A Good Man Comes Around by Heather Blanton #SweetheartsOfJubileeSprings #MailOrderBride #SweetAmeric
Book Excerpt from A Good Man Comes Around…
Oliver Martin was old enough to know better. He lit the firecracker anyhow, enjoying the drunken glee sloshing through him. He glanced quickly over the batwings, tossed the sizzling noisemaker inside the busy Corner Saloon, then hunkered down waiting for the… excitement.
His old friend John Fowler walked up, flicked his glance over the doors and shook his head. His face, lined with fifty good years of hard-living, darkened. “What have you done, Oliver?” Tense with excitement, Oliver motioned with his eyes toward the saloon. “Just a little pop to wake ’em up.” John grabbed the top of the batwing and peered over it. His jaw tightened. Worried, Oliver stood up and tracked his friend’s gaze. Because of the haze of cigar smoke Oliver couldn’t be sure, but he’d guess the firecracker went right underneath Jim Landers’ feet. The gambler, known for his harsh methods of collecting debts, was holding a hand of cards, scrutinizing them with an icy stare. A touch less whiskey and Oliver might have had to cause to doubt the wisdom of this prank, but the liquor was chatting away, drowning out his good sense. “Dang it, boy,” John whispered. “You’re not six, you’re twenty-six. Act like a man.” The scolding was interrupted by a loud bang from right beneath Landers. The man yelped, his cards launched into the air, and he flipped over in his chair, his boots pointing straight at the ceiling. The men playing poker leaped to their feet in confusion, and the whole saloon moved in one accord away from the sound. Bewildered rumblings quickly switched to anger as the other card players peeled Landers up off the floor. Cursing a shameful streak and shoving his comrades away, the gambler snatched for his cards scattered all around him—then his eyes met Oliver’s over the batwings. And even in Oliver’s drunken state, he saw the rage boiling on the older man’s chiseled face. “Uh oh.” Why had he thought this was a good idea? John sighed and pursed his lips. “Yep. Uh oh.” His anger flared suddenly, surprising Oliver. “Run.”