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Dime-Store Novel by Nancy Marie


I don’t own them. I’m just borrowing them for some fun and imagination. All original characters belong to their rightful owners, all others belong to me, and may not be used without my permission.

This story will be Rated – R for language, and violence. Scott and Johnny have been at Lancer four years. This story does pair Johnny and Teresa together.

Johnny Madrid Lancer
Scott Lancer
Murdoch Lancer
Teresa O’Brian
Sam Jenkins
Harlan Garrett
Hugh Anderson – reporter
Stan Hogan – gunfighter
Ben Daniels – marshal
Tom Bell – deputy marshal

Word Count: 16,753

Chapter 1

Four years, that’s how long it had been. Seconds away from being executed by a firing squad, Johnny Madrid got a second chance at life. A chance to live the life he could only dream of having. Growing up in Mexico, not once did his mother tell him he had an older brother. Every time he asked about his father, she would become angry. The last time he had asked, she beat him bad, and forbid him to ever speak of his father again. When the Pinkerton man roared up in the wagon, buying his freedom, little did he know his life would be changed forever after that day.

Though one could say their relationship started off rocky, that was far from the case after four years. Today to someone who didn’t know the difference, would think Scott and Johnny grew up together at Lancer.  After a year learning about each other, he walked into his room one night to go to bed, and found a letter on his bed. A letter that warmed his heart, and helped him make up his mind about staying and becoming the son of a rancher, and a little brother.

My Little BrotherEvery day I watch you, and I see what others do not. I see a boy who became a man who lives three lives. The one I see first is and can be a dangerous gunfighter, a man not to be reckoned with as those before have learned the hard way. Second I see the son you so desperately want to be. A son to be proud of. A son to be loved, but mostly I see a son who wants and needs to be wanted.
Every day as I watch you little brother I see these things and so much more. Sometimes I find myself wondering if what I see you know you are letting others know.
As I think about the life I left behind I can’t help but have anger inside me for having a life of ease when you did not for most of yours. I have grown up having food available when I wanted it, clothes to wear for the seasons, shoes on my feet and a roof over my head. If I had only known I had a little brother, something I never dreamed I would have, I would have taken you under my wing and been the big brother I know you so desperately needed.

I must say, on meeting you that very first time when you stopped the stage, I never imagined that a few miles later I would find out who you were.

When I first seen you, I thought that you were a ranch hand, dressed the way you were. I’m glad to know I was pretty right in that assumption.

I have seen the gunfighter in you, and find myself admiring the courage that you have. Our father said he wanted more than more than our guns, that he wanted our arms, legs and guts if we had any. You little brother have more arms, legs and guts than any man I have ever known. You proved that the day you led Pardee and his men right to us. If it were not for you and the courage you showed that day, I am quite sure Lancer would be ours no more.

Sometimes at first I seen a very reckless person in you, but in the year I have known you, I see that reckless person slowly disappear, being replaced by a caring, loving little brother I am proud of.

It pleases me more than you will ever know that you came back to Lancer and are willing to try again to be a brother and son.
I know it’s not easy for you living the life you now live, but together I think, no I know, the two of us will be the sons our father can and will be proud of, and that Lancer is now your home.

Johnny has kept that letter in a safe place in his room, and in his heart the past three years. Every word written in that letter memorized. For the past for years he worked from sunup to sundown, sometimes later mending fences, moving cattle, branding, castrating calves, and clearing streams for a dollar a day, with Sundays off. Though a third owner of the biggest ranch in the San Joaquin, sometimes he felt like he was nothing more than a hired hand.

” Hey Johnny, can I ask you something and you not get angry? ” Cooper asked.

” This is Johnny you’re talking too Cooper, not his old man. ” Pete said with a laugh.

Johnny stopped, and wiped the sweat from his forehead. ” You’ve been working for Lancer little over a year. You should know by now you can ask me anything you want. Doesn’t mean I’ll answer you though. ” Johnny said with a smile.

” Well, it’s…..How come you and Miss Teresa haven’t got together? ” Cooper asked. ” She’s not but a couple years younger than you. Why don’t you and her get together? ”

” His old man is why. ” Pete said. ” When him and Scott came home, you can bet old man Murdoch laid down the law about Miss Teresa, and told them hands off. ”

” She’s awful pretty. ”

” I’ve noticed her. The old man would throw me off Lancer if I touched her. ” Johnny said. ” She’s an innocent lady, not some saloon girl we pay to part the sheets with. ”

” Yeah, but you’d part them sheets with her if you could. She’s not blood related to you. She’s his ward, not your sister. ” Cooper said. ” Listen, I mean no disrespect, but you deserve a good woman, and to be happy. ”

” Yeah, don’t ya want a wife and kids? She knows about your past, and seems okay with it. ”

” How many left? ” Johnny asked.

” Your father ordered twenty rolls. There are still six inside. ” Pete said.

” Hey Johnny, what’s your old man doing, restringing wire all over Lancer? ” Cooper asked.

” It’s them stupid cows, keep busting thru it. ” Johnny said as the stage rolled past, kicking up dust.

” Man it’s sure a hot one today. ” Cooper said.

” Come on, let’s finish loading this wagon so we can head back. ” Johnny ordered. ” It’s going to storm tonight. ”

” Hello Johnny. ” Harlan said.

Johnny stopped working, and looked down at the gray-haired man standing there. ” Do I know you? ”

” No. My name is Harlan Garrett, I’m Scotty’ grandfather. ”

” Harlan Garrett. ” he said.

” Scotty must have told you about me? ”

” No, but Murdoch told me all about you.  ” Johnny responded.” Scott’s not at the ranch. He’s gone on a business trip. ”

” Oh, when will he return? ”

” He left yesterday, and won’t be back for two weeks. ” Johnny said as he picked up a spool of wire, and handed it to Cooper.

” Perhaps I could catch a ride to the ranch with you? ”

” Nope. Full up. ” Johnny said. ” Is that the last of the wire? ”

” Yeah. ” Pete responded.

Johnny jumped down from the wagon. ”  I’m busy, you want a ride to the ranch, the livery rents buggies. ” Johnny said as he untied Barranca. ” You two go on ahead. I’m going to go get the mail, and catch up. ”

” Alright Johnny. ” Cooper said as he picked up the reins, and slapped leather.

Johnny waited until the wagon left. ” Murdoch know you’re coming? ”

” No, I wanted to surprise Scotty. ”

” Well, like I said, Scott won’t be back for two weeks, so you might as well get on the next stage and leave. ”

” That’s not a very friendly way to be. ”

” Yeah, well I find it hard to be friendly to vermin. ” Johnny said as he swung up in the saddle and riding away.

” Let’s not waste anymore of each other’s time Harlan. What are you doing here Harlan? ” Murdoch demanded.

” That’s not a very hospitable way of putting it. ”

” I don’t feel very hospitable at the moment. ”

” Surely we can have a friendly conversation? ”

” Why? Our last conversation wasn’t, and you show up here unannounced. ”

”Well perhaps I should have announced I was coming. Any differences we have between us are finished. ”

” Are they? ”

” Well there’s nothing to be gained by hostility Murdoch. You got your two sons at your side, splendid ranch, wealth, everything you want! ”

” I’ll ask again, what do you want Harlan? ”

” My dear precious Catherine. I don;t remember this picture. ”

” One of the mementos you left behind in Carterville. ”

” She was the only thing of real value in my life. ” Harlan said as he set the picture down.

” The only thing? What about Scott? You stole him from me. I wonder what he would say if he knew the  truth about how you left his mother to die in the back of that wagon. ”

” I did what I thought was best for Scotty. ”

” By keeping him away from me for twenty four years. ” Murdoch demanded. ”You lied to him, kept him from getting my letters. ”

” What could you have done for him? A down the hills dreamer with nothing. ”

” He was still my son! ”

” But I’m the one who raised him. I’m the one he belongs too. ” Harlan said. ” Scotty has a legacy waiting for him in Boston. An estate of considerable worth. ”

” He has an estate right here. ”

” To be shared with that half-breed brother. No Murdoch, there’s no comparison to what each of us can give Scotty. He belongs in the world where he grew up. With the right people where he can make something worthwhile of his life. ”

” Let me tell you something Harlan! ” Murdoch said as he stood up, and walked around his desk. ” Scott is free to leave here any time he wishes. He stays because he’s happy here. He’s a third owner of the biggest ranch in the San Joaquin valley. ”

” A third owner, compared to being a full owner. You can’t be serious? ”

” Why are you really here? ”

” I had business in San Francisco, and thought I would stop on my way home to see Scotty. ”

” He left yesterday, and won’t be back for two weeks. ” Murdoch said.

” Yes, so I was told by your half-breed in town. ”

” You can stay the night, but I want you out of my house in the morning. ” Murdoch said firmly. ”Teresa! ”

” You call me….Oh I didn’t know we had company! Hello. ” Teresa said as she came into the room.

” Teresa, this is Scott’s grandfather Harlan Garrett. Would you show him to the guest room please?  He’s spending the night, and then leaving first thing in the morning.”

