The Filly

The Filly

Mark Probst

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 Escaping into the fantasy of his books when he's not working in the general store, Ethan Keller has lived a sheltered life in his mother's boarding house. One day, an enigmatic cowboy passing through the small Texas town takes an immediate liking to the shy seventeen-year-old. Ethan is intrigued by the attention, and the cowboy eventually charms him into signing on to a 900-mile cattle drive. Ethan soon finds that his feelings for this cowboy run deeper than just friendship. He never knew that this kind of love even existed; for the two of them to make a life together in the untamed west, they face nearly insurmountable odds if they are to survive.

 
PUBLISHED BY: Bristlecone Pine Press
ISBN: 978-1-60722-003-9
PUBLICATION DATE: 2009
WORD COUNT: 67518
SEXUAL CONTENT RATING: 1
EBOOK READER RATING:
CATEGORIES: Historical, ManLove, Romantic Fiction, Western/Cowboys
KEYWORDS: gay, young adult, coming of age, western, historical
 

EBOOKS BY Bristlecone Pine Press

EBOOKS BY Mark Probst

 
EXCERPT
COPYRIGHT Mark Probst/2009

 Occasionally, Mr. Simpson left Ethan in charge of the store. He would generally be gone for only an hour at a time, usually to make a deposit in the bank, make a delivery to a house-bound widow, or to send a telegraph. Ethan enjoyed these times because it made him feel important, and he took pride in the sales he made in Mr. Simpson’s absence.

Mr. Simpson had only been gone about three minutes when Travis Cain walked through the door.

“Good morning, Ethan,” he said in his cheerful, smiling way. “It’s a beautiful day outside today.”

“Good morning, sir.”Feeling a jittery sensation in his stomach, Ethan moved to a position behind the counter.

“Oh please, call me Travis.”

“Um, Mr. Simpson’s not here right now but can I help you with anything... Travis?” He straightened the stack of receipts beside the register.

“Well, yes. Actually we guys over in the bunkhouse were looking for some sort of activity to pass the evening hours before going to bed. I was wondering if you had anything like that here in the store. Maybe a deck of cards?”

“No, I’m afraid we don’t have any cards. But I’m sure you could get some from the saloon down the street.”

“Well, what do you have?”

“We’ve got some books, if you like to read.”

“No...I don’t really go for much book reading. I prefer going out and experiencing life, rather than just reading about it.” Ethan was perplexed. He looked around the store hoping to find the answer to Travis’s dilemma.

“Oh, I know,” he said, and took off for the back shelf. “How about a jigsaw puzzle?”

“Yeah,” Travis agreed. “That’s exactly the kind of thing I had in mind. Let’s see what you’ve got.”

Ethan led him over to where they kept the toys and showed him the puzzles. There were five different ones. Each was of a scenic picture and contained three hundred wooden pieces.

“Which one do you think is the prettiest?” Travis asked.

“I like the one with the horses,” Ethan replied. “I’m crazy about horses.”

“Really? Do you have a horse?”

“Not yet. I’m saving my money to buy my own colt or filly.” He lowered his eyes and stared for a second at Travis’s belt buckle. “I think your mare is beautiful.”

“Thank you.” Travis smiled and looked toward the window. “I’ve had her since she was a filly, four years ago. She was my very first horse.” He picked up the puzzle box, fumbled with it, then placed it back on the shelf. “Would you like to ride her? Let’s go out and take a look.”

They went outside and Ethan patted her nose and stroked her mane. The jittery feeling drained away as contact with the mare gave him confidence. She whinnied in approval. Travis pulled some sugar lumps out of his pocket and fed them to her. She nuzzled his hand and moved closer to him. “Well, do you want to ride her?”

“I wish I could,” Ethan said, “but I have to watch the store. Mr. Simpson would never forgive me if I left the store unattended.”

“Oh. What time do you close up shop?”

“Six o’clock.”

His face lit up with a grin. “Good. I’ll come back again then and you can ride her. Now I’ll just go ahead and buy the puzzle with the horses and be on my way.”

 
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