Reaching for his six-shooter, Cass waved his 17-year-old sidekick to safety and poked his head around the corner. A bearded figure in a sack suit was climbing through the window. Apparently, a thief was breaking into the hotel.
Cass marveled at the irony. All his life, he’d wanted to be a Ranger, to fight for right and make the world a safe place for little kiddies to play. Even though that dream had been derailed when he turned vigilante, Cass’s altruistic side couldn’t let some desperado barge into the building and loot innocent folks.
Stepping into the moonlight, he confronted the burglar.
“What’s the matter, mister? Three flights of stairs aren’t enough exercise? ”
The thief went rigid.
“Hands,” Cass barked, cocking his .45.
Slowly, reluctantly, the burglar spread his gloves in the universal sign of surrender.
“I’ll frisk him,” Collie volunteered, lurching forward in his widow’s weeds. The matched pair of cantaloupes in his corset thumped together like rolling thunder.
Cass wanted to wallop the kid for such a lousy stakeout disguise. “Confound it, Birdie, is that how your mama taught a lady to behave?”
The burglar chuckled. The sound was low and husky, reminding Cass of whiskey, scarlet, and sin all rolled into one.
“Looks like Birdie found Admiral Farragut’s lost torpedoes.”
“Mind your manners, cockroach,” Cass growled. “You’re talking to a lady.”
Straight white teeth flashed in the thief’s graying beard. “Somebody’s got his facts all tangled.”
Cass’s brow furrowed. Something about that voice wasn’t right. For one thing, it wasn’t scratchy enough to be old. For another, it reminded him poignantly of Sadie.
Cass cursed himself. Now wasn’t the time to get distracted by grief. Sadie had betrayed him. She’d told the Rangers about his murder warrant. After a hurt like that, Cass shouldn’t have cared that the golden-eyed hellion had vanished in a fire.
But no matter how he tried, he couldn’t stop thinking about those long-lost days of star-gazing, berry-picking, and sharing secrets in the hayloft with Sadie. A yawning emptiness consumed his soul. The nights had lost their thrill because he could never love, war, and make up again with the Devil’s Red-Haired Daughter.
He dragged his thoughts back to his prisoner. “What’s that bulge under your coat?”
The ghost of a dimple peeked beneath the thief’s derby. “The usual.”
“Want to be more specific?”
“See for yourself.”
Cass frowned. This conversation was familiar—macabrely familiar. But his memory had to do with Sadie and a skimpy negligee that had nearly stopped his heart.
“Take off your hat,” he commanded suspiciously.
Another saucy dimple peeked. “You want it? Come and get it, hotshot.”
Cass’s patience was rapidly unraveling. Defying knives, blinding powder, and whatever else the thief might throw, Cass stalked closer. A tepid breeze stirred the draperies. The masculine scents of leather and horse wafted past his nose, along with the feminine fragrance of rosehips.
Sadie’s favorite tea.
Now Cass was close enough to notice anomalies beneath the burglar’s bowler: a mustache that was just a hair off balance. Lips that were pink and kissably soft.
Cass’s brain told his senses they were liars, but his heart couldn’t give up the hope. With a shaking hand, he knocked off the thief’s hat.
In the next instant, a boot sent his gun flying. A second drop-kick plowed into his midsection.
“Son of a—” Cass stumbled to his knees, winded.
Collie reached for his revolver.
“No!” Cass tackled the boy. They hit the carpet in a tangle of limbs and lace. “That’s Sadie!”
“Are you loco? Sadie’s dead!”
They flopped like a couple of beached whales, Cass’s spurs shredding the boy’s petticoats.
Sadie glanced over her shoulder, that wicked dimple flirting with her lips. One last smirk for his embarrassment. One last sigh for all that might have been.
Then, with an audacious wink, she fled.
Lady Law & The Gunslinger Series
Pinkerton Agent Sadie Michelson poses as a casino singer to investigate a Texas Senator. Before she can cozy up to her quarry, she must get past his bodyguard, William Cassidy, her long-lost lover.
An outlaw seeking redemption, Cass was lured to Texas by the promise of a Ranger badge. But he hasn’t forgotten the sassy siren, who toyed with his heart. When Sadie proposes a truce, Cass suspects she’s hiding something.
With assassins dogging their heels, Cass and Sadie uncover a murder conspiracy in the senate. To stay alive, they must do the one thing they’re dead set against: trust each other.