The Framed Marshal (Preview)

Chapter One

Arriving at the San Mateo Marshal’s office a bit later than usual, Bo Mayhew was relieved to find the door unlocked and Deputy Dieter Klein present for duty.

“Good morning, Marshal,” Dieter chirped. The two office desks were free of dust and the papers atop them were stacked neatly. It hadn’t looked like that when Bo had left last evening. “There’s a fresh pot of coffee brewed, and it’s still hot.”

Bo winced at the “still hot” remark, but he knew Dieter didn’t mean it as a dig. For one thing, Dieter wasn’t prone to sarcasm like some folks, and further, any man who didn’t drink coffee but still put on a pot for his boss was alright in Bo’s book. The young deputy’s shirt and trousers were clean and creased, and his black boots shone like black gold. Dieter had held the position for two years yet showed no signs of slacking off.

“Got tied up over at the feed store,” Bo said. “Cal was up most of the night painting a sign for his store, and he was pretty excited to show it off. He’s hawking seeds for spring.”

“Up all night to paint a sign?” Dieter asked incredulously.

“Well, to be fair, it was one of those double-sided signs,” Bo clarified. “That takes twice as long to paint, I reckon.”

“You mean an A-frame sign?” Dieter asked.

Bo considered the question. “I suppose you could call it that, but I don’t think that’s a common term. Some folks might be confused by that. I’d just call it a double-sided sign and remove all doubt.”

“A-frame,” Dieter persisted. Always busy, Dieter fished a tarnished deputy badge from his drawer and began polishing it. The budget used to allow for two deputies but, due to cutbacks, Sean O’Toole’s slot had remained vacant after he’d hired on with the county sheriff. No harm in keeping it at the ready, though, Bo thought.

“Okay, A-frame,” he allowed. “Must be a German thing. Speaking of which, is your family playing at the fair this weekend?”

“Of course.” Dieter smiled. “You can’t have a beer tent without a polka band. My brother plays the tuba. Papa plays banjo, Mama the clarinet, and everybody plays accordion—sometimes all of us at once.”

“Well, isn’t that something?” Bo remarked, though he suspected the sound of four accordions might keep an area free of snakes, along with most other forms of life. “I’ll have to stop by and have a beer.”

“Sheriff Harding came by earlier,” the deputy informed him. “He wanted to know which shifts we’d be pulling at the fair. I told him I could do six hours before we play the beer tent. He asked about you.”

“Well, I haven’t decided yet,” Bo replied testily. “You know, I’m getting tired of him always trying to detail us for one of his commitments. Why can’t he use volunteers? You don’t need law officers to police that crowd. Just let some of them farmers be seen totin’ their long rifles; that’ll quell any nonsense.”

“But it’s the county fair, Marshal,” Dieter pointed out. “We’ve all got to pitch in.”

“I suppose,” Bo muttered. “I guess I don’t like being told what to do, especially by the likes of that old walrus.” He turned toward his deputy. “I prefer to give the orders instead of taking them. That’s why I’ve got you,” he said with a wink. “Can’t give orders unless someone’s gonna follow ‘em.”

A forlorn expression befell the deputy. “Sheriff Harding made me feel like, you know, six hours wasn’t as much time as he’d have liked. Should I have given him more?”

“He always wants more,” Bo growled. “He wouldn’t be happy if you offered to do his job for six days out of the week. That’s why he looks like a beer barrel with legs. One of these days, he won’t be able to pry his butt out of his chair.”

Dieter’s face brightened. “You know, my father sold an accordion to one of the Mexican fellas around town. He was teaching him how to play the polka, and now he plays better than we do!”

“You don’t say,” Bo replied, distracted by a faint rumbling sound. He pulled the window blind back and looked skyward, but nary a cloud was to be seen. Despite this, the rumbling sensation increased, and the floorboards began to rattle. He walked to the door and opened it just as the first head of cattle blurred by, followed by many more of its kind.

