This is my new complete Bonanza novel and yes, it is as racy as it sounds! So I don't believe I could get approval to publish this, even if I wanted to. But it's also controversial, and passion refers also to what each of the sons want most out of life, besides a wife, that is.
It takes place immediately following the last story in Cartwight Saga, so if you haven't gotten your free copy of that, please ask for it. Cartwright Saga is an 8-story anthology that I now offer free to anyone, whether they've ever read anything else of mine.
Passion of the Sons, however, has some requirements. Since I won't seek new authorization, I will use it to stimulate sales. See below. Here's the storyline:
We all know Adam Cartwright left the Ponderosa and never went back. They had another eight seasons without him. One fan even noticed (I didn't ) that Adam's mother's photo went missing from Ben's desk. Now we die-hard Adam fans know this is just wrong. So I wanted to explain why Adam never returned, as he should based on what the family was like those early years, and why that photo would disappear.
This book details what the Cartwrights were like in Season 7, and I even bought a copy of that season's episodes so I could incorporate some of those episodes into this book. I wanted to show what it might have been like for them to learn to run the ranch with three now, instead of four. That wasn't part of Season 7, but should have been. Adam should have gotten closer to his life there. He will here.
Adam is married here, and Joe and Hoss seek out what Adam has, and of course, since I can't marry either of them off, I had some fun coming up with new reasons why not, and how these women get them into bed. Let's not mince words. If Cartwright sex scenes annoy you, don't get this. But you can always breeze over those scenes, too. It won't ruin the novel if you do.
Adam is married to a Washoe woman, and sets out to get hired as an Indian agent, along the way coming up with a plan for how to prove that the native Indians in the country are descendants of the abandoned civilizations that are being found across the country. Adam feels if he can prove that, the army will stop trying to exterminate them and stop trying to take so much land away. But he finds that convincing anyone is easier said than done.
Hoss rescues a Mexican woman and finds out she was related to Carlos, who used to work for them. She wants him to marry her and move back to Mexico with him. Hoss makes the journey, but becomes less and less sure of his love for her on the way, and more sure of his love for the Ponderosa.
Joe gets involved in Carson City with the scheme to put a pipeline up the mountain into Lake Taoe and drain some of water for the parched valley. He falls for a widow with three kids there. But her estranged father comes between them and Joe realizes that he has to choose sides.
Ben fights the pipeline as he struggles to accept that his family is growing and need lives of their own. He also faces the establishment of a reservation for the Washoe on his land, which is based in fact. Much of this has historical relevance.
HOW TO QUALIFY for your copy of Passion of the Sons: Simple. Buy and read my two Bonanza novels (see home page). Then send me an email giving me a one-sentence reason why you liked each book. That's it. I need to be convinced in your reason that you actually read the book, though, so you can't read my description of the book because I'll see through that. But give me a detail of your favorite scene in each.
The reason for this is that I don't know how to secure the book, and want it to go only to those who bought, read and enjoyed Mystic Fire & Felling of the Sons. Those that didn't enjoy these books are not going to enjoy Passion of the Sons, and if they didn't, they are more likely not to adhere to the rule of not sending it on to anyone else. If that happens, I've lost the use of this novel as a marketing tool. Maybe I shouldn't use it that way. But work like this takes time, and that's the only pay-back I have--other than hearing you liked it, of course.
I can't guarantee, however, that you will love Passion of the Sons as much as either of my other two. I do think you will find it interesting, and you will not regret reading it.
An Excerpt from "Passion of the Sons":
“Well, brother, you’re looking old,” Joe said with a laugh.
“Always older than you.”
“Yeah, Adam, these Washoe giving you a hard time? You’re looking a little white.” Hoss gave him a slug in the arm, and Adam mouthed “ow.”
“I ah …” He held his limp arm gingerly up a moment. “Got a snake bite. I think they’re going to call me Bites the Snake.”
Ben grabbed his son. “Are you sure you’re all right? I can get the doc out---.”
“No, Pa, they got good medicine here. I could have been dead already but,” he shrugged. “You know how hard I am to kill.”
“I think we all are,” Joe said as Ben could only smile with a grimace. “Hey brother, did you get my letter?”
“Son, before we talk business, I’d like to see the mother of my grandchild.”
Adam spent the next hour watching his old family get reacquainted with his new, and meeting his extended family. Several of them referred to Adam as “Dies the Snake,” which made all of them laugh. Ais allowed them to feel the baby, but the child wasn’t in a kicking mood. Ben was moved nearly to speechlessness while Hoss and Joe gave Adam the usual good natured ribbing about his impending fatherhood.
“Take a lot of practice to get one made, right, Adam?”
“I’ll bet you let some chores go.”
“They don’t do chores here, Hoss. You’d fit right in.”
“Nothing is called work when you do it for survival.”
This gave them all a short pause, but then Joe brightened. “Hey, Hoss, can you picture older brother here putting a nappie on the kid.”
“A what?” Adam gave them both a puzzled look, but Ben only laughed.
But finally they got down to business. Adam admitted he must have just missed the letter so they told him about Joe’s investment and the state of the mines in Virginia City. Adam responded with the knowledge that this was coming on for a while now, and he even had some conversations last month with a couple fellows about a solution, but it was too drastic for anyone to consider.
