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Heather Long – Hopes and Dreams 2017
2016 was a year of remarkable highs and lows for me, both professionally and personally. For 2017, I hope everyone has a better year and not terms of winners or losers, but in an improvement of overall experience in community, in unity, and in appreciating our differences. While I can’t change others I can make a commitment for myself. This year, I want to make every choice and decision out of kindness or compassion. I want to set the tone for the year for how I look at the world at large, even those I disagree with. I don’t want to react; I want to act. I want to be the change I want to see in the world. It may not seem like much, but I believe every act of kindness can add up to critical mass.
What acts of kindness can you contribute to the year?
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About the Author:
National bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas summertime. From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories—her characters drive the books. When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family. She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.
Wolves of Willow Bend
Most Lone Wolves have a story—a pack they left behind, a love they lost, or worse, one they buried. Some leave their packs to roam because they crave freedom, and independence. Some leave because, in their hearts, they can’t bear to stay. Some leave because they see no way to go back…
Most wolves will roam at some point in their lives, fledgling adults leave to explore the world while more senior wolves may undertake a journey they always wanted to take. Many came home again, but Mitch Jackson didn’t. He loved his life on the road, first as a roadie for a rock band, traveling from city to city, then later as an animal trainer for a circus. He’s had a lot of jobs and all of them fun. Two years as an Enforcer hasn’t curbed his smile, but a rogue invasion of Russian wolves are enough to put a damper on anyone’s party, especially when they set their sights on the packs’ more vulnerable members.
Amelia Sullivan couldn’t stay in Willow Bend, not after her sister embraced the life she’d always wanted. It aggravated her that Shiloh’s defiance earned her a free pass from their family, and parents who’d raised them all to reject the idea of going wolf. Taking the first excuse she can to go to a cooking school on the west coast, she flees. The last thing she expected was an order to return home within three months of her getting away. She wasn’t a wolf, she doesn’t have to obey. Of course, not following the rules proves even more costly than she can imagine when she finds herself a prisoner and the change she always thought she wanted forced upon her…
Rescuing Amelia seemed a straightforward job until Mitch realizes what they’ve done, then saving her life proves to be the easier task as she undergoes her first transformation far from any alpha. Can a happy go lucky Enforcer find the strength to keep her sane
Find excerpt for Heather Long’s Shadow Wolf below.
Focus on Willow Bend
Series Reading Order:
Wolf at Law (Prequel)
Book 1: Wolf Bite
Book 2: Caged Wolf
Book 3: Wolf Claim
Book 3.5: Wolf Next Door
Book 4: Rogue Wolf
Book 5: Bayou Wolf
Book 6: Untamed Wolf
Book 6.5: Wolf with Benefits
Book 7: River Wolf
Book 7.5: Single, Wicked Wolf
Book 8: Desert Wolf
Book 9: Snow Wolf
Book 9.5: Wolf on Board
Book 9.75: Holly Jolly Wolf
Book 10: Shadow Wolf
Book 10.5: His Moonstruck Wolf (Available in the Once Upon a Time anthology)
Book 11: Thunder Wolf
Excerpt of Shadow Wolf by Heather Long:
When their front bumper slammed into theirs, he gritted his teeth. When he crested 120 mph, they slammed into him again. They were not going away and it was growing harder to keep the vehicle on the road with every hit.
Double checking Amelia had her seatbelt on he put on, he ripped his down and locked it in. Another glance at the review mirror showed him two figures in the car, though he could make out the backseat.
Trusting the airbags would deploy, he jerked the wheel to the left then slammed on the brakes. The SUV began to spin as its inertia took over. The other vehicle clipped the corner of his bumper jarring him as it shoved them further off the road and they slid sideways. He turned into the spin, but it was too late. The SUV flipped. He had no control as it bounced over and over rolling and until it finally came crashing down and sat on all four wheels. His jaw ached from the airbags deploying. The friction burn left his face raw, but Amelia slumped in her seat, unaware.
He listened for a split-second, determined her heart was still beating and her breathing was a little rough. Though it had been harsh before.
After breaking the seatbelt off, he wrenched the door open, then exited the vehicle. He made it out just in time to catch the side blow of a crowbar as one of their wolf pursuers brought it crashing down against his shoulder. He blocked the second blow, then jerked him forward and ripped out the other wolf’s throat. He had no time for games.
