“The Sheriff takes a Bride” Sample Chapter


Prologue
Montana 1880
Mae looked out of the cabin window and saw the daffodils breaking through the melting snow.
She gazed down at her newborn daughter sleeping in her arms.
“I know your name,” she whispered to the babe, “you are Spring.”
A stray tear of joy and sadness rolled down Mae’s cheek as she saw her husband looking back
at her from her daughter’s eyes. Oh, how she wished Cal could be here—still alive, sharing in this
blessing.
Six months had passed since the accident that took her husband from her, but the memory was
still fresh. The thundering sound of galloping horses pounded in her recollection. And the vision of the
terrified animals dragging a wagon behind them still lived vivid in her mind’s eye.
Fear had swirled in her being when she recognized Cal’s empty wagon. Helplessly she
witnessed her father-in-law, Eli, stop the lathered team and quickly check the wagon. He ran into the
barn and within moments bolted out on horseback and charged down the path.
Mae recalled how she sat on the front porch swing waiting in suffocating silence, not able to
form words of prayer or thoughts of hope. She could only wait.
How much time had passed when she recognized Eli leading his horse up the path, she did not
know. She would never forget rising from the swing and walking toward her father-in-law. Each step
felt like she was sinking deeper and deeper into quicksand. Only a few feet from Eli, she stopped. A
body hung over Eli’s horse. Mae remembered the taste of desperation she felt as she recognized Cal’s
boots on the body. She took one look at Eli’s tortured face and everything went black.
When the world came back into view, Mae recalled Eli looking down at her as she lay in her
bed. Tears dropped from Eli’s eyes as he spoke what she already knew.
“Cal is dead, daughter.”
Eli took a deep breath. “Doc came by and he said we might lose you and the baby. Please, stay
calm Mae, the baby is fine.”
“The baby is fine.” The words brought her back to the present. Mae look at her tiny bundle and
repeated, “the baby is fine… Spring is fine.”
Her thoughts were interrupted by a gentle rap at the door.
“Daughter?” Eli gently said as he slowly opened the door.
“Doc just left and said it was all right to come in and see you and the baby.
“Of course, Pa. Come on in and meet your granddaughter. Eli Jamison, I would like you to
meet Spring Jamison, your granddaughter.”
Eli’s finger reached out to gently touch the babe’s hand. Spring wrapped her tiny hand around
his finger and held on tightly. The old man was undone. A single tear dropped from his bright blue eyes
and rolled down his cheek into his snow-white beard.
“Mae, I plan on staying here with you and the baby. My son is gone and it’s my
responsibility to care and protect his family. But, to tell you the truth, I want to stay, that is if it’s all
right with you.”
“Of course it’s all right with me. I would love for you to stay here with us.”
* * * * *
The years passed quickly and Spring grew into a happy child. She was a delight to her mother
and the apple of her grandfather’s eye, but tragedy would come into her life once again. When Spring
was eight years old, her mother came down with a pneumonia. Although Mae fought hard to stay, her
illness prevailed and she died within a week.
Spring stood in the pouring rain holding her grandfather’s hand as she watched the muddy dirt
cover her mother’s coffin. A small bouquet of daffodils—her mother’s favorite flower—were clutched
in Spring’s small hand and gently she laid them on her mother’s fresh grave.
Before her death, Mae taught Spring a few of the things a woman needed to know, like sewing
and cooking. Realizing that he likely would not be around to protect his granddaughter, Eli focused
more on the skills he believed the girl needed to know in order to take care of herself. By the time she
was a teenager, Spring could hunt, ride a horse, shoot a gun and follow a trail and she wasn’t afraid to
throw a few punches if the situation called for it. Despite Spring’s abilities, deep down Eli prayed God
would send her a good man to marry, one who would love her and keep her safe.
Chapter One
Eli and Spring were eating breakfast when they heard a rider approaching their cabin.