Johnny walked into the house tired. ” Hey Murdoch. ” he said as he walked over to the sideboard and poured a shot of tequila.

” Did you get all the wire son? ”

” Sure did….Oh, here’s the receipt for it. ” Johnny said as he pulled the paper out of his pocket, and handed it to him. ” You’ll never guess who I seen in town today. ”

” Scott’s grandfather. ”

” He came here huh? I told him Scott was gone. ” he said before downing the shot. ” So where’s he at? ”

” He’s upstairs resting before supper. ” Murdoch responded as he put the receipt in the ledger. ” I don’t trust that man. He shows up here unannounced, Why? ”

” Don’t let him upset you Murdoch. ” Johnny said. ” Those two new hands, Pete, and Cooper are good, hard workers. ”

” That’s good son. We need good, hard workers. ”

” I’m going to go get cleaned up before supper. ”

” I’m sorry if supper was too spicy for you Mister Garrett. I told Johnny I would fix stuffed peppers tonight. ” Teresa said.

” That’s alright. I think they were quite good actually. ” he said. ” We don’t have spicy food back in Boston. ”

” That’s because you all eat lobster, and fish all the time. ” Johnny said. ” And that one dish had you make, what was it called Teresa….beef stroganoff. ”

” Perhaps if you had been raised more civil John, you would know we eastern people eat steaks as well. ”

” Murdoch, you still going to that meeting tomorrow? ” Johnny asked, ignoring what Harlan said.

” Unfortunately I have to son. ”

” Are you from one of Murdoch’s disastrous marriages young lady? ” Harlan asked.

” What, no. My father was his foreman for many years. He was killed when I was nine. ”

” Teresa is my ward Harlan. ”

” Don’t you worry about her being in this house with him? ”

” Mister Garrett, Johnny is like a brother to me, and has never disrespected me. ” Teresa said firmly. ” Even if he wasn’t, it is of no business of yours. I’m going to turn in. Johnny I’ll fix you something to take with you for lunch tomorrow. ”

” Thanks Teresa. ” Johnny said before giving her a kiss on the cheek. Walking over to the sideboard he poured a shot of tequila, and downed it. ” Let me tell you something old man…….don’t you ever……ever speak in a derogatory manner around Teresa again. ”

” Johnny…..that’s enough son. ”

Johnny looked at his father a few seconds before downing another shot, and slamming the glass down on the table. ” I’m going to go check on Barranca, then turn in. ”

Harlan watched Johnny walk out to the barn. ” Don’t you worry about her safety being around a killer?”

” Johnny is not a killer. He has been living here four years with no trouble. The people of the valley have accepted him as my son. ” Murdoch said as he stood up.  ” What happens at this ranch is of no concern of yours. ”

” Morning Teresa. ” Johnny said as he walked into the kitchen.

” Good morning Johnny. You’re up early. ”

” Couldn’t sleep much last night. ”

” The storm? ” she asked as she handed him a cup of coffee.

” Thanks. Yeah. The rain don’t bother me, but that dang thunder was loud. ” he said. ” Teresa, how do you see me? ”

” What do you mean? ” she asked as she sat down.

” I know I’m supposed to think of you as a sister, and I do…..Look I shouldn’t have said anything. Just forget it. ”

” Johnny….Talk to me. ”

” If I wasn’t Madrid, could you see us together? ”

” You’re not. You haven’t been Madrid for four years. ”

” So you couldn’t see……Morning Murdoch. ”

” Morning son. You’re up early. ”

Johnny looked at Teresa, then his father. ” Couldn’t sleep with the storm. ”

” It’s still coming down pretty good out there. ” Murdoch said. ” So what was it you couldn’t see son? ”

” Huh? ”

” When I was coming down the hall I heard you say you couldn’t see. ”

” Oh, I was telling Teresa how I couldn’t see the barn from my bedroom window because the rain was coming down so hard last night. ” Johnny said as he looked at Teresa. ” Does this storm mean he’s staying here longer? ”

” Absolutely not. I want that man gone from this house this morning. ” Murdoch said.

” Good. I shiver at the thought of being in this house alone with that evil man. ” Teresa said.

” Since it’s storming, I want you to work on the books today. ”

” And if it stops storming? ”

” If it does….then you can move the herd a couple days early. ” Murdoch said. ” But I don’t want any of you risking your horse breaking a leg in the mud. ”

” You still going to Green River? ”

” Unfortunately I have to son. I’ll be back late, so it will be just the two of you for supper tonight. ”

Johnny sat thinking about his conversation with Teresa this morning.  He’d never had a relationship with one girl. In his past profession, he couldn’t. The only girls he would see worked in the saloons, and he paid for an hours good time between the sheets. Teresa wasn’t like them though. If she had feelings for him, god he hoped she did, he wouldn’t be able to just take her to bed. She’s innocent, and never been intimate with a man. Probably never been kissed by a man either. At least not the way he wanted to kiss her. Sliding his tongue in her mouth, feeling her body get excited as he tasted her for the first time. Not wanting to scare her, he would have to go slow when his hands started to touch forbidden places on her body. Touching her breast, or between her legs, feeling the heat he knew would be there when and if she let him court her. He knew it would take every fiber of his being to only go so far when making out with her until the day she would lay naked beneath him as he took her innocence. When he made her his. With it being just the two of them in the house, he decided the book work could wait. It was time he told Teresa he didn’t think of her like a sister anymore. That he had feelings for her. Feelings he so desperately wanted to act on. He could hear Teresa in the kitchen preparing their lunch, so standing up, he headed to the kitchen, and what he hoped would be the start of a relationship he had only dreamed he would someday have.

” Can I help you? ”

” I will be staying in your fine town for a while, so I will need a room if one is to be had? ”

” Day, week, or month? ” the clerk asked. ” How long will you be staying? ”

” That depends on if I get what I’m after. I’ll pay for a week for now. ”

” Five dollars, Mister Anderson. So what brings you to Spanish Wells? ”

” I’ve come out here to write about notorious gunfighters, and life living in the west. ” he said as he paid for the room.

” Mister, we don’t need some young  reporter fella writing a bunch of lies about our town. ”

” I assure you sir, I only write the truth. ” Anderson said before heading upstairs.

Johnny walked into the kitchen, poured a cup of coffee, and sat down at the table. ” So what are you fixing for our lunch? ”

” Lunch, I thought we could have a couple sandwiches. I made an apple pie for desert tonight. ”

” You never got the chance to answer my question this morning before Murdoch came downstairs. ”

Teresa smiled. She knew exactly what Johnny was struggling to ask her, and was ready to spill her guts about how she felt about him, had Murdoch not come into the kitchen when he had this morning.

” What question was that Johnny? ”

” If I wasn’t Madrid, could you see us together? ”

Teresa turned around to face him. ” You haven’t really been Johnny Madrid since you came here, but I know a part of you always will be. ” she said. ” And I like that. See, you have a good side, and a bad side to you Johnny. ”

” And you would like which side? ”

”Well, when people are around I would like the good side, but when we’re alone, like now……I would most definitely love the bad side of Johnny Madrid Lancer. ”

Johnny sighed as he stood up, and walked over to her.  Placing his hand under her chin, he looked down into her brown eyes a second before gently touching his lips to hers for a few seconds.

” Is that how the good Johnny kisses? ” she asked.

” It is. ”

” Kiss me like the bad Johnny would. ”

Johnny smiled as he placed a hand on each side of her face and brought his lips to hers again, this time sliding his tongue inside her, tasting her for the first time as he pulled her tightly to his chest, moaning when he felt her breast press against his chest. Knowing it would be real easy to take her innocence right now, Johnny broke the kiss off, and stepped back from her, but kept his hands on her upper arms.

” What’s wrong? ” Teresa asked as she placed her hands on his chest, unbuttoning his shirt so she could feel his chest hairs.

” We need to stop. I want you, but it’s not right. Not yet. ” he said as he pulled her hands away, and started buttoning his shirt back up.

Johnny and Teresa stole every minute alone they could, usually in the early morning hours before Murdoch or Scott came downstairs. Teresa made it hard for him to not make love to her whenever they were alone. He knew he could take her real fast, but didn’t want that. He liked being inside her, feeling her climax with him. In a dark corner of the house, in the shadows, he did take her one late afternoon when he came back to the house early. Every night he found it hard to fall asleep, wanting to have her in bed with him, beneath him as they made love. Next to him when they slept. To wake up and be able to climb between her legs first thing in the morning and make love to her. There was a barn dance coming up, and she wanted to make a new dress, so she asked Murdoch if Johnny could take her to town. Little did either of them know that more would happen that day that would change both their lives forever when Murdoch agreed to let him.

” How long will you be shopping? ” Murdoch asked as they finished breakfast.

” Knowing our little sister, she will probably be several hours shopping for material for a dress. ” Scott said. ” Have fun brother, unless you want to stay and do the books? ”

” No thanks. ” Johnny said. ” I’ll leave them for you Boston. ”

” What do you plan on doing while Teresa is shopping? ”

” Having a cold beer, and sitting in the sun relaxing. ”

Anderson sat in the saloon disgusted. For the past week he had been unable to learn anything about the people of the west.