“Holy cow!” Dieter exclaimed, trying to push past Bo for a better look, but Bo blocked him with his shoulder. Within seconds, the cattle took out a 4-by-4 support post for the roof overhang. 

The roar of the cattle stomping upon the boardwalk was deafening and more than a little worrisome. Bo hoped they wouldn’t come any closer. As it was, he could reach out and touch one, if he were foolish enough to try, and the dirt they kicked up was nearly enough to choke a man. 

He quickly slammed the door shut. “I sure hope no one gets killed out there,” he said, leaning against the door as he waited for the stampede to subside. “Some damn fool is going to pay for this, and I believe I know who it is. Come on, let’s take cover in the jail cell.”

The cell was constructed of stone and offered more protection than the flimsy wooden office. It contained four bunks. One of them was currently occupied by Gus Dearing, who seemed oblivious to the commotion around him, continuing to sleep as if the cry of the cattle was a lullaby. Gus was top contender for the title of Town Drunk, though he had several worthy competitors.

The only cattle rancher with a herd large enough and a character brazen enough to send folks scurrying for their lives from such a stunt would be Maximillian Dempsey. He was rich, arrogant, and had a politician in every pocket of the three-piece suits he favored. He’d done a lot for the town, and most folks felt beholden to him, but he and his gang of thugs always looked out for Dempsey’s interests first and foremost, whether driving neighbors off their properties to expand his own holdings or diverting the flow of the San Mateo River to keep his land green and his cattle quenched.

Bo and Dieter clung to the steel bars of the cell as the building trembled. Bo’s teeth rattled as if he were hanging onto a runaway train. He prayed they wouldn’t bust through the west wall and sweep right through the jail. Finally, the roar diminished and only a few stragglers could be heard clomping by.

Bo was glad he’d tied his horse in the back alley. “I’m gonna go catch up with whoever’s driving the cattle this way,” he said, heading for the back door. “You go check on injuries. Doc Lawson will no doubt be out there. I hope to be right back.”

“Do you need me to make some room in the cell?” Dieter asked.  “What should I do with Gus?”

“He should be sober by now,” Bo said. “Give him another warning and a boot in the butt. We’ve got bigger fish to fry.”

***

Sheriff Emil Harding and Alfred “Red” Remington stood watching out the window in the sheriff’s office as the cattle flowed down Main Street like some sort of landslide, like an avalanche of beef. Red saw Marshal Mayhew looking out from his doorway across the street and chuckled, rubbing his shaggy reddish beard in contemplation.

“Atticus Beauregard Mayhew, the man of the hour,” he intoned. “Looky there, Emil,” he said as a cow knocked down the marshal’s office support post. “Bo done near lost his roof just now.”

Sheriff Harding shook his head. “He’d better get inside before one of those longhorns tears off his tallywacker and runs off with it.” 

Red laughed. “I wonder what he’s gonna do about those cattle tearing up his town?”

“That’s his problem,” Harding replied. “His town, his problem. He should do something, I suppose. He can’t let Crazy Jack Carver get away with this.” Carver was Max Dempsey’s foreman. “He’s got more sense than to pull a prank like this. Hell, they might find dead bodies out there once the dust settles.”

“Maybe Jack got liquored up,” Red speculated.

The cattle kicked up so much dust that the men could no longer see anything out the window. The sheriff turned away and stared at the scattered papers on his desk.

“Are you done looking through those wanted posters, Red?”

“Yeah, I guess,” Red replied, shuffling the papers into a neat stack. “Didn’t see anything worth my time. Most of these hombres will slip over into Mexico if they’ve got any sense. That bank robbery in Beaumont pays pretty good, but the gang that did it is based out of Lake Charles. My partner, Leon, won’t set foot in Louisiana.”

“Can’t blame him,” Sheriff Harding said. “If I were a slave and got freed, I wouldn’t want to go back there, either. Well, there’ll be another stack of posters on next week’s stage. You just give it some time.”