The beast gurgled but dropped still gripping the crowbar; Mitch abandoned him then rolled over the hood. The second wolf had gone straight for Amelia, and ripped off the passenger door. The wolf, sensing his assault struck upward with the discarded door and caught Mitch hard in the side, knocking him back several feet.
Undeterred, he lunged into him They grappled, the wolf getting in more than his fair share of blows, including digging his claws into the injury Mitch sustained just above one kidney. Pain arced along his spine and sent hot lances digging into his brain. Snarling, he jammed his elbow into the man’s arm, twisted then snapped the bone. Pivoting, he jerked the wolf over his shoulder, and locked his hand against his chin. One yank, the wolf’s back broke. As the wolf went down to the ground Mitch turned his head they gripped each side of the man’s head, then twisted hard.
Both wolves dead, Mitch headed to their abandoned vehicle. Damaged and leaking fluid, the interior was empty. But at least the motor still ran, more than he could say for the bashed in vehicle he and Amelia had used. Retrieving his little human, he carried her over to the new car. After settling her inside, he turned up the air conditioning to help combat her fever.
Locating a gas can in the back of the car, he put the two bodies in their soon to be abandoned vehicle. After coating the bodies in gasoline, he pulled out the vodka and shattered them inside until it ricked. Finished, he tossed a lighter inside and left it to burn.
He didn’t have time to stay and wait for everything to go –, but it should be more than enough to destroy all DNA any evidence of the wolves. As much as they needed to know who these wills were exactly, and their plans—the protection of pack secrecy was paramount. Retreating back to the new SUV he winced as he opened the door. Fresh blood slid down his side and soaked his jeans.
He couldn’t put off shifting much longer.
The goals of escape remained the same. It wasn’t until he turned the vehicle back on the road and started driving that he realized he’d forgotten it empty the phones off the other wolves.
Slamming his fist against the steering wheel he cursed.
Next to him Amelia let out another moan. She was hurting, and he’d added a car wreck to her experiences.
“Hang in there, little sister. We’ll be safe soon.”
Though he might not have it in him to get her to the hospital, we wasn’t that far from a turnoff which would take him east into the Sierra Nevada. His cabin was there—and completely unrelated to his passenger. They were also high enough up, the temperatures would drop and visitors would be noticeable.
He could get her fever down there, then seek medical assistance as soon as he was capable of defending her again. A cough racked him, and flecks of blood sprayed the back of his hand.
Great he had internal bleeding too.
“New plan little sister,” he said adjusting his own expectations. The SUV he was driving was too noticeable for one, with the damage to the fender. But it was also one of the wolves the Russian wolves. If they had a way of tracking the vehicle he needed to ditch it before leading them to her.
They also needed a new vehicle. And they needed to disappear up into the Sierra Nevada.
After, he would shift. And shift again until he healed his injuries.
Another cough brought up more blood and he grimaced.
Of all the times to be without a phone, it had to be today. They lived in a digital world, where communication was easily accessible in a message sent in a heartbeat could be reached across the world. And right now—they were all alone.
“We got this little sister,” he told her. Faking it until he could make it. “I swear to you I will get you home.”
And if it was the last damn thing he ever did, he would.
Rule #42 – Don’t be a hero. Heroes do shit for free and get themselves killed. It’s a lose-lose proposition.
From his leather Stetson to his long coat and choice of weapons, Shaw Sullivan is just a space cowboy who lives by his own code. A loner by choice, he accepted the contract to conduct a stellar census under duress…it was the only way to save his family’s ranch.
Sullivan has four years to complete the mission, and he has zero intentions of letting anything get in his way least of all a desperate woman who wants to hire him to be a hero.
Warning: This novel is not a romance. It’s a wild, space romp with some rough and tumble characters who aren’t all that likable most days.
Find excerpt for Heather Long’s Space Cowboy Survival Guide below.
Excerpt of Space Cowboy Survival Guide by Heather Long:
Rule #5 One good sob story deserves another.
They say every story starts somewhere. Shaw Sullivan’s could have begun when he was born. Wasn’t that when everyone’s story technically began? Or did his story start elsewhere? Does a person’s story begin with them or does it begin with their parents? If it begins with their parents does it begin with all of their forefathers? And if that’s the case, maybe all stories were rooted on Earth.
