Tey rode into town at mid-day, the unseasonable warmth of the October sun was beating down, his horse’s head hung low. Tey knew Mustang was in dire need of water. He was exhausted, they both were. He spotted the saloon sign and guided the horse slowly across the dusty street. As they moved in the direction of The Red Petticoat saloon, Tey noticed a burly man arguing with a slim blonde woman on the boardwalk. The woman half turned at his approach, catching his attention. Tey stared into the brightest pair of eyes he’d ever seen. Two things registered; she was young and pretty with compelling yellow green eyes that reminded him strongly of a mountain cat.
Just as Tey assimilated her good looks and trim figure, the older man standing beside her lifted his arm and backhanded her. She spun off the wooden boardwalk out into the dirt, landing at Mustang’s front legs. The shocked horse reared up in alarm and Tey had his work cut out bringing the horse under control and back down to earth, safely away from the recumbent girl.
After the man had lashed out at the fallen girl, he hurled curses down upon where she lay, spittle spraying from his mouth with the accompanying abuse. Tey dismounted and hitched Mustang to the rail outside the saloon where a water trough stood full; the water instantly gained the horse’s attention and he calmly began drinking, ignoring the human drama unfolding behind him. A small brown and white dog sat atop the horse on Tey’s blanket roll. He watched his master with intelligent brown eyes, staying safely up where he was, well out of the fray.
Tey quickly reached the girl and was about to help her up, when a tall dark haired man appeared from inside the saloon and jumped down into the sandy dust beside her.
“Are you all right, chiquita?” he asked, obviously concerned. Tey surmised the man to be of Spanish or more likely, Mexican descent.
“She yorn?” he asked the man who was hunkered down on one knee beside the prone girl. He glanced up at Tey and stretched out his hand.
“I’m Gabriel Vasquez. Nope, she is not mine. This is Stephanie Kendrick, she is the daughter of that sonofabitch there,” he said, nodding at the irate man still bellowing obscenities from the sidewalk.
“Tey.” He held out his hand and shook Gabe’s hand. “Hell of a way to treat your daughter.”
“I agree. Come chiquita, let’s get you up, all right?” Gabriel placed his arm under the girl’s shoulders and lifted her up.
“Dios mío, she is bleeding… Kendrick!” he bellowed, “fetch Doc Norwood… fast!”
Tey saw that the back of the girl’s dress was crimson with blood. He looked over to where the girl’s father stood, his mouth gaping wide, lips flapping wordlessly at the sight of his daughter’s blood-stained dress.
“Godamnit,” Tey muttered, disgusted by the man’s inaction. “The doc, where does he live?” he called to him urgently.
Kendrick pointed down the street, his bulbous eyes fixed upon his daughter, who was by now swooning in Gabe’s arms. “I will take her inside, you fetch the doc,” Gabriel stated, nodding at Tey whilst scooping the girl up into his arms.
Tey gave a brief nod and was about to set off in the direction the man had indicated, when Kendrick suddenly yelled, “That’s right, take her into the bawdy house, that’s where she belongs, the little slut. She ain’t no daughter of mine… she can stay there and good riddance!” The man cussed some more before turning and stomping off in the opposite direction to where he had signaled the doctor’s house to be.
Tey swore under his breath, turned and ran down the street until he spotted a doctor’s plate set upon a door. He hammered hard, until he heard a man within shout, “All right, I hear you. I’m fetching my bag… Be right with you!” The door was flung wide and a pretty smiling woman greeted him.
“I’m Mrs. Della Norwood, my husband Anson is the doctor. He’ll be right with you, cowboy.” At that moment a man side stepped around her, stopping briefly to drop a kiss on her cheek as he passed. Tey heard him say, “Be good,” as he hefted his black leather doctor’s bag. “Where to?” he asked.
“Saloon,” Tey replied briefly before setting off at a lope, leading the way.
“Man of few words I see,” muttered the doctor, drawing alongside Tey.
“Yup, name’s Tey, just arrived in town.”
“So, do you know who my patient might be?”
“Pretty girl, amazing green, yellow eyes like a mountain cat.” Tey frowned. “I think they said her name’s Stephanie Kendrick. She fell off the walk outside the saloon. She’s bleeding heavily all over her skirts. A man called Vasquez took her inside the saloon.”
“Stephanie Kendrick… really?”
They reached the saloon and Tey followed Doc Norwood inside. A large aproned woman waved the doctor over to the back of the room where they both left through a door.
