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OVER 70 Books to choose from!
Just click the link below and have fun!!
My Historical Western, ‘Her Alpha Cowboy’ is #FREE!
A huge thanks to all our readers and reviewers. You all are awesome. 🙂
‘To Have and To Scold’
Matt chuckled dryly. “How long have we been neighbors, Annie?” She opened her mouth and he cut her off with a stern glower. “I’ve known you since the day you were born. You’ve pestered me from the moment you began to walk. You know darn well that whenever I threatened you with a spanking I made good on my threat, didn’t I?” She rolled her eyes as if bored and he struggled to keep his temper in check. “You better rethink about whether or not you’re coming with me under your own steam before I lose what little control I have left on my temper and believe me it ain’t much.”
The little brat retaliated immediately by kicking him in the shin. Matt’s eyes widened in shock at her open defiance.
“There, I rethunk it, and I didn’t have to say a word,” she declared with exaggerated sweetness.
Raucous laughter surrounded him. By damn, when he got his hands on her, she’ll be singing a high note soon enough. “Let’s see who’s all smug and smart after I whip your butt.” He dragged her over to one of the tables, toed out a chair and propped one booted foot on the seat. Annie wriggled this way and that and managed to squirm her way out of his hold. She dove under the table and stayed there.
Laughter erupted once again. “Wowie, this sure is the most entertainment we had in a
“Hell yeah,” someone else shouted. “Show her who’s boss, Caine.”
“Lookee, there, she’s more slippery than a newborn calf.”
Matt scowled at the crowd of onlookers. A few men grumbled at their source of
amusement being taken away, but they relented and stepped back when he refused to back down.
“Annie, come with me right now or it’ll be worse for you when I get you home.”
“I won’t let you take me home.” Her muffled pitiful voice floated up from beneath the
table. “I ain’t going back to the Lazy D.”
Matt’s head thumped along with his shin. Threats wouldn’t work at this point if Annie
believed he was bound and determined to escort her back to the Lazy D. He ran a hand down his face before he flipped up the red-checkered tablecloth. His eyes nearly bugged out of his head. Holy shit! The little brat had a gun pointed right at him. His throat convulsed. Annie was a good shot, but in her frame of mind, there was no telling what she’d do. “Um, Annie, be a good girl and put down that gun.”
At the mention of a gun everybody scattered. Tables were overturned and Hank suddenly had a whole lot of company behind the bar.
A tear slid down Annie’s cheek. “Please don’t make me shoot you, Matt. I don’t want to, but I will if you try to take me back there. Eva will drug me with sleeping powders and give me to Lloyd.” She choked on a sob. “I don’t like Lloyd. He scares me.”
Matt tamped down his rage. Drug her? Jesus! “She ain’t drugging you with nothing and you ain’t going anywhere near Lloyd so get that thought right out of your pretty little head. Sally told me all about it, Darlin’, and I promise I will not to take you to the Lazy D.”
Annie’s eyes were a vivid green against the paleness of her face. “Why’d you call me
“Call you what?”
Matt shrugged. “It’s just an endearment. Don’t you like it when I call you Darlin’?”
She sniffled. “I’m not used to it. You always call me a brat or a nuisance.”
She sure had a way of making him feel like shit. “A very wise man warned me that
females tend to remember things best forgotten. I apologize, Darlin’ for calling you a nuisance, but you are a brat. I’d love it if you’d be my brat.”
Mia Adam’s disapproved of her sister’s Domestic Discipline marriage, but when her old flame comes back to town and suggests they give domestic discipline a whirl she changes her mind. She still regrets the day she had lost her temper and sent Ross Garrison running for the hills. She’d do anything for a second chance.
Ross Garrison returned to Pennsylvania to attend his aunt’s funeral and hopefully get a second chance with the woman who had stolen his heart so long ago. Mia possessed a temper to rival the devil and had a penchant for jumping to conclusions, but Ross was no longer the young man who avoided drama as much as possible. He had matured during his stint in the Marines and was quite capable of taming his wildcat with a good old-fashioned spanking or two.
Mia’s childhood lacked love and discipline and the uncle she thought would always be there for her had betrayed her in the worst possible way. Could she put aside her trust issues and allow Ross to know what was good for her even though her bottom would more than likely suffer the consequences?
