First Pages: One to Share by Dallas Kovar
Welcome to First Pages on Fridays! On Fridays, we share the first pages from a book (usually vintage), along with a bit of information about the author and the book’s history.
This week’s selection is the pulp novel One to Share by Dallas Kovar, printed by Greenleaf Classics in 1968. As I wrote in an earlier post, Greenleaf Classics, started in the early 1950′s by William Hamling, published both straight and gay/lesbian erotica–often extreme erotica featuring incest, underage participants, group sex scenes, etc. Greenleaf was one of the very first publishers of gay fiction in the United States, paving the way for dozens of other small publishing companies which began selling gay pulp erotica/fiction.
Nothing is really known about Dallas Kovar. Of course, “Dallas Kovar” was probably a pen name, so it’s difficult to know who exactly he/she was. Under that name, this author published several books, including Two to Show and Three to Trade, which were probably sequels to One to Share.
This book is similar in setting and tone to the Loon novels by Richard Amory (discussed in a previous First Pages post, featuring Willow Song).
Here are the first pages from One to Share by Dallas Kovar. Enjoy!
The river boat Highland Mary steamed slowly against the broad, brown flood of the Missouri, turning her tartan-clad lassie of a figurehead toward the eastern bank. A tall, broad-shouldered, ruggedly handsome, blond young man of twenty-three leaned against the starboard rail, his relaxed attitude concealing his excitement. Thaddeus Carpenter looked out over the river and saw a village of part-log, part-frame houses rising from the river wharves up the hills to the high dome of a courthouse, its tall spire reflecting the early morning light. All along the hilltops and spread around the town were thousands of tents and white, canvas-topped wagons. This was St. Joseph, Missouri in April, 1849, the jumping off point for the plains and the land of gold beyond.
As the boat thumped against the dock, the young man threw his saddlebags over his shoulder and vaulted gracefully over the rail. Walking quickly, his muscular thighs straining against his tight buff-colored trousers, he moved away from the brawling, shouting confusion of the waterfront toward the business houses and saloons nearby.
He pushed his way through the double doors of the Empire Saloon and up to the bar. “Whiskey,” he told the Negro bartender, and threw a silver coin on the bar. Then he leaned against the bar and studied the crowd of men who were drinking and gambling in the bright gas lights. Many of the men were indifferent to his presence, some noted approvingly his strong, masculine body, clearly outlined by his tight pants and plaid, wool shirt. Other men, as he knew they would, glanced swiftly over his handsome face and body to stare openly, with amazement and only partly concealed desire at the massive bulge of his crotch. Eyes slightly narrowed, he looked with feigned indifference about the barroom. He needed information and he knew that before long one of the men who studied him furtively, yet eagerly, would approach.
As he threw down his shot of whiskey with a quick gesture, a voice at his side asked, “Can I buy you another?”
He turned and saw a weather-beaten face, a thin but sinewy body clad in buckskins. “Thanks,” he replied, waiting for the other man to begin the conversation.
“I’m Tom Ludin. You heading west?” the other man asked, extending his hand.
“I’m Thad Carpenter,” the young man replied. Their hands held for a fraction longer than necessary. “I’m off to the gold mines if I can find me a good train.”
“Just get into town?”
When Thad nodded, the older man smiled faintly. “Knew I hadn’t seen you before. And I’d sure have remembered ifn I had.”
Their eyes met briefly in a look of mutual recognition. Tom’s faint smile broadened into a grin. “I’m hunter for Brandon’s Rising Sun Company. Ifn you’re a good shot I might get you fixed to help me out.”
Thad hesitated. This was going faster than he’d expected.
“It’s a good company,” the older man hurried on. “Cap Brandon was out west with Fremont in ’46. He’s no damn fool greenhorn like most,” he gesture toward the crowded barroom with contempt.
“Got good horses and fifteen men paying their passage. I’d be mighty pleased ifn you’d join up.” He glanced down and let his eyes linger for a moment over the younger man’s bulging crotch. “Why not come on out to camp and meet the boys?”
Thad shrugged. He had plenty of time to look around, Tom Ludin was obviously experienced on the plains, and a captain who had been west before would be a tremendous advantage on the long and dangerous trip ahead. What could he lose but a couple of hours? Nodding in agreement, he followed Tom out the door.
As they walked toward the edge of town, Tom Ludin talked eagerly. “I been all over that country out there since I was fifteen. Hunting and trapping for more years than I’m going to admit to a young guy like you,” he grinned. “Been on the Yellowstone and the Bighorn, Salt Lake, and even seen me the Columbia once. But never been to California. That’s why I signed on with Brandon. But I don’t aim to settle down. I’ll get me a look, then I’ll take off. I got too many good friends in the mountains to stay in one place long.” As he said this he glanced sideways at Thad, but the young man wasn’t ready to admit he understood Tom’s special emphasis on “good friends.”
The air was fresh and clean as the two men walked across the prairie. There were white-topped wagons everywhere, pale, curling smoke marking the campfires of each encampment. Green shoots of grass were already standing tall above the rich, brown earth, and a light breeze played fitfully over the grass, bending it back and forth until in the distance it looked like the gentle swell of the sea. Cattle and horses grazed on the sweet, new-grown grass and voices could be heard distantly calling from wagon to wagon.
The camp of the Rising Sun Company was spread in a half circle about a mile from town. Seven covered wagons, what seemed to be about forty head of stock grazing, and eight tents pitched between the wagons. There were only a few men in sight, the others were in town.
Tom led the tall young man to the center of the camp and called to a man sitting on a keg, his back to them, reading a sheaf of papers.
“Cap Brandon, got a man for you.”
As the man rose and turned toward them, Thad felt a tightening in his throat and chest, and a stirring in his groin. Robert Brandon was nearly as tall as Thad, broader in the shoulders and chest. His torso under the wool shirt was powerfully muscular, but not heavy, his long legs were strong and graceful below his narrow waist. Jet black, straight hair fell over a wide forehead and shaded deep-set, black eyes. Deeply tanned, his strong, handsome face reflected an outdoor life, and deep lines about the mouth indicated a man used to command. His lips were full and firm, his jaw straight and strong. Thad immediately saw as he glanced at the other’s crotch that he was more than a match for himself.
To purchase a copy of One to Share, visit the Somewhere Books online shop.