A Sheriff Against a Renegade Outlaw (Preview)

Chapter One

Sheriff Evan Davis could sense that something was wrong. He’d never considered himself to have a keener instinct or intellect than other men, but a certain sensation in the back of his brain told him something was seriously amiss. It rarely deceived him.

There were visual cues, and they became all the clearer as he walked from his office in its own brick building to the Fairweather Friend Saloon, named for the little town in the heart of the great state of Missouri.

Citizens went about their evening’s business as usual. They strolled in and out of the various cafés and restaurants that had begun to pop up on the main thoroughfare and even on other, smaller streets running north and south as well as east and west. The town had grown fast in the five years Evan had been wearing the badge, having taken it at thirty years and two months. That time had taught him a lot about the way people could act and how they could react. Either could be the more dangerous. For a sheriff, both could be deadly.

There was a hum among the pedestrians as they walked down the elevated wooden sidewalks, dimly lit by the flickering whale oil lamps affixed to pine polls lining Fairweather Boulevard. Many of them were glancing in the direction of the saloon, some ducking their heads and walking with an even quicker gait away from Fairweather’s largest and most popular watering hole.

Horsemen and wagons pushed down the muddy main drag running through the center of town, traffic relieved from the influx of travelers during the pitch of the day. The traffic obstructed his view of the saloon, but once he got closer, Evan could see people leaking out in a steady stream while nobody seemed to be entering. The glances and the murmur of gossip got louder as Evan approached and drew his Colt pistol from the leather holster hanging from his gun belt.

The clamor from inside grew louder, the stream of fleeing customers making the hairs on the back of Evan’s neck stand on end. He pushed through them and into the big saloon. There was no familiar jangle of the piano, no usual froth of conversation and ingratiating laughter. There were no smiles, no toothless grins or drunken drooling, usually present even on a Thursday night.

But the place was alive with action, the customers and their temporary escorts looking on as a rumble tore through the lower floor of the two-story building. Evan noted big Barney the Bull, his long red beard actually spilling over the barrel of his Winchester repeating rifle, aimed at the two brawling men. The bartender, a slight and younger blond fellow known to Evan as Rudy Baller, watched with a keen interest—and another glance told Evan exactly why.

He recognized one of the two combatants as Cab Reynolds, owner and proprietor of the Fairweather Friend. The man’s long, black curls fell over his face as he threw punches at a man Evan didn’t recognize, brown hair thinning and sneering face scarred.

The fact that Cab’s two men hadn’t intervened in the fight meant that they were under instruction not to do so. Evan knew well the politics of keeping a saloon: that often enough the owner had to demonstrate his continued dominance over others, in his employ or not and in his saloon or not. The fact that his adversary was alive at all told Evan that Cab Reynolds had some other reason for the man’s survival.

The two men grabbed for each other’s throats, slow to move so as to not lose their hold while trying for a better one. The men grimaced as they grappled, and Evan could almost feel the pressure of their arms and hands as each man reached for a death grip.

Evan looked over at the Bull, who sat watching the fight but took no action. His dead-eyed glance at Evan told the sheriff that the saloon’s bouncer and chief enforcer was staying his hand, for whatever reason.

In the midst of battle, Cab threw a hard punch into the other man’s belly and the man bent forward. Cab pulled his right arm back and delivered a crushing uppercut that sent his opponent snapping up and back, feet lifting off the wooden planks of the floor.

He toppled back and fell into the crowd. Several men caught him, supporting the man from behind. But instead of offering succor or solace, they threw him back at Cab, who stood ready and waiting with two clenched fists and a sneer curling under his black mustache.

The customers hooted and cheered and called out increasingly in support of the owner. The longer the fight went on, even second by second, the more riotous the crowd became.

Evan knew the scuffle could have any number of origins, and many of them would not necessarily be criminal. Unless one of the men pressed charges against the other, or one gave the sheriff reason for the town itself to bring charges, there was little he could do.

Cab’s combatant charged him, driving both men back and into a table, which collapsed under their combined weight and momentum. The crowd cheered and jeered as the battling men disappeared among them.

Evan pushed his way through the crowd, his six-foot height and powerful build giving him some advantage; his badge giving him even more.

 

By the time he could put eyes on the two men again, the younger man had drawn a knife and pulled it high up above his head, ready to bring it down hard into Cab’s chest. The crowd gasped, the younger man screamed out a battle cry, and Evan knew the time had come to intervene.

He bent down and reached out to grab the man’s hand just before that fateful push forward and down. He looked up, shocked, with his scarred face, anger and bloodthirst preventing any possibility of fear. But Evan didn’t wait for a reaction.

