Longarm #429: Longarm And The Lady Lawbreaker by Tabor EvansLongarm #429: Longarm And The Lady Lawbreaker by Tabor Evans

Longarm #429: Longarm And The Lady Lawbreaker

byTabor Evans

Mass Market Paperback | July 29, 2014

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It’s up to Longarm to bring in a vicious vixen…

Hell hath no fury like Naomi Foster, the felonious female that Deputy U.S. Marshal Custis Long has been charged with transporting from Wyoming Territory to Denver for trial. In theory, Longarm has help in the form of C. Burton Hood—but the young deputy-in-training is greener than a frog and hornier than a toad, both of which turn out to be big problems when it comes to watching their pulchritudinous prisoner.
 
After Foster uses her feminine wiles to hoodwink Deputy Hood, it’s up to Longarm to catch the slippery siren—but he’ll have to dodge the bullets of bushwhackers, who seem to be coming out of the woodwork to take the lawman down…
Tabor Evans is the author of the long-running Longarm western series, featuring the adventures of Deputy U.S. Marshal Custis Long.
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Title:Longarm #429: Longarm And The Lady LawbreakerFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:192 pages, 6.62 × 4.12 × 0.46 inPublished:July 29, 2014Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0515154830

ISBN - 13:9780515154832

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Chapter 1Custis Long yawned. Stretched. His eyelids fluttered as he fought against sleep. He had to get up soon and head for his own bed. In the meantime he was sated. Maria Lourdes Consuela Valdes lay tucked in close beside him, her breathing slow and steady in the aftermath of their coupling.Chill night air cooled the thin film of sweat on his flesh and somewhere on the street below he heard the sounds of a horse’s passage. Life could not get much better than this, he thought.The deputy United States marshal known as Longarm yawned again and rolled his head to the side. Maria Lourdes’s nipple jutted high off her left tit. The woman had the longest nipples he had ever seen. Sensitive, too. He considered toying with this one, but if he did that, he was likely to wake the lady. And Longarm was just too worn-out already to want another piece of that. Maria Lourdes was wild, but she could suck the life out of a man. She certainly had drained Longarm.Forcing himself to move, he swiveled onto the side of the feather bed and sat upright. Yawned again and scratched. Then he reached down and silently gathered up his clothes and his boots.He padded barefoot out of Maria Lourdes’s sleeping chamber to the outer room of her suite and stopped there to dress. He perched on the edge of a flimsy-looking chair to pull on his boots, stood again, and barely remembered in time to stop himself from stamping his feet firmly into the boots lest the noise disturb Maria Lourdes.Longarm stretched again and decided maybe he was waking up after all. For a minute or so there it had seemed in doubt.There was not enough light in the room to check himself in the mirror as only a very low flame burned in a single lamp, so he had to straighten his collar and tie by feel. And long habit made him check the position of the .45-caliber Colt that rode at his waist, his fingertips finding the polished walnut grips exactly where they should be, just left of his belt buckle with his holster canted for a cross draw.Once that was done he declared himself ready to face the world.Custis Long stood well over six feet in height, lean and whipcord tough with broad shoulders and narrow hips. His features were craggy, tanned by years of exposure to the elements. He had brown hair and a brown handlebar mustache. His eyes could seem golden brown at times . . . or cold steel at others.He wore brown corduroy trousers, a brown tweed coat and checkerboard shirt. His gun belt was black leather, as were his knee-high cavalry boots. On his head he wore a flat-crowned brown Stetson.Once into the upstairs hallway in Maria Lourdes’s rented house—she was in Denver for a month or two to shop, she said—he paused to extract a long, slender cheroot from his inside coat pocket. He bit the twist off the tip and deposited the speck of tobacco into a decorative urn on the landing, struck a lucifer, and lighted his smoke, grateful for the flavor of it after being without for some hours. Maria Lourdes, it seemed, did not care for the scent of tobacco.On the ground floor he smiled and nodded to one of the lady’s housemaids, this one small and dark and wearing a frilly apron over a plain black dress. She had flour up to her wrists and he supposed she was busy setting dough for Maria Lourdes’s morning biscuits.It must be grand, he thought, to be rich and have a staff of house help to do every little thing for you. It was something he would never know. And really did not care.Maria Lourdes’s wealth and below-the-border genteel upbringing did not, however, keep her from liking to fuck like a crazed mink. After a very casual meeting in a café close to the state capitol building, she had worn Longarm near to a frazzle.Not that he minded.Now, however, he wanted to go home. Go to bed. And get a deep, if not a long, sleep before he reported in to the office in the morning. He had been idle here in Denver for several weeks now and was looking forward to an assignment.He smiled a little, remembering the evening. And the lady. Then he let himself out into the night.Chapter 2Longarm woke too late to have breakfast at his boardinghouse. By the time he went downstairs the dining room table had already been cleared and he could hear the sounds of clattering dishes from the kitchen. Not that he wanted anything to eat. His stomach was still bilious after the previous evening’s indulgences, and his mouth tasted like someone had shit in it.Rather than going out to the street he went out the back way and around to the side of the back porch to where washwater was dumped. A patch of mint grew in the shade there. He bent and plucked a few stems. Chewing them sweetened his mouth considerably.From there he walked around to the front of the house and waved to a hansom driver who was sitting in the driving box of his rig half a block distant.