It didn’t really matter. For Shaw Sullivan, his story definitely started on Earth—the one place he wished he could return to, where his family’s ranch remained, and all of his life’s work awaited him. When mounting debt drove him to accept an indentured servitude offer, he’d left. The only hope for saving his family’s ranch rested on his shoulders. A ranch his father and his father’s father and his father’s father’s father going back more than 500 years survived from worked. It didn’t matter if humans were in the stars, and it didn’t matter that colony worlds enumerating into the hundreds existed. No, what mattered to Shaw Sullivan was his ranch. A ranch he only had four years to save.
Of course, as he studied the Earth Analog he currently stood on through a field glass, a part of him had to really wonder what was the point ? The place was a shithole. Farms barely eking out an existence stretched around the perimeter. Their main spaceport was an empty field next to a ramshackle building, which seemed cobbled together from the remnants of the landing pods the colonists had used when they first arrived. As far as he could tell, EA-114 had settled during the Corbin Space Rush. By that reckoning, the original settlers arrived sometime between 2045 and 2095, give or take. Since it was in 2225, these people had spent nearly 200 years building nothing.
Easing his Stetson back from his face, Shaw let the sun—or what passed for sunlight—warm his skin. The air seemed almost too clammy. Maybe he’d come at the wrong time of year to appreciate this so-called untouched beauty? Then again, maybe the land was exactly what he’d come to expect—the poor remnants of the poor settlers’ fatal mistake. They traveled to the stars to find a planet to call their own and established a colony without backup support or industry then had to survive literally on their crops or starve.
He pulled out a small recorder and began to make some notations on the census reports he needed to file. Each planet required notes on population density, on production values, on geography and natural resources, and, on their current governing structures. As far as he could tell, this planet didn’t have much worth an entry. His initial scans from space only showed a population numbering below 10,000—not a very high number in the immediate region, though the overall planetary population was closer to 40,000. The spaceport was their most populous area.
He glanced back at the ramshackle container pod office, or whatever they wanted to call it. It was the most modern of the structures he could see. Everything else had been constructed from local materials.
“Captain Sullivan, sir,” a male voice called out to him.
Shaw pivoted to face the man. It took a minute to place his name—as far as he could recall, the man had actually introduced himself when he had arrived to take Shaw’s order for fuel. That brought up another question for Shaw—where the hell did these people get their fuel?
“It was Winston, right?” Shaw walked toward him, sliding the recorder into the pocket of his duster.
The red, jowl-faced man nodded. “Yes sir. I was just checking the requisition for your fuel. Really sorry to say we only have maybe third of what you’re requesting.”
Unsurprised, Shaw nodded. Didn’t actually need the fuel, but putting in an order usually got him some results as far as on the local resources. He learned that on the last three planets he visited. He also made it a point not to tell them why he was there or what he was doing for a living. On the first planet, honesty damn near got him shot. Twice.
“Any other dealers? We can reach out to Eden.” The neighboring settlement might be located a few thousand klicks away, but at least EA-114 had other settlements.
The man sopped at his face with a handkerchief, trying to clean up the sweat. The humidity didn’t make it that hot, just uncomfortable. “They aren’t big allies, but I can call and see what they’ve got. Supplies have been pretty scarce these days. Fuel is coming in at a far more expensive price. So, be happy I’m willing to part with the fuel I have. It’s going to cost.”
Liars, shysters and con men. Every planet had them. Shaw nodded and went for an understanding expression—at least he hoped it came across as understanding. Part of him just wanted to punch the man in his jowly face and get the hell out of there. That, however, would not be getting his job done. Sure, Earth Prime might not know what he’d done, but he would. Shaw never welched on a deal.
“I’d be happy to pay it,” Shaw said. “I really do need the fuel. If you can check with the other towns, that would be great.”
Winston scowled. Okay, wrong answer. Apparently, Winston did not want to reach out to the other towns. “Well, I reckon if you’re prepared to pay that price for the third, I could see if I could scrape together the rest.”
Shock of shockers. Shaw gave the man a thin smile. “That would be great.”
His answer seemed to add another layer to Winston’s distress and rising temper. The man’s already flushed face, reddened further and his fists clenched, knuckles whitening. So, offering the man a small fortune for fuel just increased his anger. Interesting.
