The Last Call for Vengeance (Preview)


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Chapter One

Holt Alexander Hamilton was ten years old when his life changed forever. It was a hot day in Northwestern Texas and he just wanted to cool off and have fun. His pa told him to stay close and to get some firewood for the stove while they were working the field. 

Holt didn’t want to work the field. He wanted to play. It was frustrating that his pa didn’t understand how crucial it was to get as much playtime in as possible. He’d tried to make it clear as many times as he could.

“I gotta play, Pa,” he’d told him just the night before at dinner. “Ma says soon I’ll be a man like you and have my own farm. Then I won’t have any time to play at all!”

His pa raised his eyebrows and stared at him before dragging his eyes across the table to Holt’s mother on the opposite side. “Well, Margie?” he said, his voice, though low and a bit irritated, also sounded amused. “Is that what you told our son?”

On the other side of the dinner table, Holt’s little sisters, twins at 7 years old, were giggling, covering their mouths with their small hands. They were looking from their mother to their father, unable to hide their joviality. 

Margie turned scolding eyes to them and they tried to stop, with Bethany looking down at her lap and Minnie digging into her dinner plate with a fork.

Holt’s mother turned her kind, blue eyes to him. “Holt, just because you will be a man soon doesn’t mean it’s all playtime now. You have responsibilities and an obligation to your pa to help him when he needs it.”

“Why am I obligated?” Holt asked, defiantly. 

“Because he is your father.”

Holt didn’t understand that reasoning. He shook his head, continuing with, “But I didn’t ask for him to be my father. I didn’t ask for anything at all, even to be born!”

The light hearted nature from the beginning of the conversation dissipated and both his parents looked at him with disappointment on their faces. 

“Holt. What a thing to say. You don’t want to be a part of our family?”

Holt was completely confused. That wasn’t what he meant at all. He frowned and shook his head. His sisters were looking at him with sad eyes. He pulled his eyebrows together, staring back at them until they moved their eyes away.

“I didn’t say that,” he said, firmly. “I said I have to use as much of my time playing as I can because someday I’ll be like Pa and I won’t have any time at all to play.”

“Listen to me, son,” his father said, leaning forward and lifting one finger in the air pointed upwards. “I won’t stand for you to disrespect your mother, so watch your tone of voice. As far as the rest of what you said goes, I’ll have you know that I get in plenty of time for play. When we go fishing together for dinner, what do you think that is? I enjoy fishing. It’s one of the tasks that is necessary but that I also enjoy. I enjoy hunting, too. That is fun for me. I’m doing work for our family but I still like it. You see? You make your own fun when you have a lot of responsibilities, too.”

“Well, I don’t think getting and chopping firewood is fun,” Holt replied. “I don’t think any of my chores are fun.”

“That’s why you don’t have a lot of them,” his mother replied. “Someday, you will come to understand that responsibilities come first and when that day comes, you’ll appreciate the work your father has had you do. You can’t just take over a farm and run it successfully without knowing what to do. That’s what your pa is doing right now. He’s teaching you.”

Holt knew his parents were telling him the truth. He knew they weren’t trying to hurt him by giving him chores and responsibilities. 

But the day turned out to be hotter than he thought it would be and more than anything he just wanted to cool off. He’d been chopping down small trees and then chopping those trees into smaller portions for two hours already. He was tired and his muscles were sore.

In the back of his mind, all Holt could think about was the pond on the east side of their land. A nice swim was the only thing he could think about, as a matter of fact.

He looked around the barn to the pasture, where his father was tending to the cattle. They only had a handful and Pa was always worried about them. For the umpteenth time that morning, he’d told Holt’s mother they would be lucky if they got any good meat off them and that was if they lasted through the winter. 

It wasn’t even close to winter. Holt didn’t know what his pa was so worried about. 

Alexander was bent next to one of the cows, examining her leg. His back was to his son. 

Holt moved his eyes to the house but saw no movement, no one at any of the windows. 

He turned and jogged as quickly and quietly away from the farmhouse as he could. He ducked behind several trees, looking over his shoulder to see if his father had turned to see him going in the opposite direction to where he should have been. 

When he thought it was safe, he broke into a run and made it over the hill and down into what he thought of as the perfect oasis; a circular pattern of trees around a huge pond that was deep enough to jump into without getting hurt. He didn’t know how deep the pond was but he’d never felt the bottom with his own feet and when his pa swam, he wasn’t touching the bottom either. 

