Western Fiction posted June 27, 2009 Chapters:  ...12 13 -14- 15... 

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Leland pays the ransom for his bride.

A chapter in the book THE TOUGH BREED

The Ransom

by c_lucas

The Peralt Land scandal led to violence pitting settlers against new arrivals that had fallen for the farce.

Leland stepped through the swinging doors of the Salty Dog and paused to let his eyes adjust to the dim light. Something is not right. He slowly looked around the room. Colonel Johnston sat at a table with Pete; an open bottle between them. Several cowhands, Slim included, were playing poker at a table near the bar.

There were three cases of the colonel’s sipping whiskey stacked on the bar. A slip of paper stuck out between the top two cases.

Leland wondered why the cowhands were ignoring him and it dawned on him what was wrong with the picture. Each of them had an empty glass. He watched Slim pick up the cards to deal another hand.

They are up to no good. Leland noticed Pecos and Panhandle were not with the group. He walked over and looked at the slip of paper.

Three cases of whiskey - $3 per bottle. $108.  Bring two bottles and receipt of payment to the fancy room.

He read the note twice and stared at the cowboys, who ignored him. I’m being set up. Leland looked at Pete and K.D., who motioned for him to join them.  He noticed the empty glass as he walked over and placed the note in front of the colonel.

K. D. glanced at it and chuckled. “In Louisiana, we called this a chivaree. It looks like the boys are having some fun with you and Cindy. I suggest you pay up.”

Leland's face colored. “You knew about this?”

K. D. handed another note to Leland. 

We have Cindy and Cookie. Leland may need help with the ransom. Wait for the outcome at The Salty Dog.

Leland read the note and looked up at the colonel’s smiling face. He turned to the cowboys, who were paying too much attention to their cards, and back to his father-in-law. “I don’t have that much money.”

“I’ve already paid Pete.” K.D.’s and Pete’s laughter surprised him.

The colonel filled the third glass and offered it to the young man. “Tell Cookie I’ll be there shortly to pick her up. We’ll be heading back to the ranch.”

Leland watched as Pete scrawled Paid in Full on the ransom note and signed it. 

Pete gave him the signed receipt. “Go get two bottles of whiskey and free your bride.” He and the colonel lifted their glasses in an unspoken toast.

Leland drained his glass and went to the bar where he found the upper case opened. He grabbed two bottles and put them on the cowboy’s table. “You sons of bitches.”

The groom grabbed two more bottles and ignored their laughter as he left. 
He was not surprised when he entered the hotel and Mr. Peel was not in sight. Leland climbed the stairs three steps at a time and knocked on the door of the special room.

Panhandle opened the door and held his hand out to block Leland’s entrance.

Leland handed him the ransom note and waited until Panhandle read it before he relinquished the two bottles of whiskey. He noticed Cindy standing beside Pecos. She had changed dresses.

Panhandle turned to Pecos. “Let’s go.”  He handed Pecos one of the bottles and the two men left.

Cindy rushed into Leland’s arms and he embraced her. Only then did he see Cookie sitting in a chair in the corner of the room. She was still wearing her lavender dress. “The colonel said he would come for you as soon as he picks up the surrey.”

The giant Negress stood. “I’ll wait in my room.” She looked at the young couple and smiled. “I can leave you alone, now.”

As soon as the door closed, Cindy began to unbutton Leland’s shirt. He remembered her remark this morning.
“Do you plan to do this every night?” 

“Only if you undress me.”

Cindy removed his gun belt. He took it from her and fastened it into a loop and hung it on the bedpost.

She pushed him onto the bed to remove his boots and all hell broke loose. Bells started ringing. Pots and Pans started clanging. Men and women were shouting. He heard Cookie’s unmistakable scream. The sound of gunfire made Leland grab his .45 and rush to the window.

 He pulled the curtain open just wide enough to look out.
The gunfire came from the K-Bar-K’s cowhands, the sheriff and Mr. Peel were firing their guns into the air. Other townspeople were banging pots and pans. Cookie, cowbell in hand,  joined in, ringing enthusiastically.

“It looks like the whole damn town is out there.”

Leland was jerked back to the bed by a laughing Cindy, who began bouncing on the bed.  The bells, attached to the mattress, began competing with the noise outside.

