on her for a minute. Great job!