My Heroes Have Always Been Hitmen (Humorous Romantic Shorts) (Greatest Hits Mysteries)

BOOK: My Heroes Have Always Been Hitmen (Humorous Romantic Shorts) (Greatest Hits Mysteries)
11.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

What the critics are saying about

Leslie Langtry's Greatest Hits Mysteries
:

 

"Mixing a deadly sense of humor and plenty of sexy sizzle, Leslie Langtry creates a brilliantly original, laughter-rich mix of contemporary romance and suspense." 

-Chicago Tribune
 

 

"Langtry gets the fun started from page one with a myriad of clever details." 

-
Publisher's Weekly

 

"Darkly funny and wildly over the top, this mystery answers the burning question, ‘Do assassin skills and Girl Scout merit badges mix…’ one truly original and wacky novel!"
-RT BOOKreviews
"Those who like dark humor will enjoy a look into the deadliest female assassin and PTA mom’s life."
-Parkersburg News

 

MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN HITMEN

 

by

 

LESLIE LANGTRY

 

* * * * *

 

 

ebook Edition

Copyright © 2013 by
Leslie Langtry

Gemma Halliday Publishing

 

 

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

 

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return to your online retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author's work.

* * * * *

 

MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN HITMEN

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

FROM THE AUTHOR—GIN
BOMBAY:

 

These tales are the bedtime stories and family histories of the Bombay Family. Because of the oral tradition in which they've been handed down all these years, I'm writing these in my own voice. Well, because of that and the fact that I'm very lazy, and apparently there are four cassowaries in Australia who are a bit impatient for this next book. By the way—this is for you, Bulvai, Hrothgar, Beowulf, and Kevin!

I've had some requests to include at least one story about how one of our strange family rules got started, so I've included one. See if you can spot it. Hint—it's a bit darker than the others. Being a
Bombay isn't easy my friends.

Since publishing the first collection:
SNUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON: And Other Bombay Bedtime Stories
, I've had a few critics complaining about voice, historical accuracy, etc. And I'd just like to say that there are now a few less critics in the world.

You're welcome.

I hope you enjoy the stories. I know I did.

Rio Bombay

Felony,
Texas—1870

 

It was dawn, and it was dusty the morning I rode into Felony, Texas. There was something romantic about that because I was in town to kill a man. Not just any man—the corrupt Marshal Beauregarde Figgins. My name is Rio. Rio Bombay.

No
rbert, my horse, slumped between my legs. He was tired. But we were here, and he could have oats, a good rubdown, and a nice, dry stable for the night. Norbert didn't have to kill anybody. He could just hang out and wait until I was done. Then, I rather hoped we'd be able to ride off into the sunset or something poetic like that.

Chances were pretty good I could arrange that sunset thing. It didn
't really matter when I killed Figgins. I was my own boss, so I thought I could make this happen.

Alright, I
'll admit right now that I was a bit of a Wild West nut. Actually, I grew up in Newport, Rhode Island. But I spent all my time reading about cowboys and lawmen and gunslingers. When this opportunity came up, I jumped at it. Even bought a horse and everything. It was just unfortunate his name was Norbert. I'd envisioned a name like Duke or Trigger when I got my first horse. But he was a trick horse from the circus and only knew how to respond to 'Norbert,' so that's what I had to deal with.

Oh yeah,
Rio really is my name. Rio de Janeiro Bombay. As a kid I shortened it and told everyone it was because of the Rio Grande. I wished it was. I really, really did.

"
Why are you so quiet?" Jeb asked.

"
Just thinking," I answered a bit sheepishly.

"
Okay, Colonel," Jeb said as he continued riding next to me.

Did I forget to mention I wasn
't alone? Jebediah Smith was a man from my infantry unit in the war. I'd come across him just outside of St. Louis. He was headed this way and thought we could ride together. A good man in a fight, I liked him when he served with me. Besides, a little company made the long trip to West Texas a bit easier. Unfortunately, his horse was named Cochise. I thought that was a bit unfair. But no matter. Jeb was just looking to homestead somewhere in Texas. Once he found that place, we'd be parting ways.

I slowly rode No
rbert up what passed for a Main Street in this backwater town. Townspeople walked through the dirt, looking at me warily. It had to be the hat. I'd bought a black, ten-gallon hat in Oklahoma, much to Jeb's amusement. I thought it was most appropriate. I tipped it to several of the ladies who I passed. They ignored me. I hadn't expected that.

We
found the hotel and tied up Norbert and Cochise. Norbert gave me a look that said he'd rather go directly to the stables. I stroked his ears and made my way into the two-story clapboard building.

