Evil Among the Miners (Preview)


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Chapter One

Abram Quimby scanned the parlor. The best of Carson City was in attendance, as always. They came to pay homage to his father, to secure various interests of their own, and of course to enjoy the finest hospitality in the new state of Nevada. The Bulgarian caviar was served over slices of hard-boiled egg on little square crackers, served by free Black servants in red jackets with brass buttons. The finest cuts of the best beef in the region were carved from the spit, juicy and red and served on white China plates lined with gold trim.

One of the servants, an older one called Felix, stepped up carrying a silver tray holding a single snifter of Courvoisier. Abram took it without a word to the servant, who turned and stepped away with no adieu.

The vapors were powerful, tangy in his nostrils as he breathed them in, holding the bowl of the snifter in his palm to warm it. Abram sighed and looked over the crowd.

In the next room, a trio of string players tapped out a waltz for a smattering of the more spiritous guests. The rest were huddled in muted conversations, eyes shifting around from between stylish sideburns and under newly lengthened hair fashions for men. They seemed to be as impressed with themselves as he was unimpressed with them all.

How different are any of these people from the casual guttersnipes of Carson, or anywhere else? They’re all just schemers and scammers, he couldn’t help but think, no better than the hustlers in the streets, the road agents roaming the mountains. They’re all just angling for a piece of something the other man has, something the other man built.

No longer able to look at them, Abram turned his attention to the female guests, gathered mostly in the family room, where the single men were also prone to linger. If they were lucky, they’d soon be dancing in the music room.

And these fine women, all in lace and silk, the wealthiest daughters of the wealthiest men in the area. They are anxious to earn a place as my bride, and they smile and chirp and peck at each other in the meantime, other men hoping to swoop down on my scraps.


Abram took a sip of the brandy, hot in his throat and warm in his belly.

But it’s not me, of course, he knew, glancing at himself in the mirror. Tall, slender, eyes that some women called piercing and penetrating, others vaguely troubling. He was shy of thirty, young to be widowed. Unlike a woman in the same position, it seemed to make him even more reliable, as if his availability were somehow a stroke of luck for them. The allure of his tragedy cast him a most sympathetic light, especially in the eyes of a young damsel.

Even so, Abram had to remind himself, it’s more than the blackness of death, but the glean of gold that attracts them. Not me, it—the gold and the silver, the wealth and the power, those things that have carried my father so far and for so long.

Abram knew he hadn’t earned any of it, and that he’d have it all in the end. He was entitled to it by birth, and by years of lending his talents to the project when other things didn’t call. He’d been there when needed, nobody could argue that. And even more so, he’d been there after the death of his mother, widowing his father years before his own Annabelle died. Abram had been a loyal and dutiful son to the great man of the Quimby Precious Metals empire. And in his own time of need, the business had given him refuge from the sorrow of losing his Annabelle, three months pregnant, to snakebite.


Abram turned to see Samuel Quimby stepping up with a broad smile on his broader face. He held a glass of red wine, which he raised in toast as he approached.

“Splendid party.”

Abram let a little half-smile crawl across his face. “As always. How go things, Samuel? Did I see you dancing in the music room?”

“You did, with none other than Alicia Gables.”

“So I see. She seems… well-fed these days.”

Samuel huffed out a little chuckle. “The bigger she gets, the hungrier she becomes!” He spat out a crude laugh at his own joke, bending forward at his thick waist to clap his hand on Abram’s shoulder.

Something seemed to take Samuel’s attention, and Abram followed his line of sight to find Raymond Quimby, Sam’s father, watching them from across the room. He offered Abram a little smile and raised what looked like a glass of sherry. Then he turned and stepped into an adjoining room.

Sam’s revelry seemed to fade away as quickly as his father did. “Sorry, old man,” Sam said. “I … it’s a small matter, but my father is, well, you know your uncle, how he gets.”

Abram nodded and raised his snifter. “Give him my best.”

“As always.” Sam slipped away and stepped with a seemingly casual stride across the room and toward his father.

