Kate wasn't happy to see the cowboy leave. He was breathing in sync with the rise and fall of her bosom,for goodness' sake. He might as well have been asleep for the difficulty he would have presented. At least Grizz sat down to her right and would have to act before her each hand.
The night continues with Kate winning a little here, losing a little there but not moving much one direction or the other. A later hand is dealt and Kate leaves the cards on the table in front of her. The shopkeeper from the general store calls and the action comes to Grizz who lets his hand go. Kate picks up her cards to see Kh, Tc, 3d, Th and Kd.
"Call" she says and pushes a $5 into the pot.
"Raise" says the dealer, a scruffy rancher with a handlebar mustache. He pushes $10 into the pot. The shopkeeper thinks a moment and pushes $5 more into the pot. The action is on Kate, who, liking her two big pair, pushes $5 in as well.
"How many cards, friend?" he asks the shopkeeper.
"One" and the rancher slides a card over, scooping up his discard.
He turns his gaze to Kate and asks politely "How many, Ma'am?" Kate starts to pull two cards from her hand, frowns, pushed them back in then says "One" and lays the 3d face down. She picks up her card to see the ten of diamonds.
"And dealer takes two." The dealer places two cards on the stack of discards and deals himself two cards.
The shopkkeeper looks dejectedly at his hand and says "Check." Kate spreads out her cards in her hand and says "Check as well."
"Four flushers, huh?" says the rancher "well I like my hand. Twenty-five dollars" He smiles confidently and pushes it into the pot.
The shopkeeper tosses his hand onto the table. "I missed. I fold"
Kate looks at her hand, thinks a moment and says "Sir, I think I will raise to $50."
The rancher wasn't expecting this. He figured both missed their draws and didn't expect to get sandbagged by the lady at the table. He heard that she won a lot but assumed she just used her looks to distract her opponents. He knew he had been trying hard all night to keep head in the game and off her cleavage. He set his cards down carefully and looked at her closely. "I think that drink may have gone to your head but I won't have it said I took advantage of a lady in a man's game so I will just call. What do you have?"
Kate pulls the three tens from her and as she starts to lay them on the table and state her hand, the rancher sees them and throws his hand down on the table, showing three queens and two unmatched low cards. "Ha. Three queens beats your three tens" he exclaims and start to reach for the pot. The shopkeeper puts his hand on top the cowboy's to check his motion toward the pot. "I don't think we've seen the lady's hand yet, cowboy."
"Thank you" says Kate, who continues "If you had let me finish, I also have two Kings for a full house. I'd appreciate you taking your hands off my money."
The cowboy sat down, somewhat ashamed. "My apologies, ma'am." He wouldn't underestimate her again.
She scooped up the pot. Up $70 in her first real hand when most men who sat at the table would be happy with a $70 night.
She looked at George Waters, the shopkeeper who knew her well and whom she trusted. "I need to powder my nose" she said, "would you mind watching my stake while I am gone?"
"It will be there when you return, Kate" he said.
With that she stood and made her way to the ladies' room. With the easy mark gone, she'd have to add a little more makeup. She certainly couldn't wear any less clothing. The last thought brought a quick smile to her face as she felt the cool air on her exposed upper thighs, barely an inch above the hem of her skirt. She didn't intend to look like a Cancan girl, but if lipstick and rouge got their attention then she could do what it takes.