The Undaunted Road to Payback (Preview)

When Amy woke up that fateful morning, she had no idea how much her life was about to change. She went about her normal daily routine, brushing her hair, cleaning her teeth, and washing her face. She could smell coffee in the air, which meant Kyle was already up, as usual.

She smiled into the mirror, knowing the reflection of her green eyes showed exactly how happy she was. She enjoyed great prestige as the wife of the marshal of Caldwell, Utah, in the year of our lord, 1887. She had many friends, and her father, mother, and younger sister were there in the town she’d grown up in.

Kyle was very well-liked as the local lawman. He managed to keep the outlaws out and the peace in. He was a handsome man, tall and almost regal with his good looks, broad shoulders, and confident air. Amy had been in love with him since she came of age at sixteen and was mature enough to make her own decisions about her life. He was twenty when she discovered her love for him—four years her senior—and she’d been afraid to tell him of her love until she was eighteen. Kyle was just a deputy back then. They had stayed friends through those two years because she’d offered her secretarial skills to the men at the jailhouse and they had all gladly accepted.

Amy was never treated with anything but respect by the deputies and the sheriff. At one point, she found herself wondering if they’d known she had eyes for Kyle when he himself hadn’t realize it. She was always available for that particular deputy, no matter when she was needed. For Amy, it wasn’t often enough.

When she’d asked Kyle to come to her eighteenth birthday party, he had been grateful for the invitation and had accepted it graciously. She didn’t stopped there, though. She’d told him she wanted the night to be a different kind of meeting. She wanted him to come as her companion.

Two years later, they were married.

And all of that had happened eight years ago. So, at 28, Amy found herself to be the happiest woman in the world. Or at least all of Caldwell, Utah, population 603.

The only thing that would have made her heart sing with more joy would have been if she and Kyle were able to have children. But that hadn’t been something God had blessed them with. The couple had decided it wasn’t likely to happen after eight years, and so, she’d thanked God for the blessings she did have. Though she had always wanted a child, and still hoped someday to have one.

She stepped out onto the porch, into the sunlight, and turned her face up to enjoy the warm glow on her skin. A light breeze blew her baby blue bonnet, which covered her thick red hair and protected it from the elements. Her hair was her pride and joy, on the lighter side of red with a gentle overtone of blond that her mother said made it look like spun gold. She used conditioners and lotions on her hair to keep it healthy, following all the latest trends in hair care. She didn’t have time for lipsticks and rouge, it was her hair that was important.

She pulled a shawl that matched her bonnet around her shoulders and headed down the steps to go toward the restaurant at the end of the main road, which was three blocks up.

Amy was a little surprised by how few people were on the road. It seemed like there should be more for lunchtime in the medium-sized town. It was almost a little eerie. Her eyes darted around her as she hurried along under the wooden roof that covered the sidewalk. Her boots made it sound like she was stomping, but she didn’t want to slow down her pace to walk in more ladylike way.

Finally, she turned the corner onto Main Street. She stopped in her tracks, her heart jumping into her throat. Her arm tightened around the strap of her purse and her hand gripped the shawl harder.

Down the street on the other side, just outside the tavern, a man was wandering about. He was waving a gun and shooting it in the air randomly, sometimes in the direction of the onlookers. Men were shouting at him, trying to get him to calm down.

Her eyes moved quickly through the crowd, but she didn’t see Kyle. She did see two of his deputies, both with one hand on the guns at their sides and their other hands held out in front of them in a calming way. They were trying to talk the man down.

She nearly jumped out of her skin when her elbow was grabbed from behind. She spun around and was chest to chest with her husband, who immediately leaned over to kiss her cheek.

“My darling. Our lunch will have to wait until after I take care of this situation.”

Amy held on to his arm for a moment, moving closer and lifting on her tip toes to kiss him back. She kissed his lips, too. “Be careful, Kyle. I don’t like the looks of this.”

Kyle shook his head, his brown eyes filled with his love for her but determination to do his job. “If he was intent on killing, he would have killed the boys by now. Maybe he’ll listen to me as a voice of reason.”

Amy nodded. “Okay, Kyle. Be careful anyway. I love you.”

“I love you, too. I’ll be right back, and we’ll enjoy a good lunch together.”