” Hey Johnny, hat brings you into town in the middle of the week? ” Mac asked.

” Teresa needed to do some shopping so I brought her in o town. ” he said. ” Let me have a cold beer. ”

Anderson noticed how the dark-haired young man wore his gun lower than anyone else he had seen around town. Standing up, he walked over to the bar, standing just to the right of the man, and looked at the gunbelt, and pistol.

” That’s a good looking pistol you got there mister. ” he said.

Johnny glanced at the kid a second, then back at Mac.

” Cut away holster, smooth, well used small grip. Front sights probably been filed off to give quicker clearance when drawing, and I bet the trigger is real touchy too. ” Anderson said.

Johnny looked at the kid a second. ” Kid, I’m just here for a cold beer. Leave me alone. ”

Anderson looked into the man’s eyes, and got a chill down his spine. ” You’re him. You’re the one they both worship, and fear down along the border, and in Mexico. You’re Johnny Madrid. Also known as The Mestizo Kid. ”

” That’s it kid, I want you out of my saloon. You’ve harassed my customers all week. ” Mac said. ” Get out! ”

” They said  you were killed by a firing squad almost five years ago. ”

” You got me mixed up with someone else. ” Johnny said as he tossed Mac a coin for the beer, and turned to leave.

Anderson grabbed Johnny by his left arm, and found himself looking down the business end of his colt. ” Easy friend. I mean no harm. ”

” He’s a damn reporter from back east or something Johnny. Been hanging around here all week looking to write about life in the west, and why people from back east are coming out here. ” Mac said.

” I’ve got nothing to say to you. ” Johnny said before walking out.

Anderson followed him outside. ” Look, I’m just trying to do my job. I just want to know what it’s like is all. I want to know the truth. Talking to a real gunfighter, especially one like Johnny Madrid, I…..”

Johnny grabbed the kid by his jacket and pushed him up against the saloon door frame. ” I told you, you have the wrong person. Now leave me alone. ”

” Did your brother tell you who showed up here the day after you left? ” Murdoch asked.

” No. We haven’t had much of a chance to talk. ”

” Your grandfather showed up here wanting to see you. ”

” Grandfather never said he was coming. Did he say what he wanted? ”

” To get you to go back to Boston. ” Murdoch said. ” He’s prepared to do whatever he has to do to get you to go back to Boston son. ”

” I have told him I’m happy out here. ”

” Are you Scott? Are you happy here? ”

” Yes. If I wasn’t, I would have went back to Boston four years ago. ”

” So being a third owner of Lancer has nothing to do with it? ”

” No sir, it doesn’t. ” Scott said firmly. ” Grandfather kept me away from you for twenty four years. He never once told me I had a brother, and lied to me about why he raised me and not you. ”

” I know I should have asked this sooner, but did he tell you anything about your mothers death? ”

” He told me she died giving birth to me, and said you told him to take me back to Boston. ”

” That’s not true son. ” Murdoch said. ” She did die giving birth to you, but she didn’t die here at the house. She died in the back of a wagon. This isn’t easy for me to tell you, but when you were born, he took you, and left your mother there to die. I know this to be true because there was a man and his wife with her. By the time I got to her, she was gone. ”

Scott walked away from his father. Running a hand thru his hair. ” He left her to die? He didn’t try and get her any help? ”

” Carterville was a few miles away. He left everything except you and left. ” Murdoch said.

” Excuse me. ” Scott said before going upstairs.

” Johnny, you’re being awful quiet since we left town. ” Teresa said. ” Did something happen in town? ”

Johnny pulled the buggy off the road along a stream, climbed down, and walked over to the stream.

Teresa climbed down and walked over to him. Putting her hand on his left arm. ” Please talk to me. ” she said softly.

Johnny took in a deep breath of air, and let it out slowly. ” There’s a kid in town, a writer. I was having a beer in the saloon when he walked up to me. He recognized me. Said I’m the man they both far and worship down along the border, and in Mexico. Said I’m known down there as Johnny Madrid, The Mestizo Kid. ” he said as he knelt down next to the water. ” He wants to write a story about life in the west. Said talking to me he would get the truth. I grabbed him by his coat, pushed him up against the saloon door, and told him he had me mistaken for someone else, and to leave me alone. ”

” Him recognizing you is what bothers you? ” she asked.

” I have a bad feeling about this Teresa. I have a feeling something is going to happen. ” he said as he turned to face her. ” I’ve fallen in love with you. I need to know right here, right now. If something happens, and I have to leave Lancer, will you go with me? ”

” I love you too Johnny, and yes I will go with you. ” she said. ” I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want to give you children. ”

” Even of it means going against Murdoch? ” he asked.

” Yes. ”

Murdoch sat at his desk reading the Sacramento Bee newspaper, when an article on the inside of the front page caught his attention. Reading it, he became angry. Reading further, he was shocked at what he was reading. Looking at the grandfather clock, he knew his sons would be coming home soon. Standing up, he walked over and poured a shot of scotch, and downed it. Looking outside, he watched as his youngest rode up.

” Hey Murdoch….me and Cooper got that section finished. ” Johnny said.

Murdoch picked up the paper, and walked over to him. ” You have some explaining to do boy! ”

Johnny looked at his father, dumbfounded. ” Okay, what the hell are you talking about Murdoch? ”

” This Johnny….or maybe you prefer I call you The Mestizo Kid? ”

” What? ” Johnny asked as he took the paper and glanced at the article. He then noticed the name of the writer. ” Sonofabitch. ”

” Watch your mouth boy! ”

” I had nothing to do with this! ” Johnny spat as he threw the paper down on the table.

” Don’t you dare stand there and lie to me. ”

” I’m not lying to you Murdoch. This kid was in the saloon when I took Teresa to town. He recognized me, and wanted to do a story on me. I told him he had the wrong person, and to leave me alone. I went to leave, and he followed me outside. I confronted him again, and left. That’s it. ” Johnny spat.

” Then tell me how he knew what he said in there? ”

” How the fuck should I know. ”

Murdoch lashed out and slapped Johnny as hard as he could just as Scott walked inside.

” Don’t you ever lay a hand on me again old man. ”

” What the hell is going on in here? ” Scott demanded.

” Your brother shot his mouth off to some reporter when he took Teresa to town. ”

” I told you I didn’t talk to him! ” Johnny said with anger.

” If you didn’t talk to him, then how is it he put in there about how you escaped being executed? ”

” You know what…..I don’t care anymore. You’re not going to believe anything I say.  Go to hell. ” Johnny said before heading upstairs.

” Have you gone mad? ” Scott demanded. ” Slapping your own son, and all because of some damn article in the paper. ”

” I won’t have that disrespectful……That language will not be used in this house. That….boy will respect me or he can get the hell out! ”

” And when do you start respecting him? ” Scott asked. ” Why is it every time something happens, you jump on Johnny  about it, regardless of what it is, even when he’s not the one at fault? ”

” I don’t blame your brother for things he didn’t do. ”

” Really, and what do you call what you just did? You know he doesn’t like talking about Madrid, and his past. Yet you got angry, lost your damn temper, and lashed out at your own son once again over something he had nothing to do with. ”

” I never should have brought him here! ”

Chapter 1 research Notes –>


Chapter 2

Stan Hogan walked into the saloon in Spanish Wells. Wearing his gun low on his hip. Walking up to the bar, he slid an empty beer glass down the bar top.

” What’ll it be? ” Mac asked.

” Two beers, and some information. ” Stan said. ” Looking for a half-breed named Madrid. I understand he’s been living around here on a ranch called Lancer. ”

Mac could tell this two man was trouble for Johnny. He knew the boy already had enough trouble from his brother being shot, and his father throwing him off Lancer.

” Mister, I asked you a question. Don’t make me repeat it! ”

” He’s not here. He left the valley when his old man threw him off the ranch after his brother was shot. ” Mac said. ” Nobody’s seen or heard from him since. ”

” Now why don’t I believe you? ”

” Mister, I don’t care if you do or not. Finish your beers and get out of my saloon. ” Mac ordered before walking away.

Johnny rode up to the house at a hard gallop, and dismounted before Barranca had come to a complete stop. Hurrying inside, he took the stairs two at a time, and ran down to his brothers open bedroom door. Going inside, he found Sam wrapping a bandage around his chest.

” What happened? ” he asked as he stepped into the room.

” He was shot. ” Sam said.

” Will he live? ”

” I removed the bullet.  With rest, he’ll be alright Johnny. ”

Johnny looked at Teresa. ” Who did it? ”

” We don’t know! ”

Johnny spun around and headed back downstairs.

” What the hell happened? Who shot Scott? ” Johnny demanded as he walked into the great room.

Johnny walked over to the sideboard, poured a shot of tequila, and downed it.

” Your brother was shot because of you! ” Murdoch said with anger.

Johnny ignored his father, and poured another shot. His mind whirling on what Cooper said about the man.

Murdoch grabbed Johnny’s left arm, and spun him around to face him. ” Who’s gunning for you? ”

” I don’t know! ”

” Your brother was shot because of you! ” Murdoch said.

