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"The Patient Saint At Round Birch Ranch"

a Western Historical Romance Novel,
by Evelyn Boyett

Blurb


Rebecca Waters wanted one thing: to be loved by someone deserving of her love. That man was not Henry Waters. Rebecca cannot understand what happened to the man she loved and married, but now the only thing he cares about it participating in questionable business dealings with the sheriff of American Fork.

Mark Newman and his three brothers came to American Fork to start over. Mark has always lived his life with honor and integrity, wanting nothing more than to uphold the law, until he meets Rebecca.

She is everything he wants in a woman – sweet, kind, and brave. She’s also married and Mark would never interfere with a married woman, except Rebecca calls to him like no other and makes him want to break his solemn vow.

Faced with a man like Henry who has no boundaries, which of them will survive to claim Rebecca’s, lonely heart?

If you like fast-paced clean romance and action-packed stories, you won't be able to put down this addictive Novel by Evelyn Boyett.

"The Patient Saint At Round Birch Ranch" is a stand-alone Western Historical Romance Novel of approximately 400 pages.

Get this Book FREE With Kindle Unlimited!

Prologue

Mark Newman passed through the quiet little town, riding alongside his older brother, Alex. The third Newman brother followed behind them in the wagon. 

The wagon was filled with the three brothers’ possessions. They’d left California after their father died, making their way up to Utah, where their aunt, their father’s sister, would be. She had too large a house for just one person and invited them to come stay with her. All three Newman boys were ready for a new start. The traveling would also give them some experience in the “outside” world, away from the little mining town they’d grown up in. 

They hadn’t encountered much excitement along the way, which was fine with Mark. He felt like he would get enough of that when he was a lawman in American Fork. If he was able to obtain a position. He’d written his aunt to ask if she thought the sheriff would take him on as a deputy, but had not yet received a letter from her. It was almost impossible, he knew, to find someone who was traveling. So, he paid no mind to the fact that he hadn’t heard anything.

The brothers passed the town’s limits and Mark looked over his shoulder at the sign, welcoming newcomers. It read, Coyner Springs Pop. 678.

“Coyner Springs,” he read aloud. He turned around in his saddle and looked at his brother. “What do you think of that name, Alex?”

Alex glanced back at the little town and shrugged nonchalantly. “I think that sounds like someone’s last name added to the observation that there’s a bunch of springs around this place.”

Mark chuckled, shaking his head. Alex was weary of traveling. They only had a short way to go before they would reach American Fork and Mark figured that was a good thing. He and Chris didn’t have a good time when Alex became impatient.

They didn’t get far out of the town when Alex held up one hand to his brothers, his eyes squinting, focused on something in the distance. 

“What’s that?” he asked, leaning forward in his saddle as if that was enough to allow him to see into the far distance. “You see that?”

Mark narrowed his eyes, straining them. “I see it,” he said in a low voice. 

Ahead of them on the road, a stagecoach had been stopped. It looked like there were about a half dozen men surrounding it. 

“Are they holding up that coach?” Alex’s voice growled the words. Mark looked over at him. Alex was a good man, but he lost his temper quickly. He could rein it in just as quickly, which was a sign of his maturity. Mark remembered when his brother would go off half-cocked about the smallest of things, but he was much younger then. They all were. These days Alex had a good hold on his temper.

“It looks like it.”

Alex kicked his horse into a gallop. “Let’s go!”

“Alex!”

Mark heard Chris yell out his brother’s name behind him. Alex turned his head and called back over his shoulder.

“You stay here, Chris! If anything happens to us, you gotta carry on the family name!”

Mark glanced back at Chris with a what can I do? look before he took off after his brother.

Neither man said anything as they raced down the dirt road, approaching the stagecoach. Mark already had his gun out and was glad Alex did, too. The closer they got, the better he could see what was going on. Alex’s first impression was correct. 

There were two ladies and a gentleman standing outside the coach, holding their hands up in the air. Two of the bandits were holding them at gunpoint. One of them was brushing the front of one of the ladies’ dress with the barrel of his gun. 

Mark saw the sneering look on his face. His heart raced in anticipation. Suddenly, he wasn’t sure if racing toward them was such a good idea. A sneak attack would probably have been better. It was too late now, though. He and his brother were fast approaching the coach and soon the bandits would see them.

