Read Sundown Online

Authors: Jade Laredo

Sundown

T
ITLE & COPYRIGHT

 

Sundown

 

Romantic Western Novella

 

B
y

 

Jade Laredo

 

 

Names, characters, places, organizations
,
and situations
solely contrived on the author’s
imagination unless otherwise notated. 
Therefore, any similarities pertaining to afore mentioned fictional scenarios are strictly coincidental.

 

[email protected] Jade Laredo

 

All Rights Reserved.

Reproduction of this book in any format not allowed without sole consent in writing from the author.

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

 

Colorado Territory

1872

 

 

“Madam y
our reticule.”  Smooth and polished, the
quiet
inflection in his
rich
voice hinted
a cool
southern
drawl. 
Ara
bella Gentry calmly inspected
the
cruel
piece of metal aimed straight at her face.  Nonplussed, s
he s
tarred into the firearm’s dangerous
barrel.
 

She had
seen its kind before. 

For a moment, she lost all sense of time and place.
 
Instead,
she could hear the
clam
or of bullets whizzing
overhead
, and the
reel of cannon explod
ing, while dying
soldiers
released
bloodcurdling cries.  Though i
n the bac
k
of her mind the
memory
lasted but a split second,
th
e misery went on forever. 

Strange
, she thought.  After
twelve years, no matter where she went or how far she traveled,
she could
never escape the
horrific
effects
of war, e
ven
now, while
she stood facing down a
deadl
y firearm.

“Miss Gentry.
” 
A
voice of reason
plead
ed
, yanking her mind
from an unwanted memory. 

Emeril
H
artley, a po
rt
ly mercantilist on his way
to Sundown
, lifted a bushy
brow and spoke with earnest.

“You’d best do as the man asks.”

She noticed
drops of
perspiration rolling
down
the man’s forehead
as his
doe-like eyes darted
back and
forth;
alerting
her to the fact,
the
hold-up was more serious than
she had
originally
thought. 

Slowly, she surveyed the scene. 

S
ix passengers stood huddled tog
ether, holding their hands
in
th
e air, gaping at her apprehensively as if she had lost her complete mind.
 

Ida and Ined
Bump
were
gracious
sisters on their way
to
Denver
to keep house for their
eldest
sister. 
Lyle and Bette
Prattle recentl
y married
wanting
to
make their home
in
the booming town

She looked into the
face of
Emeril
Hartley’s son, Edward

She had
spied
the
young man
cast
her
a
t least a
dozen amorous glances
ever
since
their departure from
St. Louis. 
She had
befriended
them
all and now they stared back at
her as if
she had
lost her mind.

“My dear.
” 
Ida
Bump cleared
her
throat. 
The old woman’s
graveling
voice was careful with warning. 

Why not give the gentleman your reticule
?”
 
             

Intuition garnered
a cruel sentence
.
 

Though
she had
yet
given
the brigand
much thought, she could sense
his
irrefutable presence

As
much as she wanted to ignore him
, she felt an inexplic
able draw

More curi
ou
s than frightened, she slowly tilted her chin and stared into the most unusual pair of eyes
she had
ever seen.  Cerulean blue, like a sultry sea, she
found herself drowning
in the depths of an aquat
ic gaze.  Though she could
only
see the shimmer of his mesmeric
eyes,
she suspected hidden behind the
dusty
band
anna was a well-chiseled face.  No doubt,
the man
was
an
und
eserving soul with a façade gifted from God
who had
fallen from grace no less. 

She
did not miss the outlaw’s mocking
smile
or
the
poised
gaze
he leveled
as if he knew what she was thinking. 
S
tr
ong and calculating, those
amused
eyes
bore right through h
er. 

Unnerved
with the bothersome man
, she let loose
her reticule and shoved the delicate drawstring purse his wa
y.  S
he watched
with resigned fury
as
he
rummage
d
through her velveteen purse. 
It
was not
long before h
e withdrew
a wad of banknotes,
and
stashed
the paperbacks
into his
tattered
butternut gray jacket.  Returning his arrogant gaze, he
rewarded her with
a triumphant smile
.
 
 

Unmoved
, Arabella
pulled
her lips into a tight moue.
 

It was plain to see
e
ven
un
to this day,
the
fugitive
remained
a hard-core Rebel

Did he not know the war was over?   

“Hos
s!”  A
young
man’s
voice, intense and withou
t patience startled her from
bitter scrutiny
.
  “
What’d
wanna do about the strongbox?”

“Take
care of it.”  The outlaw
barked
not
allowing his
gaze
to stray.  Instead,
his
mesmeric
eyes
beset with curiosity
meandered
across her fac
e.  She watched with fa
scination as he
slowly trailed
down the hollow of her neck,
settling
lazily on
her bosom.  In
stinctively, she gr
abbed at the
locket, which
clung to her breast.


Miss Gent
ry, is it?”  He asked
.  Slowly, he brushed the
barrel of his gun over
her chest, toying with th
e golden charm.
 

“If you would, please.”

Not the locket. 
S
he backed away, r
efusing his
in
sistence
.  His smile soon
turned
cold
and
underhanded

Breathless, she watched as he
slowly
work
ed
a
tick in his jaw

Without
warning,
he stepped forward, b
are
ly inches away,
towering
above
her.  Jerking
the necklace from her neck
, she waited uneasily
as he studied the
precious
ornament.

“You’
d risk your neck
for a b
auble?”  He asked incredulously, turn
ing the
tiny piece of
jewelry
in his hand, he studied it with interest.
 
She glower
ed at him, refusing to answer she met his challenging stare. 
With seconds ticking, his hard eyes probed her
face and asked.

“Why?”

“A
keepsake.”  Somehow, she found her voice then swallowed


It was a
gift from m
y
fiancé
who
died during the war
.”

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