Scott had also been
on an errand for their father, Murdoch Lancer. Johnny could only
hope that his brother had been more successful in acquiring mineral rights
than he had been. Of course, since Martin Lucas was originally from
Rhode Island, maybe he could be persuaded more readily by another New Englander.
Sitting there, eyes
covered by his hat, Johnny let his thoughts dwell on his sibling from the
East. Their relationship had had is ups and downs at the beginning
and then had leveled out as trust had developed between the two men.
Then, the appearance of Drago, Violet, and Chapel at the white hacienda
had thrown a burr into the relationship. Since the moment that Drago
had taken himself off, money-in-hand, there had been a reticence about
the blond, a backing-off from the family and especially from Johnny.
Scott had even attempted to apologize for the results of the arm-wrestling,
however, Johnny Madrid had a healthy ego so he hadn't been too distressed
by what had happened. He knew that his superior skills with fist,
gun, and charm more than made up for the little incident. Content
to let Scott work through the problem on his own, Johnny had said no more
to the blond.
The brunet's descent into sleep rudely ended when the stage began to sway heavily from side to side, jostling the young man against the latched door which swung open at the weight flung against it. Struggling to remain inside, Johnny clutched at the frame as the coach begin to tip to other side, sending it into a roll as it moved down a small incline.
a boulder, the stagecoach upended its passenger once again, flinging him
out the wide-open door as his body skidded across the hard-packed earth.
The slide ended just short of an outcropping of rocks, but unfortunately
one of the smaller piece gouged a gash in the hard Lancer head before sending
him into an abyss of darkness.
Some time later,
Madrid's eyes opened then quickly closed as the sun's brightness hit the
sapphire orbs. "Just lie still, Mister. My men will get you
into the shade and then we'll check you out," whispered a feminine voice.
Groggily, Johnny tried to grab the hand which was probing at his throbbing
head. Hissing with pain, Johnny felt the world turn black again as
strong hands lifted his body.
The next time he
awoke, it was to find himself in a soft bed. Gingerly, moving his head,
he found the pain not unbearable, but his stomach lurched as he shifted
about in discomfort. Hearing the door open, Johnny lifted his head
slightly. By his bedside stood a petite girl with black hair and
amazing green eyes. "So, you decided to wake up, Mr. Madrid?"
"Uh, yeah, 's'pose
so. Where. . .where am I?"
"At my ranch, near
Merced. Your stagecoach went into a small ravine. Luckily,
I was riding nearby with some of my men."
"Uh, yeah, thanks.
Just one thing. You say my name's Madrid?'
Madrid. Don't you remember?"
"Sounds kinda right,
but my head hurts like the devil."
In a cooing voice,
the girl reassured the injured man. "I'm sure you'll remember more
soon, now why don't you go to sleep?"
"Think I will, but
will you tell me your name?"
"Sorry, my name's
Belinda Carruthers. You were coming here to see me."
"We can talk about
that later. Go to sleep now."
For the next twenty-four hours, Johnny slept a good deal of the time, but finally felt up to getting out of bed to have dinner with Belinda Carruthers. Sitting across from the lovely young woman, the dark-haired man regretted not being able to remember why he had come to see the voluptuous girl. As if she had read his mind, Belinda asked, "I suppose you're wondering why you were coming to see me?"
"Well, yes, Miss
Carruthers, I guess I am. I think I'm beginn' to remember some things.
I know you're right and my name is Madrid, but after that things are kinda
In a soothing tone
she replied, "That's only to be expected with a wound like yours so I might
as well tell you the truth. You're a gunfighter, Mr. Madrid, and
I hired you to help me."
"A. . .gunfighter?
"A very good gunfighter,
one of the best, and there's a man in town who insulted me. He tried
to get me to marry him and when I refused he started causing trouble.
I need you to. . .to take care of him for me."
Johnny sat there
silently for some time, letting the words float through his mind.
Soon the thoughts were joined by images of himself drawing down on first
one man and then another.
The pale look on
Johnny's face moved Belinda to ask, "Are you all right, Mr. Madrid?
I don't expect you to go after him until you feel
"Uh, it's just that
I'm startin' ta recall shootin' some men. I guess I must be what
"I'm sure it must
be disconcerting for you, but why don't we eat and then you can rest?
Don't even think about what I've paid you to do right now."
The rest of the evening
was spent in talking and then Belinda played the piano for an hour.
