Authors: Tabor Evans
A Slice of Bacon?
Longarm grabbed his .45 and tumbled off the cot to the floor, banging his knee when he did so. He scrambled up and charged forward. Threw the flimsy canvas partition aside and found himself facing a swarthy man holding a knife.
The fellow was skinny and unshaven. His knife was long and slightly curved. The polished blade gleamed in the thin light coming over the partitions from a string of lanterns in the corridor beyond.
Bethlehem Bacon lay cowering on her cot, the intruder standing over her with his blade poised above her torso.
“Do it, mister, an' you die,” Longarm said, straightening to his full height and cocking the Colt in his handÂ .Â .Â .
DON'T MISS THESE
ALL-ACTION WESTERN SERIES
FROM THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
THE GUNSMITH by J. R. Roberts
Clint Adams was a legend among lawmen, outlaws, and ladies. They called himÂ .Â .Â . the Gunsmith.
LONGARM by Tabor Evans
The popular long-running series about Deputy U.S. Marshal Custis Longâhis life, his loves, his fight for justice.
SLOCUM by Jake Logan
Today's longest-running action Western. John Slocum rides a deadly trail of hot blood and cold steel.
BUSHWHACKERS by B. J. Lanagan
An action-packed series by the creators of Longarm! The rousing adventures of the most brutal gang of cutthroats ever assembledâQuantrill's Raiders.
DIAMONDBACK by Guy Brewer
Dex Yancey is Diamondback, a Southern gentleman turned con man when his brother cheats him out of the family fortune. Ladies love him. Gamblers hate him. But nobody pulls one over on DexÂ .Â .Â .
WILDGUN by Jack Hanson
The blazing adventures of mountain man Will Barlowâfrom the creators of Longarm!
TEXAS TRACKER by Tom Calhoun
J.T. Law: the most relentlessâand dangerousâmanhunter in all Texas. Where sheriffs and posses fail, he's the best man to bring in the most vicious outlawsâfor a price.
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LONGARM AND THE MISSING HUSBAND
A Jove Book / published by arrangement with the author
Copyright Â© 2015 by Penguin Group (USA) LLC.
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eBook ISBN: 978-0-698-17798-7
Jove mass-market edition / February 2015
Cover illustration by Milo Sinovcic.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Longarm awoke slowly, luxuriating under the covers with his eyes closed. Until he opened his eyes and saw that there was daylight outside the window. Unless he moved his butt, he would be late for work. Again.
He pushed the covers back and, yawning, sat up on the side of the bed for a moment. He rubbed his eyesâhe'd had a very late nightâand yawned again.
A hand passed over his cheeks confirmed what he already knew. He needed a shave. That would just have to wait, however. At this hour every barbershop in Denver would be as stuffed as a Christmas goose. Besides, the felons he was likely to apprehend would not much care whether the arresting deputy U.S. marshal needed a shave or not.
There seemed nothing for it except to get up and go to the office. He yawned again and shuddered as a chill ran down his spine. What he really needed was a cup of coffee. Or, he thought with a smile, a shot or two of Maryland distilled rye whiskey. Either of those could set a man up for the day.
In the meantimeÂ .Â .Â . He stood and stretched, smoothed his mustache, and ran a hand over unruly hair, then reached for his balbriggans and stepped into them. Picked up his shirt and trousers from the chair where he had draped them sometime before dawn and put those on. Pulled on his socks and slipped his feet into his stovepipe cavalry boots but refrained from stamping his feet into them. Stuffed his string tie into a pocket. Finally reached for his brown tweed coat and snuff brown flat-crowned Stetson.
“Where you goin', sweetheart?” a small voice came from beneath the bedcovers.
“Work, darlin'. I got to go,” Longarm replied.
“But, Custis, aren't you gonna fuck me again? Please? I do really like a morning fuck.”
“Can't do it, Angela, much as I'd like to. I got t' go to work.” He grinned. “Besides, you like t' wore me out last night. Good as you are, darlin', it might could be days before my dick is rested enough t' get a hard-on again.”
“Did you really like it, Custis? Was I good?” A swatch of jet-black hair and one very bright blue eyeball peeped out from beneath the covers. “Honest now.”
“You were wonderful,” he assured her. He buckled his gun belt around his waist, shifting it back and forth slightly until the position felt exactly right, then he leaned down, pulled the covers back a few inches, and kissed Angela. And kissed her again.
He was tempted to give in and stay for another pleasant hour or so. But he really did have to leave. Dammit.
Longarm reached beneath the covers and gave Angela's left nipple a pinch. The girl squealed. And laughed. “You come back when you can give me a proper fucking, Custis,” she said.
“Promise,” he assured her and turned away.
By the time he reached the door, that and all the other promises he might have made to her were forgotten. There were other things on Deputy Marshal Custis Long's mind now.
Longarm skipped lightly up the stone steps leading into the Federal Building on Denver's Colfax Avenue. He was a tall man, well over six feet in height, and was a study in brown: seal brown hair and handlebar mustache, brown checked shirt, brown corduroy trousers, light brown vest, and brown tweed coat.
The brown was relieved only by the gleaming back of his boots and his gun belt. And by the black gutta-percha grips of his double-action .45 Colt revolver visible at his belly in the cross-draw holster he wore there.
He paused to hold the door for a young woman who was emerging from the building. The lady was in tears, her shoulders jerking with her repeated sobs.
She stopped and looked up at him. “I'm sorry, sir. I didn't mean to get in your way.”
“You ain't in my way, miss, but I can't help noticin' that something seems t' be troubling you. Maybe I can help?” Longarm said.
She shook her head. “No, IÂ .Â .Â . I'm sure no one can help me.”
Longarm was on time for a change. But this young womanÂ .Â .Â .
She was, he guessed, in her middle twenties or thereabouts. A small woman with brown hair and golden eyes, puffy now from crying but he suspected they were very pretty when she was calm. She wore a fitted shirtwaist that showed a trim figure. About five feet tall, he guessed. And her waist was impossibly tiny.
She was pretty. If she washed the tear tracks from her face and put on a dab of rouge, she would be a beauty.
She wore a small hat pinned to the back of her head. She either had her hair pulled back in a severe bun or had it cut exceptionally short.
All in all, she was a little bit of a thing. Longarm towered over her.
“I sure can't help if you won't let me try,” Longarm said gently. With a twinge of apprehension that this time he was going to be very late to the office, he said, “Whyn't you an' me go have a cup o' coffee, an' you can tell me what's troubling you,” he offered. With a smile he added, “Most any burden gets lighter if there's two folks t' carry it.”
“You're very kind,” she said. “but really, no one can help.”
“Maybe you haven't asked the right folks t' help carry whatever is burdening you, miss.”
“It is missus, sir, not miss. And that is the problem. My husband is missing and no one seems able to help me find him.”
Husband. Such a disappointing word, he thought. But stillÂ .Â .Â .
“Come on,” he said, offering his arm and guiding her back down the steps he had just come up. “I know where we can get that coffee.”