Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory
Dear Mr. Clemens,
Here is the report you requested. Of late, I’ve been exploring the rumors of gold to be found in the Wyoming territory of the former colonies. While the rumors are true, the location of the gold fields is on lands belonging to the Sioux nation. Relations are hostile between these aborigines and the somewhat more civilized government of the United States of America. In addition, the area of the gold fields, known as the Black Hills, is exceedingly difficult to access. Thus, few white men and fewer white women have traveled through the place. I have determined to do so, myself. Not for greed of gold, but for greed of experience. I have never denied my eagerness to see what is around the next corner, tree, rock, or river bend. Be that as it may, I am currently in the boomtown of Cheyenne seeking a guide of good reputation to shepherd my little party [Yes, despite her megrims, my maid Analisa is still with me, but more of her peccadillos at another time.]
To continue, I have interviewed a number of guides only one of whom has proven suitable. The first was a shifty-eyed drunk whom I would not allow within my chambers. The second, a Mr. J. Bridger, is a quite famous mountain man. He was sober and very entertaining, but his English is so poor I could scarcely understand him. Heavens, the man could not even read. Nor was his hygiene acceptable.
The third man, Mr. W. Hickock is also quite famous. He is very colorful wearing pistols holstered on each hip and having long, locks of hair, which were kept scrupulously clean, unlike Mr. Bridger. I had almost agreed to accept Mr. Hickock’s services despite his exorbitant fees when the most unruly and oddly dressed female I had ever seen burst into the room and drew her pistol, holding me and Mr. Hickock at gunpoint.
“Y’ ain’t a goin’nowheres without me Bill,” the woman stated. “And I ain’t a lettin’ y’ dilly dally with some hoity toity female foreigner. ‘Til I sez otherwise, I’m the onliest woman whose skirts y’ kin lift.
Did I mention that this creature wore men’s pants and a fur covering that looked as if it had once been part of a bear? I bristled at being called hoity toity by anyone of such obviously low stamp, to say nothing of the idea that I might ‘lift my skirts’ for any strange man. Before I could issue the set down this woman deserved. Mr. Hickock was on his feet, nobly placing his body between me and the pistol’s line of fire.
“Now Jane,” he said in a tone used to sooth wild animals. “You know I wouldn’t try to two-time you or any woman to whom I commit myself.”
“I know nothin’ of the sort, and won’t ‘til y’ agree t’ marry me.”
“I’m already married, Jane, as you are well aware.”
“Don’t keep you from cattin’ around with saloon dancers and squaws.”
Mr. Hickock cast a glance at me and could see I was less that pleased over what I’d heard and seen. I shook my head at him. He sighed and picked up his hat, then took Jane by the arm and escorted her from the room.
I have discovered that very few words are needed in this part of the world to convey significant information. Mr. Hickock perceived correctly that I would not be needing his services in any capacity. Yet he was kind enough to send another guide for me to interview.
This character, one Skinner Jones, I might have rejected instantly. Jones personal hygiene looked and smelled no better than Mr. Bridger’s. However, the educated speech that came from Jones’s mouth roused my interest, so I invited my guest to share tea with me as we discussed the possibility of escort from Cheyenne to the Black Hills.
Jones, despite all appearances and scents, was surprisingly erudite. Our conversation ranged from the Souix and their situation, to life on the Wyoming trails, and from there to the exigencies of my own travels. We discussed Dickens, Milton, and Shakespeare. I was introduced to new authors such as Poe, Melville, and Clemens. (Hence my communication started with that last author as a result of reading some very entertaining tales written under the pen name of Mark Twain.)
Not only was Jones an educated, well-spoken, and entertaining conversationalist, the guide exhibited a startling degree of comfort with proper conduct during a tea service. When I probed for more of Jones’s background, the guide became evasive and skillfully re-directed my questions. In another person, say of Mr. Bridger’s ilk, I might have become wary enough to decline that person’s escort. However, the combination of Jones’s manners, obvious erudition, and skillful handling of the most probing questions sparked my curiosity.
By the time we had finished our tea and conversation began to lag, I had made up my mind. I offered Jones the job. The guide would accept only if I chose to avoid the Black Hills and would be willing to travel to other safer locations in the territory. Jones guaranteed me I would not be disappointed. A description of Lake Yellowstone, the Wind River, and an area called Smoke Valley intrigued me so much that I was eager to dispense with any plans to visit the black Hills. There was one other item which decided my cooperation with Jones’s plans. Throughout our conversation, I observed that Jones behaved more like a female—the handling of cups and saucers, a certain delicacy of conduct when eating the cakes and drinking the tea, and a number of very subtle mannerisms that, in this wild western environment, perhaps only another delicately raised woman might recognize. What in the world was such a woman doing masquerading as a teamster? How had she come by the skills to, as is said in the west, ‘skin mules’ and earn the regard of men such as Mr. Hickock?
I had to know the answers to these questions and more. When I do, I shall write them down and if I obtain Jones’s permission will seek to publish the Legend of Skinner Jones. In the interim, I will be able to continue sending to the Tattler small tidbits detailing my adventures in Wyoming in the company of Skinner Jones.
About the Book
One Night’s Desire, Historical Western Romance (1870 Wyoming)
A WOMAN ON THE RUN ~ Rustlers, claim jumpers and fire, nothing will stop Kiera Alden from reuniting her family. But an accusation of murder threatens her dreams and sets Marshall Evrett Quinn on her trail. She may be able to escape prison bars and eventually prove her innocence, but she can’t escape Quinn’s love.
A LAWMAN IN HOT PURSUIT ~ Marshall Evrett Quinn is relentless in pursuit of law-breakers, and pretty Kiera Alden is no exception. Clever and courageous, she evades him until chance encounter turns the tables. Finally, he has this elusive desperado under arrest, but success is bittersweet when she captures his heart.
Buy Links for One Night’s Desire:
B & N–http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/one-night-s-desire-rue-allyn/1115916242?ean=9781440567186
You can read an excerpt of One Night’s Desire here http://rueallyn.com/2c2ONDexcerpt.html.
About the Author
Rue Allyn is the award-winning author of Historical, Contemporary and erotic Romance. When not writing, Rue travels the world and surfs the internet in search of background material and inspiration for her next heart melting romance. She loves to hear from readers, and you may contact her at contact@RueAllyn.com. She can’t wait to hear from you.
I had a terrific time today providing some of my research on my current work in progress, tentatively titled The Legend of Skinner Jones. This book tells the story of Boyd Alavarez and Elise Van Demer, two secondary characters from One Night’s Desire ~ Wildfire Love Book 2. The action of the Skinner Jones story takes place a few years after that of One Night’s Desire. Here’s a little more information about that book.