After that, Johnny went to his room to sleep. He had just fallen
into a pleasant doze when the door opened. Johnny caught the fragrance
of lilac before a warm voice and an even warmer body knelt by the bed.
"I know you're head must hurt, Johnny. Let me rub it for you."
The touch of Belinda's soft hands felt heavenly as Johnny reached to take
her enticing body into his arms. "Does that feel good?" Johnny didn't
bother to answer as he kissed the woman deeply. Not questioning her
presence, the brunet asked Belinda to stay with him.
The next morning when the young man awoke alone, he thought maybe he had dreamt their encounter; but when he went downstairs after dressing, Belinda Carruthers made it abundantly clear that it had not been a dream. In fact, for the next two days the lovers were rarely apart. In fact, she made it obvious that Johnny Madrid would be welcome to settle at the Curly C--once he had fulfilled his contract.
The day after that,
Johnny Madrid was given a horse, a description and a name for the man who
had been harassing Belinda. Riding into Merced, Madrid intended to
take care of business quickly and then return to the waiting arms of Belinda
Carruthers. No man could be allowed to insult the woman who shared
his bed. Perhaps, he might even ask Belinda to marry him when this
was all done.
In town Scott Lancer
waited impatiently for his brother to show up. He knew that Murdoch would
be furious at the delay. At first, he hadn't been too worried because
he had been delayed himself due to a run-in with two old miners named,
Barker and Cox, and their mule, Parson. When Scott's horse had thrown
a shoe, he had reluctantly stopped at their cabin hoping to find an anvil
and forge. Instead, he had been forced to lead the horse and ride
the mule! After sending the mule back to the miners, Scott had found
himself a room and prepared himself to wait for his missing brother.
After several days,
Scott felt that he had explored every inch of the small town. In
fact, he was beginning to believe that Johnny had forgotten to stop here
and had just gone on to Lancer--either that or he had met a girl!
Grumbling to himself about inconsiderate brothers, the blond was heading
down the street to get something to eat when he heard a familiar voice
"You Scott Lancer?"
Scott swiveled to
see a dark-haired man, hand lightly caressing his weapon, standing in front
of him. "It's about time you got here, Johnny. I'd just about
given up hope."
"I said, are you
Scott Lancer?" curved the tight lips.
"Johnny, I'm tired
of this town and I don't want to play games. You know who I am so
let's get you a horse and head to Morro Coyo."
"Ain't goin' nowhere
with you, and if you wanna live much longer you'll leave now 'n won't bother
Miss Carruthers again."
Scott's blue eyes
flooded with bewilderment. "What's the matter with you, Brother?
Who's Miss Carruthers?"
"You're the one who's
sick, Boy. My name is Madrid and I ain't got no brothers."
"Johnny, I. . . "
Scott stepped forward as if touching the other man would end this strange
encounter. Johnny's hand reacted automatically. The gun cleared
the holster with grim efficiency, pumping two bullets into the blond's
Johnny Madrid Lancer gazed calmly down at the bleeding man. "Told you to leave town." Then the gunfighter walked over to his horse, mounted, and rode back to the Curly C.
As soon as Madrid
rode out of town, two men rushed over to the fallen blond. Taking
one glance at the bleeding man, they picked him up, rushing him to their
town's doctor. Philip Gordon had been a surgeon in the Confederate
Army, where for four years he had tended the broken bodies of young men.
After Appomattox, the war-weary man had gone west, hoping to forget the
carnage. Certainly, he had found a measure of peace as well as a
wealth of experience in the varied injuries and women who needed help to
deliver their babies.
Happily, Merced was
usually quiet so Gordon had had to deal with only a few gunshot wounds,
but the sight of the bleeding body on his table inadvertently brought back
those horrifying memories. Shaking off his dread, Philip Gordon set
to work to save the man whose life was in his hands.
Across the street,
the two men who had been so prompt to help Scott were in the saloon, discussing
the shooting. "'S'pose we should try to
find out if that young feller has kin. 'Spect they might wanta be with him when he breathes his last."
"Now, Harry, the
Doc might pull him through. He's pretty good for a Reb."
"Jud Wells, that
was Johnny Madrid doin' the shootin'. You know a man like that don't
"Johnny Madrid, you
was standin' close by and I recognized him," insisted
"But didn't you hear
that Madrid settled down on a spread up near Morro Coyo? Got a new
name 'n everythin'."
"Well, if he goes
around shootin' folks, he ain't changed much. Can you remember where
this place is?"
"Seems like it was
that big place Murdoch Lancer's got, north of here."