Holt figured it must be as deep as the ocean if his pa couldn’t touch the bottom.

The water sparkled and swirled before his eyes, reflecting the bright sun above. He could see the reflection of the blue sky and white clouds in the rippling waves as well. 

He had his shirt and pants off before he reached the water. He splashed in excitedly in only his undershorts, diving under the surface and coming up with a gasp, the cool water tingling against his hot skin. He did a backstroke, kicking his feet up, enjoying the heat of the sun above water and the coolness below it. 

Holt hadn’t felt so free in days. He floated on his back, a smile on his face, almost wishing his little sisters were there so he’d have someone to play with. They weren’t always annoying. In fact, he knew for a fact that he loved them but he would never tell them that. He was protective; even he admitted it. The boys at the schoolhouse didn’t bully his sisters. He’d made sure of that right away. 

He smiled, his eyes closed, remembering how he’d told the boys in no uncertain terms that if they messed with Bethany and Minnie, they would have to deal with him and they didn’t want that. He’d balled up one fist in front of them, sure they would be amazed and intimidated by his strength and fury. 

There were four of them; Billy, Carl, Andrew, and Mark. They did a lot of teasing of the girls and Holt was bound and determined to make sure they didn’t tease Bethany and Minnie. They’d agreed to his terms right away, which made him happy, and in the two years his sisters had been going to the schoolhouse with him, they’d been left alone by the boys. 

Holt pulled in a deep breath and turned over, splashing around in the water, turning himself in circles. He let his eyes slide over the surrounding trees as he spun around, marveling at the strange effect it had on his eyes. He wondered if it hurt his brain to make his eyes see such strange things. 

He stopped abruptly, grinning again when his eyes continued to flip as if he was still spinning. The dizzying effect made him flap his arms violently so he didn’t go under the water. Once the sensation passed, he swam to the shore and stepped out onto the dirt. He turned and sat down, resting his small arms on his upright knees. He looked across the pond to the other side.

He felt like he saw movement from the brush and stared at a particular spot, waiting for an animal to come out. 

He saw nothing, but the sensation that someone or something was out there beyond the bushes and thick tree branches stayed with him. 

Once he was dry enough, Holt clenched his jaw, pushing himself to his feet, tensing all of his muscles, hoping he looked threatening to whoever might have been watching him. He might not be big like his pa, but he had a heart filled with courage and he wasn’t afraid of anyone.

He went to the tree branch where he’d left his shirt, trousers, socks, suspenders and shoes. He dressed quickly and headed back toward the farmhouse. It probably hadn’t been that long. He doubted his pa had even noticed he wasn’t bringing back wood or making any noise that would indicate he was even chopping wood in the first place.

A nervous streak passed through him. His thoughts were scaring him into being afraid he would get caught for going swimming without permission. He got to the top of the hill and was about to go down to the house when he stopped in his tracks, staring at the courtyard. There were several horses down there. The riders weren’t carrying rifles. It was the first thing Holt noticed. Why would they be carrying bows with quivers of arrows slung over their shoulders? Rifles were so much more convenient. 

His pa was standing on the front porch at the top step. He didn’t look happy.

Holt dropped to lie down on his stomach, looking over the tall grass at the scene below. 

His pa didn’t just look unhappy. He looked angry. His arms were crossed over his chest. He was scowling deeply and glaring at the man at the front of the pack through narrow eyes.

Suddenly, Holt was afraid. His mouth opened and he breathed silently, the fear slicing through him like hot, sharp blades. He wanted to run down the hill screaming. His father was up against six men. He had no weapon on him, which made him vulnerable, even to bows and arrows. 

“Get off my property, Reid Sinclair!” His father bellowed, lifting one hand and pointing at the pathway that led to town. “You aren’t welcome here!”

 The man his pa called Reid Sinclair didn’t leave. Two of the men behind him lifted their bows and arrows. Reid Sinclair said something. The two men released their arrows.

Chapter Two

Holt let out a squeak and slapped one hand over his mouth, resisting the urge to flip over onto his back and shimmy down the hill to get back to the pond where he was safe. The desire to reveal himself was also strong. In the end, he stiffened his body and stayed where he was, screaming into his cupped hand. 

He watched two arrows plunge into his father’s chest, creating immediate spots of blood where they entered. His pa looked down at the two arrows and back up at Reid and his cohorts with rage in his eyes. He turned and ran back to the front door of the house, reaching up and snapping off both shafts of the arrows. 