“You stay put, Spring,” Eli ordered as he reached for his rifle and went out the door.
“That’s close enough,” Eli warned.
The young man raised his arms when he saw the rifle pointed at him.
“It’s okay, old-timer, I’m a deputy from Harmony.” He pointed to his badge.
Eli slowly lowered his rifle but was still suspicious of the man in front of him.
“What can I do for you, deputy?”
“The Sheriff sent me out this way to warn folks of a gang of men raiding farms and ranches.”
“I’m listening,” said Eli.
“Well, they usually come at night and steal whatever they can from horses to money to jewelry.
The sheriff wanted everyone alerted to the situation.”
“You live here alone, old man?”
“Yes,” Eli answered.
“Okay, let us know if you see anyone suspicious.”
“No need, if one of them fellas comes up here, he will meet my rifle.”
“Well make sure it’s one of them and not someone else like a lone deputy.”
“Be careful” the young man said and he turned to ride away.
* * * * *
Once or twice a month, Eli would venture to town to sell furs to the general store and rabbits to
the restaurants. Sometimes he even sold wood carvings he made to bring in extra money. Eli was never
good at having a regular job. Living in nature and surviving on his own as a mountain man gave Eli
peace. He had tried to settle down once in his younger days when he had met Cal’s mother, but that
kind of life made him restless and his wife knew he was not happy on her family’s ranch. They agreed
that he would go back to the mountains and would come home when he could. Unlike his father, Cal
loved the ranch and hoped one day to have his own. Eli made it a point to come home as often as
possible. He loved his wife and son dearly, but was a better man if he could live some time out in
nature. Although the arrangement may have seemed strange to others, they were a happy family. Born
into a family who had ranched for generations, Cal’s mother knew how to run a ranch. She hired
experienced men to work for her and Cal learned all he could about ranching from them.
After a long illness, Cal’s mother died when he was just eighteen. Sadly, the ranch had to be
sold to pay medical bills. Eli had been with her throughout her illness and after the funeral tried to talk
Cal into going with him, but Cal was set on having his own ranch someday. They parted ways, but still
remained in touch even though it was hard at times. Five years had passed when a letter made it to Eli.
Cal had married, bought a small ranch near the town of Harmony and wanted his pa to come visit.
Elated by the news from his son, Eli set out the next day to visit his family. When Eli arrived not only
did he meet his new daughter–in–law, but he also found out he would soon be a grandfather. Little did
he know how events would unfold and how he would be left to raise his only grandchild.
* * * * *
“Spring!” Eli called for his granddaughter. “Spring! Where is that dad gum girl… Spring!”
Spring was down at the creek when she heard her grandfather call
“Shoot! I wish Grandpa wouldn’t make me go with him. I would rather stay here with you,
Lobo.”
The animal cocked his head as if he was listening to the girl. The wolf had been rescued by
Spring when he was just a pup. Sick, weak and missing a small part of his ear, the wolf had been
abandoned and left to die. Under Spring’s tender care, he grew stronger and knowing a wolf is a wild
animal, she returned him to the wild when he was older. Happily, however, she would see Lobo at the
creek from time to time, and today was one of those times.
“Spring!”
“I got to go, Lobo. I really hate going to town. Hopefully, we will be back before too long.”
Taking her time, Spring trudged up the path and found Eli sitting on the wagon waiting for her.
“Spring, didn’t you hear me calling? Get yourself up here on the wagon so we can go. I don’t
want to be in town all day.”
“Grandpa, do I have to go? I hate going into town, the townspeople look down on country
folk.”
“And just where did you hear that?”
“From you, of course.”
“Well then never you mind, just put that hair of yours under your hat and remember you are a
boy and your name is Jimmy.”
“I remember, Grandpa. But I don’t have to be a boy to take care of myself.”
