Things are looking pretty bleak for Ace Lone Wolf, a half-Apache gunslinger with a quick draw and a penchant for trouble.
Ace is about to get himself hanged for a murder he didn’t commit when Victoria, a beautiful English noblewoman, and her hulking manservant Block break him out of jail. Victoria’s father, a famed archaeologist from London, has disappeared while on his latest expedition. She needs Ace’s help to find him.
There’s just one little problem. Victoria’s father disappeared while searching for the lost temple of the bloodthirsty Aztec god Xipe Totec. Like everyone else, Ace knows about the lost temple of Totec.
He also knows that everyone who goes searching for it ends up dead.
Staked out on an anthill and left to die in the Mexico desert isn’t a great way to start the day.
But for Ace Lone Wolf, a half-Apache gunslinger with a quick draw and a talent for getting himself into hot water, it’s pretty much business as usual.
Broke again, Ace takes a job riding shotgun on a wagon delivering supplies to Dace Jackson, the richest cattle baron in the Arizona Territory. It’s just a job until Ace learns that the ruthless Jackson is trying to steal an entire town. Then it becomes personal. Especially once he meets Annie, a beautiful young woman with green eyes a man could drown in.
But what can one man do against an army of hired gunmen? It won’t be enough to be fast with a gun. He’ll need smarts too. And a whole lot of luck.
Part Indiana Jones, part Magnificent Seven, the One-Eyed Mule Skinner is a fast-paced, action-packed adventure that mixes drama and humor with an unforgettable cast of quirky characters.
Ace knows chasing lost treasure never leads to anything but misery. Yet somehow he lets himself get talked into helping an old mountain man search for a wrecked Spanish galleon that legend has it is carrying a fortune in black pearls.
Before he knows it, Ace is up to his neck in trouble once again. The notorious outlaws Frank and Jesse James want his head. The US Cavalry is hot on his trail. A murderous doctor wants his scalp for his collection. Some days it feels like everyone is shooting at him.But none of those problems compare to what he finds once he actually makes it to the treasure ship and finds out what is guarding it…
Part Indiana Jones, part Pirates of the Caribbean, The Black Pearl Treasure is a fast-paced, action-packed adventure with humor and drama enough to please readers of all ages, from young adults on up.
Read Chapter One of The Black Pearl Treasure
I wake up to the sound of a pistol being cocked near my head.
There’s no sound quite like it. I come awake instantly and reach for one of my Colt .44s.
A boot comes down on my wrist, pinning it to the ground.
“It ain’t there no more, half-breed,” a voice rasps.
I turn my head and blink the sleep out of my eyes. In the early dawn light I can see that the man staring down at me has washed-out blue eyes. They’re utterly cold, those eyes, and they’re staring down the sights of a Colt Dragoon right at me.
“What do you want?” I ask him.
“Why you, of course.”
I see that he isn’t alone. There’s at least four more men with him, all pointing guns at me. One of them is grinning at me like he just won first prize at the county fair.
I look back at the one standing on my wrist. “Do I know you?”
“You may know of me,” he says and smiles. He has a gold tooth. His beard is thin and neatly trimmed and he has a heavy ring on one finger. “But I don’t believe you know me.”
I’m starting to get irate. I don’t like having a gun shoved in my face and I don’t like being called a half-breed, even if it’s what I am, what with my mother being a full-blood Chiricahua Apache and my father being a white man. “Get off my damn hand already.”
“Don’t you talk like that,” one of the others says.
He’s got a pinched-up face and a narrow chin that disappears into his neck. He’s got a mustache but no beard. If I was missing my chin like he is, I’d grow a beard. If I could grow one anyway, which I can’t.
“I’ll shoot you right here and now,” he says. “Say I won’t.”
“Say you won’t what?” I ask, not sure what he just said.
“Say I won’t do it!” he crows. “Go on, say it!” He’s hopping from one foot to another like he’s got ants crawling up his legs. I figure he’s about two shakes away from shooting me.
“Dial it back, Jesse,” the cold-eyed one says.
