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Hidden Prospects - Chapter 1 Excerpt

Hidden Prospects book cover

Chapter 1

Near Prescott, Arizona Territory

April 17, 1869

Paul Lancaster ducked behind a tree. The sound of gun fire rang in his ears, drowning out the gurgling sound of Granite Creek. Fragments of bark pelted his face. His chest tightened, and he couldn’t catch his breath. Today, he should have worked at the boardinghouse instead of at the placer mine.

Another short breath. He darted for the cover of the next tree. Heat seared his side. His hand covered the spot. As he lifted it, bright red blood coated his fingertips.

Grabbing his revolver, he turned to look back in the direction of the man chasing him. From behind tree cover, he took aim and fired. The bullet penetrated the Apache’s chest and knocked him to the ground. Paul holstered his gun before starting towards the next tree.

Whoosh. Thwack. An arrow lodged into the tree next to him.

Will the mistakes of her past threaten the hopes of her future?

The sound of another gunshot echoed through the forest of tall pine and juniper trees. He held his breath and closed his eyes as he waited for the bullet to pierce his body. When it didn’t, he took off at a dead run.

His labored breathing was deafening. The wound in his side throbbed. His vision blurred, but he could still make out the buildings on the edge of Prescott. Just another mile.

Come on, Paul. The voice in his head sounded like his father’s. You can make it. Give it your all.

His feet pounded heavily on the pine-needle-covered forest floor. More bark flew in his face as he passed another tree. A few more yards. He was almost there.

Sharp stinging in his calf brought a yelp to his throat, but he managed to hold it at bay. He took another step with the injured leg and fell to the ground.

One second. Then two. He lay face down, unable to move. Pain clouded his mind.

Get up, Paul.

His legs felt too heavy to lift. Closing his eyes, he started to give in to the desire to lie there and rest.

Another arrow flew past him, and his eyes flew open. He had to move. He had to keep going. Where?

Prescott. That was right. Just a few more feet.

With all his burly muscles, he hefted himself to his feet.


Someone shouted his name as he stumbled into the street. Relief flooded him. Where was he? What was he doing?

He frowned, trying to remember.

“Need—” He panted heavily. “Doctor.”

His legs buckled underneath him. His head hit something hard. Blackness swam in front of him.

He relaxed his arms and began to close his eyes in surrender.

“I killed him.”

The Complete Prescott Pioneers Series

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