By Cherie Reich
A small puff of dust appeared upon the horizon. Rosalind shifted from her position. Rocks bit into her arms, and the summer sun fried her dark hair. Perspiration trickled between her breasts as she fanned herself with her hat. The dust plume increased in size. They had little time left before the wagon would enter the canyon valley.
She pushed herself from the cliff’s edge and stood, her spine crackling from the movement. After she pressed her hat to her head, she twisted around, staring at the five burly men and six horses.
“They’re about upon us, boys. You know what to do.” Her voice was sharp, tough, hiding the rapidly beating heart bouncing against her ribcage.
“Yes, ma’am.” The men spoke and nodded in unison. She trained them well.
She turned again toward the trail. The wagon bounced and shuddered toward them. Wheels squeaked and rattled over the rough terrain. A glint of silver, or something like it, twinkled in the noonday sun.
“They may be armed, but we give ’em hell.” She stalked over to her horse and felt his velvet muzzle. He blew air against her hand, and she smiled and whispered against his soft flesh, “We won’t let him win.”
“We’re stealing the gold. Try not to kill anyone, unless necessary. I want Mr. Harris alive and well at all costs.” She snatched the reins and leapt upon her horse. Her skirt bunched at her waist, revealing man’s trousers underneath. She touched her gun’s handle. Its weight felt heavy upon her hips. She hoped Marvin wouldn’t put up too much of a fight. She’d hate to see her former fiancé killed.
Glancing into her men’s hardened faces, she nodded and squeezed her ankles against the stallion. He shot off, galloping along the slope toward the valley.
“Let’s go,” she said, gritting her teeth afterward as they raced toward the wagon.