Patting her jacket, Spring checked on her hidden gun. She asked Grandpa if she could bring it
for protection but he had told her absolutely not; he had the rifle for protection. When he wasn’t
watching, Spring had taken the gun and hid it under her jacket before she went to the creek. Grandpa
did not know that she had peeked out the window when the deputy came by and heard him warn Eli of
the raiders.
“We are almost to town girl, so you remember….”
“Grandpa,” Spring interrupted, “I remember, I’m a boy and my name is Jimmy.”
Chapter Two
It had been two months since Zeke Oakley became the sheriff of Harmony. Nothing much
happened in Harmony so he figured it would be an easy job and a way to save money to buy the ranch
he always wanted. But within a few weeks, things had changed and Harmony was no longer peaceful.
Now Zeke had to contend with a gang of raiders who were robbing and burning the outlying
homesteads. It was just a matter of time before someone was going to be killed by these men. Zeke
took his responsibilities seriously. He had sworn an oath to protect the people of Harmony, and he was
determined to put an end to the raiders.
After rounding up volunteer deputies, Zeke sent them out to warn the outlying farms and
ranches about the raiders. Zeke and his deputy, Bill Weston, along with some of the volunteer deputies
searched for any trails or clues that might lead to the capture of the raiders, but were unsuccessful and
returned late in the evening, tired and empty handed. The next morning, Zeke planned to stay in town
while he sent out a fresh group of men to continue the search. After finishing his rounds, Zeke decided
to take a break and sat on the chair outside the jail. With his legs propped up on the hitching post, he
slanted his hat down over his eyes, hoping for a few moments of rest.
The sound of the wagon wheels got his attention and for just a moment he peered from under
his hat to see an old man and a boy pull up to the general store. Zeke closed his eyes and went back to
relaxing. His rest would not last for long.
* * * * *
“Good morning, Sam,” said Eli. “I have furs to trade for some supplies and some of those wood
carvings too.”
“Well, Eli these are fine furs and look at those carvings. Eli, I don’t know how you do it but
your carvings are so real people love them. Just look at this horse, how in the world do you make them
so lifelike?”
“Aw,… I don’t know, it ain’t that much, just something I do when I have spare time. Kinda
relaxes me.”
“Well is this young fella your grandson?” Sam said as Spring walked in the door. “He don’t
come into to town very often.”
“No, he ain’t my grandson, he is my nephew, Jimmy. He don’t talk much and don’t like to
come to town. Jimmy, you remember Sam Wilson; Mr. Wilson runs the store.”
Spring gave him a nod.
“Good to see you, son,” Sam said. “Say Eli, do you ever hear from that little granddaughter of
yours, her name was…?
“Spring,” Eli answered.
“That’s right, Spring. I remember she was a pretty little thing. She went back east when she
was about ten, didn’t she?”
“She was closer to thirteen, and yes, I do hear from her sometimes.”
Spring listened to the conversation. She knew her grandpa hated to lie, but he worried when
Spring started to come into her womanhood. Reminding him that he had taught her to defend herself
did not make any difference to her grandfather. He would do anything to protect her
“It’s good she keeps in touch with you, Eli,” Sam continued.Next time you write her tell her
Mr. Wilson from the store says ‘hi’ and he still has peppermint sticks; I remember she loved peppermint
sticks. Such a sweet girl, but I remember she had a bit of a temper as well. She got into a brawl right in
front of my store with that Dobbins girl. They was kicking and pulling hair and rolling around on the
ground. I remember your Spring got the best of her – ha! The Dobbins girl dropped a lollipop on the
ground and Spring sat on her and made her eat that dirty lollipop. When Spring let her go, the Dobbins
girl got up and ran home crying to her ma. Tough girl that granddaughter of yours.”
Spring smiled to herself, remembering the fight. Sue Dobbins constantly teased her about being
a poor country girl, but that day Sue had the misfortune of saying that her grandpa was an ignorant old
fool who…. Sue never finished her insult. Spring was on her in a flash.