He pulled the man’s hand even further back, his shoulder popping out of its joint. The man screamed out and fell backward, dropping his knife to clack against the floorboards. He pulled his gun with his other hand, but Evan was quick to kick it out of his grip and send it twirling about five feet away before landing somewhere amongst the crowd. Evan picked up the knife with his free hand and tucked it into his belt.

The man looked up at Evan, but his line of sight fell upon the badge before he had the chance to demand an explanation. Instead, the fellow seemed to know it would be for him to offer one.

And he did so with tears. “It ain’t my fault, Sheriff!”

Evan pulled the man up by his injured arm. He cried out in pain as he scrambled to raise himself on his feet. 

“Stop, stop it! Aaaahhhhhhhrrrrrrrghghgh!

“You drew a lethal weapon during a fistfight,” Evan said. “That’s attempted murder!” Evan turned to Cab Reynolds, even then rising to his full posture and still a foot shorter than Evan. “What’s the reason for it?”

“This dog was out of temper,” Cab said, “barking at my other customers, even at me. Well, nobody overlooks their particulars with me, most of all not in my own joint!”

“But he drew the knife on you,” Evan clarified. “You were unarmed.”

“I didn’t need any knife. And I would have taken him still if you hadn’t stuck your uppity nose into things.”

“Watch your mouth,” Evan said, “or I’ll take you for interfering with an officer of the law in the execution of his duties! You can settle your score in my cage instead of staying behind and minding your business!”

Cab held up two flattened palms and lowered his head, the posture of compliance Evan knew all too well. He would abide no foolishness when it came to keeping law and order in the town of Fairweather, Missouri, no matter who was kicking up the dust.

Evan surveyed the rest of the crowd, all eyes on him, the place utterly silent. “Anybody else have anything to say on the matter?” No answer came, and Evan wasn’t all surprised. “All right then,” he added, turning his attention back to his new prisoner.

He wrenched the man’s injured arm behind his back, the fellow crying out as Evan locked one of two chained cuffs around his wrist. He gave up his other, uninjured arm willingly. 

“I’m taking you in for attempted murder.”

“You do that,” the man hissed, “an’ yer a dead man, Sheriff!”

“Threatening an officer of the law,” Evan said. “Keep talking, I’ll see you hang!”

 

He pushed the man the man through the crowd, which parted before them, to the nearby front doors of the saloon. They clattered open as he shoved his injured prisoner onto the elevated wooden sidewalks lining the darkening thoroughfare, oil lamps already shining brighter.

 

Chapter Two

Few people took note of Evan escorting the man across the road, other than to prevent trampling him with their horses or carts or carriages. But Evan could feel the attention of folks in the cafés, many with tables giving them a window view of the big, wide street. He was a visible figure in Fairweather, he had to be. Something told him that it was Cab’s own visibility that had inspired the fight, inspiration not quite strong enough to justify murder. Though there was little way of knowing how things would have gone had Evan not been there, or if he had not acted as he did. 

Evan Davis was the sheriff of Fairweather, Missouri, and that carried with it rights and responsibilities—but to be idle and do nothing fell in neither category.

Evan pushed his prisoner into the office, on a corner lot, large enough for an iron-barred cell in the corner. It could hold up to five full-grown men behind bars bolted straight into the brick. There was little chance of escape, and most people in Fairweather knew what kind of reaction that would bring from the town’s steadfast sheriff.

The rest of the modest office was dominated by a large wooden desk, a chair behind and in front of it, a small table, and an iron potbellied stove for warmth in the winter and food and coffee year-round. 

Once his prisoner was in the cell, Evan felt he could safely remove the cuffs before locking the man in. He winced and held his injured left arm, hissing in pain. 

“You done broke my arm, Sheriff!”

“It’s just out of its socket. It’ll pop back in. If you were any kind of real man, you’d just smack it hard against that brick wall, take care of the matter yourself and not whine about it like a little girl.”

“Like a—? What’d you call me?”

“Sorry,” Evan said, “a deaf little girl.”

 

The man snickered and shook his head, sitting on the wooden plank bolted to the brick wall. “We’ll see who’s doin’ the whinin’.”

Evan turned to his prisoner, taking in the man’s scarred face and lean build. He hadn’t spent much time in luxury, Evan could see that. The man’s twangy dialect suggested a mountain upbringing, perhaps far from any schools or churches, maybe far from any other human beings.

Evan poured a tin cup of coffee. “What’s your name?”

“Yer doom,” he answered. “That’s my name.”

Evan cracked a little smile and stepped toward the cell. He held the coffee cup out with a conciliatory tone, and his prisoner reached out with his good right arm to take the cup. In a flash, Evan dropped the coffee cup and grabbed his prisoner’s arm, pressing it hard and fast against the nearest iron bar. His timing and tactics were perfect, the bar digging into the elbow joint. With just the slightest additional pressure, the prisoner writhed in pain. 