"
I need two rooms," I tried to say with a gruff, cowboyish snarl. In all those stories, cowboys were men of few words and had deep, crackling voices. Jeb turned away to hide his grin. I'd really have to talk to him about that.

"
Okay." A bored matron shoved the register toward me and asked me to sign for both rooms. I wrote Rio Bombay in big, dark letters and a sharp, sloping hand. I was admiring my new gunslinger style signature when she tossed me two keys and snapped the book shut without even looking at my name. That was disappointing.

"
Fifty cents a night. Dinner's at six. Stables around back." She frowned at us. Ah, the old spinster who ran the hotel, I thought, imagining her coming out here as a bride for sale, but having found no takers, she chose to run the local hotel. She would have a 'no frills' name, like Prudence and a sour attitude to match.

I paid her and tipped my hat and said,
"Ma'am." I'm not sure she heard me because she turned away as soon as she had my money. I looked at my key—Room Four. Yes, that sounded like a good number for the room of a gunman. I tossed Jeb his key, and he caught it mid-air, which I thought looked good. He went up to his room while I checked on the horses.

No
rbert looked a bit unimpressed with our new status as the savvy, sage lone rider and his trusty steed. I led him and Cochise around back to the stables. Once I was sure they were taken care of, I headed up to my room and dropped my satchel on the bed.

The room was neat and clean. There was an iron-framed bed with two pillows and a clean, simple quilt. In the corner was a table with a bowl and pitcher and small mirror. Perfect. Exactly what I wanted.

I practiced my quick draw in the mirror for a little while and must admit, I looked very cool doing that. Truth be told, I was pretty fast. When six-shooters first came on the scene, the Bombays started training on them immediately. I was good with one—the best in my family. That's probably why they sent me on this assignment. Maybe they saw cowboy potential in me.

Back home in
Newport, there was little need for quick draw contests. Even though I came from a family of deadly assassins, my sister and mother were far more interested in the social seasons. Don't get me wrong. Both women were lethal and good at their jobs. But they preferred quieter methods, like a well-placed hatpin in the eardrum or a tincture of arsenic during a six-course dinner on 5
th
Avenue. I think they found my fascination with the Wild West a bit dull.

Actually, I found life
in general a bit dull after the war. I was a colonel in the Rhode Island Infantry and managed well enough in battle. The endless death was depressing, but the action kept me on my toes. How could I go home to ballrooms and debutantes after that? A lot of my fellow soldiers made their way west, and I longed to join them.

I thought maybe I could set up a base here. Build
a house—something with a big hitching post outside and lots of antlers inside. The more I thought about that, the more I liked it.

Norbert came from a circus in
Virginia. He was a trick pony who came when called, had no issue with gunfire, and really looked the part of a cowboy's horse. A gorgeous paint, I wanted him the moment I saw him. Since we started riding west, however, he became somewhat less enthusiastic.

I ran into
Jeb in Illinois, just before crossing the Mississippi into St. Louis. It was a nice reunion in a hotel tavern. Jeb had been down on his luck since the war ended. He'd been an excellent rifleman and missed the action, so he'd decided to go out West and try to make a new life for himself. When I mentioned that I was going to Texas, he leaped at the chance to go with me.

I liked the idea of having a partner for the ride. I told him about my interest in cowboys
, and he managed to control his amusement. Apparently, I'd been well-known in my unit for all the dime novels about the Old West that I read. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a couple in my saddle bag even right now.

The morning wore on
, and I made my way downstairs to the dining room to meet Jeb for lunch. The room was filled with normal looking folks, much to my disappointment. I was about to ask my server where the cowboys ate, when I spotted my target.

Marshal
Figgins was a large, muscular man. He strode into the dining room like he owned it, taking a seat at a table for two near the window. The table should've been occupied—it was the best spot in the crowded place. That's when I noticed a large placard on it that said,
RESERVED FOR MARSHAL FIGGINS.

No one spoke to him, I noticed. No one called out or waved in a friendly way. Everyone averted their eyes. Figgins removed his gun belt and slammed
it on the table loudly. The people closest to him flinched. A server appeared immediately—a young woman with red hair tied up efficiently. She was the only one who didn't seem afraid of the huge man with the large, dark mustache.

Figgins murmured a few words
, and she nodded and rushed off to the kitchens. He then leaned back in his chair and stared out the window.

I was completely absorbed. The history on Figgins was a violent one.
Marshal Beau Figgins had spent ten years terrorizing half the Texas territory. He killed Indians at will—women and children too—because he thought they were unnecessary. He was known for his fast draw and his penchant for cheating in duels by placing snipers throughout the town. Most of his prisoners never made it to the jailhouse because they were killed "resisting arrest."

