United in a common cause, the pair travel a dangerous trail in search of revenge and redemption. But when Serene McCullough, the widow Donnelly loves, begs him to help her son move the cattle herd gathered by cash-strapped Mormons as their church tithe, he can’t refuse her.
When the cutthroat gang kidnaps Serene to bargain for THE TITHING HERD, Lute and Tom find themselves pitted against insurmountable odds—with unexpected help coming from an old friend.
Lute’s desire for vengeance is trumped by his desperation to save the woman he loves at all costs—if he can live long enough to do it…
It was near dusk when the rider came. Spinning on the rope, seeing the man approach, the boy thought, “He’s going to kill me,” and he told himself he didn’t care.
Hanging by his heels from the limb of a cottonwood with his hands lashed behind so he couldn’t reach up to free himself, the boy, Tom Baskin, was helpless. Even were his hands free, he doubted he had the strength to haul himself up and get loose. For a moment, the rider sat motionless, watching. Then, as though just noticing the boy’s distress, his red face, bulged veins and popped eyes for the first time, the rider gigged his horse forward.
The boy writhed, spinning around on the rope, and retracted the idea he didn’t care about dying. Clammy sweat rolled down his back, dripping off his nose and chin as he watched the man dismount and draw a knife in almost the same motion. Then the man’s strong arm encircled him and he felt the tension in his legs ease as the knife sawed through the rope. A black wave of vertigo swept over Tom as the man lowered him to the sweet-smelling grass. He opened his eyes and tried to speak, but the vertigo hit him again as the blood pulsing in his brain sought an equal level of pressure.
“Take it easy, son. It’ll pass,” the man said, bending close. Tom felt the man’s warm breath, tangy with an odor of peppermint, fanning his face. He closed his eyes.
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