Authors: Susan Fisher-Davis
Men of Clifton, Montana Book 3
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A big thank you to my readers.
It’s because of you that I do this.
My husband, Rob for staying away when
I’m in my cave.
I love you.
Thank you Toby S. for being a
wonderful friend, confidant, and listener.
Thank you Darren Birks for being
Darren Birks Photography for the cover shot.
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Men of Clifton, Montana Book 3
Morgan rode his Harley down Main Street and ignored the stares. Five years ago,
he’d left Clifton, Montana, vowing never to return. They couldn’t know it was him
behind the smoked visor but the glares made him think differently. He mentally
shook his head. The people of Clifton would have a field day once they found
out he was back and going to be working for the Sheriff’s department.
Him as a
They’d laugh their heads off. But, he needed a job and the
sheriff, Sam Garrett, needed a deputy. Sam was a good friend. They’d worked
together at the US Marshal’s office in Butte but had been friends growing up in
Clifton. They talked regularly and when Brody told Sam he’d left the Marshals,
Sam offered him a job. Brody hated the idea of returning to Clifton, but he
didn’t have much of a choice. He was going to clean up his parents’ home and
live there until he decided what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. He
was thirty-two and should have kids by now. A beautiful redhead clouded his
vision. Brody shook his head to clear it. She was the reason he never wanted to
come back and he wasn’t looking forward to seeing her again. He’d broken her heart
when he left and she’d never forgive him. She’d shouted it at him when he rode
away on his bike. The June sun beat down on him as he rode down Main Street.
His eyes scanned the sidewalks crowded with people.
What the hell was going on?
He remembered the sidewalks as being
empty even during the Christmas season but now, people moved along them, going
in and out of the shops. Brody came to a stop at the intersection and stared at
the people crossing the street in front of him. There was only one main street
through Clifton with one stop light. Tall brick buildings stood on each side.
His head moved to the other side and there were just as many people over there
too. Was there something going on he didn’t know about? Sam hadn’t mentioned
anything when they spoke last week. Mentally shaking his head, he moved the
bike forward when the light changed to green. He could feel the sweat trickling
between his shoulder blades and down his spine. The leather he wore had him
sweating in the summer but it was necessary to a biker, no matter how hot the
weather. It was a safety issue, not a fashion statement.
pulled into the Sheriff’s Department parking lot and shut off the bike.
Straddling it, he removed his helmet and glanced around. No one paid him any
mind. Sighing, he swung his leg over the bike, strode to the doors, and walked
inside. It was much cooler inside than the heat outside. Brody glanced to his
right and saw an older woman staring at him. She slowly stood.
Morgan as I live and breathe,” she huffed.
frowned at her and then recognition dawned. “Betty Lou Harper?”
Lou cackled. “It is.” She came around the counter faster than a woman her size
should be able. She grabbed him and hugged him. “You look so good, honey. It’s
good to have you home again.”
leaned down to hug her. She barely reached his shoulder. “It’s good to see you
are you doing here?”
here to see Sam. Is he in?”
Lou shook her head. “He ran down to the diner to pick up lunch. He’ll be back
in a few minutes. Have a seat in the waiting room. It’s much cooler in here.”
nodded and took a seat in the room across the hall. The old black and white
tiles on the floor showed scuffmarks from years of wear. The red plastic chairs
sat along a wall. He set his helmet on the chair beside him and ran his fingers
through his black hair. Stretching his long legs out in front of him, he
clasped his hands together over his flat stomach and leaned his head back
against the wall while he waited for Sam.
A few minutes later, Brody jerked when
someone kicked his foot. He jumped up from the chair, ready for a fight. Sam
Garrett stood in front of him glaring.
you’re as ugly as ever, Garrett,” Brody growled.
to you, Morgan.”
men stared at each other, then laughed and hugged. “Damn, it’s good to see you
Brody. Come on back to my office.” Sam led the way.
watched as Sam took his Stetson off and hung it up before moving behind the old
wooden desk and sitting down. He nodded for Brody to take a seat. Sam leaned
back in his chair, folded his arms across his broad chest, and stared at Brody.
shifted in the chair. “Christ, Sam. You’re making me feel like I’m in the
fucking principal’s office.”
Because in a way you are.
I’m your boss. You won’t get to
slide by. I’ll ride your ass just as I do the other two deputies I have. Are we
clear on that?”
Brody growled out the word.
I’ll get the paperwork.” Sam stood. “Betty Lou, I need…”
already have it, Sam.” Betty Lou stood in the doorway with the paperwork.
muttered under his breath making Brody chuckle, but he straightened in the
chair when Sam glared at him.
fill this out. I’ll need you on night shift. Is that a problem?”
it matter, Sam? I’m fine with it.” Brody reached into his shirt pocket, pulled
out a pair of glasses, and put them on.
still wear glasses? No contacts?” Sam asked.
“I can’t stick those damn things in my
eyes. Never could,” Brody mumbled.
laughed. “I understand. I hate putting drops in.”
ran his hand over his mouth.
been like that.
Too late to change now.”
nodded. “Once you’re finished, just give the paperwork to Betty Lou. You can
start tomorrow night. I’ll get you a few shirts. I’ll have to order more. Just
wear jeans. You have your own weapon, right?” At Brody’s nod, Sam continued.
“Not much goes on in this town but be careful when you check out Dewey’s bar.
