A muscle twitched in Jake’s jaw as he reread the telegram and eased back into his leather chair. He glanced at the array of books in the study, wondering where the time had gone. For the past three years, he’d devoted his energy and resources to running the ranch, never once taking a book from its shelf.
“I thought she was out of my life when I resigned from the Rangers.” He laid the telegram to his desk and turned to his grandfather. “The Pinkerton agent searched for over a year and told me it was hopeless to continue looking.
Lucky Chance Davenport, Chance among friends, attempted to console his grandson. “You’re an honorable man, son. You searched for her before moving on with your life. No one can fault you for this.”
“I never…show more content… “Dammit Jake, I already know what you want me to do.”
“What does Doc say?” The ol’man got under his skin, yet he hated the impasse. Gramps was the cornerstone of his life. They disagreed on this subject, but he loved his grandfather.
“He says I’m not to lift anything heavy that will put a strain on me. Otherwise, I’m fine. You’re needed here. You’ve got the divorce papers?”
Jake handed him the documents and Gramps slipped them inside his coat pocket.
“Are you sure you want me to open this door?”
Jake nodded. “I’m sure. Katlin Masters is no more than . . .” As he spoke, he thought about how she’d kissed him and left him stranded. “. . . a distant memory, but if it’s her, I have to know.”
St. Louis, Missouri
Dance hall girls, in knee-length ruffled dresses, kicked their legs in exuberant rhythm with the music, showing off their stockings and lacy petticoats. Kat tapped her foot and counted the red, white, and black chips on the table. At the boisterous end of the song, the dancers went their separate ways and mingled among the customers.
Kat pegged a professional gambler wearing a bowler hat and a few regulars anxious to try their luck at the tables. The bowler drifted over to the bar and downed his beer at the counter. His jacket opened, and she caught a glimpse of a dagger handle. Although patrons often armed themselves, she kept a cautious eye on those who did. Across from the bar, one of the saloon’s hired guns caught her gaze and