Harry Dobbs lower
jaw dropped open. "But. . .but I just 'membered that Madrid asked
the stranger if his name was Scott Lancer."
"What? Then, we better get over to the telegraph office and let his pa know. He's got a long trip ahead of him."
The telegram, notifying
Murdoch Lancer of his son's shooting, put two people in motion immediately.
Teresa O'Brien quickly packed their bags for the trip to Merced.
During the grim ride, Murdoch tried to keep a positive outlook, but the
curt words about Scott's condition didn't lend themselves to a great deal
of hope. In fact, Murdoch Lancer could only hope that by now Johnny
was with his brother so that his older son was not alone.
The tall rancher
had not understood why the telegram had not been from Johnny himself, but
decided that he might have been delayed in meeting Scott. If so,
Murdoch was nervous about his dark son's reaction. He just might
take it into his head to avenge Scott's shooting.
Arriving at the doctor's
office after the long, tiring ride, Murdoch escorted the young woman inside.
Hearing the bell, Philip Gordon emerged from the room to find a tall gray-haired
man and a small brown-haired woman waiting for him.
"Doctor, my name's
Lancer. I believe my son is here?"
I'll take you in to see him. I got the bullets out, but he's developed
a fever and has been delirious for a good part of the time. He keeps
yelling about someone named Johnny."
"That's his brother.
I take it he hasn't been here?"
"Not at all.
Now, would you like to see him?"
Murdoch and Teresa
followed the doctor inside, only to find the disheveled body of Scott Lancer
shifting about in the bed. Without a word Teresa quickly sat down
by him before dipping a cloth in the nearby pan. Carefully wiping
the pale face, she murmured a few soothing words. Turning back to
Gordon, Teresa matter-of-factly stated, "I'm sure you must have other duties,
Doctor. I'll be glad to take over Scott's care. This won't
be the first time."
"Uh, well thank you,
Miss, uh, Miss. . . ."
"Teresa's my ward,
Doctor. She is quite capable in matters like this."
I do have two patients who are nearing their time and I didn't want to
leave Mr. Lancer alone."
"Uh, Doctor, could
I talk to you a moment?"
Philip Gordon followed the tall man into the outer room.
"Doctor Gordon, what
can you tell me about how my son was injured?"
I'm not the one to ask. I heard some firing out on the street and
then Harry and Jud carried your son in here. I thought he wouldn't
survive the removal of the bullets, but he's stubborn. I'm really
beginning to think he might make it we can get his fever down."
"I certainly appreciate all you've done. Could you tell me where I could find this Harry and Jud? I'd really like to talk to them."
"This time of day,
they're most likely at the saloon," the physician explained. "They're
both short and have gray hair and beards. In fact, they look like
they could be brothers, except Jud wears this God-awful hat that looks
like it's been through a stampede."
"Would you tell Teresa
where I've gone? I'll be right back."
Murdoch Lancer walked
slowly across the street. He had no trouble spotting the two men
as Gordon had accurately described them. As a matter of fact, the
maligned hat was even worse than stated. Moving over near them, he
casually offered to buy them a drink. Never one to pass up free liquor,
Harry Dobbs downed one shot glass before even thanking his benefactor.
Jud Wells wasn't far behind, but did delay long enough to ask, "Thanks
Stranger. I like to know the name of the man whose liquor I'm drinkin'."
"I'm Murdoch Lancer.
I live near Morro Coyo."
"You're the feller
we sent the telegram to!" breathed the grizzled man with the crumpled hat.
"Uh, yes, I wanted
to ask about that. Dr. Gordon said that you helped my son so I just
wanted to thank the two of you."
"You're mighty welcome,
Mr. Lancer. That boy of yours is lucky to be
alive. Not many men have stood up against Johnny Madrid and lived to
tell about it."
A great shudder shook
the tall frame. "Johnny Madrid? But that can't be!"
"Yeah, me 'n Jud
wondered 'bout that. But I heard him plain as day say his name was
Madrid. Your boy seemed to know him too."
"Do you. . .do you
know where this Madrid went?"
"Not sure but he headed south out of town. By now, he's probably clean to Mexico!"
Lancer stood there
silently for a moment before he purchased a whole bottle of the amber liquid,
passing it over to the two men. "Thank you for your help and the
information. If you think of anything else, I'll be over at the doctor's
Watching the big
man go out the swinging door, Harry nudged Jud.
"Looked kinda sick, didn't he?"
"Well, jest how would
you feel if'n one of your boys tried to kill t'other?"