She smiled, but as soon as he hurried past her and his back was turned, the smile dissolved. She stayed where she was, watching Kyle walk toward the drunken raging man.

The crowd parted a little as they made room for Kyle to walk past. Amy saw several men slap her husband on the shoulder, encouraging him and letting him know they had his back.

The crowd dispersed so that Amy could see both Kyle and the man, who stopped abruptly when he saw Kyle coming up.

“Marshal!” he yelled out. “Just the man I was waiting for.”

“What’s going on here, sir?” Kyle yelled back.

The drunken man waved his gun in the air toward him, bellowing, “My name is Tom Salamander, also known as The Lizard. I am the new marshal in town. And you, Marshal Kavanaugh, can’t do a thing about it.”

Kyle drew his gun from the holster, but before he could say anything or take aim, Tom fired his pistol.

Amy screamed, covering her mouth with both hands. She took off toward the crowd that immediately swooped down on Kyle. When they saw who she was, the people who had gathered around the fallen marshal let her by. She slid through the dirt on her knees and came to a stop directly next to him.

He wasn’t moving.

He was already gone.

Rage filled her and she screamed as hard as she could.

“Sorry, little lady,” she heard from the man who had murdered her husband.

Everyone turned to look at him and she could see him through the bodies standing between them. He was sneering at her, shaking his head.

“Had to be done. I’m takin’ over. I’m deputizing my boys. You’re all gonna be under our control from now on. Don’t obey? Don’t like it? We will shoot you. Don’t misunderstand me because you think I’m a drunken fool. I’m not. If you want to get shot, we’ll gladly do it for you. If you don’t, you do as you’re told. For now, you all just carry on your regular days. My men will visit you soon with town rules. Oh, and get your city council together. In the community room. In one hour. I want to have a talk with them.”

Amy turned her back on the man and lowered herself over her husband, the first of many, many tears streaming from her eyes. The bullet had gone through his head, killing him instantly.

The pain was tremendous and would last for much too long before Amy would finally crawl her way out of the darkness that had come upon Caldwell that fall day.

 

Chapter One

 

Amy lowered her head as she left her cottage. The tension in the air was so palpable, so thick, it could be cut with a knife. Everyone in Caldwell was scared. Many had died. In the last year since Salamander had taken over as marshal, the town had been in a state of lockdown. Rules were changed almost daily on the whims of the deputies, who called themselves the “Blue Boys” after the blue bandanas they wore around their necks.

It could be something as simple as someone buying the last pound of flour before the shipment the next day. It was grounds for severe punishment if the food wasn’t immediately handed over to the deputy. That punishment could include death, but it was usually a threat of imprisonment or the imprisonment of family members, especially children.

The children of Caldwell weren’t safe from the Blue Boys. They were bullied and pushed around, the boys a bit more so than the girls, who were mocked for their dresses, bonnets, or dolls they might be carrying with them. The Blue Boys had no more maturity than some of the children they mocked.

The once prosperous, lively, friendly town had dissolved into a cesspool of outlandish behavior, violence, threats, and intimidation.

Amy felt responsible for letting it get that bad. She had been the marshal’s wife. She had once been respected and admired by everyone in the town. Now, she barely spoke to anyone. She hadn’t been able to leave her cottage for much more than shopping, and she tried not to have to do too much of that.

But yesterday had been the last straw and Amy had been up all night, thinking about what needed to be done. She felt like her friends had probably been waiting for her to come back to her senses and help out. She was the kind of woman that people relied on when they were in need. People reached out to her when they needed a kind word, some good advice, or a little support with food or repairs around the house.

That was before she’d lost Kyle.

Amy hadn’t spoken to anyone other than her parents, her sister, and the shopkeepers in the last 12 months.

On the anniversary of her husband’s death—yesterday—Salamander had thrown a party. A huge celebration for the anniversary of the day he took over in Caldwell. Amy was disgusted, sick at the thought that he was celebrating on the day her husband was murdered and that he was the one who had taken Kyle from her.

She had finally remembered something that acted like a pulley on her soul. As soon as she thought about it, she felt a sudden energy fill her body, a feeling she hadn’t experienced since the morning of Kyle’s murder a year earlier.