“Don’t, Sheriff! It’s my good arm!”

“Name?” Evan pushed just a bit more, the man’s arm bending slightly at the elbow. The iron bar held firm.

Finally, the prisoner answered, “Pete,” through his clenched jaw. “Slippery Pete.”

“Surname!” A bit more pressure inspired another cry from the prisoner.

“Mayhew,” Slippery Pete forced out.

Evan held tight. “Next time I ask you a question,” he said, his own voice strained and grainy, “answer me.” He pushed Slippery Pete back, releasing him to collapse onto the bench. 

Slippery Pete hit the back of his head against the brick wall, wincing and reaching back with his good right hand.

“What was all that back in the Fairweather Friend?”

Slippery Pete huffed out a little chuckle as he rubbed the back of his head and then checked his fingers for blood. “Don’t matter, so I ain’t sayin’.”

“Why won’t it matter?”

“’Causin’ who work for, that’s why!”

“And who’s that?” Evan felt that he already knew the answer.

 

“You’ll find out sure,” Slippery Pete said. “Then we’ll see who swings!”

“You call that an answer?”

With a mean little chuckle, Slippery Pete answered, “I calls it a promise.”

The front door of the office opened and Deputy Buddy Mason stepped in and closed the door behind him. When the deputy saw the prisoner, there seemed to be a faint spark of recognition between them.

“Sheriff,” Buddy said.

“Deputy. Ready for your night shift?”

“Always ready, Sheriff. Who’s this?”

Evan glanced at the prisoner, then at his deputy, young with red hair and a face full of freckles. “Says he’s called Slippery Pete Mayhew. Know the name?”

The young deputy seemed to give it some thought as he hung his hat on the coat rack. “Face looks a bit familiar, can’t quite place it. What’d he do?”

“Tried to murder Cab Reynolds.”

Buddy huffed. “I reckon he wouldn’t be the first.”

“Nor the last,” Evan said, “but I won’t have any of that in my town. Whatever I may think of that saloon keeper, he doesn’t deserve killing.”

“You don’t know that to a mortal certainty,” Slippery Pete said from behind the bars. “Maybe he killed my brother and I was seekin’ revenge. So that ain’t ‘tempted murder! He was fightin’ with me, so it was self-defense!”

Evan and Buddy shared a glance, and Slippery Pete went on, “Don’t matter anyways, ‘causin’ that booze jockey won’t press no charges no-how! And ain’t no charges gonna stick in a court o’ law!”

Evan asked him, “You know a lot about the law, do ya?”

Slippery Pete thrust his chin forward from behind the safety of the iron bars. “I know’d a thing ’er two ‘bout a thing ’er two.”

“Well,” Evan said, “We’ll see if that’s enough.” He turned to Buddy. “I’m gonna go talk to that saloon keeper. You watch him.”

“He ain’t gotta watch me,” Slippery Pete said with a mean grin, two teeth missing. “I ain’t nowhere’s… yet.” He let that awful little giggle leak out of his throat as Evan put on his hat and stepped out of the office. He would return to the saloon and get to the bottom of what had happened—and, more importantly, what was going to happen.


“A Sheriff Against a Renegade Outlaw” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!

In the bustling town of Fairweather, Missouri, Sheriff Evan Davis upholds justice with unwavering resolve, even as shadows of danger loom over the horizon. When Stealin’ Swede Gang runs into town the lines between law and justice blur and Evan’s pursuit of peace cracks. As the Robin Hood-esque gang leader Jann divides the town between supporters and enemies, Evan forms a perilous alliance that forms a clash between him and the area’s most powerful rancher. While trying to do his duty though, his attraction for Amelia, Jan’s cousin grows leading him deeper into chaos.

Will he manage to prove his loyalty to town against the real menace?

Meanwhile, Amelia wrestles with conflicting loyalties as she dreams of a quieter life while standing by her cousin’s side. Yet, when their latest heist brings her close to Evan’s path, sparking a dangerous game of cat and mouse where trust is a luxury none can afford. As Evan, haunted by the memory of his late wife and with suspicion clouding his judgment, he join forces with her and uncovers secrets hidden within the corridors of power in a battle that will determine the fate of Fairweather.

The game is set but only one can win…

As alliances shift and secrets unravel, Fairweather becomes a battleground for justice and survival. With the town on the brink of chaos, Evan must find the balance among love, betrayal and secrets. Only one thing is certain: not all battles are fought with bullets. Sometimes, the deadliest weapons are the ones concealed within the heart. Will Evan and Amelia resolve the deceitful schemes of the town? Will the lowfull sheriff find redemption or power and carefully covered truths get him down?

“A Sheriff Against a Renegade Outlaw” is a historical adventure novel of approximately 60,000 words. No cliffhangers, only pure unadulterated action.

Get your copy from Amazon!

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