Holt could hear his father yelling his mother and sisters’ names. 

Oh, how he wanted to be down there in the house, loading the guns for his father, breaking the glass in the window and shooting at these bad men! They had shot arrows into his father’s chest! How long could Pa manage to stay alive with those blades inside him? He was strong and muscular but he was human just like everyone else. 

Holt knew enough about the human body from listening in school. His pa would run out of blood eventually.

The men on the horses dismounted quickly and were heading for the front door of the house. His pa had disappeared through it and closed it behind him. Holt was sure he had moved a piece of furniture in front of it immediately because when the men tried to get through it, it didn’t budge more than an inch. They were all yelling.

A window smashed as someone inside busted it out with the end of a rifle. Shots were fired.

The men with the bows scattered, some going around one side of the house, some going around the other. One stayed in front.

It was Reid Sinclair. 

Holt examined the man from a distance, trying to embed everything he could in his memory. He would remember this. If he didn’t die today doing something stupid, he would remember. He would hunt the man down and make sure he paid for what was happening.

Why had he come to their farmhouse? Holt had never known his father to be involved with anything illegal or immoral. He never hurt anyone. He worked the land, sold corn, green beans and potatoes in the small town nearby, played with his children, loved his wife, and prayed to God.

Holt dug his fingers in the ground, glancing up at the sky. Why, God? Why was this happening?

Anger split through him, not at the Lord but at the man on the front porch of his house. He was an evil monster. If only Holt was a little older, a little bigger and stronger… he would tear the man to pieces.

Holt could hear his sisters inside screaming. His heart slammed hard in his chest when he heard more crashing of glass but couldn’t see where it was happening because he was stuck looking at the front of the house. He pictured in his mind one of the men getting in through the back door or one of the windows. Maybe the window to his sister’s room. Had they gone in the cellar for safety? That was either a good or bad thing. The only way out would be through the door on the outside of the house, which would put them right in one of the outlaw’s hands.

He didn’t realize tears were streaming down his face. He was whimpering in an angry way, holding himself back from running down to the house to save his family. But what could he do? He was ten years old. He had no weapons on him. He’d just come from swimming in the pond. If he hadn’t disobeyed his father and taken a break, he would be down there with his family, who were being slaughtered like cattle. 

He kept himself from wailing, finally spinning over and lying on his back, covering his mouth with both hands. He screamed, tears streaming from his eyes. 

He heard the distinct sound of dragging wood and a door creaking. It was the front door of his house. 

He turned over and looked down again, frightened at what he would see but unable to resist the need to look.

“Oh no,” he whispered softly, his face distorting in pain as he watched two of the men dragging his father out by his arms. He couldn’t tell if Pa was alive or dead. He was hanging by his arms, unconscious at least, and there was a lot more blood on him than when he’d gone running in. It looked like his entire shirt was ripped apart, hanging from his shoulders, drenched in blood.

“No, no, no.” Holt’s sisters were being carried out by two of the other men. His mother was nowhere to be seen.

He didn’t want to see anymore. But he stared with eyes wide open as the men piled his family together in front of the house. They dropped his father on his face, the arrow shafts snapping under the weight of his heavy body. There were two more shafts coming out of his back, indicating he’d taken two more shots before falling. The little girls were dropped on top of him. Neither had arrow shafts sticking from them. They had necklaces of blood.

Holt felt sick to his stomach. His eyes moved back to the door, wondering where his mother was. Had she successfully hidden? Chances were slim to none, considering the girls had been murdered. Ma would never have hidden while her daughters had their lives cruelly taken from them. He had no doubt she was inside, also dead, and perhaps would be brought out in due time.

Tears filled his eyes and made his vision blurry. He blinked rapidly, swiping at them with the back of his hand. He hadn’t done anything. 

But what could he do? What could he have done to save his family? He was small. Young. Had no weapons. If he revealed himself right now and one of those men was a good enough shot, he would easily be taken out right at that moment. The only thing he could do was wait for these men to leave, gather some supplies and get away from there. 

He lifted up slightly to look over the tall grass down at the courtyard again. What were those men doing? It looked like they were just standing around talking. What kind of monster stood talking with a pile of dead bodies next to them? 

Holt moved down the hill, away from the courtyard toward a tree. His stomach was turning over violently. He was going to lose his breakfast.