He watched as three more men ransacked the luggage. They took the trunks and bags from the back of the coach and had them all on the ground, open. They were obviously searching for anything valuable and once they found it, the object disappeared into a burlap sack. 

“You there!” Alex called out. Mark’s eyes swiveled to him. He was lifting his gun and aiming at the bandits holding the passengers hostage. “What do you think you’re doing?”

Mark’s eyes darted back to the bandits. They spun toward Mark and Alex. Just as he thought, they each lifted their guns and aimed at the brothers. He could only hope every shot would miss.

He heard a bullet whiz past his ear, making him shudder. But he didn’t stop. It was too late to stop now. That would give the men an easy target. He and Alex both let out several shots at the same time. 

The bandits, who had been raiding the coach, hurried to throw the sacks of stolen merchandise onto the back of their sturdy-looking horses. 

“Come on, Mark, hurry!” 

Alex raced ahead of him, shouting at the bandits, who were now scrambling to get on their horses and ride away from the two brothers.

“We’re not gonna catch ‘em, Alex!” Mark yelled out.

“You stay with those passengers. I’m goin’ after them.”

“Wait, Alex!” Mark lifted his hand in warning. “The odds are against ya. Stay back here with me. We’ll try to get their stuff back later!”

They were almost to the coach. One of the women was crying. The man was holding on to her. None of them looked seriously hurt, but the man had a look of rage in his eyes. He was dressed impeccably in a suit, vest and cravat. Mark was impressed.

He was glad when Alex, his face almost matching that of the stranger’s, went around to the back of the coach and stopped by the open baggage. He dismounted, glaring in the direction of the rising dust in the distance. 

Mark slid from his horse and left him behind, walking toward the second woman, who had wrapped her arms around herself and was visibly shivering.

“Are you all right, miss?” Mark said, gently, lifting one hand out to her but not touching her. She’d been the one the bandit had been touching with his gun. He knew she must be terribly afraid. She looked at him with fear in her eyes. He had a feeling she was too afraid to even form a word. 

“You’re gonna be all right, miss,” he said softly, moving closer to her. She looked like she wanted to throw herself into his arms, which was surprising considering she didn’t know him from Adam. “May I?” He slowly moved forward, holding out just one hand. 

She looked down at it when his fingers brushed the sleeve of her dress. She looked back up in his eyes and closed the distance between them so quickly, he was almost knocked back a few steps. He wrapped his arms around her and held her as she sobbed.

“It’s gonna be all right,” he whispered, patting her on the back of the bonnet she was wearing. “It’s gonna be all right.”

Holding her close, he realized this was what motivated him to become a lawman. Someone always needed protecting.

Chapter 1

Rebecca Waters could hear her husband talking to the sheriff from her place at the kitchen sink. She had been rinsing dishes under the water pump and the splashing prevented her from hearing the sheriff come into the house.

She drew a towel back and forth over the plate in her hands and quietly set it aside with the others to air dry for a bit. She braced herself with both hands on the side of the sink. Whenever Sheriff Angus Barton was on the property, something bad always followed. 

Henry, her burly, bearded giant of a husband, was not highly regarded by most of society. American Fork was a small town in Utah, with just under a thousand people. It was one of the biggest in Utah County but not the biggest in the state. 

Rumor had it her husband and his crew, the ranch hands working on Round Birch Ranch, were involved in several stagecoach robberies and being drunk and disorderly in public. Rebecca suspected but couldn’t prove that those men, including her husband, were responsible for much more heinous crimes than just being drunk and obnoxious. They had discussed details a few times in her hearing, things that happened on a raid or a robbery. People were shot, even killed, at the hands of the RBR men, but they were never prosecuted for any of their crimes. And the reason why was sitting in the den with her husband. She could hear them at that moment. She didn’t really want to listen to what they were saying, but she couldn’t help it.

“They say the coach will get there at 6:00 tonight. We can intercept it just outside of the Fork limits. You gotta assign your deputies to be somewhere else.”

“I know what to do, Henry,” Angus Barton replied. “Not my first rodeo.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Henry replied.

Rebecca picked up a towel and wiped her hands with it, turning to lean back on the counter. She kept her head down, staring at the floor without really seeing it. For two years, she’d wished she could do something to stop the wickedness, but she was powerless. She already felt like a failure when it came to providing a child for Henry. It was a marriage she had been forced into, manipulated by Henry’s acting skills. He was nothing like the man he’d pretended to be when he was courting her.

