The playful quartet that penned the acclaimed Once Upon a Dyke and Stake Through the Heart are back and now turning to the Wild (and Very Hot) West to bring you another collection of erotically charged, action-packed tales—this time gleefully taking on cowboys, schoolmarms, snake-oil salesmen, saloon girls, preachers, bank robbers and lone gundykes. With the turn of each page, you'll wonder who the hero is, who the villain is and who gets teh girls—and even if it's the right girl!
You'll thrill as they reinvent the myths of the old west with a decidedly lesbian slam dunk, weaving tales of saloons, horses, bank robberies, sheriffs, cattle rustlers, guns and very tight corsets and very loose women. You'll find enough romance, passion, intrigue, thrills, chills, hair-breath escapes and death-defying acts of selfless love to leave you breathless and waiting for more.
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From The Life and Times of
Ornery Crazy Mean Bad Bill by Therese Szymanski
“This is a bank robbery,” the first masked man said, stepping into the building and pointing his revolver directly at the elderly guard’s temple. “Don’t do anything stupid.”
Four other masked men charged in even as he spoke and disarmed the guard—grabbing the patrons, diving over the counter, moving as one single, deadly unit so swiftly that not even the dust from their horses had settled yet. In fact, it swirled in the heavy oak doors behind them.
“Open the safe!” another masked man yelled at the manager, holding his gun to the teller’s head. His voice was deeper than the first masked man’s, but all the bank robbers were equally dirty and hairy.
“All your valuables and guns, into the bag now!” the third yelled from the lobby, where he held a gun on the bank’s customers. Sweat and spit soaked the kerchief wrapped around the lower half of his face.
The fourth man worked quickly and efficiently at relieving the drawers and other open areas of any and all cash, gold and silver.
“Quick now—before the sheriff shows up!” the man holding the guard yelled from the door.
“The boy hasn’t given the signal, has he?” Number three said.
“No. Not yet. But c’mon now already!”
The man holding the teller, trying to get the manager to open the safe, shot the teller in the foot. “Now open it. Yours is next.”
They rushed out, loot bags in hand, leaping onto their horses and giddyupping them out of the town of Rusty Spur.
“I think we’re safe now,” the lead man said. He reached into his pocket, pulled out several coins and tossed them to young Billy, who had watched their horses during the robbery. “We’ll let you know if we need you again.”
“Hey, this ain’t what you promised me!” Billy said, neatly grabbing the coins from midair.
“If’n you know what’s good for you, Billy, you’ll take it and be happy with it.”
“I done this for y’all how many times now? Five? Six? And ain’t never breathed a single word to nobody ‘bout it—so this is how you treat me?” Billy’s horse stomped a bit, as if expressing his own aggravation at the way his master was being treated.
“I ain’t killing you yet, am I?”
“Buddy, we need to get going now,” the number two man, Louie, said, glancing nervously back at the town. “Give the boy his money, ‘fore the sheriff gets together a posse and comes after us.”
“I could just kill you right here and now,” Buddy said to Billy, pulling out his gun and aiming it directly at Billy’s head.
“Yup, I reckon you could. But then the next time you need a lookout ‘round these parts that you can trust, you wouldn’t have me now, would you?” Billy said, still sitting on Pony, who was always a good horse.
“You got balls, boy, and I like that,” Buddy said. He pulled some more coins from the bag and tossed them to Billy.
“So when you gonna let me come with y’all?”
“Don’t push it, boy,” Louie said. “You’re handy, for now.”
The gang rode one way, and Billy rode another, constantly trying to make sure Pony’s hoof prints weren’t trackable. Billy liked to confuse trackers, after all, and had yet to be successfully tracked, followed or traced. The rest of the gang had never been tracked neither, likely because of Billy’s ingenuity.
That night, after riding hard till sundown, Billy killed a rabbit for dinner with a single shot from Sam, a Colt .45. Billy camped outside, enjoying the freedom of the open prairie, even if it was a little cold. Or even more than a little cold.
It’d take more than a month of the open lands for Billy to miss the comforts of a bed and roof, or other pleasures of civilization. But it’d take a month for even that much to set in, and Billy’d be home within the next few nights.
And someday, the gang would take Billy along with them.
