A Hero to Her Rescue (Preview)


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Chapter One

“What are you doin’ there, Jamie Johnson?” the sheriff called out sharply as he came down the steps from his office.

The young lad jumped at the sound of the voice, grabbed the bag he had dropped at the side of the store, and ran off. Sheriff Mac stopped himself from smiling at the reaction and walked along the sidewalk with a quick look around everywhere as he usually did.

“Mornin’ Sheriff,” a young woman smiled at the man as he passed by.

“Mornin’ Mary Jane,” he answered. “Mind you don’t lose that shopping out of your basket.” She tucked in the material that was hanging over the edge and went on by.

Other folks spoke to the man and he always replied with a word about the town, the job, or how he could see they needed help with something. It was a rare occasion when anyone received a smile in return for one they gave to him but nobody noticed. They had all grown used to the stern features that covered the face of a man who was probably the best sheriff in the country. At least that was what they spoke about when he was nowhere near enough to hear them.

He passed the time of day with an older man called Jim who was enjoying the sunshine sitting on his porch. The man pointed with his clay pipe down the main street.

“Coach,” he said.

“Your ears are better than mine, Jim,” Sheriff Mac answered as the aforementioned stagecoach came into view with much rumbling of wheels and clouds of dust. It pulled up outside of the hotel.

“You’ll be off to check out the arrivals,” the old man observed with a grin and received a rare smile in return.

“That I am,” the sheriff replied and crossed the dusty roadway.

The driver and guard had secured the coach and jumped down when Mac approached.

“No problems?” the sheriff queried. The men shook their heads.

“You could almost like the job on a good day,” the driver grinned and opened the coach door. A couple who were returning home to Quest Junction climbed down and the sheriff greeted them. The guard passed down their bags and the couple moved away.

“Two more bags here,” the man said and put them on the ground. A young woman looked out of the stagecoach and the sheriff offered her a hand to step down.

“Thank you,” she said and looked around. She seemed satisfied with what she saw in the quiet town.

“Welcome to Quest Junction. Can I ask what your business here might be?” Mac asked. It was clear from the badge on his chest that he was the sheriff but Sadie Calunna still felt her hackles rise a little. She might be worried about some things but she sure could hold her own if she had to.

“Do you question every traveler that arrives in the town?” she answered a question with a question.

“Well, yes, actually,” he replied with a serious face. “I run a peaceful town here and I need to know who is in the area.” He picked up her bags and lifted them onto the sidewalk. Then he held out a hand. “Sheriff Mac Lewis,” he said. It was not apparent from his face but Mac Lewis had noted that the woman in front of him was pretty. She had long, dark hair that was brushed to a high sheen and partly covered her face. Her eyes were a dark brown as well and she had an elegance about her slim figure that made her seem a little distant. The elegance was reinforced by a velvet dress covered with a matching cape in the same shade but of a different material.

She took the offered hand and told him that she was Sadie Calunna and needed somewhere to stay if he could suggest somewhere.

“You are not staying at the hotel?” he queried. She shook her head.

“I am on an errand to deliver something for a friend to a Mrs. Constantinos and I would like to find somewhere to rent that can allow me to make my lace. Is that enough information for the law?” she finished by asking with a tartness in her voice. She realized that the man was still holding her hand and pulled it back.

He dropped his own hand to his side and looked her directly in the eye. The woman was elegant, beautiful, and in control of herself but Mac Lewis was exceptionally good at his job. He could sense that she was holding something back. He relented.

“My sister has a lodging house that is clean and well run. I can walk you there if you like.”

Sadie recognized the fact that he had softened and was no longer questioning her. She smiled and told him that would be much appreciated.

He picked up the bags.

They passed down a main street with a variety of buildings. Some of them looked quite new and some were weather-worn and jumbled as if they had been put together bit by bit. In fact, some of them probably had. One or two of them even looked as if the upstairs was too heavy for the ground floor to hold up. The town had started as a gold miner’s supply base. Some of the buildings were from that era and some had grown up as the place grew and changed. There was a small, pretty church set back from the main street. Sadie noted several saloons there were quiet and not filled with noisy drunks. As they passed on the other side of the street from the fourth one, two men emerged through the swinging doors, struggling with each other and with the huge barman who was hauling them out by the collars.