Abram’s cousin and uncle struck him odd, but they always had. The two always seemed to be in conclave, but that was something Abram both understood and supported. They were family, after all, not merely himself and his father and his cousin and uncle. But they were all Quimbys, and the rise or fall of their mining empire would rest on the shoulders of the next generation. Everyone in the family, in the entire business, knew that.

Most accepted it.

“There you are.” Katherine McCord slipped up to Abram, standing just near enough to him to tempt the gossips, and himself. She wore a faux pout on her pretty face, red hair in curls over her furrowed brow. “You’ve been ignoring me all night, you brute. You don’t love me anymore, I suppose.”

Abram cracked a smile. “I thought you were involved with your friends, your little… discussions.”

Katherine rolled her green eyes and shook her little head. “Discussions. Chiding, picking, snipping. They tease me because we’re not wed, Abram.” He was about to speak on the subject, but Katherine was quick to add, “Not that I mean to rush you, I… I know the subject is painful for you.”

Abram let his memory bring him back to sadder times, so that even a sip of brandy could not cloud them.

“You’re a man, after all,” Katherine went on, “and men do things in their own time. I’m a woman and, well, women wait for their men. They wait… very patiently, in some cases.”

“Katherine, you know I’m becoming more involved with my father’s businesses.”

“And so you should need a proper wife and family of your own,” Katherine said. “Not that your other… I mean…”

“It’s all right, Katherine—”

“No, it’s… you know how I get about… about all that, all this.”

“Katy, really…” Abram looked Katherine in the eyes. “Let’s take a little walk, shall we?”

Katherine gazed back at him, a glaze of tearfulness already pooling up. She nodded and Abram took her hand to lead her out to the rear porch. They stepped through the French doors into the cool evening breeze, the late spring air bracing and purple with the dusk. Crickets chirped in the vast darkness of the desert.

Katherine took a deep breath, her eyes dipping closed. Her cherry lips curled up at the edges as her ample bosom rose and then fell back again.

“Katherine,” Abram started, taking her hands into his own, “you mustn’t tease me like this anymore. You know how I feel about you.”

“I know… how I hope you feel. But I’m not the only girl in Carson City, Abram.”

“You are in my eyes, Katherine.”

“Then… shouldn’t it be so in their eyes as well, and in the eyes of all Carson City, all Nevada and all the world … and in the Eyes of God?”

“Why… why yes,” Abram said, “of course, I… but there are so many business considerations. If only you’d let me settle certain things—”

“There were other things before these, Abram, and things before those.”

“Katherine, really, you only just turned eighteen. Surely you understand that… for so many years, you were a child!”

“But I’m not a child anymore, Abram! I’m not the girl you befriended like a kid sister. And I’m not afraid of some… some ridiculous curse!”

“Curse! I never said such a thing. What happened to my… to Annabelle, it… it just happened, that’s all.”

“That’s right, Abram, it is, but… I wonder if you truly believe that. A lot of men would think that way, women too, and I … I understand it. Life can be fearsome, sometimes. I guess, for all our benefits in life, ours more than most, I suppose, even we have learned how dreadful life can be.”

Abram let a moment pass before adding, “Ours less than most.”

He gave it some thought. There was no doubting her thoughts, or her mind, or her heart. She was the woman for him, Abram had no doubt. But he did have fear—not of a curse, but of a pattern. He’d been lucky in so many ways, fortune and good health, every advantage. Abram knew there’d be a price to pay for all that luck, and when Annabelle and his unborn child met their maker, he’d had a nagging suspicion as to what that price would be.

He had no interest in seeing his suspicions proven correct, the conclusion written in the blood of that living embodiment of beauty and sweetness.

But he also knew that he could not hold onto her forever without taking her as his bride. She would find another, and he would live his life alone and in the kind of misery that no amount of money could buy away.

It was a moment of truth, not the first one in his life and likely not to be the last. Abram opened his mouth to speak when the French doors opened and Sam poked his head out from inside.

“Your father requests your presence inside, young master Quimby.”

They all shared a little chuckle before Abram and Katherine cut off their awkward exchange. She slipped her arm in his and let him lead her into the house.