And some time after that, Billy’d be the biggest, baddest, orneriest outlaw of ‘em all. And that was something to dream about under a sky as big as the whole universe.
Two days later, Billy rode back into Climax, Oklahoma, contemplating on the predictability of town names in that region, and took Pony to the stable for fresh hay and water, then walked into the saloon to enjoy a meal as well.
Lucky Henry, the town sheriff, walked up to Billy betwixt the stable and the saloon. “Some day, boy, your luck’s gonna run out. I sure hope I’m around for that.”
“Aw, Henry, you know I ain’t the gambling sort,” Billy said.
“But you are, boy, you are. And you’re gambling more than the worst river boaters do—you’re gambling your life.”
“Whatever are you on about now, Henry?” Marnie, the bar matron, slid a couple of shots across the bar to the two.
“We just got word the bank over in Rusty Spur got robbed two days ago,” Henry said, downing his shot.
“And what’s that got to do with lil’ Billy here?” Marnie asked, her voice a touch louder than before.
“Ain’t you never noticed how whenever a place near here’s been robbed, he’s always gone? And always just so long as it’d take to ride to the town, rob the bank, and ride on back here?”
“Nope. I ain’t never seen that. But I have seen how hungry for glory you are, you’re looking under every rock for a bad guy that just ain’t there.” Marnie stared across the bar—her arms crossed just under her enormous breasts—at Henry, then raised her voice even further. “Now, if you want another drink, it ain’t on the house. ‘Specially not with you accusing the help—Billy—of all sorts of unspeakable things.”
“I ain’t accusing your lil’ houseboy of anything unspeakable. I’m just accusing him of helping some bank robbers is all.” He blew out his breath so his ridiculous handlebar mustache puffed out at the ends.
“Oh, hell you say!” Gracie said, running up and sliding her long, slender arms around Billy. “Girls!” she yelled. “The sheriff wants to take our Billy away!”
“The hell you say!” Martha cried, running from her room half-dressed, the silk robe one of her fellers had given her all but falling from her shoulders.
“Billy’s back?” Trudy said, coming from her room in only a robe.
“Henry, you ass!” Sarah screamed, her blond hair trailing behind her as she flew down the stairs.
“Oh, hell,” Henry said.
Billy slammed back the shot Marnie had served, then turned, picked up Gracie, and said, “I know the future. I’m gonna be somebody someday,” and carried Gracie upstairs to her room. Billy slept in a small room back at the end of the upstairs hall, little more than a closet, really, so he always followed the girls to their sleeping quarters for any trysts.
“Oh, Billy,” Gracie said, falling back on the bed. “Come here.”
Billy’s tongue snaked out between smirking lips, to coil up teasingly. “Oh, Gracie, is there something in particular you’re longing for?” Maybe many thought of Billy as quite young, but Billy was really an adult, in all ways, shapes and forms. Billy was by no means what anyone thought Billy was.
“You’re the only man around here I know who can truly please a woman,” Gracie said, fully disrobing and displaying herself to Billy. “All the others simply take their pleasures from us, then discard us and move on.”
Billy indicated Gracie’s naked form. “What can I say? You’re all so accommodating.”
“We are to men who pay, too,” Gracie said, naked, and lying back on the bed. “You’re the only one who cares, though.”
“Oh, Gracie, It’s a good thing I’m no man, then, ain’t it?” Billy said, sliding onto the bed between Gracie’s open and inviting thighs. “Open your legs further for me, spread yourself for me.” Billy slowly and carefully caressed the tender flesh between Gracie’s legs, first with fingers, then with tongue . . . up and down, in and out . . . slowly . . . carefully . . . gently . . . tongue on clit, fingers on nipples, teasing and tweaking them.
“Billy, please . . . please . . . your tongue . . . there—oh, yes . . . now your fingers, inside me—omifuckinggodtherenowyesplease!” Apparently she hadn’t quite heard what Billy had said.
• • • • •
“Oh my fucking God!” Bunny O’Reilly yelled, sitting upright in the cheap motel room. She’d been away from her girl for two fucking days, and she was already dreaming of having sex with some long-legged redhead in a . . . brothel? Or was it a saloon?
She locked her fingers in her newly shorn, short blond locks and pulled them—hard—to make sure she was actually awake.
