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 doesnât realize both their lives are about to change forever.
They have to endure her fatherâs 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. Jamesâ life is placed in grave danger.
James and Rebeccaâs 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.
âPa, you get your good for nothing, lily livered ass off that stool and get home right this minute. I swear Iâll hog tie you and drag you there behind Peachy if you donât move now. If Peachy happens to release his business over you on the way home I wouldnât be sorry.â
Tim March the owner and barkeep groaned. He really didnât want any trouble.
The woman at the door drew Jamesâ 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 mansâ 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 didnât look at his daughter.
âRebecca, what the devil do you think youâre doing? Iâve told you a thousand times, saloons are no place for a lady.â
She drew up alongside him.
âWade Nolan, Iâve told you a thousand times, Iâm not a lady. I have never been one and Iâm never gonna be one. If you werenât always in a saloon I wouldnât have to keep coming in to drag you home. Now get your sorry ass off that stool and get on home. Thereâs chores need doing and Iâm not doing them all myself again.â
âRebecca, please.â Wade lifted his hands to his head and slumped back down on the bar âMe heads a hurtinâ, just one more whisky for your old Pa eh?â
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 wasnât 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 heâd been imbibing or his head hitting the floor, James didnât 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.
âWhat the hell do you think youâre doing mister?â she yelled. She hadnât noticed the badge on his chest.
He noticed the fire in her eyes. She was one very angry young gal.
âMiss, you canât go around treating people like that. You could have injured him real bad.â he said calmly.
She wasnât paying attention to James as sheâd 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.
âGet your goddamned hands off me.â
With her free arm, and using all her strength, she swung. Her fist connected hard with Jamesâ jaw. He stumbled back a step from the force of the punch but he didnât release her. As she lifted her leg to stomp on his foot, James decided heâd had enough of this wildcat.
He flung her over his shoulder, picked up the report heâd been reading and headed for the saloon doors.
She pounded his back with her tiny fists and kicked her legs. âPut me down, you good for nothing mudsill.â
He took no notice. He picked up his Stetson from a peg near the door and jammed it onto his head.
âWade, if you know whatâs good for you, youâll get yourself home and get those chores done. Iâm gonna lock her up and let her cool off overnight. You can come by and get her in the morning. Iâll decide by then if Iâm gonna press charges.â
âYes sir, deputy.â 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 Rebeccaâs 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. âYou let me out of this godforsaken hoosegow right now.â she bellowed. âIâm not staying in here a minute longer.â 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.
âLet me out now.â She yelled at him. He noticed tears welling in her eyes.
James waited for a break in her tantrum before he spoke.
âIâm going out front now because thanks to you Iâll be spending the night. Iâm telling you missy, youâre not going anywhere before morning. Now, calm down, hobble your lips and get yourself a good nightâs sleep.â
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. Sheâd picked it up off the table beside the bed and was hitting the bars. He couldnât 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 heâd 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 nightâs sleep but his head was beginning to ache from all her yelling and his jaw didnât seem to want to quit its damn throbbing.
He had a feeling sleep wouldnât 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 hadnât 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.
âToo late.â 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.
âNow, go to sleep.â
âYes sir.â 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 heâd hit her a bit harder than heâd intended and thought to himself sheâs sure gonna have a sore backside in the morning I bet.
The rest of the night was quiet but James didnât get much sleep. He tossed and turned with images of Rebeccaâs 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.