“And how am I supposed to feed my family in the meantime?” Red grumbled. 

He lived with his father, Payton, the town’s blacksmith, and his kid brother, Jarvis, or J.R., as most folks called him. Payton had remarried after Red’s mother died, and damned if his new wife didn’t up and die while giving birth to Jarvis. Payton had been pretty much useless ever since, drinking more often than he worked and letting the house get run down. He may have given up on raising J.R. right, but Red hadn’t.

“How’s J.R. doing?” Harding asked. “Folks still mistaking him for your son when they see you together?”

Red nodded, rubbing his cheek and picking at the scar tissue he concealed beneath his beard. “He’ll look like me when he gets older. Like a Viking,” he said proudly. 

Payton used to have long, red hair, too, but he’d begun shaving his head after J.R.’s mother died. Red guessed he did it to keep the women at arm’s length for the sake of their own longevity and to spare himself further heartbreak. 

“Folks do say J.R. looks like my boy, though. It’s just like whenever I’m introduced to someone. They always say, ‘Oh, are you one of those Remingtons?’ And I say back, ‘No, not one of those Remingtons,’ or ‘I wish I were.’ I should get me some business cards that read, ‘Red Remington, Bounty Hunter.’ And then: ‘Not one of The Remingtons.’”

“Seems like we’ve had this conversation before,” Sheriff Harding observed dryly. “A few times, in fact. But getting back to your financial woes, Red, maybe you should try a more stable line of work.”

“Like what?” Red asked.

“I don’t know,” Harding replied, sounding somewhat irritated. “Blacksmith work, maybe. The town could sure use a smithy who keeps more regular hours than your pa. Or ride shotgun for the stagecoach. I don’t have all the answers, but we both know that bounty hunting isn’t steady work. Plus, you’re gone for weeks at a time. How are you ever gonna settle down?”

Red turned back toward the window. “I sure would’ve liked getting that marshal’s job after Buck Smith retired. I could’ve done damn good at that.”

“That was five years ago,” Harding pointed out. “And Bo Mayhew was already deputy for five years before that, so you have to admit he was the most qualified. Please don’t tell me you’re still pining for that job. You need to let it go.”

“I might be a little rough around the edges,” Red conceded, “but there ain’t a more fearless man in these parts than me. I’m a good shot, and I got good sense. Bo Mayhew acts like he’s God’s gift to Texas, strutting around town and tipping his hat to the ladies. I ain’t got the stomach for that sort of nose-grinding, you understand? No pussyfooting for me. I got scruples.”

Sheriff Harding stood and grabbed his hat. “Well, you and your scruples need to move on outta here. I’m going to lock up and see what the damage is outside.”

“I thought you were gonna let Mayhew handle this,” Red said.

“I am,” Harding assured him. “I have what you might call a morbid curiosity. You ever shoot a man and then stand over him as he dies? Sure, you have. You hear that rattle in his throat and see the light fade from his eyes as the life drains out of him. It’s like that. I want to see how bad the town got tore up and be thankful that I don’t have to deal with it. But Mayhew had better tread lightly when tangling with Max Dempsey and his boys. You have to pick your battles with Dempsey real careful if you don’t want to lose your job, or worse. Mayhew never learned that—and it’s gonna cost him, just you wait and see.”

“I would like to see Mayhew get his comeuppance,” Red muttered. “Hell, I’d pay to see that.”

***

Bo swung up on his mare, and by the time they reached the end of Main Street, his horse had hit full gallop. He pulled up his bandana to block out the dirt cloud ahead, but he still felt the grit in his teeth and his throat. Once they cleared town, he steered his horse as far upwind of the cattle as possible. Since the herd was no longer running full tilt, Bo was able to overtake them, zeroing in on the foreman responsible for the dangerous drive through town—Jack Carver.

With his right hand on his pistol grip, Bo came up on Carver’s left side and yelled over the noise of the thundering herd. “You’re under arrest, Carver. I need you to come with me. Now.”

