An Outlaw’s Pursuit of Redemption (Preview)


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Chapter One

“And that’s a deal,” the man extended his hand, and Oscar reached out, heartily shaking it.

“Deal!” he beamed, covering the other man’s hand with both of his own.

It was a dream come true.

He was the proud owner of his very own ranch.

This was something he had been working toward since as long as he could remember, and now, it had finally become a reality. The house, the barn, the stables, and over four hundred acres, all belonged to him.

Sure, the house needed work, the barn was in disrepair, and the stables had to be almost completely rebuilt before he would be able to put any animals in there, but that was okay. The important thing was that this all belonged to him, and no one could take it away.

If there was one thing Oscar had grown used to in his life, it was work. Patience, too, for that matter. Nothing in life came without a decent amount of work put into it, and for some, work was a lot harder than others.

For Oscar, life had dealt him a hand that required him to scrimp and save everything. He had to fight for all that he had, and even when he thought he’d finally gotten a break, he still had to put in a lot of blood, sweat, and tears before he was able to make what he had a home.

But none of that deterred him from buying this ranch, and the work that would be required to move into the place didn’t do a single thing to dampen his happiness either. In fact, with how joyous an occasion this was, Oscar was certain there wasn’t a thing in the world that could touch him in his bliss.

“Oscar!” a sweet voice called.

He turned to see his beautiful wife appearing in the doorway of the house. “Oscar! Have you paid the man yet?”

“I did,” he said. “It’s ours, darlin’! The place is ours!”

He ran over to her, sweeping her up in his arms, hugging her tightly to himself as he swung her in a circle, drinking in the sound of her laughter. That was yet another thing that he had grown to adore. The sound of his wife laughing was perhaps the best sound on the planet.

He knew one day that it would be replaced with the sound of his child’s laughter, but they weren’t ready to have kids quite yet. For now, they were both willing to work to turn their house into a home before the children started coming along.

Then, Oscar knew, life would be perfect.

It would always have its struggles, but the struggles they had would be worth it in the end.

As long as he had his wife by his side, he knew they would be able to do anything they set their minds to. And Oscar relished the fact that he could finally lay his head down at night and know no one was going to come take this away from him.

They’d pay the bank with what they earned on the land, and they would make a living with the extra money they brought in from the animals they would raise. The garden they would grow on the far side of the barn would feed them during the winter, and the money he’d make from selling the cattle he would raise would pay for the other necessities they’d purchase for the winter.

Oscar never asked for nor expected an easy life.

He knew he would forever be breaking his back to put the roof over his head and the food on the table. But it was good honest labor, and that was all that really mattered to him. As long as he was able to say when he went to bed at night that he had done his part to earn his living, he didn’t care how hard he had to work.

That was life.

And life was perfect.

“I have dinner on the table,” his wife told him, and he turned to walk into the house with her. Dinner was likely to be something simple, but that was fine with him, too. He wouldn’t complain, not with food on the table.

They sat together, and he clasped his hands in front of him.

“Let’s pray and thank the Good Lord for what he has given us this day,” he said. He bent his head low and shut his eyes, knowing his wife was doing the same. He was just about to begin his prayer of thanksgiving when suddenly another voice broke into his thoughts.

And not only that, but he felt himself violently kicked from where he was seated at the table. He expected to find himself falling, but in the same instant he was kicked, the room around him vanished.

His wife disappeared and his house melted away around him.

The meal, simple though it was, also dissolved into nothingness.

He opened his eyes, the bright sun shining down into his face as he blinked. Oscar shielded his eyes with his hand to try to block the sun, but another kick to his stomach made him nearly double over.

“Wake up!”

The gruff voice – the same voice that had cut into his head during his dream – spoke once more, this time demanding that he rise.

“Nathan! Cut it out!” he cried as he swung his arm back, trying to hit the offending foot away from him.

“You on a holiday of some kind?” Nathan remarked. “We’ve got to get going, you know that.”


“Money isn’t made when you’re doing nothing but sleeping the day away.”

Oscar pushed himself to a sitting position and looked around their small campsite. They had made camp just two days prior, and when they did, Nathan had told Oscar that they would be staying for at least a week, and that it was high time the two of them relaxed.

Oscar had, of course, leapt at the opportunity to take a few days off.

