High Plains Promise (Love on the High Plains Book 2)

High Plains Promise (Love on the High Plains Book 2) by Simone Beaudelaire

Book: High Plains Promise (Love on the High Plains Book 2) by Simone Beaudelaire Read Free Book Online
Authors: Simone Beaudelaire
bars above, looked up at him and waved hesitantly. The telegraph office was housed in the bank, and young Christopher Fulton, another of Wesley's many cousins, looked up from his table of mysterious black boxes with an uncertain expression on his face. Wesley hadn't been back to work since that terrible day, and neither of the other men knew quite what to say or how to act. Was he a widower or a bridegroom? Should they be somber, or joyous? Wesley didn't know either, so he waved, crossed the pale pine floor to his office, and closed the door behind him, rolling up his sleeves to attend to the mountain of paperwork that had piled up in his absence.
    He worked contentedly through the morning and then went to lunch at Lydia's, certain he'd never been happier in his life.

    With Wesley gone to work, Allison also kept busy playing with Melissa. The little girl wanted to help with everything. Together they baked a cake, cleaned up the kitchen, and made the bed. Then, realizing there was nothing to make for dinner, they walked down to the mercantile and picked up a few things. Allison had no money, but James Heitschmidt let her have a few staples on credit. Goodness knew she'd worked for him long enough. The general store was looking a little dusty, she thought. Poor James would need someone new to help him out. It was too much work for just one person. Allison added a length of ribbon for Melissa's hair and a remnant of fabric to make a new dress for her baby doll. Also some laundry soap. It looked as though the washing at the Fulton home had been neglected for a while. There was so much to do, the tasks seemed overwhelming. She had to remind herself repeatedly, as she walked along the singlewide aisle lined with heavy barrels, in front of shelf after shelf of merchandise in boxes and cans, that of course it was going to take a while to establish order in a household that had never had any. It was part of what she'd known she was taking on when she married Wesley. She hadn't realized the extent of the mess, and was appalled, but not really all that shocked.
    Melissa had slipped free of Allison's hand and she turned, wondering what the child was up to. No surprise, she was eyeing the candy.
    “No, love,” Allison admonished, “it's almost lunchtime. And don't forget we also have cake.”
    “I want candy,” Melissa pouted. “Mama always bought me candy.”
    Allison considered. If that was the girl's pattern, her habit… She shook her head. It was not a good habit. “No, Melissa. Not today. No candy.”
    The little girl began to whine.
    “Well, Mr. Heitschmidt, I guess our shopping is done for today,” Allison said. “Come on, Melissa. Time to go.”
    “I don't wanna go,” the child wailed. She seemed to be building up to a tantrum. Definitely time to leave.
    “Mr. Heitschmidt!” The sound of noisy boots clomping on the wood floors broke through Melissa's increasing whines.
    “What is it, Sheriff Brody? What's wrong?” The mercantile owner sounded as alarmed as Allison felt.
    “We're forming a posse. There's a train robbery in progress. I need all the help I can get.
    Suddenly Allison felt a chill, as a horrible realization dawned on her. Cody and Kristina were on that train. They were heading off for a brief honeymoon.
    “Mr. Heitschmidt,” she gasped. He realized the implications instantly.
    “Lock the mercantile, Allison. Just a moment, Sheriff. Let me get my coat. And my shotgun.”
    Allison grabbed Melissa in one hand and the keys from their spot behind the counter in the other, and locked the door. The men could go out the back. Then she scooped up the little girl and ran, fast as her legs would carry her, down the half block and across the street to the bank where she flew into the lobby.
    Brody was already there. How had he arrived so quickly? He was explaining to a wide-eyed Wesley what was happening.
    She began speaking before her brain could even process the scene. “Wes, did you hear about the…

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