The Guns of Colorado series:
Aspen Grove seems to have an almost mystical ability to attract people of a different sort. People who don’t fit in elsewhere. Ones with pasts they don’t often speak about. The one thing they all have in common is a desire to make a safe haven for themselves and others who don’t exactly fit in a typical town. People like Rei Naito, a former samurai displaced by the Meji. Men like Constantine Gaylord ‘CeeGee’ Blackthorne, a wealthy businessman who has visions of a different kind of town: one able to prosper through invention and ingenuity. Or men like Arizona Slim and Blaze Miller, who want to see the law come to the lawless frontier. Then there are the ladies, Yvonne, CeeGee’s younger sister who came West to avoid a marriage she didn’t want, and Kaede, Rei’s sister, both victimized by outlaws. What does Aspen Grove have in store for them? Only time will reveal the true destiny of Aspen Grove and the town’s inhabitants.
Book One – The Rescue:
When Yvonne Blackthorne and her traveling companions, Kaede Naito and Jose Delgado, are kidnapped, it sets in motion a chain of events that will forever alter the small town of Aspen Grove, Colorado.
Determined to rescue his sister, Constantine Gaylord Blackthorne sends Rei Naito–brother of Kaede–to find a well-known bounty hunter, Arizona Slim, to help rescue both girls.
But things are a lot more complicated than any of them expected and before it’s all over with, they will need all their skill to track down the vicious Tanner Gang and see them brought to justice.
15th August 1869
Constantine Gaylord Blackthorne rode at the head of the miniature wagon train. Three paired teams of mules pulled each of four heavy freight wagons along the mountain road. A light coach—drawn by a team of horses—carried the most precious cargo, the women who would be working at the Lucky Gold Strike Saloon.
A sense of pride and accomplishment filled him. He’d worked hard, very hard, to get somewhere in this world. Disowned by his father at age six because he was different, because he could accurately sense when things would go wrong, or when things would go right, he’d spent his childhood in a boarding school. A school where he’d learned many things, not the least of which was that he preferred the sexual company of men to that of women.
But that didn’t hamper his understanding of the money to be made by renting the services of women to those who wanted them. And in the boomtown territory of Colorado—latest to suffer the lawless madness of “gold rush” fever—CeeGee, as his friends called him, knew he stood to make a great deal of money catering to the needs of miners and drifters alike.
Tall peaks—a finger of the Rocky Mountains—surrounded the trail that wound between those crags of snow dusted rock. The crisp air carried none of the stink of eastern cities poised on the edge of the Industrial Revolution. Instead the scent of pine, spruce, and wildflowers scented the breeze. Birds chirped and flew by and small animals darted into concealment as they approached.
He’d lived in Colorado before, a few years back. He’d made his fortune here, first placer mining with a pan and later a sluice, then doing some hard rock mining with a partner. Unfortunately, like most such partnerships, it hadn’t lasted. But CeeGee had his money by then and a “foreseeing” that told him what his next step should be: Finding his girls then a place to open a saloon.
They rounded a curve in the trail and their destination appeared—a cluster of businesses and a scattering of homes—the town of Aspen Grove, Colorado.
“Almost there now,” he called back to the lead wagon, the one filled with his girls. Lady Jane, a flaxen-haired Englishwoman peered out past the driver’s shoulder. “It certainly doesn’t look like much, Constantine.”
“Give it time, Janie-my-girl, give it time,” he told her with a broad smile that made his dark eyes twinkle. “We’ll make something of this town, but it’s going to take a little hard work.” Though what that “hard work” might be even he didn’t know with any certainty. He knew some rough times lay ahead, but at the end of that patch of hard work there’d be a big payoff if they were patient and he remained diligent in following those glimmers of the future.
Evie, a fiery-haired gal with curves, which made the mountain trails they’d been following for the last few days appear straight, looked out over Jane’s shoulder. “CeeGee’s never led us wrong yet, Jane. But, after working in a big city like New Orleans the way you did, I suppose Aspen Grove is a pretty sorry looking place.”
Lady Jane merely sniffed and adjusted the angle of her parasol to keep the sun from her delicate-featured face.
“Don’t worry, ladies, I’m sure one of the local merchants can acquire anything your dear hearts desire to keep you all beautiful as a spring morning,” CeeGee assured. “And, if not, we can send someone down to Denver City to order anything you like. Even dresses from Paris.”
Fireborn Publishing: Click Here
Amazon: Click Here
Auburnimp started writing when she was fifteen but never did much about it until she was older. She has had books published with Mojocastle, Liquid Silver Books, Dark Eden and Shadowfire Press. In a chequered career she has been a knife thrower’s target, a homeless vagabond, a housewife, a mother and on several occasions a feline midwife. She now lives in a small house in Manchester England with a heap of dragon figurines, far too many books and her trusty laptop. She has blue eyes but her hair color and length changes at a whim.
Michael Barnette has been writing tales of manlove since the late 90s. Fleeing from the tropic heat of South Beach and Miami, Florida, Michael has steadily migrated farther and farther west. He now writes within sight of the Flat Iron Mountains of Colorado. Readers can reach Michael via email at: [email protected]
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/michaels.immortalheroes/