Saturday, February 1, 2014

Bluffing the Marshal by Paty Jager

Marshal Tate Barkley had his heart stolen the day he rode into town and saw Nellie Preston walking out of the post office. Just when he was getting up the nerve to ask to court her, he has to jail her twin brother for murder.

Nellie Preston kidnaps a preacher, a school teacher, an undertaker, and a baker to get Marshal Barkley out to her family ranch. It seems drastic measures to talk with the marshal and get his cooperation in clearing her brother's name, but she not only wants to free her brother, she wants to win the marshal's heart.
Nellie Preston stood at the top of the family cellar gnawing her bottom lip. What would Pa do when he discovered she had the preacher, school teacher, undertaker, and baker tied up in the cellar? Even more important—she hoped kidnapping the men would not only clear her brother’s name but show the handsome marshal she had the grit to be married to a lawman.
By-the-book Marshal Barkley should be charging down the road any minute. By now word would have spread she’d taken the missing men.
Her sour stomach rivaled the guilt eating away at her good sense. This had been a brash move to get the marshal out of town, but her brother’s life and her future depended on his arrival. She’d made the four men as comfortable as possible in the cellar. She’d even explained why they were here, but they hadn’t taken kindly to being kidnapped by Marcus Preston’s sister.
Dust plumed into the air a mile down the road to town. Nellie squinted, staring at the dust, hoping the marshal came alone. He’d be harder to convince if he brought a posse and his deputy. They’d say she was just like her brother—a no-good-killer.
She picked up the rifle leaning against the cellar door and prayed her parents and the younger kids didn’t come home early from visiting their grandparents two counties over. She wanted Marcus out of jail and things back to normal by the time Pa came home. Marcus was her twin, and she loved him dearly, but he did tend to get in fixes that most young men knew better to stay away from.
Pa always said of the two; she had the brains and Marcus had the muscle.
Some of her agitation fled when she spotted one horse and rider running hell bent up their lane. Marshal Tate Barkley had come by himself.
She smiled. He probably figured he didn’t need a posse to bring in one young woman.
Nellie cocked the gun and waited.