Please welcome with me our special guest author — Dawn Luedecke
Big Sky Justice
Many people have heard of Billy the Kid—one of the most famous vigilantes in the wild west—but what they don’t know is the north of where Billy ruled, many Montanan’s took the law into their own hands during a mining boom.
After the murder of a young miner of German decent, and the subsequent lengthy trial and claims of innocence of a suspect, Montanans decided to take justice into their own hands to control the crime in the mining towns. Thus began the vigilante justice craze that rocked the Big Sky state in the 1860’s.
In Big Sky Brazen, we meet William Brandt—vigilante turned sheriff. William is one of the few government-sanctioned vigilantes left in Montana when he meets up with DeEtte and her many troubles. He is charming, frightening, and loveable. See for yourself.
A knock boomed through the hallways, followed by Millie’s hurried footsteps. The door screeched open, and the gentle sounds of the evening filtered into the house. “Good evening, Carrie, Mr….”
“William Brands.” A male voice boomed.
“Mr. Brands. I’m so glad you could join us. If you’ll follow me to the sitting room…” Mere seconds later the hem of Millie’s dress swung around the corner as she entered with regal grace. Behind her and her company, an old woman and a nun silently slipped into the room and took a stance along the wall, quickly disappearing into the woodwork.
With a quick survey of the room, the man ran a hungry gaze over DeEtte, then locked eyes with John. His clothes were a little too fancy for the cowboy John had expected, adding a layer of complication and possibly danger to his persona. His fine pants and matching vest covered a crisp, white cotton shirt. The black bowler hat seemed to fit his handlebar mustache, curling at the ends to mimic cattle horns.
After a brief stare-down, the man inclined his head, acknowledging John’s unspoken claim over the woman now standing between the two men.
The man introduced himself as William and extended his hand for John to shake. After the brief greeting, John turned his attention to DeEtte. “This is my fiancée, Miz DeEtte Larson.”
DeEtte gave him a quick swat with the back of her hand and held it out for William. John’s vision blurred red when the man bent over, kissed her knuckles, and drawled in a very irritating southern accent, “Enchanted, Miz DeEtte.”
Millie clapped her hands to get their attention and motioned toward the dining room. “Shall we?”
“Of course,” William said and dropped DeEtte’s hand to escort his sister.
A quick glance at DeEtte’s face showed her pleasure with a bright red blush. John tightened his jaw at the slight flutter of her eyelashes as William smiled down at her. Who did this man think he was, coming in here and trying to woo his woman?
“Anyone can kiss a hand.” He defended as he offered his elbow and followed their hostess.
“Yes, but Mr. Brands isn’t just anyone, he’s a vigilante,” she confessed. John slowed down enough for the group to walk ahead while she continued, “We’re hoping to get him on our side so he can bring law to the town. Didn’t Millie already tell you?”
“No. I arrived only a few minutes before supper and had to get my clothes changed.”
“Well, be nice. We need him to stay, and to fight our war.”
“When did this become our war?” John asked, irritated. “You should be on a railcar headed west, not sticking your nose in the biggest range war in
DeEtte waved her hand. “There are too many people I love involved in this war for me to leave now. I can’t leave without helping any way I can.”
“Just promise you won’t jump in too deep. The last thing I need is for you to get in the middle of a shootout.”
“I’m an excellent shot, I’ll have you know.”
“I don’t doubt that,” he whispered as he guided her to her seat and pushed it in when she sat. “But stay away from the shootouts.”
DeEtte frowned. “I can’t make any promises.” The stray tendrils from her hair flipped as she turned to face the table.
Millie bustled around the dining room and set steaming plates of beef in front of her guests while the group settled into their seats.
“Smells good, Millie. I’m glad Carrie accepted your invitation,” William complimented when she’d finished dishing the food and sat down at the head of the table.
“Thank you. I hope we can dine together more in the future.”
On Millie’s cue, John and the rest of the company started to eat. To John’s surprise, DeEtte sat prim and proper next to him, following the dining etiquette of socially accepted protocol.
“Are you anything like your sister, Mr. Brands?” Millie asked.
William gave a chuckle. “I’m a little worse for wear, I’m afraid.”
“I told them of your profession,” Carrie said.
“Did you now,” he drawled and threw a quick look at DeEtte. “And what do you think of that, Miz DeEtte?”
“I think it’s exciting! How many men have you killed in the name of justice?”
“I’m not sure that’s appropriate talk for the supper table, but I will tell you I’m no novice.”
“Are you sanctioned by the government?” John asked as he continued to eat.
“Well now, that’s a tricky question. I can’t really give you a reply.”
John raised his head. “Have you come to Choteau for work or pleasure?”
“Pleasure, but if I find something interesting, I may be inclined to stay for work.”
“Would a range war be interesting?” DeEtte sang out.
“That’d depend on the details.”
By the time Millie had laid out a quick overview of the situation in Choteau, William’s face was shining and a strange look twinkled in his eye. “I think I could help you out more than you think. Restoring law and order is my specialty, and it sounds as if Choteau could use some regulation.”
John glanced around the table at the various faces as a gentle rumble of enthusiasm rippled through all but the nun, who sat stone-faced. With the help of the vigilante, whom John didn’t completely trust, they would have a good chance at beating the Tisdale bunch. He hoped the upcoming battles would go in their favor, and DeEtte would stay far away from the danger of the fight, tucked safely in the boarding house.
After discovering her horses missing, DeEtte hunts the man who stole them, only to discover things aren’t as they seem. Her adventures lead to Bozeman where she joins up with a cattle drive north – a lawless place run by a cattle baron society. John, the man who stole her horses and broke her heart, trails after her. Many difficulties arise that prevent him from wooing the headstrong woman — from two timing outlaws, to deadly secrets, and finally to DeEttes ability to find trouble in any situation. John needs to settle his score with a man from Texas, protect DeEtte from not only outlaws but also determined suitors, and convince her trust him enough to marry. Can he clear his name and keep her from running head first into a range war and possible death?
A country girl born and bred, Dawn Luedecke has spent most of her life surrounded by horses, country folk, and the wild terrain of Nevada, Idaho and Montana. As a child she would spend many afternoons reading books, watching western classics, and Rogers and Hammerstein movies. When she grew up she decided to leave the quiet country life for a chance to find adventure by serving a successful tour in the United States Coast Guard. During that time she found her soul mate (and alpha male) and started a family and writing career. She enjoys writing historical and paranormal romance and spends as much time as she can working on her current manuscript. For more information visit Dawn’s website.
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