It was an idea… a good idea. All she had to do was call on someone she hadn’t spoken to in many years. They hadn’t parted on bad terms. They hadn’t parted on any real terms, because they hadn’t been close enough to have “parted” from one another.

She had come to the conclusion her only option was to send a message to the last known address of her old friend Reid Quimby. Reid was a rough man, a man who crossed from town to town, state to state, searching for outlaws as a bounty hunter. He was a good bounty hunter, with excellent instincts and a bravery that few could boast. He’d proven it as one of Kyle’s deputies long before he’d left Caldwell.

Seven years ago, he’d been as much a part of Caldwell as anyone else. Now, he was somewhere in Utah, chasing the next bad guy.

It was time someone hired him to take care of the one in his hometown. He probably had no idea what was going on with Salamander.

Amy’s heart pounded hard as she walked. She kept her head down and prayed to God none of the Blue Boys would see her and stop her. It was a coin toss whether they would. Sometimes they did and sometimes they didn’t. When she realized she was holding her breath, she let it out shakily and sucked another one in. All she wanted to do was get to the post office.

Once she was inside, she would conspire with Martin, the clerk who was usually working at this time of day, to send Reid a telegram.

Everyone in Caldwell knew who Reid was—everyone except Salamander and his men. There was always a chance Reid’s reputation had preceded him and the Blue Boys did, in fact, know who he was in name .

But Reid had a closer connection to the people of Caldwell that Amy was hoping the town could cash in on. She didn’t care how much he asked for, she was sure the town would pool their money together to give him however much he wanted. They needed him to clean out the vermin in town. He was the only one who would care enough to try.

Amy was sure of it. Reid was a legend in Caldwell. Parents told their children about times Reid had saved someone in some brave act or another. Amy had heard all the stories and knew them to be true. Stories had migrated back to Caldwell about feats Reid had accomplished on the road, stopping dangerous outlaws in their tracks, somehow blessed with a gift of protection that kept him from getting killed every time. These stories were believed and repeated.

He was the only one who could help.

“Hey, miss!” she heard. She froze in place, clutching her hands to her chest, closing her eyes and praying she could get out of this situation quickly and without getting hurt.

When she didn’t hear anything else, she opened her eyes and turned to look behind her. A shopkeeper down the street was holding out a bag to a woman as he went toward her. The woman was thanking him. She’d apparently forgotten her purchase inside.

Amy turned around again and scanned the road ahead. She could see the doors of the post office. She studied the other side of the street and did a small circle, checking for any of the Blue Boys.

Her shoulder relaxed just slightly when she saw none of them. She wasn’t going to take any chances, though. Her feet were moving again quickly and next thing she knew, her hand was around the doorknob of the post office.

She turned it, held her breath and slipped inside.

The post office was empty, other than Martin. She breathed a sigh of relief. She hurried to his desk.

“Martin! I’ve had an idea.”

He gave her a look of surprise. She was pleased when the next expression to cross his face was excitement. “Amy! Are you feeling better? It looks like it! What’s the idea?”

Amy nodded. “I’m feeling better, Martin. I need your help. Can you help me?”

Martin stood up, placing both hands flat on his desk, looking directly at her. “I will help you however I can. Please, tell me what’s on your mind.”

Amy felt intense gratitude fill her. This man’s respect was because of who Kyle had been. She planned to honor that respect by being the strongest woman she could be to help save her hometown.

Her back straightened and she looked directly at him. “We need to get rid of Salamander and the Blue Boys. They’ve taken enough lives, destroyed enough homes and businesses and families. It’s time to take it all back.”

“I agree,” Martin said in a determined voice. He scratched his clean-shaven chin. “But how?”

“We need someone who can come in and clean up the mess,” Amy said. “I’ve been thinking about it since last night. We need to find Reid.”

Martin’s eyes widened. “Reid Quimby? Do you think he’d come back to help us?”

Amy shook her head. “I don’t know. I don’t think he left on bad terms. I don’t remember Kyle ever saying anything bad about him. He was never anything but praised. Didn’t he just leave because he wanted to be a bounty hunter?”

Martin nodded. “That’s the reason I remember.”

