The Writer's Corner
Written by Michelle Palmer
Lucas looked up from his ledger as his young son hurried through
the door. He had told Mark to stop by for the mail after school,
and from the smile on Mark’s face and the gleam in his eye,
Lucas knew he had done just that – and had something interesting
to show him. “It’s a letter, Pa!” Mark proclaimed excitedly as
he held out the letter for him to see.
“Mm Hm,” Lucas mumbled as he took the sealed envelope from
Mark’s hand. “So I see.”
“Look at who it’s from, Pa!” Mark cried excitedly.
“Yes,” Lucas nodded. “I see that too.”
Mark stood beside his Pa as he slit the envelope open and
started to pull out the letter. Lucas paused in his task and
raised his eyebrows as he looked at his son. “Don’t you have
something to do?”
“Oh.” Mark backed up and hurried to the table. He sat down and
opened his math book as he started on his lessons. From the
corner of his eye, he saw his Pa unfold the single sheet of
paper. He held an expression on his face that Mark couldn’t
Lucas read the letter through several times. Finally, he folded
it up and sat it on his desk. Mark watched as Lucas put a hand
to his cheek and rubbed as if he was deep in thought. “What was
it, Pa?” Mark asked.
“Hm?” Lucas hadn’t heard the question. Mark repeated it. “Oh,
it’s a wedding invitation.”
“Well, are we gonna go?” Mark asked then.
Lucas picked up the sheet of paper as if the answer to the
question was on that sheet. He read through it again. “I don’t
know, son. I don’t know.”
Santa Fe was a growing town. As soon as she stepped off the
stage, she wanted to turn and get right back on again. North
Fork was much safer, and she knew there was a wonderful man
there by the name of Lucas McCain who made her feel safe. But
she couldn’t think on that now.
She could feel the eyes on her and hear the whispers as she
walked toward the hotel. Nobody spoke to her. Everyone just
wondered who she was and why she was there. She hurried into the
hotel. “I would like a room, please,” she smiled at the clerk.
“I don’t know for how long. I’ll pay for a week.” She set the
money on the counter, signed the guest register, then took the
key from the clerk’s hand.
As she started up the stairs, several more eyes stared at her.
Soon she would have to ask where to find the Undertaker’s so she
could start taking care of affairs. She would have to look up
the lawyer they called Lakota Taylor. But for now, she wanted to
rest. Tomorrow would be soon enough for everything else.
But as she stepped on the top step, it gave way and she suddenly
felt herself falling backwards. She let out a yell as she felt
her ankle twist. She wondered if it would hurt much to land with
a hard thump at the bottom.
But suddenly, strong arms reached out and grabbed her. “Oh!” she
cried. She turned around and stared into a smiling face. The
face was rather handsome as his eyes crinkled and stared into
hers. She tried to catch her breath as he continued to hold onto
her with his arms wrapped around her waist.
Suddenly, his gentle, rich voice spoke through his smiling
mouth. “This is a rather odd way to meet. I was expecting a
handshake, but I must admit that this is much nicer!”
“Oh!” she suddenly cried as she realized she was in his embrace.
She pushed against his chest, forcing him to let go of her. “I
must apologize! I don’t usually…uh…”
“Fall into the arms of a stranger?” The man smiled at her.
“Name’s Lakota, ma’am. “Lakota Taylor.”
She shook his hand. She couldn’t get over how nice looking he
was. He reminded her so much of someone she used to know…a long
time ago. “Mr. Taylor…” She smiled as she cleared her throat and
held firmly to his hand. “I was going to look you up tomorrow.”
She laughed nervously as she suddenly removed her hand from his
and smoothed her dress. She straightened the hat on her head and
started to step up, but she suddenly felt a searing pain go
through her ankle.
Lakota bent down and raised her dress above her ankle. “Excuse
me, sir! What are you-“
“After falling in my arms, I’d say we’re beyond the proper
stage, madam. I just want to look at your ankle.”
Again, he started to raise her dress. “Well, I-OH!” As she tried
to step away from him, she felt the pain again shoot through her
ankle. “You are a lawyer…not a doctor!”
“Yes ma’am.” Lakota touched her ankle gently as she winced.
“It’s swollen.” He straightened up. “I’m afraid it’s sprained.
The doc will have to wrap it.” Without warning, he swept her up
into his strong arms and hurried down the stairs.
She didn’t know what to do! So she just wrapped her arms around
his neck and stayed quiet. She tried to ignore the stares of
people as they hurried by. She gasped as Lakota hurried across
the street. “Do you work for the doctor?” she asked as a wagon
barely missed running them over. “I mean…does he pay you to
bring him business? Is that it?”
Lakota chuckled as he banged on the doctor’s door with his foot.
“No ma’am.” The door opened. An older man stood there wiping his
hands on a towel. “Got a patient for you, doc?”
“Who is she?” the doc asked.
Lakota sat her down on the examining table. “Hm…” He
straightened up. “I don’t know her name. We…uh…haven’t gotten
that far. She just came…out of nowhere.” Lakota leaned in close
to her. “What IS your name?”
“Ann,” she answered. “Mrs. Ann Dodd.”
“The ranch?” Ann whispered as Lakota laid down the Will and
folded his hands. “He left me the…” She swallowed.
Lakota suddenly stood up and rushed over to her. “Ann, you’re
white as a sheet!” He bent down next to her and took her hand.
“Ann!” He reached for a glass of water. Dipping his kerchief in
it, he began wiping her face with it.
“Is Pete even mentioned in there?” Ann asked then. Lakota looked
into her eyes and slowly shook his head.
“Neither of the Morgan’s were mentioned in the will. Lakota
continued wiping Ann’s face with the cloth as he spoke.
“Your…uncle…He came to me several months ago and asked me to
write a will for him. He told me that he was afraid Pete would
“But…why?” Ann asked. “Why would Uncle Jon leave his own son out
of the will?”
Lakota sat back in his chair and scratched his chin. “How…well
did you know your Uncle and his family?”
Ann shrugged. “Well…I didn’t. Uncle Jon was there when I was
born, but left shortly after. We kept in contact over the years
and he…he tried to come out and see me after my…” Ann swallowed.
Even after six years it was hard to talk about. “…family died.”
Lakota’s head jerked up then. He stared into her eyes and leaned
forward in his chair. “Died?” Ann merely nodded. “I…I’m so
sorry.” Lakota stood up. “Your cousin, Pete…He was an okay kid
until he met up with this woman, Jenny. I still remember the day
she rode into town. Rumor had it that she had just lost her
first husband in a rather…odd accident. She was money hungry and
wanted to get her hands on your uncle’s ranch in a really bad
way. You see…your uncle’s ranch is rather valuable.”
