A Time Travel Romance
HERO AND PROTECTOR
Read an excerpt...
"What in God's name happened?" someone asked.
“This man fell out of a window,” Jessica replied. “He needs help.”
The stranger ran toward her and together, they rolled the injured man onto his back. Jessica stared in horror at his face. A clean bullet hole gaped between his eyes, and blood trickled down his nose.
“Dear Lord,” the stranger said. He stood up and quickly backed away.
“Somebody call 911!” Jessica shouted. She pressed her ear to the man’s chest to listen for a heartbeat. When she heard nothing, she knew there was no hope, but she still wanted an ambulance. A cop car, too.
If there was such a thing in this backward place.
“Will somebody call an ambulance?” she shouted in frustration.
“Now...just be calm, miss,” the stranger said. “We don't want any trouble.”
“What are you talking about?” she replied. “I don't want to cause trouble. I’m trying to help him. Doesn’t anyone have a cell phone?”
That particular request was met with blank stares.
“I saw her wavin’ a gun around like some kind of lunatic!” someone offered.
“I wasn’t waving a gun,” she explained. “I was trying to kill a June bug."
There was a series of 'oohs' and 'ahs' from the crowd as everyone backed away in unison.
Realizing she was quickly becoming a primary suspect in this man’s murder, Jessica raised both hands in the air and stood. "Look, everyone needs to stay calm. It wasn't me. I was just trying to help him."
"Do you know who this is?" the stranger asked.
Jessica shook her head. “No.”
"That's Left Hand Lou!" someone called out from the crowd.
Before Jessica had a chance to comprehend what this meant, people rushed over to get a look at the corpse.
"He's wanted in three states!" someone hollered. "You just killed the fastest draw this side of the Mississippi!"
What did they think she had done? She hadn't shot him! And what did they mean—the fastest draw this side of the Mississippi? This wasn’t Gunsmoke, for pity’s sake.
"Wait a minute,” she said. “Seriously. There’s been a mistake.”
Just then, a deep voice cut through the commotion. "Can I ask what's going on in this little gathering of yours?"
Unable to discern from where the voice had come, she looked all around through the darkness.
"Ma’am? I asked you a question." The crowd parted, clearing a wide path for the inquiring man to approach. Jessica was finally able to get a glimpse at him, although the brim of his black hat shadowed his face from the dim lantern light spilling out of the saloon.
He moved slowly toward her, and she was taken aback by how handsome he was, with dark hair, blue eyes, and a fit, muscular build.
Closing the distance between them, he pushed his open black coat to the side. His purpose was clear as he rested his large hand on an ivory-handled revolver holstered to his leather gun belt.
His trousers—also black—were snug and worn at the knees, and his boots were spurred. Jessica hadn't actually looked at his feet, but as he walked, the sound of the spurs jingling alerted her senses to everything about him.
Someone moved aside, and a gentle stream of light reflected off the shiny star pinned to the man's lapel.
It read: Sheriff.
He angled his head and spoke in low voice – sort of like Clint Eastwood, but not exactly. "Ma’am, you look a little distressed. Can I be of some assistance?"
His observation, which couldn't have been closer to the truth, melted all her cool bravado in an instant, and she was so relieved, she could have grabbed hold of his shirt collar, pulled him toward her, and kissed him square on the lips.
"Yes, you can,” she replied. “I’m so glad you’re here. Thank you for coming so quickly."
He chuckled softly, but the smile in his eyes was cold and calculating.
“I wouldn’t thank me just yet,” he drawled, as he wrapped his big hand around her arm and pulled her closer. “Because by the look of things here, missy, you’re gonna be spending the night in my jailhouse.”
The crowd murmured approval, while Jessica glanced up at his ruggedly handsome features, bronzed by wind and sun, then cautiously lowered her eyes to the gun at his hip.
He shook his head at her, as if she’d been a very naughty girl, and said, “Tsk tsk tsk,” while she paused to think carefully about the best way to handle this.
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Taken by the Cowboy