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Devil Plays With Fire (Lady Law & The Gunslinger Series, Book 3) (eBook)

by (Author)

  • 300 Pages

COMING SOON: Don't Miss the Next Sassy, Sexy Adventure with Pinkerton Agent Sadie Michelson and Her Gunslinging Lover, Cass.

Spring, 1884

Wearing little more than longjohns and a week’s growth of beard, Cass stood up to his calves in Kentucky wildflowers. Behind him, his morning campfire smoked, adding the pungent aroma of chicory coffee and buttermilk flapjacks to the breeze. Before him stretched an alpine pasture, wet with dew and silvery with the night mist that the rising sun had yet to burn off.

“Listen up now, Pancake.” Cass fixed his playful pony with a stern stare. “We practiced this drill yesterday. One stomp means animal approaching. Two stomps mean human bushwhacker.

“Okay. A noisy squirrel chases you through the hickory trees. What do you do?”

Pancake bolted like a lunatic, running circles around the pasture.

“I said a squirrel, you big lunkhead, not a wolf!”

Whinnying at his jest, Pancake pranced all the way back to Cass’s side and reached mischievously for the bottle in his right fist.

“Hell no.” Cass swatted the gelding with the vegetable in his other hand. “That didn’t deserve a sip of whiskey. That didn’t even deserve a carrot!”

Pancake returned the favor by swatting Cass’s backside with his tail.

“How’d you like a punch in the nose?”

Pancake snorted. Dropping to his haunches, he began rolling in the daisies.

“Are you sure you’re not a big, mutant coonhound in disguise?” Cass groused good-naturedly above all the equine grunts of pleasure.

Pancake heaved himself to his hooves and stomped twice.

“That’s great, pal.” Cass shook his head. “You’re a day late, and a dollar—”

A twig snapped. Cass choked back an oath. Dropping the carrot, he spun to face the threat, a six-gun cocked in his fist.

To his bemusement, he saw a stocky hiker with balding, auburn hair and a long bushy beard emerging from the trees. Dressed in a plaid cap and matching knickers, the Scot stumped through the wildflowers with a canvas knapsack on his back and a hand-carved walking staff in his right hand.

Pancake bared his teeth and flattened his ears. Cass hiked an eyebrow.

I reckon ol’ Batter Head really did learn something from me yesterday.

“That’s far enough,” Cass barked at the intruder. “How’d you find me?”

“I am the Pinkerton,” the Scot deadpanned.

Cass’s smile was mirthless. Oh, he recognized his nemesis, all right. About six weeks ago in Chicago, after he and Sadie had argued, Cass had sneaked inside the headquarters of the famous detective agency—mostly to prove he could outsmart its security measures—and had come damned close to smashing Allan Pinkerton’s face. Settling for a less satisfying revenge, Cass had told the detective chief (rather loudly) what he thought of Pinkerton’s contemptible plan to let young women bait psychopaths and get murdered so he could pay the rent.

“Get your plaid ass back to Chicago,” Cass growled. “You’re not welcome here.”

“Still sore about the Palmer House, eh?”

Cass ground his teeth at this reference to Sadie’s hotel, where she’d accused him of “ditching her in Denver.” Their argument had escalated to volcanic proportions after Cass realized just how cozy she’d become with Ryker during the three months that he’d been combing the Kentucky backwoods, hunting for Lynx’s would-be assassin.

What’s worse, Cass mused bitterly, is that the whole damned fracas erupted on the day I intended to propose marriage!

His throat constricted. He hadn’t seen Sadie since Chicago, mainly because he had no idea where she was. Pinkerton had sent her deep undercover. Even Brodie hadn’t been able to ferret out her location.

Cass shoved his .45 back into its holster. “Heard about that little incident, did you?” he countered gruffly.

“Lad, everyone within five blocks heard. Your row inspired Chicago’s first noise ordinance. The mayor dubbed it, ‘The Cassadie’ in your and her name.”

“You see me laughing, smartass?”

The Scot winked. “I always have my most passionate rows with my woman. That’s how she knows my love is true. Besides, the make-up sex is like riding a hungry tigress.”

“If you’re trying to cheer me up, you’re doing a lousy job.”

“Aw, buck up, laddie. Ryker didn’t get her to the altar yet.”

