Swinging from The Cottonwoods - by James Stoness

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The real southwest comes alive beneath the creative hands of one of North America's newest writers. James Stoness brings you the romance and excitement as could only have existed in the 1800's.

Cerca 1870 Brian Cole returns home after a long absence to find his uncle murdered. A stranger to the valley is suspected and Brian goes on the offensive.

He saves Sarah, owner of one of the ranches, when she is kidnapped. Brian has lived a lonely life for many years and begins to feel attracted to her. To complicate his feelings, his own life is saved by Molly, Sarah's best friend. Meanwhile, to further make matters worse, one of his employees is also fond of Sarah.

Brian searches for answers about the stranger's compulsion to grab all the ranches when it would appear that he could not use them all and discovers an intriguing plot. After he repulses an attack with huge loss to the enemy, Brian takes the offensive to town to try and end the stranger's preying upon the ranchers. Complications arise for Brian who finds that his attractions to two different girls present a bigger problem.

The novel follows the progress of the romances of these young people while the events in the valley roll on. Combined with plenty of action, frontier justice, and romance, the novel is also enhanced by vivid descriptions of the western landscape.

From The Book:

In a few minutes everyone was in position with their guns aimed at the sleeping bandits.

"You rustlers in camp. Put up your hands. Come out right now and make it quickly," came a stentorian yell from Brian.

Pandemonium was instantaneous. The rustler nearest Brian leapt out of his blanket with his gun raised and firing. Luckily he was only firing at the sound of the voice. A burst of firing from the cowboys staggered the man, driving him back with the blows of the bullets, to finally topple onto the fire. Meanwhile, several others who had declined to give up were also shooting. A rain of bullets from the eight cowboys fell upon them and it was over as quickly as it had started. But the action had been fast and furious.

When Sandy had risen from his position behind the stream bank he had watched Brian aim his gun and shout toward the outlaw camp. This action had been instantly followed by one of the outlaws rolling from his blanket with his gun belching smoke. Sandy aimed his Winchester and fired immediately and was rewarded by seeing the outlaw knocked over backward as if by a mighty hand.

As if in response, dirt was thrown up into his eyes as bullets struck low in front of him. Throwing himself below the bank he heard the whistle of bullets above him.

At the same time Dave was preparing to attack from the side. He had seen the outlaw knocked down by Sandy's shot and saw a man rise behind his saddle and fire in Sandy's direction. Firing now was a continuous roar and that man himself was mowed down in a hail of bullets. Someone else striving to rise was struck and flopped horribly, and then he lay there drumming his heels on the ground until finally, that too ceased.

Now that the shooting had stopped, Brian shouted loudly commanding anyone able, to raise their hands and gestured to his cowboys to move in.

"Come in carefully, boys, and keep your guns on these hombres. One of them just might be playing possum," he said coldly as he walked toward the camp.

As they drew near they could hear moans and one man slowly sat up holding a bloody arm.

"Don't shoot, mister...I give up, please don't shoot no more," he gasped white faced.

"Get his guns, Dave," spoke Brian, "Somebody check the man in the blankets."

Sandy, who by this time had rinsed the dirt from his eyes, took the guns from the wounded man and tied his arms behind him.

"Somebody stop this bleeding before I bleed to death," hollered the wounded rustler.

"It ain't gonna matter one way or tother," drolled Sandy sarcastically, "you're gett'n there one way or nother anyhow." Dave shouted over to the men, "Here's three of them that won't rustle any more cattle."

Rusty, who was bent over the man in the bedroll, suddenly started, "Brian, I think this one is still alive. He was just grazed with a bullet and knocked out."

He had no sooner finished this pronouncement than the man groaned and reached up to feel his head.

"All right, tie him up before he causes us some trouble," spoke up Brian from one side. "The rest of you get five ropes over the limbs of that cottonwood. This is the only way to show these wideloopers that we mean business on this range."

While two of the men hurried to do as bidden by Brian, the others dragged the three dead men out under the trees. Nooses were hurriedly formed and placed around the necks of the dead rustlers.

"All right, boys, up with them," commanded Brian, and shortly three ghastly figures swung in the air.

"Now these two... let's get this over with," said Brian, glum but determined, as he moved over to the two live prisoners. One of the men was a dirty and bearded man, who, as the men approached with the rope shrunk back from them, shouting with many oaths what vengeance he would bring down upon them. However his bravado diminished and entirely disappeared when they laid the rope over his head.

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