Who would have thought she’d be sitting here considering a Domestic Discipline relationship with the one man who had walked out on her so many years ago. Ross had sounded so sincere, Mia almost believed him. Perhaps she had been wrong. Maybe he didn’t cheat on her with Kelly; she had always been a troublemaker. Mia sighed. She had prayed for a second chance and here it was, sitting in her kitchen. All six foot four of him, wrapped nicely in a pair of faded jeans and black cotton T.
Despite her protests concerning her sister’s marriage, Mia’s insides were all quivering. How would it feel to be turned over Ross’s lap and spanked? Would he spank her over her clothes or demand she take off her pants and panties? Flustered at the direction her thoughts were going, she got up from her chair and wandered over to the sink. She swallowed hard. “Is spanking included as punishment?” She heard the scrap of a chair and soon felt his presence directly behind her, scorching her backside.
“So, you’re familiar with Domestic Discipline and what that entails?” His breath stirred the hairs at the back of her neck and she shivered. His big hands slid up her arms to cup her shoulders and squeeze as he occupied his mouth by dropping light kisses just below her earlobe. Her breasts ached and her nipples tightened. Ross had always been an attentive lover, taking his time as he played with her body. Mia relaxed her stance and allowed herself to rest against his hard body. Ross slid a hand down to her navel and splayed his fingers wide anchoring her close so she could feel his hardness prodding her ass. She tilted her head to the side in order to give him more access to the sensitive area adjoining her neck and shoulder. Ross immediately set his mouth upon her and covered her skin with kisses.
“You didn’t answer my question, sweetheart.” He nibbled his way back up to her earlobe, suckled the flange of flesh and then stuck his tongue in her ear. “What do you know about Domestic Discipline?”
His raspy voice was like an aphrodisiac and Mia’s knees nearly buckled. “Not much, just what I read about it and from Becky.” Only the strength of his iron clasp pressing into her belly kept her in place, otherwise she would have been on the floor in a puddle at his feet. The other hand traveled to her breast. He thumbed one nipple, then the other.
“Hmm, if you agree to this type of relationship, spanking will most definitely be involved.”
His touch, his voice made it impossible for Mia to think. She broke away from his hold and moved over to the kitchen table. Ross was here, suggesting they give their relationship another try, but what about Connie? “How does Connie fit in all this?”
He heaved a sigh. “Connie left for California yesterday. There hasn’t been a woman as special as you in my life.”
Even though Mia felt better, thinking about him and Connie as fuck buddies didn’t sit too well with her either, but she hadn’t expected him to live like a monk. She had dated throughout the years, but there wasn’t a man who made her pulse leap as Ross had done.
Annie sparked for Matthew since she was a young girl. But Matt didn’t have time for the little brats’ shenanigans and made certain she knew it by turning her over his knee and warming her bottom on plenty of occasions. Over the years her tender feelings for the tall handsome cowboy had blossomed into love only she wasn’t so sure he felt the same about her. 🙂 She’s about to find out.
‘To Have and To Scold’ was my very Historical Western and Book 5 in the box set, ‘The Sons of Johnny Hastings.’ I loved writing about sexy cowboys and their feisty women so much, two other books followed. ‘Charley’s Pride and ‘Wild for You’. I hope you enjoy this little snippet. Have a great day!
Matt pushed away from the bar and thumbed the brim of his hat. “Good night, Sally.Thanks for keeping an eye on Annie, but she’s my responsibility now.”
Sally smiled in approval. “Be good to her, Matt. I know she’s sweet on you, but don’t tell her I told you.”
Sweet on him, eh? That was reassuring. Maybe it was inevitable that they’d end up
together. He no longer looked at her as a little girl with a penchant for pulling pranks. She was abreathtakingly beautiful woman with a soft heart and plenty of pluck. She’d make a perfect wife for a rancher. He’d take her out of this saloon and show her exactly who she belonged to and who she should come to with her troubles.
Matt strode over to where Annie was putting on a show, most likely for his benefit, and
crossed his arms over his chest. He cleared his throat.
Annie scowled. “What do you want? I’m busy.”
“Not any more, you ain’t.” His hand shot out and he latched hold of her wrist. “Sorry,
Johnny, but this here lady belongs to me.” Annie sputtered in outrage, but Matt ignored her as he crossed the floor with her in tow. She tugged and squirmed, but he held fast.