It wasn’t work that bothered him, it was the kind of work that they had been doing lately. He hated it. Not because it was hard physically, but because he hated hurting people, and he knew that even the robberies he and Nathan committed where no one was injured during the offense, they still hurt by losing the things he and his partner stole.

But this was the only life he had known.

Oscar was indebted to Nathan, and Nathan knew this. And Nathan often reminded Oscar of that fact, making sure he knew that Oscar never overstepped his bounds in the relationship, or ever had too many of his own thoughts or ideas along the way.

As time passed, however, Oscar was getting tired of this life.

He didn’t want to grow up to be a criminal. He had often dreamt of having land of his own, a family of his own. He wanted to find a pretty girl to settle down with, and he wanted to work the land. He didn’t care if he became a farmer or a rancher, he just knew that he wanted to make a living the honest way. And he would teach his children to do the same.

But that life didn’t appear to be an option when he was with Nathan.

Nathan was the kind of man who wanted what he couldn’t have, and he often took the few things he did have by force. He never worked for anything, only taking from others. He would often spy out a town whenever they passed through, looking for some poor soul who wasn’t properly equipped to fight them off, then he would form the plan.

Most of the time, his plans involved both Oscar and him working together. He had often used Oscar when the boy was younger to play the pitiful young beggar who was just looking for some food. Then, Nathan himself would come out of hiding and take whatever he wanted from whatever kind soul had stopped to help Oscar in the first place.

At first, Oscar was too young and innocent to realize what was going on. He didn’t know what they were doing was wrong, and he didn’t understand that they were hurting the people who were just trying to help him.

It wasn’t until he grew older that he saw just how much they were hurting those they stole from. And, to make matters worse, Nathan was growing increasingly violent with each new robbery. It hadn’t always been that way. There had been a time when Nathan would prefer to carry off as much as he could without anyone noticing him at all.

Gradually, however, it progressed to making threats against the people they were robbing, and eventually escalated to the point he was pulling out his knife or his gun to scare people into giving up their goods. So far, every time he brandished some sort of weapon at his victims, they would give up their things quickly.

They knew that it was better to part with whatever it was Nathan and Oscar were taking from them than to try to stand their ground and learn whether Nathan was serious about harming them to take their things.

Oscar had often assumed that his partner wasn’t going to really hurt anyone, and if it came down to it, he would let the people go without touching them. But the last robbery had been a bad one as far as Oscar was concerned, and it had really changed the way he saw his partner and the life they lived.

They had been traveling between two towns, and Oscar’s horse had gone lame. The poor mare was in dire need of having her feet tended to by a farrier, but they lacked the funds to be able to get it done for her. Nathan had spent all the money they had stolen most recently at the saloon, and there wasn’t any less to take care of the horse’s feet.

With the horse unable to keep up with Nathan’s, Nathan decided that the two of them were going to rob the next person they passed along the road. He didn’t care who that happened to be, so long as they had enough money on them that the two men would be able to get the horse tended to in the next town.

Oscar hadn’t given it much thought himself. After all, it was how they had always done things. But, when they came across a traveling preacher who didn’t have much money in his pockets, Nathan wasn’t willing to take no for an answer.

“You are welcome to all that I have,” the preacher said. “But I’m afraid that it’s not much.”

And he was right. All he had on him was a couple of dollars plus a few pennies. Not nearly enough to take care of the horse, and not enough to purchase another animal, either. It had been a complete waste to rob the man in the first place, but to make matters worse, Nathan had become so enraged with the fact the man didn’t have money on him, he chose to beat him to the point he nearly lost consciousness.

It was then that Oscar learned firsthand not to get in the way of his partner when Nathan was in a rage. He turned on Oscar with almost the same level of violence that he had unleashed on the poor preacher.

Oscar bore the marks of the beating for nearly two weeks after and hadn’t even been able to sit upright in the saddle very comfortably for nearly a month after. He was sure Nathan had done something permanent to hurt Oscar’s back, but he knew better than to bring it up to Nathan, let alone ask for a doctor to look at it.

He just gritted his teeth and dealt with the pain, carrying out the orders that were laid on him by Nathan despite the fact he was in a lot of pain doing it. Still, Oscar knew better than to complain too much.

He didn’t even complain out loud to Nathan, knowing that if he said anything about the pain Nathan had caused, he was all but asking for another beating. That was just the kind of man Nathan was.

