Thursday’s Teaser

Okay!!  I’m starting something new. Someone suggested I write a story I can put on this page a chapter at a time, instead of hit and miss like I’ve been doing.  SO–here it is. This has actually been written, submitted and turned down and right now I don’t plan to re-submit it. But will, instead, edit and make changes as I post. Don’t want to lose my readers!!  🙂

Threads of Grace
ONE
June 14, 1873
Prairie Grove, Kansas

If Trey Martin had been a gamblin’ man, he’d have bet his last dollar he’d never lay eyes on his boss layin’ in bed clad only in a nightshirt, and that pulled up higher than was decent. He didn’t dare look at his partner, Ben Penwell. If the big rubber-faced redhead as much as twitched a muscle they’d both be in more trouble than they bargained for.
“Hilda said you want to talk to us sir?” Where did a fella look at a time like this? He moved closer to the head of the bed. “She sounded serious.”
Adam Covington frowned. “It is serious. Now you listen up. I’m going to say this once. Hilda’s leaving—”
“Leaving? Where? Why?” He loved her The old housekeeper reminded him of his ma. Why would she leave now of all times?
“Well, if you’d shut that mouth of yours for the next two minutes, I might be able to answer your questions.” Mr. Covington used his arms to push himself further up on his pillows. “Hilda’s sister is sick, and she’s going to go take care of her. I can’t and won’t tell her she can’t go. That’s where you two boys fit into the plan.”
Ben grinned. “Trey, here—he can cook real good if you was thinkin’—”
A ghost of a smile crossed Covington’s face. “Sorry, Ben. Trey’s cooking isn’t my first thought. I’m sending the two of you to town to find us a housekeeper.”
“Today? Bring somebody back today?” Trey hated the way his voice squawked. Sounded like a schoolboy.
“I don’t know how long it’ll take. Hilda’s agreed to stay until we find someone, but she’s most anxious to get to her sister.”
“I’ve never shopped for a housekeeper. How’re we supposed to know if she’ll be good or not? Can’t check her teeth or legs like buyin’ a horse.”
The boss closed his eyes. “Look fellas, we don’t have a lot of time here. Go to Nelson’s Mercantile. Lorna knows every woman in Prairie Grove. She’ll have some ideas. But I’ll promise you this—you come home before you’ve found someone, one of you will be wearing an apron from now on.”
Trey was careful not to slam the door on his way out of the room. How hard could it be? Find a widow woman and bring her back to Covington’s ranch. Everyone for miles around knew the K/M was one of the finest ranches around. And his boss had the reputation of being one of the most God-following men in this part of Kansas. So it shouldn’t be that difficult to find someone who wanted to work for him. Should it?
Once off the porch, Ben grabbed his arm. “What’re you gonna do, Trey?”
“What am I going to do? Listen buddy, you’re in on this, too. You were listening, weren’t you?”
He shrugged. “Sure, I was listenin’, but since when do I have an opinion? You was the one who said ‘come on, Ben. This looks to be as good a place as any to work for awhile. Now one of us is gonna end up bein’ the inside help, and I got me a real bad feelin’ it won’t be you.”
Trey pulled him to a stop. “It has been a good place to work, hasn’t it?”
“Yeah.”
“When we met we were both dirty, hungry and broke. At least you were all of that. I was only hungry and broke.”
Ben gave him shove with his shoulder. “Ya just think you didn’t stink. My horse even shied away from ya.”
Trey laughed. “Your horse didn’t shy away, you were fixing to turn and run.”
“So used to runnin’ it just came natural-like. Never had me a friend, you know. Didn’t know I could trust a body what smelled so bad.” His grin stretched across his face. “Been good, hasn’t it pal?” He flung his arm around Trey’s shoulders.
“Sure has. That’s one reason we’re gonna do what boss asked. Mr. Covington has been nothing but fair, honest and right-down good to us. He’s asked no questions, took us in like we belonged, and this is the first time he’s asked us to do anything different than any of the other men. What say we find him a housekeeper. Come on, I’ll race you to the barn. The loser has to buy supper, and I like my steak rare.”
Ben grabbed his arm. “Wait.” He pointed back to the house. “Look.”
Trey turned, and Ben gave him a shove. “I like mine well done.” He took off on a dead run.
He’d never had a brother. But he sure loved that grinnin’ redhead.

§

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