The Grey Man- Partners…

Is almost done, in final edit now, and awaiting a couple of beta readers comments; expect to have it out next month…

This is a first cut on the cover, not finalized so expect some changes. Total is a little over 400 pages, so not by choice the price will go up by about a dollar on the print version.


One last tease for y’all- This is the TD:DR version… 🙂


Thanksgiving had turned out to be surprisingly warm, so they’d set up tables in the back yard. Gathered round the tables were Aaron, Jesse and Jace, Matt and Felicia, Clay and Ronni Boone, Eddie and Iris Guilfoile, Jose and Beverly Rodriquez, Billy Moore and the old man at the head of the table.

Jose asked, “So, Matt, how are you liking our little town and working for the old grouch down there?”

Laughter followed the question, as Matt took a sip of coffee, “Well, he hasn’t run me off yet, nor shot me, Sheriff. So I’m thinking that’s pretty good.” Reaching over and hugging Felicia, “And with Felicia’s family here, she’s happy too. I guess it doesn’t get any better than that.”

Beverly looked at Felicia and Iris, then asked, “Aren’t you both due?”

Felicia sighed, “Actually I’m due today. But the doctor says he’ll wait a week, if I don’t have the baby by then, he’s going to induce. Angelina checks on me every morning, and drives me nuts!”

Iris blushed, “I’m due next month. I just hope we have the baby before Christmas, or at least before New Year’s.”

Billy chimed in, “Tax break! Yep, you need to have it before the end of the year. If worst comes to worst Eddie, find the roughest road you can and…”

Laughter erupted around the table at that, and Iris blushed even redder as Jesse took a swipe at Billy. Eddie reached down and picked up a bag and handed it across to Aaron diffidently, “I been thinkin’ about your problem Aaron, and I come up with this bike thingie. I think it might work.”

Aaron opened the bag and pulled out a stirrup with a strange looking plate bolted to the stirrup. Looking at it, he cocked his head, “How would this work Eddie?”

Eddie said, “It’s one of those clamp thingies all them bike racers use to keep their feet on the, the pedals. I was thinkin’ if you wore one of them shoes like they do, you could clamp it in and it would stabilize the leg and foot. And you would be able to mount from the correct side.”

Matt looked at it, “Yeah, you slip the shoe in and press down, and it locks in. And if you needed to get out of the stirrup, all you’d have to do is twist the foot to release it. And I think they come loose if you fall too.”

Matt passed it to Clay and Ronni who looked at it curiously, and passed it on to the Sheriff and his wife. Clay commented, “You should look at patenting that Eddie, or something like it. That would be one helluva idea for those folks that want to ride but don’t because of prosthetics issues.”

Billy got it and said, “Nah, it’s not patentable, since the clamp is already patented, but it’s a damn good idea, and I’d get it out to all the veteran’s organizations for their therapy folks.”

Jose asked, “How’s the class going Aaron?”

Aaron shook his head, “The book stuff isn’t too bad, and the PT is no problem. The issue is being away from Jesse and Jace.” Giving Jesse a quick hug, he said, “With Billy letting me stay there, and getting the occasional weekend off, I can at least get back here a couple of times a month. And Billy is teaching me the ins and outs of the Texas code, which will be a big help when I finally take the tests for Peace Officer.”

Billy flipped his pigtail back and pronounced, “And I expect to never get another ticket in Pecos County for the rest of my life. That’s what I expect for putting up with Aaron.”

Aaron rolled his eyes, and everyone chuckled. The old man asked, “How is Momma Trần treating you?”

Aaron smiled as Billy laughed, “She’s convinced I’m not eating enough, or drinking enough tea, and she’s concerned about Jesse and the fact that I only see her once a month. Mother hen doesn’t begin to describe it!”

Billy chimed in, “She’s getting food delivered every day, and she’s making him breakfast at five in the morning. She won’t let him out the door until he eats.”

The old man nodded, “Yep, she’s adopted you. Maybe not officially, but you’re now a member of the family.”

Aaron asked curiously, “Is that good or bad?”

Billy and the old man chorused, “Good!” And the old man continued, “If she’s doing all that, it’s not because she has to, it’s because she wants to. Just don’t get her mad at you. She’s got a long reach!”

Clay asked, “Is she that connected? I’ve only met her that one time.”

Billy nodded, “She’s got connections into every Vietnamese business in Houston, and probably at least contacts in every Vietnamese enclave in the US. And no telling how much or how well connected she is back in Vietnam.”

Clay shook his head, “I didn’t realize she was that important, or that connected.”