“Oh?” Ann’s forehead wrinkled. “How so?”
“Well, it’s the biggest ranch in these parts for one thing. The
soil is rich, and there’s a small gold mine.” Lakota turned from
looking out the window.
“A…” Ann bolted out of her chair. “A gold mine?” Lakota nodded.
“You mean…real gold?”
“Is there any other kind?” Lakota gave her a small smile.
“However, your uncle was already wealthy and didn’t care to have
anything done to it. It’s hidden and sealed off. He didn’t tell
anyone where it was – not even me. Jenny found out about it
somehow. She dug her clutches in Pete and they were soon
married. Even while they were courting I could see her evil
desires, but no one else saw it.”
Lakota came back and sat down. “That’s why I wasn’t surprised
when your Uncle Jon came into my office and asked me to make up
a new will – one that didn’t include his own son. Something
happened at the ranch that morning…I don’t know what, but he was
extremely upset. He asked me not to tell anyone he was changing
“Did he really kill his own father?” Ann suddenly asked.
Lakota nodded. “I think so. I don’t think his falling off that
horse was any accident. I looked at the saddle he was sitting in
when it happened. There was a cut in the synch.”
Ann put her hand to her mouth as a tear squeezed out of her eye.
“How could a son…”
“He was poisoned,” Lakota said with a heavy sigh. “By Jenny.
Jenny twisted his mind until he didn’t even know what was right
or wrong anymore. Jon…and even you…were no longer family members
– but strangers…inconvenient strangers.”
“I was his only other family. That’s why he sent for me – he
didn’t trust his only son!” Ann stood up and walked to the
window. She shivered. “Just last week while in North Fork, I
felt like I was alive again – maybe for the first time in six
years. Now I feel…” Ann hung her head as she started crying.
Lakota stood up and walked up behind her. He reached out his
hands to her, but hesitated. Gently, he laid his hands on her
shoulders. “The ranch is yours. Perhaps you can-“
“No!” She cried it out so suddenly that Lakota’s hand suddenly
shot off her shoulder. “I can’t!” She shook her head and started
for the door.
Lakota grabbed her before she could get too far though. He held
her arm firmly in his grip. “What is it?” Lakota’s voice was
heavy with emotion. He didn’t know why, but he suddenly wanted
to help this woman any way he could. He suddenly felt a strong
bond toward her. “Talk to me!”
Ann slowly turned around then. Lakota’s heart sank when he saw
her tear-streaked face. “I don’t want the ranch.” She shook her
head as she cried. “I can’t…” She laid her head against his
chest and sobbed from deep within herself – somewhere no one
could ever get to. “I can’t…”
Lakota was a bit taken back by her sudden emotional outburst. He
was reminded of a time earlier in his life when another woman so
much like Ann had clung to him crying like this. He had to bury
that memory now so he could console Ann. He brushed her hair
gently with his hand. “Sh,” he consoled her. “It’s okay. It’s
When her tears were spent, she lifted her head from his chest.
Lakota allowed his arms to drop from around her. “Oh!” She threw
a hand to her mouth as she realized in horror that she had just
clung to this almost-complete stranger as if he were a lifeline.
“Oh, I’m sorry! I’m so terribly-“
He held up a hand. “Don’t be.” He took her arm and led her over
to his couch. He sat her down on it then went for some water.
While she started drinking it, he sat down beside her, but left
enough distance between them to keep her comfortable. “You want
to talk about it?”
Ann sighed. “It’s the most painful time in my life,” she
answered. “I was living in Enid, Oklahoma on a ranch. It wasn’t
big, but we were comfortable. My husband and I had been married
for about seven years. We had a six year old son. He was so
beautiful.” Ann paused and took a locket from inside her pocket.
She handed it to Lakota.
Lakota opened it. He saw a younger Ann smiling as a man’s arm
laid on her shoulders. His other hand sat on a little boy’s
shoulder while Ann’s free hand rested on the other. “It’s a
perfect circle of love…” Lakota whispered.
“They were…my life…” Ann swallowed the lump forming in her
throat. “One day they were there and the next…” She shook her
head sadly. She had told Lucas she was over such hurt, but the
truth was, she still felt it deeply. That’s another reason she
couldn’t marry him – she was still very much married to her dead
“An accident?” Lakota asked then in a low voice.
“What?” Ann’s head shot up as she realized Lakota was speaking.
“Was it an…accident?”
She stared at him as if he were suddenly some deadly poison she
would have to ingest. Then slowly, she stood up and again walked
to the window in the small office. She looked out onto the
street. “After it happened, I remember walking into town and
just sitting there watching the people walk down the street as
if there was nothing wrong. But then I saw it in other’s eyes
too. That pain…that incredible pain that makes everything in you
hurt…” She shook her head. “I moved to the city after that. I
just couldn’t stand…” She sighed. “But even there, the memory of
those last few days haunted me. Every face I looked into, I
wondered if they ever felt the pain that I felt…”
She turned from the window and crossed her arms. Leaning against
the window, she slowly shook her head. “An accident? No. Perhaps
it would have been less painful that way…maybe more painful. I
sat at their bedsides for hours watching them suffer. They
weren’t too sick to begin with, and my best friend was really
ill, so I would leave them in a neighbor’s care and take care of
Ann closed her eyes as she remembered her best friend. She
pointed to the locket Lakota was still holding. “On the other
side, you’ll see another family.”
Lakota nodded. “Another beautiful portrait of a family encircled
“Yes.” Ann turned back to the window. “We were all very close. I
can’t tell you how many evenings we spent together laughing and
talking…I stood up with her at her wedding.” Ann grew really
quiet as she thought about her best friend. “Margaret
Gibbs…McCain.” She smiled. “We grew up together – all four of
us. As children, Margaret and I played together nearly every
day. It was the same with Hal and Lucas.”
“Lucas?” Lakota stood up then and walked slowly toward her.
“Yes, that is Lucas!” Lakota declared as he took a closer look
at the locket. “Lucas McCain, the Rifleman!”
Ann turned from the window and stared at him. “You know him?
Lakota nodded. “Very well. He comes through here every now and
then to buy or sell cattle. He usually brings his son, Mark with
him.” Lakota shook his head. “That Mark…he’s a fine boy!”