“I don’t think you should try it, though. Very unstable in shipping and there are no sources around here. There’s a fellow, Alfred Nobel, who’s working on making it available in a transportable condition but he’s not there yet. Maybe in a year? I don’t know.”
Ben shook his head. “I don’t know if the city can wait a year.”
“How much did you invest, Joe?”
“Ahhh, just … $10,000.”
Adam whistled. “I can write down the process and use of it but I’m not recommending it, Pa. Someone could get killed.” Adam indicated his arm. “You’ll have to wait a few days until I get my arm back. In the meantime, go to Carson City and talk to Boris Bartholomew. He’ll be able to help you find a supply. Getting your hands on it—that’ll be your big problem.”
“Thanks, son. We’ll look for your letter in about a week.” Ben turned to his younger sons. “Mind if we have a moment alone?”
“Watch it, Adam, you’re not too old for a thrashing.” Laughing, Hoss and Joe went to their horses for their canteens.
“Make any progress on windmills in Carson Valley, Adam?”
“Several sounded interested, but they all want us to do all the work. Gus Miller is going ahead with the supplies needed for the one on his land, but says he’s too busy to do much work on it. Honestly, Pa, they all seem to have enough to do, so I don’t know if the idea is good for more than just this one. I’m hoping we can get other settlers to help Gus with it, and maybe then they will get enthused enough to proceed on their own.”
“If you want, I can take over.”
“That’s good, because we might have to keep moving east from here. And you might have more luck with Gus that me.”
Ben nodded and gave Adam another brief hug, but Adam did not reciprocate. “Son, I know you didn’t invite us to come visit you, but I guess … well…” he looked up at the sky. “It’s hard to say when we’ll be cut off up on the mountain so we had to take the chance and come today. I don’t want you to think we’ll make a habit of it.”
“I know you won’t. You’d rather have me there, helping out.”
“So you’re moving them farther east?”
“Yeah, not sure how far yet.” Adam looked over at Ais, who sat comfortably on the ground and tried to pretend she wasn’t watching him.
“You don’t seem happy to see us.”
Adam felt his eyes clouding up and turned away.
“I know leaving home must have been a freeing experience for you …”
Adam took advantage of Ben’s pause to turn back and wrapped his good arm around his shoulders to stare at him fully square in the face, so Ben could see him, finally, really see the sadness in his eyes. “Nothing was harder for me in the world than leaving, Pa. Don’t ever forget that. It’s a secure world you’ve created for us there, and even though we had our share of troubles, we always had each other to fall back on and never ever let each other down.”
“But you don’t---.”
“Let me finish. Pa, the truth is, I just can’t keep being just your son. Living just this life you created. I can’t become an old man thinking that’s all there was for me, what you wanted. Even if I stayed and had a family, like with Laura, still living that life … and I realize that’s why she left with Will, because she thought I would never be anything but a Cartwright son. I’m not saying this to hurt you, Pa, or to encourage you to let Hoss and Joe go. They’ll do what they want. This is what I want. No, this is what I have to have. But that doesn’t mean I don’t every day ache to see you and my brothers again, to wish I was back to being young with none of these thoughts in my head that I have now.” He let his arm drop and turned away, looking back over where his brothers waited with their horses.
“So you don’t want to see us anymore?”
“I think … I just need more time to get used to this. It’s too hard to see you right now. Too easy for me to realize the life I’ve left.” Adam looked up at the sky. “The snows will keep us apart. Come in the spring and meet your grandchild.” He patted Ben on the back. “I’m glad you came. There are things that can’t be said in a letter. Come on, let’s get you back to your sons.”
Ben mounted and watched as Adam turned to his brothers. “Hoss. Joe. I’m glad to see you again. Next spring, after the snows melt, I hope you’ll come out and get a look at the next generation of Cartwrights. Although this one might bear a name you wouldn’t recognize on the streets of Virginia City.”
“Doesn’t much matter, Adam,” Joe said with a wink at Hoss. “Probably be just as hard-headed.”
Hoss laughed. “Yeah, with that Yankee temper to match.”
Adam stormed as if in sudden rage at Hoss but they stopped, laughed and hugged each other. He turned to Joe and held on a moment longer. “I hope you both know how much I appreciate you. Let’s …” he felt his eyes welling up again, and turned to look at the camp, which now seemed mostly abandoned into daily activity. “Keep in touch, okay?” Adam turned to Ben. “And Pa? About that last letter I wrote, well, I guess I really don’t need that advice. I guess I’ll be able to figure things out.”
Ben wasn’t sure what Adam meant but he nodded. “That’s fine, son. Take care of yourself.” Ben looked away quickly and they all rode off hard west, not looking back.
As he watched them ride off, Adam had the horrible premonition he would never see them again.
He walked back into camp, looking for Ling-Tu to get his clean bill of health even without full use of his arm, when he saw Concho ride up from the east in a furious gallop. “Army here! Army wants to parley!” Adam understand those Washoe words clearly enough.
“Let them come to us. I’ve got to try and get a letter written. Before I forget.”
Adam realized he couldn’t wait to write the letter about using the nitroglycerin, now that what he wanted to say was fresh in his mind. If the army was coming, he might not be able to control what happens next. And he feared even more what could happen to his family with nitroglycerin if they did not have all the instructions in a letter that might take weeks to get there, even if it was sent yesterday.
He had no free time to spare, with two families to worry about.