Hey! Becoming Miss Becky releases a week from Tuesday! Since I’m still in Nurse Ratched mode (his follow-up appt is Tuesday and we’re both desperately hoping he’s cleared to return to work), I thought it might be fun to post the scene in which Sheriff Adam Caldwell—the hero of BMB—is first introduced.
From Taming Eliza Jane (Book1 and happily available now!):
Will walked out of the Chicken Coop with an aching heart and a gut churning with frustration. The last person he expected to see waiting for him was the sheriff, who usually gave the only whorehouse in town a wide berth.
Adam Caldwell was damn near the best friend Will had ever had, but he could be as much a pain in the ass as the whores at times. He wasnâ€™t sure he had the patience for him right now.
The sheriff fell into step beside him on the plank sidewalk. Will knew they made a noticeable pair. Adam was dark and forbidding. Over six feet of sun-darkened muscle, black shirt and a black hat covering long black hair, with unforgiving eyes almost as dark. They all figured there was some Indian in him somewhere, but no man had yet had the balls to ask him outright.
Will himself was as tall, but he was leaner, with an open, friendly air about him. White shirt with cuffs rolled to the elbows tucked into denim pants. His battered, brown Stetson covered sandy hair he kept trimmed off his ears and neck. And the ladies sure did tend to go on about his blue eyes.
The only other things they had in common were the tin starsâ€”Will liked to pin his on his doctoring kitâ€”and the holsters low on their hips. Will Martinson had sworn to preserve life, but he was also the only man Adam trusted to back him up. The sheriffâ€™s reputation went a long way toward keeping the peace, but when there was need for a deputy, Will just told himself there was more than one way to preserve a life.
â€œTrouble?â€ Adam finally asked when Will didnâ€™t talk just to fill the silence as he was wont to do.
â€œSadieâ€™s with child.â€
Adam shrugged. â€œCanâ€™t help those who donâ€™t wanna be helped, Doc.â€
Hell, he knew that. But he wasnâ€™t in the mood to hear it just yet. â€œHeard at the Coop some woman got off the stage and stayed off.â€
It was a rare event for a woman to stay in town, unless her intention was a room at the Chicken Coop. Word of her had spread through Gardiner like wildfire.
â€œYup. Ainâ€™t good.â€
Will waited for his friend to go on with a growing sense of aggravation. Hellfire, heâ€™d had easier conversations with mules. â€œWhy ainâ€™t it good? She somebody youâ€™ve heard of?â€
â€œYup. Eliza Jane Carter. Likes to ride into town, get the women all riled up about demanding their rights and shit, then she skedaddles.â€
â€œShe stayinâ€™ a while?â€
Will knew his friend was mulling over the womanâ€™s unwelcome presence in his town and her potential for troublemaking, but all he could think about was how the woman could maybe talk some sense into Sadie. Tell her there were better ways for her and her child to make it in the world.
Adam sighed and pushed his hat back on his head. â€œIf the women gettinâ€™ riled up gets the men riled up, we could have us some trouble.â€
Damnation. He didnâ€™t need spectacles to see where Adam was heading with this. â€œDammit, Adam, Iâ€™m a doctor, not a nanny.â€
â€œBetter job for you than me. I ainâ€™t so good with diplomacy.â€
â€œDiplomacy? You? Shit, they say you shot a man for calling your horse ugly.â€
The sheriff shrugged. â€œHe lived. And my horse ainâ€™t ugly.â€
Fact was, Sheriff Caldwellâ€™s gelding was the ugliest son of a bitch to ever stand on four legs. A sane man would have shot the creature just to save his own eyesight. But that horse had speed and stamina the likes of which Will had never seen, and he would run until his heart exploded for Adam. He was loyal in a way Will hadnâ€™t come across even in a good dog, and certainly never in another person. Didnâ€™t change the fact the beast was damn ugly, though. Folks had just gotten real quiet about it.
â€œI ainâ€™t asking you to marry the woman, Doc. Just keep an eye on her.â€ When Will hesitated, Adam shrugged again. Hell, he hated thatâ€”made Will want to shove the sheriffâ€™s head so far down his neck he could never shrug his shoulders again. â€œIâ€™d hate for her to cause trouble. Seems a mighty shame to shoot a woman.â€
Will laughed at the blatant attempt at blackmail, some of the tension easing from his body. â€œEven you wouldnâ€™t shoot a woman, you ornery son of a bitch.â€
He looked up in time to see a damn fine looking woman step out of the hotel. She was tall and thin, but not so thin she didnâ€™t have rounded breasts and hips that like to make a manâ€™s mouth water. â€œIs that her?â€
Will smiled and pushed his own hat back a little further on his head. â€œIt would be a damn shame to have to shoot her.â€
She liked to get women all riled up about their rights, did she? â€œCould be she starts causing too much trouble Iâ€™ll have to put her over my knee and spank some sense into her.â€
And damned if he didnâ€™t get so riled up himself he had to walk down the sidewalk with his bag held in front of his crotch like a schoolboy.