Authors: Anna Jeffrey
The Love of a Lawman
THE CALLISTER BOOKS TRILOGY
By payment of required fees, you have been granted the
-transferable right to access and read the text of this eBook. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented without the express written permission of copyright owner.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
The reverse engineering, uploading, and/or distributing of this eBook via the internet or via any other means without the permission of the copyright owner is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author's rights is appreciated.
Copyright © Jeffrey McClanahan, 2005, 2012. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions.
Cover by Kim Killian
eBook design by eBook Prep
During the research I did for this story, I was lucky to meet Tammy Bradbury, horse trainer and Aussie girl. Tammy's a storybook person if I ever met one. Except for red hair, she looks like the character Isabelle might look. Tammy patiently showed me around a superb cutting horse operation, showed me some outstanding horses, and answered every one of my dumb questions about breeding, foaling, and training these smart, magnificent animals. Through e-mail, she faithfully enlightened me with far more information than I was able to put into this book. She may recognize here and there a smidgen of Isabelle Rondeau's dialogue as being similar to conversations she and I had about horses. Thank you, Tammy.
I appreciate my cousin Kevin who, too, is a trainer and cutting horse owner. He allowed me to tramp around his barns and corrals, answered my questions, and showed me a number of potential champions, including one of his own.
From the law enforcement community, I thank Sheriff Mike Hawley of Island County, Washington, for his input on what it's like to be a sheriff in a sparsely populated county in a northwestern state. I also thank Idaho State Police public relations officer Rick Ohnsman, who answered my questions about criminal pursuit in Idaho. If law enforcement mistakes show up in the story, they are my own.
I have to acknowledge my husband, George, and our neighbor Mike Vardeman who helped me brainstorm John Bradshaw's adventure in the mountains. With both of them being gnarly old cowboys, their contribution made the last couple of chapters more interesting. They would be disappointed if I ignored them.
I had two great critique partners who spotted my flaws and helped me enrich my story, Mary Jane Meier and Elaine Margarette. Nor can I give short shrift to the suggestions from my agent, Annelise Robey, and my editor, Laura Cifelli.
As always, I thank my biggest cheerleaders, my husband, my daughter Adrienne, and my family.
The Love of a Lawman
is the last book in a trilogy set in the fictitious town of Callister, Idaho. Though the books stand alone, some characters do cross over from novel to novel. The two previous books,
The Love of a Cowboy
The Love of a Stranger,
should still be on store shelves or they can be found at the online bookstores.
Thanks for reading,
A rifle shot pierced the morning stillness.
Isabelle Rondeau's heart streaked up her throat. A plastic bottle of dishwashing soap slipped from her hand and hit the kitchen floor with a
She tore from the kitchen, out the back door. Stumbling off the stoop, she sprinted across the yard and through the wooden gate that led to the gravel driveway.
Her ten-year-old daughter, Ava, ran toward her from the pasture left wet by last night's storm. "Mama! Mama! Something happened to Jack!"
Jack, their four-year-old border collie. Isabelle thought he was penned in the backyard. She caught her daughter in her arms. Heart pounding, she dropped to her knees on the wet grass and grabbed the girl's narrow shoulders. She looked her up and down, yanked open her puffy nylon coat and searched for injury, but saw nothing wrong.
"He ran off... next door and—" The child began to wail.
"Ava, Ava, don't cry. You're all right." Isabelle rushed her hands over her daughter's long russet braid. "Show me," she said in as calm a voice as she could manage.
"Over there." The small voice hitched as she pointed toward the hillside some three hundred feet away, on the other side of two barbed wire fences.
Isabelle strained to see through the gray veil of morning fog. A tiny dim image of black and white stood out against winter's beige grass. A sick feeling grew in her stomach. Burning tears rushed to her eyes. She pulled Ava's thin body close and enclosed her in an embrace. "Shh-shh. Mama's here."
Instinct urged her to race to their fallen pet's side, but the same instinct told her it was too late and Ava needed her presence more than the dog did.
Swallowing hard, she shot a look past her daughter's shoulder, her eyes panning the fenced fifty-acre pasture that lay between her house and the county road. Two of her three most valuable possessions grazed down by the road. Cutting horses. A six-year-old sorrel mare named Trixie and a ten-year-old blood bay named Polly. Her gaze zoomed over to the smaller side pasture that held her stallion. All the horses appeared to be fine. One sliver of anxiety quelled.
She swung her focus back to the black-and-white spot, then on up the hill to a massive log house that looked as if it had been hewn from the vast mountainside against which it stood. A lazy trail of smoke drifted from a wide rock chimney.