Slocum 429: Slocum And The Wanton Widows Of Wolf Creek by Jake LoganSlocum 429: Slocum And The Wanton Widows Of Wolf Creek by Jake Logan

Slocum 429: Slocum And The Wanton Widows Of Wolf Creek

byJake Logan

Mass Market Paperback | October 28, 2014

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about

A lady in need is trouble indeed…

While hunting elk in the Colorado Rockies, John Slocum hears a terrible explosion followed by a frightening rumble. As he rides along the canyon, he comes upon the settlement of Wolf Creek, where an avalanche has buried all the town’s men. Their widows, meanwhile, look to Slocum for comfort.
 
But the gunslinger has his sights set on one woman in particular. While Lilith isn’t a widow, she did lose someone in the accident—a brother with connections to the claim-jumping Batson gang. Now, Slocum has to keep one eye on his gun and one on the woman sharing his bed…
Jake Logan is the author of the long-running Slocum western series, featuring the adventures of gunslinger John Slocum.
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Title:Slocum 429: Slocum And The Wanton Widows Of Wolf CreekFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:192 pages, 6.75 × 4.17 × 0.5 inPublished:October 28, 2014Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:051515492X

ISBN - 13:9780515154924

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“Jesus!” Val whispered, the sound seeming to be a genuine attempt at prayer as he threw his hands high. “Don’t shoot me, mister, please. I’m begging you.”1John Slocum glassed the bull elk as it rubbed its antlers on a juniper. The tines split the bark and shredded it as the elk pawed the ground with sharp cloven hooves.The velvet was all gone from the elk’s antlers as it marked its territory. The elk was in full rut as the autumn chill and light breeze set the yellowed aspen leaves to flutter.He estimated the distance for the shot. He would have to move down from the rock he sat on in front of a large blue spruce. But the breeze was in his favor; it blew toward him, so the elk could not pick up his scent.Just yet.Even as he wet his finger and held it up to make sure that the wind was right, he felt it shift slightly from the south to the northwest.That’s when he heard a tremendous explosion from the canyon off to his right. The ground shook beneath him, jiggled the rock on which he sat.He grabbed his Winchester ’74 to keep it from falling from its resting place against his right leg.The explosion was followed by a rumble and cracking of stone against stone.His mind raced to a conclusion.An avalanche.And not too far away.He looked back up the slope where his sorrel gelding, Prince, was tied to one of the pine trees in a copse that was well hidden from the valley below.He heard a soft whicker from Prince.The elk lifted its head and stared straight at him. It had seen the movement when he grabbed for his rifle.The elk bounded away from the meadow and ran into the timber, its pale rump disappearing in the fringe of jack pines that bordered the far edge of the glade. The juniper tree trembled as did the aspen that lined the small creek that coursed through the grassy meadow.The ground beneath Slocum shook as well. It felt as if the earth itself trembled. Slocum got to his feet and walked back up the slope to retrieve Prince.The horse was agitated. He walked in a small circle where he was tied.Slocum patted him on the neck.“Easy, boy,” he said, and untied the reins. He climbed into the saddle.The rumbling was no more, nor did he feel the tremors.“Let’s find out what all that was,” he said to his horse.He rode toward the next canyon, crossed the meadow, and climbed the opposite slope. Then he and Prince descended down an opening into a large canyon.Dust and smoke poured from the canyon and blocked his view for quite a ways.Slocum could smell the odor of blasting powder in the smothering air.He rode into the canyon with caution, ever alert to another blast.That’s when he heard a woman’s terrified scream. Then another, and still another.There was a frantic tone to the screams, and Slocum suspected that they had discovered something horrifying following the explosion he had heard.The smoke and dust gradually dissipated as he rode on up the canyon.That’s when he saw a group of young women clutching each other. They sobbed and stared at the rubble that was piled up below a limestone and dirt bluff.There was the smell of death in the air.He rode up on the women, and they turned to stare at him with tearstained cheeks. There were rivulets of tear-soaked mascara, and the rouge on their faces was diluted and faded.“They’re all dead,” one of the women said to him.“Every one of them, under that awful pile of rocks.”“They’re all buried alive!” screamed another.One woman, with a shock of red hair tied up in a bandanna, rushed over to the pile of rocks and began to tug at one of them.“It’s no use, Miranda,” another woman, a petite blonde, yelled. “They’re all gone.”Miranda Everett dropped her arms in helpless frustration and turned to look at Slocum.“Well, do something,” she said. “Can’t you help us?”“Ma’am,” Slocum said, “if there’s folk buried under that avalanche, it would take an army to dig them out.”“Oh, you,” she said, and stormed away from the rock pile. “My husband is buried under there. He might still be alive.”