“Sam,” said Eli changing the subject, “Jimmy here will load up our supplies from the list. I
have to take some rabbits to Mary Dunn’s restaurant and to the hotel for their restaurant. I will be back
with money for the bill. Jimmy, you stay here and load the wagon,” he said to Spring with a look in his
eye that she took to mean that she better behave.
“Yes sir, “Spring managed to say in her fake male voice.
* * * * *
Zeke was still relaxing when he heard Floyd Burke’s bellowing voice and the giggles of the so
called ladies that were with him. Not wanting his peace interrupted, Zeke did not move, but said a
silent prayer that they would just walk on by and not cause trouble. From what Zeke had heard, Floyd
was a low life drifter who used to come to Harmony to cause trouble and every time was run off by the
sheriff. About two years ago he came back to town, but this  he had money. Lots of money. In other words, Floyd was rich. No one knew how he had come into his fortune, but all were sure it was
not from anything legal. He had a large home and all the trappings of a wealthy man, but money could
not change the fact that he was still a low life. What Floyd wanted most of all was power and respect.
The money gave him power, but it did not get him respect. Even though there were people who would
do his bidding, they did it out of fear and necessity, but not respect. Floyd still liked to cause trouble so
other people could see that he was a big man.
“Floyd honey,” Zeke could hear one of the women cackle, “look at this dress in the store
window, ain’t it beautiful! Buy it for me, would you please, honey?”
Floyd was about to respond when Spring came out of the store carrying a load of supplies. She
nearly ran into the other woman with Floyd.
“Excuse me,” said Spring using her fake voice again as she passed by and went to the wagon.
“Hey, hey, wait there one-minute son,” Floyd bellowed, “you need to tip your hat to these
ladies, son.” Spring ignored him and loaded the wagon.
Floyd bellowed his order again, “Boy, I said take your hat off to these ladies.”
Spring ignored him and continued loading the wagon.
Floyd was mad. A crowd slowly began to gather and Floyd loved a crowd. But he also was
getting the attention of the Sheriff across the street.
* * * * *
Zeke lowered his legs from the hitching post and raised his hat to watch, but still hoped it
would just subside.
“Take that hat off boy…. Take the hat off,” Zeke repeated in his mind as if somehow the boy
would hear him and the incident would be over and he could get back to relaxing.
Floyd came down the steps to the boy, but Spring ignored him and continued to arrange the
supplies in the wagon. Floyd reached for the boy’s shoulder and turned him so they were face to face.
“I’m gonna tell you for the last time boy, you take off your hat to these ladies!”
“What ladies? I don’t see no ladies.” Zeke could hear the anger in the boy’s voice and knew
this would not end well if he did not intervene.
“Shit,” Zeke said to himself as he stood up and began to cross the street, but he was not the
only one that saw what was happening.
Out of the corner of his eye, Zeke spied the old man that came into town with the boy. The old
man saw the boy being harassed and ran to save him.
“Take your hands off him, mister,” the old man said as he grabbed hold of the large man’s
arm.
“Stay out of this, old man,” Floyd replied as he knocked the old man down.
Zeke reached down and helped the old man up, but he was too late to help Floyd. The boy’s
face was red with temper. Cupping his hands together and using them as one big fist, he swung at
Floyd’s jaw with all his strength and knocked the man to his knees. The sound of a unified gasp came
from the crowd. The force of the swing had caused the hat the fly off and revealed long chestnut-brown
hair cascading around her shoulders, betraying that she was a girl to everyone there. It seemed like the
entire group of people froze for a moment and when they came around there was Spring with her gun
on the loudmouth that tried to hurt her grandpa.
“Get up, mister,” she said to Floyd, who was still on his knees.
“You’re a girl!” he said.
“Wow, you figured that out all by yourself. Now get up you bastard.”
Floyd got to his feet.
“Young lady,” Zeke’s voice broke into the tension, “you need to put the gun down and let
the man go. Your grandfather is fine. This ain’t going to help anything and will likely land you in jail.”