“Excuse me,” Mac said and put down her bags. “Stay here.”

He drew the gun from his holster in one fluid movement and shot it into the air. That stopped the drunks fighting with each other but one of them turned to draw a gun and the sheriff shot it out of his hand with such ease and speed that Sadie found herself transfixed.

The man with the hand that had held the gun was grasping at it and crying out in pain. Mac motioned for the other man to go and he ran off at speed.

“Send for the doc and sort this one out,” he said to the barman as several onlookers had now come out to see what was happening. The barman sent one young man off to find the doc. “When the doc fixes the hand, you will be leaving town,” the sheriff said brusquely to the man he had shot and received a nod as the man still held the bleeding hand against his chest. The doctor came with his black bag and took the man to sit on the sidewalk.

“All over, folks. Nothing more to see,” the sheriff called out and looked at each of the folks who had come out of curiosity. They nodded and moved away. Mac came back to where Sadie still stood on the sidewalk and picked up the bags as if nothing had happened. She stayed in one place and didn’t move.

“Sorry about that,” he said and put the bags down again. “You all right?“

“I never saw shooting like that. In fact, I never really saw shooting before.” The sheriff caught the faint expression that crossed her face before she returned to the aloof look that she had worn before. That look that had been there for a second was definitely fear.

“Part of the job,” he said with a matter-of-fact air. “They have to know that I mean what I say.” He picked up the bags again. “Come on and meet my sister. It isn’t far now.”

They turned off the main street and threaded their way through a group of smaller houses. It brought them out to a view of the open landscape behind a large house and tidy garden. The gate was closed and the whole place was fenced neatly.

A woman came out onto the porch steps and then came down when she saw her brother.

He put the two bags down again.

“Sadie Calunna meet my sister, Georgia Mansfield. Sadie needs somewhere to stay.”

“Pleased to meet you,” Georgia said. “Come inside. Mac can bring your bags.”

It was not lost on Sadie that the sheriff that had all the townsfolk in line, did as his sister told him. She caught a brief smile as he bent to take the luggage and allowed herself a smile in return. Their eyes met over the bags and Sadie felt a little lurch in her insides. The man was handsome when he allowed himself to unbend a little. Maybe Quest Junction with a good sheriff in charge was the haven she was looking for.

Georgia held the door and they went into a large and comfortable living room. A man came in from the kitchen and was introduced as Joe, Georgia’s husband and he took her luggage away to a bedroom.

“Have a seat,” Georgia said. “Would you like some coffee or lemonade?” She looked at her brother. “Sit, Mac. The town can manage for five minutes.” He sat and looked a little bit sheepish. Sadie decided to put him back into his sheriff role.

“I suppose you want to know what my business is with Missus Constantinos?” she said.

“Have you been grilling this poor girl?” Georgia asked as she brought in cups and a plate of cake. “He does it to everyone. Don’t worry about it.” She looked at Sadie. “But how do you know Missus Constantinos?”

Sadie laughed out loud.

“It runs in the family.”

“Agreed,” Georgia said. “I am just plain nosey.”

“The cousin of a friend of mine was here a little while ago and Missus Constantinos heard about my lacemaking. She asked for some and I have brought it.” There was a silence. “And now you want to see it. Show me where the bags have gone.”

Georgia laughed as well and told her to come and see the room. The bedroom was delightful and Sadie was taken aback by how pretty it was.

“Oh, I love this room. It is just lovely.” She went and opened the smaller bag and brought out a carefully wrapped parcel. “It would be better opened on the table,” she said. Downstairs she gently opened the package and held up the lace edging.

Georgia gasped.

“I won’t touch it. It is just so delicate and intricate. Are you telling me that you made this?”

“My mom learned to make lace in Europe and I picked it up from her. She and dad were weavers. I prefer the lace making.” She carefully packed it away again.

“Alexa Constantinos likes pretty things. She will love this,” Georgia said.

“We can show you where she lives tomorrow,” Joe added.

“I’ll get back to work,” Mac said as he stood up.

“Thanks for finding me somewhere to stay,” Sadie told him and he gave her a nod without a smile. They all followed him to the door and down the steps.