Cass scowled. “Whose side are you on?”

“Sadie’s.” Pinkerton struck a match and squinted, puffing his stogie to life. “That reminds me.” He blew out the flame. “Are your guns still for hire?”

Cass folded his arms across his chest. “You sure got some nerve, Flatfoot.”

“Yep.”

“Maybe I didn’t make it clear what I think of you and your army of scum-sucking weasels.”

Pinkerton blew a leisurely ring of smoke. “Things change.”

“As far as I know, hell didn’t freeze over.”

The Scot shrugged. For a long moment, he appeared to be studying the proliferation of ivory blossoms in the dogwood trees, the colorful carpet of periwinkles and sun drops beneath Pancake’s hooves; the majestic circle of conifer-laden mountains, towering above Cass’s head.

“Blue Thunder Valley sure is pretty country,” Pinkerton drawled. “Peaceful. Quiet. I can see why a man might come here to mend his heart.”

“My heart’s just fine,” Cass snapped.

“Course, there’s not much in the way of excitement,” Pinkerton continued in that same grating tone of conciliation. “No Injuns on the war path. No outlaws jumping stage coaches. No mobsters running opium dens.”

“I got plenty to do around here, Pinkerton.”

“Is that a fact?”

“I’m training my horse to fend off road agents.”

As if on cue, Pancake hiked his tail and let one rip.

“I can see that,” the Scot said dryly.

Cass’s cheeks flamed. “Good. Then you can see I’m busy. So scram.” He grabbed Pancake’s halter to lead him away.

“Too busy to earn a $10,000 reward?” Pinkerton challenged.

Cass scowled. “I told you,” he snapped over his shoulder,“I—”

The protest died on his lips. In Pinkerton’s hands was a crumpled murder warrant. “WANTED,” the parchment screamed. Beneath the usual list of aliases was a sketch of a big-breasted outlaw with a saucy smile and daring décolletage. Below the murder suspect’s chin was printed, “$10,000 Reward. Deliver prisoner to the nearest Consulate of Mexico for extradition.”

The breath whistled past Cass’s teeth.

That international felon, in all her buxom glory, was Sadie!

COMING SOON: Don't Miss the Next Sassy, Sexy Adventure with Pinkerton Agent Sadie Michelson and Her Gunslinging Lover, Cass.

Spring, 1884

Wearing little more than longjohns and a week’s growth of beard, Cass stood up to his calves in Kentucky wildflowers. Behind him, his morning campfire smoked, adding the pungent aroma of chicory coffee and buttermilk flapjacks to the breeze. Before him stretched an alpine pasture, wet with dew and silvery with the night mist that the rising sun had yet to burn off.

“Listen up now, Pancake.” Cass fixed his playful pony with a stern stare. “We practiced this drill yesterday. One stomp means animal approaching. Two stomps mean human bushwhacker.

“Okay. A noisy squirrel chases you through the hickory trees. What do you do?”

Pancake bolted like a lunatic, running circles around the pasture.

“I said a squirrel, you big lunkhead, not a wolf!”

Whinnying at his jest, Pancake pranced all the way back to Cass’s side and reached mischievously for the bottle in his right fist.

“Hell no.” Cass swatted the gelding with the vegetable in his other hand. “That didn’t deserve a sip of whiskey. That didn’t even deserve a carrot!”

Pancake returned the favor by swatting Cass’s backside with his tail.

“How’d you like a punch in the nose?”

Pancake snorted. Dropping to his haunches, he began rolling in the daisies.

“Are you sure you’re not a big, mutant coonhound in disguise?” Cass groused good-naturedly above all the equine grunts of pleasure.

Pancake heaved himself to his hooves and stomped twice.

“That’s great, pal.” Cass shook his head. “You’re a day late, and a dollar—”

A twig snapped. Cass choked back an oath. Dropping the carrot, he spun to face the threat, a six-gun cocked in his fist.

To his bemusement, he saw a stocky hiker with balding, auburn hair and a long bushy beard emerging from the trees. Dressed in a plaid cap and matching knickers, the Scot stumped through the wildflowers with a canvas knapsack on his back and a hand-carved walking staff in his right hand.

Pancake bared his teeth and flattened his ears. Cass hiked an eyebrow.