 

Carver stared back at him as if considering the consequences of defying the order, but he must have sensed that the marshal wasn’t bluffing. When his partner, Martin Strother, rode up stern-faced and clasping his pistol, Carver waved him away.

“You get these critters back to the ranch,” Carver instructed. “Tell the boss Marshal Mayhew aims to lock me up.”

The cattle and their keepers moved on as Bo and Carver turned back toward town. “Unbuckle that gun belt and hand it to me slowly,” Bo commanded. 

Carver complied, a chagrined expression masking the foreman’s face. This wasn’t their first run-in, and Bo wasn’t taking any chances. He folded the belt and placed it in his saddlebag. He pointed the way to town with his pistol barrel.

“You’ve got some damn nerve, pulling that stunt, Carver,” Bo seethed. “You’d better pray that no one got trampled by those steers. I’m going to teach you a hard lesson about stampeding a herd through my town.”

“It wasn’t a stampede,” Carver argued. “It was a cattle run, is all. They weren’t panicked or out of control. We knew what we were doing. We just took a shortcut. Ain’t no law against that.”

“Then I’m going to make up a new one just to fit you,” Bo said. “And I don’t care about the temperament of the herd; the damage on Main Street was the same as a stampede.”

Bo turned and looked over his shoulder. A man rode behind them, keeping pace with Bo and his prisoner as he followed at a distance. “What is that fool doing? Stop so he can catch up.”

The rider stopped, too, but Bo waved him forward. When he got close enough, Bo saw that it was Max Dempsey’s son, Eldon. 

“Is there a problem, Marshal?” he asked.

Bo stared at the fair-complected, curly-haired young man. Bo guessed him to be about twenty-two by now and saw that his features looked like his mother’s: thin and pale. He also displayed some of Elsa’s nervous disposition.

“Yes, there’s a problem, Eldon Dempsey,” Bo snapped. “I have a problem with an armed man riding behind me after I’ve just arrested one of his cohorts. Do you see why I’d have a problem with that?”

Eldon blinked several times, as if this action were a part of his thought process. “I wasn’t going to do anything, Marshal. I just wanted to see where you were taking Jack.”

“I’m taking him to jail, is where I’m taking him,” Bo replied. “You can tag along, but you ride up here with us. And don’t you dare touch your pistol or there’ll be bullets flying, you understand?”

“Yes, sir,” Eldon said politely.

As they rode through Main Street, Bo observed the damage that the cattle had caused. The boardwalk on both sides of the street had been demolished, and several roof fronts leaned and swayed as their support posts were no longer there. Pieces of hitching posts and awnings were scattered in the street. 

Merchants swept broken glass from their shops or picked up debris, stacking the pieces in piles. Looking up from their labors, they glared at the two culprits accompanying the marshal. Young Dempsey observed the destruction with an air of innocence, as if witnessing the aftermath wrought by a tornado or some other act of God, while Jack Carver smirked at the merchants’ misfortunes, looking pleased with the chaos he’d unleashed.

Nancy Ossman, the owner of the Horseshoe Café, charged at the men while brandishing a broom. “You should be ashamed,” she shouted, jabbing at Carver’s leg with the hard corn bristles. “You should be flogged for what you did!”

Carver kicked his leg out sideways to push her back. “Lady, try that again and you’re gonna feel the wrong end of that broom real quick.”

Shocked and speechless, the woman held her ground as he passed but swatted mercilessly at Eldon Dempsey until he was out of range.

Deputy Dieter stood encircled by a gaggle of shop owners, all vying for his attention. He looked up helplessly as Bo passed and nodded. Sheriff Harding, arms folded across his chest, ignoring Reynaldo the barber’s angry harangue, fixed Bo with an inimical eye and scowl, as if the devastation were somehow Bo’s fault. 

