(Note from Shannon: You might want to consume a large alcohol before reading this post. Really.)
(Shan: I’m not kidding about the alcohol. At least have a dose of Nyquil before clicking that “more” link.)
They killed the man riding shotgun first, which made sense on account of him having a shotgun and all. Then they shot the driver. Unfortunately, the horses—not carrying a bit for the situation—bolted, the stagecoach careening along behind them.
Ezzie, who happened to be the only passenger for that leg of the journey, clutched her tattered bag holding her meager possessions and waited to die. At least, she consoled herself, it would be a relatively quick—albeit bruising—death, rather than the endless agony she’d suffered at the hands of her former employer.
Shan: Oh, please. Endless agony? You have your own Mini Cooper.
Ez: It’s my story. Shut up.
Eventually the stagecoach slowed, then came to a complete stop, and Ezzie collapsed onto the bench seat. She was just starting to believe she might live after all when the door was yanked clean off its hinges by a dark, hairy, odiferous giant of a man. He shoved a gun in her face and yelled, “Ha dover val bulls!”
She shook her head frantically. “I’m sorry—I don’t speak German.”
The bandit grunted and pulled down on the filthy bandana tied a little too tightly over his nose and mouth. “I said to hand over your valuables!”
“I…I don’t have any.” That wasn’t precisely true. The manuscript in her bag was of immense value to her, but she entertained serious doubts as to the ruffian’s literacy.
The man wrapped his dirty, furry knuckles around her bag and yanked. Because she wasn’t willing to let it go without a fight, Ezzie was hauled unceremoniously into the dirt.
Shan: Has anybody ever been hauled ceremoniously into the dirt? Would there be drums?
Ez: Shut up, Shannon.
Ezzie screamed as gunshots suddenly rang out. Apparently drawing his weapon became more important to the bandit than her bag because he swore and let it go. Snatching it up, she scrambled under the stage and waited for the dust to settle. The battle seemed to rage on forever, the gunshots sounding like popcorn—
Shan: Did they have popcorn then?
The battle seemed to rage on forever, the gunshots sounding like fireworks—
Shan: Did they have fireworks then?
Shan: I know they existed, but did they have them here?
The battle seemed to rage on forever, the gunshots sounding like a Yankee author being whacked over and over again upside the head with the stupid stick. Then suddenly it all went silent but for the jingle of spurs. Ezzie watched the black boots approaching her hiding place and would have swallowed hard had she enough moisture in her mouth.
“You can come on out now. It’s safe.”
She wasn’t inclined to believe a man who’d just killed an entire gang of armed robbers, but what choice did she have? She couldn’t stay under the stagecoach forever. While her hiding place offered a blissful patch of shade, it was sorely lacking in other amenities.
Leaving her bag behind for now, Ezzie crawled back into the sunlight and looked up—way up—at her saviour. At first he was nothing but the tall shadow of a broad and powerfully built man, but then her eyes adjusted and his handsome features came into focus.
Uniquely gray eyes snapped out at her like silver lightening from a strong, rough-hewn face. The man was clean shaven, so no facial hair marred her appreciation of his chiseled cheekbones, perfect bow lips and chiseled jaw. A wave of straight hair fell like liquid onyx to his wide shoulders.
Shan: Oh please. You found my copy of The Romance Writers’ Phrase Book again, didn’t you?
Ez: You’re the one who bought it.
Shan: Yeah, when I was like sixteen. Entire species have evolved since then.
To be continued…come back tomorrow for Part 2 of Hearts A’Giddy-Uppin’!
Shan: Do we have to?
Ez: Shut up, Shannon