Please welcome our very special guest Tracy Garrett back to Petticoats and Pistols. Tracy will be giving TWO lucky commenters an e-copy of her upcoming release Robbie. Details can be found at the end of her post.
The Homestead Act of 1862, signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln, gave adventurous and brave settlers the chance to own land west of the Mississippi River—up to 160 acres each. All they had to do was live on the land and improve it. After five years, the homesteader could file for his or her patent, or deed of title.
Robbie Hathaway, the hero in my next release, ROBBIE, took advantage of that Act to acquire land in northwest Nebraska, not too far from King’s Ford, where he was raised. The adopted son of Reverend James and Esther Hathaway (JAMES, Book 13, Bachelors and Babies Series), Robbie has always wanted to know who he came from—and why they didn’t want him.
A chance meeting in a saloon in North Platte, Nebraska, sends him to Wyoming, where he finally finds answers—and his future.
ROBBIE – Coming October 1, 2021
Left on a pastor’s front porch as an infant, Robbie’s arrival made them a family. Though raised in love, the man he’s become needs to know who he came from… And why didn’t they want him anymore? Then a chance meeting sends him to a remote ranch in Wyoming where he finds more than just his past.
Exiled for believing the promises of a man and left to piece together a new life for herself and her child, Anna will face challenges she never anticipated. When she falls for the stranger whose arrival brings that carefully built life crashing down, can she trust that this time she chose well?
A fatherless child knows exactly who should be her new papa, but can she help her mama believe it, too? A new future awaits them all, if only the three can become a family.
EXCERPT from ROBBIE
North Platte, Nebraska, 1901
His very first Harvest drive with his own herd was finally over—and never had a September been so long. Robbie Hathaway slapped at the dust on his hat and clothes before stepping into the bank, ducking his head a little to avoid cracking his skull on the frame. He’d done all right for only moving fifty head of R-Cross-H cattle to market. Combining his herd with Douglas Randall’s meant the man had an extra cowhand for the drive, while Robbie had help with his own cattle, a chuckwagon to keep him fed, and the safety that comes in numbers.
As soon as the money from selling his beeves was wired to the bank in King’s Ford, he was going to find food and a bath. “Bath and a shave first,” he decided, scratching at the multi-week growth of beard gracing his chin.
“May I help you, sir?” The man behind the counter kept his expression carefully blank.
“I’d like to see Mr. Thompson, please.”
“He’s very busy. Perhaps I can—”
“No, thanks. I was told to ask for Mr. Thompson.”
“I’ll see if he’s available. If you’ll wait here.”
It wasn’t a request, so Robbie leaned against the counter. Several minutes later, the man returned and pointed him toward an open door at the end of the room.
The manager of the First Bank of North Platte eyed Robbie from behind his ostentatious oak desk, a look of distaste pruning his mouth.
Robbie glanced at the name plate on the desk. “Robbie Hathaway, Mr. Thompson. Douglas Randall recommended you and your bank. I’d like to wire some money to my bank in King’s Ford.” Douglas had said this was the only bank in town that didn’t charge the price of a cow on the hoof to wire money.
The banker’s distaste disappeared behind a smile as he rose and extended a hand. Nothing like a pocket full of cash to garner a money man’s appreciation.
“Of course. It will be my pleasure to be of service.” His eyes lit at the sight of the money. “And please thank Mr. Randall for his trust.”
“You can thank him yourself. He said to tell you he’d be along, just as soon as his sale is complete.” Robbie held out the cash and a small piece of paper. “There’s the information you need.”
“Wonderful. I’ll see to your transaction personally. If you’ll just wait here?”
“Uh, Mr. Thompson, I’d appreciate it if you’d count that money right here. Just to be sure I didn’t make a mistake.”
The banker’s eyes narrowed ever so slightly, but he did as requested. Once they both knew exactly how much money he was wiring, he left Robbie in his office.
Robbie waited more than twenty minutes, fidgeting and fretting the whole time about handing his hard-earned cash to a man he’d just met. But carrying it with him all the way back to King’s Ford would be painting a target on his back, even if he took the train. And Douglas said the bank was reputable.
He’d held back enough to pay for train tickets to Ft. Fetterman, northwest of Douglas, Wyoming for himself and his horse, a couple of hotel rooms and some meals along the way, and some trinkets for his mother and sister. The last thing his father said when he left was, Remember to bring a little something for the women.