Ann couldn’t help but smile through her pain. “Yes. He’s
wonderful!” She suddenly remembered her task at hand. She turned
away, but Lakota put a hand on her shoulder and turned her back
around. Ann lowered her head toward the floor. “I lost Margaret
one day. She was Lucas’s wife. I couldn’t stand the pain in that
house so I left. When I got back home, my own family had taken a
turn for the worst.”
“Small pox?” Lakota guessed. Ann nodded. “I’m sorry.”
Ann wiped at her tears that were once again falling. “You know
the worst part?” She gave a sad laugh. “I walked into town and
sat on a bench one day. I felt so alone. Then I saw them…Lucas
and Mark riding out of town together. He didn’t stop to say
goodbye, but just kept riding.” She again tried to turn toward
Lakota grabbed her shoulders again. In a husky voice, he spoke
gently to her. “Don’t hide from your pain anymore, Ann.” She
wouldn’t look at him. Lakota suddenly laid a gentle hand on her
cheek. She lifted her eyes to his. “You’ve never really talked
about this.” It was a statement – not a question.
“No.” Ann threw her hands to her face. “I was jealous of
Lucas…jealous that he got to keep his little boy! I…I never told
him that – I couldn’t! I knew his hurt ran very deep – like
mine. But he had something to live for.”
The pain was causing her a great ache. Ann bolted away from him
and hurried to the door. She wanted to run from it – to hide
like she had always done. She had shown Lucas the happy side of
herself while she was in North Fork. She just couldn’t let him
see what those years of hiding had done to her. She put her hand
on the door and opened it. But suddenly, Lakota’s strong hand
reached up and slammed it shut. “Don’t!” His voice was stern.
She stared at the closed door. “That’s what it was,” she
whispered. “Just like that.”
“The door just slammed shut that day. I lost my best friend…my
husband…my son…and then my other best friend picked up his own
son and left. I felt so alone…so alone…” Ann sighed. “I guess
I…I never got over that. All these years, I hid.” She turned to
him. “And now YOU have dredged it all up!”
“No,” Lakota shook his head. “It was there ready to come up. I
just held the key to unlock that hurt.” Lakota reached out a
hand to her. “I understand that pain, Ann. I understand.”
“How could you?” Ann asked. “How could you understand?” She
brushed away his hand and bolted across the room. “How can
Lakota gave a deep sigh. “Let’s go have lunch. Then after that,
I’ll tell you about the hurt that I buried in my own heart.”
Eyes stared at Ann as she walked into the hotel. She felt
refreshed after changing her clothes and washing her face. She
gave Lakota a small smile as he stood up from his chair and held
hers out for her. She smiled her thanks as they sat down. After
ordering, she occupied herself with straightening her
silverware. “I…I’m sorry about-“
“Don’t.” Lakota shook his head. “You feel better?”
Ann nodded. “I do in a way. I suppose in some ways I never
stopped grieving because I buried that pain so deep inside. Now
I feel like I can grieve…for real.” Ann lowered her head. “About
“I’ll take you out there after we talk this afternoon,” Lakota
answered with a smile.
Ann smiled. “Don’t you…” She looked around. “Don’t you have
“Of course!” Lakota answered. “But unfortunately…or maybe
fortunately?” He smiled at Ann. “…none of them are as pretty as
Ann blushed. “It’s been a long time since a man’s told me I was
pretty.” She looked around. “Aren’t you afraid people will
“Talk?” Lakota chuckled as he sat back in his chair. “Ann,
people always talk about me. If they talk about seeing you and
me together, then I’ll…be honored to accept the rumors.”
Ann was happy their food came just then. She felt such twisted
emotions toward this handsome man who sat across from her. She
wasn’t sure exactly what she was feeling, or even if she liked
it. All she knew is that his smile did something for her heart –
it’s like it was healing it…
They ate in silence, only exchanging pleasantries as they ate.
He asked her if she wanted desert. She suddenly remembered the
apple pie she’d eaten with Mark and Lucas. “Yes,” she answered.
“A big slice of apple pie will top off this wonderful lunch.”
After the pie was consumed, she wiped her mouth and started to
stand up. Lakota quickly stood and took her arm as they walked
out into the lobby. “Well, Lakota!” The Marshal tipped his hat
toward Ann. “Who’s the lady?”
“Marshal Briggs, this is Ann Dodd. She’s come to settle her
Uncle Jon’s estate.”
“Oh yes. I heard what happened to you in North Fork. My deputy,
Billy Mathis brought Jenny in this morning. I’m sorry for the
trouble she caused, ma’am. I hadn’t heard they had left. I was
looking for them after the doc told me his findings on your
uncle, but I was too late.”
Ann nodded. “She’ll stand trial?”
“We’ll see. If she does, she’ll be tried for the murder of your
uncle, though she probably will get off since she wasn’t
directly involved. “
Ann gasped. She hadn’t realized…”I think you’ve said enough,
Marshal!” Lakota’s voice held a warning. “Too much, actually.”
He tipped his hat to the Marshal then took Ann’s arm and hurried
her out of the hotel.
“What did he mean she may get off?” Ann asked. “She killed my
uncle just as much as Pete did! In fact, I witnessed her kill
her own husband!”
“Don’t worry about it,” Lakota said as they stepped out onto the
Ann stopped. She turned to face him. “I will worry about it!
What did he mean?”
Lakota nodded. “Okay. There’s no evidence that she was involved.
Here-say and knowing is not enough to convict her. As far as her
husband…she was aiming for Lucas. She was trying to protect…”
“Protect herself! So, she’ll be free to do this again?” Ann
asked as Lakota shut the door. “She’ll be able to-“
Lakota took his hat off and threw it on the table. He ripped off
his suit jacket. Then he ran a hand through his hair. “Listen
Ann,” Lakota came over and grabbed her shoulders. He stopped as
he looked into her eyes. In a whisper, he said, “We only met
yesterday, but it seems like we’ve known each other for so long…
“Tell me about your pain,” Ann asked then. Her voice was soft.
Lakota took her hand and led her over to the couch. He sat down
and got comfortable. “Six years ago, I too was married. I had a
wife named Elizabeth. She was so beautiful! She was always
laughing and going around town helping anybody and everybody.”
Lakota smiled as he remembered her. He pointed to the picture on
the wall. “That’s her.”
“She was beautiful!” Ann declared.
“Yes.” Lakota sighed. “We had two children. My daughter Jessie
was two years old. My other daughter…Beth…was only one.” Lakota
leaned his head back on the back of the couch and sighed
heavily. “They were on their way into town one day to have lunch
with me. Beth said “Papa” for the first time that day. I was so
thrilled and decided to buy her a brand new doll at the store.
