This painting hanged over the bar in Dodge City's infamous Long Branch Saloon.
Tuesday yowls and howls, shapeshifter lovers. The above fabulously cool painting really has nothing to do with today’s post. Except for the Old West saloon connection.
Ever have a yen to be in the middle of a Western Movie bar fight? I confess, I did, especially as a kid. But only if I could escape with no broken bones and all of my teeth. Yeah, I was and still am a tomboy.
Itching for a good fight...
Itching for a good fight -- one hellacious brawl where her fists swung fast, crunching drunken mugs, or not drunk, she didn’t really care -- Kirsten shoved through the swinging doors.
The saloon, straight out of a John Wayne Western, was lit with candles. Astonished, Kirsten paused, taking in the mellow amber glow mixed with the fading light before sundown. Deciding the dim interior was damn pleasing, Kirsten sauntered inward, her hips rolling with the blaring honky tonk music.
The sound of her boot heels on the wooden floor went unheard, and only a few glances were thrown in her direction. All of the men ran their gazes up and down her body, slowly, and with a thoroughness that normally would have disconcerted Kirsten.
Not now. Her strength burned through her, and wanted to bust out. Kirsten hoped to do some serious whomping soon. Real soon.
Given she wasn’t dressed like a girl, whatsoever, and the brim of her leather aussie hat shadowed her features... well, intimidating men into not approaching her was just dang easy.
As she neared the long bar, crowded with thirsty patrons, Kirsten inhaled the smell of freshly brewed beer, brimming with hops and malt. Halting close to big bruiser types, she savored the unique spice fragrance of real sarsaparilla, her personal favorite. Obviously, it was made on the premises as well. She’d have to wait for another visit to taste it.
Just off the range, lots of sweaty male bodies added to the pungent bouquet. Kirsten’s hands flexed, then fisted into tight balls in anticipation, her ultra thin pigskin gloves hardly noticeably.
Come on, she thought, one of you cowboys start something. You know you want to.
There was so much testosterone hanging in the air, Kirsten was reminded of the rutting bulls on her family’s ranch. Hell, the odor rivaled the drifting smoke from hand-rolled cigars and cigarettes. Yep, real unadulterated tobacco. Nothing commercial in this off-the-beaten-path haven for the hardworking men.
How had she gotten so lucky? Okay, she regularly listened in on the conversations of their ranch hands. And, no matter how she tried to rile them up, none of them would fight her. She didn’t blame them. Her father’s ever-watchful eye, and her four brothers were a formidable deterrent.
Still, a woman had her needs. Every so often, Kirsten hankered for a good ‘n routy, rough and tumble, head-ramming brawl. These days her brothers laughed her off, telling her to grow up and act like a real girl. Then, they’d remind her no man wanted a wife who could out wrestle him, and hogtie him like a calf at a rodeo.
“What can I get ya, ma’am?” Steely blue eyes met hers, and didn’t flinch when she elbowed her way to the bar. “Any other day you could get me a tall cold glass of sarsaparilla.”
Mr. Square Jaw’s brow arched just as the first beer bottle crashed over the head of a man who’d wisely kept his Stetson on. Kirsten knew by the distinctive thud. Seconds later glass hit the bar, then the floor.
Feeling herself grin like a fool, Kirsten whipped toward the action. Two range riders spoiling for a fight faced off. Their anger palpable, they both brandished beer bottles. To Kirsten’s eye, they looked like stags ready to lock antlers, and do battle over territory.
Oh hell yeah, her instincts were never wrong. It was on. Chairs scraped. The bar cleared, and a ring formed around the two raging bulls.
“I ain’t yer bitch,” the man who was a massive piece of muscle and beef growled.
“I only said you were whinin’ like a bitch,” the wiry, ride ‘em hard cowboy snarled back.
“Get behind the bar, ma’am,” she heard an instant before several rifles cocked. Evidently, no liquor, beer, or beverage would be harmed in the making of this barroom brawl.
