Westbound (Love Travels West, Book 1)

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Sunset Rendezvous

This part wasn't in the original story, I wrote it quite a bit later, but it didn't fit in with any of the chapters. I really like the way it came out though, and figured I'd share it as a sort of stand alone.

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Sunset Rendezvous

(A Westbound Special)

The air in the saloon was thick with the smell of cigar smoke combined with the heavy scent of alcohol. The light was dim and foggy, and the atmosphere suspiciously quiet. A few half-drunk men sat at random tables, but apart from them the place was just about empty. A large figure sat in the shadows at the far end of the room. He held his cigar in his right hand between his thumb and index finger, while with his left he lifted the whiskey bottle to his lips. The dark eyes never left the low doors, doors that had been undisturbed  for a full hour. He was waiting and she was late. 

At last, just as the sun began its descent, casting a fate red glow through the small windows of the saloon, the sound of horse's hooves approached the saloon and presently the doors opened and a woman entered. Her dark dress was covered with mud, the long copper hair was loose and tangled, and dust covered her hands and face. Their eyes met and she made her way to where the man sat.

"Well?" He asked in low voice.

"Alive," she stated, taking the chair opposite his. "Alive and kickin'."

"Damn," he swore. "What is it going to take to kill that man? I thought Jem said he'd finished him off."

"Apparently he wasn't completely dead and some ex-army surgeon pulled him through."

"All I ask is you kill the man, and none of you can manage it!" He spat in disgust. "Is it really so hard to do somethin' so simple?"

"Some men don't die easily," she pointed out. "Look at yourself for example."

"Flattered Bessie." He let out a throaty laugh. "He's not plannin' on leavin' Arizona anytime soon?"

"Nope, he's got a job on a ranch called the Cora Belle, and he's stuck there for a while it seems. You want me to...?"

"No," he cut her off. "No, I'm tired of havin' you fail me all the time. If a man wants somethin', he has to do it himself."

"Maybe you should have just taken care of it from the start."

"Mind your words, Missy! Just be glad you're still breathin' after losin' him back then."

She licked her lips from his words and feigned indifference by tossing her head carelessly. "Well, seein' as you plan to take care of it am I free to go?"

"Oh no you're not. Take Jem and Asop and go to the town of Hopewing."

"Why?"

"Because I want to have a backup plan. That idiot is provin' to be harder than most men and I don't want him to get away this time. Find those boys and get you rears to that hole of a town, and don't go nowhere until I tell you, is that clear?"

Bessie rolled her eyes and nodded her head. Standing up she left the saloon and mounting her horse, went to look for her two partners in crime.

Calhoon took a large puff on his cigar and slowly let the smoke out. His eyes followed the sun as it disappeared below the Texas horizon. His hand reached down and caressed the shot gun nestled in the holster on his belt. "This time, Jake," he whispered in a satisfied voice."This time you won't get away, because this time I'm comin' after you." 

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