A cool man, a fiery woman, a love destined to ignite.
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December 02, 2008
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Excerpt from Devils on Horseback-Zeke by Beth Williamson
"Yes, you have to wash the damn dishes." Lee threw his arm in the air. "How do you expect me to do it?"
Zeke scowled at the piles of dirty tin plates in the wooden sink. "It wasn't my idea to rebuild this place and I don't know a damn thing about running a restaurant. Gideon needs to hire somebody who does."
Lee narrowed his gaze. "Washing dishes don't require nothing but water, soap and two hands."
"That's not what I'm talking about and you know it." Zeke picked up the bucket of hot water from the stove and poured it on the dishes. "We're lucky nobody has taste buds in this town or Gideon's cooking would've killed them. You can't be a waitress worth a damn and I'm sick and tired of doing dishes." He added a bucket of cold water to the mix. "We need a woman."
"Speak for yourself. I don't need a woman." Lee harrumphed. "The ladies in this town are crazy anyway."
It had been a long three months since he'd sworn off booze, made even longer by Zeke's constant thirst for whiskey, as well as the battle against his dark memories. He'd fought hard and long, with the help of his brother, cousin Gideon and friend Jake, to conquer the demon that had taken over his soul. He'd likely always have to fight that particular demon, but Zeke was waking up in the morning clearheaded again. The thought of being with a woman, however, made the demon dig its claws in deep. Because then he remembered Allison, and the other woman who had taken him on a ride into hell, Veronica Marchison. He just wanted to forget.
It took great effort to ignore the pain and think about what had to be done for the business. D.H. Enterprises had gone from being gunslingers to restaurant owners.
They'd been in Tanger for almost a year and had become true citizens. Their friend Jake had married the miller's daughter, Gabby, and been voted onto the town council. Gideon, Lee and Zeke had rebuilt the restaurant that had burned last year, contributing to the rebirth of a town almost laid to waste by raiders.
New folks were even starting to move into town every day. Gideon had been smart enough to suggest rebuilding the burned-out structure for half of the business from the owner, Cindy Cooley. She had been the victim of the raiders, and now spent her days at the mill recovering from the experiences that scarred her, both physically and emotionally.
With Cindy's approval, the Devils had worked to get the restaurant rebuilt. It gave Zeke something to focus on, at least for a short while. Now, however, the problem was three single men having no experience with restaurants--other than eating in them on occasion--had no idea what they were doing.
"What about Cindy? Is she coming out of her bedroom anytime soon?" Lee looked towards the mill.
"Probably not. She suffered two months of God knows what at the hands of those raiders. I wouldn't want to come out either and face this place without her granddaddy." Zeke still missed the old codger and even sometimes missed the coffee he brewed that a spoon could stand up in.
"Then we need to hire somebody else and soon." Lee tossed a towel at Zeke.
He caught the towel before it hit him in the face. "Talk to Jake, he'll know who to ask. The man knows every person in town." Their friend Jake was the most comfortable with the people of Tanger, as well as being the most social. With he and his wife running the flour mill, Jake had many opportunities to use those skills.
"Good idea. I'll go see him now." Lee headed out the back door after shooting a smirk at his brother, leaving Zeke to finish the dishes alone.
With a snort at the indignity of doing such a menial chore, Zeke plunged his hands into the soapy water and got busy.
Gideon walked into the kitchen a short time later and grinned when he saw what Zeke was doing. "He left you again, didn't he? Lee's getting too big for his britches. We're gonna have to put a stop to that."