“Watch out. Here they come!” Georgia called out. Then two dogs came hurtling towards Sadie. Georgia called to them to stop. “Oh, Lord,” she added under her breath. “Think I am just about to lose a good customer.”

The two large and shaggy brown dogs with tongues lolling out as they ran were a sight to behold. They were an intimidating pair if you did not know that they were harmless and friendly. Sadie saw them coming and caught her breath until she saw they were just coming to say hello. She lowered herself towards the ground and opened her arms wide. Then she braced herself as she was cannoned into by a hairy and enthusiastic welcome.

She was quite oblivious to the other people round about as she rubbed the dogs in genuine welcome with complete disregard for her elegant velvet dress. Mac had put up his hand to stop the dogs before they hit the woman but he stood there with it in the air. Mac could tell that Sadie was definitely somebody who loved dogs as she lowered herself to say hello to dogs who loved people. He glanced across at his sister who had her mouth open in amazement.

Sadie remembered that she was a guest in somebody’s house and looked around to see if they minded. She caught, for the first time, a real smile of delight on the face of the grumpy sheriff. He stepped forward and offered her a hand to get up from the ground.

“I am sorry. I just love dogs. I could tell they were friendly.”

Georgia shook her head.

“Well, you met your match, Mackenzie Lewis. She is as daft as you are.” Then she told Sadie that the dogs belonged to Mac but stayed with her while he was working. “He is just soppy about those two but don’t let the secret get out.”

“What are their names?” she asked him.

“Ben and Ted,” he told her. “Ben has the darker shade on his nose.”

“Where I worked before, the lady had three tiny dogs and I helped look after them. They had fancy names because she was French and they were her little poppets.”

“These two sure are not poppets,” Mac said. “Back to the office, folks.” He held up his hand. “Sit.” The two shaggy but friendly monsters obediently plopped their bottoms onto the ground. His sister threw him a piece of biscuit and he caught it and gave the two dogs a treat. Then he jumped over the gate and walked away.

Then he reappeared at a run.

“Get inside and close the doors.” He ran back and was drawing his gun as he went. The sound of shooting and shouting could be heard in the distance.

Chapter Two

Joe ushered the two women and the dogs inside the house and then he took a rifle and went back to the door.

“What could be wrong?” Sadie wondered.

“Probably nothing more than somebody causing trouble in the street but Mac always thinks the worst,” Georgia answered.

“He broke up a drunken brawl on our way here,” Sadie told her. “He shot the gun out of the man’s hand and then sent for the doctor. I never saw anyone shoot like that before.”

“Then he would tell the man to leave town,” Joe said over his shoulder from the doorway. “That’s why we have a peaceful place to live—normally.”

“He is a wonder with his gun,” Georgia said. “I am proud of what my brother does but it’s a dangerous job.”

“No noise out there now,” Joe reported. “I’ll go and have a look.”

“Be careful,” Georgia cried out. “You are not paid to keep the law like Mac is.”

“I’ll check the school,” Joe said and gave her a peck on the cheek. He left and took the rifle with him just in case.

“Have you got children in the school?” Sadie asked. Georgia nodded and then smiled.

“Are you as good with kids as you are with dogs? I have twin boys aged twelve and they are always up to something. I am guessing that all of the noses will have been pressed to the school windows even though they would be told to stay down.”

“I have never had much to do with children before,” Sadie confessed.

“It’s baptism by fire with those two,” Georgia gave her a smile. “Back to the washing and cooking.” She went into the kitchen and Georgia looked out of the window.

“I think Joe is bringing the boys home.” Georgia came back and opened the door.

“What happened. You boys alright?”

“Yes, Mom,” the first one who had longer hair said as he looked at Sadie. “I’m Butler.”

“And I’m Cooper,” his identical twin told her and offered his hand to shake. She shook it and said that she was Sadie.

“These two are so matter-of-fact,” their dad told the two women. “Some fools tried to chase some steers down the street and it all went wrong. They knocked into the schoolhouse and damaged the building.”

“So, we got to come home early,” Butler added. “Anything to eat?”

“Bread and cheese,” his mom said and the two lads went into the kitchen. The two dogs followed them sensing that food was going to be available.

“It could have been worse but there is quite a bit of damage to property. Don’t think anyone was hurt though,” Joe told them.