“Listen to the Sheriff, girl,” Eli pleaded with Spring.
“Sorry, Grandpa, I can’t let this go unpunished.”
“You, little girl, have no right to punish anyone,” said Zeke, “now listen to your grandpa
and put the gun down.”
“Shut up, Sheriff. And I’m not a little girl,” snapped Spring.
Zeke’s temper was about to explode, but he knew he had to keep his cool or this brat might
shoot Floyd.
“Now mister,” Spring said to the man as she shoved the barrel of her gun up the man’s
nostril. Again the crowd gasped out loud.
“Holy shit, Sheriff,” Floyd’s nasal voice squeaked, “do something!”
“He ain’t doing nuttin, so stop whimpering and turn your back to the street and start backing
up.” Floyd slowly turned and started walking backward with the barrel of Spring’s gun still up his nose.
“Okay stop!” she ordered. Spring slowly raised her right leg slightly and without moving her
gaze from the big man she pulled a knife from the side of her boot and then lowered her foot back
down to the ground.
“Shit, girl! Are you gonna shoot him and stab him?” Zeke yelled.
She didn’t answer. She looked straight at Floyd’s face and cracked an evil grin. Spring raised
up her knife to Floyd’s midsection and without looking down quickly cut the suspenders that held up
his pants. The pants slid down to his knees, exposing his red long johns to the world. Just as quickly as
she had cut through his suspender, Spring removed her gun from his nose and then pushed him back
into the mud hole she had maneuvered him to. The roar of laughter was deafening and Spring was bent
over laughing the hardest. Before she could regain her composure, Zeke grabbed the gun and knife
from her hands. Floyd floundered in the mud puddle trying to get up with his pants around his knees
only landed him back in the mud puddle followed by another roar of laughter from the crowd. Zeke did
not know whether he wanted to give in to the laughter or the desire he had to take a certain young lady
over his knee.
“Folks,” Zeke managed to say, “it’s time to break it up and go on about your business.”
The crowd slowly followed his orders, but this would surely be a day to remember, when a
little girl got the best of Floyd Burke. The two women that were with Floyd helped him out of the mud
puddle and he quickly lifted his muddy pants and held them up with his hands. He walked straight to
the Sheriff. Spring was beside herself with laughter, having to lean on the wagon lest she just lay on the
ground and cackle.
“Now Floyd,” Zeke said, trying to defuse the situation, “she didn’t mean no harm, can’t you
take a joke?”
“A joke? A joke! She put a gun up my nose and pulled a knife on me and you say it’s a
joke!”
“Okay, okay, just calm down.”
“Calm down! You want me to calm down?” He started to make his way toward Spring but
Zeke stepped in his way to protect the girl.
“You arrest her right now, Sheriff or I’ll have your badge!”
Zeke turned and gave Spring a stern look that said stop laughing right now and to his
surprise she obeyed. Zeke turned his attention back to the irate man.
“Now Floyd, I can arrest this girl, but that means I will have to make a report of every detail
that happened here today, including a little girl that put a gun up your nose and cut your suspenders so
your pants would fall and pushed you in a mud puddle. Then that report will have to be read in court
and it will probably find its way into the newspaper and other newspapers in the territory will pick up
the story and run it. Why, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Foster from the newspaper doesn’t come over
here in a minute for details of the story, and he might even bring his photography equipment. Now, I
agree this girl should be punished and hopefully her grandfather will do that – he turned again and gave
Spring a stern look – but I’m sure you wouldn’t want all that publicity, Floyd. It’s probably better just to
let it go and have her grandfather discipline her.”
Floyd thought for a moment. “Well, all right then, let her go, but I tell you right here and
now if her grandfather or the law can’t do anything about her, I will someday.”
“You don’t mean to threaten this little girl, do you?” Zeke asked, surprised at how protective
he felt about her.