"Guess ya gotta point
there! Now, let's finish this here bottle."
Murdoch Lancer returned
to Dr. Gordon's office, his thoughts in a maelstrom of confusion.
Why would Johnny shoot Scott? There just seemed to be no reasonable
explanation. Deciding not to tell Teresa what he had discovered,
Murdoch forced himself to concentrate on his older son's welfare for the
Some miles south
of town Johnny and Belinda were wrapped around each other in bed.
Whispering seductively in Johnny's ear, Belinda caressed his strong back,
"I hate to get up, Lover, but I do have a ranch to run."
"Aw, you can stay
here a few more minutes, can't you, honey?"
Running her hand through his black hair, Belinda nibbled on one shoulder. "Tell me again how you killed that Lancer scoundrel."
"You're a real spitfire, aren't you? I already told you. I
put two bullets in him."
"And you watched
him die, didn't you?" the woman inquired gleefully.
as Belinda's green eyes narrowed. "Johnny, you did make sure he was
dead, didn't you?'
"Well, I, uh. . .
"Did you or did you
not make sure Scott Lancer was dead?"
"I didn't want to hang around, but I left him bleedin' in the street."
rose from the bed, throwing on a lacy negligee. "I paid you to make
sure he was dead!"
"By now he is!"
Why don't you come back to bed?" insisted the gunfighter.
"No! I'm not
going to give you any loving until you make sure he's dead!" The
small woman stood there defiantly, much as a redheaded queen had done at
Tilbury in 1588.
the sapphire eyes as Johnny gazed upon his feisty lover. "All right,
will it make you happy if I go into town and make sure he's dead?"
Belinda approached the bed. Letting Johnny's calloused hands untie
the transparent robe, Belinda licked her lips saying, "Thank you, Sugar,
but you don't have to leave right this minute." Johnny grabbed the woman,
covering her with his body.
By the end of the
day both Murdoch and Teresa were exhausted from the effort to keep Scott
in bed. His delusions seemed to be terrifying as he tossed and turned
trying to escape from his unseen enemy. Dr. Gordon had been called
out by one of the women who was expecting so the burden was on the two
visitors from Lancer. Finally, the blond had seemed to settle
down with the aid of a light draught of laudanum. Seeing Murdoch's
drawn face, Teresa had encouraged him to go over to the hotel to procure
rooms for the two of them so that they could take turns at Scott's bedside.
The tall rancher had reluctantly agreed. He knew that both of them
would need sleep sooner or later.
As soon as Murdoch
had left, Teresa took advantage of the fact that Scott seemed to be sleeping
peacefully to go into the Doctor's kitchen to make a cup of tea.
The bubbling brew would help to revive her for the long night ahead.
As a result, she
did not hear or see the dark-clad figure enter through the window of Scott's
room. Johnny Madrid stared down at the pale man he had seen only
once before. "You sure are a stubborn cuss, Mister," he whispered
almost to himself. "Fancy you tryin' to tell me we're brothers.
What use would I have for a varmit like you?
To his astonishment,
a groan emerged from the man on the bed. Not wanting the girl he
had seen to come running, Johnny snatched up a blanket from the foot of
the bed. This time he would make sure that Belinda's tormentor would
not bother her again.
Advancing on the
restless figure, the brunet stopped as a beam of light pierced the darkness
from the outer room. Murdoch Lancer entered to the startling sight of his
younger son trying to smother his older son.
With a speed that
would do justice to any gunslinger, Murdoch drew his weapon. "Put
it down, Johnny!" he ordered.
"Now, just who might
you be, Old Man?"
Consternation flooded the rancher. "I'm. . .I'm your father."
The bellow of laughter
which met that statement unnerved the older man. "It's true!" he
protested. "You and Scott are brothers. Don't you remember?"
Madrid stood there
arrogantly. Gesturing towards the man in the bed, he remarked, "He
tried to tell me somethin' like that too. Didn't believe him neither."
"But it's true.
The three of us jointly own our ranch!"
"So, now I'm a ranch owner? Tell me another one, Old Man. I've been alone all my life and I like it that way. Just . . ."
Before the man in
black could finish his statement, the attention of the two men was diverted
by Teresa O'Brien in the doorway. Seeing his chance, Johnny threw
the blanket at Murdoch, catching his gun which went off before it fell
to the floor. Madrid started to draw on the now-vulnerable man when
he was met with a splash of hot tea in the face. Momentarily blinded
by the liquid, he wasn't prepared for the vicious backhand given him by
his father which dropped the younger man heavily to the floor, totally
After picking up
his gun and taking Johnny's from his holster, Breathing heavily, Murdoch
stood over his dark-haired son.
stepped nearer her guardian. "Murdoch, what was Johnny doing?"
