by Susan Horsnell
Victorian Western Romace
The Glenmore Family come to the assistance of a young girl who has been beaten and horse-whipped then left to die on the track leading to their ranch. She is taken to their ranch to recover; the outlaws responsible for her beating keep watch in the hopes they can recapture the girl and obtain the information they are sure she has. The search for the outlaws becomes a matter of urgency when murder, shootings, robbery and beatings affect the Glenmore Family. Rangers are brought in and the assistance of local Indians is sought. A story about the most tender love; as well as murder, greed and intrigue.
George and James dropped back to re-join their father and as they discussed ranch business they kept their eyes on Laura up ahead. She had just crossed the tree line and had disappeared from their sight. Joseph had just opened his mouth to call her to stay in sight when they heard her blood curdling scream.
The three men wasted no time spurring their horses into a gallop and headed in the direction the scream had come from.
Laura had dismounted and was on the ground next to a small bundle which rested half on and half off the track. Tears flooded her cheeks and she was shaking uncontrollably. When she spotted her father she jumped from the ground and raced towards him. Joseph was off his horse in a flash and folded her into his arms. While she buried her face in her fatherâs chest George and James dismounted and moved to check the small bundle which they could now see was the body of a young girl.
âPa, you better come fast!â called George.
Joseph peeled Laura away from him and reached inside his pocket for a cloth to wipe her tear stained face. Holding her hand he guided her to a nearby rock and gently encouraged her to sit. He grabbed his canteen of water from his saddle bag and handed it to her âDrink Laura. Donât move darlinâ weâll be right over hereâ She gulped thirstily from the canteen while she continued to sob.
Joseph approached his sons and couldnât stifle the gasp which escaped him as he looked at the âbundleâ for the first time. He could now see it was a young girl, about the same age as Laura. Her clothing had been torn to the waist and across the once creamy skin of her back were at least two dozen bloody welts.
Joseph removed his hat and immediately began firing off instructions to his shocked sons. âJames, fetch blankets, water and as many clean cloths as you can find! George, hobble the horses so they donât wander. Keep an eye out for Ben with the board so he doesnât run over usâ
The boys answered in unison âYes, Pa!â and raced off to complete their tasks.
As the boys followed his orders Joseph assessed the young girlâs wounds further. I will get the bastards who did this! he vowed to himself.
Just at that moment, Ben, the youngest son, drove up with the buckboard and their supplies. Seeing his family moving around ahead, his father attending to something on the ground, he brought the horses to a stop.
âBen! We have a badly injured girl. Clear a space in the buckboard and lay some blankets so when we are ready we can take her home to Ma!â called out James.
Ben jumped down and began re-arranging the rear of the buckboard. âWhatâs happened James?â
âNot sure yet, we just came up on her. Pa and George are with her nowâ
Whereâs Laura?â asked Ben concerned for his sister.
âJust over yonder on a rock. Sheâs very upset, was her that found the girl! After the board is ready go sit with her, I need to get these supplies to Paâ
James hurried back to where Joseph and George were waiting with the girl. âBenâs arrived Pa, heâs clearinâ a space in the buckboard and is going to calm Lauraâ
âThanks son. She is bad. Looks like she has a broken leg from the angle itâs at, a broken arm and all them welts, cuts and bruises!â We need to patch her up as best we can and get her to Maâ
âSheâs lost a lot of blood Paâ commented George âWill she make it?â
âI donât know son but we will do our best for herâ
âWho would do this?â asked an angry James to no-one in particular.
âI have no ideaâ answered Joseph âbut I intend to find out and get this little girl some justice!â
âBuckboardâs readyâ shouted Ben
âGo find four pieces of wood to splint an arm and a legâ called George âbe as quick as you canâ
âOn my wayâ called Ben running into the trees.
Joseph removed the lid from a canteen heâd been handed and poured water onto a cloth. As gently as he could he began to clean the wounds and only then could they see the extent of the damage from the vicious attack.
With her back wounds cleaned up a little the three men gently lifted her onto a blanket which was spread on the ground, turning her over as they did so.
They inhaled deeply when they saw the girlâs face. Both of her eyes were swollen shut. She had a large cut over one eye which would require stitches. Blood had seeped into her raven black hair and congealed which left her hair in a sticky, tangled mess. Her lip was split and her cheek badly bruised. Dirt and dust had combined with blood from her wounds to form a muddy mess over much of her body.
George quickly covered her with a spare blanket to protect her dignity but couldnât help noticing her perfectly formed breasts and slim waist which brought a stirring to his loins.
Goddamn it George! Whatâs wrong with you? You are looking at a womanâs breasts and getting randy when you should be more concerned with her injuries! And youâre sâposed to be courtinâ Marybeth!
Joseph took clean cloths, doused them in water and proceeded to clean her face.
âWhere do you want these Pa?â asked Ben holding up four good sized sticks.
âIâll take them. Thanks Benâ said James âGo sit with Lauraâ
I grew up in the Western Suburbs of Sydney in the 50's and 60's and have always been a fan of Cowboys, Indians and Outlaws.
During my years as a nurse I would write down ideas and when I retired five years ago I finally published my first book - The Glenmore's: Revenge. This developed into a four part series.
Since then I have published a further eleven Western Romance books and one contemporary. My westerns are set in Texas, USA during the 19th century and my contemporary in Sydney, Australia.
When I am not writing I enjoy walking our dogs with my husband and travelling.