She turned on the lights, poured herself a shot of whisky, turned on the tube, and sat back on the bed.
Her girlfriend was a tall brunette, not a short redhead.
Why was she dreaming of the Old West but having folks talk in modern-day speak, Bunny wondered, as she lost herself in the adventures of Xena, Warrior Princess. She’d have preferred Buffy.
That modern-day speak had her thinking that she maybe might be thinking of something, instead of dreaming of what happened. It was all so three-dimensional, surround-sound that it was as if she was actually there. As if she was remembering instead of dreaming.
She watched Xena snarl and was glad there wasn’t any Xena in real life, because, after all, Xena’d effortlessly lay down her evildoing ass with a flick of her chakram.
How had she gone so wrong as to take a life of crime, backed up with a full-on familial history of crime, on the lam with her from upstate New York, away from the love of her life, across country so her lame ass was stuck hiding out in buttfuck nowhere Ohio?
Okay, I wasn’t entirely behind the Western theme. Actually, I should probably stop saying things like that, or else it'll look like I wasn't really into any of this when I was. I mean, there's no way I'd work this long and hard—put as much time, energy, ideas, creativity and research into something if I wasn't inspired and challenged by it, if I wasn't 100 percent behind it, if I didn't love it and believe in it and thought I could have a lot of fun with it. When you're writing lesbian fiction at this level, if there's no love, why bother?
Anyway, with this one, the editors made some great catches on this story, as well as the proofreaders. (Bella has some great proofreaders, btw. Real professionals, which can make a huge difference, IMHO.)
I chose to do this as a dual-line story, which, IMHO, requires a great deal of outlining and planning. If you don't do your work in advance for any story with a really complex story line, you'll pay for it in the end, when you're getting thwapped by your editor and then your readers, because they'll catch everything.
I also put a bunch of send-ups into this story, not only funning fanfic and some of the major fandoms along the way (and I truly hope no one is offended or upset by it, since it wasn't meant to do so—it was all just fun and games. Granted, with all the fun and games I'm always doing, it's a lucky thing I still have both eyes.) But really, I even sent up my all-time favourite TV show, so that should say something.
Oh, and I robbed my Dad's credit union too. Good thing he's dead or he might be pissed at me for that one. Ooops.
And, in what could perhaps be seen as my style throughout these novellas, I left the story open for more stories after (though this one and Butch would be the least likely to be continued, IMHO). But this single story could’ve continued onfor a great deal longer than what I wrote as a novella for this project. I had to finish it up, though, since I was already pushing the word count I think.
I will say that some comments from proofers and editors were funny, like when they tried to correct me from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (I meant to have it be slightly off), or with my Wild West lingo, which I clearly said wouldn’t be right early on. Oh well, can't please everyone all the time.
But I'd like to let y'all know that you should check out the front cover of your copy and compare it with other ones, since there are two distinct versions of this book (collector’s items, anyone?)
I did simple up the typesetting of this book from earlier books in the series, by using a single fancy font and a single visual on each novella's title page, but funny things were always happening with the title of my tale, since a lot of folks thought the repeated cross outs were a mistake, and that the true title was "The Life and Times of Bad Bill." It is, in fact, "The Life and Times of
Ornery Crazy Mean Bad Bill." The cross-outs are intended to show that she really isn't a bad person. She keeps trying to be some Jesse James or Wild Bill Hickok, but it's not in her. She's actually pretty much a good person, thus why she ends up on the road she does.
Anyway, again, I hope all y'all enjoy all the parts of all the New Exploits, but, regardless, since each of the four of us has our own style and inclinations, each of the New Exploits books has a wide variety of stories, with something for everyone!
This was taken the one and only time all four of us were together—for the GCLS awards one year. One of the books in the series was up for some award.
Top row (femmes), from left: Karin Kallmaker, Julia Watts, Barbara Johnson.
Other row, lying across all the laps in a tux: Me.
And you can buy the book from your local independent/feminist/LGBT or rockin' lesbian bookstore, or any really cool store that might sell books like mine.
Oh, and of course, you can buy it/find out about its availability and such from my terrific publisher, Bella Books.
My books are also available on a veritable plethora of online booksellers, including
all the Amazons in the world:
And a whole lot of other places.