Book II of The McCade Legacy
© Nancy Fraser and Patti Shenberger
Zack left the clinic and turned away from his office rather than toward it. He needed to walk off some of the tension holding his body as tightly wound as a pocket watch.
He should never have stolen that last kiss. The first two had been enough to appease their onlookers. The third had been strictly an indulgence for his own amusement, a silly flirtation intended to raise the doctor’s ire. Instead, his plan had backfired, and he’d found himself as aroused as a young schoolboy after his first deep kiss. It wouldn’t do, Zack realized, to walk into his office with a flagpole in his britches.
After a second pass behind the main buildings in the central part of town, Zack felt in control enough to go back to work. He’d barely reached for the handle on the office door, when the sound of a gunshot rang out from somewhere in the vicinity of the saloon.
He stepped off the sidewalk and into the main road, covering the distance between the jail and the saloon quickly, coming to a halt at the hitching post just as two men backed through the saloon doors, their faces covered in bandanas.
Zack drew his gun and a deep breath and asked, “You two gentlemen planning on going somewhere?”
The two men turned in Zack’s direction, their guns at the ready. “Let us go, Marshal, and nobody gets hurt,” the first one said.
“It’s two against one,” the second pointed out.
“Hmm, not such great odds, is it?” Zack agreed. “Perhaps, I can even things up a bit.” The words had no sooner left his mouth when he fired his gun, clipping the first man’s hand and knocking the gun he held to the side. “Now, it’s just us,” he said to the other.
The second man tossed his gun to the side as well and raised his hands in defeat. To his left, Zack caught sight of his deputies’ approach. “Tom, Pete,” Zack ordered. “Get these two scoundrels over to the jail and bandage up this fellow’s fingers.”
“Will do, boss,” Pete Bailey confirmed. “You want I should have the doc take a look at his hand.”
“No, not unless it’s a deeper scrape than it appears to be. He’ll do fine with your handiwork.”
Zack holstered his gun as his deputies started away with the prisoners. The second, larger man broke free of Tom’s hold and charged in Zack’s direction. Zack stuck out his fist, landing one solid blow against the man’s chest, sending him sprawling in the dirt, gasping for air and clutching his ribs.
“Come on,” the deputy said, pulling the man to his feet by the collar. “Let’s get going.”
Zack watched as the two men were led away without further incident. When he turned back toward the front of the saloon, he realized Suzanne was standing there, mostly likely alerted by the sound of the original gunshot.
“Was there anyone hurt in the saloon?” he asked.
“No, the robbers fired into the air in an attempt to scare the barkeep so he would hand over the money.”
“Since you’ve got your medical bag with you, I’ll take you over to the jail and you can check on both men.”
“Did you flatten the other one as well?” she asked.
“No. I shot him.”
Suzanne shook her head, the frown playing across her beautiful face causing him concern.
“Let’s go then, Marshal.” She started toward the jail, stopping long enough to say, “I’d really rather you not add to my workload any more than necessary.”
“It’s not like I do it on purpose,” he argued. When she didn’t respond, he caught up with her in two long strides. “It’s my job.”
“Yes, I know. And, because of your job, I now have to do mine.”
Zack was overcome with regret. Not that he would have done anything different where the two men were concerned. His regret stemmed from the fact he’d once again disappointed Suzanne, her reaction only serving to convince him of why they were unsuited for a real relationship.