“Let me go this instant, Matthew Caine. I’m not going anywhere with you.” Matt kept
walking and she kept yanking. “Did you hear me? I said let go. Johnny, will you please help me?” She called over her shoulder. Johnny just stood there with his jaw hanging open.
Matt whirled around so fast she slammed into his chest and nearly lost her balance. He gripped her upper arms and picked her up off the floor until they were eyeball to eyeball. “Don’t go getting an innocent man involved in your childish games, Annie Dobbs. Now, you’re coming with me real peaceful like,” he set her on her feet, “or else.”
“Yeah,” he shot back and snatched hold of her wrist once again. “One more word and I’ll turn you over my knee right here and tan you proper.”
Nathan trailed his fingers up and down the inside of her arm. “Your skin is so soft.”
Bonnie rolled onto her back. “Everywhere?”
“Everywhere,” he replied, kissing her on the nose. “As much as I’d love to spend the rest of the night with you, we better get going. I told the sheriff to come looking for me if I didn’t get back to town after two hours.”
“I don’t think it’s been two hours yet.” Nevertheless, Bonnie climbed out of bed and dressed quickly. She sat on the edge of the chair, watching Nathan pull on his pants.
“Keep staring at me like that and we’ll have another session of spank and fuck.”
Bonnie squirmed in her seat. “I’m game if you are.”
Nathan chuckled. “You are a naughty girl.”
When Ross Garrison returned to Pennsylvania, Mia finds that she’s still head over heels in love with the dark haired, sexy male. But the young man who had fled from the bite of her short temper years ago had been replaced with a confident commanding no nonsense kind of guy. The type of guy she swore she’d never fall for. But when he suggests they give their relationship another shot coupled with a dose of Domestic Discipline on the side, the image of her lying face down over his firm thighs is way too tempting to ignore. Besides, there was nothing wrong with a playful spanking now and again. But Mia’s about to learn just how serious Ross regarded their second chance and rules are rules.
“Mia! What did I tell you about leaving your shoes lying around where someone can trip over them? Damn woman, I almost went through the shower wall.” Footsteps pounded toward her room.
Uh oh. With a squeak Mia dove back into bed and pulled the blankets up over her head. The footsteps ended at the foot of her bed and she squeezed her eyes shut. Maybe he’d believe she had fallen asleep and by morning she’d cook him a hearty breakfast and everything would be forgotten. Ross did love her cooking.
Mia tensed and stayed as still as she could. It was roasting under the blankets and she wasn’t sure how long she could hold out. She bit her lip as a bead of sweat trickled down between her breasts. Unable to take the heat any longer she shoved the blankets to her waist. “How dare you come into my room without knocking, you louse.” Her eyes widened in shock as the ‘louse’ stood there wearing a pair of boxers and nothing else. What a magnificent chest. He held a pink sneaker in one hand, but her attention dropped to the enticing bulge tenting those boxers.
“Oh, this louse is about to dare a lot more.” He stalked out of the room only to come back with the blanket and pillow she had left on the couch. He dropped them on the chair in the corner of the room. “Thanks, but I won’t need these tonight or any other night.”
“The hell you won’t.”
“That’s strike three.
“Last I heard one and two came before three,” she fired back angrily.
“Are you deliberating testing me, young lady?” Did he honestly expect her to answer that question? “Strike one, you left your shoes lying around. Strike two is for swearing. It’s not ladylike.”
“Screw lady like and don’t lecture me on where I put my shoes and you are not sleeping in here so get that thought right out of your head.” Winded, Mia took a deep breath. “What’s strike three?” She had to ask.
Ross shook his head in dismay. “Ordering me out of your bedroom. Geez, you’re starting off this night with a bang for sure. Did you forget about our agreement already? You’d follow the rules and the rules include putting things where they belong.”
He had her there. She did agree to the rules. “Can’t we start this agreement tomorrow?” Hopefully he’d relent. The bulging vein at the side of his right temple could pop at any moment and her butt would surely pay the price.
“Nope. And what’s with the outraged ‘maiden’ act? We slept together before. How is our relationship supposed to work if we don’t resume where we had off?” He had the audacity to wink.