” You can’t pin this on me old man! ”

” Oh can’t I? ” Murdoch asked with anger. ” It’s your damn past as a gunfighter that started all this. I knew bringing you here was a mistake. ”

” All I’ve ever been to you is another hired hand.. That’s all I’ll ever be to you, just another fucking hired hand. ”

” Boy I have had about all I’m going to take of your insubordination, and language. ” Murdoch said as he suddenly grabbed Johnny.

” Stop it Murdoch! ” Teresa yelled.

Murdoch shoved Johnny hard into the sideboard, the decanters falling to the floor, and shattering. ” Get the hell out of my house……Get the hell out of here, and don’t you ever come back you worthless half-breed bastard! ”

Johnny looked at Teresa a few seconds before going outside.

” How could you? ”

” I never should have brought him here. He will never change. ”

” He has changed Murdoch. If he hadn’t he wouldn’t have stayed here the past four years. ”

Murdoch went to his safe, opened it, and pulled out the partnership agreement.

” Murdoch no! ” Teresa pleaded. ” Please don’t do this. ”

Johnny came back in the house a few minutes later, went upstairs to his room, and grabbed the few possessions he had. Heading back downstairs more hurt than any bullet he’d ever felt.

” Johnny…..sign this! ” Murdoch demanded.

Johnny walked over and signed the agreement. ” I want a bill of sale for Barranca. He’s mine. I caught and broke him. ”

Murdoch pulled out a receipt, filled it out and handed it to him.

Johnny took the receipt, and turned to leave. ” Teresa, did you mean what you said that day? ”

” Yes I did. ” she responded.

” Go pack some clothes. I have a horse saddled , and waiting for you outside. ”

” She’s not going anywhere with you! ” Murdoch said as he grabbed her arm.

Johnny pulled his colt, and aimed it at his father.. ” You got about ten seconds to let go of her arm. ” When Murdoch didn’t let go, he stepped closer and cocked the pistol. This time aiming it right at Murdoch’s head. ” Five seconds. ”

Murdoch let go of her arm. ” You won’t get away with this. Teresa is my ward. I will have you arrested for kidnapping her at gunpoint. ”

Teresa came back out of her room carrying her saddlebags Johnny had got her for her birthday two years ago.

” He’s not kidnapping me Murdoch. I love Johnny. ” Teresa said. ” We’ve been together for several months. ”

” Take care of my brother for me Sam. When he wakes up, make sure he knows the truth about why I left. ”

” I will John. You take care of yourself. ” Sam said as they shook hands.

” You’ve been a good friend. I’ll see ya. ” Johnny said before walking out of the only home he ever really had. ”

Teresa led her horse out of the barn, and mounted up as Johnny came out of the house.

” I ever see you on Lancer property again, I’ll have you shot! ” Murdoch said with anger.

” Careful what you say old man. ” Johnny said as he swung up in the saddle. ” You have no idea what I’m capable of doing. I could destroy your precious ranch in a single night, and leave you with nothing.”

Scott opened his eyes the day after being shot to find Sam wiping his hands off. ” Sam. ”

” Well welcome back. How do you feel? ”

” Like I’ve been kicked by a mule. ”

” Do you remember what happened? ”

Scott closed his eyes. ” I was fixing fence with Cooper, and Pete…..that’s all I remember. ”

” Whoever shot you, killed one of your hands. ” Sam said as he poured a glass of water. ” Here sip this. ”

Scott welcomed the cool water on his parched throat. ” Thanks. Why, I didn’t know the man?”

” No, you didn’t. You were shot by a man looking for your brother. ” Sam responded. ” Do you remember the newspaper article that kid wrote about John? ”

” Where is he Sam? ”

” Murdoch ran him off Lancer the day you were shot. Told him to never return. That if he did, he would kill him. ”

” He did what? ”

” He ran him off, and said terrible things to him, but that’s not all. It would seem Johnny and Teresa have been together for the past few months. She left with him. ”

” Johnny and Teresa are both gone? ”

” I’m sorry Scott. Johnny asked me to tell you he’s sorry, and why he had to leave. ” Sam said. ” Murdoch destroyed that boy, and took away the only home he’s ever really known. ”

” You alright? ” Johnny asked.

” I’m fine. What if a hand comes by and sees us here? ”

” This line-shack is only used in the spring. ” Johnny said as he stood up.

” You worried about Scott? ”

” No, Sam said he would be alright. Whoever shot him is still out there. I’m thinking about that, and about us, and where do we go from here? ” Johnny responded. ” I have enough money in the bank I could buy us a nice small place to live…….What do you want to do Teresa? ”

Teresa stood up, and walked over to him. ” Right now what I want is for the man I love to make me his. Make love to me Johnny. ” she said as she unbuttoned her shirt, took hold of his hand, and placed it on her breast. ” Touch me, teach me how to please, and pleasure you. ”

Johnny slipped his pants on, stood up, and left the bedroom. Last night he made the woman he loves his. Taking her innocence, and making her a woman. He started thinking about the day she would tell him she was with child. Pouring a cup of coffee, he walked over to look out the window at the sun rising thru the oak trees. He needed to ride into Spanish Wells to the bank, and see how much money he had. Half his wages every month, plus the thousand dollars listening money he had put in the bank, along with money he’d made hiring his gun hand.

” Johnny. ”

Johnny turned around to find Teresa standing in the bedroom doorway with just a blanket wrapped around her. ” Good morning beautiful. ” he said as he walked over to her, and wrapped his arms around her. ” You okay? ”

” I’m fine. I got a little afraid when I woke up and you weren’t there. ”

” I wanted to let you sleep, so I came out here to have a cup of coffee, watch the sunrise, and think. ”

” Think about what? ”

” Well, for starts, I need to ride into town to the bank and see how much money I have in my account. ” he said as he poured her a cup of coffee. ” I’ve been saving money since I was fifteen, so seven years. When I came to Lancer, I put that thousand in there and half my wages every month for the past four years. I think there’s around twenty thousand, maybe more. ”

” My goodness, what were you saving it for? ”

” A place I could call home some day. I thought I found that at Lancer ” Johnny said softly.

” You can still have that with me. ”

” We need to decide what we are going to do. Fall is coming, and then winter. I don’t want you on the trail, sleeping in dumpy rundown hotels, or on the cold, hard ground. You deserve better than that. ”

” Well, what are our options? ”

” I don’t want to go south, I’m thru with that life. ”

” That leaves north, east, and west. ” Teresa said. ” I’ve never been anywhere except Sacramento and San Francisco, so I don’t know what’s out there. ”

” A whole new life just waiting for us Teresa. ”

” Well, I guess our future depends on what you want to do, and where you want to go. ”

” I don’t really want to be a cattle rancher. Prices going up and down, winter too hard, summer to hot. I know everyone has to eat, and no I am not saying I want to be a farmer. ”

” The why don’t we find some place and start a horse ranch. You are very good with horses. Look how you trained Barranca. It’s almost eighteen eighty two Johnny. Let’s find some place beautiful where we can build a horse ranch, and I can have your children. ”

” We have to get married Teresa, as soon as possible. ”

Teresa stood up, and let the blanket fall to the floor. ” Okay, but not till after I punish you for making me wake up alone. ”

Murdoch rode into Spanish Wells, and immediately recognized a golden horse tied up outside the bank. Dismounting, he went inside the bank, and could see Pierpoint talking to both Johnny and Teresa in his office.

” Mister Lancer, can I help you sir? ” a teller asked.

” I need to speak to Jim right away. ” Murdoch said.

” Well he’s busy with another customer right now sir. ”

” I need to speak to him now. ”

” Yes sir. Just a minute. ”

Murdoch watched as the man said something to Pierpoint, then came back to his window. ” He’ll be with you in a moment. ”

” Is something wrong Murdoch? ” Jim asked.

” Why is he here? ”

” Who? ”

” Madrid, what is he doing here? ”

” I’m not at liberty to discuss banking business of another customer with you Murdoch. Now if you will excuse me. ”

” So, how does it feel being married now? ” Sam asked.

” Like a dream. ” Teresa said.

” If you had told me four years ago I would be marrying Teresa, I would have said you were crazy Sam. ” How’s Scott doing? ”

” Wound wise fine. He’s healing up. I told him what happened, and I think you should know, he’s going to leave Lancer when he’s well enough. ” Sam said.

” Probably go back to Boston. ” Johnny suggested.

” Actually no. He said he was going to look for his lost little brother to keep him out of trouble. ”

” The old man know he’s leaving? ”

” That I don’t know John. ” he said. ” Have you thought about where you two are going? ”

” Been thinking on that, and haven’t decided yet. ”

” Are going to keep the Lancer name? ” Sam asked.

” Why not. It’s my birthright. He may have taken my home from me, but he can’t take my name. ” Johnny said.

” Johnny. ” Teresa said as she looked toward the door.

Johnny looked and seen Murdoch walk into the cafe. He could see the man was as angry as a bear, and walking right toward them.