“No, ma’am, it’s not likely,” Slocum said.The women began to choke on the smoke and dust that still rose from the gigantic pile of broken rocks. Some of the stones were very large, boulders actually, and Slocum knew that it would take a mighty sturdy team of horses to pull those away. Even then, it would be a difficult task that would require a strong set of ropes.He listened for any sounds from under the rocks. Such as a man pleading for help.The rock pile was dead silent.And Slocum knew that the men beneath there were all dead. Probably killed instantly.Now those men were entombed, perhaps forever.“Our husbands are under those rocks!” a brown-haired woman screamed at Slocum. “And you just sit there.”“Ma’am, I’m sorry. But whoever’s under those stones is plumb dead.”The women all turned to look at him. He saw their tearstained faces, their swollen eyes, the anguished looks on their faces.He dismounted and let his reins dangle. He walked over to the women.He took off his hat out of respect for their dead husbands.The women all turned and looked him up and down. One of them stepped forward.“Mister, you got on a black shirt, black pants, wear a black hat. And them stovepipe boots are black as coal, too. What are you, a highwayman?”“No, ma’am,” Slocum said. “I was hunting elk when I heard the avalanche. I just came by to see if I could be of any help.”The woman who had spoken to him walked up close and tilted her head up to look in Slocum’s green eyes.She was blond, blue-eyed, and had an hourglass figure that was barely concealed by her tight-fitting dress.“My name is Sybil Deacon,” she said, “and my husband, Jess, is under that pile of rocks. How do you think you could help?”Slocum looked over at the landslide.“Ma’am, nobody can help whoever’s under that pile of rocks. I’m right sorry about your husband.”“Now I got nobody,” Sybil said and turned away. She buried her face in both hands and sobbed. The other women reached out for her and hugged her close.Slocum looked up through the dust and lingering smoke. He saw log cabins lining both sides of the creek, and at the top of a rise, a lone house perched on a tabletop plateau as if it belonged to someone more important than those who lived below.The log house was imposing. It had two stories and a balcony, a covered front porch. It loomed over the canyon like some mansion in another time and place.He stood there, feeling helpless against all that loss and grief.As he stared at the big log house on the hill, he saw a door open. A woman stepped out on the balcony. She wore a tight-fitting dress and there were two pistols in a gun belt strapped to her waist. She carried a rifle or a shotgun, and laid the barrel on the balcony railing.Slocum swallowed a lump of dust and saliva.The gun was pointed straight at him.2The women gathered around Slocum all turned to see what he was staring at with those green eyes narrowed into slits. “That woman looks like she means business,” he said, “or else she’s looking for trouble.”“That’s Lilith. She’s a witch,” Sybil said.“She’s a bitch, you mean,” Miranda Everett said with a disdainful toss of her red hair.“She have a husband here in this landslide?” Slocum asked.“No husband for that slut,” another woman said, a bitter tone to her voice. Her name was Cassandra Leonard.“But her wild brother is buried under there, along with our husbands,” a woman named Circe Gough said. “He had a whiskey still, which blew up last week. Good riddance, I say.”The other women murmured in assent.“Jason kept our men drunk half the time,” Cassandra said. “That’s probably why the mine exploded and rained rock down on all of them. Someone got careless.”“Half-breeds,” Circe said. “The both of them.”“Mister, if you know what’s good for you, you’ll stay away from that woman.” This was from Miranda, the petite redhead wearing a drab muslin dress that had been washed too often.“Well, is she going to shoot me?” Slocum asked.“She’s just lettin’ you know she’s mad as hell at all of us,” Cassandra said. “I don’t think she’ll shoot us.”“That’s a scattergun she’s got, and I don’t think the shot will reach this far,” Sybil said.“What do you call this place?” Slocum asked.“Wolf Creek,” Circe said in a quick reply. She had brown hair, brown eyes, and looked very young to Slocum. Not more than twenty, he figured.“Look, ladies,” Slocum said. “I’m not a highwayman. I wear black because it’s easier to see trail dust on my clothes. I was hunting elk when I heard the sound of the avalanche. I rode over to see if I could help. I can’t, so I’ll leave you with your grief and go on about my own business.”“No, no, you can’t leave,” Circe said.“No, mister, you can’t just ride off and leave us to mourn our dead.” Cassandra was tall, willowy, with coal black hair and brown eyes. Her low-cut dress barely held the mounds of her breast that bulged from her brassiere.“Won’t you stay awhile?” Sybil asked. “I just fixed a big pot of coffee for the other girls. And I made bear claws with sugar.”“Yes, yes,” the other women chorused.“Please stay a little while, won’t you?” Sybil pleaded. She smelled of lilac water, and her blond hair looked fresh and clean.Slocum’s face reddened as the women crowded up to him and pressed against his legs from two sides.He looked up at the imposing cabin at the end of the canyon.The woman, Lilith, took the shotgun off the railing and walked back inside. There was something graceful about her walk, the way she carried herself. To Slocum, she looked like a proud, aristocratic woman with her dusky skin and flowing black hair.