Tey turned toward the bar and slid onto a stool. “A shot of the good stuff, and a bowl of water,” he told the pretty girl who was serving behind the bar, wearing a fetching smile and a pretty dress. He gave a high pitched whistle and the small dog who had sat atop his horse outside, scooted under the swinging doors, skidding to a halt beside him. A bowl of water appeared on the bar but no whiskey.
“You have to check the hardware in before you get a drink in this establishment, Mister.” A woman’s pleasantly accented voice came from behind him. English, Tey surmised, but part with his guns? No way!
He swung around and studied the woman, a beautiful blue eyed blonde. Her gaze met his steadily without fear. Tey liked that. “Ma’am,” he said quietly and touched the brim of his hat to her.
“I am Madam Jewel, part owner of this establishment. I believe you met my partner Gabe earlier, out in the street. Thank you for fetching Doctor Norwood.”
“You’re welcome. How’s the girl doing?”
“I am sorry to say that Stephanie has lost the baby she was carrying but the doctor is with her now and seems confident that he can stop the bleeding.”
“An’ her husband?” Tey asked.
Jewel shook her head. “She has none that I know of and apparently her father has disowned her. We will care for her here and try to help reconcile Stephanie with her father.”
Tey nodded. His heart contracted at the familiar but pitiful tale of a girl taken advantage of before she had a ring on her finger. Still it was none of his business, he was here to do a job and that’s what he was gonna do. In his line of work, it didn’t pay to get attached to female folk, they always wanted more than he could offer them. Nope, he’d stick to sweet whores and good rye whiskey. Speaking of which…
“Sorry, ma’am, I don’t part with my guns, no time, no how.”
“Then we can’t serve you Mr…”
“The name’s Tey.”
“Well, good day to you then, Mr. Tey.” She turned and walked away and Tey watched the sway of her hips appreciatively until she was out of sight.
Tey turned back to the bar. “There another saloon in this town?” he asked the pretty bar woman who was polishing glasses with a surprisingly clean looking bar cloth.
“Sorry, only the Red Petticoat and you won’t get a better run saloon than this one. Our gems are sweet and clean, food is great and the roulette wheel isn’t fixed but if you want whiskey, you’re going to have check in those pistols, cowpoke.”
What was it with the women around here, all of them assuming he was a cowboy? Still, wouldn’t hurt for them to assume that for a while, it sounded better than the truth.
Tey sighed. He hated to be parted from his guns. He felt undressed without them but by God he wanted that drink. He’d been out on the trail for just over a couple of weeks, traveling on horseback across Arizona to California in one of the hottest Octobers that he could recall. A hand on his shoulder shook him out of his reverie and he looked down into the pretty smiling face of a girl dressed in a white laced bodice and a bright red flounced petticoat.
“Well, howdy, cowboy. I’m Peridot, I work here. You lookin’ for company maybe?”
He tilted back his hat and grinned at her. “Surely shall be later on, baby girl, just as soon as I get me a glass of rye and a hot bath.” He ran his eye speculatively over her body. He liked what he saw; a good pair of creamy pillowing breasts swelled out of her pretty camisole top and her small waist flared out over shapely hips and a curvy ass. His shaft instantly hardened, it had been a while.
Tey stuck to whores but only the young and the clean. Frankly the fresh variety was few and far between out west and he had to make do with his trusty old right hand more often than not. Both his cock and his hand were sick of the sight of one another. According to his eyes and his manhood, things were looking up. Tey saw the woman look down at his hardened crotch with a small knowing smile.
“We have a bathing room in-house, buster, so how’s about you leave the hardware here and come with me for a real hot, hot bath, hmm?”
“Tell you what, I gotta take Mustang to the livery, so you fill that tub and I’ll be right back.” He trailed the back of one finger down the sloping cleavage of Peridot’s breasts. “Oh an’ honey, when I say fill the tub, I mean I want you in it, with these babies floating free where I can see ‘em welcoming me on my return.” She giggled, agreeing with a nod. Tey pulled out a wedge of notes and peeled off a couple of greenbacks, handing them to her. “Bring a bottle of the good stuff with you. I assume I get to keep my guns inside the bathing room?”
“Yes, sir,” Peridot replied. Tey gave her a look of approval. He did like a woman who knew how to address a man. Once he’d gone, his small dog trotting beside him, Peridot fanned her face. It had been a long time since a client had such an effect on her. “Phew!” she muttered, she was slicker than maple syrup just at the thought of bedding the man. Pulling herself together, she bought the bottle of rye from Amy behind the bar and headed off to the bathing room to fill a tub designed for two.
Tey left Dog with Mustang, curled up in the hay next to the horse, happy now that he had some strips of beef jerky digesting inside him.
