Authors: Joey Light
Tags: #Contemporary Romance
After a most unusual inheritance, Victoria Clay is bound for Glory!
Glory Town, Oklahoma, that is.
To her shock, Victoria Clay was willed one half of Glory Town, a restored Oklahoma village where tourists gather to experience the excitement of the Wild West. Captivated by the spirit and splendor of the tourist town, Victoria is determined to embrace her new life in the
Wes Cooper resembles the gunslingers that wow the tourists every day—but Wes is the real thing. Hired to teach the men how to shoot and rope and ride, he isn’t going to leave Glory Town until his job is done. Too bad Victoria resents his every decision.
Sparks fly between Victoria and Wes as they battle for control of Glory Town…and the sharp desire that burns between them.
This book was originally published by Kismet in March, 1993.
They cannot be sold, shared or given away as it is an infringement on the copyright of this work.
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.
Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
11821 Mason Montgomery Road Suite 4B
Cincinnati OH 45249
Copyright © 2012 by Joey Light
Edited by Heather Osborn
Cover by Lyn Taylor
All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Original Publication by Kismet Publishing: March 1993
t Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
electronic publication: March 2012
This book is dedicated to a remarkable family: MINE.
Nanny and Pop, Emmy and George, Marie and John, Flora and Lester, Dan and Julie, Ray, Angie and Christina Anne, Dean and Lisa, Eric, Roxanne and Danny, Angie, Matt, Ray and Mella, Mike and Tammy, Steph and Andy, Kimberly, Josh (Joey), and you, JJ.
The gentle man who has shared my life for many, many years, Danny.
I love all of you and if I didn’t know love, I surely couldn’t write about it.
Special gratitude and love to part of my extended family, Donald and Iona Hoopert of Tulsa, Oklahoma, for providing the research material on your fair state. Thanks for the taste and feel of it all. And, JJ, thank you for always sharing one of your most valued possessions with me—your unending knowledge.
COME ONE COME ALL
Return with us to the wonderful days of yesteryear and live a day in the life of an outlaw, pin on a badge and become a sheriff, or swing your skirts on stage and be a saloon girl. Ride the stage-coach, try our horses. Join in a gun-fight. How fast can you draw? Be entertained by our actors as they reconstruct the days you’ve only dreamed about, watched on TV. Browse through our Western shops, eat in the hotel dining room just as they did one hundred years ago. Visit our jail.
Try your luck on the gallows. See our cowboys and champion riders on wild, bucking broncs. Watch them test their skills in the arena. Kids! Chase a calf for prize ribbons.
Fun and entertainment for all ages. Educational, exciting, and restful.
Open Tuesday through Sunday 10 A.M. to 10 P.M.
Late. Late. Some things never change. Adjusting the bonnet on her head with one hand and running, the long, full skirt of her period costume fisted up in her other hand, Victoria rounded the corner of Main Street. And collided with a solid wave of cowboy.
His hands shot out to grab her arms and right her. Still clamping the bonnet tightly over her curly hair, she looked up. And up. She blamed her sudden shortness of breath on the run. Certainly, it wasn’t due to the tall man who stood smiling indulgently as he cupped her elbows to keep her steady until she found her feet.
“Whoa there,” he laughed. “Excuse me,” she said impatiently, not unaware of the muscled forearms her hands rested on. Or the humor that sparkled in his beautiful dark eyes.
“Someone chasing you?” he teased. He idly wondered if he had wandered into the middle of one of the skits being put on for the tourists. He’d never seen such curls. A thick, brown mass of them surrounded her face and cascaded down to her shoulders. Green eyes. Emeralds that refracted the sunlight. A freckle or two had popped out on her nose.
“Not exactly. I mean, not yet. They will be. I’m on next. I have to catch the stage and get robbed,” she added breathlessly.
As quickly as she had tossed herself into his arms, she was sprinting out of them again. He was instantly sorry. He would have liked to hold on to her just a moment longer. He watched as she ran across the dusty road.
one of the reenactors.
This job might be gravy yet,
he said to himself as he turned to watch her scramble to the front of the saloon. His last view of her before she disappeared into the stomach of the coach was dust flying from her boots and a nicely rounded bottom covered in yards of swaying skirts designed with tiny rosebuds. Whew!
He’d heard men mention the term
from time to time. Knocked off his pins. Shot into orbit. Had his breath knocked from him. Knocked him dead.
Stolen his heart. Changed his life. Foolishness. All of it foolishness. Until now.
Now he understood the term. One look. One collision and he felt, well, he didn’t know what the words would be. Affected? Extremely interested? Curiosity aroused? Attracted? Intrigued? Fascinated?
In one brief encounter he had met a lady with zest. With a love of being alive shining from her eyes. Gusto. He shook his head. Ridiculous.
Wes folded his arms over his chest and leaned back against the porch post.