When I was in the store, Marshal Briggs came in. I was holding
that doll with the marble face in my hand when he walked through
“There’s been an accident.” Ann heard the pain as Lakota
repeated the Marshal’s words that day. “They’re gone.” Lakota’s
eyes filled with tears, but they never fell. “I heard glass
breaking just then. I thought it was my heart.” Lakota
swallowed. “Instead, it was the doll. You know what I did?” Ann
shook her head as she grabbed his hand to comfort him in his own
pain. Lakota let out a nervous laugh. “I paid for that doll and
walked out the door.”
“It must have been horrible…” Ann said.
“I didn’t practice law for a year after that. I lost our
home…everything we owned. All I did was…drink…and drink…and
drink…” Lakota put his hands to his face and groaned. “That was
a dark year for me. I kept imagining the terror they expressed
when the wagon turned over and rolled down that hill. Sometimes,
I would ride out to where it happened. I could hear their
terrifying screams and see the horror on their faces. I wondered
how much they suffered.”
“I’m sure they didn’t suffer much,” Ann tried to console him.
Lakota turned to her. He grasped her hands. “You said it might
have been better if it had been an accident.” Lakota shook his
head. “No. It wouldn’t have been better…I’m not saying the
accident was worse but…You were prepared somewhat. You saw it
coming and had a chance to say goodbye.” He laid a hand on her
cheek. “My happiness was ripped away from me in a mere second.”
“I’m so sorry,” Ann said passionately.
“After a year, Marshal Briggs had to lock me up. That’s what
saved me.” Lakota sighed. “You see, Marshal Briggs and I…we were
best friends before the tragedy. The day he locked me up, he
told me I’d stay there until I sobered up and we talked. He
forced me to face my pain…my hurt. Like I wouldn’t let you run
from it this morning, he didn’t let me run from it then. I
remember sobbing right there in the cell. I remember him putting
his arms around me as I cried through all my hurt.”
Lakota let out a short laugh as he looked in Ann’s eyes. “Can
you imagine Marshal Briggs holding me like I was a six year old
“We all need that. I did,” Ann reminded him.
Lakota nodded. “A week after that, I went back to practicing
law. I never got my house back, but I have a nice apartment here
in town. I’ve earned back the town’s respect. And I have several
ladies interested in courting me.”
Ann smiled. “And…how many are you courting?”
“None.” Lakota sighed. “I got over the tragedy. I came to terms
with it, but I never found anyone who could come close to
matching what I had with Elizabeth.”
Ann smiled again. “Well, maybe someday you will find someone to
fill that place in your heart.”
Lakota stared into Ann’s eyes. “Yes. Maybe…someday very soon…”
They smiled at each other. Finally, Lakota broke the stare.
“Well…you ready to go see the ranch now?”
Memories flooded Ann’s mind as they stopped in front of the
ranch. It reminded her so much of the one she and her husband
owned back in Oklahoma. The white picket fence ran around the
edge of the yard, separating it from the rest of the ranch. Ann
slowly climbed down and laid her hand on the gate that led into
Lakota stood behind her. “Memories?” Ann nodded. She bit her
lip. “We don’t have to…”
“No. I want to. I just finished visiting Lucas. He had a ranch
that looked a lot like the one he had in Oklahoma, but I was
happy to be there. That whole visit was filled with happiness.
But this…so much like ours. We had a white picket fence. My
husband built it for me. It took him months to complete…”
“Do you…want me to go with you?” Lakota asked then with a deep,
Ann turned to tell him no. But then she stared into his
concerned face. She nodded. “I do.” She wasn’t sure why, but she
felt strong with him by her side.
Lakota opened the gate and they walked up the path to the
stairs. He took her elbow as they walked up onto the porch.
“It’s in bad shape,” Ann declared.
“Yes. Your Uncle’s health wasn’t well, but he was far from
dying. Pete didn’t keep up with the repairs like he should have.
Most of the upstairs is in bad shape.”
Ann walked in to a big sitting room. The furniture was covered
in sheets. She looked around at the cobwebs that had already
formed in the week or so since her Uncle’s death. “There’s
something about death…the spider’s know when the dweller’s are
gone,” Lakota mumbled.
Ann walked throughout the house. She couldn’t help smiling at
the well-furnished house and the size of everything. She slowly
made her way upstairs. Ann stood in front of a door. She started
to open it, but Lakota grabbed her arm. “That was his room. I
found him in there.”
Ann turned. She saw the pain in Lakota’s eyes. She laid a hand
on his cheek. “You took care of him. Didn’t you?”
“Professionally and…personally. At least I tried. Pete didn’t
like me coming around, but I had to check on him. I was so very
worried. He’d been dead for quite a while.” Lakota swallowed.
“They…waited awhile before they reported his death. Pete claimed
that it was just too hard…”
“How did he…” Ann didn’t finish her question.
“Well, he was poisoned. But I think Pete probably put a pillow
over his face and suffocated him.”
“That’s what he tried to do to me,” Ann declared. “If Lucas
hadn’t been there…”
“I’m glad he was.” Lakota smiled at her. They went room-to-room.
Ann shook her head in despair as she looked around. “Such a
beautiful house…” She took off her gloves and put them inside
her bag. “Well…I guess I should get started.”
“On cleaning!” Ann declared. “I can’t sell it until I get it
back in shape.”
“You can’t sell it!” Lakota declared suddenly. “You just can’t!”
“Why not?” Ann asked.
“Ann, this was your Uncle Jon’s dream! He worked his whole life
building this up and saving. He left an incredible sum of money
in the bank. He wants this to be your legacy! He wants you to
“I’m a woman, Mr. Taylor. I can’t-“
“It’s your legacy, Ann!” Lakota declared. His voice held so much
passion in it that Ann couldn’t say anything.
Ann looked around and sighed. “Well, I must get it cleaned up
regardless. Right?” Lakota nodded. “Then if you’ll excuse me,
I’ll get started. You go on back to work. You can come fetch me
Lakota didn’t want to leave her. He wanted to stay and help, but
he did have an appointment to keep that afternoon. He hesitated
as he looked down at her. Finally, he said, “Okay. But don’t you
be lifting or climbing on anything!” He pointed at her. “You
“Yes.” Ann smiled. “But I won’t break!”
“Well…that ankle of yours isn’t exactly in top shape. I don’t
want you-“ he suddenly stopped himself, realizing he had no
authority to give her orders. “Please, just be careful.”
