Trail Town (2002)
WHEN IT TAKE BLOOD AND GUTS TO MAKE A MAN ... WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BREAK HIM?
Ethan Payne had drifted across the rugged American West, hungry to settle. From the wilds of the Missouri to the jungles of Panama, he left his destiny to the gods, and left Gil Stark -- his best friend-turned-outlaw -- to the devil. Now, acting as Abilene's fiercely respected marshal, Payne's finally found a place to stand tall. Until a woman in need of salvation triggers an impulse like a bullet to the heart ...
Addicted to life's sordid pleasures, Julie Cathcott has arrived, unwanted and unexpected, from Payne's past. To Payne, she's a woman worth saving. Even if it means crossing swords with the town's fathers, and being cast out forever from a place he called home. But the past isn't through with Payne. In the shadow of Miss Julie's own private hell, Gil Stark is waiting. Once fate plays these kinds of games, it can turn any man into a killer.
December 31, 2015
2002 by Jason Manning
St. Martins Press (New York)
Events can shape our lives for good or ill, depending in large measure on our character. We all stray from the path. The question is, how often and how far? In this novel, the second of the trilogy that began with Frontier Road and ends with Last Chance, the past catches up with Ethan Payne and tempts him to cross the line into lawlessness. I was very pleased with this novel, which I consider one of my best.