Chapter Two

Abram led Katherine into the house, where the guests had quieted and the musicians were still, the servants vanished into the kitchen until called back out again. All eyes were on Abram and Katherine, and on the great man himself, Langley Quimby. He stood tall and proud despite his age, short hair graying to lack almost any color at all.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Langley said, tapping a crystal glass with a silver spoon to ensure their quiet attention. “Friends and associates, good people of Carson City. Thank you all for coming to my house once again, partaking of my humble hospitality.” The crowd shared a brief, muted chuckle. “What is success for, after all, if not to share it with your fellows? I’ve been blessed to enjoy a good deal of success, for which I cannot take sole credit. The earth is rich with minerals; I’ve been lucky. And of course, I had a… a loving and dutiful wife, whom I lost too soon. But she left me with a son, and for that I will be eternally grateful.”

Abram glanced across the room to see his Uncle Raymond, Cousin Sam, and Raymond’s wife, Abram’s Aunt Jean. She was eternally quiet and demure, eyes cast downward toward the floor at almost all times. She seemed to live to supplicate her husband, and it couldn’t help but put him in mind of Annabelle, of Katherine. Katherine had a spark that neither woman had, a spark that shone through her protocol and politeness. He turned to drink in the sight of her, feel the touch of her arm in his.

“My son,” Langley went on, “is as much a prodigal as any of us could dread having.” The men among the guests chuckled, their women frowning their disdain. “He spent some of his youth enjoying the fruits of my labors, let us say. And there’s nothing wrong with it. He’s entitled to that, as his birthright. A lot of you have sons, so… you know what I mean.” The men tittered again, some of that more suppressed than before.

Langley glanced at Abram, a little wink offering the younger Quimby some reassurance. “But what’s the old saying? All of us who are worth our manhood spend it forgetting the lessons of our youth.”

More courteous laughter, and Abram could hear the insincerity of it. He’d long marked the manner of these courtesies, and he knew them from personal experience as well as through his father’s dealings. One presaged the other.

Langley went on, “Since he’s turned his shoulder to learning the business, my son has proven that he’s put his… personal challenges behind him and is ready to ascend to the mantle of Commanding Officer of Quimby Precious Metals.”

The crowd hummed with a mumbled, muttered speculation. Abram’s heart beat a little faster, and Katherine clung to his arm just a little tighter.

“What does a man toil for,” Langley went on, “but to leave his legacy in the hands of his own flesh and blood? That’s not to say I have any less gratitude for my good and noble brother Raymond, his lovely wife Jean, and his able son, Samuel, my nephew.”

Raymond, Jean, and Sam watched from the back of the room. The two men seemed to be sharing a glance, but it was replaced by a pair of smiles as they returned their attention to Langley and Abram.

Langley added, “They’re a good family, blood of my blood. And nothing in this world is more important than family. Of all the riches in all the world, there is no greater treasure. Why, there was a time, after… before Abram turned his attentions to the business, I would have gladly turned the reins over to my brother and his son. And I’m even luckier to have them backing my son’s move to the head of the company.”

Langley turned to Abram. “Abram, my son, have you any words?”

Abram stood stunned, not ready to fully digest the matter, much less speak on it. He looked again at Katherine, her eyes gleaming with pride and hope for a brighter future for them both. He could read her mind, knowing that she saw this as the gateway to the wedding altar. Without a doubt, it was the gateway to the future Abram had long expected and always deserved, at least to his own way of thinking.

Abram stepped away from Katherine, who allowed him to step closer to his father and shake the great man’s hand. There was a smattering of applause, and Abram could practically read the contemplations and calculations in their faces as they quieted.

Abram cleared his throat, glancing down at the brandy he only then realized he was still holding. “I’d like to propose a toast.” Silence followed before he went on, “My father is the greatest man I’ve ever known, the greatest man I will ever know. We’ve shared many things, my father and I… disagreements, ill-temper, arguments…” The crowd chuckled a bit, but it died down quickly. “He was patient with me when I was facing my greatest demons, and I was proud to be there for him during the time of his, and our family’s, greatest sorrow.”

