In CALLAHAN'S GOLD
Where A Lady (Tory) and A Cowboy (Dodge) meet up in Tombstone.
The town too tough to die gives folks a chance to re-live the tough old days complete with dusty streets, 1880's costumed citizens, and a remake of the shootout at the OK Corral – daily.
Is love in the cards for opposites, Tori and Dodge, or it is all hot air? Oh, it's HOT all right! Check it out at half-price now. Here's an excerpt:
Her most vivid memory of her father. . .
was the day he told her he was leaving. She was six years old. Over the years, his face had faded into an obscure vision, reinforced only by a few photos her mother had kept. She did remember his eyes, not just blue, but a deep, almost violet color. And when she looked into the mirror as a child, she'd remind herself she had eyes like her daddy.
Her mother said they had the same beautiful black hair, black as a starless night. It was small consolation to the child who barely remembered him. When Tory Carsen was a lonely teenager, caught between being a woman and a child, she sometimes wondered if this man who'd once been her father were still alive somewhere and if he ever loved her. Her memory of him was foggy, consisting of fleeting glimpses. But one conversation, the last one, was distinct.
"Of course, I love you, Tory darlin'," he had vowed the day he left. "You'll always be my little girl."
Being a child who didn't accept answers easily, Tory followed him down the sidewalk to the rickety old Ford. "Then why are you going away, Daddy?"
He tossed two beat-up suitcases into the backseat. "I know it's hard for you to understand, Tory darlin', but I have other worlds to explore. The city life just isn't for me. I have to seek the sun. Someday I'll come back to you, and we'll be rich, and you can have anything you want."
"Yep. A whole corral full of ponies! And a room full of toys! And . . . anything you want!"
"But I don't want anything, Daddy. I just want you to stay here with me and Mommy."
"I can't, Tory. Your mom and I have grown-up problems."
"Then why can't I go with you?" she persisted stubbornly.
He shook his head and looked away. "It isn't a place for little girls."
"Maybe it isn't a place for daddies, either."
Gazing down at his tenacious daughter, Sharkey Carsen heaved a sigh. "Maybe not, darlin', but I have to find out." He lifted her up in his arms and kissed each chubby cheek. Then he set her down and walked out of her life forever.
Tory perched Indian-style on the sidewalk and watched her father drive away in that dingy blue Ford.
He never returned. Never brought her that pony he promised. They were never rich. By the end of the month, she and her mother had to move out of the neat little house on Beale Street and into an incessant string of apartments on L.A.'s south side.
Her father had claimed he'd gone off to find the sun, and Tory grew to despise him for leaving them.
Twenty years later, when Tory Carsen Talbot received the certified letter informing her of Sharkey Carsen's death, she scanned the letter coldly, with no emotion. By now it didn't matter that they had the same deep blue eyes, the same blue-black hair. He was like a total stranger to her, and she bore no grief for the man who had been her father.
But the second paragraph of the letter captured Tory's natural curiosity. She was named as an inheritor and was urged to attend the reading of the will. A mélange of emotions swept through her— of hate and anger, of curiosity and indifference, of concern . . . but definitely not love.
Spontaneously, she decided to go, not stopping to determine if her decision were a reasonable and logical one. An inheritance ... By God, he owed her that much.
Tory Talbot reached across a paper-cluttered desk and picked up the phone. Her ivory crepe sleeve brushed two unopened envelopes onto the floor, but she ignored them. They were only more bills.
"Megan, do you think you could handle the shop for a few days? Something's come up, and I need to go out of town. Pretty important. Could mean enough money to salvage Tall and Terrific. Incidentally, how do I fly to Tombstone, middle-of-nowhere, Arizona?"