He had been on his way to a meeting with the owner of Glory Town, but now he decided to watch. He’d been to Glory Town plenty of times but he hadn’t seen this woman before. He would have remembered.
The voice coming over the well-hidden loudspeaker asked that the street be cleared to set the mood for the stage holdup. It was explained as the creaking, rocking stage was driven out of town by the dusty driver that it would come around the back of town and pull in from the other end with the bandits close on its heels. The tourists were challenged to use their imaginations and picture the event happening miles from any help.
“Please stay on the sidewalks, folks. We don’t want anyone getting hurt here at Glory Town, except the bad guys.”
Wes looked around. The smart pop of cap pistols darted the air as boys and girls adorned in blue and red cowboy hats chased each other up and down the 8
boardwalk. People from all walks of life lined up on the sidewalk to enjoy this latest display of frontier living. Babies watched from strollers beneath sun shades, and old people rested on benches or merely sat on the edge of the sidewalk.
Old buildings sandpapered smooth by the wind, faded by the unrelenting sun, leaned lazily while others stood stoically against the colorful backdrop of Oklahoma sky. Light blues, dull grays, and red dust that came with the breeze and rolled constantly, coating every flat surface. Hitch-rail brown, wrought-iron black and green. Lots of green. Tall buffalo grass swayed on the hill beyond. The deep, dark dusky green of the tree line below punched toward the cloudless sky towering above the sprinkles of bright yellow, purple, and pink wildflowers skipping along the edge of the pond that glistened from the hollow.
At the first sound of commotion from the other end of town, Wes turned his gaze, along with the crowd, to watch. The air was filled with actual and fabricated tension.
The stage careened around the corner and sped down the street to pitch and roll to a stop in the middle of town. It was surrounded by five desperadoes, handkerchiefs pulled up over their noses, pistols firing in the air. The stage driver slumped over in the seat after a brave attempt to reach for his shotgun.
Dead. Ordered to disembark, the frightened passengers climbed down. The cowboy riding shotgun watched, helplessly, as the two men and lone woman proceeded to slide rings and watches and empty wallets into a cloth sack.
The man on top of the stage was ordered to throw down the strongbox.
And as he did, he reached for the same shotgun that did in the driver. He was gunned down immediately.
The bandits’ horses skittered and danced a circle. A passenger made a grab for one of the holdup men and was booted in the face to land in the dust. The
tourists let out a groan in unison. Wes smiled. It was like watching some bad spaghetti Western. Suddenly he itched to get on with his job. And then he saw her.
The woman dressed in 1870s garb who had blindsided him only a few moments ago lifted her skirt knee-high and wrapped her fingers around a derringer held tight to that smooth skin by a gaudy lilac and lace garter. A sound of appreciation worked its way through the crowd. He smiled and thought she must have legs up to her shoulders.
To the cheers of the crowd and the support of the kids and their cap guns, she planted herself in front of the thieves and fired at them. The little gun popped, and two of the big men grabbed their chests and folded, flinging themselves off their horses and dramatically to the ground. The remaining banditos, including the one with the strongbox over his saddle, hightailed it out of town in a cloud of dust and a thunder of hooves.
Just then, from behind the jailhouse, came a mounted rider, hat pushed low on his head, droopy mustache and dark eyes revealing his determination to capture the outlaws. He fired the shotgun and reloaded on the run. The hero took up chase and the crowd roared and clapped their support. Dust whirled to settle down once again. Tourists stepped off the boardwalk and began their explorations once more, smiling and enthusiastic.
Wes pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger.
Shaking his head, he chuckled low. Three bandits ran from a lone woman with an empty derringer before the lone rider began his chase? No way.
Looking back out on the street, Wes watched as the reenactors loaded some of the kids into the stage and set out for a ride.
Glancing at his watch, he turned toward the hotel and his meeting.
Buck was waiting for him. Seated at a table, the aging cowboy ate a cheeseburger and french fries, washing them down with orange juice. Wes grimaced and smiled. Who else would have lunch for breakfast? There wasn’t another man in all of Oklahoma like Buck, unless, of course, it was his father. Put the two of them together and you had one hundred percent disregard for rules, regulations, and good eating habits.
If one didn’t know this was all pretend, he wouldn’t take a second look at the scruffy cowboy wearing worn boots, work-faded jeans, and a ten-gallon hat with a crinkled crown. His shirt had a rip down the sleeve and his suspenders were stretched out to capacity from long use.
At other tables scattered around the room, the tourists enjoyed a buffet that Wes eyed speculatively. He was hungry and the aroma of food reminded him how much.
Buck set his burger down to rise and slap Wes on the back. “Get yourself a plate, boy, and fill it up. We’ve got some talking to do.” But when Buck spoke, he would catch attention. His voice was low and raspy, as though it was worn out from issuing orders all day long. His eyes were kind eyes, worldly eyes. A twinkle of his love for life shone through, along with a spark of the mischief Wes knew he indulged in from time to time.