When Tey finally entered the bathing room, he heard a sultry voice calling to him. Pushing the door wide he stopped and leaned against the doorjamb to admire the view. The woman named Peridot was laid back in the widest tub he’d ever seen, her tits floating free in white foamy bubbles, they looked just as he’d imagined them. Full and magenta tipped, they beckoned him to join them.
“Howdy, cowboy, planning on coming in?” she asked, her voice low and sexy. She held his gaze as she parted her legs in open invitation. Tey needed no further solicitation. He began to strip, his eyes never once leaving those buoyant pleasure globes of hers. He watched her eyes widen when he unbuttoned his trousers and his impressive cockstand sprung free.
“Now that’s just the kind of welcome I like,” she purred, licking her lips unconsciously. Tey stood by the side of the tub, his hands slipping over and around the silken, slippery balloons of her breasts, enjoying the sensation of kneading her soft flesh.
“Hurry up and wash my cock, woman. Then wrap that naughty mouth of yours around it and show me what a good little girl you are. If you can prove you are a good girl, well then, I might not tan that delectable ass of yours… but then again, what else is a man supposed to do with such a delectable rounded rump?”
“A cowpoke’s poke maybe?” Peridot suggested naughtily, batting her eyelashes.
“You’re a real sassy minx. Yup, you’ll be getting that wicked little ass whapped tonight, and if you’re really bad, I’ll certainly give it a cowpoke or two!” Peridot sniggered delightedly. If she was any judge of men and she surely was, then this was going to be a very good night! After her hands soaped and rinsed his goodly sized shaft, she slowly lowered her open mouth over the blunt head, loving the way he filled her mouth as she sucked him down slowly, accustoming her throat to his size. Her action was accompanied by his resonating groan of pleasure.
Yup, tonight sure was gonna be a very good night indeed.
Stephanie Kendrick opened her eyes and looked about her. A washstand stood in one corner, a chair that she saw held her clothing, was placed in the other. A bedside cupboard stood next to her single bed with a jug of water and glass set on top.
If her clothes were over on the chair, then what was she wearing? Lifting her arm, she looked at the white lace edged sleeve of a nightgown. Where on earth was she? She felt so weak and achy. Shutting her eyes, she pieced together the events of the past few hours. The fresh realization that she had lost her baby swept over her and tears slipped silently down her cheeks. The further loss of her own father today and Kelly, the father of her child, almost overwhelmed her.
Kelly. She couldn’t bear the despair that thinking about him caused her. It was far worse than the drawing pain deep in her womb, or the throbbing of her face where her father had hit her. Kelly’s final words to her had torn out her soul and destroyed any belief she had about their future.
“You are what? I have lain with many girls and none of them got pregnant, because, I draw out! So I know that you have lain with another man, if not other men. Get out of my sight! We are over, finished, d’you hear me, you slut!”
She whimpered at the recollection of his harsh words and tried to turn on her side wanting to curl up and protect herself from the bitter memory but the pain in her womb halted her movement and she gasped, the agony keeping her flat on her back.
A cool hand settled on her forehead, soothing her, as she wept harrowing tears of loss.
A gentle voice shushed her. “You are safe and cared for here, I promise that no one shall hurt you, Stephanie, and your father will only be allowed to visit at your behest. Doctor Norwood ordered you to rest. You have lost a great deal of blood, my dear.”
Stephanie turned her head on the pillow and recognized Madam Jewel from the Red Petticoat. Is that where she was? Well, it was appropriate at any rate. She tried to speak and thank the beautiful blonde but a dry croak was all she could manage. Instantly a glass of cool water was pressed to her lips and she drank thirstily before flopping back onto the pillows. A cool cloth gently swiped her face then rested across her forehead. Once again she attempted to talk, this time with a little more success.
“Thank you. Where am I?” she asked weakly.
“The Red Petticoat, you will be staying until you are well enough to leave but I want you to stay as long as you need to, you are very welcome here, Stephanie.”
Tears welled in Stephanie’s eyes at the kind and softly spoken words of her hostess. It had been a long time since she had experienced such care from another woman, not since her mama had passed several years ago in fact.
“Thank you, I-I don’t deserve such generosity,” she whispered, choking back an anguished sob.
Jewel gazed down at the young woman, her heart twisted with pity. She knew how this girl was suffering, because she had gone through much the same experience herself, although she had been lucky enough not to fall pregnant. She ran the wet muslin cloth over the girl’s pale face once more before settling herself down upon the bed side. She placed her palm over the girl’s small hand. As Stephanie followed her movements, Jewel marveled at the girl’s rather startling eyes, a clear yellow-green. So bright that they reminded her of a mountain cat she had once briefly spotted whilst out riding in the Sierras with Gabe. They sometimes took off together with a picnic, spending the day together in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains. These mountains housed so many of the gold mines where their customers toiled all week before flooding into the saloon at weekends to spend their hard earned gold and cash.