In fact, Figgins had become his own law. The governor and his appointed judges couldn
't rein him in. Oh sure, they had some power, but he was stronger, smarter, and meaner than they were. All of this made him the perfect target for me.

My thoughts were interrupted as an argument broke out at the table next to me. Two men in derby hats and spats stood and shook their fists at each other, disagreeing about the bill. I watched as the manager rushed over to quiet them down. He whispered something to the men
and then nodded nervously at Figgins, who was now starting to look at them with interest. The two men paled and immediately sat down, apologizing to those around them for disturbing their lunch.

I watched as Figgins fixed them with his gaze for a moment longer before turning back to the window. The men paid their check and fled as fast as they could.

"What just happened there?" Jeb asked as he sat down. He'd had a bath and a shave and bought some clothes. His hat looked a little larger than mine…or maybe it was my imagination. He looked good, really like a cowboy and less like a former infantryman from New England.

I filled him in on the disagreement
, and we ordered lunch.

"
I checked on…the horses," he winked at me. I'd warned him not to mention Norbert by name in public. "Thought I'd look around town and find out what the prospects are this afternoon."

"
I'm going to the saloon," I answered as a huge plate full of meat and potatoes was set in front of me. Jeb nodded as if he approved of my plans, and we tucked in to eat.

After lunc
h, I got directions from Prudence to the saloon. She didn't seem to approve, or maybe that's just how she treated everyone.

Figgins was still eating
, and I wasn't ready to follow him just yet. I needed more intelligence before I could draw up my plans. And the best place for that would be the saloon. To say I was excited to be going to a real, Wild West saloon would be a gross understatement.

"
What'll it be?" A jolly, balding man with mutton chop sideburns grinned at me as I settled at the bar in the wonderfully named Diablo Saloon.

"
Whiskey," I said, savoring each syllable. Mother would be unnerved. We didn't drink whiskey at the club in Newport. But I wasn't in Newport, and I was going to have whiskey.

"
Not from around here?" the barman asked as he poured me a glass of amber fluid.

"
Nope," I said as brusquely as I could. The key to being a good cowboy was in being mysterious. The mysterious stranger was the one everyone was always interested in.

"
In town for long?" Muttonchops pressed.

"
No," I answered, tossing some coins on the counter and turning my back to him. I heard the scrape of his hands retrieving the money, and he asked no more questions. I grinned. I'd pulled it off!

"
What're you smiling at?" a tall, thin cowboy with a nasal voice asked me from the table a few feet away.

"
Nothin'." I stopped smiling and touched the brim of my hat. This was getting better and better! Mother would be furious at me for my abuse of English, but she wasn't here now. I really needed to get her out of my head if I was going to be a cowboy.

"
Leave 'im alone, Rocco." Rocco's buddy cuffed him on the head. "Now, are ya in, or ain'tcha?" He pointed to a pile of chips in the center of the table, and I realized a poker game was in progress.

Rocco pointed at me
. "Ya wanna buy in?" Something in his voice was threatening, or at least, I hoped it was.

I narrowed my eyes to show them I was not someone to be trifled with.

"Prolly too steep for ya," Rocco sneered. "It's five dollars ta buy in."

I tried to control my excitement as I slowly made my way to the open chair at the table. I sat down and tossed five dollars on the table. I said nothing, because this was how it was done in the stories.

Rocco's friend introduced himself. "Name's Hank." He pointed to the man on the other side of me. "That's Axel, and ya know Rocco." Hank and Axel were about the same size and build. Both wore heavily stained hats and thick, bushy brown mustaches. The only difference was that Hank had long, greasy hair, and Axel didn't seem to have any sticking out from under his hat.

I almost exploded with enthusiasm! A real, cowboy poker game with high stakes and guys named Rocco, Hank
, and Axel! I couldn't have paid people to dress up and act this out back home…not that I ever did that, of course.

"
Name's Rio," was all I said.

We played a few hands
, and I made sure not to win too much. I'd played a lot of cards during the war, and I knew men didn't like losing to someone they didn't know right off the bat. I had plenty of money. Money wasn't the goal here. Information was the important thing.

BOOK: My Heroes Have Always Been Hitmen (Humorous Romantic Shorts) (Greatest Hits Mysteries)
11.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Get Out or Die by Jane Finnis
The Small Miracle by Paul Gallico
Three Wild Werewolf Tales by Calandra Hunter
Sultry with a Twist by Macy Beckett
Glasswrights' Apprentice by Mindy L Klasky
Money Shot by N.J. Harlow
In the Garden of Rot by Sara Green
Madeleine by Helen Trinca