” What were you doing at the bank boy? ”

Johnny stood up. ” I ain’t your boy old man. You made that clear the other day when you ran me off the only home I ever had. ”

Teresa stood up, and stepped over to stand by Johnny. ” Murdoch, please leave us alone. We don’t want any trouble from you. ”

” Trouble is all you are going to get if you stay with this killer! ” Murdoch responded. ” It’s not too late for you to come back to Lancer. I know he coerced you into being with him…..leaving with him. ”

” Do you honestly think I would go back to Lancer and live with you? ” Teresa asked with anger. ” You are a mean, despicable man Murdoch Lancer. I will never step foot in that house again. ”

” You ungrateful little bitch! ”

Johnny lashed out and hit Murdoch hard in the mouth, knocking him backward into another table. ”Don’t you ever talk to my wife like that again! ”

” You just made a big mistake boy. ” Murdoch said as he stood up.

” Gentlemen please……I must ask you to leave my establishment. ” the owner requested.

Johnny took Teresa by the arm, and walked out.

” Mestizo Kid! ” Stan Hogan yelled. ” I’ve been waiting for you Madrid! ”

” Sam, would you take Teresa back inside? ” Johnny asked.

” I thought shooting your brother would bring you out of hiding! ” Hogan said. ” Imagine my surprise when I read that newspaper article, and learned you’ve been here all this time. ”

” I don’t know you mister! ” Johnny said as he stepped down into the street, Madrid in full play now.

” You may not know me, but I know you, and as long as you’re alive, I’m not, but I will after I kill you. ” Stan Hogan responded. ” See, I got that newspaper writer to come and write about me killing you. I’m going to take your reputation, and there won’t be anyone thinking of you as a savior, and saint anymore. ”

” A reputation isn’t worth dying over. ” Johnny said. ” I’m not in the game anymore. I haven’t been for a long time. ”

” It is to me, especially when it’s you who will be dying! ”

” Don’t make me do this! ”

Hogan drew and fired as a bullet pierced his chest. Looking down, he watched as a red stain slowly started to spread across his chest as he dropped to his knees.

Johnny stood there watching the man drop to his knees, and fall forward dead. Seeing the reporter across the street, he holstered his colt, and hurried over to the man.

” You wanted a newspaper report, now you got one! ” Johnny said with anger as he jerked the kid out into the street, and over to Hogan’s dead body. ” Look at him, that’s what it looks like. This wasn’t some made up dime-store novel kid. This shit is real. That man is dead, and you the same as pulled the trigger, and killed him. ”

” He said he could kill you. ” Anderson said. ” He assured me he could kill The Mestizo Kid. ”

” Why…….why do  you want me killed? ”

” I don’t, he does. He paid me to come here. It was…….”

” Who paid you? ” Johnny demanded.

” The old man who got off the stage that day. The one who walked over to talk to you. He paid me five hundred dollars to write the article about you. He’s the one who gave me the Pinkerton reports on you. ” Anderson said. ” He arranged all of this! ”

” Why? ” Johnny demanded.

” He said that once you were dead, his grandson would leave, and go back to Boston. ” Anderson said.

” Except his grandson got shot? ”

” Nobody was supposed to get shot except you. ” he said. ” Please don’t kill me Madrid. ”

Johnny was so angry, he hit the kid as hard as he could in the mouth before walking over to Teresa standing on the boardwalk with Sam, his father standing just behind her. Glaring at him a few seconds before he took Teresa’s hand. ” Let’s go Teresa. ”

Scott came downstairs two weeks after being shot, his arm in a sling. ” I’m going back to Boston and confront my grandfather for what he’s done. ” he said. ” After that, I won’t be coming back here….ever again. ”

” Son please stay. ” Murdoch pleaded.

” No sir. When my business is concluded in Boston, I’m going to find my little brother. I will never come back here again. ” Scott said firmly. ” You had it all until one day you decided to stop being a father. He told you he didn’t know who shot me, but instead of waiting to learn more, you ran him off the only place he felt safe. All he wanted was to be happy, but for whatever reasons, you decided my little brother didn’t deserve to have that. ”

” You seem to forget what he has done to your sister. ”

” She was not his sister, she was your ward. ” Scott said firmly. ” He had every right to fall in love with her. ”

” He doesn’t know the first thing about love! ”

” Boy that’s calling the kettle black. Perhaps you should look in a mirror, because the man I see before me knows absolutely nothing about how to love his sons, especially with Johnny, who grew up not knowing what love was. ” Scott said. ” Murdoch, couldn’t you see how much he was begging for you to love him? He didn’t want part of this ranch, all he ever wanted from you was to be loved. To tell him you loved him. ”

” Don’t you stand there and preach to me about what that disrespectful bastard needed or wanted. ”

Scott turned, and walked over to the door. ” You know, like my little brother said, respect isn’t given, it has to be earned. ”

” How you doing? ” Johnny asked.

” I’m okay. Not used to riding all day in the saddle like you are. ”

” You’ll get used to it. ” Johnny said as he sat down. ” You going to be able to handle leading the pack-horses? ”

” I think I’ll be able too. ” she said. ” How many mares do you have rounded up? ”

” Forty. ”

” Are you going to use Barranca to breed them? ”

” Some, but mainly I’m going to use a Modoc stud. ”

” Modoc? ”

” It’s a strong, hearty breed the Modoc Indians use. Part draft, part quarter horse. It’s a good breed for the mountains, and pulling wagons. ”

” I’ve never slept out under the stars before. ”

” Really? ”

”Murdoch wouldn’t let me. He said it’s not proper for a young lady to go riding alone, or sleep outside. ” she said.

” Well, with fall coming, the nights could get cold, and we could get snow before we reach Oregon. ” Johnny said.

” I’m not worried. I have you too keep me warm. ” she said. ” You’ve learned a lot on how to survive out here haven’t you? ”

” Had too. Whenever my mother brought a man home, I had to leave the shack we lived in. Sometimes I had to stay away for days at a time. I learned how to snare sage hens, and rabbits. ”

” Is it true what they say about you? That you’re the fastest down along the border? ”

” It is. All I ever wanted was to be Johnny Madrid, good at my trade. I seen how the people of Mexico were being treated, so I joined the fight for a better, free Mexico. After about six months of fighting, I was captured, and seconds away from being executed when the Pinkerton man found me. You know the rest. ” he said.

” What about Scott, do you think he’ll come back, and look for you? ”

” I don’t know. I’ll let Sam know where we’re going just in case he does, and checks with him. ”

” Hello Mister Scott. I did not know you were coming . ”

” Hello Thomas. It’s good to see you again. ” Scott said.

” Will you be joining your grandfather for dinner sir? ”

” No, I’m not staying. Where is he? ”

” In his office. ”

” Thank you Thomas. ” Scott said as he walked to a very familiar door, knocked, then opened it.

” Thomas I said I was to not be disturbed……Scotty….Scotty my boy, I didn’t know you were coming. ”

” Funny, I was told you wanted me to come back here. ” Scott said.

” Well of course I want you to come back home Scotty. This has been your home for twenty four years. ”

” I know all about what you did. How you paid Hugh Anderson five hundred dollars to write that newspaper article about my brother. How you gave him Pinkerton reports on Johnny, and brought in a gunfighter to kill him. ” Scott said with anger. ” Only it didn’t work. ”

” I don’t know what you are talking about my boy. ”

” Stop it! You showed up unannounced at Lancer. Which is totally not you sir. You immediately got into a confrontation with Murdoch. He told me what you said, how you would do anything to get me back. You just couldn’t accept that I was happy there……You know, your little plan almost worked, only you almost got me killed. Your gunfighter shot me. I came here to confront you about this, but you know, now that I’m here and I see you again….I realize you’re not worth it sir. ” Scott said before turning, and walking out.

Harlan hurried after his grandson. ” Where are you going? ”

” As far as possible away from you. ” Scott said as he put his coat on. ” You lied to me for years about my father, and never told me I had a brother. I wish to have nothing to do with you ever again. ”

Chapter 2 Research Notes –>


Chapter 3

” Johnny, Miss Teresa, it’s good to see you again. ” Cooper said as he shook Johnny’s hand. ” Looks like you two are fixing to leave? ”

” At first light. ” Johnny said as he packed one of the pack-horses. ” You working for Lancer still ? ”

” No, I quite right after Scott went back to Boston. ”

Johnny looked at Teresa, and winked. He’d liked Cooper since the first time they met just over a year ago. ” You looking for a job? ”

” Yeah, but this late in the season, nobody’s hiring. ”

” Just so happens I’m looking for someone to help me wrangle twenty mustang mares. You interested? ”

” Where you going? ”

” Oregon. Pay won’t be much, but the food will be good, hot and plenty, and the work hard. ”

” Tell you what Johnny, I’ll go with you to Oregon, but only if you don’t pay me wages until we get a ranch. ”

” Sounds good. You know how to pack, those two boxes need to go on that horse. ”

” That’s the last of it Johnny. ” Baldomero said.

” Thank you mister Baldomero. ” Johnny said as he shook the mans hand.

” Johnny look. ” Teresa said.

Johnny looked to see two dogs coming toward him. Surprised when both pups stopped and sat down at his feet, looking up at him.

