Husband just got a new computer this week. This has created a computer shift in the house. I now have his old one which we shared up until 2 and a half years ago. I stumbled upon a story I started maybe 4 or 5 years ago. I decided it was worth sharing. I have a thing for historical romances. One day I hope to be an author of smutty books. This story is the first of two chapters of one I started and it appears that I have neglected it. I am really great at starting things. I’m absolute shit at following through and finishing them. Hope you enjoy this!
The feeling of cold steel pressed to Ray Travers’s temple awoke him from a rather restless sleep. Fear crept up his spine. He squashed it best he could. He’d be damned if he’d let the owner of that pistol feel the satisfaction of his fear. Somehow, he had to keep his assailant talking he had to find a chink in the armor of the scumbag that framed him. Of course, the chances of him leaving this room, hell, even this bed didn’t seem very likely from his groggy state of mind.
“Easy now, cowboy, I don’t want you moving,” a rich slightly husky feminine voice nearly purred. A small flicker of hope sparked. Whatever it was he was expecting, it wasn’t that. “I’m going to give you one chance now. You listen close, and think before you answer. I’ve told the sheriff that I’ll hand his deputy over to him. What our good sheriff doesn’t know is that I’m not in a sharing kind of mood this evening.”
Ray went to sit just to hear a resounding click fill the silent room.
“I guess I haven’t made myself clear. You will move if, and only if, I like what you have to say. Now, on to business, why did you kill Rawlins?” This mystery woman had a voice that could make a man ache with lust. Even when it was accusing him of murder.
His hope disappeared. “You’re wrong, ma’am. Rawlins was my friend. I wasn’t the one that killed him. I was framed.”
The woman’s voice lowered in thinly controlled anger, “You couldn’t come up with a better story than that? My patience won’t hold much longer. I will ask you once more, and I really hate having to repeat myself. Why did you kill Rawlins?”
“I’m going to sit up, woman, don’t you go getting jumpy. I’ll tell you what I know,” he said exasperatedly. “I didn’t kill Rawlins. He was a friend of mine. Only friend I’ve got in the world. I would have sooner taken my own life. I was framed, and I’m going to find the son of a bitch that implicated me.”
A soft click sounded as his captor put the safety back on. After a pause, a match flared to life as the woman lit a nearly spent candle on the table by the bed. With the dim light Ray found he knew her. This was Rawlins’s daughter, Hope Rawlins, sitting in a rickety chair. Her hair in the dim light was nearly black, though it was pulled back in a long braid; thick locks had sprung loose framing her sun darkened face. Her eyes could have been any color under the cover of her generous lashes. She wore practical clothing of a man, but did nothing to keep her feminine curves hidden. Though the safety was back on she hadn’t lowered her weapon.
“When you ran, it made it look awfully bad for you,” Hope said.
“When I ran it was to find who really committed the murder. I can’t exactly do that if I’m swinging,” Ray said through clenched teeth. Thomas Rawlins had been the main reason he had even decided to join his own father in law enforcement. There had always been a lot of animosity growing up with a father that made his own law and ruled over his family and the town with back handed enthusiasm. Appearances were everything, though actual work was too much for his father.
“I’m starting to get bored with what you have to say, cowboy. I suggest you get to the point real quick. I’d hate for my face to be the last one you see before you go and meet your Maker.”
Ray took a breath and steeled himself, “A few weeks ago I was approached by a man that asked after Rawlins and what I knew of him. I told him to leave. It isn’t a stranger’s business what I may or may not know about him. One thing I did know, however, was that the stranger was not the trusting kind. I don’t know how I came to that conclusion. It certainly wasn’t how he was looked. Just a feelin’ I guess. Anyhow, every few days he’d come by to ask about Rawlins. He’d get the same answer from me every time. Finally, on his last visit he said to me, ‘I see you’re his man. You won’t be for long’. Two days later, I woke up with a pounding headache and Rawlins’ pocket watch lying next to my pistol smelling as it had been discharged on the table by the bed. Had I not stopped by Billy’s on the way into the Sheriff’s office I wouldn’t have heard what I had been accused of.”
“Your father is the sheriff. Certainly, he would have known that your story would hold water?”
“No. He isn’t the sort of man that does much digging. If the smoking gun was in my place with the watch, it would have been enough for him. I would have been strung up before the sun went down. His son or not.”
Hope gave an exhausted sigh, “If I didn’t know that for myself, I’d call you a liar. Pa never did like to talk to your old man if he could help it.”
“Look, ma’am. I want to find the ones responsible for Rawlins’ death. Not just to clear my name either. I’m not like my father. I believe in justice, and making sure it’s served right,” Ray spoke the words clearly and sincerely. He had looked up to Rawlins. He was a man of honor and justice. He never brought in men bloodied or dead unless there wasn’t any way around it. He had his daughter at his right hand for almost as long as Ray could remember, definitely longer than he had held his deputy position with his own father.
Hope gave him one long measuring look then slowly nodded, “Don’t give me a reason to regret this. Come on. It’s time to go.” Standing from her chair, Hope holstered her Colt.