By Raymond Cook
© 2015 (All Rights Reserved)
Word Count: 96,000
About This eBook
He Was The Only Thing Keeping Her Alive! ©2015 by Raymond Cook is a 282-page story about Seth and Martha Anderson, a couple who lived in San Antonio, Texas in 1899 after joining a wagon train in Independence, Missouri. The couple ran one of the towns many cafés serving food to town folks and ranch hands. But their marriage was doomed from the start.
Seth liked his whiskey and the card tables in the many saloons in San Antonio. But it wasn’t an argument over a card game that caused Seth’s death. Not only did he like to get drunk and gamble away the couple’s savings but he also liked women. When a gal who worked at a bakery confessed to her husband her infidelity, it didn’t take the angry husband long to find Seth. After a few short curses and threats Seth lay dead on the saloon floor.
With her husband dead, Martha became very independent. She struggled for the next three years to keep her small café running, working long hours before heading back to a small one room shack the couple called home behind the cafe. When a letter arrives for Seth, Martha found the letter in her mailbox. She discovers she’s now the sole heiress to ½ ownership of the Danbury Gold Mine, worth millions in Bozeman, Montana, left to her by her husband’s distant uncle, who she and her husband barely knew.
In order to claim her inheritance though, Martha must travel from San Antonio, Texas to Montana within one year. The problem is, her uncle’s partner, Spencer Danbury will claim ownership of the entire mine if she fails to collect her inheritance within the deadline. After a bounty hunter named Raymond Fields saves Martha’s life, she hires him try to get her safely to Bozeman and they fall in love. But what will happen after they get to Montana?
At the same time the three men rode down the main street of San Antonio, Raymond Sanders was limping his horse towards the livery stable he saw ahead of him. After paying a $20 gold piece to keep his horse in a stall for two weeks, he began walking further up the street towards a hotel sign he saw. All he had on his mind was a bath, a good meal and a bed for the night. He hoped that the hotel had a café so he wouldn’t have to find one.
He did see a café to his right but the sign in the window said closed. The shack Martha Anderson lived in was right behind that café and she walked out of the ally into the street headed in the same direction as Raymond. The three men were just walking out of the post office having learned where Martha’s café was. They were about to grab their horses reins when one of the men spotted Martha walking towards them on their side of the street.
He hit the man’s shoulder next to him and called out, “There’s Seth’s wife. She’s walking right toward us.” The other two men looked down the street and saw her too. Immediately the three men made a straight line for Martha. As they met, one man got on both sides of the woman and they lifted her up on the toes of her boots as the third man said, “Make a sound and we’ll kill ya right here and your husband too. Where’s your husband?”
Martha was being walked backwards hurriedly and she knew why. They were here to kill her. Feeling she had more of a chance to live in the middle of the street, she jerked both of her arms as she let out a blood curdling scream and shouted, “Help! Don’t let them murder me!” Raymond was one of the men who heard the woman’s scream and he looked in that direction as he saw her break free and make a run for it.
But she only made it about thirty feet before she lost her balance and fell to the ground. She could taste the dirt in her mouth as she gasped for a breath and tried to stand. The men took after the woman but Raymond ran out in the street and stood between them and her. Abruptly, all three men stopped. “I don’t think that woman wants anything to do with you men. Besides, killing her wouldn’t be any fun now would it? I think you men are going to get back on your horses and ride out of town before I kill ya where ya stand,” Raymond threatened.
The man in the middle was the first to let out a laugh and he slowly shook his head no as he looked at the man to his left and right. As they stepped six to eight feet away from each other, the man in the middle said his last words, “That’s not how I see it mister. We got business with that woman and we’re not going anywhere. You think you’re fast enough to take all three of us on?” Raymond didn’t speak but he did nod his head.
In the mean time everyone who had been walking in or along the street got off the street hurriedly. Even men on horses headed for the nearest hitching post. Martha turned over on her back and saw the back of a man with his hand caressing the handle of his pistol in its holster. She didn’t see his hand trembling as she tried to get her breath back. She knew better than to stand up for fear one of the three men about to kill her protector would shoot wild and kill her too.
At that moment, to Martha, bystanders and maybe the four men, it felt like time had stopped. Suddenly all four men went for their guns and five shots rang out as gun smoke caught in the wind began to drift down the street. As she and everyone else looked on in shock, three men lay dead on the ground and none of them were Raymond. Martha watched the stranger drop five empty shells onto the ground and quickly reload.
She slowly got to her feet but stood still as she watched the tall man in front of her walk up to the three men laying on the ground ahead of him and aim his pistol at them as his boot nudged each body over. When he was satisfied they were dead, he holstered his Colt as he saw three men with stars on their shirts or vests rushing up to him with their guns drawn. Raymond held out his hands keeping them away from the gun on his hip.
When the lawmen were within ear shot he called out to a deputy, “Them men were the ones who started this fight. That woman behind me with the brown hair in the white shirt and black shawl was who those men were chasing. She yelled out they were gonna murder her. I merely got between them and they decided to try to kill me,” Raymond said.