” Well would you look at that. They never come up to anyone but me to be fed. Usually they stay under the building in the back in a hole they dug. ” Baldomero said.

” How old are they? ” Johnny asked.

” This I do not know for sure. They showed up here months ago. I’ve been feeding them, hoping they belonged to someone, but nobody will claim. ”

Johnny knelt down and checked both dogs mouths. ” Judging from their teeth, I’d say they’re about a year old. ”

” I would say you have two dogs now Johnny. ” Cooper said.

” Please, take them Johnny. ” Baldomero said.

” As long as they earn their keep, they can come along. We could use a couple good guard dogs at night. ”

” Those two are going to be big dogs Johnny. ” Cooper said.

” Yeah, they’re pretty big now. ” he said.

Johnny finished packing the horses, glancing at Teresa sitting on the steps with the two dogs on each side of her watching him closely. ” Okay, that does it. ”

” You think they’ll follow us? ” Teresa asked.

” Only one way of finding out. ” Johnny said as he mounted up, and they started out off town. After a few minutes riding Johnny  noticed both pups following just behind the last pack – horse.

” Scott, it’s good to see you. ” Sam said.

” Sam, I need to know if you know where Johnny, and Teresa went? ”

” Oregon. He bought supplies at Baldomero’s two weeks ago. ”

” He left two weeks ago? ”

” Yes. He had four pack-horses, and forty mustangs. ” Sam responded. ” A Lancer hand who was with you when you were shot left with them. ”

” Cooper is a good man. Thanks Sam. ”

” It sure is pretty up here. ” Cooper said.

” Yeah it is. ” Johnny said.

” How long you think it will take us to get to Oregon? ” Teresa asked.

” Depends on the weather in the mountains. Good weather, two week if we pushed the horses. I don’t want those mares hurt, so it might take us four  maybe five weeks.  We’ll have rivers to cross that could be swift and deep.”  Johnny said as he noticed both dogs started growling as they stared out into the darkness.

” Something wrong? ” Cooper asked.

” We’re not alone. ” Johnny said.

” Don’t shoot brother! ”

Johnny let out a big sigh as his brother walked into the light of the fire. Both pups got up and immediately started snapping, and barking at Scott.

” Hey, it’s alright boys. ” Johnny said as he stood up, and walked over to his brother. ” I about gave up on you brother. ”

” You should have left bigger bread crumbs brother. ” Scott said. ” It safe to get down? ”

” Yeah, they won’t eat you. ”

Scott dismounted and pulled his brother into a hug. ” You going to come give me a hug, or just stand there Teresa? ”

Teresa ran to Scott, and wrapped her arms around his neck. ” Oh Scott, I’m so happy you’re here. ”

” Me to. Congratulations you two. ”

” Thanks. Sit down. Teresa fix him a plate of food while I take care of his horse. ”

” These two going to bite me? ”

” Let them check you out. It’ll be alright. ” Johnny said. ” This horse has been rode pretty hard brother. ”

” You had a two week head start on me. I wanted to catch up to you. ” Scott said.

Teresa handed Scott a plate of beans, and a cup of coffee.

” I missed your cooking Teresa. I thought you would be farther north. How many head you have? ”

” Forty, all mares. ” Johnny said as he gave Scott’s horse some grain. ” They’re from that big herd that ran out by Black Mesa. ”

” Well I know you know horse flesh. How about letting me in on the plan? ”

” It’s simple. We’re going to go up into Oregon, find a place to start a ranch, and raise a family. ” Johnny responded as he sat back down by the fire.

” Sounds good. You have an area in mind? ”

” Someplace with either a place already built I can buy, or land with timber to build a home. ”

” Johnny, where’s the next town? ”

” I don’t know, but I’m sure there’s one ahead. ”

Teresa woke up around midnight to find Johnny not next to her. Looking around she finally seen him down by the water’s edge. Quietly she got up, wrapped her blanket around her, and walked down to him. ” Johnny. ”

” Hey beautiful. You alright? ”

” Lonely. Why you standing down here? ”

” Because I can’t exactly make love to you up there. ” he said as he took her hand, and led her into the trees.

” You won’t believe what I seen headed this way! ” Matt Warner said.

” What? ” Tom McCarty responded.

” A herd of some good looking horses with four riders and a couple pack – horses. ”

” How many horses? ”  Tom asked.

” In the herd looks like forty, plus four pack – horses and saddle – mounts. ”

” How far out are they? ” Tom ordered.

” About ten miles. They bedded down for the night. ” Matt responded.

” Hey Tom, maybe we should think about this one. ” Tom’s younger brother Bill suggested.

” At twenty five dollars a head, I’m not going to let twelve hundred dollars pass me by. ”

” I don’t think we should try it Tom. ” Fred McCarty added.

” I don’t remember asking you what you think. ”

” No you didn’t, but I think my pa is right. Now I know I’m just your nephew, but I think we should pass this one up. ”

” Boy, you got a lot of learning to do. ” Tom said as he walked over to his nephew and hit him in the mouth, knocking him down. ” Starting with keeping your mouth shut! ”

” Damn Tom, there weren’t no call to hit him! ” Bill said as he helped his son up. ” I brought him along to learn, not be beat up by you. ”

” Then you tell that whelp to do what he’s told! ”

” Tom, why don’t me and you ride out to greet them? We could act like we’re just riding thru. It would give us a better look at what we’re up against. ” Matt suggested.

” How old are these two? ” Scott asked as he shared a biscuit with them.

” Mister Baldomero said around a year old. He’d been feeding them for several months. ” Teresa said.

” They usually stayed in a hole under his business at  the back away from customers until the day we were buying supplies and they decided they were coming with us. ” Johnny said.

” Yeah, they get tired of following, they jump up on the back of one of the pack – horses to rest. ” Cooper said.

” They got names? ” Scott asked.

” Smaller one is León, and his brother is Oso. ”

” Okay, I know León in Spanish means lion, but what does Oso mean ? ” Scott asked.

” Bear. ” Johnny said.

” Well they both have feet as big as a lions, and heads as big as a grizzlies. ” Scott said with a laugh as both dogs immediately went on guard, growling deeply as the hair on their back stood up.

” Johnny, there’s two riders approaching. ” Cooper said.

Johnny walked over to Oso and León. ” Down! ” he ordered. Both dogs laid down, but kept growling.

” Morning. Smelled your smoke. ” Tom said as they rode up.

” We ran out of supplies a few days ago. Can you spare a cup of coffee? ” Matt asked.

Scott looked at his brother and seen his slight nod. ” Where you boys headed? ” he asked as he handed them each a cup.

” Much obliged mister. ” Matt said. ” We thought we would go try our luck at gold – panning. They say they’re finding that stuff real easy like up north. ”

” Golds risky business. You could get snowed in, or fall thru the ice and freeze to death. ” Cooper said.

” You fellas don;t look like miners. You got no equipment for panning. ” Johnny said.

” We’re gonna buy what we need when we get there. ” Matt said.

” Good looking herd of horses you got mister. They for sale? ” Tom asked.

” Nope, already sold. ” Johnny responded. ” How far to the next town? ”

” Susanville will have corrals big enough to hold your herd. It’s about ten miles. Sits on the north end of Honey lake. ”

” Honey lake? ” Teresa asked.

” Yes ma’am. They named it that for all the honeysuckle that grows around it they say. ”

” Well, thanks for the coffee. ” Tom said. ” But we need to get going. ”

” Those are two good looking dogs you got. Sure wouldn’t want them biting me. ” Matt said as he mounted up.

” So, what’s it look like? ” Bill asked.

” Trouble. Three men and a woman. ” Matt responded.

” Well hell, we can handle that. ”

” One of the men is Madrid! ” Tom said.

” Madrid…….you sure it was him? ” Bill said.

” I’m sure. He put a bullet in me six years ago when crossing the border. They must be paying him real good for him to be this far north of the border. ” he responded.

” So what are we going to do? ” Matt asked.

” Take his horses. ” Tom said. ” We hit him when he’s in the middle of the river, he won’t be able to fight back. ”

” None of us are good enough to kill Madrid, and we don’t know nothing about those other two with him. What if the three men are who’s escorting that woman? ” Bill asked.

” Then go on and leave. You were happy when we robbed banks, putting money in your pockets. ”

” We  have a price on our heads for robbing that bank in Enterprise, and then you had to rob the banks in Summerville, and Haines, and killed that teller. ”

” All he had to do was give us the money. ” Matt said.

” He gave us the money! You weren’t satisfied with the three thousand we took. You wanted in the safe, and got angry when he told you it was locked. You shot that man in cold blood Matt! ”

” Shut – up! ” Matt yelled.

” Both of you shut the fuck up, and get mounted! We’re going to ride on ahead, and wait for them. ” Tom ordered. ” Get mounted now! ”

” What can I do for you? ” the livery man asked as Johnny rode up, and dismounted.

” Need to board forty head in a corral for two days, and eight inside if you got the room? ” Johnny said.