When Jack Carver spat a stream of tobacco juice the sheriff’s way, Bo almost felt like thanking him.

Entering the jail office, Bo offered Eldon a seat at Dieter’s desk while he escorted Jack to a cell. Carver didn’t put up any fuss and the amused smirk never left his face.

“Hey, when you order lunch, chief,” Carver chided, sliding onto one of the bunks, “you can skip me ‘cause I don’t plan on being here that long.”

“We’ll see,” Bo replied while locking the cell door. “When Max Dempsey gets the bill for your shenanigans, he may choose to let you stay and rot.” 

He left the door between the cell and the office open, in case the conversation became more interesting. Eldon Dempsey spun slowly in circles in Dieter’s chair. 

“When my deputy returns, you be prepared to un-ass his seat, understand?”

“Yes, sir,” Eldon replied, abruptly ceasing his spinning.

“In fact, why are you even here, Eldon?” Bo asked.

“Yeah, Eldon,” Carver called out. “Why you here? You should be fetching your pa so he can bail me out.”

“The other men will inform him,” Eldon explained. “Pa’s gonna hit the roof when he hears about this. I’d just as soon avoid his temper as long as I can.”

“Well, you just remember whose idea it was to bring the steers thisaway,” Carver cautioned.

Bo cocked his head and looked at Eldon. “What’s he mean by that? Whose idiot idea was this?”

“I just thought we could save time by taking a shortcut through town,” Eldon said matter-of-factly. “I rode out early this morning to meet them, and I didn’t want to bother with a river crossing and all that. But I didn’t know the cattle were gonna do this much damage, I swear. I feel real bad about that.”

“Something tells me your father’s going to feel even worse,” Bo predicted. “When he gets here, I hope you two can sort out your differences. I don’t need a family feud here in my office. I’ve had enough ruckus for one day.”

“Hey, Marshal,” Jack Carver called out. “How much did you say the fine was gonna be?”

“I haven’t decided yet,” Bo replied. “But it’s going to be expensive. Real expensive.”

“Yeah? Well, whatever it is, why don’t you bump it up by ten dollars and give that to me, for all the time I’m wasting here? What do you say? I won’t tell.”

Jack Carver began laughing. Bo got up and went to the door leading to the cell. “Did anyone ever tell you that you have a laugh like a coyote in heat?” he asked, and then closed the door.

 

Chapter Two

As Millie approached the main gate of the Dempsey Ranch, her double-axle buggy was intercepted by an armed man on horseback. The rider charged toward her and then stopped sharply, effectively blocking her progress forward. As she yielded, the horse circled the buggy, and the rider bent and bobbed his torso to view what she might be carrying.

Millie rolled her eyes, finding the man’s diligence a bit overdone. While a man as prominent and wealthy as Maximillian Dempsey might have as many enemies as he had heads of cattle, surely a 23-year-old, female veterinary assistant couldn’t pose a grave threat.

“State your business,” the man said gruffly, his long white beard shivering with each syllable. His upper lip was bare, but his chin whiskers put her in mind of a billygoat’s tuft. 

“I’m here to see my patient,” she replied. Ordinarily, Millie would have served up a side portion of sarcasm to someone who took himself so seriously, but this time she refrained from possibly antagonizing him, diagnosing the rider as one of those medical rarities born without a funny bone.

The gatekeeper narrowed his eyes, then said, “Follow me,” as he turned and trotted off.

She followed the horse’s ass and the mare he rode upon into the compound. In the distance, a cloud of dirt caught the wind as cattle were herded into a fenced enclosure. These appeared to be new arrivals to add to Maximillian Dempsey’s already vast stock. 

Millie had heard that Dempsey regularly expanded the borders of his ranch by buying neighboring properties and, according to her father, sometimes his offers to purchase land were more like demands in which, once negotiations were done, the only one who walked away smiling was Max Dempsey.

