Ladies Love Outlaws
This is the first of what we hope to be many Western Trail Blazer western romance anthologies. Ladies Love Outlaws will be a series, as will Lawmen Love Ladies, and possibly more. This volume features stories by Celia Yeary, Cheryl Pierson, and Chuck Tyrell…
Some time ago, I answered a submission call from an ebook publisher for a 25,000 word story, either about an outlaw or a lawman. Addie and the Gunslinger popped in my head very quickly, and that night I wrote about ten pages--the amount for the submission. I included all the requirements and submitted, certain I would get a spot in the series. Nope. They hated it. Literally, the editor wrote more about why this story wouldn't work than I had submitted.
Needless to say, I was a bit angry because I thought I had a good story. I filed it away.
When Rebecca sent out a call for more Dime Novel type stories, I pulled up Addie and studied it. I still believed it was good.
This time I completed the tale and sent it to Rebecca. Bless her heart, she praised it.
And as I've related before, Rebecca and I call Addie and the Gunslinger "The Little Story That could." Yes, it's still going and going.
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o TexasSweethearts of the West-Blog
Addie and the Gunslinger
Addie and the Gunslinger
At the screen door, Jude used all his skills to move silently and entered the dark kitchen. Moving stealthily past Caleb's room, he made his way to the stairs. Knowing stairs always creaked, he walked on the end of each one where sounds were less likely to occur. At Addie's door, he paused.
Taking a deep breath, he slowly turned the doorknob and slipped into the dark room. Straining to see toward the bed, he froze when he felt something like the barrel of a pistol jam into his left ribs.
"Hands up," Addie said.
Damn, he was proud of her. What a woman.
In one swift move, he turned and grabbed the hand with the pistol and raised it high over their heads, bringing their bodies together.
"Gonna shoot me, sweetheart?" He spoke softly close to her face.
♥ ♥ ♥
The Gunfighter’s Girl was originally titled Scarlet Ribbons after the old folk song of that same name. In the song, made popular by Harry Belafonte, a father sings of overhearing his daughter’s prayer for some scarlet ribbons for her hair. Everything is locked up tight, and there’s no way for him to get her those ribbons. Just as dawn breaks, he goes to check on her and finds her asleep with the scarlet ribbons on her bed. In the end he says, “If I live to be a hundred, I will never know from where/Came those lovely scarlet ribbons, scarlet ribbons for her hair.” I always loved the poignancy of that beautiful song and that’s how I developed the story.
What father could refuse his little daughter something so simple? In The Gunfighter’s Girl, Miguel Rivera, a man who sells his gun, comes home briefly at Christmas to keep a promise to his sister. He’s been gone five years, and when he comes face to face with the woman he left behind, he finds he hopes for what seems impossible—reconciliation. But he also learns that Lina kept a secret from him—one that might have brought him back sooner, had he known. He’s purchased some scarlet ribbons from a street vendor earlier in the day, but they’ve mysteriously disappeared. When he goes in search of the vendor, he finds the answers he is searching for, and discovers that Christmas really is a time for miracles.
The Gunfighter's Girl
The Gunfighter's Girl
Miguel has just come face to face with Lina, the young woman he loved and left five years earlier. Here's what happens:
As she moved past him, he caught her arm, unable to bear her cool contempt. He met her eyes as she looked up at him from under the thick velvet lashes he’d thought of so often. She was just as he remembered, but older, and more certain of herself. A smile teased at the corner of his lips. Her gaze turned murderous.
“Something amuses you, El Diablo? Me perhaps? Again?”
He shook his head slowly, letting the saddlebags slide to the floor beside the bed. “No, Lina. I’m not laughing at you.”
“You’ve had five years to do that, haven’t you?” Her eyes sparked with anger and humiliation. “I never—”
“No. You never.” She looked down at where his fingers gripped her white blouse, a loose camisa that contrasted sharply with the dark softness of her skin. Something seemed to change in her black eyes for an instant as he released her. The anger fled, and Miguel’s heart skipped a beat at the sadness and wistful hope that took its place.
“Lo siento, querida,” he whispered. “I’m sorry.” How could he have hurt someone who loved him so much? Why hadn’t he realized before that Lina did love him? The answer wasn’t hard to find, and surprisingly, he voiced it without thinking. “I never deserved you, Catalina.”
She shook her head, and he knew what she was thinking; that he was lying, trying to keep her feelings intact. He reached out and cupped the softness of her cheek, and just for a moment, she turned into his touch, her lips resting against his palm.
“I never meant to hurt you.”
A tear escaped as she tried to keep them in, squeezing her eyes shut, her chin quivering. “I know,” she whispered, her forgiveness thawing out the calm coldness in his gut, leaving an unfamiliar emptiness in its place.
In the next moment, somehow, she was in his arms, and nothing had ever felt more right. She didn’t turn her face up to be kissed. She pressed close to him, her tears soaking his own shirt. He laid his cheek next to her hair, breathing in the tangy smell of the citrus-scented soap she’d used. He felt her eyelashes, like butterflies’ wings, against his throat, and realized all over again what a fool he’d been to ride away from Rio Verde and Catalina de la Vega five years earlier.
“Why did you go, Miguel?”
Ah. At last, the question he’d tormented himself with. And why had he never returned before now? He gave a short laugh, pulling back to look down at her. “What could I offer you, Catalina?”
“Everything,” she answered with no hesitation. “You were everything to me, Miguel.”
Irritation and denial surged through him. “I’m nothing!” He let go of her, stepping back. He raked a hand through his dark hair. “I am…a gunfighter. A hired killer.”
She shook her head. “You pick and choose what battles you fight. I know that much about you!” She took his hand, her thumb tracing the sides of his fingers. “You are a good man, Miguel. You are the only one who doesn’t know it.”
He had to laugh. “And you are the only person in the world who’d say that, Lina. “
“Then I am the only one who matters.”
♥ ♥ ♥
The White Mountains of Arizona are one of God’s masterpieces on earth. It’s high country, the plains are at about 6,000 feet and the highest mountain is a bit over 12,000. For some time I’d been thinking of a family of mustangers with a rawhide operation in the foothills of the Blues, which are just to the New Mexico side of the White Mountains. At first, when they started to jell, it was four sons and a mountain man father. But when I started to write Big Enough, the youngest sibling turned out to be a girl.
Kimberly McCullough went with her brothers on mustanging expeditions, often to Sycamore Canyon and Sheep’s Crossing. On one such trip she saw a little black filly that was built for speed. She immediately put her dibs on the colt and with the help of her brothers, captured it. When I was growing up in that area, we had a little horse named Big Enough. I stole that name, and I stole my uncle’s way of winning the trust and love of a horse. That’s how she set about training little filly, Big Enough. The brothers went on down the mountain, leaving Kimberly alone. Those mountains were a wild and lonely place, so who could know that a ruthless outlaw was headed for Sycamore Canyon?
"You must be Mort Eggertson," I managed to say to the tall man without my voice trembling much.
"Why was you in jail?"
"Killed a man."
I put on my stone face. "Then you deserved jail," I said.
"Ah, but he'd of killed me if I'd been a hair slower with this S-n-W." He waved the Smith & Wesson, but never far enough away for me to make a move.
"Come on, Mort. Them guys with Hubbell cain't be all that far behind us. Let's git."
"I could whip up a bit more bacon and biscuits if you want," I said. The longer I could stall them here, the closer the Sheriff's men would be, I reasoned.
I unbuckled my gunbelt and put it on the ground by the rifle. "Just so's you won't get any wrong ideas about me," I said.
"You don't seem all that scared of us, missy," Eggertson said.
♥ ♥ ♥
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