It’s Friday, so it’s time to post the next chapter in the ongoing serial the Warriors of St. Antoni.
Warriors of St. Antoni is the first of my new Portal World Tales. The book is still being written and edited, so what you read today is subject to change without notice in the published version.
On St. Antoni, you got tough or you got dead. The only defense is a gun; your safety depends on your ability to use it. This is the story of three sisters and the choices they make to survive on St. Antoni. Bethany marries a mercenary warrior to shield her family from a predatory neighbor. Iris chooses an arranged marriage with a beloved old friend. Jeanne and the son of their greatest enemy defy both their families to find love.
This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to any persons living or dead is unintentional and accidental. © Gail Daley 2017 All Rights reserved. Any duplication of this work electronically or printed, except for brief publicity quotes, is forbidden without the express written permission of the author. Cover Art © by Gail Daley’s Fine Art 2017
Serial Chapters are posted on Fridays. Check in next Friday for the next chapter of Warriors of St. Antoni
Click below to Download a PDF copy and start reading: Of Cabbages & Kings
THEY FOUND Mike sitting by the fishpond with Razor stretched out on his lap, a rusty purr sounding as St. Vyr stroked his back.
Alec started the ball rolling. “Mike, did you know Lutz is planning to foreclose on the ranch and the mine?”
“What?” St. Vyr roared. “Who told you that?”
“Ira Johnson said so,” Carlos replied.
“Johnson? Is that stinking rat here?”
“Not anymore; he left.”
“Is there a loan on the ranch or the mine?”
“No, there is not,” Mike snapped. “Why the hell would I need a loan?”
“You signed nothing like that?”
“No. If they have something with my signature, it’s a fake.”
Alec sat down beside Mike on the bench. “Who do you know familiar enough with it to forge your signature on documents?”
“Gary Hennessy,” Carlos said, taking a seat on the raised flowerbed across from the bench.
“Who is that?”
“The accountant I hired to keep the books at the mine and the ranch,” Mike answered. “Why do you think it’s him?”
“He has a gambling problem and a wife with expensive tastes. As far as I know it hasn’t affected his work yet, but I’ve been watching him.”
Bethany and Iris came out of the house with the sheriff.
“St. Vyr, I need to hear your account of what happened when Emory Johnson came into your room today,” Morrison said. “I’m going to need a spare tricorn to haul his body to the undertaker in town.”
“Sure.” St. Vyr turned to the two young men. “Go ahead and finish clearing up after the fire. We’ll finish this discussion and make some plans to deal with Hennessy and Lutz, as soon as I’m done here.”
“Sheriff, it’s too late to travel back to town. We can make you a bed in the house so you won’t need to ride back tonight,” Bethany offered.
Morrison nodded. “Thank you. Now Mike, start with when you first saw Johnson.”
Carlos found Iris, Paco, Macon and several dairymen and maids trying to round up the goats who had fled the fire. King George trailed Iris like a puppy, complaining all the time and getting in the way.
The goats were enjoying their taste of freedom and reluctant to return to captivity. They hadn’t been near enough to the fire to become frightened, but they didn’t like the smell of burned grass. Whenever it seemed Iris and her troops were about to succeed in returning them to the pastures, the goats escaped without going through the gate.
After studying the situation, Carlos went to the grain bin and filled a bucket with some of the special feed Iris reserved for her milk goats. He began leaving a trail of grain on the ground leading inside the gate. Discovering the treat, the goats scrambled inside and Iris was at last able to close the gate on them.
“Whew!” she exclaimed, giving him a big smile. “I wish I had thought of doing that a half hour ago! Thank you.”
He put his arm around her and pulled her toward the house. “Yes,” he said, “we make a pretty good team, don’t we?”
“I—yes, we do,” she admitted.
“I want to get married Iris,” he said, “to you. What do you want?”
“I—yes, I will marry you.”
Carlos pulled her to him and kissed her until she was dizzy.
Plans for the coming wedding of Iris and Carlos occupied the family through dinner and the rest of the evening.
Later that night, after the sheriff had gone to bed, the family held an impromptu meeting in Mike’s bedroom.
“We need to get a handle on this fast,” Mike said grimly. “I want to know if there actually is a loan against the ranch or the mine showing my signature, or if Johnson was just blowing wind.”
“I’d like to know how Johnson knew about it,” Iris said.
“We need to question Hennessy about that, and about the loan,” Bethany said.
“Where does he usually hang out?” Alec asked.
Carlos frowned a little. “He and his wife have a small house in town, but I got the impression he doesn’t spend a lot of time there. His office up at the mine has a cot in it, so I think he stays overnight sometimes.”
“Then finding and questioning Hennessy will be my job. Carlos, since you are more familiar with the mine, I suggest you go and search the offices to see if Hennessy left a record of any deal he has with Lutz there.”
“I’ll go with him,” Iris announced. “I’m very good and finding places to hide things.”
Her father snorted. “If you’re going to go traipsing up there with Carlos, the two of you should go ahead and get hitched. I’ll send for the preacher in the morning.”
“Iris deserves to have our wedding be a special day,” Carlos protested. “Not some rushed affair—”
Iris patted his hand. “A small private wedding will suit me. We can hold a reception at the Hotel and invite everyone else later.”
“Good,” Mike said. “In the morning, I plan to send a man to town to bring back the preacher so we can get those men buried. He can stay to lunch and marry you and Iris afterward.”
“Serving the bridal feast with the funeral meats son?” his mother inquired wryly.
Mike nodded. “Alec, before you and Bethany got married, I had planned to make Red Courteen Segundo. If you want to formalize that with him, he can handle the clean up here while you hunt for Hennessy.”
“He’s a good man,” Alec said. “I’ll speak to him in the morning. The three of us can leave for town after the wedding. Carlos and Iris can leave for the mine the next morning.”
“No, make that five of us who are going into town,” Giselle said. ” I intend to visit some old friends to see what kind of information I can pick up about Hennessey and Lutz. Furthermore, Alec you should take Henry with you to watch your back when you search Hennessey’s house. ”
“None of us should go anywhere alone,” Iris objected.
“Very well,” her grandmother responded. “Bethany and I will go visiting some old friends.”
It’s Friday when I post the next chapter in my serials. I also decided that Friday would be the day I choose to pay it forward to other independent authors by sharing their books on my timeline. Please keep in mind that I haven’t read most of these books. Please check them out for yourself.