When she had a miscarriage six months into the marriage, Henry turned into a completely different man. He suddenly decided that she was damaged goods and now he was stuck with her. And he treated her the way he thought of her. She’d become no more than a servant to him.

His opinion of her didn’t stop him from doing his marital duty though, each time telling her if she got pregnant again, she better not lose the child. As if she had any control over it. It was hard enough knowing she had lost out on the chance to know the child she had forming in her belly. She got no sympathy from him whatsoever. He acted like it shouldn’t have mattered to her, but she’d been devastated. It cut her to the core. She felt the loss as if she had already given birth to the child and had a chance to hold it and love it. To actually see it.

She’d gotten pregnant again. And lost another one. 

Rebecca put her hand on her stomach. Could it happen again? 

She didn’t want the heartbreak anymore. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t think positively about it. She didn’t expect she would ever have a baby to hold in her arms, which made it more difficult to live with a man who considered her a failure and a waste of time. 

“Rebecca has been whining a lot lately,” Henry said, drawing her attention back to their conversation when she heard her name. 

“Oh yeah?”

Henry snorted. “Yep. She’s getting to be a burden.”

Rebecca lowered her head. Angus Barton knew far too much about her life. Henry told him everything, as if he was a member of the family.

Rebecca didn’t have any family to speak of. Her mother passed after a short battle with tuberculosis. Her father disappeared the day after her 18th birthday, leaving her on her own to deal with life. Not knowing what to do, she apprenticed under her schoolteacher’s sister, who was a seamstress. She learned the trade and was a very fast and accurate seamstress in a short time. It was the only way she knew how to make enough money to feed herself and pay for the small room in the boarding house after moving to American Fork. A few weeks after her 19th birthday, she met Henry. He was originally looking for someone to do some sewing work at his ranch, repairing the clothes the men ripped and make new curtains for the ranch, bunkhouse and stables. 

He was so charming at first, flashing her a big grin whenever he saw her, telling jokes that she found funny, making her laugh. She missed those days. 

She wished every day that Henry was the man she thought he was. 

“Yeah, I ain’t gonna get my heir. Not with her, anyway.”

“You got somethin’ going on I don’t know about? Tell me you aren’t gonna have some husband come after you. You’re on your own with that, buddy,” said Angus. 

Rebecca couldn’t see him, but she could picture the two of them in her mind, standing by the door as if they were ready to bolt at any moment, each holding a glass probably filled with whiskey or some other alcoholic beverage. Personally, she found it revolting when they were both around, attempting to talk to her. The smell could be overpowering.

“Not yet. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

A chill ran up Rebecca’s spine. Would Henry get violent with her? He was the kind of man who could take a life without blinking an eye, but would he harm his own wife? Rebecca had a bad feeling he would. She was relieved when the sheriff changed the subject.

“So, I got this new deputy. He’s a good kid, a little green on the gills there, young kid about 23 years old.”

“I didn’t know you were getting a new deputy.”

“Yeah. Listen, I want ya to keep yer mouth quiet about our business when Mark’s around. He’s… well, he’s what I consider one of those good guys that don’t wanna harm anyone. If he hears what we got goin’ on, he’s gonna blab. And I don’t want him hurt. He’s a nice kid.”

“Yeah, ya said that. Maybe ya shouldn’t have hired him.”

Rebecca walked silently to the door while they talked and peeked through the crack. She could see into the den perfectly. They were by the window with their glasses in their hands, just as she expected. 

Angus was shaking his head. “Had to. Couldn’t leave that kid unemployed. He’s come a long way to live in American Fork.”

“Where’s he from?”

“Oh, somewhere down in California, he said. Some valley or other. I don’t know.”

“Shouldn’t ya know exactly where he’s from, Angus? Not too smart hirin’ a man you don’t know much about. Kinda risky, don’t ya think?”

Rebecca watched Angus take a swig from his glass. He smacked his lips afterward, a contemplative look on his face. “I got good instincts, Henry. Just do me a favor. When ya see Mark around, don’t talk about business. He don’t need to know everything. We’ll just step out of the room. Ya think ya can do that for me?”