“It could take a while.” Winston practically spat the words out.
“I got all the time in the world.” Shaw spread his arms. “Think I’ll take a stroll, stretch my legs, look around.”
Winston’s face tightened and his nostrils flared. Yeah, he liked the idea someone walking around even less than he liked the idea of accepting so much money for fuel.
EA-114 just became a lot more interesting.
“That won’t be a problem, will it?” Shaw inquired, resting his hand on the butt of his pistol. Hell, if they wanted him to wander the stars to check out all these different worlds and see what they had to offer, he might as well be armed. Since they didn’t sell bullets anymore, at least not on home world, he’d gone for the closest thing he could find—Colt .45 pearl-handled laser pistol. It packed a hell of a punch.
Winston glanced from him to the weapon, then back again and shook his head. “Not at all.” The lie fell from his lips as easily as the rain from the sky in a Texas spring storm. Not only did he have to figure out what they were hiding, he had to watch his back.
He’d already set the security features on the Gilly. No one was getting on his ship. Whether he was dead or alive, the Gilly wouldn’t open for anyone that wasn’t him without with his code, his DNA, and a little something special that he provided after the security specialists had finished programming the ship for him.
“I’ll check back in with you later then, Winston.” Shaw raised his hand in half-salute. He set off at an angle that allowed him to keep his eye on the fuel dealer while also scanning his surroundings. The main section town stretched out and away from the spaceport. Mostly farms, as far as he could tell, however he had seen some shops, or at least what he thought were shops. It didn’t appear industrial, more retail.
If the community was that poor and fuel that expensive, what were they doing with retail shops?
Never hurt to stir up some trouble and figure out what their sob story was.
Shaw’s boots clicked with every step he took on the wooden boardwalks lining their tiny town. In some ways, it amused him, this attempt at 1800s Americana on a world so far from where they all originated. At the same time, the very familiarity of it all aggravated him. Not far from his MorningStar ranch, the tiny New Texas town of Quanto looked exactly the same, right down to the wooden boardwalks and classic storefronts.
As nostalgia wasn’t something he could afford, he continued strolling and inspecting his surroundings. The street was dirt, still churned to mud from an earlier rain. No real sign of pack or herd animals. The only vehicles present were back at the makeshift port.
Despite his earlier supposition about living crop to mouth, the planet had been settled long enough to develop at least some wealth. The first building, a mission of some kind—Paradise Interfaith Meditation—boasted a closed sign in the window and a locked door. The dress shop next door also appeared closed, as was the feed and supply shop.
Odd. All the shops on the lonely street appeared closed. Closed or abandoned? Even the churned mud had no footprints.
Shaw scratched his jaw, crossing the muddy road to the boardwalk on other side of the road, verifying his boots left prints. Sure enough, he did—and the solo boot heels amplified the lonely feeling of the not-so-abandoned town. One shop closed, maybe even two, didn’t seem a cause for suspicion. However, all of them closed? That was worth investigating. After making a full circuit of the town center, Shaw checked his datalink, verified his bearings based on the longitude and latitude, angle of the sun, and the planet’s current rotation pattern around the system’s star.
It was around midday on a weekday, based on their solar calendar. His stroll revealed more questions than answers.
At the Interfaith center, he paused to stare at the locked doors. It seemed almost universal for faith centers to be open to its congregants, and an interfaith one would have to be open nearly all the time to cater to so many different religions. So, why was it closed? Why were the doors locked?
Sparing a glance over his shoulder toward the port, Shaw debated going back the Gilly and using the ship’s scanners to take a deeper look, only that would be cheating.
Abandoning the boardwalk, he circled the end of the ‘block’ to take a wander beyond the main strip. Tenements bordered right up against the side of the town. What few people he’d seen moving while talking to Winston had vanished except for one small girl. She stared at him with a questioning expression on her face until her mother swept her inside swiftly then bolted the door. It was definitely bolted, he heard the slide lock snick closed. Lifting one arm, he sniffed himself. No, he didn’t stink. Whatever happened in the sleepy little shithole definitely did. Stripping off his Stetson, he ran his fingers through his hair while he tapped his hat against his thigh.