Amy bit her bottom lip for a moment, thinking. “I want to send him a telegram. We need to find out where he is right now. After we send him a call for help, I want you to go home this evening and tell Betty to tell all her friends to come to the beauty parlor on Friday at three. We need to start having meetings. We all need to meet, as a town, in private, and discuss this at men’s and women’s meetings that we’ll have there. Does that make sense?”

Martin again gave her a nod and a strange smile came to his face. She blinked at him.

“What?”

“It’s just… it’s good to have you back, Amy. We thought we lost you for a while there.”

 

Chapter Two

 

Amy felt confident in the plan and satisfied by the time she left the post office. She and Martin had devised what they both thought was a good plea for help and sent it to the last hotel they knew of that Reid had been staying in. They got an almost immediate reply, saying that he wasn’t at that hotel anymore but that the people there had forwarded the telegram to the hotel they believed Reid to be staying in. Amy was expecting a reply from that one.

After waiting nearly an hour for word from the second hotel, Amy decided she had to get back out on the street and start letting the ladies know that they would be meeting from now on and the town needed to be prepared to fight for its freedom back.

She’d lived in Caldwell all her life. If there was one thing Amy knew, it was that the town needed a leader and looked to her as a part of that, just like they’d looked at Kyle in that way. There was no law and order. Three of Kyle’s four deputies had been shot—one of them right in front of his wife and children.

The horror the citizens of Caldwell had gone through in the last year would not be soon forgotten.

But now wasn’t the time to be weak. It was the time to be strong. She had wasted too long letting her town be overturned and overrun by monsters and rats. It was time to take it back. If she had to lead the charge, she would. Alone, if necessary.

Reid would come, though. It was her deep feeling that he would come back and join her in the fight, hopefully taking charge. With a reputation like his, there wasn’t a single law-abiding person in Caldwell who wouldn’t follow his lead and do whatever he told them to do. Not one. They were proud that such a good lawman had come from their town. He was celebrated far and wide among those who didn’t make their living breaking the law.

Amy finally said goodbye to Martin, and he thanked her repeatedly for coming to the town’s rescue. He offered his condolences again for Kyle, talking her husband up and praising him, and swearing their plan will be successful.

She walked away from the post office, her mind distracted by what she’d just done, thoughts whirling as she fit together the nuts and bolts of the plan to get Reid to town and take down the marshal and the Blue Boys.

She turned a corner and headed back toward the town square, not really wanting to but knowing that the beauty parlor was the best place for the women to have a meeting—and men, too, perhaps—because Salamander and the Blue Boys never stepped foot in the place. They could speak freely, knowing they weren’t being listened to and wouldn’t be harassed.

The beauty parlor was close to the town square, where the jailhouse, the courthouse and the municipal building were—the buildings where all the town business was conducted. The large courthouse sat at the end of the dead-end road.

The closer she got to the town square, the more nervous she felt. There was usually a Blue Boy or two hanging around there. The jailhouse had been completely taken over and housed only law-abiding citizens who had broken one of the Blue Boys’ laws and had to spend some time there to learn their lesson.

She didn’t have to go that far, but being close made her feel anxious.

She was still a block from the beauty parlor when Amy halted in place as a Blue Boy turned off a side street and walked toward her. His head was down and he was picking at something on his finger. He seemed fascinated by it; she could see his grimy lips moving as he stared at it. His face was covered with black dirt or ashes, she didn’t know which. It had probably been a while since the last time he’d bathed. He most likely stank, as the Blue Boys always did. They cared nothing for personal hygiene, worse than most, it seemed, and Amy was under the distinct impression he was not one of the kinder Blue Boys. Not that any of them were.

Her heart thumping hard in her chest, she reached out for the next door she saw and turned the knob, hoping it wasn’t locked. It turned easily and before the Blue Boy raised his head and saw her, she slipped in through the small crack she’d made in the doorway. She closed the door quietly and gently turned her back to it, resting her head back on the jamb, waiting for the mumbling outlaw to pass by.

She heard his boot steps come closer, then quiet as he walked away.

Amy realized she was holding her breath and let it out, opening her eyes to look around her. The sun was shining in through the dirty window, casting its rays on dusty piles of old furniture, rolled up rugs, and other items that looked like they had once been in a fine home somewhere.

The rays also made the thick swirling dust in the air more noticeable.

