Monday, December 15, 2014

You'll Never Think Of Tombstone The Same Way Again. Marshal Law, Book One In The Tombstone Series by Kris Norris

A town with a notorious reputation…


Tombstone, Arizona, has seen its share of gunfights. And if McKenna Buchanan has her way, she’ll stop at nothing to add a few more to the ranks. She’s out to right a wrong and won’t stop until she’s challenged every last member of the Wilson gang to a duel.

A secret buried deep…

Wolf shifters Ethan McClaren and Jude Davenport’s lives are complicated, but their job is simple. As federal Marshals, they’re determined to find the vigilante gunning down outlaws across the wilds of the western states so justice can be served. The last thing they expected was a woman with more honor than most men—who willingly risks her life to save theirs.

A claim that can’t be denied…

Falling in love with two lawmen never crossed McKenna’s mind—not with her name topping the most wanted list. She’s simply doing what’s right—preventing more bloodshed when she’s already seen a lifetime’s worth. The fact she’s drawn to Ethan and Jude as much as they seem to be to her is purely circumstantial. But she’s not the only one harboring secrets and when the truth finally emerges, it’s going to take more than marshal law to settle the dust.


McKenna eased onto the stool, letting the tension of the ride slowly fade. She’d pressed hard, only stopping long enough to rest her mount before moving on, wanting to reach Tombstone by nightfall. She’d trotted down the dusty street as the blazing sun had sunk behind the distant hills, staining the clouds blood red.

She’d watered her horse, bought some feed then headed for the saloon, hoping to lose herself amidst the mass of drunken cowboys and working girls. She’d pushed her way through the crowd, avoiding direct eye contact as she’d headed for the far corner, taking a seat that offered her some protection. Then she’d ordered a shot of whiskey and a bowl of stew.

The barkeep dropped both offerings on the wooden counter, heading off to yell at one of the men. She ignored the brawl starting off to her right, taking a small taste of the thick broth. The warm liquid soothed the dry feeling in her throat, removing the taste of dirt and sweat. A large man tripped onto the floor behind her, and she lifted her bowl as he crashed onto the bar, swiping her whiskey onto the floor.

The guy muttered an apology, grabbing another man by the shirt and tackling him into a table. She waited until they’d moved the other way before lowering her bowl and continuing her meal. Didn’t matter what town she ventured into, the men were always the same. Loud. Oppressive. Angry. And those that weren't avoided her, judging her character by the clothes she wore.

She glanced at her reflection in a mirror behind the bottles of liquor. A fringe of blonde hair framed her face, the tousled strands wild about her head before disappearing in a thick braid down her back. Dirt creased her forehead, a smear of mud along one side of her cheek. Her white cotton shirt masked her feminine attributes—her knee-length oilskin jacket covering her pants. She looked every inch the gunslinger she’d become, only empty. Even she saw the hollow reflection in her eyes, the years on the open trail etched in the fine lines around her mouth, and she knew her past was slowly killing her. Eating away at anything left of the girl she’d once been.

McKenna released a weary breath, spooning up more broth when two men approached the bar, nodding at the barkeep as they glanced at her out of the corner of their eyes. She took another sip, eyeing them in the mirror as they shuffled closer to her, each draining a glass of whiskey. She studied the guy nearest to her—tall with thick brown hair, his features looked ruggedly handsome, a distinct shadow of stubble lining his jaw. His dark eyes gleamed with intelligence, the brown depths sending a sliver of awareness skittering down her spine.

She glanced away, taking a deep breath, trying to steady the sudden thrumming of her heart. She must be far more exhausted than she’d thought. She hadn't felt much of anything in ten years. Any reaction was purely coincidental—a by-product of endless towns and nameless faces. She rubbed her fingertips across her forehead when his gaze snagged hers in the mirror. A flash of red colored his eyes before he blinked it away, a scowl shaping his full lips as he seemed to grunt out a breath. She inhaled sharply, staring at him again before breaking eye contact. Damn. Now she was seeing things.

The guy moved to the seat next to her, his friend following suit on her other side. Neither spoke, just turned to stare at her, their hands resting on the counter. She tried to focus on her food, ignoring the way their presence made her feel restless—like the air before a storm. The second man was just as handsome as the first, his large shoulders seemingly taking up every inch of her peripheral vision. His blond hair poked out from beneath a dark hat, his full lips curved slightly down at the edges. His jaw looked as scruffy as the other man, only his beard mimicked the light shades of his hair.

She eased back as she chewed on her food, finally acknowledging their continued stares. “You orderin’ something or just lookin’?”

She turned slightly to face the dark-haired man, allowing her gaze to travel the length of his body, noting details she’d missed before. She sighed, twisting back to the bar. “Marshal.”

His mouth quirked, lifting his lips at one corner. “What makes you think I’m a marshal?”

“You mean besides the clothes and the badge you’re trying to hide by your hip?”

He glanced at his waist where only a glimpse of his star peeked out beyond his jacket. “Besides that.”

She shrugged one shoulder. “Your choice of weapon. Not many men carry a double-action Colt other than Texas Rangers.”

“And we’re not Rangers because…”

“Because Rangers don’t hide their badges. Everyone in this place would have known you were here the moment you stepped through those swingin’ doors.”

“I’ll try to remember that. And I couldn't help but notice you've got the same weapon strapped on both your hips.”

She spared him a quick look. “Every second counts.”

“Can’t argue you with that.”

She nodded and continued eating, acting as if he wasn't even there. She watched as the two men exchanged glances, something passing unspoken between them.

She barely turned her head, a weary sigh feathering from her full lips. “You’re both marshals? You thought you’d need two to handle me?”

The guy leaned toward her. “You are McKenna Buchanan, aren't you?”

She chuckled, finally looking directly at him. Those eyes made her heart race again, the sheer beauty of them stealing her breath. She glanced at his partner, noting a similar reaction as she stared into stunning blue orbs, the color reminding her of pure mountain water. “You’d be feelin’ awfully foolish if I wasn't.”

He flashed a stunning smile. “That’s not an answer.”

“It wasn't really a question.” She nodded at her bowl. “Can I at least finish eating? Haven’t had a hot meal in longer than I can remember.”

The marshal frowned before looking over at his partner.

The guy shook his head, moving closer to her, dragging another shot of whiskey with him. “You do realize you've been charged with killing seven men?”

She swallowed another chunk of meat, wiping the edge of her mouth with a cloth. “You do realize those men were outlaws?”

“Outlaws or not, the President doesn't condone people taking the law into their own hands.”

Her laugh felt genuine this time. “Then perhaps the President should have more lawmen to keep his people safe.” She eased away, looking from one man to the other. “And I didn't kill them. I challenged them to a duel when they wouldn't take no for an answer. They simply lost.”

The first guy grinned, brushing his hand along her arm, frowning when she tensed and pulled back. 

“You out shot seven of Bret Wilson’s gang? How?”

Anger heated her cheeks as she scraped the chair back. “As I've told others. The West is a dangerous place. Pays to know how to handle a gun.”


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