The limping of the mare had only made the pain worse, but he had dealt with it until they had ridden into the next town, and that night Nathan had managed to switch the poor mare Oscar had been riding for a different horse in the stable, stealing the horse along with getting rid of the animal that they both viewed as the problem.

Oscar had been grateful for a better animal to ride, so he had kept his mouth shut about how risky it had been to steal a horse like that out of the stable next to the hotel where they’d been staying. That easily could have gotten them both arrested by the sheriff, and maybe even hanged for the crime. He had heard that they hung people for lesser things, and he didn’t want to try his luck when it came to stealing a horse.

But, once again, he’d kept his mouth shut for the crime, going along with what he was told to do, and never once mentioning it to Nathan how uncomfortable he was with the turn their crimes were taking.

“I didn’t know we were fixing to be making any money today,” Oscar told his companion. “You said we were going to take a week to lay low and let things settle down before we struck again.”

“Let me do the thinking, will you?” Nathan sneered. “The whole reason you have a roof over your head to begin with is because of me. Why don’t you just shut up and let me be the one to decide what’s best?”

Oscar knew it wasn’t really a question.

It was the same thing Nathan brought up every time Oscar would ask about what they were doing and whether it was a good idea. He had done his best to let Nathan know that he wasn’t happy with the turn they had taken with the robberies, but Nathan was just as quick to remind Oscar of his past.

Oscar had been orphaned at an incredibly young age.

He’d spent the first eight years of his life living in an orphanage, but he’d run away when he was eight years old. He was tired of being picked over by anyone who came through, and he knew most of the men and women who came through looking for a young boy were really just looking for a farmhand anyway, and at the time, he didn’t want to be adopted for the sake of being a worker.

He wanted to be loved.

So, he figured running away and trying to live life on his own was the way to do things. And he’d managed to keep himself fed for the summer while living on the charity of those who were in town. There were plenty of old women who felt sorry for him and would give him either their eggs or a loaf of bread when they were on their way to the mercantile.

But, when winter set in, Oscar realized he had to figure out something else. He tried to sleep in barns, but time after time he was chased away by the owners of the property where he had been staying, and he was pushed out into the cold.

One particularly freezing night, a blizzard was threatening to sweep over the small town, and Oscar knew he had to find some sort of shelter quickly, or he would freeze out in the elements. But he didn’t have any money, and no one was willing to open their doors to him.

He had just about given up hope when he was found by Nathan.

The older man had just come into town and put up his horse in the stable for the night. He wasn’t kind enough to have Oscar come into the hotel with him, but he did give the boy permission to sleep in the stall with the horse, which Oscar was happy to do.

A horse was a large animal, and once he laid down to keep himself warm for the night, Oscar was able to curl up beside him and share the blanket. He was so snug that he was still sleeping when Nathan found him the next morning.

It was then that Nathan asked Oscar about his parents and what he was doing to take care of himself, and upon hearing the sad story of Oscar’s life, he offered to let the boy stay with him. But he made it clear he wasn’t going to adopt Oscar, and he wasn’t going to baby him, either.

“Partners, that’s what we is,” Nathan had announced. “You and me. We’re going to work together, and with a face like yours and brains like mine, we’re going to make out pretty good, you hear?”

Oscar hadn’t understood at the time what he was getting himself into, but he was too young to ask too many questions. He’d joined up with Nathan in a heartbeat, and together, the two of them had started their robberies.

That was eleven years ago, and the two of them had been together ever since.

But Oscar wasn’t happy with how things were anymore. He wanted a change, but he was afraid of his partner. Not only that, but he also didn’t see a way out. He knew Nathan had power over him, and the problem was that Nathan knew it, too.

With a grunt, Oscar pulled himself to a standing position and started gathering up his bedroll. Nathan hadn’t done a thing with his own bedding, but that wasn’t any different than usual.

Oscar was always the one who had to do the heavy work when it came to setting up and tearing down camp. It was one of the many things Nathan had assigned to him while they were out on the trail, and it had also become one of the things Oscar had learned not to question or argue.

“Things have changed,” Nathan announced, “and I’ve got a plan.”

Chapter Two

“A plan?” Oscar asked, knowing it was expected of him to show interest in whatever it was Nathan was talking about at the time.

