Marshal Trace Balfour doesn’t care for schoolmarm Matilda Schoenbrun’s straight-laced attitude. However, a few moments alone with the spinster lady makes him realize she isn’t quite what he expected. It also makes him curious. Why doesn’t she like to be called Mattie? Most of all, what would she look like without her specs and with her hair down?
“Move aside,” Marshal Trace Balfour ordered, pushing through the noisy throng gathered in the street outside the Golden Slipper Saloon. Their shouts and laughter had drawn him from his office up the block. Among the crowd, he saw the local Methodist preacher, the undertaker and the owner of the mercantile across the dusty street. Several ranch hands, in town on their day off, made most of the racket.
Trace also noticed the schoolmarm, Matilda Schoenbrun. With her brown hair wound in a tight bun at her nape and wearing a drab calico gown of the same color, she brought to mind a brown jay such as he’d seen as a boy in south Texas. When she spotted him, she threw her shoulders back and narrowed her lips, looking down her bespectacled little nose, setting his teeth on edge.
“Marshal, please put a stop to this!” she demanded in a haughty voice.
“Ma’am, that’s what I aim to do.” Touching his hat to her, he shouldered aside a pair of cowboys whose laughter and catcalls almost drowned out the shrieks coming from a pair of females rolling in the dirt. Trace recognized them as saloon girls form the Golden Slipper. With red and purple skirts bunched around their knees, they fought viciously, scratching, biting and pulling each other’s hair.
He’d rather face a gang of bank robbers than deal with these snarling wildcats, he thought grimly.