Shot Through the Heart
The year is 1876 and Alayne Murray is alone. Her parents deceased, no close extended family. All she has left is her family farm and hope that her twin brother is alive somewhere out west.
Texas in 1876 is no place for a woman alone. Alayne cuts her hair and dresses in her brother’s clothes. With no one but herself to depend upon, she journeys west to find her brother or her brother’s grave.
Garth Burnett is a gunslinger with no future. He signed on to help a local sheriff keep the peace in a small town never realizing that there was nothing but peace to keep. Bored out of his mind and longing for the wilder side of life he’d left behind he plans to pick up and leave Harmony…one of these days.
Except this kid with a sob story about his missing brother lands at his feet. And the sheriff has gone missing. And things just aren’t as dull as they once were, with Lane Murray around to fight with.
Distracted and angry Garth misses what’s right in front of his eyes. The kid, isn’t just missish, he’s a Miss. One determined to get her man. If it kills them both.
From the wilds of Texas to a New Orleans mansion, Alayne takes Garth on a wild ride that is never quite what it seems.
Central Louisiana 1876
Rolling green farmland stretched as far as Alayne Murray could see from the front porch of her childhood home. Spring had come at last to Louisiana, and Alayne knew she should be thinking of the crops she needed to plant for the coming season. Instead, she sat quietly on the top step saying a silent farewell to the only home she had ever known. Tomorrow the new owners would arrive and she need to have the last of her things ready to go.
She held the tattered piece of telegraph paper that had been crisp nearly a year ago in her hands. She didn’t need to read it to know every word printed there. At first, she’d been ecstatic at the news: Kilean was coming home. But to her shame all she could remember thinking was how she’d finally have some help around the farm. As the months passed, Alayne read the telegram upon occasion, trying to find some hidden message as she waited for her brother to return.
Something must have gone terribly wrong. She was sure of it. Always wild, Kilean had a temper to rival their Irish father’s, but even with all his faults, Kilean always kept his word. She knew without a doubt that if he said he was coming home, then that was most certainly what he had intended.
While she sat, the sun sank over the green horizon and a chill set in but she didn’t notice. What if he came home tomorrow? Would he forgive her for selling their land, their birthright? Deep down she knew she worried over nothing. Kilean wasn’t coming home tomorrow, the next day, or even the next month. She knew that as sure as she knew her own name, Kilean was gone and it was up to her to find the how and the why of it. Only then, could she put her twin to rest and get on with her lonely life.
Heaving a sigh, she watched as first one star then another appeared in the clear night sky. Sitting there brooding wasn’t going to accomplish anything, but she didn’t want to leave the porch. Her time here was up and there was much to do before morning. Standing reluctantly, she went inside, where she tucked the telegram into the carpetbag that waited beside the front door.
Alayne knew the sacrifices she had to make. The sooner she got them done, the sooner she could put this part of her life behind her. With leaden feet, she walked through the empty house, to climb the stairs to her room for what would be the last time. She closed the door, a habit she hadn’t broken in the last year of living alone, and crossed the room to her vanity. Sitting before the mirror, she gazed unhappily at her reflection. And with trembling hands, she pulled the ribbon from the heavy braid she’d worn most of her life and picked up her mother’s silver sewing scissors.