“Federal Building,” he ordered as he climbed into the cab.“Coming right up, gov’nor,” the driver said. As soon as Longarm closed the cab door the driver snapped his whip above the ears of his horse, and the vehicle lurched into motion, swaying on its leather springs like a ship in a storm.It was only a short drive to the imposing, gray-stone U.S. Federal Building on Colfax Avenue.Longarm paid the cabbie and tried to rub the sleep out of his eyes before he mounted the broad steps and entered the building.The United States marshals’ office was on the first floor. Longarm pulled the door open and stepped inside.“Mornin’, Henry,” he said to the office manager, hanging his Stetson on the hat rack near the door.“Barely,” the bespectacled clerk responded.“What?”“Barely morning,” Henry said. “You’re late.”“Not very,” Longarm said.“Late enough to annoy the boss. He’s been asking for you.”Longarm immediately brightened and asked hopefully, “He has an assignment for me?”“That’s not for me to say, but I’ll tell him you’re here.”Longarm snorted. Not for Henry to say, perhaps, but he most certainly knew. Henry knew everything that went on in U.S. Marshal Billy Vail’s office. Everything. Maybe everything that went on in the whole building, too, or so it sometimes seemed.Henry rose from behind his desk, lightly tapped on the door leading back to Billy’s office, paused there for only a moment before he disappeared inside leaving Longarm alone in the outer office. When he emerged again he stopped to gather some papers from his desk before once again entering Billy’s private domain. Finally he returned and motioned for Longarm to enter.“’Bout time,” Longarm mumbled as he went in to see the former Texas Ranger who was his boss.Chapter 3Billy Vail—United States Marshal William Vail—sat behind his desk, bald and almost cherubic in appearance. He looked as though he would be squeamish about stepping on a bug, much less sending a .45 slug into the belly of a man. In fact Vail had more than held his own in the rough-and-ready world of the Texas Rangers before securing this appointment as marshal.To his great disgust, once in the job Billy found that the demands of the office kept him mostly behind a desk acting more as an administrator than a hunter of men. He did the job well, though, and his deputies would have followed Vail into the gates of hell itself. Moreover, they knew that if such a thing were ever to become necessary, Billy Vail would be out in front leading the way.“Mornin’, Boss.” Longarm fought down an impulse to salute.Vail looked up from the papers on his desk and grunted. Loudly. Longarm was not entirely sure how he should interpret that so he kept his mouth shut and waited for Billy to speak.Vail took his time about addressing his deputy, who was generally regarded as delivering the best results among the many deputies assigned to the Denver District . . . even if not always by approved methods.Finally Billy leaned back, the springs beneath his swivel chair creaking in protest, and laced his fingers behind his head. “You’ve been sitting around with your thumb up your backside for more than long enough, Custis, so it is about time you get out into the field again.”“Yes, sir, I agree,” Longarm said.“I have something for you.”“Yes, sir, thank you, sir.”Billy grunted again. Swiveled his chair around to face out of the window for a moment, then again swung around to face Longarm. “This is not something I would normally give to you, Custis. You tend to go your own way with things and never mind the book. Or plain common sense.”“Yes, sir.”“So this time I want you to make an exception. This time I want you to do things exactly the way you are supposed to. No ad libbing, please.”“Boss, I don’t have any idea what you’re talkin’ about.”“Do you know something, Custis. Sad as I am to say it, I believe you. You really don’t have any grasp of proper law enforcement procedure.” Billy shook his head, took a deep breath and went on. “We have a new deputy assigned to this office. He needs to be . . . I was about to say he should be broken in, but I’m afraid if I do that you will take me at my word and end up really breaking him.”“Oh, now really, Boss, I—”“Quiet, please.”“Yes, sir.”“What I am asking you to do is simple enough, Custis. I want you to take the young man out with you. The assignment the two of you will complete is simplicity itself. You will pick up a prisoner and transport her back here for trial.”“Yes, sir.”“And you will do it without trauma or drama or anything else. Just nice and easy and give the young man a taste of the life.”“As you say, sir.” Longarm had learned long ago that a liberal sprinkling of “sirs” into any conversation tended to keep things calm and took nothing away from the speaker. “I don’t think I’ve met this, um, new deputy, sir.”“None of us has,” Billy said. “The reason for that is . . . complicated.”“How is that, sir?”