About the Author 
Betty dicovered she enjoyed writing later in life. She lives in North Carlina with her husband and their dog, Sammy.  Betty write stories with happy ending no matter how anguishing the tale.

Where can you find me? 



MINE ALONE by Betty Carlton


It was Monday, July 9, 1879. His life was simple, at least in his mind. Monday's meant, first a leisurely breakfast with his brother, and then a casual sit down when the weather permitted. Today he filled the wooden chair in front of the saloon for a while before heading back home. Home was a small isolated cabin just eleven miles from where he sat.

He was just skimming over the monthly newspaper minding his own business. The warmth of the summer sun made his eyelids droop. Soon his head slowly nodded as his chin pressed against his chest under his black hat.

When the first vibrations of the thunderous sounds stirred him awake, he stayed perfectly still. The rumble filled his head. At first it reminded him of an approaching storm. Then the clatter of three pairs of horses' hooves pounding on the earth and vibrating like war drums caused a quivering sensation in his gut, and its echoes filled his chest. Letting these sensations pulsate through him made him feel alive. When the noise stopped and the dust settled, everyone knew the noon stage to town had arrived. Today it was on time.

Well, the town folk referred to it as a town. In reality, it was a hole-in-the-wall. They named it Paradise. Those passing through did not get the joke. It looked no different than all the other small towns whose founding fathers had had
visions of grandiose things on the horizon for the budding new town, visions that the muses never allowed to be fulfilled. The population of the whole county totaled three hundred twenty, soon to be three hundred and twenty-one.

Only the newest resident did not know she was about to be one. Penelope Carson planned to be living in Dusty Springs, and in two more days she would be getting off this stage to begin what she hoped was a new life.

Today however, when she stepped down from the coach her thoughts were on the decent meal the driver earlier that morning had promised would be waiting for her. Maybe, if she just had not slipped climbing down.

Whoa there, missy, you OK?”

He saw.

The man saw and he wanted and he would take. There was nothing to think over. It was that simple.

With thinking like that, it was a good thing he lived in a time when might ruled over right. The west was wild and knowing how to handle a gun gave you the might. Being six-foot two and two hundred fifty-one pounds did not hurt either.

Whoa there, missy, you OK?” the passenger repeated.

She mumbled that she would be once the two of them got up from the ground. The stranger's aid came too late, and the force of her body thrusting out of the vehicle as she lost her balance toppled them both causing her to land sprawled on top of him. The sound of another stranger's laughter made her blush. It also made the man sitting two stores down in the black hat raise his eyes to see what caused the commotion. Now watching with interest he stared as one of the gentleman helped the woman up. He watched her swipe her dainty hands in black gloves trying to regain her composure by brushing the dust off.

Thank you so much for your assistance.”

The voice sounded soft and feminine to his ears. A quick daydream took him briefly to another time and place as he heard her breathlessly speak his name. A racing pulse warmed the blood in his veins as he lingered too long in his daydream.

Are you sure you’re all right?” the man she knocked over asked.

I’m fine thank you for trying to help me. I am sorry we both fell.”

The driver interrupted and reminded her that they had a schedule to keep.

Missy, if'n you're gonna eat, you better hurry.” He pointed toward the place where she could get some food to eat.

Oh, yes, thank you.”

She headed in the direction he pointed. Picking up her skirt, she moved to the boardwalk.

The man in the black hat listened to the clip clop of her shoes, each step a trifle louder as she moved closer to him. Before she reached him, he stretched out his leg and blocked the small walkway. She either would have to ask him to move or step down into the dirt street and go around him. Curiously, he waited to see just which path she would take.

When she reached him, he smiled under the wide brim of his hat, waiting to see what she would do.

Excuse me, sir, would you please let me pass?”

Yes, he liked her voice. It was sweet as it filled his head, and he found it pleasant to his ears. It appeared as if he did not move a muscle, but unknown to her the male part of him surged instantly responding to his undetected musings of the woman standing next to him. Smiling, he wondered what kind of reaction she would have had if the part that moved was not hidden under the printed page on his lap. After a few seconds he did look up at her. He read her like a book. He noticed her uncertainty.


He never took his eyes from her face. She heard the movement of his legs. Before she looked down and saw, he cleared the way for her to proceed past him. What she did not see was the lust in his eyes or his XXXX (sorry trying to keep site safe for minors) under the
Paradise Gazette on his lap.

"Thank you, sir."

"My pleasure, madam, definitely my pleasure," he said touching the brim of his hat.