Putting an arm around
her shoulders, he replied, "It's okay, honey, maybe Johnny willl be able
to tell us when he wakes up."
But any thoughts
of Johnny Madrid were drowned in the anguished scream that rent the night
Teresa flew to Scott's
side, followed by Murdoch. Between the two of them, they managed
to get the sweating, tormented man to lie back against the pillows.
Turning to grab the wet cloth, Teresa saw the swaying figure of Johnny
Madrid, standing there trying to focus on the two people by the bed. Grasping
for Murdoch's arm, Teresa frantically whispered, "Murdoch! Johnny's awake!"
The tall rancher
leveled his gun at his son. "Madrid, just take it slow!"
Sapphire eyes swiveled
towards the voice. "Why. . .why are you holding a gun on me?"
Taking a step towards the bed, Johnny stopped when Murdoch pointed the
gun at his heart. "Dammit! My head hurts like hell and you
wanta shoot me!"
Teresa quietly interceded,
"Johnny, do you know your name?"
"Teresa, you gone
crazy too? Name's Lancer, just like him," pointing at his father.
Now what's goin' on and why's Boston in bed?"
Two great sighs of
relief filled the room.
A grinning Murdoch
walked over to put his arm around the dark man. "Welcome back, Son.
You really had us scared."
Rubbing at his aching
jaw, Johnny protested doubtfully at the statement. "You sure got
a strange way of showin' it."
"Sorry about that,
but you weren't quite yourself."
"What? I don't
"What's the last
thing you remember?"
"Uh, guess it was
bein' in that damn stagecoach, just before it went upside-down. What
happened after that?"
Taking a deep breath,
Murdoch suggested, "Why don't we go over to the saloon and have a drink?
Teresa will stay here with Scott. I've got a lot to tell you."
After taking their
seats at one of the corner tables in the saloon, Johnny sipped at his beer
while Murdoch took a healthy gulp of his whiskey. "Son, I'm sure
you're not going to like what I'm going to say, but just hear me out.
Evidently, you hit your head or something when the stage crashed and for
some reason you forgot about your life at Lancer and reverted to being
"Guess it coulda
"It's a lot worse,
believe me. I don't know the whole story because we didn't get here
until we received the telegram about Scott."
A deep look of anger
filled the blue eyes. "What the hell did Scott get himself into anyway?
He was just supposed to wait for me."
"As much as I can
figure, he did, but Johnny Madrid called him out and shot him twice."
Johnny's fist came
up and around, catching his father squarely in the jaw. Grabbing
the older man by his shirt, he spit out, "That's a lie! I didn't!"
wiped away the trickle of blood at his mouth. "Johnny, do you think
I wanted to tell you that?
Johnny let loose
of the older man before sinking back in the chair. "Did. . .did Boston
say I did it?"
"He's been out of
his head with fever since we got here so he couldn't say anything about
it one way or the other."
"That's why you hit
me then? You just found out what . . .what I did?"
Murdoch took another
gulp of the whiskey which burned fiercely against the cut. "No, it
wasn't because of that. You disappeared after the shooting and then
tonight you came back. . .to finish the job evidently."
"I found you standing
over Scott with a blanket. You were going to. . .smother him."
Johnny Lancer's face
paled before he jumped up to head out to the back alley. Following
behind slowly, Murdoch gave the young man a measure of privacy. When
the retching stopped, Murdoch offered his son a clean handkerchief to mop
In a rasping voice
Johnny asked, "Can we go back now? I gotta tell him how sorry I am."
"I don't think he'll
be able to hear you."
"I gotta try anyway."
The two men walked
slowly back to the doctor's house. Opening the door, they found a
startling sight. On the floor was the battered body of Philip Gordon.
Kneeling down, Murdoch thankfully felt a faint pulse. Then his jerked
Thrusting open the
door they found the young woman gagged and tied in a chair. Removing
the bandana, Murdoch quickly untied the knots so the girl could throw herself
into his arms. Crying, the Teresa wailed, "Scott! They took
Johnny came closer.
"Who took him?"
"I don't know.
Four men came in, tied me up and then put Scott in a blanket and left.
I heard some kind of noise out in the other room and then quiet."
