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Authors: William W. Johnstone,J. A. Johnstone

Tags: #Jensen; Smoke (Fictitious character), #Fiction, #Westerns, #General

Shootout of the Mountain Man

BOOK: Shootout of the Mountain Man
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SHOOTOUT
OF THE
MOUNTAIN MAN

William W. Johnstone

with J. A. Johnstone

PINNACLE BOOKS are published by

Kensington Publishing Corp.
119 West 40th Street
New York, NY 10018

Copyright © 2010 William W. Johnstone

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the publisher, excepting brief quotes used in reviews.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE

Following the death of William W. Johnstone, the Johnstone family is working with a carefully selected writer to organize and complete Mr. Johnstone’s outlines and many unfinished manuscripts to create additional novels in all of his series like The Last Gunfighter, Mountain Man, and Eagles, among others. This novel was inspired by Mr. Johnstone’s superb storytelling.

If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

All Kensington titles, imprints, and distributed lines are available at special quantity discounts for bulk purchases for sales promotions, premiums, fund-raising, educational, or institutional use. Special book excerpts or customized printings can also be created to fit specific needs. For details, write or phone the office of the Kensington special sales manager: Kensington Publishing Corp., 119 West 40th Street, New York, NY 10018, attn: Special Sales Department; phone 1-800-221-2647.

PINNACLE BOOKS and the Pinnacle logo are Reg. U.S. Pat. & TM Off.

The WWJ steer head logo is a trademark of Kensington Publishing Corp.

eISBN-13: 978-0-7860-2589-3
eISBN-10: 0-7860-2589-3

First printing: December 2010

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Printed in the United States of America

CONTENTS

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-one

Chapter Twenty-two

Chapter Twenty-three

Chapter Twenty-four

Chapter Twenty-five

Chapter One

Smoke Jensen was in Longmont’s saloon playing cards with a few of his friends. Louis Longmont wasn’t playing, but he was nearby, leaning up against the wall, adding his own comments to the conversation that flowed around the card table.

Smoke was only partially participating in the conversation, and was only partially participating in the card game, as was demonstrated when he failed to respond to the dealer’s request.

“Smoke?” Garrett said. Garrett, a stagecoach driver, was one of the other players.

“What?”

“How many cards?”

“I pass.”

“What do you mean you pass? You’ve already matched the bet.”

“Oh, uh, I’ll play these.”

“Smoke what’s got into you?” Louis asked. “You seem to be somewhere else.”

“I fold,” Smoke said.

Laying his cards facedown on the table, Smoke got up. Not until he stood could anyone get a good enough look at him to be able to gauge the whole of the man. Six feet two inches tall, he had broad shoulders and upper arms so large that even the shirt he wore couldn’t hide the bulge of his biceps. His hair, the color of wheat, was kept trimmed, and he was clean shaven. His hips were narrow, though accented by the gun belt and holster from which protruded a Colt .44, its wooden handle smooth and unmarked.

Smoke walked to the bar, moving to the opposite end from a young man who had come in a few minutes earlier. Smoke had noticed him the moment the young man came in. He was wearing his pistol low on his right side, with the handle kicked out. He was sweating profusely, though it wasn’t that hot. He had ordered one beer as soon as he came in, but hadn’t taken more than one sip the whole time he was there.

Smoke had seen men like this before, young gunsels who thought the fastest way to fame was to be known as the man who had killed Smoke Jensen. He knew that as soon as the young man got up his nerve, he would make his move. It was that, the upcoming confrontation with this man, that had taken Smoke’s mind away from the conversation and the game.

Louis came over to the bar.

“Are you all right, Smoke? You’re acting rather peculiar.”

“Better not stand too close to me, Louis,” Smoke said under his breath.

“What?”

Smoke nodded toward the young man at the opposite end of the bar. The young man was leaning over the bar, staring into his beer with his hands on either side of the glass.

Louis looked toward the man, then saw what Smoke had seen. It appeared that the nervous young man was trying to gather his nerve.

“Draw me a beer, will you?” Smoke asked.

Louis nodded, walked over to draw a mug of beer, then set it before Smoke. Without glancing again at the young man at the far end of the bar, Louis stepped away from Smoke, giving him all the room he might need.