“And miss all the fun. I damn well don’t think so.” Kirsten slid through the circle of tensed hard bodies, her fighting juices aroused, her blood savage.
“Take it back. I ain’t no bitch!” Beef man lowered his shoulders ready to charge.
“Ya wanna a piece of me, bitch... beyoch.” Wiry man’s lip curled in a sneer before he lunged.
Someone snatched the beer bottle out of his hand the instant Mr. Wiry raised it like a club. In the next moment, someone else ripped the bottle out of Mr. Beef’s ham fist as he aimed. Like enraged bears, the two men seized each others arms, and grappled with each other.
Kirsten’s arm sizzled, and her fist ached to throw her first punch It didn’t take long for the berserker frenzy to take over. Several fists flew threw the air. A few solid punches landed, but mostly the intended target ducked, or stepped out of the way. Soon, though, many who had been attacked ram-charged, driving their heads into the nearest solar plexus.
Grunts, and flesh pounding on flesh, surrounded Kirsten. Elation sang through her veins as she delivered an uppercut to a man who staggered toward her. A punch slid off her shoulder, and Kirsten whirled faster than a tornado spinning her.
Aiming, she cocked her elbow, then crunched her fist into the man’s mug. Yahoooo, she mentally shouted.
With her knuckles stinging good now, Kirsten turned 'fast and furious'. Ducking as many blows as she landed, Kirsten stayed in the middle of the fray. Wheeling back and forth, she slammed her fists into any available patch of flesh. Tender sides, exposed jaws, it didn’t matter, she slung her fists as hard as she could, and loved every effing moment.
Once huge bodies stumbled against her much smaller frame, threatening to knock her to the floor, Kirsten charged the nearest target. Her head slammed into his rock hard stomach, and she sent him reeling backward.
When he righted himself, she pumped her legs like mad, and vised his waist with her arms. His butt smashed into a table, and the force of his fall cracked the wood. Both of them tumbled downward.
Before she knew it, a beast like arm snaked around her waist, and she was hauled upward -- so quick dizziness almost caused her to black out. Her head cleared fast, and Kirsten twisted, but she remained too weak to free herself.
For several instants, she felt as though she flew through the air. Like a limp doll, Kirsten landed against a chest as wide as a mountain. So, it was exaggeration, yeah -- but the shoulder he effortlessly tossed her over had to be made out of granite.
Kirsten kicked as if the devil had a hold of her. His loud long growl, interspersed with grunts of pain, set her curiosity on fire. Her energy surged, and Kirsten pummeled his back with her fists.
“I came for a good time, little bit. But I had no idea on God’s green earth, just how good it would be.”
Recognizing the voice of her father’s longtime business associate, Kirsten froze, stiff as if she’d been thrown into a cryogenic tank. Meanwhile, his giant strides carried them both toward the saloon’s swinging doors.
“Dax,” she burst out. Damn, but it was tough saying his name, given her breath had been cut off by his boulder-humongous shoulder. “What are you --" Kirsten gave up trying to speak.
Not slowing his stride whatsoever, Dax, the Max Rider, as her dad called him -- because of his skill sitting a cutting and roping horse -- hit one of the swinging doors with his palm, and they moved outside.
Kirsten blinked in the falling darkness. “My jeep is,” she began, then tried shoving against his back so she could see where they were headed.
“Ever hear of the Pleasure Club, little bit? Down Talbot Peak’s way?”
Kirsten’s jaw dropped open. “What the fuck?”
“No cursin’ now, purty darlin’. Or that fine round ass of yours is going to get a good ole brandin’ with my hand.”
“Branding!” Kirsten struggled against his hold as he halted next to his outrageous, definitely too ostentatious white and chrome Cadillac.
With an ease she both despised and admired, Dax swung open the passenger door, then placed her on the seat as if it was something he did with her everyday. Bending down, he seized her lips. Kirsten swore his kiss dominated every molecule of her body.
“Now, don’t you worry. Whenever you have a hankerin’ for some rough rasclin’ foreplay, I’m your man, little bit.”
Have a Magickal Shapeshifting Week!
Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~