The two men looked squarely at each other. Rebecca could tell neither was intimidated by the other. For evil men, they had a high level of respect for each other that she hadn’t seen between two men in all her life.

“Yeah, I reckon I can keep my mouth shut,” her husband finally answered. “You gonna bring this fellow around soon?”

“Yeah, I’m comin’ back in a few days with him.”

Rebecca was surprised when Henry asked the first question that popped into her mind. “Why ya bringin’ him here?”

“Because when I get that package we were talkin’ about earlier, I gotta deliver it to ya. He’s comin’ out with me that day on my routes, so he’s comin’ here. Besides, ya need to meet him so ya don’t shoot him if he ever comes around without me.”

“It’s best if he don’t do that anyway. Ya need to tell him that.”

“I will. He’s a good egg. I don’t want him killed, so just do me a favor and leave him be.”

Chapter 2

Rebecca was miserably unhappy in her marriage and knew Henry was not in love with her, which doubled her agony. She was in a prison, of sorts, but it was her own home and she was allowed to roam freely wherever she wanted. She listened for Angus to answer, peeking through the door again to see he was taking a long drink from his glass.

“You sure all fired protective over this guy,” said Henry. “You wanna tell me why?”

“No reason,” he finally replied after swallowing and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. Rebecca noticed the sweat beads on his forehead and how drenched his hair was. The drink was elevating his temperature, but he didn’t seem to care. Rebecca wasn’t surprised he was a single man. “I’m just sayin’ he’s got a nice personality. He could probably talk to Rebecca and calm her down when she starts throwin’ her fits too.”

Resentment slid through her. She did not throw fits. She stood up for herself on occasion. It didn’t get her anywhere, but she didn’t like going down without a fight. Unfortunately, it was something she’d been doing a lot lately. She was getting tired of arguing and fighting all the time. Henry didn’t love her, of that she was certain. She didn’t have any attraction left for him either. It had been beaten out of her with his verbal assaults. 

“She has been whining a lot. Maybe she needs a friend,” Henry said, contemplatively. “My life is a lot better when I don’t have to listen to her mouth. She knows I want a son. And I always get what I want. If she can’t do it, someone else will.”

“What if ya have a daughter?” Angus asked the obvious question.

Rebecca watched Henry shake his head through narrow eyes. “Ain’t gonna have no girl. Only a boy comin’ from these loins.”

Angus just grunted. Rebecca was sure he was thinking the same thing she was. Henry was a fool if he thought there wasn’t a chance a baby could be a girl.

“So ya gonna take a lover?”

“I’d have ta get a new wife is more like it.” His statement didn’t surprise Rebecca. It was his response to Angus’s next question that stunned her.

“What you gonna do with Rebecca?”

“I don’t know. Get rid of her somehow. I ain’t livin’ with two women. And I ain’t sneakin’ around to see another woman either. Besides, Rebecca knows everything we got goin’ on. You know she’d find a way to let people know if I just sent her on her way.”

“You talkin’ about killin’ Rebecca?” Even Angus sounded surprised by Henry’s bold statement.

Rebecca’s eyes widened in dismay. She covered her mouth with her hands and turned away from the door.

“I don’t see how we could keep her from blabbin’, do you?”

“It just seems a bit much to me. There must be somethin’ else ya can do.”

“You got any suggestions?”

Rebecca stood, listening to the pause in conversation with her hands still covering her face. She was struggling to keep the pain and horror from overwhelming her. She didn’t want to faint. She needed to be alert.  She felt a breeze when the door swung open. She jerked her hands away from her face and looked up, staring in the dark green eyes of her husband. 

“Well, would ya look at that? Little eavesdropper. Get in here.” Henry reached out with one large hand and wrapped it around the back of her head, forcing her forward. She went along with him so that she wouldn’t fall to her knees. She folded her arms over her chest and stared with frightened eyes at Angus before moving them back to her husband.

“If it isn’t little Miss Rebecca Aims Waters, listening in to someone else’s conversation. What are ya doing, Rebecca? What’s wrong? Did ya hear something ya didn’t want to hear?”

Rebecca shuddered, looking up at him, but keeping her head down so her chin was nearly rested on her chest. She was hugging herself so tight she could barely breathe. She tried to relax but found it impossible. Her muscles tensed up again as soon as she attempted to relax them.

