Countdown Snippet 3 ~ The Prospector’s Only Prospect

Mar 25, 2023

I’m celebrating the final countdown to my release date for The Prospector’s Only Prospect with some exclusive snippets.

In this one, Virgil has the audacity to suggest Marigold took his lucky gold nugget…

“I’ve lost my nugget.”

“What nugget?”

“The gold nugget I keep in my pocket.”

“You keep a gold nugget in your pocket?” She started to come in and bent to look, but he waved her off. “Why?”

“It’s my lucky nugget. The first one I found when we got here.” They’d all been disheartened by the journey, wondering what they would do if this venture failed to pay out. Wondering if they were going to die here, tired and hungry.
Virgil had been searching for a sign it was worth staying here and pursuing their plan when he’d spotted the nugget sitting in a couple of inches of water, shiny as a new penny in a wishing well.

“How big is it?”

“Size of a hummingbird egg.” It wasn’t even half an ounce.

“How much is it worth?”

“Ten dollars.” Maybe. He sighed shortly as he got the beds stripped and the mattresses shaken and still found nothing. He threw all the bedding onto the lower bunk and got down to look under it.

“You’ve found bigger ones, haven’t you? Yeller told me you sometimes let the men buy a nugget if they want to keep something they’ve found.”

“That’s not the point, Marigold.” He ran his hand into the dark space, finding nothing but a desiccated berry and a dead spider. He stood, annoyed. “Where is it?”

Marigold snapped her head around from checking on the children. “Are you asking me if I have it? I’ve just told you, I didn’t even know you had a lucky nugget.”

He wasn’t accusing her, but he was hearing her say again, How much is it worth?

And there was the ledger book he’d bought her with her neat little figures shaving down her debt with her haircuts and other services. He didn’t blame her for wanting money and wanting to clear her debt.

“Men know not to take gold out of this valley unless they can prove they earned or paid for it,” he blurted.

“Yes, you shoot the ones who do. Good thing I’m not a man. And that I haven’t touched your precious nugget.” She was glaring at him, but the double-entendre hit both their ears at the same time. She went red, and he felt his own face grow hot with a mix of embarrassment and anger.

Because now there was this poisonous thought creeping in that they’d been intimate last night and this morning one of his most valuable possessions was missing.

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