” Corral out back is big enough for them. You want them to have hay, and grain it will cost ten dollars for all of them. I’ve got an empty room off the back you can put your packs, and gear in. ”

” Appreciate it. ” Johnny said as he paid the man.

” Names Stan. I’ll open the back gate so you can drive them in. ”

” Thanks. ” Johnny said as he mounted up. ” You have any law in this town? ”

” In Susanville, no, but there’s a marshal and his deputy rode in earlier. They’re staying at the hotel. ”

” What makes you think McCarty is around here? ” Deputy Tom Bell asked.

” They got three thousand dollars in that heist in Enterprise, then rob the banks in Summerville, and Haines. Why they need so much money? ” Marshal Ben Daniels asked. ” Usually the McCarty gang robs one bank a month. Why three banks in two weeks, and then come all the way over here? ”

” I admit it makes no sense. There’s nothing around here he would need that kind of money for. ” Bell said. ” Wait, didn’t he run down along the Mexican border six or so years ago stealing stock? ”

” Yeah he did all along the Arizona border. What the hell’s the name of that ranch………Diamond A ranch Cholla Cattle Company. McCarty stole a lot of cattle from Harvey Dietrich, and drove them across the border to sell in Mexico. ”

” His hands couldn’t stop him? ”

” He owns the largest ranch in Arizona, seven hundred and seventy thousand acres. It stretches from west of Nogales all the way east to Douglas. ” Ben said. ” We’ve been together almost five years. How come you stay with me Tom? ”

” Because you’re a good marshal, and you gave me a job when nobody else would. ” Tom responded.

” You just needed a foot in the right direction. ” Ben said. ” I guess I could see in you what others couldn’t. ”

” Let’s go get some supper. ” Tom suggested.

” Can I get you folks anything else? ” the waitress asked.

” No thank you. ” Teresa, Scott, and Cooper said.

” You have any apple pie? ” Johnny asked

” Sure do handsome. I’ll bring you a piece. ” she said before walking away.

” Why we staying here two days? ” Teresa asked.

Johnny looked at his wife. ” To give the horses a good rest before we start up in the mountains, and I thought you would like a hot bath, and soft bed to sleep in instead of on the cold hard ground. ”

” Here ya go handsome. ” the waitress said as she gave Johnny his piece of pie. ” You other fellas sure you don’t want anything else? ”

” Maybe some coffee. ” Cooper said.

” Do you have any scraps in the kitchen? ” Scott asked.

” What kind of scraps you looking for darlin? ”

” The kind we can feed our two dogs. ” Scott responded.

” Big or little dogs? ” she asked.

” Big. ”

” I’ll go see what I can rustle up for them. ”

” Nice lady. ” Cooper said after the waitress walked away.

” She definitely likes to flirt. ” Teresa said as she looked at Johnny.

” Flirting is okay, as long as that’s all that happens. ” Cooper said. ” Heck I like a flirty woman. How about you Scott? ”

” As long as neither one is married I see nothing wrong with it. ” Scott said.

” I’ve had my share of flirty women in the past. ” Johnny said.

” How about married women Johnny, you ever have them flirt with you? ” Cooper asked.

” A few, but that was in my past. I have everything I need now. ” Johnny responded as he reached for Teresa’s hand, shocked when she pulled it away.

” Excuse me, the desk clerk said you were needing to speak to me? ” Marshal Daniels asked.

” Marshal, we do. ” Johnny said. ” Won’t you join us? ”

” I think I’ll go check the stock and feed the dogs Johnny. ” Cooper said.

” Thanks Coop. I’ll see you in the morning. ”

” I think I will go up to our room and let you talk to the marshal. ” Teresa said.

” I’ll walk you up. ” Scott said. ” Marshal. ”

” Ma’am. ” Tom said as they sat down.

” Marshal, what can I get you? ” the woman asked.

” Steak and spuds. ”

” Your sister left huh? ” she asked.

” She’s not my sister, she’s my wife. ” Johnny said.

” I’m sorry. I seen no wedding ring so I just assumed……I’m sorry. ” she said before walking away.

” What did you want to see us about? ”

Scott opened the door to Teresa’s room and let her enter. ” We need to talk Teresa. ” he said

” Come in. ”

” I couldn’t help but notice you pulled your hand away when Johnny tried to hold it. ” he said. ” I’m sorry if I’m speaking out of line, but I also noticed how you gave him angry looks when the waitress was flirting with him. Can I ask why? ”

” Why…..Scott I was sitting right there, and he……..”

” Teresa, Johnny wasn’t flirting with her. He was uncomfortable with how she was talking to him. ”

” Then why didn’t he tell her to stop? ”

” Maybe he was waiting for you to say something to her about flirting with your husband? ” he responded. ” Johnny loves you Teresa. He’s not going to do anything to risk losing you. He’s not that wild, carefree person he used to be. ”

” How do I know he won’t someday act on temptation though? ” she asked.

” By trusting the man you love. It’s the same for him with you. Teresa I had a professor at Harvard once who was a very happy man every day he came to class. One day I asked him why he was always so happy. Know what he told me? ”

” No. ”

” Trust is the first and most important to make a marriage work. You’ve heard Johnny say he don’t give respect, that it has to be earned. Well that couldn’t be more true in a marriage. You have to respect each other to be able to trust each other. ” Scott said.

” And what did he say the third one was? ”

Scott looked at her and smiled. ” I think you know what the third one is. ”

Teresa smiled. ” We haven’t exactly been able to be since we got married. ”

” I don’t mean to speak vulgar to you, but steal every intimate moment you can with Johnny. It’s almost eighteen eighty eight. Don’t be afraid to show your affection for Johnny beyond these four walls. ” he suggested. ” Just know your limits when doing so. ”

” You ever hear of the McCarty gang? ”

Marshal Daniels perked up, and glanced at his deputy. ” Tom McCarty, we’ve been looking for him for a while. He robbed a bank in Enterprise, got a thousand dollars from there, then robbed the banks in Summerville, and Haines. All three in two weeks’ time. ”

” He killed the teller in Haines when he couldn’t open the safe. ” Deputy Bell said. ” The marshal thinks he’s in the area. ”

” He is. He approached us this morning about ten miles south. ” Johnny responded. ” Said they’re going up north to try their luck at panning. ”

” How do you know it was Tom McCarty you talked to this morning? ” the marshal asked.

” Because I’ve seen him before. Down in Arizona. He was stealing livestock and taking it across the border to sell in Mexico.”

” You never said what your name is friend. ” the marshal said.

” Johnny Lancer, but I used to be known by another name up until five years ago. ”

” And what name would that be? ” the deputy asked.

” I thought you were killed in Mexico by the Rurales? ”

” Who Ben? ”

” Madrid, Johnny Madrid in the flesh. ” the marshal said. ” What brings you this far north? ”

” Taking forty head if mustang mares to Oregon with my brother Scott, my wife, and friend Cooper. We’re going to start a ranch up there. ”

” That’s what he wants then….your horses. ”

” Wait…..are you saying this man is Johnny Madrid, the fastest gunfighter along the border? ” Bell asked.

” I used to be deputy. Like I said, I have a wife now and want to start a new life in Oregon. ”

” Seems to me I’ve heard that name before, Lancer. ” the marshal said.

” My old man is Murdoch Lancer from Morro Coyo. We had….shall I say a disagreement about something, and I left. ”

” You got trouble if McCarty has decided to try and steal  your herd. ”

” That’s what I figure. ”

” Does he know who you are….were? ” Deputy Bell asked.

” He knows. I put a bullet in him six years ago when working for a rancher trying to stop rustling. ”

” Let me ask you something….Are those horses worth risking your wife and brothers lives? ” the marshal asked.

” Those horses are our future. A new start on life marshal. ” Johnny said. ” But no, I won’t risk my wife or brothers lives. ”

Johnny closed the door to his room, and walked over to the table. He could see Teresa in the bed, still awake. Walking over to the bed, he removed his gunbelt, and hung it on the bed post. ” I’m not going to risk our lives if McCarty tries to steal the horses. ”

” But they’re our future Johnny. ”

” Teresa, I have no future without you. I wouldn’t be able to go on living if I lost you. ” he responded as he removed his boots.

Teresa came up behind him, and started kissing his neck as her hands started running over his chest, and down between his legs.

Moaning, Johnny turned his head and pulled her mouth to his. Delving his tongue inside, moaning as he laid back on the bed. Soon they were both lost in a fiery passion as each sought pleasure well into the early morning hours.

Sam sat in the cafe eating lunch when a familiar figure walked in. He couldn’t help but notice how the patrons glared at the man as he walked over to a table and sat down. Four weeks ago the big man had it all, both his sons finally home to work the ranch he spent thirty years building up. Never in his wildest dreams would he think Murdoch would turn on his youngest son the way he had, and run him off the only place he had ever felt safe at. The only place he had ever really called home.

Hardly anyone talked to the man since that day on the street when the awful truth came out for everyone who happened to be on the street that day to hear. Ever since then nobody had seen Murdoch Lancer until now. Standing up, Sam decided to walk over and ask how the man was doing.