It can get rowdy and with all the tourists in town, it could be worse.”
What are they here to see?”
a bed and breakfast just outside of town now.
turned her ranch into a bed and breakfast?” Brody couldn’t fathom it.
his brow. “Hattie passed away over a year ago. Her granddaughter
inherited it and turned it into the Clifton B and B.
also married Jake Stone.”
What? Are you serious? Jake got married?” Brody was stunned.
grinned. “Not only Jake, but Gabe’s married too.”
Stone is married?” Brody shook his head.
married Emma Conner. They have a gorgeous little girl. Sophie.”
think I made a mistake coming back here. There must be something in the water.”
shook his head. “It’s love.
Plain and simple.”
about Riley? Have you heard from him?”
for about a year. The last I heard he was retiring.
He made a killing in real estate and he also owns a huge
beef ranch in Texas.”
haven’t talked to him either. He won’t come back here, that’s for sure. Not as
long as his dad is alive.” Brody sighed. “He hates the bastard and who can
shook his head. “I’d love to see him though. It’s been too long.”
Sam shook his head. “Not
laughed and filled out the paperwork and rose from the chair. He stuck his hand
out. “Thanks Sam. I appreciate this.”
problem. I needed another man. You came along at the right time.” Sam tilted
his head. “Are you going to see Madilyn?”
in hell. She’d slit my throat.” Brody shuddered.
deserve it,” Sam muttered.
I know Sam. What I did to her was wrong but it was a long time ago.”
snorted. “Not so long ago she’s forgotten.” He sighed. “I have to get back to
work. I’ll see you here tomorrow night. I’m here seven to seven. Come in at six
thirty. I’ll introduce you to Rick and Mark then. Once you get into a rhythm,
I’ll straighten out the shifts so we all won’t work such long hours.”
gave him a terse nod. “I’m going to head to the ranch.”
you staying there?”
Mom and dad haven’t been there in two years. I know it’s going to need some
cleaning but I’ll take care of it. A thousand acres allows for some great
privacy. I might even get a few Angus again.”
enough for them.” Sam strolled toward
the door. “Any questions, call me.” He handed Brody a card and left.
sighed and left the office. He stopped at Betty Lou’s desk. “How long have you
been working here, Betty Lou?”
Sam became Sheriff last November. He beat Walt Jefferson by a landslide.” She
sniffed. “His mama asked him to hire me. That’s why I’m here.”
chuckled. “Trust me, Betty Lou, if Sam didn’t want you here, you wouldn’t be
here.” He shrugged. “I’ve known him a long time. He’s a straight shooter. I’ve never
known him to lie to make someone feel better. He tells it like it is.” Brody
leaned over the counter. “You should know that.” After giving her a smile, he
strolled outside, hopped on his motorcycle, and headed for the ranch.
* * *
Young stared at the motorcycle as it passed the shop where she worked. A shiver
ran down her spine. Dear God, please no. Don’t let it be him.
Are you all right?”
Katie. I’m fine.”
turned to face her boss and friend, Kaitlyn Parker. “I just thought I saw
someone I used to know.”
never understood that, ‘someone I used to know’. You still know them.” Kaitlyn
laughed. “That’s true. I don’t think it was him, though.”
you think it was Brody?” Kaitlyn smiled at her.
sure it wasn’t him.” Madilyn hoped it wasn’t anyway. She wasn’t ready for him
to come back yet. Who was she kidding? She’d never be ready.
snorted. “Sam hasn’t said anything lately about him coming back.”
smiled sadly. “I know but I’m hoping he doesn’t come back.
nodded. “You never know. I’m going to head home since we close in fifteen
minutes. You can lock up.” She gave a little wave. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
nodded and took a seat at the counter. She loved working at Clifton’s Florist
and Greenhouse. Katie was a great florist and Madilyn had a green thumb when it
came to tropical plants. When the shop opened five years ago, Madilyn was at
the door asking for a job. Katie was the manager and with Brody gone from her
life, Madilyn needed to do something to keep her occupied. It hadn’t helped for
the longest time, then the years fell away and Madilyn was finally able to put
him to the back of her mind, but he would forever be in her heart.
Damn you, Brody Morgan!
back tears. Five years later and he could still make her cry. When the bell
above the door rang, she glanced over to see Sam Garrett, Katie’s brother and
the local Sheriff, walk in. Her heart gave a little skip. Sam was one sexy man.
He stood six foot five with a hard body. Dark brown, almost black, hair, and he
had the most amazing blue eyes. They were beautiful. She inwardly sighed. No
matter how gorgeous Sam was, Madilyn had never been interested in him. Brody
Morgan owned her heart.
left a few minutes ago,” Madilyn told him.
I’ll talk with her later.” He
smiled. “How are you?”
smiled at him. She liked Sam. His smile was beautiful.
Jesus, Madilyn! Why can’t you go for Sam?
“I’m good, Sam. What
good.” He glanced around. “Well, I better get going. Take care, Madilyn.” He
headed for the door.
turned to face her and raised an eyebrow when she didn’t say anything. Madilyn
cleared her throat. “Is…is he back?” she whispered and watched as Sam swore
softly. She had her answer.
He’ll be on nightshift.” Sam sighed. “I told you there was a chance he would
nodded. “I don’t want to see him, Sam.” Her voice sounded like rust.