“What about Mac?” Sadie said with a little tremor of fear that something had put the man in danger.

“He’s taking the deputies to round up the steers and then sort out the men.”

“How many deputies?” Georgia asked and Sadie saw that she also was worried about her brother.

“All four. They are good cowboys themselves and I would think one or two other men rode along to help.”

Georgia nodded and went back to the kitchen.

Sadie decided to sort out her clothes and change into something more everyday than the velvet.

The bedroom was so pretty that she sat on the bed and looked at it properly. The washbasin and jug were a pretty pale green and the other pictures and ornaments toned in with that. The pillowcases had ruffled edges, the quilt was in various shades of green and the extra blanket was thrown across the foot of the bed was a darker green. She looked outside and took in the view at the back of the property.

There was a large yard and a couple of barns. Some horses were in a corral and chickens scratched about happily. To one side was a small house that looked to be not used. She wondered if the place had once been a ranch. It looked as if the land went a long way into the distance. The fencing in the distance looked as if it fastened off a large area of vegetables.

Sadie changed into a dark-colored everyday dress and put on comfortable little boots that she wore around the house. She gave her hair a brush and tied it back. Then she went downstairs and offered to help if Georgia needed it.

“Have a comfortable seat. A long journey takes it out of you,” Georgia said. The moment she sat, the two dogs came and pushed up beside her. She rested a hand on each head.

“Mom says you caught the dogs when they ran at you,” Cooper said and sat on the hearth beside the dogs. “I like horses better myself but Uncle Mac thinks dogs are better than people.”

“I guess he meets a lot of bad people. The dogs are friendly, big, and excitable but not dangerous,” Sadie told him.

“I suppose he does meet bad folk. I never thought of that before,” Cooper said with a serious look on his face. He looked, for an instant, exactly like his Uncle Mac.

“What sort of horses do you like best?” Sadie asked.

The lad grinned. “A big, jumpy, fast Arab with a flying mane and tail.”

His mom came in from the kitchen.

“He is a good rider but we cannot afford anything like that. He’s talking about a racehorse really.”

“Is that what you would do? Race horses?” Sadie asked with a smile. “It would scare me to death.”

“I would love to do it but I think you have to be a small person so the weight is less,” Cooper told her. “I can be a cowboy and still have a fast horse.”

“What about you, Butler?” Sadie asked. The other boy was more reticent than his brother.

“Think I might have a business of my own—don’t know what though.”

“It will come to you and you will know,” she told him. “Tell me what Quest Junction is like.” She learned quite a lot about the town in a few minutes with the two boys who chattered about the school, their friends, the strange people to watch out for, and how they wished the railroad came all the way to the town.

“Walshaw Crossing gets loads more stuff than we do because the railroad stops there.”

“I had a quick look at the place before I came on the stagecoach. It seemed a lot dustier and noisier than here,” Sadie told them. Cooper jumped up as the dogs looked at the door with their ears pricked up.

“Uncle Mac,” Butler said. Cooper opened the door.

“Who were they, Uncle Mac?”

“Those fools were rustlers but absolutely useless at it. The steers went the wrong way and ended up in town. Then they panicked and you saw what happened.” The boys thought that was a great story and laughed about useless rustlers.

“Did you catch them?” Butler asked.

“This is me we are talking about,” Mac punched the boys on the arm. “But I need two young cowhands to help me get the steers in the back corral till I find out who they belong to.”

“Woohoo!” Cooper shouted and ran for the corral to saddle his horse. Butler followed.

“You need me as well?” Joe asked but Mac shook his head.

“Don’t need them really but it is good practice for them and they’ll love it.”

“I’ll leave the steak until you all come back,” Georgia said.

“Thanks,” Mac said and looked at Sadie.

“Believe me most days are not like this here.”

“Maybe I brought trouble with me.” She smiled.

“Nope, Colin Maddison and his friends brought it without any help from anyone else. He’ll have time to regret it in a cell.” That was said with a serious and determined air. Then they heard the boys call from outside and he went to mount his horse and join them.

“I’ll open the place up for the steers,” Joe called.

Sheriff Mac rode away with his two very excited nephews.

Sadie said that she would go to her room and take out her lacemaking bobbins.