“Our new deputy is the nephew of a gentleman in Wyoming who is a major player in that territory’s push to become a state. He . . . the uncle, that is . . . is the one who secured the young man’s appointment.”“And the kid?” Longarm asked. “Does he want t’ enforce the law? Or just t’ wear a badge on his chest an’ strut around for all the girls t’ see?”Billy shrugged. “I expect you will find out before I do.”“Come again, sir?”“You will be the first to actually meet him. In Cheyenne. You are to go there and, um, pick him up. He will be registered at the Graythorne Inn. You will meet him there and take him with you on a field assignment.”Longarm raised an eyebrow.“It is a simple enough thing. You . . . and C. Burton Hood . . . are to proceed to Thermopolis and pick up a prisoner the town marshal is holding for us. Then you will bring the prisoner back here for trial.”“And this prisoner?” Longarm asked.“Her name is Naomi Foster. She is accused of stealing from the mail when she was employed as a postal clerk in Buffalo.”“Buffalo, New York, sir?”“Buffalo, Wyoming Territory,” Vail corrected.“Ah! One o’ my favorite towns,” Longarm said. “Anything special about this new deputy that I should know?” he asked.“If I knew more I would tell you, Custis.”“He’s already taken the oath?” Longarm asked.“No, not yet.”“But you want him t’ go out with me anyway,” Longarm said slowly, chewing on his thoughts as he spoke.Billy nodded. “I do.”“An’ you want me t’ handle things strictly by the book this time.”“That’s right.”Longarm sighed. “The Graythorne Inn in Cheyenne. C. Burton Hood.”“Exactly.” Billy leaned back in his chair. Longarm was not entirely positive, but he thought the boss had a look about him, something on the order of a cat with a fluff of canary feathers around its mouth. There was something—Longarm did not know what—that Billy was not telling him. But that he was expected to figure out on his own.“An’ this Thermopolis place, Boss. Where the hell is it?”“It is approximately at the end of the earth. Somewhere between the Big Horns and the Wind River Reservation,” Vail said. “Luckily for you, there is a stagecoach that runs there. You can take the train west to Rawlins and a stagecoach north from there.”“Yes, sir.”“And, um, good luck, Custis.”“Thank you, Boss. Not that I expect t’ need luck on a simple assignment like this,” Longarm said.“I hope you are right about that, Custis. Now see Henry on your way out. He has your travel papers in hand.”Again Longarm had to resist that impulse to salute as he turned and headed out of the office.Chapter 4Longarm had plenty of time to think on his way to Cheyenne. He concluded that Billy’s plan was not a matter of being devious—although the boss was certainly capable of that if or when need be—but of good management.The prisoner being a woman, standard operating procedure was that whenever possible two deputies be assigned to transport her. That was to avoid any claims later by some lying bitch that she had been molested while she was in custody. Longarm had seen that sort of thing happen more than once. One of those times the lie nearly ruined the career of a good man.By sending this untried youngster C. Burton Hood on the detail, Billy could comply with that procedure without wasting the services of two good deputies. Instead he sent his top deputy and the kid. The prisoner need never know that Hood was not a sworn officer.That had to be in Billy’s mind when he handed out the assignment, Longarm concluded.Still, Billy had looked . . . well, damnit, he had looked devious back there in Denver. Was there something about this deal that Longarm did not yet understand? Could be, he conceded with a sigh. Whatever came, though, would have to play out however it chose. All Longarm could do was his duty.That much decided, he got up and walked back to the smoking car where he found a steward who was serving a decent brand of whiskey and a table of gentlemen playing a friendly game of low-stakes poker.“Got room for another?” Longarm asked, drink in one hand and cheroot in the other.“Welcome, friend. Sit down and join us.”Longarm stuck his cigar between his teeth at a jaunty angle and grinned as he sat.Chapter 5“I am sorry, sir. Mr. Hood is out.”“Any idea when he’ll be back?”“No, sir, none.”Longarm grunted his disappointment, then said, “All right. Reckon I’ll wait.” He picked up his carpetbag and headed for the bank of easy chairs arranged in the Graythorne Inn’s lobby.“Sir,” the desk clerk called to him.Longarm stopped. Turned. “Yes?”“I don’t know when Mr. Hood will return, but . . . it could be morning. Or later.”“I see. All right, thanks.” Longarm changed direction back out toward the street. It was obvious from the look of the place that the Graythorne was more expensive than Henry would allow on his expense account when he returned to Denver. He needed to find something he—and the government—could afford.Past experience led him back toward Front Street and the Pickering Hotel. As soon as he walked through the doors there the desk clerk smiled and said, “Marshal Long, welcome. It is good to see you again, sir.”“It’s good t’ see you, too, Jimmy.”Jimmy tapped the bell that sat on his desk and a moment later a chubby bellboy emerged from the hotel office. “Take Marshal Long’s bag up to number four, Eric.” To Longarm he said, “Do you want to go up now, Marshal, or would you like to have supper first?”“I’ll go upstairs an’ have a wash now, but I’m lookin’ forward to one o’ your fine meals after rattling around on a train all afternoon.”“Very good. Eric, take a pitcher of water for the marshal, too.” And again to Longarm, “Would you like a bath before supper?”“No, I’ll just wash off in the basin some.”