Mia saw red. So that’s what this so called trial relationship was all about. He wanted sex. Heedless of her short silk nighty she scrambled to her feet and stood on the bed, her hands fisted on her hips. “Why you low down bastard. That’s why you wanted to try again. You want sex.” She hopped off the bed like a bunny, stomped over to the doorway and swung the door wide open. “Get out. If it’s a casual fuck you’re looking for then go after your Barbie doll.” She stopped to catch her breath and made the mistake of gloating right in his face. A shiver of apprehension shimmied down her spine. Oh my, a tic now joined the vein and both were throbbing in unison.
Ross took one step toward her and Mia let out a scream. He raised his brows. “Save your voice, I haven’t even touched you…yet”
#18+ #explicit content.
There are times when it’s best to allow your heart to overrule your head.
Being diagnosed with depression not only messed up Melanie Manning’s life, but her marriage as well. Her husband made it very clear that he considered her “damaged goods” and he didn’t have time to coddle a mentally ill wife. After his sudden death, Melanie knew she was destined to be alone. Loneliness sounded a hell of a lot better than exposing her illness to another man. Her self-esteem couldn’t survive another blow.
When state trooper Jack Horan meets Melanie, the attraction is immediate. Her deep blue eyes make him weak in the knees, but those eyes also hold a hint of sadness. Jack is determined to wipe away her pain, but how can he do that when Melanie refuses to let him get close to her?
Can Melanie learn to face her fears and trust her heart in the hands of another man?
Content Warning: some strong language, spanking, and sex play with a piece of fruit wielded by a hot guy in uniform. Hehe.
Cool air assaulted her breasts. Jack suckled each nipple in turn. He tugged her dress further so it lay bunched at her waist. His licked her belly, then moved downward and delved into her naval. Soon, he was licking her pussy through her wet panties. The silken material triggered a friction so hot and intense that Mel bucked against his mouth.
She heard a loud ripping sound and gasped when his mouth covered her bare pussy. Dear Lord, the man had ripped her panties from her body. This dominant side of Jack had her panting for more of his rough handling. He dropped kisses along her inner thighs, growled, and covered the flesh between her legs with his mouth. Mel screamed and dug her fingernails into his shoulders. She rocked her pussy and shamelessly rode his face as wave upon wave of an incredible orgasm overtook her. She swore her toes curled.
Jack moved back up her body and rested his forehead against hers. She kissed him frantically and tasted herself on his lips. Mel reached between their bodies and stroked his cock. She licked her lips.
“Baby, you’re looking to have a cock shoved down your throat.”
Mel gently pushed at his chest and dropped to the floor on both knees. “I want you deep in my throat while I suck you off.” Her hands shook slightly as she slowly unbuckled his leather belt. She carefully rasped his zipper down inch by agonizing inch.
Mel’s mouth went dry at the erection tenting his white boxers. The man had to be sporting at least nine inches. Moisture trailed down the inside of her thighs. She was so ready for this. For him.
Sparks fly the moment Charlotte (aka Charley) and Slade meet.
Charlotte cast one last glance at the huge platform behind her. The journey by train had gone off without a hitch. No one seemed to notice the young boy seated by himself.
Clutching her bag to her chest, she weaved her way through the crowd, anxiously searching for the stage depot. When she found it, she hurried forward and paid her passage to Kansas. A man who introduced himself as Smitty took her bag and threw it on top of the stagecoach. He merely pointed to the small rickety ladder provided and she slowly climbed aboard. Once she was seated, another passenger had arrived. He was almost inside when the ladder swayed. Alarmed, he lunged and landed at Charlotte’s feet. She immediately reached out, but he waved her hand away and climbed onto the seat by himself. Another five minutes had passed and when no one else showed up to board, Smitty shut the door. They were on their way to Kansas. Charlotte made herself more comfortable and closed her eyes.
“Whoa, Smitty, hold up a minute.”
Charlotte’s eyes shot wide open and she immediately straightened in her seat, anxious to see to whom that deep, booming voice outside the coach belonged. Her heart thumped wildly. The door swung open and she almost burst into a fit of nervous giggles.
Staring was downright rude, but she couldn’t keep herself from ogling the handsome man. This was the closest she had ever gotten to a real cowboy since she had been a little girl and she was going to enjoy every minute of it as a woman. Besides, he probably wouldn’t give a hoot if she crossed her eyes and poked out her tongue.
