This is an exciting time for me. With release day drawing nearer for Keeping Faith, I’m eagerly looking forward to sharing this new story with readers.
To whet your appetite a bit, here’s how the story begins. Enjoy!
Awful thing when a man didn’t want to see his own mother.
Tom Henderson figured he ought to be glad—damned glad—she was coming to Sunset, but all he really felt was a lot of guilt. Or maybe it was shame. Most likely, a good dose of both.
But how else was he supposed to feel? No point mincing words. Some truths couldn’t be avoided. His mother was a drunk, a whore, and she’d killed a man. Now, she’d arrived on the afternoon stage, she’d be living right there in Sunset, and it would be Tom’s responsibility to look after her. Little wonder he wasn’t exactly thrilled by the prospect.
“You’re late, damn it.” Charlotte Henderson stood at the stage depot, hands fisted on broad hips. “I swear, you’ve never been on time once in your life.” As her son drew near, her eyes narrowed. “Probably out screwing around to all hours last night, weren’t you?” The summer breeze ruffled her dirty blonde hair. She threw back her head and laughed. “That’s my boy, all right. At least you know how to have a good time, I’ll give you that. Never mind your poor old mother waiting on you.” Before he could stop her, she rushed forward and clasped her arms around his neck. “So, was she a pretty one, Tommy? Or just cheap and easy?”
“Ma, stop it,” he said, reaching up to disentangle himself from her smothering embrace. “I wasn’t out fooling around.”
“Why the hell not?” Stepping back, the woman eyed the tall cowboy who stood before her. Her son. Her pride and joy. That’s what she’d called him from the day he’d been born. “Something wrong with you?”
He ignored the jibe and walked to the platform to retrieve the dusty, battered valise she’d brought with her. “I stayed up late last night, getting things ready for you. I’ve found you a nice little place to stay, right outside of town. I think you’ll like it.”
“I thought I’d be staying with you.”
“I sleep in a bunkhouse, Ma. It’s no place for a lady.” What in hell was he saying? His mother was anything but a lady, and she’d probably feel right at home in a bunkhouse filled with rowdy ranch hands, but Tom pushed that thought aside. That part of his mother’s life was over and done with. He’d take care of her now, she’d have no need to go around selling herself, and somehow, between the two of them, they’d figure out how to get along, how to be some sort of family.
“What about my place, Tommy? I want to go home.”
He shook his head. “Better for you to stay here in town.” The old property where he’d been born and raised was several hours away. If she lived there, he wouldn’t be able to keep an eye on her. Besides, for all he knew, nothing was even left.
“You’ll come see me, won’t you?”
Tom heard the doubts in his mother’s voice, and he nodded. “Of course I will.” Although taller than Ma, he had the same light blond hair, the same blue eyes. He bent and kissed her cheek. “Welcome to Sunset.”