“I’m not a little girl”, Spring replied.
“Quiet!” Zeke ordered and gave her another stern look.
“I’m just saying, what goes around comes around. She will get hers someday and I hope I’m
there to see it.”
Zeke looked at Floyd. “Floyd, you better get on home now before I change my mind and
arrest you.”
“Well I never!” said Floyd as he turned and walked away.
“Because no real woman will have you!” yelled Spring.
Zeke turned to her with fire in his eyes, letting her know that he was not pleased with her at
all. Her grandfather had his arm around her, Zeke assumed he was trying to get her to be quiet.
“Little girl,” Zeke said. “You better watch yourself. I’m about this close” – pinching his
forefinger and thumb together, but not touching – “to forgetting you have a grandfather and taking you
over my knee myself.”
Zeke watched the girl’s body stiffen in her grandfather’s arms.
“Now, Spring,” Eli said, but he was too late.
Spring pulled herself from his arms and stood squarely in front of Zeke, he knew she was
ready to let loose of her temper. She poked Zeke in the chest.
“First of all, Sheriff Whatever-The-Hell-Your-Name-Is, I am not a little girl, I am nineteen
years old and second” — poking him in the chest again — “you are right, you are not my grandfather,
so just go on about your business and leave us alone!”
Zeke grabbed the poking finger as it attempted to attack once again and held it in his grip.
“I would stop doing that if I were you,” he said.
Spring pulled her finger from his grip and continued to rage on but was no longer poking
him.
“And,” she continued, “by the way, you overgrown gorilla, I was minding my own business
when that sleazy bastard started in on me and I saw you – Mr. Lawman, just sitting on your ass waiting
to see if things would go from bad to worse. You coulda got up off that ass when you saw that he was
harassing me — but no – you just – you just thought I would give in to that slimy windbag and you
could just keep on sitting on your lazy ass, you big dope!”
Zeke was shocked. He wasn’t sure if he should laugh or yell or maybe just do what he had
threatened to do.
“Well, little lady,” he said, “you may be right. I guess I should have come to your rescue sooner
and for that I do apologize, but I do not hold with females cursing and I hope your grandfather not only
tans your hide for what happened earlier, I hope he also washes your mouth out with soap.”
Seeing her face become crimson and her eyes widen, Zeke knew that Spring was infuriated by
what he had said and he believed that if steam could come out of a person’s ear when they were angry,
it would be billowing out of Spring’s. Spring was about to launch at him once more, but was interrupted
by her grandfather.
“Spring! You apologize to the Sheriff. He just helped you out and you speak this way to him! I
am sorry, Sheriff, but Spring is very protective of me and sometimes that temper of hers explodes. But
she is a good girl and means well.”
“I can see that she is a good girl by the way she defended you, sir, but wielding a gun and a
knife could have gotten her killed.”
“I agree,” Eli said, “and she wasn’t supposed to have them, were you, Spring?”
Spring suddenly looked down at her boots. “No sir,” she said in her meekest voice.
Zeke gave her an exasperated look. “Mister…?”
“Jamison. The name’s Eli Jamison, Sheriff.”
“Mr. Jamison, to me that is a spankable offense of disobedience.”
“Hey!” Spring bellowed, “it ain’t none of your business.”
“Oh young lady, that is where you are wrong. I am the law in this town and misuse of
weapons is my business.”
“Spring, that is enough,” Eli shouted. “I am still waiting for you to apologize to the Sheriff.”
Spring looked down at the ground again.
“You’re right, Grandpa,” said a contrite Spring. “I am sorry, Sheriff. You did help me today by
not arresting me, but I still am not a little girl and I don’t appreciate you threatening me.”
“Miss…. Spring, is it?”
“It’s Miss Jamison to you”
“Well Spring, that is the most unusual apology I have ever heard and I was not threatening to
spank you. I meant it.”
Zeke could see that Spring was about to get her dander up again, but Eli spoke and ended to the
confrontation.
