Lawfully Loved (Texas Lawkeeper Romance)(4)

By: Jenna Brandt

“I’m sorry to hear that, Deputy.” He glanced past him out the door. “Let’s go take a look at your horse’s leg and see what can be done.”

Several minutes later, the two men entered the house with sullen looks on their faces.

Rebecca sucked in her breath and held it. The man was not only tall, but carried himself with confidence. He was incredibly striking with shaggy black hair and piercing green eyes. The stranger caught her staring at him, causing her to quickly avert her eyes as a blush creeped across her body.

Rebecca’s father gestured for the deputy to sit down in the family living room. “As I said outside, your horse is going to need to stay off that leg for at least two weeks in order for the wound and pulled muscle to heal; and even then, she may not be rideable afterward. I’m assuming you’ll be needing a horse in the meantime.”

“Since Ginger will need to remain here at your livery while she recovers, I will indeed need another horse for the time being. Are there any for sale?” the Deputy asked.

Mr. Caldwell shook his head. “I’m sorry, Deputy, but we had a settlement party clean us out of all our horses a week ago. They’re due to bring a couple back on Monday though.”

The deputy’s brows came together in a furrow as he asked, “Do you have a telegraph office? I could send a request over for one of the other deputies to bring me a horse from Abilene.”

“I’m sorry you’re out of luck. Our town isn’t big enough to warrant a telegraph office.”

“I suppose that means I’m stuck here over the weekend,” he stated with a frown. “Is there a place where I can stay?”

From the back of the family area, Rebecca chirped up, “There are rooms to rent at the saloon. I can take you over if you like.”

He turned his attention to her and nodded. “Much obliged, ma’am.” Returning his attention to Mr. Caldwell, he added, “Thank you for the information. I’ll make sure your wife returns to you straight away.”

A laugh escaped Rebecca as she corrected, “I’m not his wife; I’m his daughter, Rebecca Caldwell.”

“Well, pleased to meet you, miss,” he said as he adjusted the saddle and bag so he could hold out his hand to her. She took it and felt the warmth radiate up her arm from his touch. A moment later, he dropped her hand as his eyes narrowed a bit. Did he feel the sensation too?

Mr. Caldwell offered, “You can leave your saddle here for safe keeping if you like. The saloon isn’t the safest place to leave anything of value.”

“I appreciate that,” Jake said as he pulled the saddle off his shoulder and put it in the corner near the door.

He turned his attention back to Rebecca, and she could tell he was waiting for her to lead the way.

“Don’t be too long now,” Mr. Caldwell warned as they exited the house.

A smile curved Rebecca’s mouth as she tossed over her shoulder, “I’ll be back as soon as I show the deputy where to go.”

Most girls would probably be bothered by an overprotective father, but Rebecca found it sweet her own father worried about her so much.

Rebecca looked up and sighed with gratitude. “At least the rain has given us a reprieve for the moment.”

“Maybe I can dry off a bit before we get to the saloon,” he stated. “Although, there’s not much of a town to walk through, is there?”

Rebecca shook her head. “There isn’t much, Deputy, but it is home. That’s the general store.” She pointed to a plain wooden building with the basic title stenciled across the top. “We have a feed store next to it since we have a lot of ranchers around these parts. Across the street, we have a land office—although no one is buying much land around here lately. On the corner, we have the church which also doubles as the school during the week.”

“You don’t have a bank or post office?” the deputy inquired with surprise.

“Like my father said, we aren’t big enough. You would have to go to Woody for both.”

“What about a jail?” He glanced around the main street. “What do you do with anyone who breaks the law?”

“Our menfolk will round them up and put them in the makeshift jail behind the saloon. Mr. Weston, the saloon owner, had it built after one too many fights happened at his establishment. It’s not much more than a small wooden shack with a lock on it, but it works for letting a drunk or two sleep off their drink until morning.”