His barely there nod set her tummy to flutter. He was so tall he had to hunch down or his head would have surely bumped the top of the coach. She only had a second to note how his broad shoulders tapered to a lean waist before he sat down. Denim pants wrapped snugly around muscled thighs and long legs. Her gaze settled upon his large hands and a tingle started at her toes, traveled up her legs, shot straight up to her hairline and settled between her legs. Charlotte clenched her pelvic muscles and it felt as if she had wet herself. She licked her lips and continued her perusal. There was a hint of a mustache on his upper lip and his chin sported dark stubble. Tiny lines at the corner of his eyes gave him a mature appearance and added to his appeal. She closed her eyes and sighed. She had to admit, he was much better looking than her dream man. Too bad she had to pretend to be a boy. She would have liked to practice a little flirting.
* * * * *
Slade grew more annoyed with each passing minute. Surely, the young brat seated across from him had been schooled in proper behavior. Staring was rude. Where were the kid’s parents? He was way to young to be traveling by himself. Maybe he was an orphan. A scrawny orphan at that. A strong wind could easily blow him over and those effeminate features had to be a curse. Slade had no doubt the poor kid had been a brunt of many jokes regarding his gender. Slade despised bullying of any kind. The very idea of the young boy possibly being subjected to abuse sickened him. Even though the boy irritated him, he’d make sure he came to no harm on the trip to Swiftwater. After that, the boy was on his own.
Slade tugged at the brim of his hat to cover his eyes and folded his arms across his chest. He was bone tired, but the trip to Cheyenne had been worth it. His bid had landed the pure bred bull Silas Henry, his boss and most of all, his friend, had wanted. The animal should arrive within a couple of days. Silas was a good, decent man. Slade had been a drifter since the age of eighteen after his parents had perished in a fire. As soon as he had given them a proper burial, he packed what few possessions he could scarf from the rubble and left Wyoming. He had spent the next five years picking up odd jobs here and there, riding herd, mending fences, branding cattle, and suffered through a few cattle drives, which he intended to avoid as much as possible. Then, the day came when he just didn’t want to roam anymore. At twenty-three, he decided Kansas would be his last stop. What cash he had saved was running out fast. He only had enough to stay in a hotel for a few days while he looked for work. By the time his money ran out, he had landed a job as foreman for Silas Henry on his cattle ranch. That was five years ago and the ranch was thriving.
Silas usually made the trip when it came to purchasing his own livestock, but this particular time a family crisis had kept him close to home. The wire his ex-wife had sent from Boston had him half out of his mind with worry. According to the missive, their daughter had taken off on her own and was on her way to Kansas. Slade muttered a curse. A woman traveling alone was just an open invitation for vermin. Silas should have taken his daughter in hand years ago. He had heard stories about Charlotte from old Buzz, a close friend of Silas’s. She had always been headstrong and it sounded as if she hadn’t changed.
He switched his thoughts to Bonnie, the pretty blonde he’d escorted to a few church socials during the past month. Bonnie was well behaved, quiet and polite. She’d make a good wife. Slade sighed. He had to make up his mind. He wasn’t getting any younger. Perhaps it was about time he picked a wife and had some children of his own. Bonnie was docile and wouldn’t give him a lick of trouble. She was a good cook and very easy on the eyes. He wasn’t in love with her, but was love really that important in a marriage? He’d be a faithful husband, a good provider and he wouldn’t raise his hand in anger. That should be enough. Besides, if he waited too long, time would pass him by and he’d turn into an old geezer like Buzz. He hadn’t made any promises to Bonnie. He hadn’t touched her inappropriately. Perhaps it was time he bit the bullet and proposed.
Slade adjusted his hat on his head and thoughts of marriage and kids flew out the window. Blasted kid was still eyeballing him. He should take off his belt and whip the boy’s backside good. As far as Charlotte Henry was concerned, all he could do was hope the young woman came to no harm. She was most likely miles away from here. He might be too far away to protect her, but this young boy was within his reach and he intended to teach him a lesson or two about manners. “Something on your mind, son?”
* * * * *
Heat flamed Charlotte’s cheeks and blazed a trail straight to her hairline. Darn, he had caught her staring. “Um-” She cleared her throat and spoke more gruffly. “No, sir.”
“Then quit staring.”
Ordinarily, she would have taken offense at his reprimand, but she sat there like a fool. He had pushed back his hat and his steely blue eyes took her breath away. “I-I apologize.” She swallowed hard and turned away. Felicia had been wrong; this cowboy was very mannerly and handsome.