Amy was in the old furniture store. This particular building was used as storage, as the new furniture store was larger. They had relocated several streets down.

Amy turned around and put her hand on the knob to leave the building when movement caught the corner of her eye.

She reacted by jumping, her eyes darting in the direction of the front windowsill, all the way against the wall.

She saw something in the shadows. It was moving quite slowly. She stared, holding her breath again, wondering if an outlaw had passed out in the old furniture store. Was she about to get shot?

Then, two thin, short legs folded up, exposed in the sunlight only for a moment.

It was a child. A child was huddled up all alone in the shadows of the old furniture store.

“Hello?” Amy said in a soft voice. “Who is that? I can see your legs. I’m not going to hurt you.”

There was no response. She stared a bit longer until the distinct outline of a child’s face came into her view as her eyes adjusted to the dimness of the room. She took a slow step forward.

“My name is Amy. I don’t think I’ve seen you here before. Did you just move here?”

Still, there was no response. Amy took another step forward. She could see the child much better now. It was a little boy. He was probably about five or six years old, though as a barren woman, she had no children of her own to reference that age by.

She was finally directly in front of the child. Although he didn’t look terribly afraid, he still wasn’t speaking to her. She wondered if he even could speak.

“Are you all right? Where are your parents? Do they know you’re hiding in here?”

At the mention of parents, the child’s eyes filled with tears and he shook his head. “They took my parents. They killed my ma and pa.”

Amy’s heart wrenched in her chest. She couldn’t help holding her arms out and wrapping them around the boy, whom she had to pull away from the wall. He came willingly, though, and as she hugged him, he rested his head on her shoulder, his face pointing away from her.

“I’m so sorry, child. I’m so sorry. What are you doing in here? Why are you hiding here? Do you have any family at all?”

The boy shook his head. “No family other than Ma and Pa and they’re…” He turned his eyes to look out the window. “They took ‘em. That marshal and those men. They took ‘em out and they shot ‘em in front of the house and… I don’t know what to do. I don’t know who to tell about it.”

Anger spilled through Amy. No one could have done anything about it. Salamander and his men were the law in Caldwell. She shook her head, scowling deeply. “This is going to end. I am going to put an end to this. I wish I had already sent for him. When did this happen?”

The boy’s wide blue eyes seemed to draw the light from the window, flashing at her when he glanced in her direction. “Maybe a week ago. Six days, almost seven. I come here because I can get a good look at the jailhouse from here.”

Amy drew back, studying the child from head to toe. “You must be about six years old,” she said.

He nodded. “I am six. I’ll be seven next year in January, so I’m almost seven. And my name is Michael.”

Amy was impressed with him. “It looks like you plan to do something about what happened to your folks. Is that what you’re thinking, Michael?”

Michael looked back out the window again. “I don’t know,” he said in a confident voice. “But I gotta do something.”

Amy sat forward, crossing her arms on the back of the chair in front of her. She got his attention again by tapping him on the knee.

“I’ll tell you what, Michael. Since I’m about to clean up this town and you need a home with someone to care for you, why don’t you come back with me.”

Michael stared at her for a moment before asking, “Will you let me help you get the marshal and his men?”

Amy didn’t know what the boy could do for her, but she was willing to give him a chance to prove himself. She nodded and said in a stern voice, “I certainly will. I’m sure we can come up with a helpful task or two for you.”

“And not stuff like fetching food or washing the dog,” he said firmly.

Amy tried not to laugh; she knew it wasn’t a laughing matter. And it wasn’t. To either of them. She nodded again and held out her hand to shake. “I’ll make you a part of it, Michael. I promise.”

He hesitated only a moment before taking her hand and shaking it. “It’s a deal, then.”

 

Chapter Three

 

Reid Quimby was a six-foot-tall, brown-haired, brown-eyed stunning-looking man, and he knew it. But not once did his good looks affect the work he did.

It always surprised Reid when he heard the women giggling about him and the men giving him hard stares because of their women giggling. He didn’t consider himself handsome. He had scars on his face from fights he’d been in, wasn’t always as on top of his hygiene as he would have liked, and sometimes wore the same vest until it was falling off his shoulders before investing in a new one.

