Red licked his lips and eyed the aces in his hand. Peering over his cards, he watched the grimy gamblers around the table. Each of them returned his stare, keeping one eye on Red and one eye on the mound of money in the middle. Cigar haze danced with the dingy light of saloon chandeliers and played with Red’s imagination. The pot assumed a heavenly glow that whispered to him, tempted him.
Go all in, it said. This is your ticket out of Widow’s Rest. No more watching over your shoulder. No more living under the rich man’s thumb.
The rich man watched him now, flipping his own cards with that same oppressive thumb. Jasper Tate owned the saloon and half the men at the table, including Red. But not for long.