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sandra hall

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Once An Outlaw
by sandra hall   

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Copyright:  May 6, 2012

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Is love the ending or beginning for two outlaws like Veronica and Caine?

 Caine Fuller is an exceptional looking man as well as a gifted gunman and reluctant outlaw. His journey over the years leads him from Texas, where his name was made, to Montana. In a way, it is his last stop. He can't go any further and he refuses to go back, especially, after meeting the smart and beautiful, adventurous, Veronica Murray. He joins a gang of thieves hoping to score enough money to retire, but the gang turns on him and he must defend his life which causes much attention to him as a talented gunfighter.  

Word soon reaches Veronica in Gingerville, where she has taken a teaching post, and she finds she is very concerned for the stranger, even goes out of her way to warn him he's a suspect in the bank robbery.  Even though things are a bit difficult, they quickly fall in love. It is obvious to the female population that she has something in her past, yet Caine doesn't question the integrity of the woman she seems to be, so Veronica keeps the details of her own outlaw days to herself, until he asks her to marry him then her dilemma begins.

Mark Williams is a train robber by profession with wealthy family connections. He and his cousin Gerald were reared by their white paternal English grandmother, who purposely raised them differently. Gerald is the educated businessman while Mark was allowed to live the outlaw life of his father. Mark returned to Montana a sick man, due to exposure and excessive booze. He mistakenly assumes Caine is after the younger woman he has decided to court. Even though, he knows his reflexes are shot and his mind is cloudy, he tracks Caine, stopping in Gingerville to rest. He encounters the young blond Brad Bannon, a member of the gang that double crossed Caine.

Talking to Brad, Mark realizes most of his anger at Caine was mostly booze induced.   Brad also meets Janis, best friend to Veronica  and  also the woman Mark’s cousin is courting.

Both Veronica and Janis's lives are threatened and the three outlaws who have come to care about them are forced to work together and reluctantly reflect on the choices they’ve made for themselves as men.



He sent the rest of the gang to board the derailed train. He stayed with her on the rocky hillside which was their vantage point, to make sure she appreciated his handy work.
She felt weak at the knees and collapsed. She wanted to puke as she tried to cover her nose against the awful smell of smoke.
 “Get up.” He sounded angry. “Get up and watch.”
“No, Dick. I can’t.” It wasn’t like rustling cattle, or robbing banks.  Wrecking a train was too much destruction. There was no way someone wasn’t dead.  And if they weren’t dead, Deke and the others were going to kill them for fun. Dick had triumphed over her again. She was truly in hell. She sobbed pounding on the rocks, where she expertly fired his rifle to ignite the explosives which blew up the tracks.
 A sharp rock pushed painfully into her knee, somehow that stopped her flow of tears and her mind began to focus.  The rest of her life wasn’t going to be dynamite and carnage.  She turned her head to look at the old lunatic that was trying to take her life, the precious life her
mother had given her.
“What are you crying about? Just a bunch of soldiers. You did good work, sweetheart. I
knew you were the one when I first laid eyes on you. But you gotta stop all this weak stuff.”
 “You’re the devil,” she told him rising to her feet.  He laughed throwing his head back like he always did when she got angry enough to dare call him names.  With a rock she clutched hidden in her fist, she hit him in the throat. “Devil!” she screamed bringing her knee up to his
groin. He went down groaning and started making gagging sounds.  She went to take his gun but he managed to fight her for it and squeezed off one shot. It was sure to bring at least Deke or John back up the hill. She had to move fast. With her elbow she punched his windpipe, he
dropped the gun.  He still had the bowie knife and he went for it. She shot him in the chest then ran to the horses. She considered running them all off but thought it might take too long. Besides Deke still had his horse, he’d catch her easily if she wasted too much time. She climbed on the nearest animal and just high-tailed it out of there, her heart pounding in her ears.
She was fleeing for her life, her sanity. She was riding a fast pony out of hell.

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