“You ain’t spoiling the fun again like last time!” one of the others blurts out. This one’s hat is pushed back so I can see the front of his head has all gone bald. One of his eyes is squinched about halfway shut like maybe a hornet stung him or something. “You always do this, Jesse, go off all half-cocked and start spraying lead everywhere. Not this time, I’m telling you. Not this time!”
“Shut up, Cole,” the cold-eyed one says. “You don’t talk to my brother like that or I’ll shoot the damned Injun right here and now.”
Okay, I don’t like the way this whole palaver is going. I might as well speak up, get my say in while I still can.
“Before anyone shoots me, I want to know why.”
“Your horse,” the cold-eyed one says. “It’s stolen. Though why anyone would steal such an ugly horse is beyond me.”
“Watch what you say about Coyote,” I warn him. “That horse is twice the man you are.”
I have a deep fondness for Coyote. I can’t deny that he is ugly though, with his jug head and short legs.
“Besides, I paid for that horse.” Not just in money either, but with my own blood.
“If that’s so,” Jesse says, waving his gun at me. “Then show us the bill of sale.”
“What kind of fool talk is that? I don’t have a bill of sale. Do you have a bill of sale for your horse? He’s mine and that’s all there is to it.”
“That Rocking R brand on his hip says otherwise,” the cold-eyed one says.
“Yeah, we heard they’re having real trouble with rustlers and horse thieves and here you show up with one of their horses and no bill of sale,” Jesse says. “It don’t take a genius to put two and two together.”
“And what’s two and two make?” I ask him. I know it’s stupid to provoke him, but hell, I’m probably going to die anyway. Might as well get in what I can.
“Two and two?” he says, his forehead wrinkling. He puzzles this for a second. “Ain’t that just a saying, Frank?” he says, turning to the one with the cold eyes. “Ain’t it? How’m I supposed to know what it means?”
“I don’t cotton much to those who pick on my brother,” Frank says, his eyes slitting down.
“So that means what? That you’re going to kill me? Aren’t you planning on doing that anyway?” I know. I have a problem. I can’t keep my mouth shut.
Frank grinds my wrist under his boot. It hurts, but I won’t give him the satisfaction of showing it.
“What we have here,” Frank says to the others, “is a gen-yoo-ine horse thief. And what do we do with horse thieves?”
“We string ‘em up!” Cole hoots. He’s all kinds of excited. This is the part of the show he’s been waiting for.
“This isn’t about stealing a horse, is it?” I ask Frank. Seems clear to me he’s the only one with enough sense in his head to buy a penny candy.
“Well, sure it is,” he says. “What else would it be?”
“Because this is Wyoming. And the Rocking R is a New Mexico brand. Probably you’ve never even been there.”
“I hear it’s warm,” Jesse says, shivering a little.
It’s a cold morning, winter just reaching its end. There’s frost on the ground and our breath leaves little clouds in front of our faces.
Suddenly it all makes sense. “You followed me from Billings, didn’t you?”
“We saw the coin you were spending,” Jesse says. “Only one way a half-breed like you gets hold of that kind of scratch and that’s by stealin’!”
“Or I got it by spending the winter cowboying on the Double X Ranch, up in Montana. I earned every penny of it.” And I did too. Coldest goddamned winter I ever spent in my life. Snow up to my eyebrows. Wind that cut like a knife, coming down from Canada. Feeding hay to cows in the dark and the snow. Rescuing calves with the bad sense to be born in the winter.
When I came north I aimed to get far away from anything that could remind me of Annie. Now I just want to get south as fast as I can and get warm.
Except I hadn’t counted on getting hung.
“It doesn’t matter what I say, does it?” I ask.
Frank gives a little smile and shows that gold tooth again. “No. It don’t.” He shoves his Dragoon right up to my face. “Bring the rope, Jim. It’s time to fix our friend a little going-away party.”
Hands grab me and drag me to my feet. My hands are bound behind my back and a noose is dropped over my head.
It’s hanging time.