Take it away, Mike!
What inspired this story?
A Score to Settle is set on the Goodnight-Loving cattle trail in 1870 New Mexico Territory. I was drawn to this locale by the iconic western series, Lonesome Dove. Author Larry McMurtry used an incident in Lonesome Dove that paralleled something that actually happened on Goodnight-Loving. On an 1866 cattle drive, Oliver Loving was shot by Comanches near Fort Sumner, NMT. After he died, his partner, Charles Goodnight, carried out Loving’s last wish by wagoning him back home to Texas. To me, this is one of the Old West’s most famous legends and I decided to weave a story around it. Hence, A Score to Settle, which also features a strong romantic element throughout.
Late afternoon rays warmed Rose as Kip built a sputtering fire. Her shivering quieted and feeling returned to her face. “Thank you for taking care of me.”
Kip grinned as he fed scattered wet kindling into the laboring fire. “Didn’t have a choice. Del would skin me if I didn’t.”
“You like him, don’t you?”
A nod. “There’s somethin’ about him. I don’t make friends easy and Del don’t seem to either, but we took to each other right off. He’s about as levelheaded as they come.”
“Yes he is and so are you.”
“Don’t know about that, but I never had a good friend. Don’t know if it was me or them. Del strikes me the same way.” Kip gathered some larger pieces and the fire popped as it went to work on damp wood. “And I know how much he cottons to you. Hard to miss the glint in his eye when he’s with you.”
Her heart jumped. “Does he say that?”
“Doesn’t have to. Easy to see.”
“Tell me about him, Kip. Tell me about Del. You’re like two peas in a pod. I don’t know much of anything, except for the misery he’s carrying.”
Broken after his family is murdered, rancher Del Lawson signs on to a cattle drive along the Goodnight Loving trail in 1870, unaware he’s still in danger. When he falls for a pretty Army nurse, the killers target her.
If he’s to recover from his grief and build a new life, Del must set out on a gritty hunt for the men who are hunting him.
Meanwhile, Del’s mother, Maybelle, doesn’t know her son survived that murderous night. When she discovers the gold the killers are after, she uses the treasure in an elaborate masquerade to take the murderers down.
Will mother and son’s plans reap justice-or destroy what’s left of the Lawson clan?
About the Author:
Mike Torreano has a military background and is a student of history and the American West. He fell in love with Zane Grey’s descriptions of the Painted Desert in the fifth grade, when his teacher made her students read a book and write a report every week.
Mike recently had a short story set during the Yukon gold rush days published in an anthology, and he’s written for magazines and small newspapers. An experienced editor, he’s taught University English and Journalism. He’s a member of Colorado Springs Fiction Writers, Pikes Peak Writers, The Historical Novel Society, and Western Writers of America. He brings his readers back in time with him as he recreates western life in the late 19th century.
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