Read Train From Marietta Online

Authors: Dorothy Garlock

Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #General, #FIC027000

Train From Marietta

BOOK: Train From Marietta
6.38Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Copyright © 2006 by Dorothy Garlock

All rights reserved.

Warner Books

Hachette Book Group

237 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10017

Visit our Web site at
www.HachetteBookGroup.com

The Warner Books name and logo are registered trademarks of Hachette Book Group

First eBook Edition: March 2006

ISBN: 978-0-446-54925-7

Contents

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Epilogue

About the Author

BOOKS BY DOROTHY GARLOCK

After the Parade

Almost Eden

Annie Lash

Dream Keepers

Dream River

The Edge of Town

Forever Victoria

A Gentle Giving

Glorious Dawn

High on a Hill

Homeplace

Hope’s Highway

Larkspur

The Listening Sky

Lonesome River

Love and Cherish

Midnight Blue

More than Memory

Mother Road

Nightrose

A Place Called Rainwater

Restless Wind

Ribbon in the Sky

River Rising

River of Tomorrow

The Searching Hearts

Sins of Summer

Song of the Road

Sweetwater

Tenderness

This Loving Land

Wayward Wind

Wild Sweet Wilderness

Wind of Promise

With Heart

With Hope

With Song

Yesteryear

This book is lovingly dedicated to my dear friends Michelle and Doug Klein.

Also to Matt and Kelli.

KIDNAPPED!

“Stay aboard! This stop’s for water!”

Katherine Tyler hears the shout.

As the train from Marietta stops,

She quietly slips out.

She is tall and blond and weary.

Just wants a breath of air.

An independent woman,

Unaware of danger there.

Unaware there is another

Who has followed in her wake,

Who will seize upon the moment,

Who will use this lucky break.

Abducted! In this nowhere place

She is hidden far from sight

As the train from Marietta

Goes on, hurtling through the night.

—F. S. I.

Prologue

New York City, 1933

T
HE DOOR OPENED SUDDENLY.
Startled, Eddy reared up out of the chair, a glass of brandy in his hand. “Oh, it’s you. Come in, Uncle William.”

“Drinking alone?” The portly silver-haired man was dressed all in gray from his ten-dollar hat to the custom-made shoes on his feet. Light from the streetlamp on the corner penetrated the blinds that covered the large windows. It was a man’s room: heavy furniture, unadorned tabletops, everything in brown and tan tones. The lingering smell of cigarette smoke filled the air.

“Occasionally I drink alone, don’t you?” Eddy took another swallow from his glass as he settled back into his seat. “What brings you out this time of night?”

William Jacobs closed the door, then carefully removed his hat and hung it on the hat rack. “I wanted to catch you when you didn’t have a woman here.”

Eddy set his glass down on the table by the chair. “I’m not the womanizer you think I am. I spend an evening alone once in a while,” he said with indignation in his voice.

“You’re an easy mark for the little gold-digging flappers who hang out at your favorite speakeasy.”

“You know a thing or two about flappers, don’t you, Uncle?”

“You’d do well to remember, Edwin, which side of the bread your butter is on,” William said menacingly, one thick finger pointed at his nephew.

“Why don’t you remind me, dear Uncle?” Eddy said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

“Don’t get smart with me, you little bastard!”

“Don’t call me that!”

“You are one, you know.”

“How could I forget when you remind me day in and day out?” Eddy glared at his uncle.

“Well, I know that my sister slept with every Tom, Dick, and Harry that came along. You could be nothing else.”

“And don’t talk about my mother like that either.”

“I took care of her all her life. I’ll talk about her any way I want to.”

At this, the two men glared at one another in silence. They’d had this argument many times before, neither one willing to back down.

“What’s on your mind?” Eddy finally growled. “I’m sure it’s something, or you’d be with your lady love.”

“You’ll know soon enough what’s on my mind, and you’d better listen. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll forget about my lady love.” William paused and then went to stand beside his nephew’s chair. “We’re in deep trouble. I’ve got to get some cash, and soon.”

“I’ll do what I can, short of robbing a bank.” Eddy chuckled.

“What I’ve got in mind is easier than that and carries no risk to you—”

“What you mean is, no risk to
you.
Who do you want me to kill?”

“I wouldn’t trust you to kill a grasshopper. You’d be sure to mess it up.”

“Then what do you want me to do?”

“I want you to help me get some money out of John Tyler. He’s got plenty of it. John’s daughter, Kate, is leaving to go to California in a few days. The train will pass through some pretty rough country. If she was abducted from the train, my dear partner would fork over any amount to get her back.”

“You mean kidnap her?”

“I mean hold her until John pays the ransom.”

“Why do you want me involved in this?”

“I need you because you have a cool head. I don’t want her hurt. She needs you to protect her.” William did not look at him when he made the statement.

For the next several minutes, Eddy listened with increasing shock as his uncle laid out his plan. He could scarcely believe what he was hearing! Finally he shot to his feet. “I will not do it!”

“You
will
do it, or you’ll be out of this fancy apartment on your ass, and not get another dime from me. Look at the easy life you’ve had all these years. You owe me. Don’t for get that I’m the one who makes it possible for you to pay for this apartment and the clothes on your back. I’m responsible for you being accepted by the Tylers to court their daughter Susie. If you had half the sense you were born with, you’d get her pregnant, marry her, and you’d have it made, even if she’s not her father’s favorite daughter. If I don’t get one hundred thousand dollars soon, we could both land in prison. If I go, I’ve got enough on you to take you with me.”

