Considered one of the most prolific writers working in modern fiction, with more than 30 million books sold, writer Dean Wesley Smith published far more than a hundred novels in forty years, and hundreds of short stories across many genres.

At the moment he produces novels in several major series, including the time travel Thunder Mountain novels set in the Old West, the galaxy-spanning Seeders Universe series, the urban fantasy Ghost of a Chance series, a superhero series starring Poker Boy, a mystery series featuring the retired detectives of the Cold Poker Gang, and the Mary Jo Assassin series.

His monthly magazine, Smith's Monthly, which consists of only his own fiction, premiered in October 2013 and offers readers more than 70,000 words per issue, including a new and original novel every month.

During his career, Dean also wrote a couple dozen Star Trek novels, the only two original Men in Black novels, Spider-Man and X-Men novels, plus novels set in gaming and television worlds. Writing with his wife Kristine Kathryn Rusch under the name Kathryn Wesley, he wrote the novel for the NBC miniseries The Tenth Kingdom and other books for Hallmark Hall of Fame movies.

He wrote novels under dozens of pen names in the worlds of comic books and movies, including novelizations of almost a dozen films, from The Final Fantasy to Steel to Rundown.

Dean also worked as a fiction editor off and on, starting at Pulphouse Publishing, then at VB Tech Journal, then Pocket Books, and now at WMG Publishing, where he and Kristine Kathryn Rusch serve as series editors for the acclaimed Fiction River anthology series.

For more information about Dean's books and ongoing projects, please visit his website at

Card Sharp Silver by Dean Wesley Smith

Sheriff Blue West loves his pretend Sheriff job, tipping his hat to the tourists and reading all day. Fits him perfectly.

But when Annie "Silver" Stevens, a card sharp from 1900, appears in the modern Cave Creek, Nevada, claiming to be the real Annie Stevens, Cave Creek's reputation for strange things happening strikes again.

Both Annie and Blue find themselves in very strange worlds and times that only the craziness of Cave Creek can explain.

The Twilight Zone needed a hometown. It found Cave Creek.


Dean has a shared world called Cave Creek. The tagline? The Twilight Zone needed a hometown. It found Cave Creek. Exactly. This little western town has a time vortex and lots of mysterious tech. And that's only the beginning… – Kristine Kathryn Rusch



Chapter One

October 14th, 1906
Outside of Las Vegas, Nevada

Annie "Silver" Stevens held the leather strap as tightly as she could and braced herself with her foot against the other wooden seat as the Concord stage bumped hard over another dry stream wash, pounding her bladder like a fist. The thin padding on the hard surface made no difference. She would be bruised in dozens of places on the backs of her legs by the time she reached Cave Creek.

She stood five-foot on a good day and had long brown hair held in place by a wide and distinctive silver barrette that she seldom took off. Men said her wide brown eyes could disarm a bandit at fifty paces.

She knew that and used those eyes to take men's money at the card tables, fair and square. Not her fault they thought of her as a weak, helpless woman, in over her pretty little head. Their money spent the same no matter what they thought.

And one fine night, back when she had started playing cards, a dozen years before, a drunk cowboy in some dusty cow town had accused her of cheating and had come at her over the table. She had used the silver pin she used to hold her mother's silver barrette in place to take out his right eye. She had no idea if he eventually died. She had left town not really caring, his money tucked safely in a belt around her middle where the money would not be found.

From that day forward the word of what she had done had gotten ahead of her and no one had bothered "Silver" Stevens again.

The stagecoach bounced hard again and she swore to herself as she barely managed to not soil her dress. She had no idea whatsoever why she had thought she could take a stage instead of just riding to Cave Creek on a horse.

She had gotten off the train at the Las Vegas station. She had been coming in from Goldfield, Nevada, and it just seemed like a good idea to take the stage the last distance. She had a room waiting for her at the Golden Dream Hotel in the mining town of Cave Creek, supposedly one of the nicest new hotels in all the West, and she had so wanted to make an entrance into town.

Not likely now. She was going to be lucky if no one saw her covered in dust and looking like a red-light district madam.

The warm afternoon in the desert made the inside of the coach seem like a steam locomotive's boiler with the coach's leather curtains pulled down, yet with the curtains up, the dust from the four horses swirled around inside the coach like a bad storm. She was already completely covered in gray dust as it was, her once sky-blue traveling dress now looked faded and streaked.

And if the coach didn't stop soon, the dress would be stained and ruined because her bladder would not hold. Thankfully, she was the only one on board inside the stage. Up top on the Concord stage, there was a short, silver-haired driver and a guard with a bad scar on his face. She had no idea what he was guarding, but she was glad they were both there anyway.