Smoke did not overtly stare at the young gunman, but even though it appeared that he was uninterested in his surroundings, he was maintaining a close watch. Because of that, he was ready when the young man finally made his move.

“Draw, Jensen!” the young man shouted, turning away from the bar as he made a grab for his pistol.

“I already have,” Smoke replied calmly.

The young man had his pistol only half withdrawn when he realized that he was staring down the barrel of a gun, the pistol already in Smoke’s hand.

“What the—how did you do that?” the young man asked, taking his hand off his pistol, then raising both of his hands. “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot!” he begged.

By now, all conversation throughout the saloon had stilled, the card game had stopped, and everyone was paying attention to the drama that was playing out before them.

“Pull your gun out, very slowly, using only your thumb and forefinger,” Smoke ordered.

“What are you goin’ to do, mister?” the young man asked. “Are you goin’ to kill me?”

“Why not? You were going to kill me, weren’t you?”

“Yeah, I reckon I was,” the young man answered.

“Drop your pistol in there,” Smoke said, pointing to a nearby spittoon.

“In the spittoon? No, I won’t do that,” the young man replied.

“Oh, I think you will,” Smoke said. He thumbed back the hammer, and the deadly double click of the sear engaging the cylinder sounded exceptionally loud in the now-quiet saloon.

“All right, all right,” the young man said. Stepping over to the spittoon, he made a face, then dropped the pistol into it. It caused the brown liquid to splash out onto the floor.

Smoke holstered his pistol.

“Louis,” he called.

“Yes, Smoke.”

“Give the young man a new beer. On me.”

“Ma—make it whiskey,” the young man said.

Louis poured a shot and gave it to the would-be gunman. With a shaking hand, he lifted the glass to his lips, then tossed it down.

“What’s your name?” Smoke asked.

“The name’s Clark,” the young man answered. “Emmett Clark.”

“Why did you want to kill me, Emmett Clark?”

“It’s a matter of honor,” Clark answered.

“Honor? You think it is honorable to kill someone?”

“If you call them out and do it face-to-face,” Clark said. “And if you’re payin’ someone back for somethin’ they done to you.”

“Boy, I’ve never done anything to you,” Smoke said. “I’ve never even heard of you.”

“Not to me, you ain’t. But you done it to my kin. You kilt my pa. I was only fourteen when you kilt him, but I taught myself how to shoot so’s I could get things all square.”

“What was your pa’s name?”

“Clark, same as mine. Rob Clark. He was a banker in Etna, and you shot and kilt him when you was holdin’ up the bank. You do remember that, don’t you?”

“Yes, I remember that bank robbery. But I didn’t have anything to do with it, or with shooting your father.”

“Don’t tell me that, mister. You was found guilty of killin’ him. You was found guilty and sentenced to hang. I wanted to watch you hang, but my ma wouldn’t have nothin’ to do with that. She went back to live with my grandparents in Kansas City, and I didn’t have no choice but to go back with her. It was a long time afore I found out that you didn’t actually hang. You escaped.”

“Yes. I escaped, and I proved my innocence,” Smoke said.
1

“Ha! Proved your innocence? You expect me to believe that?”

“You should believe it, son, because it’s true,” Sheriff Carson interjected. Stepping into the saloon a moment earlier, Monte Carson had stood just inside the door as a silent witness to the interplay between Smoke and Clark. “I got the wire that said Smoke had been completely cleared. He was set up by the folks who actually did rob the bank and kill your pa. I’ve still got the wire down in my office if you need to be convinced.”

“I’m sorry about your father, boy,” Smoke said. “But as the sheriff said, I didn’t have a thing to do with it. It was someone else who killed him.”

Clark was quiet for a long moment. “Where are they?” he asked. “The ones that killed my pa, I mean. Where are they now?”

“They’re dead,” Smoke said.

“How do you know they are dead?”

“Because I killed them.”

“Damn,” Clark said. He pinched the bridge of his nose for a moment. Then he grabbed a towel from one of the bar hooks, got down on his knees, and fished out his pistol. Everyone watched him warily as he began drying it and his hands off. Then, grasping his revolver by the barrel, he held it out toward Sheriff Carson.

“I reckon you’ll be wantin’ to put me in jail now,” he said.

BOOK: Shootout of the Mountain Man
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ads

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