“I would like to see that,” Georgia called back from the kitchen. Sadie said that was fine and took out her work in progress in the pretty bedroom. She spread it over a pillow and set the pillow on a chair so that the little exquisite, slender bobbins fell down around the sides and held the threads taut. She was making a very simple lace collar. One half was finished and the other was underway. The two sections of the collar would be handstitched together when they were both complete.

There was a knock on the door and Georgia came in.

“Oh Lord. That looks so complicated. How do you know which ones to move?” Sadie laughed.

“Just been doing it since I was a girl,” she answered. “Do you mind if I work at it here? I might be able to sell some of the smaller pieces.”

Georgia was happy to see the work happen.

“I will buy that when it’s finished. If I wear it, people will ask for other pieces.”

“Thank you.”

“I have another guest coming tomorrow. A man who stays here when he comes to town on business.” She hesitated and Sadie looked at her. “He likes the ladies,” Georgia smiled. “Working in here might well be an escape.”

Sadie looked alarmed.

“He is not a danger but can be a bit of a nuisance. He knows I will throw him out if he oversteps the mark.”

“I gather he’s tried it on you?” Sadie queried.

“That just shows you how silly he is,” Georgia grinned. “I sorted that out real quick.” Then she added that she would take her to Missus Constantinos in the morning.

“I’ll sort out the samples I have as well,” Sadie said. She looked at her landlady and opened up the package that showed small pieces of edgings, collars, cuffs, and table decorations. They all had slightly different designs and Georgia was entranced. “Do you think I would be able to sell enough in Quest Heights to make a living wage?”

“It would take time to build it up a clientele but why not? Like the boys were saying, we suffer from not having the railroad. Folks here need to see something different.” She looked at the chair and said that she had a stool that would be better for the lace making.

There was a noise from outside and they both moved to the window. Six men and two boys were waving Stetsons and shouting at the herd of assorted steers that were being shuffled into the corral behind the property. Joe was holding the gate and staying back out of the way. Then the last of the cattle went inside and he closed them in. They could see Mac thanking the other men and they rode away. The two women went downstairs and outside. The dogs came with them and went to the fence to sniff at the new arrivals. Mac called them back as he turned his mount into the smaller corral.

“Uncle Mac! Some of them are from the Lazy M,” Cooper said.

“I will have to let the owners know tomorrow. They probably haven’t even missed them yet. It looks like a few head from a lot of different ranches.”

“Come and eat,” Georgia said. “Conrad Jade is arriving tomorrow.”

“Oh no,” Mac groaned.

“I warned Sadie.”

“I will make lace in my room and stay out of the way,” Sadie said.

Chapter Three

Georgia served steak and fried potatoes. Then followed it up with a light sponge cake with fresh raspberries and cream.

“That was delicious,” Sadie said.

“Take a seat and let it settle,” Georgia told her. Mac handed her a coffee and sat opposite in front of the fire.

“I eat here and Georgia looks after the dogs but the little house out back is mine,” he said by way of explanation.

“It works for all of us,” Joe said and joined them. “The land belonged to their mom and dad.”

“Joe prefers being a farmer to a rancher and we get to eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruit,” Mac added. “Where did you grow up?” he asked her.

“He never stops working,” Georgia said. “Give the woman a chance to settle in.”

“I’m originally from a town called McClement,” Sadie said. “My mom, dad, and brother have all passed away.” She had stayed for a short while in McClement but it was not her hometown.

“Oh, how awful,” Georgia interjected.

“I went to work for someone in the town and then found work in a bigger town with a French lady called Madame Francois.”

“You seemed to like her,” Mac put in. “What made you head for Quest Junction?”

Sadie knew he was quizzing her and told him that she had grown up with her parents making their own business and she wanted to do the same. She felt uneasy as the story was true but she left out the reason that she had moved on once again. She felt that he would know she was uneasy but Georgia saved the moment by asking her to bring down her lacemaking and let the others see it.

The boys were warned not to touch any of it and Sadie did a little demonstration of lifting and moving the bobbins. The dogs were locked in the kitchen.

“Amazing,” Mac said and she felt a little thrill of pleasure that the man actually liked what she was doing. “I had better take these dogs for their nightly walk. You coming, boys?”

