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Mom tried to raise me to be a wife and mother. I did get a healthy dose of girl stuff along the way, but I’m afraid it was a losing battle. Our ranch is the Circle-C and since it will belong to me someday, I’ve always been more interested in ranch work than listening to the endless gossip of the women-folk when they come to visit.

People call me a tomboy, especially since I don’t have one those curvy shapes like a lot of women. I’m twenty-two years old, nearly six feet tall, too straight up and down, and my mouth is too wide for me to be called pretty. In fact, the only thing I really like about my appearance is my hair. Daddy says he likes it and when it’s cleaned and brushed, it really shines. I do wear a dress to church, and I guess I look reasonably nice in it, but afterward I can’t wait to get back into my pants and boots.

The prim and proper ladies in town have never approved of me, and since Mom died, they’re on me all the time, saying Daddy has spoiled me no end. They say I should act like a lady and not some dusty cowboy. I do have a great deal of freedom, but I spend most days working with rest of the crew. It’s hard work, too, but I really like it, and I can ride, rope, and shoot as well as they can. Shucks, if the ladies knew just how well I can shoot, they'd have a fit.

I just love days when Jumper and I can go for a long ride together. Sometimes we’re gone all day and away from the gossip and prying eyes, I can be myself. It gives me a wonderful sense of freedom, and for a time, I don’t have a care in the world.

Looking back over the last couple of months, I remember that carefree young tomboy and how simple her life was. But things have, well, happened, and I’m not her anymore, I’m someone else, someone harder. Sometimes I wish I could be her again, but in the last week I've shot five people and there's no going back.

I left town to get away from the violence. But now it's followed me here and there's a man out in the street who's vowed to kill me.  I don't want to fight, I don't, but what choice do I have?

Elizabeth Carver, Colorado, 1886

 

The Gunfighter's Legacy Saga is a series of four western novels. In them, you'll watch Beth grow from a rather naïve young tomboy to a very responsible leader. Learn more about the series and read a preview of each book by clicking here.