Playing dilettante wasn’t getting him anywhere. The task at hand was a census. The charge of documenting populations and resources on colony worlds had him traveling to this armpit of the galaxy. He didn’t want to tell the locals what he was up to, as they usually rebelled at the idea of anyone reporting on them back to Earth Prime, whether they had anything to hide or not. One thing hadn’t changed in centuries—government inspections and investigations were a universal cause for concern. He needed a good idea of how many people actually lived in this town. In the debate over whether to knock on the door hiding the mother and her child, his conscience got the better of him.
Harassing a mom, especially a scared one, went against the grain.
One hand on his holstered sidearm, Shaw continued his circuit around the tenements. He didn’t think he looked like someone out to get anyone. Then again, criminals didn’t always look like criminals. Whatever issues these people had to hide… better to find out now rather than later.
Thirty minutes of wandering left Shaw in a foul mood. The people here lived almost too poor, despite verdant fields beyond their little hellhole of a town. The populated area seemed only remarkable for the plethora of debris and human refuse alongside the occasional scrub garden with their pitifully sad vegetables straining toward the gray light of the sun above—a scar left on the face of an idyllic colony world.
Whoever ran things around here did a shit job. Having had enough, Shaw strode back toward the scant town center. Sure enough, all the buildings remain locked with their signs on closed, no lights showing inside. Checking his datalink again, he accessed the Gilly’s computer and initiated the scan.
Cheating be damned. His ship reported in short order with the population number he’d read from space and heat signatures fanning around him. After studying the readout on his watch, he returned to the Interfaith Center.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” a hostile voice warned him when he raised his hand to knock on the door.
Pivoting, Shaw faced the newcomer. A tall, broad shouldered man, he had a handlebar mustache and a body odor that struck as soon as the breeze shifted. The only thing that prevented Shaw from noticing him to begin with was the fact that the wind had been in his favor. The change in the breeze’s direction damn near gagged Shaw with the stench.
“What’s the problem?” Shaw asked, dropping his gaze to the dull, flat edged tin star on the man’s chest. “Sheriff?”
“Marshal.” The man corrected him, and his chest puffed out as he did so. “Locked doors generally mean people don’t want company, son.”
“Fair enough,” Shaw acknowledged. “However, it’s an interfaith center, Sheriff.” Yes, he used the wrong title on purpose. When the man’s cheeks reddened and his eyes bulged as his nostrils flared, Shaw enjoyed the fact his targeted barb hitting its mark.
“You’re not from around here, son,” was the man’s only response.
“Very true, and obviously so.” Shaw kept his arms loose and didn’t approach the ‘marshal.’ The man was off, and he came armed with a sawed off double-barreled shotgun, one Shaw was willing to bet didn’t come loaded with bird pellets. Hunting laws at home outlawed the weapons—this far out, though? They could probably use bullets without any fear of reprisal. The marshal’s boots were filthy and mud spattered his jeans. The smell on him though—damn—Shaw had gotten a lungful of dead week-old corpses that didn’t smell this bad.
“You should ahead on back over the port. We don’t much like strangers around here.”
Not an unusual response to a stranger in someone’s territory. “Didn’t mean any harm, Sheriff.” He tugged on the string once more. The animosity combined with the marshal’s stench to roll over him in choking waves.
“I said I was a marshal, boy.” He swung the shotgun into a targeted position, aiming it directly at Shaw. “You’ll move along. Now.”
“That’s downright unfriendly for a sheriff, considering I am not your boy, and I’m spending my good, hard earned credits at your port.” Didn’t matter how far apart the colony worlds were, the first accords made credit chits universal currency and preferred for financing interstellar purchases.
“Your ship can earn us more for scrap, too.” Apparently, they were all done playing nice.
Worked for Shaw. The sheriff closed the distance between them and used the shotgun to gesture for him to backup. The problem with using a weapon to point meant it wasn’t always directed at the target. In fact, when the sheriff gave it a jerk again to motion him away, the barrel aimed at the sky. Shaw caught the barrel, and kept it pointed upward as he gave it a hard tug and withdrew his pistol in the same breath.
Startled, the wannabe lawman released his weapon then gulped when he saw the laser pistol barrel right between his eyes.
“I’d tell you what you were doing wrong, but I like to keep my interactions polite.” Not to mention more words required more breathing in the man’s too smelly presence. “So, let me be clear. This gun won’t make a bang so much as a sizzle as it fries through your skull and incinerates what brain matter you might be possessing. You catch my drift?”
