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 'Lemon’. In this excerpt Clayton and Zeke commit a crime in order to try to solve one.
A note for my readers: This is a gay romance 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!
At ten minutes after one in the dark of night I too was questioning the sanity of the white man. One white man in particular. The lock on the harbormaster`s door was proving to be most obstinate. Zeke shuffled nervously behind me, using his girth to block out the sight of a man on his knees trying to gain illegal entrance to this small building. The irony that I was a sheriff trying to break in did not escape me. Finally I grew angry enough to pitch the lock-pick into the bay in a pique.
“Good thing you took up being a lawman instead of being a criminal,” the bruiser said before he drove his elbow into the thin glass window behind us. I cringed at the sound of shattering glass. The door creaked open. Ezekiel withdrew his long arm from the busted pane.
“You may see a bonus in your stipend, Deputy,” I whispered as we hurried inside the shed-like office. The building barely held Zeke and me.
“I got a better way for you to pay me back.”
I looked up from the wooden cabinet that held the books and records. I could not see his face due to the darkness, but I imagined he was smirking. My blood heated up slightly when an image of him paying me back floated in front of me. I shoved the licentious thought aside to return to work. The long, thick, leather-bound tome that held the name and cargo of all incoming vessels was quite hefty. I had come in earlier in the day using the ruse that I was here to pick up some cargo. All I had wanted was a close look at the interior of the tall, boxy building. Now that knowledge served us well. Zeke lit the stubby candle he had carried in his front pocket. We leaned over the log. Each page turned wafted the smell of old paper upwards. The handwriting changed numerous times, but the information was always the same.
“Here,” Zeke said when the last page fluttered to rest. I saw the name Price scrawled neatly on the fourth line. From that first entry the name Price, and the ships under that flag, grew with leaps and bounds. My heart was stumbling over itself. We flipped faster. The sweet smell of cheroot smoke now enveloped me. Zeke`s hair was loose to help hide his face during this covert mission. I longed to gather up a handful then rub it over my face. Instead, I bent closer to the log book.
The last page contained the most recent entries. The brittle paper slipped through my fingers. The flame sputtered when wax threatened to swallow the tiny fire. I ran my finger over each entry that had the Price name attached to it. The last ship had set sail to the Orient three weeks ago. The cargo was listed as cattle, sheep, various imported citrus such as oranges and lemons, and assorted livestock.
“He`s gone.” The admission was feeble. It fell off my tongue. My head dropped forward. The candle was blown out. I was taken into Zeke`s strong arms. There I lingered, in the dark, with my lover, tears trickling down my face. I had failed Boyden just as I had failed Rebecca and Harland and the Confederate Army. Boyden was sailing away from me listed as assorted livestock. My legs wanted to let me down. Zeke held me until I could gather myself properly. We left Galveston under the dark of night. Ezekiel spoke little and I even less. What was there for me to say? The crushing burden of guilt rode upon my back. Daylight did nothing to alleviate the darkness of loss. We rode. We ate. We drank. We did not touch or kiss or fuck. I suspect that my deputy was giving me time to mourn in my own way. Perhaps he should have pushed me to interact, but that was not his way.
Three days out of Galveston, the oddity of a gaily painted wagon ahead of us helped lift the fog of despair gathered around my head. Bright yellow and pink words exclaimed the wonders of Dr. Dante`s Dryworm Distilled Dislixior. We pulled up short when the owner of the wagon emerged from the rear with a rifle pointed at my midsection. My hand flew to the scar low on my belly. Zeke had his revolvers out of their leather before I could lay a hand on my rifle.
Copyright 2013 ©by V.L. Locey
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See you next week with more from the old West!