And glad no one was inside the coach with her to listen to her swearing every time the stupid contraption hit a streambed.

She had, however, made sure the pistol strapped to the outside of her right leg under her wide skirt was loaded before she boarded just in case someone did try to take advantage of her being alone.

It was also lucky that she had spent many days on board sailing ships in all her travels. The rocking motion of the stage would make anyone without sea legs sick almost instantly. She had been fine, but the heat and the dust were another matter.

After a couple more hard bumps, the coach slowed and stopped and the driver said, "Rest break, ma'am."

"Thank the heavens," she said as she pushed open the door on the guard's side and climbed down before either man could climb off their seat and help her.

Her legs felt like they were struggling to hold her, and her back had knots in it. Her right hand ached from the tight grip on the leather strap. She swore that if she managed to get to Cave Creek in this thing, it would be the last time she ever rode in a coach.


She took a deep breath of the hot, clear desert air, then brushed what dust she could from her brown hair, taking out her barrette and fastening it in place again.

Around her the rock and sage stretched as far as the eye could see up into shallow ridgelines on both sides of the road. The sky was a misty shade of blue and heat waves shimmered in the distance. They were clearly in a shallow valley that seemed to be very wide, and narrowed some ahead of them as it got closer to the mountains. She had no doubt that in the summer this valley must be impossible with the heat. It was the middle of October and it was still hot out here.

Cave Creek better be worth her time, have some easy pickings and some miners drunk with money as she had heard.

And on top of that, it better distract her. Right now she really, really needed some distraction and time to forget.

A dry streambed ran down the valley beside the road and just behind where the coach had stopped was a stand of brush and scrub pine trees. There was no sign of buildings or anything else.

"How close are we to Cave Creek?" she asked.

"Just up the road a ways," the driver said.

"Privacy right down that trail there," the guard said. "Mind the snakes."

She nodded and brushing the dust from her dress, she started off down the road toward the stand of twisted desert pine. She didn't care about snakes. Didn't want to step on one, but her high leather boots under her dress would protect her from most bites.

She got into the pine and brush and behind a few trees where the driver and guard could not see her and did her business. Then, as she brushed off more dust, got her dress and herself arranged and steeled for the last part of the torture of traveling the last distance to Cave Creek, a flash of bright and rich green caught her eye.

"What in the world?" she said, her words swallowed by the expanse of desert and the trees around her.

There, directly on the other side of the stand of trees, not ten feet from her, was a green so rich, so bright, she didn't think it possible. And it seemed to run right into a pure white sand of some sort.

She had seen sand of that type on a beach in southern France, and green like that in southern Florida many years before.

But never together.

And not in the middle of a Nevada desert.

She stepped toward it, moving around some brush carefully as to not tear her skirt. Other stage passengers over time must have clearly seen this before if this was a regular stage stop. But in her reading in papers and such about Cave Creek and its short lifespan as a mining town, not one mention of something like this on the way to the town had been made.

She took a few steps up to the edge of the green. It looked like a small, arched door just big enough for someone to ride a horse through. The green on the other side was so perfectly smooth, perfectly bright green, like it was all a page right out of a picture book.

She stepped forward through the arch and onto the softness of the green grass. It felt like a thick carpet in a fine home back east. She knelt and ran her hand over the softness and coolness of the green.

How was this possible?

"Lady, are you all right?"

She stood and spun around, expecting to see the guard coming through the stand of trees, but behind her now was nothing more than more green.

A lot more green.

And some amazing structures on the hills around the green.

The man was about as tall as the driver, but he had on strange pants, a bright green shirt, and was carrying a stick.

There was no sign of the desert, the road, the stagecoach.


In all of Annie's twenty-eight years, she had never felt this confused or out of control. And she hated to be out of control.

Hated it.

"Lady? Can I help you with something?"

"Where am I at?" she managed to ask.

"The seventeenth hole," he said. "Follow that path to the clubhouse." He pointed to a wide, gray path to her right.

She knew what a golf course was, had even walked near the old course in Scotland because no woman was actually allowed on it. And she knew what a seventeenth hole meant, but not why he had sent her to something called a "clubhouse."

She nodded her thanks and moved to the hard, smooth path he had indicated, and after looking around for any sign of the trees and the road and the stagecoach, she followed his directions, doing her best to catch her breath and understand what she was seeing.

What the hell had happened to the stagecoach?

And the desert?

Not one bit of anything she saw made sense.

Not one bit.

She just hoped she hadn't died suddenly while doing her business there in the trees. She had hoped she would go out a legend, shot by a card cheat or something. Falling over dead with her drawers down would not be an appropriate ending to one of the best card sharps working the West.

And she hoped like all hell that a golf course was not heaven. What a stupid game.