With the bank transaction finally completed, Robbie walked to the barber shop and bath house across from the hotel where he’d taken a room. It was the same hotel and same barber Douglas had used for the past twenty plus years and that was enough recommendation for him. Once he was neck deep in a tub full of clean, steaming water, he considered his options for the evening.
A meal at the hotel? Or should he partake of food and everything else on offer at The Rose Saloon and Dance Parlor?
Deciding he wasn’t interested in spending time with one of Madame Rose’s girls, he dressed in the only go-to-church clothes he’d brought along and headed for the hotel restaurant. He’d just been seated when he was hailed.
“Evenin’, Robbie. Mind if we join you?” Douglas walked up to the table with Wyatt Harrison, another rancher who’d made the drive from King’s Ford to North Platte with them.
“Please do.” He caught the eye of the pretty young woman who’d showed him to the table and motioned for two more menus.
Robbie didn’t know Harrison that well, mostly because, unlike Douglas, he hadn’t been pestered by a young boy to teach him how to be a rancher. Robbie had searched Douglas out at every Harvest from the time he was tall enough to climb on a horse on his own. When Douglas realized Robbie was serious about learning, he’d made him an honorary hand and the real training began.
While they enjoyed a steak and all the fixings, the three men chatted about the price of their beeves on the hoof, how easy a trip it had been this year, anything that came to mind. Once they’d washed down their apple pie with coffee, they all sat back with a sigh. “It sure is nice to eat something besides Cookie’s recipes.”
“That’s true. The man is decent at the fire, but his menu is limited.” Douglas declined more coffee. “Harrison and I plan to catch the train back to Wyoming day after tomorrow, if you’d like to join us for the trip back.”
“I appreciate the offer. It doesn’t make sense to stay in town very long. Too many nights sleeping in a real bed might make a man soft.”
They shared a laugh. “Fine then, it’s settled. You got plans for tonight?”
Robbie signaled for their checks. “I thought I might grab a beer at The Rose. Maybe sit down to a couple hands of cards.”
Harrison chuckled. “I sometimes forget you do those things, you being raised by a preacher and all. Mind if we tag along?”
“Suit yourself.” Robbie counted out the money to pay for his meal, adding a little extra for the waitress, then motioned for the two older men to lead the way.
Night had crowded out the daylight while they ate, and Robbie studied the shadows and the people they passed carefully as they strolled along the boardwalk. Lantern light from the few open businesses spotted the scuffed planks with gold. Though no one was supposed to be carrying a gun, he knew better than to assume everyone followed the law.
They passed a duded-up city slicker, wearing a gray striped suit and garish scarlet vest, with a matching hat band on his gray bowler. The man stopped to stare as they passed. With no guns to defend himself, the attention made Robbie itchy. Finally, they stepped up the high threshold into The Rose. “Let’s sit over here.” He motioned to an empty table near the bar.
Douglas called out their order to the bartender then settled in a chair and glanced around the crowded saloon. City folk and cowboys rubbed elbows at the bar and card tables, all eager to spend what they’d earned. “I thought you wanted to join a game.”
“Maybe later.” With their backs to the wall, Robbie could watch the room for a while. Around here it never paid to let down your guard.
The bartender had just dropped off their beers when the city slicker came into the saloon. He hesitated just inside and scanned the room, like he was looking for someone. When his gaze lit on Robbie, a huge grin split his face.
“Well, Clade Newton, you old dog. What are you doing in these parts?” He strode to their table, hand extended, then stopped, stared and let his hand drop. “You’re not Clade Newton.” The man shoved his bowler back with one pale finger. “Well, cover me in honey and call me a bee. You could be his twin brother, I do declare.” He took off his fancy hat and scratched the top of his head with a single finger. “Who would have thought it? Sorry to bother you, gentlemen.”
Robbie watched him turn to leave. “Wait.” Under the table he flexed long fingers sore from weeks of holding leather reins and chasing cows. “It’s not every day a man hears he has a twin.” He tried for a friendly smile. “Join us?”
ROBBIE is available for pre-order HERE.
(QR code for ROBBIE below)
If you’d like to read his parents’ story, you can find JAMES right HERE.
Thanks for stopping by to visit today! Please, leave a comment – I’ll choose two folks to win an electronic copy of ROBBIE on release day.