The one thing Reid did know was that somehow, he had the protection of the Man Upstairs, or something equivalent. He had won every fight he’d been in, whether fist fights or with weapons, and though he had gotten cut up, shot a few times, and was often bruised from head to toe, he always lived through it. He was also grateful for his incredibly high pain threshold.

But it wasn’t all sunshine and roses for the bounty hunter. There was one pain that he harbored that he’d never been able to get rid of.

He pushed those thoughts aside as he crouched down and moved to the window in the middle of the shack. There was an outlaw hiding out in that shack—a man named Logan Barber. The man was worth quite a large bounty and Reid was about to claim it.

The bounty was always larger if the fugitive was brought in alive. That was how Reid preferred it, too. He had no problem with killing the man he was after, but the fewer excuses he had to make to the Lord when he reached the other side, the better, as far as he was concerned.

He straightened up just enough to peek over the windowsill into the room. The sun provided a lot of light but there were also gas lamps lit in the room. He could see three men sitting around a card table. They were playing a game and having a loud time of it. He saw cigars in the ashtrays, smoke swirling up from the tips, glasses filled with an amber liquid that he had to admit looked very familiar.

The one directly in front of the door, sitting in the chair to Reid’s right, was Barber. Reid didn’t know the other two. One was in the chair facing Reid while the other was in the chair to the left. He ducked back down. He was sure he hadn’t been seen.

The door was directly behind Barber. That was where Reid needed to make his entrance. It was probably locked, but Reid had kicked down doors before. He didn’t have a problem doing it again. He had solid boots with double soles that not only made him taller but gave him more impact with every kick. He towered over his opponents and then stomped them into the ground. No need for guns.

Though he did have a gun. His favorite Colt .45 pistol set was constantly with him, ready whenever he needed it. He was ambidextrous, able to do nearly anything with his left hand that he could with his right, and shooting was not excluded. He was an excellent shot and a fast draw.

He did a crouching run around to the front of the cottage. As he rounded the corner, he saw a woman walking up to the cottage front door. She caught sight of him and stopped in her tracks, gasping.

He shook his head, pulling out one of his guns and holding it up in the air beside him to indicate he was there for a reason. He made a circle in the air with his other finger and gestured for her to turn around and leave the area. He pointed at his gun and the front door of the cottage.

The woman turned on her heel and hurried away.

Reid went up the porch steps, grateful they didn’t creak, and crossed to the front door. He braced himself, closed his eyes to say a quick prayer, and then kicked the door right next to the handle as hard as he could.

The wood splintered and gave way and the door slammed open, hitting the table sitting against the wall. Reid had calculated how far Barber was from the door, so he pounced and grabbed the outlaw around the neck, dragging him out of the chair. He held his gun up in the direction of the men, swinging between the two who had been playing cards with Barber. They were all yelling at the same time, especially Barber.

“You can die right now,” Reid said, putting the barrel of his gun against Barber’s temple, “or you can tell them to back off. You have a warrant, and you know it. Come serve your time and don’t make me shoot you. Live to fight another day. That includes the two of you.” Reid moved the gun again so he could point it at one man and then the other. Both of them had their hands held up in the air in surrender. Their eyes were wide. Reid got the distinct impression they had no idea they were playing cards with a fugitive and they probably weren’t Barber’s “men,” so he pulled the gun back to Barber’s head. “Are you coming peacefully?”

“All right, all right!” Barber yelled out, holding up both hands. “I’m coming. I’m coming. Don’t shoot us. They didn’t have any idea about this. Don’t kill ‘em.”

Reid nodded at the two men, who looked relieved. He jerked on Barber, pulling him back out the door, not releasing the chokehold he had on the outlaw.

“Let me go, fella, let me go. I ain’t gonna run.”

“I’m not taking that chance,” Reid said. “You were already running. I caught you. I’m not giving you another opportunity.”

“How’d you even find me, anyway?” It sounded like Barber was whining. Reid had a change of heart and let the man out of the chokehold. But he did grab a length of rope and put it around Barber’s wrists, tying them behind his back.

“You ain’t that hard to find,” Reid mumbled as he tied the knots and made sure they were secure. “You like to gamble too much. That gets around, you know.”

“Nah, you just know who to ask,” Barber said.

