|Kellor (standard:westerns, 35121 words)|
|Author: MikeK||Added: Aug 14 2005||Views/Reads: 2112/2021||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Injury forces a young man off the sea and into the West where survival is equally tenuous.|
KELLOR -- 1 -- Tyler Portman drove the wagon up to the front of the livery and before it had come to a complete stop jumped out and tossed the reins to his sister Kate who was still seated. "I'm going to try out the new roulette wheel. If you have any trouble come and get me." He ran off toward the saloon without waiting for a reply. Tyler was the oldest of the Portman twins, by thirteen minutes, and his curse was that he and his sister looked so much alike. She was a beautiful girl, more of a woman now, and in looking like her it made him too pretty. Time and trouble would take care of that, but at twenty-three it was sometimes difficult. Still, other than a minor irritation when strangers saw them together, he dealt with it all right, after all the Portman spread was the biggest and most prosperous of all the ranches in the Brasada. They had come into town to tell O'Malley, the owner of the livery, that they wanted him to come out to the ranch and see to the new horses since most of the hands were gone on the trail drive. They had been putting it off and would probably have continued to if it were not for that new roulette wheel at the saloon. Kate could talk to O'Malley if he wasn't drunk and if he was she could shop while Tyler lost his money. She climbed off the wagon and turned around to face a man she had never seen before. He wasn't young, maybe mid-thirties, about six feet tall and ruggedly good looking even though he had a half a weeks stubble and was sweating profusely. His light brown hair was tied behind his head and he was holding a large file, and as he approached she was instantly attracted to his light green eyes and the smile that came easy to his face while at the same time she noticed he had a slight limp. Damaged goods or a character builder she wondered, and smiled outwardly as she thought how terribly unfair were her secret judgments. She decided to flirt with him to make up for it if he was half way civil. "May I help you, ma'am?" This was not the demeanor of a hired hand. "I'm looking for O'Malley." "He's indisposed at the moment," he said, "perhaps I can help." "He's drunk again most likely; well, no matter, we need a farrier to come out to the ranch and see to the new horses. Can you help with that?" "Yes, ma'am. I have to finish repairing a wagon and then I can see to your horses. First thing in the morning OK?" "O'Malley puts us ahead of the others; we give him quite a bit of work." She said, testing him. "You must be one of the Portmans. O'Malley said you were his best customer." "Kate. Kate Portman." He nodded his head and stuck out his hand, looked at how dirty it was, and quickly pulled it back. "Pleased to make your acquaintance. Like I said, I should be done first thing in the morning and I'll get right to it. There will be someone out there who will tell me what they want done?" "Ask for Gus, or my brother Tyler. Are you sure it's all right with O'Malley?" "Yes, ma'am. I hope to be taking O'Malley's place." "We didn't know he was planning to get out of the business. I would have thought he would have said something." Click here to read the rest of this story (2723 more lines)
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