“I am going to tell you a story and then I want you to sleep, child.” Jewel smiled at her and squeezed her hand as Stephanie nodded once, her gaze fixed upon Jewel’s sapphire colored eyes.
“Once upon a time there was a very young and innocent English girl who grew up surrounded by luxury. She lived in a castle with her father who was a hard task master and expected his daughter to be a perfect little princess. The girl was so protected that she had no idea that duplicity and unkindness existed in the world. She grew into womanhood naive and far too trusting. One day she met a handsome fellow who stole her heart and offered her love the like of which the pretty girl had never known before and she worshiped this man, giving all that he asked of her, believing his promise of a future together.” Jewel fell silent a moment, lost in her own thoughts and memories.
“Is that the end of the tale?” Stephanie’s voice brought her back to the present. She smiled sadly down at the ashen faced invalid.
“No, child. One day there was a grand ball, everyone who was important in the area was invited and while the party was in full swing the girl’s gentleman drew her aside into a private room where he ravaged her and she, adoring him as she did, allowed him, enjoying his skilled attention. The girl fully expected this party to be the moment of her engagement announcement.”
“Ball?” Stephanie frowned at the term.
“That is what a grand dance is called in England. Suddenly the guests entered the room and the girl was discovered in a compromising situation. There was shock and condemnation from everyone, including the girl’s father who was furious with her. The girl waited expectantly for her lover to explain everything and claim her as his future wife, but alas, he denied her and instead took the hand of another young lady, leaving the girl to face the shame and ridicule all alone.”
“Oh!” Tears of empathy leaked down Stephanie’s temples into her hair line making her beautiful eyes glitter with liquid sheen. Jewel smiled and squeezed her hand in reassurance.
“The girl was miserable for a very long time and kept herself hidden away from the world, avoiding her angry papa, but then one day a kind lady came, her grandmother, a lady who made her see that she was not in the wrong, that she had broken no promises, her only crime had been to trust a man whom she loved. Her grandmother built up the girl’s self-esteem and taught her to love again and to be brave. Eventually the girl met an honorable man, one who loved her as she loved him, with heart and soul and I believe that they will live happily ever after. Stephanie, you will eventually heal and you will become strong and capable once more but in the meantime please let those of us at the Red Petticoat befriend you and help you through this difficult time.”
Stephanie’s tears flowed faster. She nodded her head, too moved to reply. Jewel leaned forward, pressing her lips against the girl’s damp temple. “Sleep now, child. I will ask Nettie to make you some reviving soup for later.”
Gabe swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat as he eavesdropped outside the door, listening as Jewel recounted her own tale of heartbreak and woe, his hands clenching and unclenching. Every time he heard her story, he wanted to crush that cowardly Englishman under his heel. Yet, without her past misfortune, she would not have come to America and he would never had met and loved her. He heard the rustle of her skirts as she moved across the room to the doorway. As she swept into the hallway he stretched out his arm and scooped her into his embrace. His lips crushed hers and she molded against the length of his hard, lean body, acquiescing to him physically as she always did, wherever and whenever he demanded. He adored that about her. His Jewel had grown into a strong independent woman yet her submission to him as her man was something he would always treasure and never take advantage of. His one thought as her sweet mouth opened to receive his tongue, was how much he loved and adored her. His querida, the Jewel of his heart.
Breaking the kiss, he held her at arm’s length, his concerned gaze assessing her emotional state.
“I am fine, Gabe, but I ache for that poor child. At least I was lucky enough to escape becoming pregnant.”
Gabe held her face between his hands, gazing down into her gorgeous face. “Your past brought you here to me mi amor and for that I can only be grateful. Fear not, for together we shall help this niña to find her place within the world.”
“Thank you, Gabe, you always know just the right thing to say.”
He kissed the tip of her nose. “Come, mi corazon, we have at least an hour to ourselves. I want to hold you in my arms and hear those cries of yours that speed up my heart and spur on mi falo, querida.”
Jewel gave a low chuckle and allowed her man to tug her towards their room. Gabe never failed to turn her knees to jelly and her pussy to molten lust. He was her rock and salvation, always knowing when she needed his strength and support. Very soon the last thing on her mind was her past as her virile man brought her very much into the present with his searing looks and commanding touch.