Tarnished Gold

Tarnished Gold is now being published by DALP Press. Visit DALP at http://www.dalppress.com/ and purchase a copy of Tarnished Gold and/or Circle of Diamonds and be entered to win an autographed copy of Dangerous Affairs. Get one entry for each book you purchase. Contest ends Dec. 31, 2007.

Back Blurb:

Destitute, Lilly Stanton has come home after four years in prison. Hardened by her past, she trusts no one, especially the Stanton’s newly hired hand, Chance Boyd. Although he reminds her of every worthless man she’s ever known, Lilly slowly learns to trust him. When her former lover, an outlaw, reveals the truth about Chance’s identity, her love for him crumbles into feelings of betrayal. Now she has some hard choices to make; choices that could send her back to prison.

Dedicated to upholding the law, Federal U.S. Marshal Chance Boyd is assigned to find stolen gold. Only Lilly Stanton can help him, a former convict whose trust he must gain. Keeping his identity a secret, he maneuvers his way into a job on the Stanton farm, but soon learns that Lilly is not the criminal he expected to find. When Lilly is kidnapped, Chance realizes this may be the one woman who can help him recover from his past.

She mistrusts the law and he is sworn to uphold it; can Lilly and Chance find a common ground that will enable them to survive the danger facing them and finally admit the love they feel for one another?


A burst of gun fire and yelling filled the glade. Shoving Lilly to the ground, Jeb grabbed his gun. She rolled away from him, excitement throbbing through her. Chance had found them.
A hand grabbed her arm and pulled her toward the trees.
“You’re coming with me, gal.”

She glanced up. Dead Creek Luke dragged her away from the fire. She swung her foot, kicking him in the shin. She wasn’t going anywhere with him.

“Stop fighting me, gal,” Luke roared. He hauled her to her feet. “You’re mine now.”

She continued kicking his shins. She scraped her fingernails down his face. His hand covered her mouth and she sunk her teeth into his palm. He struck her across the face and continued dragging her into the wood.

Gun fire and shouts echoed through the air. Suddenly he stiffened and fell beside her. She turned him over. His sightless gaze stared up at the sky. After searching the ground around him, she rolled him over again, finding his gun. She grabbed it and flipped open the chamber. Two shots remained. Crawling over to Luke, she pulled more bullets out of his gun belt and reloaded.

Around her the battle continued. The stench of gunpowder stung her nostrils. Horses screamed and men cried out. Jeb shouted something she couldn’t make out.

“We’re surrounded,” Billings called out.

“There must be an army,” another man yelled.

“Let’s get out of here,” someone shouted.

Several of the men ran for their horses. Riding while they shot, they scurried from the camp.
Lilly scanned the area, finally finding Jeb running toward his horse. Lying flat, she took careful aim. She waited while the horse danced in front of him, blocking her view. He finally swung a leg over, the horse taking off through the woods. Tightening her finger, she stopped when Chance stepped into her line of vision. He fired once, but Lilly had no idea if he hit Jeb or not.
The area became quiet as several men moved into the camp, but Lilly ignored them. She stayed focused on Chance. He turned and smiled at her. Standing, she stalked toward him and stomped her foot.

“Damn you, Chance Boyd,” she cried, “I could have shot him if you had stayed out of my way.”

* * *

Chance stopped. Lilly stood before him, glaring. One hand fisted at her side, the other clutching a gun. Her hair flew around her dirty face and her clothing hung loose and wrinkled. She glared at him, fury sparking in her eyes. He’d better watch himself or she might shoot him.
“Are you all right?” he asked.

“Am I all right? Am I all right?” Her arms flayed at her sides. “No, I’m not all right,” she shouted. “That bastard would be dead if you had stayed put.”

“Lilly, calm down.”

“Calm down? Calm down?”

If he didn’t know better, he’d swear she had led the men, tracked the outlaws, and directed the attack without help from anyone. So much for rescuing her.
She poked her finger in his chest. “Do you know what you did? You let him get away. Two more seconds, Chance, that’s all I needed and he’d be dead. Now we have to hunt him down like the dog he is and kill him.”

Joe walked up. “This is the woman you thought needed help?”

Lilly stopped shouting and glared at Joe. “Who are you?”

Joe doffed his hat and grinned. “Federal Deputy Marshal Joe Hawk, ma’am. Pleased to meet you.”

Recognizing the expression on Joe’s face, Chance inwardly groaned. The man would tell and retell the story of how one little woman attacked Chance Boyd and put him in his place. There was no help for it; he’d have to kill his best friend. Anything to save his pride.

Lilly turned, noticing the other men surrounding them. “Marshal Calhoun?”

“Hello, Lilly,” Seth said. “Are you all right?”

Gasping, she dropped the gun and flew into the Marshal’s arms. “I’m so glad you’re here.”
Chance holstered his gun. Damn the woman. He helped save her too. How come she didn’t throw herself into his arms?

Joe slapped Chance on the shoulder and grinned. “It must be love.”

“What?” Chance turned. Joe walked away laughing. Instead of pursuing his friend and knocking him unconscious, Chance touched Lilly on the back. “Lilly—”

“Go away, Chance.” She turned her back on him. “How’s Ma?” she asked the marshal.

“She’s mighty upset,” Seth said. Placing his arm around Lilly, he led her to a log and sat beside her. “I wish I could have taken the time to reassure her before we left, but we wanted to get started immediately.”

Chance stalked away.


He turned at Mr. Parker’s voice.

“We caught one of the outlaws.” Parker approached, shaking his head. “He’s just a kid. What a waste.”

Chance followed Parker to the other side of the camp. A young man sat against a tree, holding a cloth against his left arm. Mussed brown hair fell over his forehead and dirt smudged his face, making him look ridiculously young. Chance squatted in front of the boy, guessing his age at about seventeen or eighteen.

“What’s your name, boy?” Chance asked.

“Tony Atwood, sir.”

“Tony.” Lilly ran toward them. “Thank God you’re all right.” She knelt beside him. “I thought you left with Jeb or the men killed you.”

“No, Miss Lilly. I took a bullet in my arm when the fight first broke out.” The boy hung his head. “I saw Dead Creek grab you, and I wanted to help you, but I was so scared I crawled under a bush.”

“That’s all right, Tony.” She brushed his hair back. “We’ll get the bullet out and you’ll feel better.”

Chance had just about all he could take. He pulled Lilly to her feet, but she shook his hand off.

“Lilly, this boy held you prisoner.”

Lilly snorted. He hated it when she did that.

“Tony made a mistake,” she said. “He had no idea what he was getting into when he joined Jeb’s gang.”

“Lilly, he’s an outlaw.”

“Chance, he hasn’t done anything wrong.”

“He helped kidnap you.”

She huffed out a breath. “Chance, he’s the only one who showed me any kindness. He protected me from the other men and helped me over the past five days. All he got for his trouble was teasing from Jeb’s gang and a bullet in his arm. I think he’s been punished enough.” She pulled him away from the other men. “If you helped him, he’d get over this foolish idea about becoming a gunslinger. Maybe you could take him to Texas and get him into law enforcement.

Chance slapped his hat against his leg. “I hate dime novels.”

End Excerpt

You can enjoy the first three chapters of this award winning novel on my web site at http://www.leslierosendavis.com/, where you can also read my blogs and join my mailing list.


Leslie Rosen Davis
Distinctive Love Stories-Unforgettable Romance

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