I'm pleased to share that my short story, A Westward Adventure, is now available as a single sell for 99 cents. (It previously appeared in the COWBOY KISSES anthology.)
Aspiring novelist Amelia Mercer travels from New York City to Colorado to aid an injured aunt. When the stage is robbed and her luggage stolen, bounty hunter Ned Waymire comes to her aid, acquainted with the harmless culprit and wanting to spare the boy. But Ned also seeks to impress the independent young woman. Amelia's wish to never marry, however, clashes with Ned's desire to keep her reputation intact. When a final bounty from Ned's past threatens their future, she knows that A Westward Adventure isn’t just the title of her novel but the new course of her life.
The front door opened and shut, and in the next instant Ned Waymire filled the parlor entryway. As soon as Amelia locked eyes with him, he froze.
“Ned, I’d like you to meet my niece, Amelia Mercer.” Teddy waved him into the room. “Amelia, this is Ned Waymire. He boards here. There’s also another gentleman, but he’s been away recently.”
Mister Waymire removed his hat, revealing dark hair, and cleared his throat. “Pleased to make your acquaintance, miss.” He stepped forward to take her hand.
The touch was warm and his sun-darkened fingers overwhelmed her pale ones. As she smiled and nodded, she tried to ignore the tingling sensation that crept up her arm. Up close, he exuded even more strength than was apparent in the marshal’s office.
A man who spent his days outdoors.
A man who called the earth his home.
Vivid blue eyes stood out on a sun- and whisker-darkened face.
He was the perfect western hero.
“I just saw you,” she said, glad her voice sounded calm considering how her insides quivered.
He stepped back from her.
“You’re not married, are you, Amelia?” Teddy asked.
“Why, neither is Ned.”
Heat suffused Amelia’s cheeks. “I don’t believe in marriage, much like you Aunt Teddy.” The words rushed out of Amelia. “Women don’t need men to make their way in the world. Why, look at you? You’ve done quite well on your own.”
“I’ve never been placed on a pillar,” Teddy said. “What do you think of that, Ned? I’m a woman of example.”
“I won’t argue with that,” Ned replied.
“Did you get Billings?” Teddy asked.
“Yep. You were right. He was in Old Man Hill’s abandoned mine.”
“I knew it.” Teddy chuckled under her breath.
“Are you a bounty hunter, too?” Amelia asked.
Teddy cackled. “No, but I could be. Don’t you think, Ned?”
“You’d outgun us all, Teddy.”
Amelia sensed an affection between the two, and it warmed her heart, although this entire reunion with her aunt was far different than anything she imagined. She knew she had the first chapter of her new novel.
“I’ll just be turning in now, ladies,” Ned said.
Amelia, her cheeks still warm from being in the same room with him, met his eyes briefly then looked away in embarrassment.
What if he thinks I like him?
She imagined the type of woman he fancied was far from the likes of her. Why, he probably thought her a silly city girl. And he’d be right. But her mama had long taught her to be an independent thinker, to believe that a woman’s mind was equal to a man’s. Most of Amelia’s writings had been social commentaries, addressing important issues such as the educational welfare of children, the plight of the homeless and less fortunate, and the lack of voice the average woman had within marriage. But in her heart, she longed to pen an adventurous tale of a woman who not only sees the world, but tames a man in the process, who finds love with an equal, inciting passion in her partner.
She hadn’t told her mother she planned to write such a novel—she’d likely think it beneath Amelia—but her heart burned with the desire to share the story singing in her heart. Coming to visit Aunt Theodora had offered the perfect blend of adventure and inspiration.
Ned Waymire departed the room and his footsteps could be heard climbing the staircase.
That man was the epitome of adventure and inspiration.
Copyright © 2015 K. McCaffrey LLC