Monday, 19 September 2016

News: Release information for The Badman's Daughter

When mysterious stranger Daniel Cliff arrives in Ranch Town, he has no shortage of job offers. But the town is caught in the stranglehold of a brutal tyrant, and Daniel refuses to take sides. That is until the spirited Charlotte 'Charlie' Wells, heir to the Crooked-W ranch, crosses his path.

When she offers him the chance to help her right the wrongs being rained down on the town, Daniel doesn't have to think twice. After all, she's the reason he's there and he has no qualms in using her troubles to further his own ambitions.

However, Charlie is no pawn in a man's game. She is the badman's daughter and nobody is going to stand in her way when it comes to delivering revenge on those who have wronged her.

Available: 1 October 2016 from The Crowood Press and all good booksellers.

Excerpt - Meet Daniel Cliff

When he reached the Good Night Hotel, he stepped easily out of the saddle and tied his grey horse at the hitch rail. After loosening the cinch, he paused to once again survey his surroundings. Besides the saloon, everywhere was dark and quiet. Even inside the hotel, Daniel could have been forgiven for thinking the place was abandoned. The shabby foyer offered nothing more than a layer of dust, a sagging sofa and a desk.

Daniel’s boot heels made a pronounced clicking sound as he approached the old woman dozing behind the reception. Stifling a yawn, she turned up the lamp, a frown deepening the lines in her weathered face as she looked him over.

It didn’t bother him. He knew he was a little bit tall, a little bit skinny, and his high crowned, wide brimmed hat shadowed most of his face. A dusty bandanna obscured the rest.

Her gaze rested on the gun, holstered against his hip. It wouldn’t tell her much since most travelling men carried one.  The scowl she gave him as her appraisal moved upwards again told him she couldn’t quite make up her mind about him. It also reminded him that while his boots, canvas trousers and corduroy jacket were in good shape, his hair hadn’t seen a barber in a while. The bandanna rasped over three-day-old stubble as he lowered it. When he gave her a smile that usually put people at their ease, his face felt stiff.

Still she continued to stare through narrowed eyes.

‘Evening, ma’am.’ His voice sounded raspy after hours of inactivity. ‘Do you have a room?’

‘They call me Ma, not ma’am, and as you can plainly see, young man, this is a hotel so it makes sense there would be rooms. As to whether I can fix you up with one, that depends. It’ll cost you fifty cents a night, paid up front, and another twenty-five cents for breakfast in the dining room between 7 and 9. How does that suit you?’

He nodded his approval, again flashing her an easy smile designed to counter any remaining doubt.

With only a slight hesitation, she slid the register towards him. ‘And when you’re ready to leave, I can pack you up something to see you on your way.’

He chuckled. She was a tough cookie. No doubt she had to be to survive.

‘Ma, is that your way of telling me to get out of town?’

For a split second, her expression registered confusion, maybe a little fear, and as she floundered for an answer his grin deepened.

‘Don’t worry, I’m not looking for trouble.’ But a little mischief never did any harm. ‘That’s not to say it won’t come looking for me. Let’s start with one night and see what happens.’

The wink he gave her, as he handed over a dollar, apparently cast away enough doubt and she invited him to sign the register. When he was finished, she checked the name and handed him a key on a wooden fob with the number 3 scorched into it.

‘For an extra twenty-five cents I’ll put your horse in the lean to at the back and give him a few oats.’

He glanced at the clock on the wall. ‘Is it too late to take him to the livery stable?’

‘Don’t matter what the time is. The livery burned down two days ago. Probably shouldn’t say this but you might want to sleep in your clothes, just in case this place goes the same way.’

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