"That must have been
when the Doctor came in."
"Is he hurt?"
"Then I'd better
go help him. What are you going to do?"
The two Lancers looked
at each other. "First of all we've got to figure out where those
men took him and why. Johnny, are you sure you don't remember why
you went after Scott?'
Sweat glistened on
Johnny's face as he strained to remember. "I keep getting' this flicker
of a girl's face, but that's it."
First, let's go help the Doctor and then you need to get some sleep, Son.
Maybe a good night's sleep will help you remember."
went out with Murdoch to carry the injured man up to his bed. "I'll
keep an eye on him, Murdoch. You and Johnny need to go to bed," insisted
"Don't worry about
us, honey. Keep an eye on Dr. Gordon. He deserved better than
"Yes, he's a fine
man. Now go get some sleep."
Putting down two
blankets on the floor in the room which Scott had used, the two Lancers
were asleep almost instantly.
Then just as dawn
was coloring the sky, Teresa excitedly woke the two men. "Murdoch,
wake up! Dr. Gordon woke up for a few minutes. He told me the
men who took Scott work for a woman named Belinda Carruthers."
Now wide awake, Murdoch
frowned. "Never heard the name. How about you, Johnny?"
Johnny admitted, "Yeah, I think I do. She lives south of town."
Murdoch did not take
the time to inquire further. "Right. Then let's get going.
We need to find Scott before they do anything else."
Teresa gave both
men a hug. "Be careful and bring him back. I'm just glad they
didn't take it into their heads to kill him right there in the bed."
Murdoch waited until
he and Johnny were outside before commenting, "That's what worries me.
Why did they take him?"
After acquiring two horses, the two rode out in search of the third Lancer.
Less than hour later Murdoch and Johnny rode up to the gate stating that they were on Curly C property. "Murdoch, you'd better let me handle this. I'm the reason Scott's in trouble and. . . ."
"Johnny, you may
have been the instrument, but there has to be a reason
that these people want Scott and I'm going to find out what is. You stay here. I'll go talk with this Belinda Carruthers."
Before the tall rancher
could ride through the gate, a volley of gunshots tore up the ground in
front of them. In their effort to maintain control of their horses,
they missed the approach of the woman in question.
"Well, if it isn't
Murdoch and Johnny Lancer. Welcome to the Curly C, gentlemen."
Johnny just stared
at the raven-haired woman who gave him a look of disdain.
we've come to get my son, Scott."
"Well, I didn't suppose
you came just to see me," the woman dimpled at the two. "But unfortunately
Scott Lancer is in no condition to go with you, even if he wanted to."
"What'd you do to
him, you bitch?" the brunet growled.
"Why, Johnny, you
didn't talk like that when we were in bed together."
Murdoch tried to
control his flush as he commented, "Perhaps, we could talk to Scott and
then he could tell us that?"
"He's still under
the weather, but don't worry, he'll be fine--as long as someone doesn't
do something stupid like trying to take him away from the Curly C!
Who knows what might happen to him then?" she questioned innocently.
"Now, I suggest you gentlemen go back to your ranch so I can take care
of mine--and Scott."
The voluptuous woman
flipped her hair and then walked into the house as six men took her place,
"Johnny, let's go!"
announced the patriarch.
"Murdoch, you can't
let Scott stay here!"
"We can't do him
any good if we're dead."
two Lancers rode off towards Merced.
Looking out the window,
Belinda Carruthers smiled as she watched her foes disappear. Turning, she
walked over to Scott's bed and sat down. "Well, Scott honey, they're
gone. Now, we can get on with our plans. I can hardly wait
to be Mrs. Scott Lancer. As soon as you're feeling better we'll go
to San Francisco, get married and have a wonderful honeymoon."
"You. . .promise? You. . .won't. . .hurt them?"
I told you as long as you. . .cooperate, they're safe. After all, they're
going to be my in-laws. I've been waiting to be your bride
for so many years. I just wish Daddy could see his little girl all
grown up and married. Oh, that reminds me, the first thing I want
to do after we're married--after the wedding night, of course--is to send
a telegram to Harlan Garrett, telling him about his new granddaughter!
I'd love to see his face when he reads it. Now, you just go back to sleep,
Sugar!" Kissing the blond on the forehead, Belinda trilled a small
laugh of triumph before leaving.
Gritting his teeth
against the pain, Scott clenched his fists. "Before I marry you, Belinda,
I'll either kill you or myself," murmured the distraught young man as he
escaped into sleep.