As one deputy looked over to the sheriff after checking on all three men, he said, “They’re all dead sheriff. All three were shot smack dab in the heart.” The sheriff walked up to Raymond as he called out to a deputy, “You go over and get her side of the story.” When he stood in front of Raymond, in a firm voice he said with authority, “I want to know your name mister, your business in my town and how it is that you’re standing here talking to me and not dead?”
Raymond didn’t like the sheriff’s attitude at all, especially when he had done no wrong but he had plenty of experience dealing with red-necked sheriffs. “My name is Raymond Sanders, sheriff. I just walked my horse into town with a stone bruised hoof. He’s down at the livery stable in a stall for the next two weeks if you want to check with the blacksmith,” Raymond said. “That may be Mr. Sanders but you didn’t answer my last question.
How come those three men who wanted to kill you are dead and you ain’t even got a scratch on you?” he demanded as he looked down at Raymond’s Colt. Before he could answer the lawman’s question, the sheriff said, “Hand me your Colt butt first.” That’s just what Raymond did. Meanwhile, the deputy who’d been talking to Martha now was standing beside the sheriff as Raymond slowly handed the sheriff his Colt.
He examined the pistol before he put the cylinder to his ear, half-cocked it and spun the cylinder. The sound made the sheriff smile but only for a moment before he handed the gun back to Richard. “The only men I know who own a Colt that sounds that nice are gunfighters. Now answer my question and tell me why them men are dead and you’re not before I lock your ass up!” the sheriff threatened.
By now Martha was within ear shot of the four men as she heard Raymond say, “I’m a bounty hunter sheriff. I make my living hunting men and if necessary, killing them.” The sheriff figured Raymond was a professional gunman. The sheriff looked at his two deputies and said, “You two men drag them bodies out of the street so folks on horses, buggies and buckboards can go about their business.” They both nodded.
Then the sheriff looked away from Raymond and looked directly into Martha’s eyes. “Is it true that them men were trying to kill you?” he asked. She nodded with tear filled eyes. “You know any of them?” he asked. The woman shook her head no. “You ever seen any of them men before?” he asked. Again, Martha shook her head no.
Then the sheriff looked at both of them. “So what you two want me to believe is that three men rode into town looking for you, decided they wanted to kill you for Lord knows what reason and this stranger, fast enough to kill all three men just happened to be walking his lame horse into town?” he asked skeptically. Both people nodded. The sheriff shook his head, not believing either person before he turned around and headed back to the jail.
Martha’s right shoulder was practically pressed against Raymond’s left shoulder as they both watched the sheriff walk away. Then she looked up into his face and said, “I owe you my life and if you come home with me I’ll explain why those men wanted to kill me.” Raymond followed the woman back to where the closed café was and then down the alley to a 12 by 16 foot shack with one small front window.
She unlocked the door, pushed it open and walked inside. Raymond saw each wall had a window with a thin white curtain over it. It was just a one room shack without a back door. He saw a wood cook stove with a wood box beside it and a square table with just two chairs. Shelves lined one wall and they with filled with dry goods. Below the shelves, pot and pan handles hung on nails.
To his right was a plain double bed with two pillows. The bedspread was handmade and the pattern matched the pillow cases. He saw another door he assumed was a panty but learned it was a large closet. Papers were scattered across the table and after the door was shut Martha asked Raymond to sit down on one of the chairs. She gathered up all the papers into a pile but before she spoke about them she introduced herself.
“My name’s Martha Anderson and I owe you my life. When two of those men grabbed me and started walking me backwards, telling me I was a dead woman, I believed them. I saw hate in their eyes and had never met any of them before and I swear that’s the truth. They were looking for my husband Seth too but he passed away three years ago. The café in front of this shack you saw closed I own. But several days ago I received some mail addressed to my late husband. That’s what most of these papers are about,” she said. Then she handed the attorney’s letter to Raymond first.
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Gloria1 on January 23, 2016, I read this whole series of books. I did enjoy reading them on these cold dreary winter days. I found I looked forward to the next numbered book.
Author’s Note: All of my eBooks have been re-edited for grammar and punctuation so they can be enjoyed better.
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About The Author….
My name’s Raymond Cook and it’s my pleasure to introduce to you this historical western frontier bounty hunter eBook. I hope visitors to my website will enjoy reading this serial killer story. The photograph of the man on cover of He Was The Only Thing Keeping Her Alive captures the powerful expression of a man who lives by his wits and the speed of his draw. I’m very proud to be able to use this photo as my eBook cover. My goal as a fiction writer is to breathe life into the characters of each eBook. If you’re looking for a historical western frontier story about a bounty hunters in the 1890’s, this eBooks will entertain you.
The following authors have influenced me with how and what I write: Louis L’Amour, Zane Grey, Larry McMurtry, Laura Ingalls Wilder and James Fenimore Cooper.
Thanks to all of you who buy, read and comment on this special orphan eBook.
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