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Gambling cowboy

The Gambling Cowboy, Temecula

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Gambling cowboy litres

Postby Yodal В» 22.01.2020

.

By the time she was seventeen, she was playing poker in a local saloon and making a living—not a great living, but she was off the streets and had three meals a day.

Over the past eight years. She played poker and she played fair. She was that good. Yes, the lady gambler had ethics. She might have had to fight and scratch for everything she got, but she was no liar and no cheat-a matter of pride. Two cowboys wandered in. They stopped dead in their tracks and stared at her as though she were a three-legged heifer.

A nervous flutter moved through her stomach. What do you know, they did. So did about a dozen more who filled the Scarlet Lady that night The rain held off and business was good. She was winning. For the first time in months, she was winning. A smile threatened, but she held it back, afraid of jinxing her new found luck.

She just dealt the cards, made small talk and collected her money. Cowboys stayed a few hands, then left. Bill strolled by every so often, paused to watch a hand or two, then ambled away. She figured he was checking on her, and that was fine. Scraping the remains of his money into his hand, he left. Bill surprised her when he plopped down in the vacated chair.

Before Clair could argue the point, he banged a handful of money on the table—a mix of coins and notes—and an open bottle of whiskey, one-third empty. Judging by his red-eyed appearance, she knew exactly where that missing liquor had gone. Clair coughed slightly as a puff of smoke circled her head like a gray cloud. The pungent scent of several unwashed bodies permeated her nostrils. Bill spoke up, his deep voice loud enough for all to hear. I can beat you now.

Clair studied him through narrowed eyes. He might even call the law, claim he was cheated or such. Bill obviously got the wrong impression. His grin got Cheshire-cat big and there was another chorus of encouragement from those gathered.

He dropped a fresh deck of cards on the table in front of him and took a swig of that whiskey straight out of the bottle. A quick shuffle and he removed the jokers from the deck. She felt cornered, trapped, and the first stirrings of unease swirled in her stomach like storm clouds. Liquor trickled out of the corners of his mouth and he wiped his face with the back of his hand. How about later?

Tomorrow night? She reached for her money. Fear exploded in her and she jerked free. Bill rose out of his chair to mirror her stance. Bill was staring at her, and so were eight or ten cowboys—she was in no mood to count Stetsons. Their expressions ranged from daring to smug confidence. Sagging down in the chair, she tried again.

He sat down, his eyes never leaving hers. Money sprang upward like Mexican jumping beans. She was trapped. Absently she traced a long, curving gouge in the tabletop. Clair straightened. Her gaze flicked from one intent face to another, then back to Bill. If she could keep the bets small, they could get this over with quickly. Right, Bill? She beat him three out of four, and she guessed she was up about twenty dollars, though she never counted her money at the table.

She shifted in the chair, the wood rough against her bare skin above her dress. That acid in her stomach was swirling with tornado force. One more hand and she was out of this. Bill would be the talk of the town for months, and not pleasant talk, either. He dealt the cards, five to each of them. Clair took a quick peek, careful not to reveal them to the onlookers, then put them facedown on the table again, her fingers lightly resting on the stiff paper.

She was so close to getting out of this reasonably unscathed. They pressed in so tightly she was actually bent forward, a belt buckle cutting into the base of her neck.

Watch it! He hesitated the barest fraction of a second,. She never flinched, never looked away. Cautiously, like a man looking under a rock for a rattler, he picked up the cards and fanned them out. She knew the instant he got to that draw card. Something—excitement—flashed in his eyes. He straightened in the chair and squared his shoulders beneath his stained white shirt. Are you crazy? He was drunk as hell, that was for sure.

The man was practically preening, he was so damned pleased with himself. A leather-faced cowboy spoke up. Clair watched Bill make his way to the bar. What could she do? She shook her head and waited while he banged around behind the bar. For about five seconds you could have heard a pin drop in the place. Things kept going from bad to worse.

All she wanted was to sit here and play a few friendly hands of poker. Bill drained the last of the whiskey from the bottle and put it slowly but firmly down on the table. That temper of hers was getting the best of her.

Her conscience was clear. Bill grinned Christmas-morning big. He put down the cards one at a time as though to savor the victory. There were gasps from those present, smiles on most of the faces as all eyes turned to her.

Rain came down harder than a springtime waterfall. It seeped through every opening around his collar and cuffs and generally annoyed the hell out of him. Overhead the sky was gunshot gray; ominous clouds were snagged on the tops of the mountains and showed no sign of easing away. The rain beat down the buffalo grass and made puddles in the loamy soil. Jake shifted in the saddle and tucked the last of his breakfast into his mouth. Breakfast—cold jerky and no coffee. No way in hell could he build a fire in this downpour.

He was headed northwest. Lightning flashed across the sky, arcing like a long, bony finger pointing the way.

Thunder crashed. The packhorse neighed and balked at the sound, pulling the rope Jake had tied to the saddle horn tight against his leg. Ben Allshards. But Allshards had spotted Jake, and he and his partner had slipped out the back door. The wind picked up, sending the rain swirling in odd directions, water pelting Jake on the side of his face. He flipped up his collar and turned his head away. For two more days and nights Jake had followed wherever Allshards had led.

With no sleep, and eating in the saddle, Jake had nearly run old Tramp into the ground, a dangerous thing to do in this unforgiving country.

The Gambling Cowboy, time: 1:08
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Postby Daijin В» 22.01.2020

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Postby Tojadal В» 22.01.2020

Case cleared his throat. Cash staggered back from the car, the temporary relief making him weak. He sat down, his eyes never leaving hers.

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