Henry looked at Angus. He bucked back a swallow from his glass before holding it out in Rebecca’s direction. “You want some, don’t ya? Go ahead.”

Rebecca turned her eyes down to the glass, shaking her head. “I don’t want any of that, Henry.”

“No?” Henry chuckled. “And here I thought you were a lush. Maybe I was wrong.” He walked closer to her and jabbed her with his elbow. She lifted one hand, covering her arm. There would be a bruise there later. She could tell from the stabbing pain she’d felt with each press of his elbow.

“Probably not though. You sure? Just a little swig?”

Rebecca shook her head again. “No. No, I don’t want any.”

“You heard us talkin’ about you and yer failure to do right by me, didn’t ya?” Henry asked, dropping onto the long couch that ran along the back wall, just a few feet from where Rebecca was standing. She had her shoulders hunched and still had a hold on herself like she was protecting a small child.

She tried not to glare at him. She didn’t want to talk about babies with him. It was bad enough he would be the father if it ever did happen. Especially now that she knew he would kill her if he had to. No amount of pleading and begging would do. She could tell him she wouldn’t tell anyone about their activities till she was blue in the face.

He would never believe her.

“Henry, maybe you two should talk about that some other time. When I’m not around.” Angus cut into Henry’s questioning to Rebecca’s relief. It was hard for her to dislike Angus sometimes, despite the bad things he did. She always thought there might be someone good under all that toughness.

Henry turned scornful eyes to Angus. “Nah, I wanna talk about it now.”

“Well, I’m gonna go. I don’t wanna stand here and watch you torture this woman in front of me.”

Henry hopped up from the couch, swinging one arm dramatically through the air. “What are you doin’? Where ya goin’? Stay here and chat with me for a while.” He closed the distance between himself and his wife and took her by the arm. “I’m just teasin’. She knows that.”

Angus shook his head, giving Rebecca a sympathetic look. “Not if yer gonna keep teasin’ this woman. I know ya think it’s funny, but I don’t think it’s funny.”

“Well, you stay right where yer at. I’ll take her to the other room and have a quick talk with her.” He turned his green eyes to Rebecca’s hazel ones. He lifted one hand and ran it through her auburn hair. 

She looked back at him, hoping he did not force her to kiss him. She didn’t ever want to kiss him again. It had been nearly a year anyway, what difference did it make after all this time?

The look on his face told her he was not about to kiss her. She saw rage boiling in his eyes, a look of anger she hated to see. When he raged, there was very little she could do to stop him. He was like a wild animal chained up, trying to get loose.

Except Henry was loose.

“Why are you angry with me?” she asked in a small voice. “I haven’t done anything at all to upset you.”

“You were listening at the door, weren’t ya?” he asked, bobbing his head in response to his own question.

“I didn’t mean to, I…”

“Yeah, you didn’t mean to. You know what happens to wives who listen at doors and eavesdrop on other people’s conversation?”

Rebecca felt a knot tighten in the pit of her stomach. She was beginning to heat up. Fear slipped through her body and she took a step back, scrunching her shoulders together as far as they would go. They wouldn’t protect her from violence, but it was the only reaction that came naturally.

“Henry, yer takin’ this too far,” Angus said, taking a step forward. He came to an abrupt halt when Henry stuck his arm out, raising one finger in the air, indicating Angus needed to wait one moment.

Henry glared down at Rebecca.

“Well, dear? Do you know what happens?”

Rebecca’s wide eyes stared at him. She shook her head. “I don’t know. What happens?”

Chapter 3

Henry glared at her for a few seconds. She knew he trying to intimidate her, but it didn’t stop her from shaking. After a lengthy pause, he replied in a cold voice, “They get put in their room for the day.”

Rebecca’s face colored a deep pink. Henry grabbed her arm, making her jump. His fingers dug into her skin painfully. She cried out as he began to pull her from the room.

“Now Henry, ya don’t have to hurt her,” Angus called, but he didn’t make a move to help her. She was disgusted by it and tried to jerk her arm out of Henry’s grip. He was holding her too tightly. Every time she pulled on her arm, his grip tightened, sending bolts of pain all the way up to her shoulder.

“Come on, Rebecca. You’ve been naughty. Time for your punishment.” 