He grabbed the tree with one hand and bent at the waist, vomiting as quietly as he could. He could only hope the sound didn’t carry down to the house. 

Fear lit up his nerves, making the vomiting twice as harsh. It ripped through his throat, new tears squeezing through his eyes.

He whipped out the handkerchief from his back pocket and wiped his mouth, spitting as he made his way back up to the top of the hill. 

When he looked over the grass, he was dismayed to see the last bandit had brought his mother out. She was alive. Her dark hair was a mess on her head and she was crying hard. The bandit was dragging her toward Reid. When he was close enough, he shoved Holt’s mother toward the man.

Reid grabbed her but he didn’t keep her close to him. He shoved her back so that she was standing at arm’s length. Holt wished he could hear what the man was saying to his ma. His heart ached. He wanted a gun. Shoot, he would settle for a bow and arrow himself at that moment. 

Whatever Reid was saying to Margie probably wasn’t getting through, especially when the woman caught sight of her daughters and husband piled up ruthlessly only a few feet away. Holt’s heart wrenched when she noticed them. Her face opened wide in shock and horror, her eyebrows lifting, her mouth opening wide. Holt could see the utter devastation on her face.

She screamed with the pain of a thousand women, her hands lifting up, cupped so her fingers were up toward the sky. “Nooooo!” she wailed, her body jerking the direction of her family. “Noooo! Noooo!” 

Holt sucked in a sharp breath and pressed his lips together, his eyes stinging with new tears. His mother’s agony ripped through him like a wildfire through the forest. He dropped his head and sobbed, not wanting to watch as his mother threw herself toward his father and sisters, only to be held back by the monsters who had killed them. 

He could hear his mother struggling with the men, continuing to scream “No”. When he looked up again, one of the men had her around the waist and had lifted her up off her feet. She was kicking, elbowing him as hard as she could. 

“Let her go, let her go.” Holt murmured the words, imagining his mother breaking free, seeing him and running toward him. She’d grab his hand and they would run off into the woods. The bandits wouldn’t catch up with them. They would run all the way to town and be safe.

But his mother wasn’t successfully breaking free from the men and she hadn’t called out to him. Holt knew why. If he wasn’t already there, she wasn’t going to let those evil men know he even existed. That would make them search for him. She wasn’t stupid enough to allow that.

Holt felt a measure of pride slide through him for his mother. He knew she loved him. His father loved him. Even his sisters loved him.

He moved his eyes over to his pa, Bethany and Minnie. They lay lifeless under the hot sun. He would never hear his sisters complain that he had hugged them too hard after church services. He would never have to bully the bullies to get them to leave the girls alone. He would never hear his father’s laughter and sarcastic wit again.

His heart hurt more than he ever thought could be possible. His brain filled with a numbing fog. His tears dried as he watched Reid Sinclair tie his mother’s wrists together. He lifted her up onto a horse and got up behind her, wrapping one arm around her waist. 

Holt had never felt so resentful in all his life. The man turned his horse toward the path that led to town. Was he really going to take Margie to town? Like that?

“The Last Call for Vengeance” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!

Holt Hamilton was just a 10-year-old boy when he became witness to the most dreadful tragedy; the cruel murder of his entire family right in front of his eyes. Fortunately, a group of fearless Comanche Indians saved his life and he soon found himself in their camp. As the years go by, Holt grows up learning the Comanche ways. He has only one vivid recollection of the fatal night that changed his childhood; the name and the face of Raid Sinclair, the man at fault. How will this crucial clue lead him to detect the merciless murderer?

When Holt finally reaches adulthood, his thirst for vengeance grows with him. Even though it’s deeply traumatic for him, he decides to finally return to his hometown and seek evidence. Since many years have gone by, he will soon realize that his mission is not child’s play. However, with his Comanche fellows by his side, he will begin his grueling trek to find the evil killer and bring justice. Will he succeed in this challenging pursuit of the heinous Raid Sinclair?

While Holt is on the track of Sinclair, Willa Tomlin, a beautiful young woman will steal his heart. But he will soon discover a bond between her and his old enemy… How will this unexpected turn of events affect his hazardous undertaking? Will he accomplish his goal and ultimately take the revenge he’s been seeking his whole life?

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.

“The Last Call for Vengeance” 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!

3 thoughts on “The Last Call for Vengeance (Preview)”

  1. Both books were great. You nailed it. Your getting better and better especially with the last one. A 5 star all the way. Thanks!!!

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