Langley cast his daze at the ground, then up at the heavens before Abram went on, “But that’s all in the past now.” Langley turned to offer Katherine a little nod. “And the past is, well, the past is gone. What matters now is the present, the future. And the future seems brighter than ever, for all of us. The nation is fast healing itself from that… that terrible war. The whole country seems fixed on the future, in fact. And so too should be we all. The empire my father has built, that you all are building here in Nevada, the nation we’re building, it’s a vision of the future. Now, my father has put me in charge. The changing of the guard, as it were. Honestly, I don’t know that I’m ready. Not that I’m not able, mind you …”

More courteous chuckles rose up from the crowd.

Abram continued, “I’m just glad I’ll have my father by my side, to guide me and mentor me. Who better to make sure I’m the steward I need to be, to make this empire everything it could be, should be, will be.”

The crowd rose up louder applause than before. Abram raised his glass to his father, who toasted with a fresh wine glass handed to him by one of the silent servants. But a glance at Katherine told Abram that, despite all appearances, he hadn’t handled the matter quite right at all.

In fact, he’d seemed to have ruined everything.

Katherine pouted and turned to step away, leaving Abram in her silent wake.

Abram left his father’s side to follow her, a pattern he was coming to appreciate less and less.


“You mock me, Abram. I stand there while you leave me in the shadows like your chambermaid.”

“What was I to do? Should I announce our wedding when I haven’t even proposed?”

“Certainly not, but… why won’t you, then?”

“I… I want to, believe me. You can’t possibly think I’d have any other woman?” She waited with passionate, soulful eyes which made Abram stammer all the more. “I’m… it’s not that I’m afraid or not ready, or doubting you in any way, but… now, with all this, I have to transition into a leadership role here, Katy. It’s going to take every ounce of my energy and dedication.”

“Well, a wedding, that’s a woman’s work anyway—”

“In time, Katy. Surely you see how such a thing would be unseemly just now. And my father has a right to his moment; he’s worked hard for it. But I promise you, Katy, we will be wed.”

Katherine looked at him, her brows arching in silent sorrow. Abram asked her, “Do you believe me?” She nodded, a single tear crawling down her cheek. He knew she wanted to, but managing that faith was getting harder and harder for her, and Abram could only sympathize.

In the corner of his eye, Abram saw his cousin, uncle, and aunt slip out of the back of the room while others rushed in to congratulate the great man as he stepped down from his throne of gold.

“Evil Among the Miners” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!

Abram Quimby’s quiet life suddenly turns upside down when he is handed the reins of his family’s powerful mining company. Little did he realize, though, that great power comes with great responsibility. On a fateful day, he and his fellow miners get trapped in a cave-in mineshaft… It is now up to Abram to prove his valor and lead the others out in a desperate escape before the mine crumbles and kills every last man.

Will Abram’s fearlessness be enough to save the men, or will he lead them straight into the grave?

While Abram’s life hangs by a thread, Katherine McCord, his bride-to-be, sets out to solve the puzzle herself and discover who is behind the horrific accident. However, she’s just a woman in a man’s world and she is well aware that her faith and love are not enough to save her man… or herself. Her investigation will reveal that the enemy is someone much closer to her and Abram than she originally suspected…

Will Katherine find out who caused the cave-in, or will she be next on the list to fall victim to the evil person?

Amidst chaos and turmoil, Abram and his men struggle to dig their way out of the cave. As the clock ticks down, they all know that they will either live to tell the grim tale, or they will find a tragic end. Will there be any hope for the courageous men to be saved and vindicated against those who conspired against Abram?

An action-packed story, featuring complex and fascinating characters, and twists and turns that will take your breath away. A must-read for fans of Western action and romance.

“Evil Among the Miners” is a historical adventure novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cliffhangers, only pure unadulterated action.

Get your copy from Amazon!


Grab my new series, "Legends of the Lawless Frontier", and get 2 FREE novels as a gift! Have a look here!

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