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Opening Paragraph: "Patch of Dirt"

The next series of blogs will contain various excerpts from "Patch of Dirt."

This is the opening paragraph.

Half a dozen men and women sized up Joe Oliver as he entered the Top Hat Lounge, and then returned to their drinks and conversation. To them he was just another battered and weather-beaten, thirtyish cowboy down on his luck, his rangy six-foot two frame hardened from years of ranch work. His frayed gray cowboy hat was pulled down over his eyes. His stomach tightened and he clenched his teeth. Someday he’d walk into a place like this and show them he was someone to be reckoned with, a man with his own patch of dirt and enough land to raise a small herd of cattle, maybe some wheat, and a future.

But what does his future hold?

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