Another classic western yarn from a master storyteller, Ride Harder follows cowpuncher Bud Eugen and his resourceful fiancée Marta as they confront all of the dangers Texas in the late 1880’s holds, both old and newfangled. When the seed money for Bud and Marta’s ranch is stolen from a local bank out of its Yankee-made safe, along with an Army arms shipment, Bud and Marta go back to Mexico to secure their future and that of Texas itself, come hell, high water, or steam-powered locomotives.
Excerpt—Ride Harder BUY HERE
Some mornings just weren’t as good as others. Marta was stomping round kicking rocks and shaking her finger at somebody who weren’t there. I was expecting her to start chewing prickly pears and spitting thorns. She was justly put out.
I weren’t too happy my own self, us being stuck out on the Eagle Pass-Del Rio Road without much of anything. Humiliating too seeing three road agents plain got the drop on us. They were sitting their horses in a mesquite stand pointing pistols at arm’s length. They’d taken our horses, saddles, guns, and a couple of thousand in hard-won cash that they didn’t know was in my saddlebags. That would wipe the silver lining off your cloud. I figured they’d be doing a happy days jig…bastards.
So I was feeling pretty down, and Marta came tramping over as prickly as a cactus. That was all I needed, all the thunder and lightning of a storm without the wind and the rain. I could of surely used some rain, seeing as we didn’t have any water. South Texas in March was pleasing weather, but it was warm enough to bring up a thirst. Them robbers hadn’t had the common decency to leave us a canteen. Lower than catfish turds.
Marta was standing over me—I was sitting on a rock—tapping her foot, her arms crossed. I looked up, and she was about as pissed as my mama the day I set the hayrick on fire—didn’t mean to, just trying out a cigarette I’d rolled with her makings. First time Mama broke my nose.
“What you looking at me for, niña? It ain’t my fault. Sumbitches got the drop on us good.”
From under the sombrero she’d taken off a dead bandito last December, her big ol’ black eyes were glaring a hole right through me. She’d held up her left hand to let me know again they’d taken her silver ring.
Here it comes.
Like a clap of thunder, she slapped her hands, stomped her sandaled foot, and jabbed her middle finger down the side trail.
“¿Qué? You want me to go after them thieving desperadoes? I ain’t got no caballo, pistola, carabina, or escopeta,” the last being her own shotgun the road agents took. “You know they even took your derringer, uh, poco pistola.”
She slashed her hand cross her throat, then made a strangling motion and a scary gurgling choking noise. I know a lot of bad Mex words for people you’re mad at, and I bet she was thinking all of them and some I’d never heard. I say thinking, seeing Marta’s as mute as an angel’s statue, not that she’s exactly an angel.
“All we can do is start on el camino por Del Rio and hope some friendly riders or vaqueros or a freight wagon comes along. I can borrow some dinero from that gun dealer, uh, armes vendedor Iknow. Besides, I can have Roberto make you another ring.”
That didn’t cut it. She grabbed hold of my hands and pulled. Being fourteen-three hands high, that’s not even five-foot, she’d not be able to get me up, but I stood anyway. I learned some time ago there’s no sense fighting her will. She’d really gotten mad at me the time I measured her with my hands like measuring up a horse I was buying.“
Well, all right then. There’s no telling how far we gotta walk. Heck, I’m hungry, tengo hambre. I need some chuck, uh, comida. We might be walking mañana and still ain’t found them pendejos. We need some agua too.”
Two sequels are in the works, Marta’s Ride and Marta’s Daughter.
The Hardest Ride–A Western novel, Hartwood Publishing
USA Today Bestseller
Peacemaker Award Winner– Best Western and Finalist– Best First Western Novels
Spur Award Finalist– Best Traditional Western Novel
Tears of the River–A YA survival e-novel, Hartwood Publishing