With fumbling fingers, the man stripped off his abused star and tossed it on the ground. “Ain’t no job worth this,” the man sputtered. “I quit.”
“Well, I’m sure these townsfolk will be real interested to hear that you don’t want the job of protecting them no more. Not seeing it as their loss.” Shaw studied him. Sweat beaded along the man’s forehead and ran down his face in rivulets. His gaze kept darting to the interfaith center. Without removing his weapon from the man’s forehead, Shaw used his chin to gesture the man to walk. Circling with the man, he flipped the shotgun so it landed with his finger over the trigger and pointed at the door of the center just as it opened.
“Come on out and join us, Winston.”
It shouldn’t have surprised Shaw to learn that the seedy fuel dealer had something going on in the town considering the unkempt condition of both the so-called port and the town itself.
Winston stomped out onto the boardwalk. “You’re going to regret this.”
“I kind of already do,” Shaw replied and kept his tone even. His datalink vibrated three times. The scanners on his ship detected three more weapons. “And for that you have my apology.” He gave Marshal Stinky a shove, sending him right into Winston even as Shaw threw himself sideways.
The bullets kicked up the mud and sent it spattering. A meaty thunk, and a less than manly yowl warned him that the rapid fire projectiles found their mark in one or both of the two men. A woman’s scream, soon joined by another, filled the building behind him.
Rolling, Shaw brought his pistol up just as another bullet slammed into the boardwalk next to him, splintering the wood. Ignoring the sharp pain of a scrape across his cheek, he targeted where the gunfire came from and returned fire of his own.
The laser had no kick, but it did make a decent sized hole in the second story of the shop. A man let out a shout, then tumbled through the glass along with his weapon and hit the mud with a splat. Rising, Shaw checked his datalink as he caught sight of Winston trying to crawl away. A blast to his right leg, just above the knee had the man screaming and aborted his escape effort.
The last two weapons were coming in at speed from the opposite side of town. Spinning, Shaw had his pistol and shotgun ready even as the roar of a motor warned him of their approach. He gave them a split second but, at the sight of their weapons pointed at him, he opened fire on the bike itself. The fuel tank went up like a jetpack at launch and flung metal and men into a fiery ball. The rain of debris left a hell of a mess in the middle of the muddy row.
Another glance at his datalink screen showed no red signatures for weapons, only orange for people. The buildings around him were stocked with them, especially the interfaith center. Moseying down to where Winston left a bloody trail on the path, Shaw stepped on his wounded leg, making the man let out a whimpering cry.
“It would seem, Winston, that we’ve come to a parting of ways. The only question I have is do I finish the task or do I just ask the good people of this town?”
“Go to hell, you bastard.”
“I hope you don’t kiss your momma with that mouth.” After grinding his foot into the wound once more for good measure, Shaw leaned over and knocked on the door. “It’s all clear folks. Y’all can come out now.”
A woman appeared in the open doorway, her dirty face bruised and tear streaked, but a fiery anger simmered in her brown eyes. “Who are you?”
Hoping she wasn’t on the side of the men he’d just dealt with, Shaw nodded to her as politely as he could manage while still carrying a weapon in each hand. “Shaw Sullivan, ma’am. Hope I haven’t done more harm than good, but these men didn’t appear to have your town’s honest interests at heart.”
The woman looked from him to the downed wannabe lawman who’d taken a bullet to the heart and dropped dead where he’d fallen then to Winston, who lay in a moaning heap. Pulling the door open wider, she stepped outside and glanced at the dead man across the street, then to the still burning wreckage of the bike with what was left of its pair of extremely dead riders.
Miss Brown Eyes gave Shaw another look and he backed away a pace respectfully, but he didn’t lower the weapons. The town had already had five very unpleasant surprises. He didn’t fancy meeting another unarmed.
She walked over to where Winston lay muttering pitifully, and lifted her skirt lightly as though taking care not to get any blood on it before she delivered a swift kick to the man’s head.
“He’s right,” she called in a strong voice. “We’re safe! Y’all come on out! We have our town back.”
Shaw nodded to himself, satisfied with the result until the people spilled out in a chattering flow and surrounded him. Miss Brown Eyes rushed over to him and threw her arms around him.
Oh, hell no.