“No thanks,” they echoed together. The sheriff shook his head and headed for the kitchen.

“Do you mind if I come with you or would that spoil your walk?” Sadie asked as he reached the door.

“Be my guest,” he said and waited as she took the lace back to her room and came down pushing her arms into a jacket.

“If you haven’t the time to take the dogs out, I would gladly do it,” she told him.

“I’ll keep that in mind,” he said and the two of them set off with the dogs running in circles with noses to the ground.

After a short distance when she was almost trotting to keep up with him, she called out. “Stop. Stop,” she said and he looked in alarm. She laughed. “My legs are not as long as yours, slow down.”

The sheriff gave her a genuine grin and pointed out the various parts of the farm until she caught her breath. They went at a slower pace and she saw that the vegetable garden was quite a large undertaking. It stretched away in neat rows of different crops. They stopped to look at them and Mac waved an arm.

“I grew up here but I guess people say it takes their breath away.”

Sadie looked at the panoramic view with mountains folding into each other in the distance. There were lots of rocky outcroppings rising straight up from the ground but lots of level plains that would have been used for cattle at one time.

“It is very impressive,” Sadie said. “I would not like to be out there on my own.”

“Now that is a sensible attitude. Lots of folks come here, look at the views and ride off without knowing how to look after themselves. The locals know to take care.”

“I will take care and not go wandering off on my own.”

They turned and walked slowly back to the farmhouse with the dogs at their heels. The chickens had been put into the chicken coop and the rustled cattle were eating the grass and the sound of their breathing was quiet and peaceful. The dogs took no notice of the new arrivals and headed for the little house that she had seen from her window.

Mac came with her to the farmhouse, stuck his head inside, and called to his sister. Sadie went inside and the sheriff took his dogs into his own house.

Sadie said goodnight to Georgia and climbed the stairs. She reflected that such a lot had been packed into one day. She sat on the edge of the pretty bed and let down her guard.

“This place is the sort of thing I was looking for,” she said to herself. “The sheriff is ready to spot anyone who arrives in town and maybe I can start a business here.” She smiled as she thought about the two big, shaggy dogs, and the image of the sheriff himself came into her head. He was stern and serious most of the time but she smiled to herself at the thought of him and drifted off to sleep thinking about the man.

“A Hero to Her Rescue” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!

When Daisy Stoddart finds her brother robbed and killed, she is forced to leave everything behind and flee to safety. Hiding under the assumed name Sadie, she lives with the fear that her brother’s killer will come after her too. Since the main suspect is her own cousin, her worry and anguish are well-founded. Being on the run for five years and constantly looking over her shoulder, her exquisite lace-making skills will bring her to Quest Junction. There, she will meet a gruff but handsome sheriff, who will quickly capture her heart in spite of his surly attitude. At long last, could Daisy have finally found a place to call home and someone to make her feel safe and loved again?

Carrying the heavy burden of a past mistake, Mackenzie Lewis has made it his business to be the perfect sheriff. The townsfolk of Quest Junction ignore his brusque demeanor, knowing that he would do anything to keep them safe. Comfortable in his solitude, he has no room for a woman in his life, until Sadie arrives in town and changes everything. From the moment their eyes meet he can tell she’s hiding something, and yet he finds himself intensely drawn to her. As time goes by, his affection and a powerful need to protect her keep growing, leaving no doubt that he is falling for her. After his own life is put at risk, will he still be able to let his guard down and open up his heart?

While Sadie and Mac grow closer, awful truths from her tragic past are about to come to light. When her cousin suddenly arrives in town, the mystery surrounding her brother’s death begins to unravel, and Sadie is placed in terrible peril. Will the brave Sheriff manage to save the woman he loves and bring justice for her brother? Will she find in his eyes an answer to her prayers or will outside forces threaten both their lives and their chance at happiness?

“A Hero to Her Rescue” is a historical western romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.

Get your copy from Amazon!


Grab my new series, "Brave Hearts of the Frontier", and get 2 FREE novels as a gift! Have a look here!

One thought on “A Hero to Her Rescue (Preview)”

  1. Hello my dears, I hope you enjoyed the preview and that you are as excited as I am for this upcoming release! Make sure to leave me you comments here. I’m so looking forward to read them 🙂

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