Authors: Linda Bridey
Tags: #Romance, #Historical, #Victorian, #Western, #Historical Romance, #Westerns
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Mail Order Bride: Westward Justice
Montana Mail Order Brides: Book 6
To YOU, The reader.
Thank you for your support.
Thank you for your emails.
Thank you for your reviews.
Thank you for reading and joining me on this road.
How are you? I hope you’re doing well. Things here are fine. Lacey is almost seven months along and she’s doing great. Joe is driving her crazy, though, because he treats her like fine china and doesn’t want her doing hardly anything. It’s actually pretty funny to watch. Joe says that I’m supposed to tell you “howdy” for him. You made quite the impression on him. I’m not surprised about that. You’re a very interesting person, as he puts it.
Luke and I love our new house. In a way, I do miss living over at the ranch, but it’s wonderful to have so much more room. We have a nursery all set up, too. If I don’t get pregnant soon, I’m going to get Marcus to make me some of that Lakota baby-making potion of his. In the meantime, we sure don’t mind trying for a baby.
Now onto my other reason for writing this letter; there’s going to be another ad in the Walhalla paper for a mail-order-bride. Marcus won’t tell me who the gentleman is and no one else knows. I guess the fella wants a little privacy. Just be on the lookout for it. I know you’re independent, but I also know you want a family despite what you say to the contrary. You’re also practical so going about getting married this way would cut out a lot of time and fuss. So don’t be proud. Answer that ad!
All my love,
P.S. I miss you!
Sammi Jameson put down the letter from one of her closest friends and sighed. She knew Jamie wasn’t going to quit bugging her until she answered whatever ad Jamie was talking about. It might be in today’s paper depending on when it had been placed. Figuring she might as well start checking for it, Sammi went to Reagan’s Retail to buy a paper. Amos Reagan was her other best friend Lacey’s father. Lacey had run away to Dawson, Montana, to escape Amos’ brutality.
Jamie had moved to Dawson first as a mail-order-bride and married Luke Samuels, a ranch hand who worked for his cousins. Lacey had also been a mail-order-bride and married Joe Dwyer, Luke’s best friend. The matches had worked out well for her friends, but Sammi felt that although lightning might strike twice, it sure as heck wouldn’t strike three times.
Still, Sammi thought it might be fun just to check out the ad. She went into the store and a feeling of loathing filled her. Sammi hated Amos and would have liked to have shot him. It was no less than he deserved for all of his violence against Lacey. Every time Sammi saw the man her trigger finger curled around an imaginary gun trigger and she imagined shooting him right between his ugly eyes.
At those times, Sammi didn’t dare touch the gun in her holster because she knew that if Amos gave her the least provocation, she might not be able to resist her impulse to kill him. She purchased her paper as quickly as she could and left the store. She stopped at Erikson’s Eatery for some supper and sat at the counter like she always did.
She gave her order to Roxie the waitress and opened the paper. There was hardly ever anything in it that interested her, so she turned immediately to the classifieds.
“Son of a gun. How does she do that?” Sammi said as she saw the ad and started to read it.
Ladies! The long arm of the law wants to put you on its most wanted list! Deputy Mitchell Taylor is in need of a wife. This six-foot-two, 180 lb. rugged male is looking for a physically fit woman who can handle the demands of being the wife of an officer of the law. He is kind and courageous. This dashing twenty-nine-year-old fellow with sandy blond hair and brown eyes is quite a catch. He’s not going to be single long so send those letters and be the first to arrest his attention!
This Marcus sure knows how to write snappy ads,
she thought. She had to admit that the deputy did sound interesting. Sammi knew she could deal with his job. Hell, she could
his job. Her smile widened as she imagined being a deputy. Why not? She was strong, knew the law and could outshoot almost any man. The only thing holding her back was because she was of the female gender.
As she ate her dinner, Sammi’s mind kept turning back to the ad and an idea began to form. Once she arrived home, she began composing a letter to the good deputy.
Dear Deputy Taylor,
Your ad really interested me because I’ve been looking for a man such as yourself. Someone who does the kind of work you do has to have a lot of integrity and courage. The men around here don’t have much of either. You must also care a lot about your community to want to protect and serve the people of Dawson.
Let me tell you about myself. I’m a blue-eyed blonde and stand at five-feet ten-inches tall. I weight around 130 lbs. give or take. I’m very strong for a woman but I’ve been told that I have a very nice shape. I understand the demands of your job so I wouldn’t get angry if you had to leave home at any time of day or night to deal with an emergency.
I feel it’s only fair that I be honest with you. I’m a crack shot with a wide variety of guns and I like shooting. I have quite a collection of guns and knives. I do not like to wear dresses and only do so when necessary. I wear pants that I’ve had altered to fit a woman’s shape. I prefer western shirts, too.
I can take care of myself in dangerous situations and pack quite a punch. Just ask Joe Dwyer about that. He and I are friends. I can do a lot of chores that most women can’t. I do the outside work at a local farm. I clean the stalls, feed the stock, repair fences, and chop wood and so on. I do just fine with housework, too.
As you can see, I’m a straight shooter and don’t have time for mind games. I’d really like to meet you. I think we would hit it off. I look forward to hearing from you.
Deputy Taylor sat at his desk in the Dawson Sherriff’s office reading Sammi’s letter. He smiled at the image her description of herself brought to mind. It was an interesting letter and this woman sounded even more interesting. Mitch wondered how she knew Dwyer. He wrestled with the decision of whether to talk to Joe or not about this Sammi character.