Ann watched him leave. She wasn’t sure where to begin, but if
she was going to have visitors, she wanted the living quarters
cleaned. So she filled up big pans of water to heat and found
some good strong soap. She spent the next several hours dusting
When Lakota arrived at 5:30, she had the parlor shining and the
kitchen half-way cleaned. Lakota stopped in the doorway as he
looked at her. She had changed into a simpler dress in order to
do her hard labor. Her hair had all fallen out of it’s bun and
laid in curls along her face and down her back. Her face was
flushed and she looked exhausted. She was beautiful!
Ann looked up at him and gave him a tired smile. “Well, what do
“Progress,” Lakota answered as he chuckled. “Listen, I have one
appointment first thing in the morning. The rest of the day,
I’ll be here to help you.”
“Oh no, that’s not-“ Ann started.
Lakota held up his hand. “It is VERY necessary!” Lakota
insisted. “I’ll hear no arguments about it!”
Ann nodded with a smile. “Thank you.” She pushed her hair back
behind her ear and started twisting it.
“We’ll get you back to the hotel and let you freshen up.” Lakota
opened the door for her. “Oh, has anyone told you that your hair
looks beautiful down?”
Ann smiled. “Not in a long time.” She hurried out the door.
As promised, Lakota made Ann wait in town with her leg up on a
pillow while he took care of his appointment. Then, after
checking the swelling in her ankle, he frowned. “I don’t like
Ann smiled. “I feel fine!” she declared. “I can’t just sit
Lakota scratched his nose as he thought on it. “Well…alright.”
He pointed a finger at her. “But you won’t overdo it, you hear?”
“I promise.” The smile she flashed him was so beautiful that he
counted that as his reward for allowing her to go back to the
They worked all day. By lunch time, they had the living quarters
in good shape.
In fact, for the next several days, Lakota and Ann worked
together at her ranch cleaning. Other people got involved in the
process as well. A week after Ann arrived, the inside was in
such good shape that Ann declared she would be staying there
until she decided what to do. Lakota frowned at her Announcement
and sat down his fork as they ate together in the hotel dining
Ann knew him well enough by now to know that he wasn’t happy
with her Announcement. “I’m a big girl. I can take care of
“You are a beautiful woman about to go off alone on a ranch with
a gold mine – a ranch worth a lot of money.”
“I’ll be okay,” Ann promised him.
“I don’t like it!” Lakota declared a bit too loudly. They looked
around at the stares. He lowered his voice. “Ann, I don’t like
you being there all alone.”
“You’re the one that insisted on my keeping it. Remember?” Ann
tipped her head to one side and smiled at him.
He nodded. “Yes. I remember.” He sighed.
Ann reached out and laid a hand on his. “I’ll be okay.” Lakota
stared at her hand. She saw the look on his face. It made her
heart skip a beat. “Do you…worry about all your clients like
Lakota allowed his eyes to raise until they looked directly into
hers. He gave her a short shake of the head. “Only you.”
Ann smiled. There were no words to express what each was
thinking in that moment. They both knew how the other felt as
they continued looking at each other. “It’s…” Lakota finally was
able to speak, though not very well. “It’s been a very long time
since I felt this way, Ann.”
Ann nodded. “Me too.” She realized now that what she had felt
for Lucas was a connection to the past – not attraction. “A…long
time since I wanted to feel this way.”
Ann could feel a set of eyes boring into her back. She turned to
see a woman with a scowl on her face. She turned back and looked
at Lakota. “Well?”
“I’m suddenly not hungry. You care for a ride?” Ann nodded as
they stood and walked out.
The ride in the moonlight was nice. The conversation was limited
to Lakota’s making sure she was comfortable. When they finally
got back to town, Lakota walked Ann up the stairs to her hotel
room. Outside, He cleared his throat. “Well…”
“Well…” Ann smiled. “It was a…lovely ride. Thank you.”
They both knew what was coming, but neither wanted to think on
it. Finally, Lakota lowered his face to hers as they shared a
kiss. Ann smiled as he lifted his head and looked into her eyes.
“Until tomorrow…Ann…” Lakota touched her chin with his finger
then turned and hurried down the stairs.
Lakota smiled as he sat in his office finishing up a document.
It had now been three weeks since he had met Ann and he felt so
young and free again. A day hadn’t gone by since he and Ann had
met that they hadn’t spent time together.
He was thinking on this when Marshal Briggs walked in. He poured
himself a cup of coffee then sat down in a chair. Lakota looked
up. “What can I do for you?”
“How’s Ann?” the Marshal asked.
Lakota grinned. “Fine. She’s fine.”
“You still worried about her out at the ranch alone?” Lakota
nodded. “Well, I have the deputies riding out there every night.
There hasn’t been any disturbance.” Marshal Briggs grew quiet as
he continued sipping his coffee.
Lakota sighed as he sat down his pin. “Okay, you didn’t come in
here just to tell me that. We’ve been best friends for too many
years – I can read you like a book. What do you have to tell
The Marshal looked down into his cup. “She’s gone.”
“Who?” Lakota asked.
Lakota leaned forward in his chair. “What do you mean she’s
“The judge ordered her release. She won’t even stand trial.”
Marshal Briggs swirled the coffee around in his cup as he
thought on how to break the news to him. “There’s no proof that
she helped Pete kill his father.”
“She was there!” Lakota declared as he stood up from his desk
and pressed his hands on it to gain control of his emotions.
Marshall Briggs stood up too. “I know she was there!” He yelled
back. “But you know the law as well as I do! That doesn’t mean
she had anything to do with it!”
“She didn’t report his death for hours!” Lakota tried then.
“So? She killed her own husband!” Lakota’s face was turning red.
He came around the desk with clinched fists.
“Now, cool it, Taylor!” Marshall Briggs warned as he stuck a
finger in his friend’s face. “You know better than that!”
Lakota turned and walked to the wall. He slammed his fist in it
as hard as he could. “I don’t believe this! Why didn’t you tell
“I just released her ten minutes ago!” Marshall Briggs hurried
up to Lakota. “I told her to get out of town. She said she
intended to do just that.”
Lakota suddenly turned toward his friend. “She said that?”
“Yes.” Marshall Briggs held up a hand. “She said she just had
one item of business – to check in on a friend and-“ He suddenly
Lakota’s eyes grew wide. “Ann!” he cried.
Both men hurried out the door and jumped on their horses. “She
better be okay, or so help me, I’ll strangle her myself!”