The thin man seated beside her spoke for the first time. “Surely, Mr…”
Charlotte couldn’t stop herself from looking at the cowboy once again. One dark brow arched. “Slade Hazard.” He offered his hand. “And you are?”
“Basil, Basil Hornberger.” Both men leaned forward, shook hands, then fell back against their seats. Charlotte’s heart skipped a beat. Slade’s hand had completely enveloped Basil’s.
“Are you related to the boy, Mr. Hornberger?”
Basil shook his head. “No, why do you ask?”
Charlotte’s temper flared. “The ‘boy’ is right here. Don’t be rude and discourteous by speaking over me.” Her fury was aimed directly at the cowboy.
“For a kid who’s barely out of the schoolroom, your impudence is not appreciated. Respect your elders,” he countered sharply.
The nerve of the man! She was not a kid. She’d been out of the schoolroom for over a year. She threw back her shoulders proudly. “I am nineteen and have the right to voice my opinion.” His big hands clenched and he straightened in his seat. Charlotte was surely within a hair’s breath away from being throttled.
Suddenly, the interior of the rocking coach seemed awfully small. Apparently, he wasn’t used to being spoken to in such a belligerent manner. In all honesty, he had made a valid point. She had been taught to respect her elders. “Again, I apologize. As long as we’re introducing ourselves, my name is Charley. In answer to your question, Mr. Hazard, Mr. Hornberger and I are not related.” For some unknown reason she didn’t want to be at odds with the man. As a matter of fact, she hoped to enjoy herself in his company even though she had to keep up her pretense and act like a boy. She wondered what he’d do if he knew she was a woman. Would he be as quick to reprimand or would he tip his hat and beg for her forgiveness?
A swathe of hair fell in disarray across his tanned forehead and he removed his hat. With his black wavy hair, blue eyes and muscular form, he put the dandies back in Boston to shame. The material wrapped around her chest tightened and she had difficulty breathing. Charlotte panicked and poked her head out the window for some much needed air and got a face full of dust instead. A fit of coughing plagued her.
“Here, it’s clean.”
A handkerchief landed in her lap. Slade’s throat was now bare and she watched his Adam’s apple move up and down as he spoke to Basil. “In answer to your question before we were so rudely interrupted, there is a reason why I asked if the two of you were related. I had hoped the kid wasn’t traveling by himself.” He directed his gaze at Charlotte once again. “Staring is also rude and discourteous, Charley. Pick the wrong man and you might find yourself face down in the dirt with your ass sticking up in the air and getting more than you bargained for.”
Charlotte gasped. Her overactive imagination conjured up a picture of what he had described and her stomach churned with disgust. Only a monster would do such a thing to a young boy. Surely such human depravity did not exist. She’d rather believe the world was a much better place. Charlotte dabbed at her face with the handkerchief he had carelessly flung in her direction. His scent permeated her nostrils. Sweat, man, and a hint of mint. Oddly pleasing. Keeping the checkered cloth for her personal enjoyment would more than likely raise an eyebrow. She thanked him for his hospitality and turned away. The train ride had been quiet and uneventful. There was absolutely no reason why this short trip to Swiftwater couldn’t be the same. All she had to do was close her eyes for a spell and keep her mouth shut.
* * * * *
Deafening gunshots woke Charlotte from a fitful sleep.
Slade twisted in his seat and stuck his head out the window. “Smitty, what the hell’s going on?” He ducked back inside seconds before another round of shots were fired.
“Someone’s taking shots at us.”
No shit. The coach hit a bump and bounced straight up into the air, sending Slade sprawling across the seat. Sonofabitch!
“I could sure use some help up here, Mr. Hazard. Got no one riding shotgun on this trip.”
“On my way.” He slid to the opposite side of the seat, but the tug on his pant leg prevented him from swinging out the window. He hunkered down in front of the kid and swore he’d never seen such a stunning pair of green eyes. In that instant, Slade knew he’d burn in hell for admiring such traits on the boy. It was perverted. He must be losing his mind.
“Where are you going?”