“We are grateful, Sheriff. But if you don’t mind, I have to take my last batch of rabbits to the
hotel restaurant and then we will be on our way home.”
“You are welcome, Mr. Jamison, but a word of advice; you need to discipline that little girl
before she or someone else gets hurt.” He handed Eli the gun and knife. “Here, and keep these from
her.”
“I plan to,” said Eli.
Eli guided an angry Spring to the wagon she climbed up and sat down.
“Grandpa, let me at him… I will teach that low down polecat to talk about me like I was some
ill-tempered child!”
“No girl!” Eli firmly said, “you just sit down here on this wagon and be quiet.”
“You are behaving like an ill-tempered child.”
Tears formed in her pale blue eyes.
“I’m sorry, honey,” he said, “I know you was just trying to protect me, but Spring I can protect
myself and you need to control that temper of yours before it hurts you or someone else. Now you stay
put till I come back.”
“All right Grandpa,” she said with a sigh.
Eli picked up the last bunch of rabbits and started walking toward the hotel.
“But it wasn’t my fault!” Spring yelled as he walked away.
“Do you always have to have the last word?” Zeke said in exasperation.
“I thought you had left.” Spring smirked at the Sheriff. “I didn’t know eavesdropping was part
of being a sheriff?”
“I want you and your grandfather to check in with me before you leave town today. We are
having trouble with a gang of raiders. My men are out searching for them and they should be reporting
in soon. So, before you leave stop by the jail. I don’t want you two to leave before I have their report; I
may have to send some men to escort you safely home.”
“No thank you,” Spring answered. “Grandpa and me are good shots, we can take care of
ourselves.”
Zeke reached up and grabbed Spring, lifting her off the wagon seat like she weighed nothing,
and stood her in front of him.
“Let me go, you big baboon!” Spring struggled trying to get out of his iron grip.
Holding her shoulder with one hand and with the other hand under her chin, he lifted her face
up so that he was looking her straight in the eye. Spring looked right into his gray eyes that were
smoldering with anger.
“Look, young lady, I ain’t playing games here. Those men are a mean bunch. They have burned
down homes, stolen valuable items and have beaten men nearly to death. They haven’t killed yet, but I
expect that is next and I don’t want that to happen to you and your grandfather. Do I make myself
clear? Do not leave town without my say so, do you understand, brat?”
Spring gave a slow nod. “I understand,” she replied.
Zeke thought he saw fear in her eyes. He wanted her to be afraid of what he had said, but he did
not want her to fear him.
“I just want you to be safe,” he said softly as he gazed into her blue eyes.
Something stirred deep inside him as he looked into those eyes, he was not sure what it was
and wondered if she had felt it too. In a very short time Spring Jamison had become important to him
and for the life of him he could not understand why.
“Okay, okay!” Spring shouted, breaking the moment. “Are you happy now?”
He felt like she would agree to almost anything if he would just go away.
“Good!” said Zeke as he turned and walked toward the jail.
* * * * *
Spring watched Zeke as he crossed the road to the jailhouse.
“Infuriating man,” she mumbled to herself as she climbed back up to the wagon seat.
She tried to think of other things, but her mind kept returning to the Sheriff.
“Overbearing toad,” she thought to herself, and he has no sense of humor. But he is tall. Very
tall, over six feet, she reckoned and he has a broad chest and muscular arms. She felt his strength when
he lifted her from the wagon and she wondered how it would feel to have those strong arms wrapped
around her and those eyes looking at her with love and passion. A very handsome man, she thought as
she remembered his chiseled face, framed by wavy dark brown hair and gray eyes that boiled when he
was mad. He could also handle her temper and stand his ground. No one had ever done that with her
and she realized on one level that she liked it.
“Spring,” she heard her name and it snapped her out of her daydream. “Spring girl, you was a
hundred miles away. What you daydreaming about?”

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