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Excerpts from The Saga

         Oceans Apart



           Rosie and Inger were engrossed in choosing candy as Genny placed her order, and Beth was looking through some dress fabrics.  All seemed peaceful.  She began carrying things out to the buckboard as soon as they were ready and she had just packed the first load when a voice at her elbow startled her.

            “Mornin’ Genny.  Ain’t seen you in a while.”

            She turned to see Cal Devlin leaning on the rail, making no effort to assist.  She took in his unkept appearance and drawn face and guessed that he still wasn’t working.  She hadn’t seen him since he came out of prison and she didn’t care if she never did.

            “Hello, Cal,” she turned to go back into the store.

            Cal stepped quickly in front of her.  “Hey, ain’t you got a few words for an old friend.”

            Genny sidestepped and made it inside.  When she came out again with more parcels she had Beth with her. 

Cal grinned and stepped back. “Beth ain’t it? Growing fast, my girls both grown up now.  I don’t see much of them.  Julie don’t let ‘em visit.”

Genny ignored him and continued packing the buckboard.

Her indifference angered him.  Cartwright had it all, money, ranch, wife and children and he had nothing.             All thoughts of blackmail went out of his head, all he wanted was revenge on those who had been friends and now ignored him like he was dirt.

“You think you’re somethin’ special, don’tcha?  Just like that husband of yours.  Too high and mighty to give me the time o’ day, never mind a job.”

Genny drew in a breath and then let loose.  “He offered you a job, and so did Hoss, but then you got too drunk to remember when to turn up.  Your brothers have tried to help you, but you just drink and carouse your days away.  As for Julie, maybe if you’d ever said one kind word to her instead of beating her, she’d still be with you and you’d see your girls.”

Cal laughed, to Genny it sounded evil, as he leered at her.  “Your man ain’t above a bit of carousing.  Seen him in town a few times since the old man died.  Spending his inheritance on whiskey and women.  Real close with Nonie Wells while her man’s been in prison.”

Genny stepped back in shock.  Her heart told her that it was just Cal being obnoxious, but one look at his face told her that there might just be a grain of truth in there somewhere.  Hadn’t Hoss said that Adam had been drinking since Papa Ben died?  In her heart of hearts she no longer considered Nonie as a rival for Adam’s affections, but drink could do strange things to a man.  Adam had been hit hard by his father’s death and if he was drinking in Carson City, what was to say he hadn’t run into Nonie.  But no, he’d have told her, wouldn’t he?

Cal grinned.  “Guess he never told you about his little visits.  Saw him handin’ over the money, bold as brass, right there in the saloon.”

Excerpt from "Pastures New"

         For his first morning he had called a meeting of the staff for nine and he arrived with about ten minutes to spare.  He felt as if a million eyes were on him as he walked through the double oak and glass doors and across the polished wood floor to his ground floor office.  It had been Matthew’s and he wasn’t surprised to note that it had been stripped bare.  The beautiful antique desk that had stood there had been replaced with a rather rickety table and an old dining chair.  The bookcases were gone and papers were stacked in heaps around the room as there was only one cupboard to accommodate them all.  He grinned; starting from scratch was what he had expected and it seemed Matthew Thurston aimed to see that he did just that.

            Promptly at nine, his head clerk, Abraham Dunwoody, knocked on the door and peered around it.  “The staff is ready for you Mr. Cartwright.”

            Adam moved away from the window and nodded. “Thank you, Mr. Dunwoody.  Please call me Adam. If we are to work closely together, then too much formality can be stifling, don’t you think?”

            “I could not think of calling my employer by his given name, sir.  It wouldn’t be right,” Dunwoody said stiffly, as he turned to go.

            Adam raised an eyebrow; well, that told him where they stood.  He observed the man as he followed him into the main foyer and then across to the large printing room where the staff were assembled.  Dunwoody would bear watching.  He was about the same age as Adam, of average height and build; in fact everything about him was average.  However, he did have more hair than his employer, Adam chuckled at that one.  Dunwoody’s hair was going gray and was plastered down flat on each side of a central parting, making him look a lot older.

            Adam had never been afraid of addressing a group of employees.  He had handled hardened miners, argumentative ranch hands and all manner of office workers but to see a group of some thirty people made him a little nervous.  These were Matthew Thurston’s people; many of them probably only here because they needed a job, their loyalties still with the old management.