Hi! I’m Abigail Roux, the author of ACCORDING TO HOYLE. Thanks for having me. And don’t forget the giveaway! Check out the details at the bottom of the post to see what you can win!
Title: According to Hoyle by Abigail Roux
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Historical, M/M, Romance
Length: 340 pages/Word Count: 90,000
By the close of 1882 in the American West, the line between heroes and villains is narrow. Total chaos is staved off only by the few who take the law at its word and risk their lives to uphold it. But in the West, the rules aren’t always played according to Hoyle.
U.S. Marshals Eli Flynn and William Henry Washington—longtime friends and colleagues—are escorting two prisoners to New Orleans for trial when they discover there’s more than outlawry to the infamous shootist Dusty Rose and the enigmatic man known as Cage. As the two prisoners form an unlikely partnership, the marshals can’t help but look closer at their own.
When forces beyond the marshals’ control converge on the paddlewheeler they’ve hired to take them downriver, they must choose between two dangers: playing by the rules at any cost, or trusting the very men they are meant to bring to justice.
(This title is a revised and edited second edition, with minor new additions, of According to Hoyle, originally published elsewhere.)
Purchase Link: Riptide Publishing
The sounds of the bustling street outside reached through the walls of the Marshal Office: horses’ hooves clopping along the packed-dirt street, ladies’ boots clacking against the raised walkways, men calling greetings to one another in the early-morning cold. It was a comfortable, familiar scene. One that Flynn had missed.
The office, however, was anything but familiar. Flynn looked around at the bright, whitewashed walls and the pristine pine floors. The old office had been sparse and dreary, with scuffed floors, no windows, and very little light. He and Wash had seen fit to fix that when they’d rebuilt. The cells, rather than being all in one room like before, were out of sight in the back of the structure.
Flynn removed his hat and held it at his side, not wanting to knock the dust off his clothing in the clean room.
“Flynn?” The voice boomed from the rear of the building.
Flynn peered into the dim, his eyesight still ruined from the bright morning sun outside.
Deputy US Marshal William Henry Washington, or Wash to friends and strangers alike, emerged from the back of the office, into the light, and sur veyed Flynn with sharp, clear green eyes. His sandy hair was shorter than it had been the last time Flynn had seen him. His beard and mustache were gone, with only the sideburns near his ears still present. And for the first time in Flynn couldn’t remember how long , Wash wasn’t wearing his guns.
“You look like hell,” Wash observed with a grin.
“Stillwater to Lincoln is a long trip.” Flynn shook the hand Wash offered.
“But it’s easier on the return.”
Flynn smiled weakly and nodded. Transporting prisoners was never a simple task. Stillwater was one of the better transits because nearly every stop offered a decent place to lock someone up or otherwise restrain them with a minimum of fuss. Other locales weren’t so convenient, like when you had to tie your prisoner to a telegraph pole just to get a decent hour or two of sleep. The solo return, of course, was always less stressing.
“Sense of humor is still top notch, I notice,” Wash said. He turned away and headed for the desk against the far wall. He picked up a small yellow piece of paper and waved it in the air. “I’ve got another one for you.”
Flynn narrowed his eyes at the telegram with a sinking sensation in his gut.
“They’re waiting to be picked up in Junction City,” Wash continued as he glanced at Flynn, looking over Flynn’s tired face and slumping shoulders. “You ready for another one? I might can give this to someone else . . . Actually, I can’t give it to no one else ’cause no one else is around, but I can offer and pretend I care that you’re about to yell.”
Flynn merely glared at him.
“It’s an easy one,” Wash offered in a voice that was probably meant to be enticing.
“The last ‘easy’ one you gave me tried to kill me,” Flynn reminded him. “Twice.”
“They’re outlaws, Flynn. By and large, that’s what they do.” Wash walked around the desk and held the telegraphed message out to him with a whistle.
“Is this one going to the gallows?” Flynn sighed as he reached for the paper. Prisoners going to their execution always gave the US Marshals escorting them one hell of a hard time. They were fighting for their lives, after all, and more lawmen were killed while transporting prisoners than any other activity they performed. Neither Flynn nor Wash had ever had a prisoner escape on them, though. Not one that they hadn’t recovered almost immediately, anyway. Or shot dead during their escape attempt.
“No gallows. There are three in the group you’re picking up,” Wash told Flynn. “Two are heading to Fort Smith, some sort of military to-do, but you’re only taking them as far as St. Louis to meet up with the Army escort. The last is going to trial in New Orleans. You’ll have to—”
“Three?” Flynn blurted. “This is an easy one? Goddamn, Wash!”
“Taking the Lord’s name in vain, Flynn.” Wash smirked. “I’m shocked. What would the lady folk say?”
“You ain’t no damn lady. And I can’t escort three men by myself. Who’s going with me to ride herd?”
“You want someone to go with you?” Wash feigned surprise.
Flynn smacked his hat against his jeans and sent a puff of dust swirling into the clean office.
Wash just chuckled and held up his hand. “I’m going with you as far as St. Louis,” he said, still laughing. “Then I’m to head to Natchez to convene with the governor, and I’ll meet up with you again in New Orleans for the return home.”
Wash shrugged and nodded. Flynn’s attention strayed to the crisp linen sling that hung over Wash’s shoulder, supporting his left arm, and then back to the man’s eyes in question.
“I can draw a gun with one hand,” Wash assured him quietly, suddenly serious as he sat on the edge of the desk.
“You can’t restrain a prisoner with one hand,” Flynn argued. “You can’t chain and unchain them with one hand. You can’t expect them to see you as a serious authority figure or anything of a threat with one hand.” He waved his hat at Wash’s shoulder. “They’ll be trying to escape left and right.”
“Then I’ll be sure to let them know,” Wash responded with his customary calm, “that since I can’t chain them or restrain them peaceably, I’ll just have to shoot them if they cause problems. Will that satisfy you?”
Flynn pursed his lips and blew air heavily through his nose. He didn’t want to insult Wash or hurt him, but he also didn’t want to be stampeded by a herd of escaping prisoners. “Can you use it at all yet?” he asked, already regretting his criticism. It was bad enough being injured. It was worse seeing that people didn’t have much confidence in you, especially for a man like Wash, who had always been so capable.
Wash flexed his fingers against his chest. He tapped his silver badge and smiled crookedly. That was more movement than he had been up to when Flynn had left for Stillwater Prison three weeks ago. But Flynn struggled to keep even a hint of sadness out of his expression as he watched. Would his friend ever get the full use of the arm back?
Wash obviously read him like an open book. He flicked his wrist, producing a derringer attached to a gambler’s gauntlet out of the end of the sling.
Flynn blinked in surprise, his body instinctively twitching to reach for his own Colt. He laughed and offered Wash a fond shake of his head.
“You crazy bastard. You’re going to get yourself shot.”
Abigail Roux was born and raised in North Carolina. A past volleyball star who specializes in sarcasm and painful historical accuracy, she currently spends her time coaching high school volleyball and investigating the mysteries of single motherhood. Any spare time is spent living and dying with every Atlanta Braves and Carolina Panthers game of the year.
Abigail has a daughter, Little Roux, who is the light of her life, a boxer, four rescued cats who play an ongoing live-action variation of Call of Duty throughout the house, a certifiable extended family down the road, and a cast of thousands in her head.
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