She recognized Dempsey as they approached the bay doors to the barn. He was a short man who offset his height with a formidable girth. He stood at the open bay, smoking a cigar as he conversed with an older man, possibly another ranch hand. Dempsey waved at her and handed his wet cigar to the other man before stepping into the hay-strewn barn.

“Right this way, young lady,” he said, leading her to a stall where a horse in a full leg wrap stood. 

The stall gate was ajar and she went in, setting her bag on the floor.

“To tell the truth, Miss Medford, I was actually expecting Howard to show up.”

“Oh, Father’s more focused on raising horses these days, Mr. Dempsey. That’s why we moved down here last year. He still handles some emergency calls, but he’s cutting back on that, too. He’s getting out of the practice just as I’m getting in.”

“Quarter horses, I imagine,” Dempsey observed. “That seems to be the trend these days. A couple of good years and then it’s off to the glue factory for them. Meanwhile, fields lay barren because no one raises work horses anymore.” He shook his head at this perceived folly. “Well, since your father couldn’t be bothered, I hope your bill reflects your relative lack of experience.”

Donning her stethoscope, Millie held up a finger to caution the cattleman, as much to hush his jaundiced opinions as to listen to the horse’s pulse. She proceeded to unwrap the bandage and examine the injury. Opening her bag, she withdrew a bottle of gentian violet to paint onto the rapidly healing wound. 

After re-bandaging the horse, Millie took a rope halter and lead off the wall and put it on the patient. With an eye on the mare’s gait, she pushed the stall gate open and walked the horse into the center of the barn.

“She appears to be healing well,” Millie observed, leading the mare back to the stall. As there wasn’t much more to say about the patient, she endeavored to make small talk. “Isn’t your son away at school?”

“Max, Jr.?” Dempsey asked. “Oh, yes. The Agricultural and Mechanical College, they call it. I don’t put much stock in book learning, but I suppose it can’t hurt, especially if he’s to take over this ranch someday. Not that I’ve promised him anything. If neither of my sons are willing to put in the effort, why, I’ll just sell it to the highest bidder and the boys can fend for themselves. Nobody ever gave me anything.” 

Millie refrained from rolling her eyes. She was tempted to ask if it was true that he’d started in the cattle trade by selling sick cattle from Mexico to unsuspecting buyers in Oklahoma but, again, she exercised her self-control.

“And how’s your wife, Mr. Dempsey?” she asked, hoping the question wasn’t too intrusive. Elsa Dempsey was an acquaintance of Millie’s mother, Frida, who often spoke of Elsa’s frail health and withdrawn social inclinations. “Is she doing alright?”

“You just concern yourself with the animals, Miss Medford, and keep my wife out of it,” Dempsey cracked. He turned and walked toward the bay doors.

Millie was about to apologize, but one of the ranch hands galloped up to the barn and jumped off his horse. Dempsey waved his arm back and forth.

“Damn it, Martin, why are you kicking up all that dust?” he demanded.

“Sorry, Mr. Dempsey,” the hand said, hastily tipping the brim of his hat toward Millie. “I’d have been here sooner, but we’re just getting the last of the steers into the pens. Anyway, boss, on the run back, Marshal Mayhew arrested Jack and hauled him off to jail. Might have arrested Eldon, too, but I’m not sure about that. Eldon might have just gone along with Jack, you know, to help.”

“Oh, sure,” Dempsey sneered. “He’d be a lot of help, wouldn’t he?” His eyes narrowed as he sought more details. “Why did the marshal arrest Jack?”

The ranch hand resembled a boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar as he glanced down at his boots, avoiding Dempsey’s stare. “Well, probably because we ran the cattle through town,” he admitted.

“You what?” Dempsey shouted.

“It seemed like a good idea at the time,” Martin explained. “We shaved off a couple hours and didn’t need to go through the river—and we might’ve even lost a steer or two doing that, you never know. Anyway, we took ‘em straight through town, and we might’ve done a little damage here and there.”