”Hello Murdoch. ”

” Sam, you sure you want to be seen talking to me? ”

” How are you doing? ”

” How do you think I’m doing Sam. I lost both my sons, and will never see them again. ”

” I could say something to that, but I think the punishment you are giving yourself is substantial enough. ” Sam said before turning, and leaving the cafe.

” Scott, I’m not going to risk our lives for these horses. ” Johnny said. ” I’ve lost enough already. I can’t lose you or Teresa.  I have no future without Teresa and you Scott. ” Johnny said as he stood up, and was immediately spun around, and knocked to the ground as a bullet slammed into his right shoulder.

” Don’t move, and don’t do anything stupid! ”Tom McCarty yelled. ‘‘ I would hate the woman gets shot too! Now me and my boys are going to take them horses. ”

” Take the damn horses! ” Scott yelled.

” We’re even now Madrid. ” Tom McCarty said as he rode up to them. ‘‘ Lets go boys. ”

Fred McCarty dismounted to untie the pack – horses. Untying the first one he froze in his tracks. Standing not ten feet away were both dogs with their teeth bared, growling. Before he could do anything, Oso attacked, and tore his throat out so fast, he never got the chance to scream.

Bill watched in horror as his son was killed by the dog. Pulling his gun, he shot the dog, and went to shoot again when it ran off into the trees yelping in pain. León jumped up and grabbed his gun arm, his weight pulling him from the saddle. Once on the ground, he started pounding the dog in the head with his pistol butt until the dog finally collapsed.

Scott grabbed his rifle and shot, killing bill McCarty before the man could shoot again.

Tom reined his horse around, and took off.

” Don’t shoot! ” Matt yelled as he threw his pistol down. ” I’m unarmed! ”

” How bad is it? ” Marshal Daniels asked as he dismounted.

” His shoulder. ” Scott said. ” The bullet is still in there. ”

” It was McCarty and his men. ” Johnny said. Tom got away. ”

” Captain Nathan West, how long ago did he leave? ”

” Thirty minutes, headed north. ” Scott said. ” He’s wounded, so I don’t think he’ll make it far marshal. ”

” Fort Crook is about five miles east. Sergeant, take a couple men and help get these people to the fort so our surgeon can help this man. ”

” Yes sir. ” the sergeant said.

” We have forty head of horses Captain. ” Johnny said as he walked over to León, and knelt down next to the dog. ” Teresa, get something to wrap around his head. He’s still alive. ”

” I’ll see if I can find Oso. ” Cooper said.


Chapter 4

” I dug the bullet out, and given he doesn’t get an infection, or fever, he should be alright with rest. ” the doctor said.

” My brother has a habit of getting fevers doctor. ”

” I notice he’s been shot in that shoulder two other times. ”

” Can I see him? ” Teresa asked.

” I’m going to have him moved to a more private quarters, but you can go in and see him. ”

” Doctor, we have a dog needs a bullet removed. ” Cooper said. ” And the other one stitched up. ”

” I don’t do surgery on dogs. ”

” Doc, this dog saved our lives. At least take a look and see if you can help him….please. ” Scott asked.

” I’ll do what I can for them. ” he said as he followed Scott over to where the dogs were on a porch.  ” Good god man. Those are Bull-mastiffs. Where on earth did you find them? ”

” They found my brother, and decided to stay with him a few weeks ago. ”

” These dogs have been bred in England to guard livestock. How on earth did they get here to California I wonder? ”

” So they’re livestock guard dogs? ” Cooper asked.

” They guard livestock, and people too from what I’ve heard. Extremely loyal dogs, and very fierce protectors. ”

” Yeah, he ripped one of the horse thieves throat out so fast, I still can’t believe it. ” Cooper said.

” I’ll do everything I can to help them both. ” the doctor said. ” What are their names? ”

” The shot one is Oso, which means bear, and the other one is León, which means lion in Spanish. ” Scott said.

” Teresa. ” Johnny said softly.

Teresa raised her head up. ” Hi. ”

” How long I been out? ”

” A day. ” she said as she poured him a cup of water.

” Thanks. Where are we? ”

” Fort Crook. ”

Johnny sat up, and swung his legs over the side of the cot. ” Help me stand up. ”

” You need to stay in bed. ” Teresa said as she helped him stand up. ” Hold on, let me make a sling for your arm. ”

” Hey Scott. ” Cooper said. ” Take a look at that. ”

Scott looked and watched his brother come down the steps, and walk toward them. ” You are not supposed to be out of bed yet! ” he said as he shook his head.

” I’m alright. How are the horses? ”

” Their good. I want to show you something. ” Scott said.

Johnny followed his brother into a small barn. ” Doc fixed them both up. ” And it would seem he knows what breed these two are. ”

” Hey boys. ” Johnny said as he knelt down and patted them. ” What are they? ”

” Bull-mastiff. The come from England and are used to guard livestock, and people over there. He’s puzzled on how they ended up here. ” Scott explained. ” They are very fierce and protective. ”

” I can believe that. ” Johnny said.

” Doc said they’ll both be alright. ” Cooper said. ” Scott’s been making friends with them both. He’s the one who got the doc to help them when he was done with you. ”

” Thanks Boston. ” Johnny said.  ” The marshal find Tom McCarty? ”

” He did. He won’t be robbing or stealing ever again. The marshal left this morning to go back to Portland. ”

” Mister Lancer, I’m surprised to see you out and about so soon. ” Captain Johnston said.

” Need to get back on the trail before the snow starts. ” Johnny said. ” What’s on your mind Captain? ”

” Your horses, are they for sale? ”

” No. Those mares are for breeding captain. They’re our future. ”

” I need remounts. I’m prepared to pay you one hundred and twenty five dollars each. ”

” The Army doesn’t purchase mares, only geldings, and they’re strict on the age, color, height, and sex. ” Scott said.

” Can I ask how it is you know so much about army horses? ”

” I was in a cavalry unit during the war. ”

” A horseman. Who did you serve with? ”

” General Phil Sheridan. ”

” Well those standards are what they want in army horses in the south fort he men who fight the savages. ”

Johnny was getting irritated with how the captain. ” Cooper, Get the pack-horses ready, we’re leaving. ”

” You don’t have to leave yet. Stay, let your wound heal up. ” the captain said.

” Thank you for your help, but we’re leaving. ”

Johnny came out of the land deed office in Roseburg, Oregon just as Scott pulled up in the wagon. ” It’s all ours. ” he said as he held up the deed to their new home. ” You able to get all the supplies we need? ”

” Got it all. ” Scott said.

” Hey, you the new folks that bought the Clarkston place? ” a man asked as he walked up to Johnny.

” Yeah, Johnny Lancer, and this is my brother Scott. ”

” Cal Wheeler, I own the property on the backside of yours. ” the man said. ” I hear you’re starting up a horse ranch. Any truth to that? ”

” Yes sir. ”

” I’ll come by and look at what you have some time if it’s alright? ”

” That’s fine. ”

” Well I better get on home before my Felicia thinks I got me a gal in town. Welcome to Willamette Valley, boys. ”

Johnny, Scott and Cooper worked hard making repairs, putting up fences, and getting corrals set up.  It wasn’t a big luxurious ranch, but it was big enough for a new start, and a new life. The house, a two story brick house with a tinplate roof. Shutters on each window could be closed during storms. A huge brick fireplace had been built at each end of the house to provide warmth both upstairs and down during the winter.

At only one hundred acres, the brothers made the best of the land, and the rich rye grass that grew on  the land. Large oak trees grew throughout the land, providing shade to the mares and foals in the summer. The Umpqua river ran along the east side of the property, providing water piped in for the house, and barns.

Now eighteen years later, on the eve of bringing in both a new year, and a new century, the brothers sat on the porch of Scott’s house watching their children play with sparklers. Ten years ago, Scott married a woman, Ann who gave him two beautiful daughters, Jessie, and Callie not long after he was able to purchase the land adjacent to his brothers and provided the feed needed for the horses. Teresa gave Johnny three daughters, Loretta, born their first year in the valley. Then came Sylvia, and Victoria. Five years later she gave birth to a son, Miguel. Both brothers with their wives were very happy living in the Willamette valley.

” We’ve come a long way in eighteen years little brother. ” Scott said.

” I was just thinking about that. ” Johnny said. ” I guess you can say everything we have now is because of one of those dime-store novels. ”

Chapter 4 Research Notes–>




Thank you for reading! The authors listed on this site spend many hours writing stories for your enjoyment, and their only reward is the feedback you leave. So please take a moment to leave a comment.  Even the simplest ‘I liked this!” can make all the difference to an author and encourage them to keep writing and posting their stories here.  You can comment in the ‘reply’ box below or email Nancy Marie directly.



6 thoughts on “Dime-Store Novel by Nancy Marie

  1. Wasn’t expecting to find this today. It was a nice treat. It was a wonderful story as always. Looking forward to the next one.


  2. I don’t know how I missed this story, but I’m sure glad to have found it. And I will be reading this one again. Thanks for sharing your talent and keeping Lancer land alive. JML always ♥️


  3. I loved this story. Read it a 2nd time. Thank you for sharing your gift of writing with us. A perfect ending.


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