Dessa stood still and watched as they conversed. Something stank to high heaven about this entire situation. Why were the cops chasing robbers on horseback? It’s not like Fredericksburg was that isolated. She glanced at the captured men. The boy moaned, and she made a step to go over and help him. The Marshal spun, and the expression in his eye froze her in place.
“He needs first aid.”
“He’s fine. The Doc will tend to him when we get to the jail.”
“You could at least call 911 and let them patch him up for you.” She nodded to the man lying so still with his eyes closed. “Your other prisoner doesn’t look so good. He’s going to die on you if you don’t start CPR or get him some help.”
“Lady, no one is going to hear a yell from out here. Never heard of any 911 or CPR.” He propped the hand not holding the shotgun on his hip and threw her a disgusted look. “Are you blind? That man is dead, shot through the heart.”
Her head swam for a moment, and she struggled not to give in to the sensation and faint. She drew in deep gulps of air. “Well…well…, what about the coroner and the meat wagon, not to mention the CSI folks? If you don’t get them to record the scene, how are you going to cover your butt? The authorities might say you shot him in cold blood.”
He looked at her like she’d sprouted an extra head. “I don’t know what the hell you are talking about woman. No one will question my authority. I’m the law in this county. Now, be quiet, or I’m going to gag you.”
His deputies put the wounded boy, with his hands tied, on his horse and controlled his mount with a lead rope. The dead man received the same treatment but he was placed face down. Before she could object, the Marshal lifted her, quilt and all, set her astride his horse, and mounted behind her.
She grabbed a handful of the horse’s mane and hung on as he kicked the animal into a trot. The other two on a lead rope followed. His arm locked around her waist, slamming her back against his broad chest.
The air left her lungs with a whoosh. “You’re squeezing the life out of me.”
“Relax and I’ll ease up.” She took a deep breath and tried to concentrate on the scenery. The trees thinned and—
A howl of pain came from the kid. With her elbow, she gigged the Marshal in the side. “Aren’t you going to do something? He’s hurting.”
“Nope. Nothing I can do but tie him across the saddle like his dead buddy. Either way he’s going to hurt. It’s best to ignore him.”
Dessa didn’t agree, but decided arguing with him wouldn’t change his mind.
They’d left the trees and were riding through prairie. Odd. She didn’t remember seeing this much grassland around the Fredericksburg area.
“Where are we going?”
“I’m taking you and your cohorts to jail in town.”
“Good. The lady I rented the cabin from is in Fredericksburg. She’ll tell you I couldn’t have known these men. I just got into the area yesterday.”
“Fredericksburg?” He laughed, the sound a deep rumbling in his chest that vibrated to her back. “Are you nuts lady? Fredericksburg is over four hundred miles away.”
Thank you for reading. Don’t forget to check out my contests. I’m giving away 3 paper copies of Forever Faithful and an e-copy of Born in Ice and e-copy of A Way Back.