“Yes,” Nathan said, rubbing his hands together as he spoke. He always reminded Oscar of the villains in the books he’d read when he was younger.

Oscar had learned to read well enough when he lived at the orphanage, and reading had become the one thing that had been his escape when he was young. It was a trait that had been exploited by Nathan over the years, as Nathan was barely able to write even his own name, let alone read much of anything.

Oscar, however, devoured any book he could get his hands on, and Nathan had even started picking up books for him whenever he was in town. Oscar didn’t know if the books had been purchased at the mercantile, or if they were stolen along with most of the other things Nathan provided, but then, Oscar didn’t really care.

He was relieved Nathan had never asked Oscar to teach him how to read. But then, with Oscar around, why would Nathan have to learn to read himself? He could rely on Oscar to do all the reading and writing they had to do.

And for Oscar, just having that little bit of knowledge to himself felt empowering. He had so little control in his real life, he enjoyed having one thing of his own. It was the one thing he had that Nathan didn’t, and no matter how much Nathan may or may not want it, there wasn’t a way for him to have it unless Nathan was willing to put in the work.

And that would probably never happen.

As long as Oscar had the books, he had a way to disappear from the world. He could get lost in book after book, reading about knights in shining armor, kings on their horses with their armies around them, and fantastical books of little fairies and elves living in the forests.

If there was one thing those books all had in common, however, it was the villain. The one man who was so evil, he was doing everything he could to destroy the little world of whoever the book was about. In the end, however, the good always won out, and the evil was destroyed.

And Oscar often felt that he would eventually be able to break away from Nathan himself.

In most of the books he had read in the past couple of years, he imagined the villain was really Nathan. He could put Nathan’s face to any of the bad guys, no matter what the book said the person looked like. And Oscar often imagined himself as the hero, finally doing whatever it was he had to do to get away from the bad guy once and for all.

And going on to live his own happy life.

But, he had yet to break free of the villain in his real life, and as he started packing up the rest of the camp, he listened to what Nathan had to say.

“I found out where we is,” Nathan announced. “We’re getting close to the Texas border. We could continue west to head to California, but I think we’ve got a better chance of making something good for ourselves right here. Texas is a big place, Oscar, a really big place, and if you and I play our cards right, I bet you anything we’re going to walk away from this next robbery rich men.”

“Slow down,” Oscar said. “I don’t know what you’re even talking about yet. What robbery? Who are we going to rob? And where are we close to Texas? Do we have to go very far from here?”

“Texas is directly south from us. We could cross the border into the state in just a few hours. And that’s where you and I are heading. I happen to have heard that there is a land baron down in those parts, the richest man in the entire territory.”

“Richer than the men who are in San Antonio?” Oscar asked. “I thought you said that’s where all the rich people went.”

“There’s plenty or rich men in San Antonio, sure, but it sounds to me like most of them are heading to California. But you’re getting me off track,” Nathan scowled. “Shut up and listen to what I have to say!”

“Sorry,” Oscar mumbled. “Go on.”

“I was telling you that there’s a rich land baron, and with the money he’s got in his house, we’ll have enough money to probably never have to do another robbery again,” Nathan said, once more rubbing his hands together in that villainous way.

“How do you know this?” Oscar asked with wide eyes.

“I was playing a hand of poker with some men in town last night,” he said.

“You were?” Oscar asked in surprise.

“I was.” He nodded. “I couldn’t sleep when you were over there snoring, so I figured I would head out to town and see if I could win a few dollars over a pint of beer. As it turns out, I was able to get some information that’s worth more than the money I lost at the table.”

“You lost the money?” Oscar asked, his tone showing just how indignant he was with the idea.

It was a habit he had often asked Nathan to break. They would have a decent robbery and gain some money that they could live on for a few weeks, but Nathan would almost always take it with him to the saloon when Oscar was asleep, spending it on alcohol and gambling, or even on soiled doves.

Oscar had gotten angry with Nathan more than once over the practice, and it had led to Nathan only doing it when Oscar wasn’t aware. Not that Nathan had ever made it appear as though he had to listen to Oscar in any way, but he still seemed to want to avoid the fight with Oscar if he could. After all, Oscar knew where the money was stashed when they had managed to get away with a decent amount of cash, and he could just as easily turn the tables and do the same thing when Nathan wasn’t looking.

