Victor Frank wanted one thing, to avenge the torture he went through as a child.
Victor Frank was no ordinary killer. John T. Cole, and Wesley Collins (ex-Texas Rangers) were about to find that out. Victor had killed John T.'s mother years ago, and John T. wouldn't rest until he was brought to justice. But Wesley told John T. they wouldn't be bringing him in, that they must shoot Victor down like a mad-dog, because that was what he was.
Pepper Hardy's father was Sheriff in Waco when he went to arrest Victor and was killed. Rascal Mills was after Victor for killing his wife. All four of them had one thing in common they'd all lost a love one to Victor's ill deeds.
Victor himself a victim of horrid abuse lived for one thing, to kill his uncle. He'd already killed his Pa, now there was one reason left to live, to find Uncle J.I. John T. didn't want a woman along, it was too dangerous. Not only that but Pepper sure took his attention away from his job. Besides that, Victor Frank was also a woman killer. Could he save Pepper and get the job done, or would Victor and the devil that chased him win
Victor Frank took the fingers out of his pocket and twirled them against his own. Some were lean and tapered, others were short and stubby. Problem was…they didn't feel real anymore. They were no longer warm and agile. He wanted them to feel real, to be warm. They were cold, lifeless, and quickly turning colors. Blood oozed from one—the last victim. He culled the rotten ones from the new, throwing them in the dirt as he rode, leaving an eerie trail of souvenirs. His shoulders hunched as he protected his treasure from prying eyes.
He couldn't identify his own feelings for the children he had protected—perhaps the only good he'd done in the world. The word "proud" came to mind, but he wasn't sure what it meant. Many words eluded him. He'd heard the words spoken by his father and uncle and wondered at their meaning. His eyes narrowed as he glanced about him, thrusting the good fingers back into his pocket. He patted the pocket and nodded. It was enough.
He rode most of the night, weary and sleepy, but more than that, hungry. He'd known hunger before too. His stomach twisted. He relished such familiar feelings—they fed his soul. Pain was normal. As long as there was pain, he knew he was alive, and he knew it as surely as blood drips from a knife.
The cold here wasn't much different from the cold he'd suffered in a Kansas prison only a month ago. The wind howled the same tune, only it wasn't coming in through a crack in the floor where someone had tried to escape a few days earlier. He remembered killing a guard, a non-essential man, and shooting another one in the leg. He'd taken the gun from the first guard as he strangled him against the prison bars. He remembered how the second guard had followed him relentlessly.
None of that mattered now that he was free…
The word froze on his tongue. Free—what did that mean exactly? It was times like these, when he tried to think, that he wished sorely he had been able to go to school.
He knew nothing of the world.
He wished fervently someone could explain all the words to him he'd heard over the years. He heard people talk in towns and understood the meanings very little. It was almost as though he were not of this world. He certainly didn't fit in anywhere he'd been. It seemed important to fit somewhere.
The sound of his horse's hooves clopping against the dry floor of the desert made a lonely echo through the desolate canyons as he struggled against the north winds of winter.
Hunger, loneliness, and pain, he knew and understood, and another kind of need—revenge. He'd heard his father and uncle speak of it many times, asking him if he wanted revenge. Revenge was what he sought.
Professional Reviews Coffee Time Romance-Matilda
BETTER OFF WITHOUT HER
Historical western thriller
Rating: 4 Cups
John T. Cole and Wesley Collins are both ex-Texas Rangers on the trail of a cold-blooded killer, Victor Frank, who has lost touch with all reality and is killing women, thinking he is sparing children from harm. Victor had killed John T.’s mother years before and he aims to bring him down.
Pepper Hardy’s Pa was also killed by this mad man. He was the sheriff of Waco when he was killed, and now she wants to be included in this manhunt, whether she is a woman or not! Rascal Mills has also been affected by Victor. His wife was killed at Victor’s hand and he wants to see Victor dead as well.
With a posse after him, a trail of destruction is left following Victor who is seeking revenge for the abuse he has endured at the hands of his father and uncle. John T is against Pepper riding along, no matter what her reasons are. Can this rag tag bunch stop a mad man’s killings?
I must say this is slightly disturbing in a good way. Although the reader might want to be forewarned of the graphic descriptions the author uses for the murders. It could not be told any other way, in any other words. This definitely has a few elements of surprise as well as a bit of romance sprinkled amongst the gore which makes this read all the better. Great job Ms. Hestand on keeping this reader on the edge of her seat!