Reid stood up straight, staring at the outlaw. Was that respect he’d heard in the man’s voice? It almost seemed like Barber was impressed by him. He dismissed that thought as his ego talking and pushed Barber roughly into a walk. The man stumbled just slightly but laughed it off.

“You know, I’m kind of glad you broke into that game,” he said, light-heartedly. “I was losin’ so bad, there was no way out. I didn’t give up much, but I didn’t want to give up any, you know what I mean?”

Reid glanced at Barber out of the corner of his eyes. “Let’s just get to the jailhouse, Barber.”

“Oh, you can call me Logan, if you want. I should have known you’d be the one to track me down. Like you said, I’m not that hard to find. I got a big mouth.” He laughed as if to prove the point.

Reid tried not to listen to Barber’s chattering as they walked to the jailhouse, which was only four streets up from where the outlaw had been hiding out. He didn’t want to like the man. And so far, Logan Barber was turning out to be quite a humorous, intelligent and charming man.

Reid wasn’t falling for that. He would collect his bounty and move on.

Reid turned Barber over to the local sheriff and returned to his boarding house room. He had been in Spencerville for two weeks. It actually wasn’t a very long time to spend tracking someone down. He’d spent two years tracking a bounty one time. All his expenses had been paid by the wealthy family of the man who had been murdered. Reid didn’t live high on the hog, but he didn’t have any urgent needs, either.

He walked into the boarding house and headed toward the stairs to take him up to the second floor, thinking hard about whether or not he wanted to deposit the money in the bank here or wait until he got to his next destination. Or if he was going to keep it all on his person.

He wasn’t sure what he was going to do.

Reid tossed the coin bag in the air and then caught it as he took the steps two at a time. One thing he did want to do was enjoy a delicious meal at the restaurant at the end of the street. Then he would have a few drinks in the saloon. He wasn’t a heavy drinker but did enjoy the taste of beer when he wanted to celebrate. And it was always nice to listen to some jaunty tunes and look at a pretty face.

The saloon in this town was nice. Reid had been there a few times as he’d searched for Barber. He would make it a nice night and decide where his next destination was tomorrow.

As he rested on the bed for a few minutes, bathed, and changed his clothes, he thought about what he wanted to do next. He’d heard of a few outlaws running around that needed to be caught, but he wasn’t sure of the details yet. He hadn’t been asked to work a case for the agency or any of the sheriffs he knew in Utah.

Whenever that happened, he would go to the local sheriff of the town he was currently in and ask to see the wanted posters. He’d choose one and go after that outlaw, researching their every move whenever possible.

He was glad to be free to make choices that way. It was the life he’d chosen, and he liked it.

 


“The Undaunted Road to Payback” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!

Reid is a bounty hunter who decided to pursue a life on the road after the love of his life, Amy, married another man. He was determined to chase violent outlaws and leave everything behind without ever expressing his love to her. Now, 10 years later, old memories come flooding back when he gets a letter from Amy, begging for his help. The current, self-declared Marshall has not only taken the life of Amy’s husband but also, has been terrorizing and harassing the citizens for longer than they can count. Reid witnesses the corruption, and quickly finds himself embroiled in the beginning of a range war, battling the hired gunmen of the ruthless Marshall. Even though he takes it upon himself to right the injustice, can he defeat evil without losing his life, or is it time to give up his gun?

Reid’s reunion with Amy will make him realize that his love for her lives on, but he has one rule; not to open his heart ever again. However, despite the tragedy she’s suffered, Amy has remained a vivacious and caring young woman, and Reid can no longer deny the bond that connects them. Caught between his need to bring down the outlaws and his feelings for Amy, he unearths a shocking secret that will utterly change his life. Unfortunately, he knows that the past always has a way of raising its ugly head and bringing havoc and heartache upon the unsuspecting…With Amy on his side, his pursuit leads him down a dangerous road where he is forced to face an impossible decision; one that could result in him losing everything. Is he ready to face all his fears and replace them with love?

When Reid and Amy join forces for the greater good, the journey ahead of them will change their lives once and for all. They must find a way to unfold their complicated feelings and also let go of their fear and trust each other completely. Is trust enough to make them stand as a unity or will fear overpower the feelings that struggle to come back to the surface?

“The Undaunted Road to Payback” is a historical adventure novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cliffhangers, only pure unadulterated action.

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