Ann walked around the ranch, smiling as she imagined how it
would feel to have horses and cattle again. She walked into the
barn Lakota had worked so hard on all week. It was ready for a
horse. He told her he would go pick up a pair of horses for her
in a day or so – he just had some loose ends to clear up in
She ran her hand over the shiny new saddle Lakota had brought to
her only yesterday. She laughed when she realized it was a man’s
saddle. “I’m assuming you’re the type that doesn’t ride side
saddle. You look like the type that knows how to ride like a
He knew her so well. They complimented each other’s thoughts. He
even asked her if they could go fishing one evening. She assured
him that she was very capable of making the trout flies. He
raised his eyebrows at her as if he didn’t believe her. Perhaps
he didn’t, but he’d soon find out!
Ann walked out of the barn and leaned over the fence to look
into the pig pen. It wasn’t repaired yet. Lakota assured her
he’d tackle that project next. Ann suggested that she could get
started on it, but Lakota gave her a very stern look and ordered
her not to even try it!
“You’re a lawyer, not a rancher.” Ann remembered as they talked
under the moonlight the night before.
Lakota had nodded as he put his arm around her shoulders. “Who
says I can’t do both? We could hire some men to do most of the
ranching work, but it would be nice to be a rancher. I grew up
on a ranch, you know.”
“We?” Ann had asked then.
Lakota had smiled down at her and grinned. “Well now…I don’t
have anyone to ask for your hand…do I?” Lakota had then gotten a
gleam in his eyes. “Of course…there’s always…Lucas McCain.”
Ann gasped. “Oh, don’t ask him!” She smiled. “I think I’m past
the age of needing permission to get married.”
“Well then…” Lakota had taken her hand in his. “Maybe soon I’ll
get down on one knee and ask you.” Then he gave her a soft kiss
Ann smiled now as she thought on it. “He’s going to marry me!”
She Announced to herself. She felt like she was 18 again. She
looked up toward the heavens. “What would Hal say?” she
She smiled. Her heart had healed incredibly these past few
weeks. “I would have his blessing.” She knew that with all her
Ann shivered then. It wasn’t cold. Just the opposite, it was
rather hot outside. But she suddenly felt something odd – as if
an icy cold wind had blown through her body. Ann turned. She saw
a horse coming up the path. She walked toward the house to put
some coffee on. She hoped it was Lakota.
Walking into the house, she hummed to herself, but suddenly that
icy cold feeling came over her again. Ann quickly walked to the
front door and opened it. Her blood ran cold as she stared into
the cold, dark eyes of Jenny Morgan!
Quickly, she slammed the door closed. Her hands shook as she
tried to turn the key in the lock, but Jenny was pushing against
it. A gun! She needed a gun, but there was none! The shotgun was
hanging above the fireplace clear across the room. There was no
way she would be able to get to it.
Ann turned and ran up the stairs as quickly as she could. The
front door opened. “Mrs. Ann Dodd. Heiress!” Ann heard Jenny’s
sneer from the bottom of the stairs.
“Help me!” Ann screamed as loudly as she could. “Somebody help
me!” Ann ran into the bedroom and slammed the door shut. She
positioned a chair under it so that Jenny couldn’t get in there.
Ann looked around the room, but there was nothing for a weapon.
Then she allowed her eyes to focus on the window. She ran to it
and lifted it. It was stuck! She grabbed an iron and threw it
through the window. “Somebody help me!” She screamed this over
and over as loud as she could. She had to get out! Ann knew that
she could break her leg jumping, but she had no choice!
After clearing the glass out of the window, she crawled through
and jumped. She screamed as pieces of glass still in the window
cut her skin, but she couldn’t think on that now. She allowed
herself to roll as she landed, which saved her some. She hurt
something awful, but grasped her side and stood up to run.
“Ann!” She heard Jenny scream from the window she had just
jumped through. “Ann Dodd, I’ll get you!” Jenny screamed.
Ann screamed as Jenny shot at her. The bullet just missed her.
“Help me! Somebody please help me!” Ann screamed.
She ran into the woods behind the ranch. She had no idea where
to go. She could hear footsteps behind her. Ann gasped as Jenny
appeared close behind her. Her leg was hurting something awful,
and she knew her ribs must be broken. She was slowing down
incredibly! “Help me!”
Suddenly, in the distance, she could hear a man’s voice. “Ann!
Ann! Where are you?”
“Lakota!” She screamed as loudly as she could. “Help-“ She
gasped as her foot tripped. She fell to the ground. When she
looked up, Jenny was standing over her. She pointed the gun
right at Ann then grinned as she pulled the trigger.
Lakota froze when he heard the gunshot. He and Marshal Briggs
looked at each other. “It came from the woods.”
They hurried forward. Lakota saw a body laying on the ground
ahead. It was Ann. He rushed up to her. “No!” he screamed as he
lifted her head and shoulders and held her in his arms. “Oh God,
no!” Tears began falling down his cheeks.
Marshal Briggs ran on ahead. “Jenny!” He called. “Jenny Morgan,
you come on out!”
Lakota heard Marshall Briggs’s calls as he sat there rocking his
precious Ann. “Ann…” he mumbled. “My sweet Ann!” He sobbed as he
held her, rocking her back and forth. Blood oozed from her
A shot rang out. Lakota flinched as he heard it. He laid a hand
on her cheek. “It’s all over now, my sweet Ann.”
Marshall Briggs appeared then. “Jenny’s dead. I had to shoot
her. I had no choice.” Then he placed a hand on Ann’s face. He
gasped. “Lakota! She’s alive!”
“What?” Lakota put his head on her chest. “She IS alive!” Lakota
stood up and lifted her into his arms. “I swear, Alex…she was
dead! Her heart…”
“Nevermind that!” Marshall Briggs hurried to the horses. “You
get her inside and try to stop the bleeding. I’ll go for the
Lakota rushed in the front door and bounded up the stairs with
Ann in his arms. He laid her in bed, quickly taking off her
shirt so he could see the wound. “Hold on, Ann…I can’t lose you
too!” Lakota cried.
Lakota grabbed a wet towel and pressed it against the wound in
her chest. With his other hand, he brushed the hair back from
her face. “Oh, please, darling! Hold on! Just hold on!” He
softly kissed her cheek. “Hold on!”
It seemed like forever before the doctor got there. When he did,
he told Lakota to wait outside. “No!” Lakota shouted with tears
on his cheeks. “I won’t leave her! I’ll NEVER leave her again!”
Marshall Briggs took Lakota by the arm. “Come on,” he coaxed him
softly. “Let the doctor work.”
“No!” Lakota pulled away from Alex. “I’m staying here. She…She
knows I’m here.”
