by Susan Horsnell
Victorian Western Historical Romance
SynopsisWhen James Glenmore locks up a feisty young girl because she causes a disturbance in the local saloon; he doesn’t realize both their lives are about to change forever.
They have to endure her father’s deadly temper, which has already destroyed her young life, before they can be free.
A band of outlaws target the bank in Gold Springs and several horrendous tortures and murders take place before the law finally catches up with them. James’ life is placed in grave danger.
James and Rebecca’s lives withstand all obstacles that are put before them but will James survive the capture of the cruel outlaws?
James was concentrating on a report and twirling a cider in his hand when the front swinging doors were pushed in so hard they banged on the walls behind.
He swore the doors hit the wall so hard the whole building shook. He dropped his hand to his colt as he kept his eye on the door.
A woman in the doorway roared.
“Pa, you get your good for nothing, lily livered ass off that stool and get home right this minute. I swear I’ll hog tie you and drag you there behind Peachy if you don’t move now. If Peachy happens to release his business over you on the way home I wouldn’t be sorry.”
Tim March the owner and barkeep groaned. He really didn’t want any trouble.
The woman at the door drew James’ attention. The powerful banging of the doors and thunderous voice came from a tiny package that a good gust of wind could have blown away.
She had chestnut brown hair that was more out of, than in a braid, eyes the colour of a summer sky and the fullest, pinkest lips he had ever seen.
She wore a drab brown dress with no frills or lace and although old, it appeared to be clean. Like the woman, it was all business.
She had her hands placed on a pair of very curvy hips and her breasts looked full and firm. James cringed. She was everything he hated in a woman. He felt embarrassed for her father, whoever the unfortunate fella might be.
He relaxed his hand that had been hovering over his colt and watched to see how this would play out.
Every eye in the saloon was on her except for one mans’ and James guessed he must be her father. He was perched on a stool and draped over the bar with a whiskey in his hand.
He watched with interest as she stomped her way towards him.
The man lifted his head but didn’t look at his daughter.
“Rebecca, what the devil do you think you’re doing? I’ve told you a thousand times, saloons are no place for a lady.”
She drew up alongside him.
“Wade Nolan, I’ve told you a thousand times, I’m not a lady. I have never been one and I’m never gonna be one. If you weren’t always in a saloon I wouldn’t have to keep coming in to drag you home. Now get your sorry ass off that stool and get on home. There’s chores need doing and I’m not doing them all myself again.”
“Rebecca, please.” Wade lifted his hands to his head and slumped back down on the bar “Me heads a hurtin’, just one more whisky for your old Pa eh?”
James watched with amusement as Rebecca moved closer to her Pa. No-one in the saloon had moved an inch. They were too engrossed with the exchange between father and daughter.
Wade was a huge man. James had seen him walk in earlier and figured he would be at least a head taller than him.
Although he wasn’t muscular; he was wide in the chest.
His large belly, thanks to constant consumption of liquor, hung over his belt. Rebecca would have barely come to his waist. His ruddy face from years of drinking was heavily lined.
What happened next had James leaping from his chair and moving towards them in a hurry.
Rebecca hooked her leg around the leg of the stool and yanked with all her strength.
As the stool tipped, Wade fell backwards onto the floor. His head hit the floor with a thud and his eyes glazed over.
Whether the cause was the whisky he’d been imbibing or his head hitting the floor, James didn’t know.
As she began moving toward her father again James grabbed her around the waist and hoisted her off her feet. She kicked and screamed, catching him hard in the shins with the heels of her boots. It caused him to let her go and she spun around to face him.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing mister?” she yelled. She hadn’t noticed the badge on his chest.
He noticed the fire in her eyes. She was one very angry young gal.
“Miss, you can’t go around treating people like that. You could have injured him real bad.” he said calmly.
She wasn’t paying attention to James as she’d noticed Wade had sat up and was rubbing the back of his head. She reached down to grab a handful of his hair but before she could get to it James grabbed her arm to stop her.
“Get your goddamned hands off me.”
With her free arm, and using all her strength, she swung. Her fist connected hard with James’ jaw. He stumbled back a step from the force of the punch but he didn’t release her. As she lifted her leg to stomp on his foot, James decided he’d had enough of this wildcat.
