A little excerpt of my book
Callidora moved to get down. And oh-no.
Her protruding ears prevented her head
from passing back through the bars.
Don’t panic, her brain cautioned.
She just needed a minute to work on the problem.
“I’m feeling a bit anxious about being away from my store and needed some air to settle my nerves.
I’d like to stand here a few more minutes, if you don’t mind.” Callidora struggled to get herself
back through the bars. No use. She was stuck in her predicament but good. “Oh, Minnie, could
you please come here a minute?”
“She’s right, you know.” Minnie yawned and stretched her arms as she got off her cot. “You’re
acting strange. Peculiar is definitely the word for it.”
“I can’t help it. I’m stuck.” Callidora continued to rotate her head every which way, trying to get
back through the bars. Her ears remained an unrelenting obstacle.
“Stuck? What do you mean you’re stuck?” When Minnie turned toward the window she gasped. “Gracious sakes. Are you crazy? How’d you get yourself in a fix like that?”
“Shhh,” Callidora hissed. “Just get me down from here.” Minnie wrapped her arms around
Callidora’s waist and pulled. Each tug pinned the back of her head and ears against the bars.
“Ow. Ow. That hurts.” Turning her head to the right, she spotted two men coming from
the depot headed her direction. The wobbly-walking shorter fellow she recognized even
from this distance. She gave a wheezy gasp. “ Great tumbleweeds.”
“What is it?” Minnie asked.
“Quick. My father’s coming. You got to get me down.” Callidora tilted her head to the side and
tried to press her earlobes flat to squeeze back through. The men were halfway to the jail, but they
hadn’t spotted her. Yet. “Hurry. They’re almost upon me.”
Minnie wrapped her arms tighter and pulled harder. “I’m trying. I’m trying.”
A rush of panic spurred Callidora to grip the bars. In between her friend’s tugging, she applied
her strength to try and spread the bars apart, giving it her best effort until company appeared before
her cell window. She slowly lifted her head to the two males. Their faces were in a state of
“I think you can stop now,” she squeaked. “My father’s here. He’ll help me. I hope.”
Minnie ceased pulling and straightened. “Oh, boy. You know what?” She patted Callidora’s
shoulder a couple friendly taps. “Good luck explaining this one.”
Two seconds later, Callidora heard the creak of the cot. Her friend had abandoned her. So be it.
She could handle this. It wasn’t the first humiliation she’d ever suffered. From past experience,
she’d learned the best response to embarrassment—act like there was no problem. Slipping
a hand through the bars, she gave a wiggly fingered wave to the pair standing before her. “Hello, Father.”
At her greeting to her father, the handsome stranger’s eyebrows raised as if suddenly surprise.
Dan scratched his whiskered cheek. “Just what the hell are you doing?”
“Getting fresh air?” she offered not so assuredly. A curl drooped over her eye, and she
nonchalantly hooked it behind her ear. “What have you been up to?” Her gaze cut to the man in the
black cowboy hat, blue chambray shirt and remarkably tight jeans who stood beside her father.
The afternoon sun highlighted the tall stranger’s bronze eyes in such a
way they sparkled with amber flecks. His deeply set eyes stared back at
her in a half-squinted gaze, making him look dangerous. Excitingly dangerous. “Attractive as hell”
came to her mind.
Callidora grabbed hold of the bars, for her legs suddenly became wobbly strands of yarn.
Heaven help her, he had to be the most handsome man ever to strut boots in South Pass City,
or all of Wyoming Territory for that matter.
Yanking his Stetson hat off his head, the stranger combed his fingers
through waves of shoulder length, coffee brown hair. “Hello, ma’am.”
His greeting snapped her senses back to semi-normal,
but she could feel the chili pepper blush burning her cheeks. An allover tingle caused
her heart to flutter. In her entire life, she’d never reacted in such a manner
to someone of the opposite gender.
The minute Mister Handsome snorted a laugh, Callidora’s infatuation
ceased. She could plainly see his broad shoulders quaking. Laugh lines
crinkled at the corners of his eyes.
What gall? Her predicament wasn’t funny. It wasn’t entertainment. “If
you were any kind of a gentleman, you’d be offering to help me.”
“Are you stuck?” the handsome stranger asked.
She reluctantly admitted, “Maybe.”
Mr. Goodlooking broke into a belly laugh so deep she swore there
were tears in his eyes. The mercury on her temper soared from normal to
one hundred and five degrees. She white-knuckle gripped the bars to
restrain a slew of unlady like words from spewing. The more he laughed,
the harder it became for her to maintain control of her anger. This stranger
had some nerve.
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