Excerpt from Vickie McDonough’s End of the Trail
Today we’re excited to offer an excerpt of Vickie McDonough’s End of the Trail. To learn more about the book, visit the Moody Publishers website or read about the series on www.TexasTrailsFiction.com.
End of the Trail is the final book in a 6-book series about the Morgan family, as three generations of the family seek to thrive in historic Texas. Each book can be read on its own, or as part of the series.
Excerpt from Chapter 4 of End of the Trail:
Brooks couldn’t keep from smiling, even when a beetle flew into his mouth. He spat out the critter and kept grinning. The farther north he rode, the happier he grew. Pecan, hickory, and oak trees stretched out their gnarly arms, offering a bit of shade from the heat of the sun. Cattle would thrive on the knee-high grasslands. Butterflies flitted from one wildflower to another. Yes sirree, the land was close to perfect.
Jester bobbed his head up, flicked his ears forward, and nickered. Brooks shook off his lollygagging and studied the two men riding toward him. Both were big and brawny, putting him in mind of a team of oxen. They were dressed like most ranch hands, and sat atop a pair of horses that made his gelding look small—which he wasn’t.
Trouble came in pairs, his ma had said, and this matched set had trouble written all over them.
Brooks grinned and tipped his hat, figuring to disarm them with friendliness. “Howdy, neighbors.”
The burly duo glanced at each other, and one man nodded. The man on the right pulled his rifle from the scabbard and laid it across his lap. Brooks figured they were just as wary of him as he was of them.
“Who are you, stranger?”
Brooks shifted in his saddle so that he could reach his gun faster, if needed. “I’m the new owner of Raven Creek Ranch, Brooks Morgan. Who are you?”
The strangers eyed each other again, so fast that Brooks would have missed it if he’d blinked. A grin remained plastered on his face, but keeping it there as his concern mounted was about as hard as riding a mustang bareback.
The man on the right dismounted. Brooks watched, angling Jester a bit to the right so that he could keep his gun hand out of view. A loud click pulled his gaze back to the man on the horse—and the gun that was pointed straight at him. His gut twisted, and his smile sagged. “I don’t have any money, so robbing me’s a waste of time.”
“We didn’t come here to rob nobody.” The man on the ground waved his pistol at Brooks. “Get down.”
Swallowing back his apprehension, Brooks dismounted. His mind raced, searching for a way out of whatever mess it was he’d just stepped in.
The Goliath on the ground reached inside his vest and pulled out a paper, which he shoved at Brooks. “Sign that.”
Curious, he unfolded the paper, his heart dropping to his boot tips as he read the bill of sale assigning ownership of Raven Creek Ranch to one Saul Dengler. He’d heard of the man back in Shoofly. Dengler was one of the biggest landowners in these parts—and now Brooks knew why. He wadded up the paper and tossed it on the ground. “I’m not signing that.”
Goliath backhanded him, knocking him into Jester and sending a sharp pain ratcheting through his jaw. The man picked up the paper, smoothed it out, and shoved it back in Brooks’s face. “Sign it or die.”
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