I reckon ol’ Batter Head really did learn something from me yesterday.

“That’s far enough,” Cass barked at the intruder. “How’d you find me?”

“I am the Pinkerton,” the Scot deadpanned.

Cass’s smile was mirthless. Oh, he recognized his nemesis, all right. About six weeks ago in Chicago, after he and Sadie had argued, Cass had sneaked inside the headquarters of the famous detective agency—mostly to prove he could outsmart its security measures—and had come damned close to smashing Allan Pinkerton’s face. Settling for a less satisfying revenge, Cass had told the detective chief (rather loudly) what he thought of Pinkerton’s contemptible plan to let young women bait psychopaths and get murdered so he could pay the rent.

“Get your plaid ass back to Chicago,” Cass growled. “You’re not welcome here.”

“Still sore about the Palmer House, eh?”

Cass ground his teeth at this reference to Sadie’s hotel, where she’d accused him of “ditching her in Denver.” Their argument had escalated to volcanic proportions after Cass realized just how cozy she’d become with Ryker during the three months that he’d been combing the Kentucky backwoods, hunting for Lynx’s would-be assassin.

What’s worse, Cass mused bitterly, is that the whole damned fracas erupted on the day I intended to propose marriage!

His throat constricted. He hadn’t seen Sadie since Chicago, mainly because he had no idea where she was. Pinkerton had sent her deep undercover. Even Brodie hadn’t been able to ferret out her location.

Cass shoved his .45 back into its holster. “Heard about that little incident, did you?” he countered gruffly.

“Lad, everyone within five blocks heard. Your row inspired Chicago’s first noise ordinance. The mayor dubbed it, ‘The Cassadie’ in your and her name.”

“You see me laughing, smartass?”

The Scot winked. “I always have my most passionate rows with my woman. That’s how she knows my love is true. Besides, the make-up sex is like riding a hungry tigress.”

“If you’re trying to cheer me up, you’re doing a lousy job.”

“Aw, buck up, laddie. Ryker didn’t get her to the altar yet.”

Cass scowled. “Whose side are you on?”

“Sadie’s.” Pinkerton struck a match and squinted, puffing his stogie to life. “That reminds me.” He blew out the flame. “Are your guns still for hire?”

Cass folded his arms across his chest. “You sure got some nerve, Flatfoot.”

“Yep.”

“Maybe I didn’t make it clear what I think of you and your army of scum-sucking weasels.”

Pinkerton blew a leisurely ring of smoke. “Things change.”

“As far as I know, hell didn’t freeze over.”

The Scot shrugged. For a long moment, he appeared to be studying the proliferation of ivory blossoms in the dogwood trees, the colorful carpet of periwinkles and sun drops beneath Pancake’s hooves; the majestic circle of conifer-laden mountains, towering above Cass’s head.

“Blue Thunder Valley sure is pretty country,” Pinkerton drawled. “Peaceful. Quiet. I can see why a man might come here to mend his heart.”

“My heart’s just fine,” Cass snapped.

“Course, there’s not much in the way of excitement,” Pinkerton continued in that same grating tone of conciliation. “No Injuns on the war path. No outlaws jumping stage coaches. No mobsters running opium dens.”

“I got plenty to do around here, Pinkerton.”

“Is that a fact?”

“I’m training my horse to fend off road agents.”

As if on cue, Pancake hiked his tail and let one rip.

“I can see that,” the Scot said dryly.

Cass’s cheeks flamed. “Good. Then you can see I’m busy. So scram.” He grabbed Pancake’s halter to lead him away.

“Too busy to earn a $10,000 reward?” Pinkerton challenged.

Cass scowled. “I told you,” he snapped over his shoulder,“I—”

The protest died on his lips. In Pinkerton’s hands was a crumpled murder warrant. “WANTED,” the parchment screamed. Beneath the usual list of aliases was a sketch of a big-breasted outlaw with a saucy smile and daring décolletage. Below the murder suspect’s chin was printed, “$10,000 Reward. Deliver prisoner to the nearest Consulate of Mexico for extradition.”

The breath whistled past Cass’s teeth.

That international felon, in all her buxom glory, was Sadie!



Devil Plays With Fire (Lady Law & The Gunslinger Series, Book 3)

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