Lakota put his hand on Ann’s leg while the doctor worked. “Well
doc?” Lakota finally asked.
The doctor turned and looked at Lakota. “It doesn’t look good.
The bullet is deep. It just…it doesn’t look good.”
Lakota began sobbing again. “Doc, you HAVE to save her! You HAVE
to!” He begged.
“I’ll do my best. But you have to go.” He put a hand on Lakota’s
shoulder. “You have to.”
Lakota nodded. He bent over and pressed one last kiss on her
lips. Then he walked to the door. He opened it, then turned back
toward the doc. “I mean it, doc. She can’t die.” Then he hurried
Alex stood up and watched Lakota slowly make his way down the
stairs. He went to the window and stared out. “Well?” Alex
“Doc says it doesn’t look good.” Lakota dropped to his knees
then. “Oh God! Save her!” He prayed loudly. Alex bent down next
to him and put a hand on his shoulder. They joined together in
When the doc slowly made his way down the stairs two hours
later, the men were sitting quietly on the couch. Their prayer
vigil continued. Lakota stood up and hurried over to the Doc.
Doc shook his head. “She’s still alive, but…but she’s fading
“Can…” Lakota swallowed the lump in his throat. “Can I see her?”
The doctor nodded. “You best say goodbye.”
“I won’t!” Lakota declared. “I’ll never say goodbye! I’ll give
“She’s too hurt inside, Lakota. Nothing can-“
“There’s a God, doctor. As long as there’s a God, there’s hope!”
Lakota gave each man one more hard look then hurried up the
Quietly, he walked inside and pulled up a chair to sit down
beside her. He grabbed her hand and put it up to his cheek. “Oh
Ann, you cannot die!” He sighed. “I haven’t felt much of
anything since my family died, but you…you fell into my life.”
He laughed as he remembered their first meeting. “It’s only been
a few weeks, but in my eyes it seems like so much longer!”
Lakota reached out and brushed her cheek with his hand. “When
you get better, we’re gonna have ourselves a real church
wedding. You hear me? I’m gonna buy some cattle…and horses…and
pigs…We’re going to work this ranch together.” Lakota brushed a
curl from her cheek. “I promise you! And if God allows it, we’ll
fill this house with the laughter of children.”
Lakota gasped. He suddenly wanted to get everything ready.
“Darling, I’m right here! You hear me? When you wake up, this
will be a real ranch!”
He stood up and raced out. Bounding down the stairs, he called
for Alex. Alex hurried forward. “What is it?”
“I want you to go into town and hire some men. I want you to
find some good men to get us some cattle. I also want a couple
of good riding horses, and a couple team horses.”
“Lakota, what-“ Alex started.
“Just do it!” Lakota ordered.
“But Lakota, the doctor-“
“No!” Lakota declared. “I know!” He jabbed a finger into Alex’s
chest. “I know!” He smiled. “When Ann wakes, up, this is going
to be a real ranch! I want some chickens and pigs too.” He
turned. “Does…The Wilson boy still have those pups?”
“I…think so,” Alex answered.
“Get one of those too.” Lakota turned to go back up the stairs.
“We’ll get right on it.” Alex put his hat on his head and
started out the door.
Doc stopped him. “He’s loco, Marshall. She won’t make it!”
Marshall Briggs turned and looked at the stairs Lakota had just
hurried back up. “She’ll make it,” he said with a smile.
“She’ll make it!”
Lakota poured himself another cup of coffee. He turned as the
back door to the ranch house opened. Alex stepped inside. “How
“She’s still alive,” Lakota answered. “How’d things go in town?”
Alex smiled. “Well…they all think you’re loco.” He threw his hat
on the table and took the cup of coffee Alex held out for him.
“But, they’re all pulling for you. The ranch hands will report
here in the morning to get started. The cattle will arrive at
the end of the week. You’re not going to believe this.”
They sat down at the table. Lakota stared into his coffee cup.
“What?” he asked with a deep sigh as he rubbed his tired eyes.
“Well…They brought Jenny’s body back into town and before I even
got there, the story was out. The ladies are holding a prayer
vigil around the clock at the church. They think Ann’s a very
sweet woman, and they think you deserve a lady like her.” Alex
took a sip of his coffee. “Some of the local ranchers are going
to sell you some of their cattle to get you started. They said
they’d buy them back at half the price if-“ Alex stopped.
Lakota jerked his head up. “If nothing!” Lakota declared. “She’s
going to live!”
“I know. “ Alex smiled at him. “Somehow…I know.” He took another
drink. “Before we get those animals, we need to do some repairs.
The ranch hands will start on those tomorrow. Then the animals
Alex looked up as Dr. Thompson came into the kitchen. He had a
strange look on his face. Both men stood up. “Doc?” Lakota
“No change,” the doctor answered. “In fact…she’s weakened a
Lakota bolted up the stairs and hurried into the room. He took
Ann’s hand in his. “Ann, I’m here, honey! Oh, I wish I had asked
you to marry me last night. Honey, the animals will be here by
the end of the week. Come next spring, we’ll plant you a
vegetable garden and I’ll make sure there are plenty of flowers
around the house.” He smoothed the hair from her head.
“Ann…I…You made me feel alive again. Please stay with me, Ann.
Ann…I…I love you.”
Lakota lifted her hand and laid it against her cheek. “Did you
hear me, Ann? I love you and…and…I want to marry you!” Lakota
sat in the darkness and stared at her for a long time. Then
slowly, he lowered his head on the bed and fell asleep.
A boy was running…laughing…across the field. In his hand, he
held a bouquet of Black-eyed Susans and Easter lilly’s. “Mama,
mama!” he called. She reached out her arms to him as he laughed.
“Mama, look what I got!”
Suddenly, he was gone. She stretched her arms up toward the sky.
“Come back!” She cried. “Come back!” But then she saw them
together. Father and son were there. He held the little boy in
his arms and smiled down at her. “Come!” She cried.
Ann wanted to go up there to them – her precious family who she
had missed so terribly deeply. Her heart yearned for them. She
stretched out her arms as a ladder suddenly appeared. It was a
ladder that would take her up to her precious family.
“Ann! My darling Ann!” She had her foot on the second rung of
the ladder when she heard someone calling from below. Ann
lowered her head and saw Lakota standing there. His arms were
outstretched. “Ann, I love you! I want to marry you!”
Ann looked up at her family and began crying. She wanted to go
to them. She had the chance to go right now. But she heard
Lakota begging her to stay. “I don’t know what to do!” Ann
“I love you, mommy!” That voice! She hadn’t heard that voice in
nearly 7 years! She had to go to him – her little boy! She’d
made her choice.