“All right,” he said. “I’ll take coffee with you ladies. And I wouldn’t mind a bear claw or two.”Two of the women grabbed his arms and escorted him behind Sybil, who led the way to her cabin some yards away from the creek.Slocum saw the wagons and the large pile of corncobs in a ditch and stacked high in one of the wagons. And he thought he could smell corn liquor coming from the ruins of a copper still next to the ditch where the corncobs were rotting.Sybil opened the door to her cabin and stood next to it as Slocum and the women filed into the front room.He was surprised by the size of the cabin. The front room had a table surrounded by handmade chairs made from tree stumps and deer hide. The women chattered and sat down, while Sybil and Cassandra walked down the hall to the kitchen.Slocum could smell the aroma of Arbuckle’s coffee with its slight peppermint tang as he sat on a sturdy chair.The other women sat down at the large table and wiped their eyes with dainty lace kerchiefs they slipped from their sleeves.The table had a small vase of cloth posies as a centerpiece and a flannel tablecloth embroidered with Indian paintbrushes. They all looked at Slocum with reddened eyes, and most of the looks were full of admiration.He was an imposing figure as he took off his hat, and the women saw thick black hair that flowed nearly to his broad shoulders.Sybil and Cassandra walked back into the front room bearing trays of coffee and bear claws with lacy swirls of sugar and syrup atop their browned dough. They sat down and handed out small plates and coffee cups.Sybil poured the coffee as the others reached for bear claws and set them on their plates. Circe served Slocum, who sat there feeling like a lion among house cats. He sniffed perfume and scented powder, and the musk of women that lay underneath.“What’s your name, stranger?” Miranda asked as Slocum and the others blew steam from their coffee cups and took their first sips.“John Slocum.”“Hmm. John is a strong name,” Circe said. “Very manly.”The women giggled over Circe’s comment.“And what do you do?” Cassandra asked.“I’m a horse trader,” he said.“You buy horses and trade them?” Cassandra said.“I do,” he said.There was a moment of silence among the women.“But are you a hunter, too?” Miranda asked.“When I can hunt, I hunt.”“Professionally?” Circe asked.“Sometimes people hire me to hunt for them. Loggers, ranchers, prospectors, miners.”“Hmmm,” Miranda intoned. “Can we hire you to hunt for us, and bring meat to our tables?”All the women fixed their eyes on him with an intensity that was surprising.“My husband butchered our last cow over a month ago,” Sybil said. “And we shared the meat with the rest of those who live in our little settlement.”“So we need meat to stay alive,” Miranda said. “I cooked my last steak two nights ago.”“Please consider it and tell us what it would cost,” Sybil said.Slocum looked at each woman. He looked into their eyes and saw a pleading, a hunger that was almost feral. These were desperate women, made suddenly into widows. Women without their men. They looked like grown-up orphans as they sat around the table. Lost waifs who had come of age after a terrible disaster.His heart went out to them. He felt their anguish and empathized with their loss.“I reckon it wouldn’t be too much out of my way to do some hunting for you ladies,” he said. “And I wouldn’t charge you cash money, just room and board. A roof over my head and grub for my belly.”The women all showed their joy with sighs and sounds that needed no words.“You can stay at my house,” Miranda said.This was met by protests and offers from each one of the women until Slocum threw up his hands in a gesture of surrender.“There’s only one way to solve this problem,” he said.“What is that?” Sybil asked.“We can draw straws, or lots, or I could spend my nights with each one of you in turn. If you have an extra bunk, of course.”The women all smiled at him. They nodded in agreement.Slocum drank more of his coffee, then pulled out a cheroot from his shirt pocket. He stuck it in his mouth and leaned back in his chair.“I say we draw lots,” Miranda said.“No, no,” the women protested.“To see who boards Mr. Slocum first, I mean,” she said.And the women all clapped their hands with an enthusiasm that surprised Slocum.“We’ll draw cards,” Sybil said. “High card gets to take Mr. Slocum in first, and then each of us will house him in order, depending on which card we draw.”