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Pillared Roses - Amanda Brenner
When the man she loved was cruelly gunned down, Charlotte Beckford swore she would see his murderer hang. But Bowie Rayburn laughed at her threat as he rode away unconcerned. After all, he thought, what could she do? She was just a girl.
Charlotte Beckford watched helplessly as the man she loved was gunned down in the middle of a dusty Kansas street. In another month, they would have married. Now, as she knelt and cradled Adam's broken body, she screamed hysterically at his murderer, swearing that she would see him hang. But Bowie Rayburn laughed at her threat, her words echoing behind him as he rode away unconcerned. After all, he thought, what could she do? She was just a girl.
Shadow of the Rope is a tale of grief, revenge, love, and forgiveness played out across the rolling plains of the frontier West. It is also a story of ultimate regret and the healing solace of time.
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Charlotte’s scream was a distraction, but only for an instant. Seeing her in the doorway, Bowie smiled cruelly. They had grown up together, yet she hardly recognized him. His boyish face was contorted, and he was no longer laughing. “Sure, girly,” he yelled, his voice coldly penetrating the hoots of the others, “we’ll leave him alone—real soon now!” Frozen in fear and disbelief, Charlotte watched as Bowie Rayburn lowered his gun and turned the barrel toward Adam. She watched the recoil as the bullets left their chambers again and again. She watched Adam slump to the ground, watched hooves pummel him as he lay there.
Suddenly she heard nothing, saw nothing but Adam. Ignoring an instinct that it was already too late, she ran into the street, pushed her way through the now panicked horses, and fought her way to the figure lying crumpled at their feet. Someone yelled…it was Luke Sammey’s drawl: “Ya shouldn’t oughta done that, Bowie! Come on now, let’s git!” Then it was Bowie’s voice, contemptuous and arrogant: “Yeah, I’m leavin’ all right—but ain’t no rush, Luke. She can’t do nothin’—she’s just a girl!” In a voice that seemed almost a whisper, he leaned down and mocked her, “So long, honey; think of me sometime.” Then he wheeled his horse and spurred it toward the others, who were already pulling away.