Of course, it went without Nathan ever saying so that if Oscar were to do something so brazen, it would come back to haunt him. Oscar would, no doubt, wind up with a beating that was unlike any he had ever endured before, and Oscar knew it.

But, the fact of the matter was that if he took the money and gambled it away, it would be gone no matter how bad of a beating Nathan delivered to him after the fact. So, to keep things moderately peaceful between the two of them, Nathan would only take the money when Oscar had no idea what was going on.

And with that, he would then try to win more. If he did, Oscar wasn’t able to complain much. Because why would it make any sense to be angry with someone who left with a little money, and came back with a lot? Never mind that he might have lost the entire amount at the table just as easily as he could have won some, which was the case most of the time.

But today, Nathan wasn’t going to let Oscar turn the conversation to anything but the fact that there was a rich man who wasn’t too far away, and that they could go down there and rob him in his house.

“Of course, I took the money,” Nathan said, his tone defensive. “You know as well as I do that, we didn’t have enough to make it to the end of the week, and I was simply doing what I could to try to bring home a little more cash. You know there are times in your life when you have to spend some money to make some.”

“But when you go out there and you lose it all, you might as well have ripped it up and thrown it into the wind,” Oscar argued. “We had enough money to get some salted pork and some beans. That would have been enough to get us through to the end of the week at least.”

“And then what?” Nathan shot back. “We could have had enough to get through to the end of the week, but then what did you want me to do? Do you somehow have a secret stash of more salted pork or beans that I don’t know about? Are you going to turn into some miracle worker and double the amount of food that we have on hand without the means to buy more? You can get angry with me over this, but you can’t argue with me over the fact that I was doing this to help us!”

“But you lost it,” Oscar said. “And now we don’t have the money to get any food. All we have is a bit more bacon that we got last week, and I’m not sure what you want to do with that, but there’s nothing sitting in the bags for us to make for breakfast. Let alone lunch or dinner.”

“Would you stop whining about your belly?” Nathan snapped. “There’s plenty of cactus out there for you to pull if you are that hungry, and I already showed you how to clean it and cook it, so you have something to eat. I don’t care if you don’t like it, you’re going to have to make do with what we have or go hungry.”

Oscar muttered under his breath. He was tired of his partner doing this to them. It was bad enough that he had to go hungry this morning. He was already angry that he had been kicked away so rudely out of the best dream of his life, and after that, he had come to his senses to hear that they were out of food and money both.

He didn’t even have the night to remember spending the money on, which made him resent his companion even more. Nathan at least got to go out and have some beer while he was spending the little money they had. If Oscar had been there, he might have gotten a taste of the beer himself.

But now all he had was the story of what Nathan had been doing the night before, and further, the plan that his companion was whipping up in his mind as they spoke. Oscar didn’t for one minute believe that Nathan already had the plan set in place.

It was far more likely that Nathan was the kind of guy who would come back to Oscar to tell him that they were out of money, then he was going to come up with some sort of plan that made it appear as though this had been in the work all along.

It was one of the many things Oscar was resenting about Nathan these days, but there wasn’t much he was able to do about it. Nathan had been and probably always would be the one to call the shots when it came to what they were doing, and since Oscar didn’t have anything else to go to in his life, he was trapped in the same situation.

“An Outlaw’s Pursuit of Redemption” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!

When Oscar and his partner, Nathan, agree to one last robbery, Oscar is convinced that it will be the final chapter of his life as a criminal and he can finally start over. When Nathan takes things too far and a man is killed, Oscar is arrested and charged with murder. With his freedom on the line, Oscar must fight like hell to prove his innocence…

He must fight for his life…

After Rebecca’s beloved father is brutally murdered for his life savings, she knows the truth; Oscar is innocent. The law though doesn’t see it that way, and Rebecca is determined to fight for justice and to make sure he doesn’t die for a crime he didn’t commit. With her courage and strength, Rebecca embarks on a dangerous journey to save the life of a man she believes in.

She’s not going to stay silent…

Oscar and Rebecca soon find themselves in the middle of a treacherous plot. With a murderer on the loose and justice in the balance, will they manage to uncover the truth? Follow their gripping journey as they risk everything to seek the truth and avenge an innocent man.

“An Outlaw’s Pursuit of Redemption” 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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