Slade cleared his throat and spoke more sharply than he had intended. “Up above to help the driver. Keep your head down and out of the way.” Those eyes shone with tears and he muttered a curse. “Don’t worry, Charley. I’ll get us out of here safe and sound.” Basil was out of sight, huddled under the seat. Slade readied to lunge out the window, but another shot exploded, followed by a resounding crack of a whip. The coach burst into full speed and Slade was flung backward on the seat.
Caught off guard, Charlotte was thrown forward and landed headfirst between his wide spread legs. Her fingers sank into his upper thighs.
Holy shit! Slade pushed her roughly to the floor. Damn, he had to get out of here. The kids’ face in his lap and shaken him more than he cared to admit. “Both of you stay down,” he barked, annoyed at himself for having these abnormal reactions toward a young boy. It was wrong. He switched his focus to the matter at hand. Once they were out of this mess, he’d head to the nearest saloon and partake of some female company.
Slade couldn’t recall the last time a stagecoach had been held up in these parts. Sheriff Tom Davis was a stickler for the law. The burly man despised trouble and made certain the citizens of Swiftwater behaved accordingly and visitors knew the rules. Whoever was out there would regret their actions.
Slade poked his head out the window. Swirls of dirt surrounded the stagecoach. Off to the left, he was able to make out three riders who were bearing down on them fast and, wait a minute… one of them had a gun pointed directly at him. Nah, couldn’t be. Not taking any chances, Slade ducked just as a loud whiz zipped over his head and passed through the window on the opposite side.
“Sir, please mind your language. We have a young boy here.” Basil’s high-pitched voice sounded from under the seat.
Slade gritted his teeth. Language hell, he almost pissed himself. That blasted shot had been too close for comfort. “Basil, the farthest thing from my mind is the use of proper language when I’m getting shot at.”
“There’s no need to be sarcastic, Mr. Hazard.” Slade swore again for the hell of it. A sudden movement sent his temper soaring. He snared Charlotte by the back of the shirt, spun her around and shook her roughly. “I thought I told you to stay down? Keep your nose to the floor.” He delivered a sound whack to the seat of her pants.
Charlotte sank to the floor. “Don’t yell me,” she snapped. “And don’t you dare strike my person again.” She reached under the seat and pulled out his hat. “Your poor hat has a hole in it.” She poked her finger through the ragged tear. “See?”
Slade ground his back molars until his jaw hurt. Don’t strike my person? Good Gawd! “Better than a hole in my head, don’t you think? You need a trip to the woodshed and not for chopping wood.”
“And you should be horsewhipped for beating me, you flea bitten cur.”
Flea bitten cur? A biting retort died on his lips as the coach slowed to a crawl and finally shuddered to a complete stop. Pounding hooves circled once, then all was quiet except for a snort here and there from the winded horses. Slade got into Charlotte’s personal space. “You keep your mouth shut, you hear?” He reached for his gun.
“I’m gonna open this door real slow like. Toss any weapons out first or the driver gets a hole in his head!”
So much for a sneak attack. Slade held up his gun. Rebellion lit the kid’s eyes for a mere second, then quickly disappeared. Slade had to admire the kid’s spunk, but now was not the time to play the hero. “I mean it. You mind what I said, Charley. So help me if you cause a lick of trouble I’ll peel a layer of skin off your hide.”
“Stop threatening me.”
“Stop giving me grief.”
The door opened and they both shut up. Sunlight and dust filtered inside the stuffy coach. “Toss the hardware.”
The terse order grated on Slade’s nerves. As the dust cleared, his eyes landed on the gunman and he near flew into a rage. All of them wore bandanas, but judging from the pitch of his tone, Slade was sure the one making all of the demands couldn’t be much older than Charley. Christ, they were bested by a kid. He’d take a chance and tackle him, but the other two men on horseback were watching closely.
Slade chucked his gun and jumped. Since his parents had been taken from this world way too early in life, he had given up on prayers. They had been good people and didn’t deserve to die such a horrible death. He still had issues with the Lord in that respect, but today he offered up a deal. If the little irritant in pants obeyed his order and remained quiet, he’d get his butt to church.
Charlotte stood poised in the doorway and Slade tensed. What was the kid waiting for? The last thing they needed was an agitated gunman.
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Happy Friday everybody. I’m hanging out with my friend, Celeste Jones! She has a few questions about my Christmas story with #Blushing #Books, A Christmas Starr for Carolyn. Come on over and leave a comment if you wish! Thanks!!