He flung her over his shoulder, picked up the report he’d been reading and headed for the saloon doors.
She pounded his back with her tiny fists and kicked her legs. “Put me down, you good for nothing mudsill.”
He took no notice. He picked up his Stetson from a peg near the door and jammed it onto his head.
“Wade, if you know what’s good for you, you’ll get yourself home and get those chores done. I’m gonna lock her up and let her cool off overnight. You can come by and get her in the morning. I’ll decide by then if I’m gonna press charges.”
“Yes sir, deputy.” Wade said as he scrambled to his feet.
He could hear the customers laughing as he left.
It was early summer and the night was warm. There were still a few people on the streets and Rebecca’s screaming and cussing attracted their attention as he stomped to the jail.
He unlocked the front door and carried her through the swinging door to a cell out the back. He dropped her onto the bunk and left, locking the door behind him.
She leaped up onto her feet and slammed up against the locked door. “You let me out of this godforsaken hoosegow right now.” she bellowed. “I’m not staying in here a minute longer.” She shook the door and stamped her feet.
James had his back leaned against the wall opposite with his arms crossed over his chest. He was a picture of calm and this upset her even more.
“Let me out now.” She yelled at him. He noticed tears welling in her eyes.
James waited for a break in her tantrum before he spoke.
“I’m going out front now because thanks to you I’ll be spending the night. I’m telling you missy, you’re not going anywhere before morning. Now, calm down, hobble your lips and get yourself a good night’s sleep.”
She was pacing up and down the cell like a caged cougar.
As James walked away he heard the clanging sound of the drink mug. She’d picked it up off the table beside the bed and was hitting the bars. He couldn’t help but chuckle to himself.
He went into the small room off the front office which had a bunk and a washstand with a water pitcher. It was used by the sheriff and deputy for overnight stays. He poured water from the pitcher into the bowl and washed up. His jaw was tender and throbbing and he knew he’d have a decent sized bruise come morning. For such a tiny little thing she sure packed a wallop.
He shucked off his uniform, hung it on the wall pegs and crawled into bed. He could sure use a good night’s sleep but his head was beginning to ache from all her yelling and his jaw didn’t seem to want to quit its damn throbbing.
He had a feeling sleep wouldn’t come easy. To make matters worse he could hear the little hellion pounding on the bars of her cell and yelling to be let out.
When she hadn’t quieted after an hour he decided to get up and do something about it.
He dressed back into his uniform and grabbed the cell door key from the table beside his bunk.
His head and jaw now had a symphony going with their pounding pain and he was mighty angry as he stormed down to the cell.
The minute Rebecca saw his thunderous face she knew she was in trouble. She dropped the mug onto the floor and jumped into the bed.
“Too late.” said James as he unlocked the cell door. She folded herself into a tight ball and pressed against the wall at the top of the bed.
She watched in fear as he stalked towards her.
He picked her up like she weighed no more than a feather and sat down on the bed. He laid her face down across his thighs, lifted her skirts and proceeded to spank her backside.
She yelled, cussed and kicked but James continued.
After a few minutes James pulled her skirts back down, sat her on the bed and stormed back out the door picking up the mug on his way.
“Now, go to sleep.”
“Yes sir.” Rebecca squeaked. Tears flowed over her cheeks as she undressed and climbed into the bunk.
James went back to his room, shucked off his uniform for the second time that night and got back into bed.
His stinging hand had joined in the symphony with his head and jaw.
Because of his anger he’d hit her a bit harder than he’d intended and thought to himself she’s sure gonna have a sore backside in the morning I bet.
The rest of the night was quiet but James didn’t get much sleep. He tossed and turned with images of Rebecca’s shapely backside and legs filling his mind.
I grew up in the Western Suburbs of Sydney in the 50's and 60's and have always been a fan of Cowboys, Indians and Outlaws.
During my years as a nurse I would write down ideas and when I retired five years ago I finally published my first book - The Glenmore's: Revenge. This developed into a four part series.
Since then I have published a further eleven Western Romance books and one contemporary. My westerns are set in Texas, USA during the 19th century and my contemporary in Sydney, Australia.
When I am not writing I enjoy walking our dogs with my husband and travelling.