Billy replied, “She’s managed to get a lot of folks out, and helped set them up in various parts of the US. I’m not sure how much money they got out with, but I’m betting she’s at least a millionaire, if not more.”

Aaron whistled, “I didn’t know any of that!”

Billy smiled, “You’re not supposed to. You’re supposed to think she’s a slightly dotty old lady, who doesn’t speak good ‘Engrish’ as she calls it, and tries ineffectively to boss her family around. She’d be horrified to know that I even know about it, much less that I’ve let anyone in on her secret.”

The old man turned to Eddie and asked, “Speaking of secrets, how are the colts doing? You’ve been staying pretty mum on them.”

Eddie ducked his head, “Good. I been working with Spots, and I’m going to bring him and Shadow back up here in the spring. They won’t be broke to the saddle and ready to ride, since they’re still yearlings, that’ll take another six months. But they will have ground training, I’ve been working on in-hand manners, longeing, trailer loading and good behavior for all grooming and health care stuff, like shoeing.”

Eddie spun his coffee cup, “I think Shadow will be better for Matt, since he’s going to be about seventeen hands, and Matt can train him on long-lining. Aaron would be better with Spots, since he’s going to be a bit smaller, and he’s more mellow than Shadow.”

Matt groaned, “Okay, one thing I’ve never done is horse training. Granted I can ride, after a fashion, and I can rope something if it stands still, but that’s about the limit.”

Felicia laid a hand on Matt’s arm, “You can, no, you will do it my husband.” Patting her bulging belly, she continued, “We have faith.” Another round of laughter followed that statement as Jesse went around the table pouring more coffee for those that wanted it.

Clay sipped his coffee and said, “Speaking of faith, or maybe fate, it’s been awfully quiet on the border the last month. Seems Los Zetas, LFM and Sinaloa are all battling over territory after an incident down in Chiapas with all of them blaming the others for losing a shipment of MANPADS and apparently some Muslim extremists that were supposed to be smuggled into the US.”

The old man met Aaron’s glance with a minute shake of the head, “That’s interesting Clay, where did you hear that?”

Clay set his cup down, “Well, originally from EPIC, but apparently Bucky had an agent down there paired with somebody that observed the incident.” Clay looked sharply at the old man, “Seems all that went down about the time you were on vacation.”

The old man held up his hands, “Wasn’t me! Hell, you know they didn’t believe me on the intel I passed. Aaron and I were sitting on the beach in Cozumel, drinking tequila and I was trying to get him up to speed on the ranch stuff.”

Clay looked at Aaron curiously, “Getting up to speed?”

Aaron nodded cautiously, “I was getting frustrated with trying to do things here, and I really didn’t understand not only the ranching side, but I really didn’t understand the oil royalty side.” Pointing at Billy he continued, “Mr. Moore is trying to beat it into my head, but it’s a slow process, and a lot of legalese. I’m a damn Jarhead, I don’t do legalese!”

Laughter erupted at that and the old man smiled, “It was a chance for us to talk about not only ranching, but about law enforcement. Aaron did understand that part, and it’s led him down that path.” Glancing at Clay he asked, “Are you really complaining?”

Clay shrugged, “Not really, it’s just that I get nervous when shit is going on that I can’t account for.”

Ronni chimed in, “I like the quiet though. Having Clay home every night is a blessing. Especially when it gets cold. He’s nice and warm.”

Clay blushed at that, and everyone laughed again. The old man stood saying, “A toast.” Everyone picked up a glass or cup and waited, “To partners. In love, in life, and in ranching.”

A chorus of, “Partners,” followed by the clinking of glasses and cups as everyone drank.

Sorry for the delay folks, but life intervened…


The Grey Man- Partners… — 18 Comments

  1. Thanks for book tease. Good material, let us know when it is ready to go.

  2. I haven’t had much time to read, this year, but that’s changing now. And just in time, it seems. I like the folks in your books, and that’s not per usual. Can’t wait!

  3. There hasn’t been much time for reading this year, due to life’s interventions up here. But that’s heading back toward normal … and just in time, it seems. 🙂

  4. Rev- Good! And glad YOUR situation is now more stable!

    Woody- Thanks for the patience!

    Randy- Thank you!

  5. The SandCastle Crew is down for an autographed copy. If I miss the “now available” announcement like last time, remind me! Our money is good!

    We’re in!

  6. Can’t hardly wait. Let me know when and where to send money!

  7. Well, dammit! Another series I’m gonna hafta catch up on! Good thing I don’t have a life or anything.

    Looking forward to it!

  8. Can’t wait for another autographed copy to add to the set. And keep the character development coming…and the gun fights.