Trails Southwest in the Southwest Trails Series – Parts 1 & 2 by Diane M. Cece

TrailsWandering around the Texas Book Festival, I came to a booth with Indie Authors from all over the country.  Even New Jersey?  Well, when I heard that, this Jersey Girl had to meet the author.  Diane ended up being all the good things I love about Jersey Girls – straight shooting from the hip kind of gal who tells it like it is.  I knew I needed to read her book.  This edition covers the first two in her Southwest Trails Series.

Part 1 introduces to young Tom (19 years old) as devastation is about to take over his world.  The true character of his morally led life comes through as he deals with death and the end of life as he knows it.  It also carries him through the new life that lands him in with the Younger Brothers Gang (a not so nice gang of bandits).

Part 2 follows Tom and his new pard Smokey as they try to recover and start anew in a more legal lifestyle.  When a cameo character from the first part enters Tom’s world again his life is once again thrown for a loop.

This author did a wonderful job putting you into the location and time period that the story takes place.  Her obvious love of history comes through on every page.

For more about this Jersey Gal and her entire collection CLICK HERE!


Tom Lacey was a young man who lost his family during a raid by rustlers in the 1870’s. Left alone to fend for himself, he sells his father’s farm and becomes a drifter and fiddle foot.

In his desperate pursuit for survival he becomes involved with a band of desperados, learns a fast draw, gains a reputation as the Nevada Kid, and flees with Smokey, a cowboy and drifter he befriends. After the robbery of the Kingston-Downey Express, the two sidekicks decided to find honest jobs while hiding out at a cattle ranch. Nevada had been shot through the left thigh by a pursuing posse, and taking on honest jobs was the only way Smokey could get his pard under cover and back on his feet again without getting captured.

Buck Johnson was John O’Connor’s ranch foreman. A tough disciplinarian who made the ranch hands tow the line. He took a dislike to the young new hire he thought was a no count farm boy. It was his job to straighten out the trouble maker and turn him into a worthy ranch hand.

Tom Lacey and Samuel Embers were outlaws who split from the Younger Brothers Gang. Their handles were the Nevada Kid and Smokey. Seeking refuge at a cattle ranch, jobs are offered to these two sidekicks by the prominent rancher. Mr. O’Connor needed extra ranch hands for a cattle drive he had coming up.

What the drifters didn’t figure into the equation was the rancher’s beautiful, innocent young niece, Polly Trainer, falling in love with the outlaw the Nevada Kid. She came from back East to live with her aunt and uncle and to teach at the local schoolhouse.

Nevada’s sidekick Smokey Embers had a very tough time keeping the beautiful girl from controlling his partner’s soul and destiny. Polly was the one witness to the robbery of the express who carried enough evidence against the two reformed outlaws to get them into Yuma prison or worse hanged.


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