Shannon Stacey

Adam takes center stage

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 wasn’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 stars—Will liked to pin his on his doctoring kit—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 sheriff’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.

“Trouble?” Adam finally asked when Will didn’t talk just to fill the silence as he was wont to do.

“Sadie’s with child.”

Adam shrugged. “Can’t help those who don’t wanna be helped, Doc.”

Hell, he knew that. But he wasn’t in the mood to hear it just yet. “Heard at the Coop some woman got off the stage and stayed off.”

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.

“Yup. Ain’t good.”

Will waited for his friend to go on with a growing sense of aggravation. Hellfire, he’d had easier conversations with mules. “Why ain’t it good? She somebody you’ve heard of?”

“Yup. Eliza Jane Carter. Likes to ride into town, get the women all riled up about demanding their rights and shit, then she skedaddles.”

“She stayin’ a while?”

“Looks like.”

Will knew his friend was mulling over the woman’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. “If the women gettin’ riled up gets the men riled up, we could have us some trouble.”

Damnation. He didn’t need spectacles to see where Adam was heading with this. “Dammit, Adam, I’m a doctor, not a nanny.”

“Better job for you than me. I ain’t so good with diplomacy.”

“Diplomacy? You? Shit, they say you shot a man for calling your horse ugly.”

The sheriff shrugged. “He lived. And my horse ain’t ugly.”

Fact was, Sheriff Caldwell’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 hadn’t come across even in a good dog, and certainly never in another person. Didn’t change the fact the beast was damn ugly, though. Folks had just gotten real quiet about it.

“I ain’t asking you to marry the woman, Doc. Just keep an eye on her.” When Will hesitated, Adam shrugged again. Hell, he hated that—made Will want to shove the sheriff’s head so far down his neck he could never shrug his shoulders again. “I’d hate for her to cause trouble. Seems a mighty shame to shoot a woman.”

Will laughed at the blatant attempt at blackmail, some of the tension easing from his body. “Even you wouldn’t shoot a woman, you ornery son of a bitch.”

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 didn’t have rounded breasts and hips that like to make a man’s mouth water. “Is that her?”

“Must be.”

Will smiled and pushed his own hat back a little further on his head. “It would be a damn shame to have to shoot her.”


She liked to get women all riled up about their rights, did she? “Could be she starts causing too much trouble I’ll have to put her over my knee and spank some sense into her.”

And damned if he didn’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.

2 comments to “Adam takes center stage”

  1. Charlene
      · September 14th, 2008 at 10:51 pm · Link

    Woot! Come on, Tuesday.

  2. Bev Stephans
      · September 15th, 2008 at 1:35 pm · Link

    I have waited for sooooooo looooong for “Becoming Miss Becky”! I might just read “Taming Eliza Jane” again while I’m waiting.

    Hope your DH gets a clean bill of health and can return to work for both of your sakes!

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