Leland holstered his gun and stopped Cindy’s antics with a long kiss. He began unbuttoning her dress while she unfastened his pants. He worked her dress and petticoat off her shoulders.

“Don’t you think we should get rid of the bells, first?”  Cindy asked.

Leland got off the bed and fastened the top button on his pants.

Cindy’s dress and petticoat landed at his feet. She stood and reached for his manhood. They fondled each other as they kissed.

The young couple turned the mattress over. It took them a while to free the bells from the mattress in between kisses and caresses.

When they finish and had the mattress back in place, she pushed him on the bed and removed his boots and socks. He slipped her last undergarment off after she removed his pants. Cindy joined him on the bed, eager to experience what Cookie had discussed.

Leland woke up the following morning with aching ribs and totally depleted. Cindy was nestled against his side. He eased his arm out from under her and slipped out of bed and into his pants. He needed to use the indoor facilities down the hall.

He tried to sneak back into the room, but Cindy was awake, out of bed and wearing a robe.

“I’ll be back in a moment. Get out of those pants and back in bed. I’m not finished with you.” She kissed him and left the room.

He wondered how he was going to be able to do anymore when she returned. She had been a wildcat the night before and he was worn out.

Cindy entered, dropped her robe on the floor and slowly walked to the bed. 

Leland surrendered himself to his fate.

Cindy wiggled into his arms and lay on top of him. “Last night was worth waiting for.”

Leland, surprised he was able to perform once again, squeezed her bare buttocks. “Yes, it was.”

She kissed him gently, rolled off him and snuggled up to his right side.

He pulled her closer to him. “Hungry?”

“Starving,” she said, kissing his flaccid member.

“I mean for food.”

“Not if it means we have to get out of bed.”

“Don’t you ever get enough?”

“No.” She gave him a very passionate kiss. “If you are hungry, we can take a break.”

He was relieved she finally agreed to lunch.

The young couple was hailed by Mr. Peel as they came down the stairs. He handed Leland a note. Cookie and I have left for the ranch. We’ll see you Wednesday.

Leland handed the note to Cindy and they went into the dining room. He wondered how he was going to survive for two more days.

It was early Sunday evening when K.D. and Cookie left for home.
He patted her on the arm. “Well, it looks like everything is going to work out.”

“Yes Suh, it does.” She adjusted her big posterior in her seat to make herself more comfortable. “When did you find out about the chivaree?”

“When Mr. Peel told me Panhandle and the boys had rented the special room.” K.D. chuckled. “I told you so you wouldn’t start banging heads together.”

“Youse knows Ise wouldn’t let anything happen to Cindy. That poor Lelan’ is gonna have his hands full.”

“I mentioned grandchildren to him and he turned white as a sheet.”

“Chil’ren would settle Cindy down some. Dat’s for sure.”

“How did they react when you went to the store room?”

“How do you know I went in?”

“I heard you pounding on the door and I looked into the hallway just as you entered the room.”

Cookie laughed. “Dey looked as innocent as two kids caught with their hands in de cookie jar.”

K.D. joined in laughter. “You mean like the time you caught Kayla and me in the root cellar?”

Cookie slapped her knee. “No. Cindy and Lelan’ had their clothes on. She used your argument about getting married soon. Dey were playing around, but Ise didn’t catch ‘em.”

“I’m turning the ranch over to them when we get back from Santa Fe.”

“Wat you mean? I’m staying here.”

“No, I think I will take you with me. You haven’t been away from the ranch since I built it. You can do some shopping while I’m at the courthouse.”

“What about the cooking and cleaning?”

“I told Leland to hire a cook and Cindy can hire some one to keep the house clean.”

“Wat 'm Ise do when Ise git back?”

“You can take it easy and do whatever you want? You have more than earned the right.”

Cookie looked straight ahead and kept her silence.

The colonel, used to her pouting ways, smiled to himself. Getting her to retire is not going to be an easy task.

K. D. commented on the quietness of the ranch as he drove to the barn. Nobody met him when he stopped the surrey. It was then he realized the new horses were gone. He handed the reins to Cookie, pulled his gun and started walking toward the corrals. A rifle sounded and he fell to the ground.

Cookie jumped down and hurried to the colonel and the rifleman fired again.


The prologue is the author's notes including a Character List.
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