“What will happen to me and Kate when we come back?” Eddy looked at his uncle as if he had never seen him before. “I just can’t do what you’re asking. I like her.”

“If you like her, you’ll go and see to it that she’s not harmed. Besides, you don’t have to do it alone. When Kate gets back, she won’t want it known that she spent a week alone in the wild with three men, so she won’t say anything.”

“Three men? Who’s going beside me?”

“Squirrelly”

“You can’t be serious!” Eddy yelled in disbelief.

“He’s going. He’s loyal and I can trust him.”

“You can’t trust me?”

“Keep your voice down, you fool. I’ve contacted a man in Texas who’s put me in touch with someone who knows every stick and stone in the territory. He’ll be a big help.”

“You know that Squirrelly has about as many brains as a bedbug.”

“I’ll give him his orders. Besides, I owe his father, old Felerri, a favor.”

“That crook!”

“I’ll use whoever I need to. Preacher or crook, it doesn’t matter to me. With Squirrelly along, Kate will be convinced that you are there to protect her and bring her home.”

Eddy looked down at the floor as he pushed a hand through his curly blond hair. “I haven’t said I was going to do it. I’ve got to think about it.”
You old son of a bitch! You don’t know it, but you’re giving me a way to get out from under your thumb and to protect Kate at the same time. I’ve been wondering how I could manage to get away from you, and your selfish plan falls right into my lap.

His anger boiling over, William snatched the brandy glass from the table and hurled it against the wall behind Eddy. Broken glass and brandy flew in all directions.

“Here’s something for you to think about, you ungrateful little pup. Neither one of us will go to prison if we pay the money back. Which do you prefer? Who do you think will take the brunt of an investigation? A young whipper-snapper like you or a respected businessman like me?”

“But—”

“Don’t be stupid! This is as much for your benefit as it is for mine. I know that you’re fond of the girl. I also know the type of man Squirrelly is. If you don’t go, what do you think he’ll do with Kate while they’re all alone in the wilderness? Yes or no?”

Eddy’s shoulders slumped before he quietly said, “I’ll do it.”

“I thought you would.”

Eddy hated the gloating look on his uncle’s face. “Does your lady love know about this scheme?”

“She knows.”

William walked to the door, picked up his hat, and slammed it down on his head. He took a cigar from his coat pocket, bit off the end, and spat it out on the Oriental carpet.

“I’ll be back tomorrow night to give you all the details. Get ready to leave by Sunday.”

William went out and slammed the door.

All was quiet in the room. Eddy went to the sideboard for a bottle of brandy and poured himself another drink. He carried it across the room and dropped back into his chair.

Confusion mixed with hope in Eddy’s mind. This could be his big chance. He had to play his cards right. He’d saved up money, tucking it here and there so no one would notice. It would be easy to slip across the border into Mexico from Texas. He’d be able to live like a king on the money he’d saved. He would make sure that Kate was on her way home before he left her. If Squirrelly was in on this, he was probably hired to kill both him and Kate after his uncle got the money. Eddy couldn’t let that happen. When it was all over, he would take off for Mexico and not look back. He had faith that, once back in New York, Kate would expose his uncle’s plan to the authorities.

One thought filled Eddy’s mind. His big chance had come at last. He would foil the hit man, cover his tracks, and be far away by the time his uncle realized he had escaped his would-be killers. Then let old William worry that someday, some way, he might be coming back …

Chapter 1

T
ATE DIDN T KNOW MUCH ABOUT STYLE,
but he knew that thewoman standing beside the rough board wall of the small depot was fashionably dressed. He had glanced at her when he left the ticket counter and had wondered what she was doing in this rugged Texas town. She was obviously a city woman and as out of place as a rose in a cactus patch. Light blond hair fell to her shoulders. She wore a small blue felt hat that matched her princess-style coat, which came down over slim hips. The flared blue skirt that floated down around her calves was edged with a blue satin ribbon. Her matching shoes, with slender heels, were planted firmly beside an expensive leather valise.

What a silly hat, Tate thought, chuckling to himself. It’d offer no shade at all. Within ten minutes, her face would be cooked in the West Texas sun.

Worried about her trunk, Kate had stepped down from the train to make sure it was in the baggage car. When the railroad agent told her it had been left at the last stop and was being picked up by the train from Marietta, she had decided to wait and go on to California on the same train as her belongings. She wondered now at the wisdom of her decision. Shortly after she’d spoken with him, the agent had locked up and left. Now all who remained on the platform with her were a lone cowboy and the button salesman who had been on the train since New Orleans.

The sun was setting in the western sky. Purple shadows were sliding down from the hills. It would be dark soon. A slight chill had entered the air with the disappearance of the hot summer sun. The depot was far from town; only a sprinkling of lights shone from the houses. The train from Marietta wasn’t due for another hour. It would be pitch-dark by then.

BOOK: Train From Marietta
6.38Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

A Lie About My Father by John Burnside
The Betrayers by Donald Hamilton
Free Pass (Free Will Book 1) by Kincheloe, Allie
The Second Empire by Paul Kearney
Special Talents by J. B. Tilton