“You idiots,” Dempsey spat. “So, you saved an hour or two of your time, and now I’ve got to waste my time dealing with that damn marshal, not to mention damn lawyers and damn shopkeepers.” Millie was surprised to hear him curse in front of her but looked away as if she hadn’t heard. “Jack Carver will be lucky to still have a job when I get through with him.”

“Actually, boss, it wasn’t his idea. I’m pretty sure it was Eldon what suggested it.”

Eldon? What was he even doing there?”

“Not sure, sir,” Martin replied. “He just showed up about five miles outside of Beeville, so we let him tag along. I think Jack decided Eldon might feel useful or something like that, so he kind of humored him.”

Humored him?” Dempsey echoed. “I’ll humor his be-hind when I get my hands on him. Go fetch my buggy. I’ll have to take care of this myself. You tell Mrs. Dempsey where I’ve gone. Not that she cares, but she might be concerned about her son.”

“Yes, sir,” Martin said, climbing back on his horse. “I’ll have the buggy here in a minute.”

“I’ll come, too,” Millie said. “If cattle stampeded through town, there might be some injured animals.”

Dempsey turned toward her, his mouth agape. “Goodness, missy, doesn’t the prospect of injured humans merit your concern at all?” he asked incredulously.

Millie was taken aback by the sharp tone of his words. “Of course, sir. And I may be able to help them as well.”

Dempsey walked away in a huff. Millie’s response might not have been deemed adequate by Max Dempsey, but he didn’t have any right to question her empathy toward the entire human race. Max Dempsey was a prickly man. She vowed to choose her words more carefully around him in the future.

As she climbed up in her buggy, she spied Elsa Dempsey looking out through an upstairs window. Millie raised her hand and gave a tentative wave, but Mrs. Dempsey didn’t reciprocate. She just stared back with an uncertain, slightly fearful expression, as if she didn’t know who Millie was—though they’d met before—or as if she were being held prisoner high up in a castle tower, like in one of those fairy tales.

Millie flicked the reins and rode off, eager to leave the Dempsey Ranch. Something about the place and the people made her feel anxious, and she wasn’t looking forward to returning. She’d see the injured mare through her healing, but she would remain guarded in her dealings with Max Ramsey.

Even if there wasn’t any need in town for her medical expertise, Millie hoped to spend some time in Bo Mayhew’s company. No doubt he’d be busy dealing with the aftermath of the stampede, to say nothing of weathering Max Dempsey’s wrath, but she had a hunch that he would take it all in stride. Bo Mayhew was not a man prone to wilting when a strong wind blew up. It was one of the things she found attractive about him, but far from the only thing.


“The Framed Marshal” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!

Bo Mayhew, marshal of San Mateo, Texas, always fights for justice, even when it means standing up to the powerful cattle baron, Max Dempsey. ax’s wealth and influence threaten to overshadow the law, but Bo’s determination makes him a constant problem for Max, leading to a dangerous conflict.

Can Bo withstand the pressure, or will Dempsey’s influence break his commitment to justice?

Red Remington, a fearless bounty hunter, is sent by Sheriff Harding, who sees Bo as an obstacle to his own plans. Bo and Red were once childhood friends, but a tragic accident drove them apart… When Bo is falsely accused of murder, Red seizes the chance to hunt down his former friend, either to bring him to justice or for revenge.

Will Red’s pursuit lead to reconciliation or irreversible betrayal?

In the middle of this turmoil is Millie Medford, torn between loyalty and love, her heart firmly with Bo. Meanwhile, Bo’s cousin, Tagg, knows a crucial secret that could prove Bo’s innocence, but his vow of silence might force Bo to live as a fugitive. As the truth unravels, it might reveal that those close to the victim have dark secrets of their own… Will Tagg break his silence in time, or will Bo be forever branded a fugitive?

“The Framed Marshal” is a historical adventure novel of approximately 60,000 words. No cliffhangers, only pure unadulterated action.

Get your copy from Amazon!

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