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Excerpt Day: Homesteads and Horseradish by Kiernan Kelly

Homesteads and Horseradish by Kiernan Kelly
Release Date: Mar 18, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-60370-657-5
ISBN (10): 1-60370-657-7
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher Link: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=1852

Blurb: Brace is none too happy to find a greenhorn building a sod house at the base of his mountain. In fact, he's determined to run the little fellow right off his land. Unfortunately for Brace, Gaylord Quinn has nowhere else to go, and he has a patent from the US Land Office saying he has full rights to the land. Quinn is scared to death of Brace, but he's even more scared of having to return to a life he managed to escape. He needs the security of a new home. His dire circumstances might convince Brace to help him, but it will be the friendship that springs up between the men that endures. Will the friendship turn into something more?

Excerpt:

Brace Andrews had stood strong against Indians, grizzlies, polecats, wolves, desperadoes, blizzards, and flash floods to protect his claim on Righteous Mountain over the last ten years. It was his mountain. He'd named it, carved a niche out of its thickly forested, rocky skin, and built his cabin -- first of sod, dragged up the mountain piece by piece from the prairie below, then of good, strong hardwood -- on it. He'd soaked the damned earth with his sweat and blood; paid a pound of flesh for every square inch of his land.

He'd be fucked sideways till Sunday if'n anybody was going to horn in on his claim, no matter who waved government papers in his face, particularly not this pantywaist greenhorn from New York City in his natty coat and spectacles.

Brace had come across the man two, three days ago, pacing off a large section of land at the foot of the eastern side of the mountain. When Brace had asked him what in the blue hell he thought he was doing, the man had gone on and on about his dang piece of paper, saying he had a claim to the land. Brace had shooed him away from the spot twice already, pointing the long barrel of his shotgun, Bessie, at him.

Now the man was back, having found his way up to Brace's cabin, probably following the smoke from Brace's hearth, and Brace was damned tempted to let Bessie do all the talking this time.

He didn't, though, because Brace's ma brought him up right, damn her. He let the stranger prattle on for the better part of a half hour, but now his patience was finally worn as thin as the sheet of vellum the stranger shook at him.

"Listen here, Mister. I told you afore, and I'll tell you one last time -- I don't give a damn what they told you back there in Washington. They don't own this mountain… I do. There's a whole mess of mountains attached to this one, and a whole country full of prairie. Best if you go and find a different spot and leave this one be, or we're going to have ourselves a serious problem," Brace growled, leveling Bessie at him. He smirked when the man took a step back.

"Mr. Andrews, please, be reasonable! I have a patent from the government of these United States of America which, under the Homestead Act of 1862, gives me the right to one hundred sixty acres of this land, and I intend to claim it!"

Brace sniffed, turned his head, and spat a stream of yellow tobacco juice on the ground, missing the stranger's boots by only a couple of inches. His aim was off. "Not on my mountain, you ain't."

"I'm not trying to prove a homestead on your mountain! My land just happens to butt up against it."

"Oh, and what do you think is gonna happen when I come down off my mountain to hunt buffalo on the prairie? Think I'm gonna worry about skirting around your corn, or wheat fields, or whatever the hell you're fixin' to plant down there? No, sir, that land is part of my mountain, and I aim to keep it that way."
 
Tags: author: kiernan kelly, excerpt
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