Ann laughed as she started up the stairs. “Oh my precious boy!”
“Ann, I love you!” She turned and saw Lakota standing there with
outstretched arms. “We’ll have a ranch! We’ll have cattle and
horses…Pigs and chickens…lots of flowers around the house…
“Ann!” Ann looked up towards her husband. “My precious, sweet
Ann…you can’t come now. You must stay!”
“No!” Ann cried. “I love you too!”
“Our time has passed, Ann. We’re happy in heaven. You must go to
him, my darling. Go to him.”
Ann began crying. She turned and looked down at Lakota. “Mommy
stay!” She looked up at her precious son. “Mommy, stay!”
“You deserve life, Ann! You’ve done well!” She smiled up at her
family. “You deserve life! You hear me!”
Ann stretched her hand out to them. “I love him too!” She
laughed. “Oh, I do love him!”
“Then you must go to him. Go to him…” She watched as her family
disappeared. She stepped off the ladder. It too disappeared.
Ann turned. “I’ll stay with you, my darling! I’ll stay!”
Lakota felt a hand brush against his cheek. He lifted his head
to find Ann’s eyes open. She held no expression on her face, but
a tear lay on her cheek. Lakota lifted up from the bed. He laid
a hand against her cheek. “Oh, Ann…my precious Ann! You’ve come
“I…I’ll…stay…” Ann whispered. “I’ll…stay…”
Lakota lifted her hand to his lips. “And you’ll marry me?”
Ann nodded. “Marry…you…”
“Wait until you see what’s outside!” Lakota declared. “You just
wait until you see.”
“P-pigs…h-horses…ch…” Ann gasped for breath.
Lakota put a finger to her lips. “No, no, my sweet. Don’t talk.
You rest.” Lakota stood up. “I’ll be back. You hear me? I’ll be
Lakota watched as her eyes fluttered closed. He raced out of the
room. “Anybody here?” he called. “Anybody?”
Doc Thompson hurried forward. “What is it?”
“She’s awake, Doc! She woke up!”
Doc hurried into the room. Lakota was right behind him. Doc put
a hand to his chest. “No, now you stay here!”
Lakota paced the floor as he waited. It seemed like forever
before that door opened! “Well?”
“It’s a miracle, plain and simple,” Doc Thompson declared.
“There is no medical explanation for it.”
Lakota smiled. “She came back to me! She had the choice of
going, yet she chose to stay!”
Ann opened her eyes and looked around. She had been drifting in
and out of consciousness for a few days now, and it was getting
easier to stay awake. She heard the door opening and smiled as
Lakota came in with some broth. “Can you eat?”
She nodded. She groaned in pain as Lakota propped her up with
pillows. “I’m sorry…” he said. “I would have taken the bullet
for you if I could have.”
Ann opened her mouth so Lakota could feed her. The feeling was
returning to her hands and legs, but she knew the progress would
be slow. “Jenny…” Ann mumbled.
Lakota held the spoon in midair. “What?”
“Is…Is Jenny okay?”
Lakota sighed. “She’s dead. She started to shoot Marshall
Briggs. He had no choice.”
Ann closed her eyes. “I’m sorry for that. Why? Why’d she come
“Well…” Lakota sat down the broth. He knew she needed answers to
help her heal. “She felt guilt over killing her husband. She was
filled with vengeance – as unhealthy as it was – and she struck
out the only way she knew how.”
“Oh Lakota…her eyes…” Ann shook her head. “I’ll never get those
eyes out of my mind.”
“Shhh….” Lakota put a finger to her lips. “We have something
more important to discuss. Your wedding.”
“My wedding?” Ann fluffed her blankets up. “Am I getting
“Well…” Lakota leaned forward and kissed her on the nose. “I
“Who am I marrying?” But Ann couldn’t keep up the act. She
smiled and put a hand on each of his cheeks. “Of course I’ll
Three weeks after the incident, Ann pulled on the yellow dress
Lakota had bought for her at the dress shop in town. She brushed
her hair as she looked in the mirror, smiling at herself as she
remembered Lakota telling her he loved her hair down.
There was a knock at the door. “All ready?”
Ann turned and smiled. “Lucas!” She held out her arms. Lucas
hugged her. “I’m so glad you came!”
“I wasn’t sure I would,” Lucas answered honestly. “Your
invitation came as quite a shock.”
“For me too,” Ann declared. “You know, Lakota mailed those out
the day after I got…after the incident?”
Lucas smiled at her. “You look radiant in spite of it all!”
Lucas looked toward the door. “Well…there’s a very lucky man
downstairs waiting for you.”
“You’ve seen him?” Ann asked. Lucas nodded. “And…you approve?”
Lucas lowered his head to his and kissed her on the cheek. “Very
“Is he too disappointed about not having a church wedding?”
“Disappointed?” Lucas chuckled. “I don’t think he cares! He’s
just happy to be getting married! Ann, I’ve known him for two
years now. He’s a wonderful man. Mark and I always have supper
with him when we’re in Santa Fe. And now…” Lucas grinned. “I
reckon you will join us!”
“Next time you’re in town, Lucas, I’ll make you my special
goose!” Ann declared. She wrapped her arms around his neck. “I’m
Lucas picked her up in his arms and carried her downstairs to
her waiting prince.
My Dearest Lucas and Mark,
I certainly hope this letter finds you well. It has now been two
years since the wedding, and I’m happy to report that we now
have two wonderful children who were born to us last night – a
boy and a girl.
The father is happy but exhausted. He’s not able to do much law
practice now, what with having to care for the twins and work
out so much at the ranch. But we are so very happy.
Lucas, I will never forget the memories we shared, but as
someone once told me, our time has ended. It’s time for a new
life to begin, and it is a good one.
Lakota sends his love, as does little Joy and little Alex. I
can’t wait until you return to Santa Fe so you can see these
precious babies! Lakota said he’d be happy with half a dozen,
but I think he’ll be happy with just these two as well.
God bless you and Mark. Please know that you two will always
have a special place in my heart.
Ann and Lakota Taylor
Lucas smiled as he folded up the letter. “Pa, I got all the wood
chopped and stacked! Now can I go into town to play with the
boys?” Mark asked as he bounded inside the house.
Lucas folded the letter as he smiled. “No, son.” He looked up at
Mark. “We have a trip to make.”
Lucas nodded. “Santa Fe. I want to see some very special
These stories are based on the TV series
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!
The Writer's Corner
Table of Contents
around The McCain Ranch