Complications: The Deputies Book 1

Ride with Deputy Jesse Thompson as he pursues an elusive outlaw to a thrilling showdown.

With a lunge Baxter came off the ground and leapt into the tunnel. Kitty stood transfixed by the sight of Bannon’s broken corpse. The pistol in her hand was forgotten. Baxter slammed her against the rough rock wall, banging her head and knocking her nearly unconscious. The pistol jolted from her hand and out into the daylight outside the tunnel. Baxter spun her around and wrapped his left arm under her arm and around her chest. His hand reached up and gripped her chin. He pressed himself against her back, pulling her tight against him, and tucked the muzzle of his Colt into the soft flesh at the corner of her jaw. “You’re coming with me, young lady.”

Lila saw Kitty sag as her body slammed into the wall. She watched in horror as Baxter prepared to use Kitty as a human shield. Without a thought for her own safety Lila jumped to her feet and attacked Baxter, screaming and clawing at the arm that held Kitty upright. When Baxter turned to look at her the madness gleaming in his eyes nearly drove her back but she took a deep breath and clawed. His turn brought Kitty, head lolling, between them.

Almost negligently Baxter backhanded Lila into a heap against the far wall of the tunnel with the hand holding the pistol. His knuckles crashed against her jaw and she dropped bonelessly with blackness welling up in front of her vision. She desperately wanted to lift herself up and continue clawing at him until he released Kitty but her muscles wouldn’t obey. She sagged back against the wall and could only watch through tear-blurred eyes as Baxter forced Kitty out into the bright sunlight outside the mineshaft.


Jesse had seen Baxter’s dive into the tunnel and he heard Lila’s agonized voice as she fought to save Kitty. He rose and started for the tunnel but before he could move away from the ore cart Baxter appeared with his body pressed tightly against Kitty and his arm and hand holding her up. The Colt was pressed against her jaw once again. Jesse took a step. The Remington in his right hand swung up as he turned sideways and stepped into a perfect target stance. “Stop right there, Deputy Thompson,” Baxter snapped, “Or I will spread this young lady’s brains all over this canyon. And I don’t think you want that now, do you?”

Harvey appeared in the corner of Jesse’s narrowed vision. “You stop right there too, Palmer,” Baxter snarled. “If I have to kill both of these lovely ladies to get your attention, I will. You have my word on that.”

“What have you done with Lila?” Harvey grated. “If you’ve touched one hair of her head…”

“Those are big words for someone who will be dead soon.” Baxter laughed, a high-pitched caw that brought the hair on the back of Jesse’s neck to attention. “Throw down your guns and I’ll only kill the two of you. The ladies can go free. And the same goes for whomever you have on top of the bluff.”

Jesse thumbed back the hammer of the Remington. The front sight was steady on the small sliver of Howdy Baxter’s head that he could see. But he could also see that the hammer of Baxter’s Colt was back and the knuckles of his trigger finger were white. Baxter was on the edge of pulling the trigger and killing Kitty.

“Drop the gun, Baxter,” Jesse said evenly. “If you kill her the whole territory will be hunting you and you know it. Even your own men will track you down and kill you.”

Baxter giggled again. “But that won’t matter to you, will it? You’ll be dead.”

“So it looks like a standoff,” Jesse said. His gray eyes narrowed as he tried to figure the odds of being able to shoot Baxter without Baxter killing Kitty.

“I think not. Drop the gun!” Baxter’s voice was rising and he was getting further and further from sanity.

$16.50 postage paid. Complications: The Deputies Book 1 was released under the Sisley Creek Press imprint June 2009.