Authors: Anna Murray
Roy knew anger wouldn't solve his
problems. Thanks to the scandal in Wounded Colt, the sun had set on Sheriff Roy
He'd live alone and die
Still, a part of him was driven by a lust
for redemption, for a territory's forgiveness of a sin he didn't commit.
Somehow, beneath the pain, desire burned. He needed a last chance at reconciliation
with the town that had served as judge, jury, and executioner when they found
him guilty and imposed this sentence of exile.
Roy staggered out from the store under
the weight of his purchases, grateful he had the mules to haul his load. Dusk
closed in, and he made ready to quit himself of that two-bit town.
He was busily inspecting the mules'
rigging when a palm lit on his forearm. The perfumed flesh massaged a tight
trail up to his shoulder.
soon, honey?" crooned the voice attached to the caress. The hand slid
forward and rubbed seductively across the stubble on his cheek.
half-turned, rotated himself more fully and looked down into an aging
puff-and-powder whore's smile. He ruefully reckoned this was likely to be the
only breed of pleasure he'd get, and the thought grated more than he wanted to
admit. It would take getting used to -- this life of drifting, bounty-seeking
"Gal, I gotta
"Aw honey, we
can have a fine time, jus' you an' me." Her painted lips pouted. Pressing
her pitch, she ran her hands brazenly across the taut muscles of his broad
chest, and skillfully she arched her back to thrust her heavy bosom into full
Roy stared his
annoyance past the harlot's offer, to yonder, beyond the edge of town, into the
scrub pine-covered hills, where he spied a cloud of dust
The fire-haired woman
. He tipped his hat back.
"Too early for a
man to sap his strength," he drawled.
As he spoke he kept
his eyes fixed on that far hill, absent-mindedly tracking the movement of the
mystery lady and her outfit. He was only dimly aware of the powder-burn frown
strafing across the saloon gal's rosy face, and he barely felt the kick of her
frustration as it nudged against his chest.
got enough fer five men." She tilted her head sideways and coyly peered up
through veiled lashes. "Golly, yer that run-out sheriff, ain't ya'?
Yer no gentleman . . . but," she
giggled, "I's no lady."
And persistent as
, Roy thought as he lifted his eyes
back to the distant drifters. A cold chill suddenly climbed up his neck. His
lawman's intuition gnawed; it told him something was askew.
Meanwhile the aging
whore continued her patter. But now she'd pulled his string taut; uneasiness
and fatigue combined to explode in exasperation.
he growled, and released sharply, and the woman jumped back as if spattered
with hot bacon grease. "I mean, I won't," he quickly amended.
The whore flashed a
knowing grin and winked. Then, quick as she'd swooped down, she cackled and
Roy set his jaw in
resignation, leaned back against Thursday, and watched the soiled dove in her
bright ruffled plumage saunter across the street. She didn't miss a beat -- she
didn't even look back. Business was business, and she beamed a come-hither
smile at a group of cowpunchers congregating near the saloon.
. He hurriedly finished his task.
Roy swung into his
saddle with an ease that testified to past ranching days, and he clucked gently
to woo his stallion into motion. With his weeklong string of mules plodding
behind, Roy took the trail that headed west, the whole time insisting inwardly
that seeing the fire lady riding that direction had absolutely nothing to do
with his choice of route.
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