“Sounds reasonable to me,” Cassandra said.Miranda got up and went to a desk, where she found a deck of cards. She brought it to the table and shuffled it. Then she dealt out one card to each of the women.Circe, the youngest woman there, drew the ace of clubs.It was the highest card.When the order of boarding Slocum was settled, she looked at Slocum as if he were her prize.And Slocum felt the heat of her, not only on his face, but in his loins.When Circe reached over and covered his hand with hers, his crotch bulged with desire. He was glad that the table served to hide his eagerness to share a bed with this beautiful young woman.And thus, Slocum was welcomed to Wolf Creek with its bevy of wanton widows.3Slocum followed Circe to her cabin. He liked the way she walked, with a lilting swing to her hips and high-stepping boots in a long lean stride. Beneath her dress, he saw the inviting curves of her body and that excited him.Slocum had discovered that there was more to that canyon than he had suspected when he first rode in on Prince. It widened on both sides into other, even broader, canyons. Now, after Circe led him and Prince to the stables, he saw how much work the men had done. They had cut timber and built a livery stable, corrals, and chutes.Circe’s cabin was well into the timber. The log cabin was surrounded by pine trees, and as they walked toward it, Slocum saw spruce and fir trees on either side. The cabin even had a porch and an overhanging roof. There was a hand-hewn bench and two chairs on the porch, and a chunk of metal attached to the bottom step where a man could scrape his boots if they were encrusted with mud or snow.The cabin looked fairly new. He could still smell the pine sap as they walked up the few steps and onto the porch.Circe opened the door. It was not locked.“Come in, Mr. Slocum,” she said.“Why don’t you just call me John, Circe.”“All right, John. Make yourself comfortable.”The front room was spacious with a deerskin rug, hand-wrought divan and chairs, a small spinet against one wall, and a guitar on a wooden stand near another. There were also small oil paintings everywhere he looked.“Did you paint these?” he asked.“I surely did,” she said. “Alex, my husband—my late husband—added another room clear in the back. And he put in a skylight so that I have the north light when I paint.”“A glass skylight?” Slocum asked.“Yes. He found a glazier in Pueblo and had him cut the glass to fit his measurements. Alex was right handy with tools, saws, hammers, and such.”“I’m sorry he’s no longer here,” Slocum said as they stood on the deerskin rug and he gazed around the room.“It’s sad, but he never expected to live long.”“No? Why is that?”“Alex had consumption. He wanted to live in the mountains because a doctor told him the thin air would be good for him. Build up his lungs and all.”“And did it help him? Living up here, I mean.”“He was coughing and spitting up blood for the past month and could hardly breathe at night. He was very thin. His ribs showed. I didn’t expect him to live another month, to tell you the truth.”“Still, it must be a shock to lose him in a landslide. Sudden-like.”“It may have been a blessing, John. Alex suffered so, and you could look into his eyes and see that he was dying.”“I’m sorry, Circe,” he said.“Don’t be. I reconciled myself to losing him months ago. I knew it was just a matter of time.”The woman had iron in her, he thought. Such a delicate flower of a woman, but there was a backbone there he hadn’t expected.“Make yourself comfortable,” she said. “I don’t think you want to go out hunting right off.”“No, not today,” he said.She motioned toward the divan and he sat down. Circe disappeared down the hallway, and he could hear her clumping around in one of the rooms. Probably her bedroom, he thought.When she returned a few minutes later, Circe had changed from her dress into a flimsy negligee that left nothing of her body to his imagination. She took off his hat and placed it on a small side table. Then she ran her fingers through his hair as she knelt beside him on the divan.“I want you to be comfortable,” she said. “And later, I’ll fix us some lunch.”She leaned forward and kissed him. He felt her hand grip the back of his neck and there was force in her kiss. And heat. He felt a surge as his blood quickened and raced in his veins.“It’s been a long time for me,” she whispered.“A long time?”Her breath was warm on his face and there were those lips, wet now, moist with fresh tears that coursed down her face.“Since Alex and I made love,” she said. “I was hoping you’d take up some of the slack now that he’s gone, buried under all those rocks.”“Take up some of the slack?”“You know. Fill up my emptiness, John. Cure my loneliness.”“Kind of sudden, isn’t it? Your Alex is not even cold in the ground yet.”“He was cold long before he died,” she murmured. She nibbled on his earlobe, and he felt her tongue enter the cavity and lave it with hot saliva.Slocum listened to her soft voice in his ear as she began to unbutton his shirt with one hand. The other drifted down his chest and nestled in his crotch. Her fingers kneaded the hardening lump between his legs until his cock grew hard and began to push against his fly.Her fingers then unbuttoned his fly. Slocum slid down a few inches until he was sprawled on the divan at the mercy of this wanton woman named Circe.“I want you, John Slocum,” she whispered into his ear. “I want you so much.”“You won’t get any resistance from me, Circe,” he said, his voice deep and gravelly.She opened his fly and pulled his cock from its hiding place. It sprang into life like a switchblade knife.Her hand closed around it, and she began to stroke it up and down with gentle pumps.“Does that feel good?” she asked.“It does,” he said. “Very good.”“Umm. I’m glad. It’s been a long time since I did this, and never on one so big.”“He seems to like you,” Slocum said.Circe smiled.“And I like him,” she said.