Rebecca hated the tone he was using, as if she were a child. She tried to march in front of him, but he was dragging her behind him, taking larger steps than she could manage. She stumbled and regretfully pulled herself back to her feet using the grip he had on her arm. 

“Come on, Henry, now!” Angus said in a rebuking voice, still not moving from his spot near the front door.

Henry pulled Rebecca through the door of the den that led to the hallway. At the end of the hallway was a set of stairs. As they neared them, Rebecca said in a resentful voice, “You can let go of my arm. I’ll go upstairs by myself.”

“Oh no ya won’t,” Henry replied in an emotionless voice. He pulled her up the stairs. She was on the opposite side of the railing, so she slapped her hand against the wall every few steps to keep herself steady. 

“You don’t have to drag me!” she cried out only for him to laugh in response.

She was relieved when they were on the second floor. Her arm was beginning to ache. She wouldn’t be sleeping on that side for a while. Tears were in her eyes, but she refused to let them fall. They were the result of a mixture of pain and anger. 

She could only hope his “punishment” ended by putting her in her room. She was glad to have a separate room from him, but he thought he was hurting her when he told her he was putting her in a different room. 

She had secretly rejoiced. She would be able to sleep in peace. No more of his snoring, shuffling around in bed and sometimes slapping or punching her in his sleep. She hated it by the third day she had to sleep with him.

They reached the door to her room. Rebecca reached out to turn the knob, but his big hand came down on hers sharply, slapping it away. She cried out and shook her hand to relieve some of the burning.

He opened the door and shoved her in as hard as he could, making her stumble across the room. She almost fell flat on her face but managed to get to the chair in front of her dressing table. She grabbed the back of it and righted herself. Then she spun around to glare at him. He had stepped into her room and was looking around as if he’d never been in there before. It suddenly dawned on Rebecca that Henry probably had not been in the room before. The housekeeper would have set it up for her at his request. Her first thought when she saw his face as he contemplated her room was that he was impressed. 

“Ya got a nice room in here, Rebecca. Why don’t ya be a good girl and stay in here for a while? Think about what you’ve done.”

“I haven’t done anything, Henry! I’m not a child to be treated this way! I’m a grown woman! How can you do this to me?”

Henry exhaled sharply, one side of his lips lifting in disgust. “I don’t even know if yer tellin’ the truth, Rebecca. You’re a liar.”

“I’m not a liar!” Rebecca balled her hands into fists. “I know what you plan to do.”

Henry snarled. “So, you were listening for a while, were ya?”

“You two weren’t keeping your voices low. You knew I was in the kitchen.”

“But ya weren’t just in the kitchen, were ya? You were on the other side of the door listening.”

“And I heard you say you were going to get rid of me. Are you going to kill me, Henry? Can you really do that to your own wife?”

Rebecca covered the ring of pain around her left arm with her right hand. She didn’t dare massage the area. It hurt to even touch it. Henry walked over to her and stood looming over her like a giant monster. She looked up at him. Her face was at the level of his shoulders. He was almost a foot taller than her, but she glared into his eyes angrily anyway, unafraid. He could crush her with one punch. 

She had to trust he wouldn’t do that. 

She had to.

He bent at the waist so that their faces were even. When she looked into the green of his eyes, she could see his anger and hatred for her. She didn’t understand it. She never would.

“I’m gonna treat ya like a child when ya act like one. Listenin’ at doors is a kid thing to do. So ya get to stay in yer room until I say ya can come out.”

“You can’t lock me in here!” Rebecca exclaimed, resentfully.

“I can and I’m gonna!” Henry stood straight up again and spun on his heel. In moments, he was at the door. “Just sit and think about yer behavior, Rebecca. Maybe you’ll be sorry later when I come back to let you out.”

“Henry!” She barked his name before he closed the door. He swung it back open, narrowing his eyes at her. “You didn’t tell me.”

He scowled. “Didn’t tell ya what?”

“If you would really kill me. Would you?”

Henry stood for a bit staring at her, one hand on the door knob. 

“Well? I want an answer!” Rebecca matched her husband’s scowl. 

They stared at each other for almost thirty seconds before Henry finally took a step back and slowly closed the door.

Rebecca stood in the middle of the room, stunned that he didn’t even respond, listening to the sound of the lock clicking. He had locked her in. She pulled in a sharp breath and covered her mouth with her hand. