I'm home this Saturday and decided to share a sample from my novella, Almost An Outlaw, set during the week of Jesse James's wedding in 1874. This sample opens with Austin in a barber's chair, just after his arrival in Liberty, he has been thinking back about Darcy, whom he has just seen. This scene introduces one of my favorite secondary characters, Doss Hannon.
The image of Darcy’s pretty face vanished when the door to the barbershop slammed shut. Austin opened his eyes to see a familiar man with a no-nonsense face and sharp blue eyes glaring at him. A silver star hung on the chest of his buckskin coat. Marshal Doss Hannon turned to the barber. “Charlie, finish up and take a break.
Charlie did just that. He handed Austin a towel to wipe the fresh-smelling soap from his face and raced out of the shop, leaving the two men alone.
Doss flipped the sign on the door to Closed, and Austin sat up in the barber chair. To him, Doss Hannon had always appeared larger than life. The marshal, who had fallen in love with his widowed mother, was the closest thing to a father Austin had ever known. Doss was like a tough old fortress that had survived years of battle and somehow attained nobility in its triumph. He took off his tan hat and smoothed back his white hair. Doss didn’t bother with any pleasantries. “Suppose I oughta let you come down to the jailhouse and pick yourself out a cell?”
Austin tossed aside the towel. “I didn’t come back here looking for trouble.”
“Then how come you told two Pinkerton agents you’d gut them and hang them with their own entrails?”
“I gave you my word I would stay on the right side of the law and I keep my word. You know that.”
Doss studied him for a moment. “It’s your loyalty that troubles me. You are loyal to the Boys and they are a lost cause. Sooner or later, their luck will run out.”
“I haven’t come back to join up with the James-Younger gang if that’s what you think.”
“There’s an opening,” Doss responded. “Pinks killed John Younger a few weeks back. You hear ’bout that?”
“Saw it in the newspaper.”
“Yep. The Boys are in all the newspapers. They’re making a name for themselves.” Doss shook his head. “You know fame can seduce a man to thinking he’s more than he really is.”
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You can read more about Almost An Outlaw on my website: Here
Have a safe holiday weekend!