He hadn’t wanted anyone in Dawson to know he was looking for a mail-order-bride so he’d asked Marcus Samuels to not put the ad in the
. Mitch knew most of the single women in the area and while they were nice, they just weren’t quite what he was looking for. Marcus had sworn that he would tell no one about the ad until it came out, either.
Mitch blew out a breath and leaned back in his chair. He looked down at Beulah his bloodhound. “What do you think? Should I talk to Joe or not?”
Beulah’s only response was the twitch of her eyebrows as she looked up at her master.
“Some help you are,” Mitch told her with a smile. “I vote for talking to Joe. He’ll keep his mouth shut if I ask him to.”
Mitch stood up, snagged his hat off the rack and put it on. Beulah was on her feet in an instant and her tail wagged a mile a minute. “Not right now, girl. I’ll be back soon,” Mitch told her.
Beulah sat down and made her saggy face even more droopy as she put her head down and looked at Mitch with her big brown eyes.
Mitch sighed and said, “Ok. C’mon.”
Beulah was out the door as soon as Mitch opened it. She circled his horse, Rico, a big gray gelding. Rico didn’t object to her behavior. Mitch untied Rico and mounted up. As he rode through town, people called out greetings to him and he stopped to talk here and there. The deputy was popular because of his good sense of humor and his ability to handle whatever situation came up.
As he rode out of town, Beulah scared up a rabbit and ran off into the underbrush. Mitch just smiled and let her go. She would follow his trail and catch up to him later. He kicked Rico into a canter and enjoyed the air as they travelled.
Joe Dwyer surveyed the early August sky as he came out of his house. Clouds were gathering and it looked like a storm was on the way.
“Shoot. That’s gonna cut into my training time today,” he said.
As he was walking towards the barn, he saw a horse and rider coming up his road. The pair drew closer and Joe recognized Deputy Taylor.
he thought. “Howdy, Deputy. What brings you?” Joe said as he held out a hand to Mitch.
Mitch shook it and smiled. “Relax, Joe. I’m here on personal business.”
“All right,” Joe said and gave Rico’s neck a few manly pats. “Hey, Rico. How are you?” he said to the horse.
Rico was the product of an accidental breeding that had taken place between one of Joe’s Thoroughbred mares and a Lakota stallion. The stallion was apparently known for his ability to jump fences. When Joe had gone out to the barn very early one morning, he saw the stallion in the pasture with Lulu. Joe had tried to intercede, but it was too late and along had come Rico almost a year later.
Dwyer horses were very sought after in the area and statewide and Mitch had jumped at the chance to own one, even if it was a horse born of a mistake. He didn’t care about Rico’s Lakota pony heritage. Rico resembled his dam, but had a slightly wilder nature.
Mitch dismounted and asked, “Do you remember every one of your horses?”
“Yep. Every single one,” Joe answered. “So what’s on your mind?”
“A woman,” Mitch said.
“What woman?” Joe asked.
“Before I tell you, I need to know that our conversation is gonna stay confidential,” Mitch said.
Joe wondered at the uncomfortable look on Mitch’s rugged features. “Sure. I won’t tell a soul.”
“Ok. Do you know a Sammi Jameson?” Mitch asked.
Joe’s eyebrows rose. “Sammi? You mean from Walhalla?”
Mitch nodded. “That’s right.”
Joe didn’t answer right away. He began running scenarios through his head of how Mitch could possibly know Sammi.
. “Yeah, I know Sammi. How do you know her?”
Mitch shifted uncomfortably and then said, “She answered an ad I put in the paper. You know, the same kind of ad you did.”
Joe laughed loudly. “Ha! I knew it! I’ll bet Marcus put it in the Walhalla paper just like he did Lacey’s. Oh boy!”
Mitch frowned. He hadn’t been expecting that kind of reaction. “Ok, so what’s she like?”
Joe said, “About yea tall.” He held his hand up to the same level of his chin. “Built like a woman oughta be and tough as nails. Blonde hair and blue eyes that can look right though you. She clocked me one time and about knocked me out. She doesn’t wear dresses, but I’ll tell you what, pants suit her very well. I don’t mind telling you that if I hadn’t been married to Lacey and head over heels for her, I would have gone after Sammi. Just don’t’ make her mad because as Jamie tells it, she’s shot two fellas who got too fresh with her. And brave, too. She’s no one to mess with.”
Mitch had listened to Joe carefully and was smiling by the time Joe was done. “I’d have liked to have seen her slug you.”
“It hurt like heck. She hits as hard as any guy,” Joe said with a laugh. “And she’s not afraid to have a little fun. Know what I mean?”
Mitch laughed. “Yeah, I get it. So do you think I should meet her?”
Joe sobered. “Depends on what you’re lookin’ for, Mitch. I don’t know if she’s interested in kids or not, but if you want a quiet little housewife, she’s not your woman. If you want someone who’s independent and can handle what you do, then I would say you should meet her.” Joe genuinely liked Sammi and he didn’t want to see her get hurt.
“I hear what you’re tellin’ me, Joe,” Mitch said.
“So what are you gonna do?” Joe asked.
Mitch mounted up and said, “I’m gonna write her back and see what happens. Thanks for the info and please don’t mention it to anyone.”
“You got it, Mitch. See ya,” Joe said and watched Mitch ride off.