Lucius Parhelion, Torquere Press

In Which An Ox And A Cowboy Get Down To Business – Dry Bones by Lucius Parhelion

There is never jealousy where there is not strong regard. – Washington Irving

Lucius Parhelion may very well be the most anonymous author I’ve ever read. No “About the Author” blurb in the books, no website, no Twitter account, an unused Facebook page, no author page on Amazon or Goodreads. But that’s okay because, really, it doesn’t matter all that much when a story speaks well enough of you to make anything else sort of irrelevant.

Dry Bones is a short but entertaining tale that takes place in the American Southwest in the waning years of the 19th century, where Joss Lewis and fellow ranch hand Ox are looking for work and will, quite by accident, end up accepting an offer from an East Coast gentleman named Nathan Parr, who, speaking of ending up, coincidentally ends up knowing a little bit more about the enigmatic Ox than perhaps Joss is at all comfortable with.

Signing on to accompany Parr to a New Mexico ranch to secure a collection of dinosaur fossils to ship back east, Joss comes to learn as much about himself as he does about his partner; namely that Ox (aka: Robert Henry Montague) has run away from a life altogether different than the one he’s currently living, and that life includes a brief history with, you guessed it, Nathan Parr. Joss also learns the meaning of jealousy when he realizes that that history is something which, though foreign to him, may just be a heretofore unexplored territory Joss is more than willing to prospect and possibly lay claim to, especially if it means he might lose Ox to something, or someone, else. But first he needs to make sure Mr. Nathan Parr skeedaddles his fancy-pants right back to New York City, fossils in tow, so Joss can hammer out the details on what it all means.

There are not a lot of wasted words in this story, no long paragraphs waxing poetic about cowboys and the wide open ranges of the Old West, but that doesn’t mean the author is remiss at all in making sure the reader is fully aware of the place and the atmosphere and the feel of life in the dusty New Mexico territory of 1896. Nor does the author waste a lot of time in making sure Joss knows exactly where he wants to stand with Ox, but that doesn’t mean their relationship feels at all rushed. The pacing was just right, and the backstory given was just enough to make the HFN feel a lot more like it could be an HEA for these two men.

In fact, I wouldn’t turn my nose up at a sequel.

You can buy Dry Bones here:

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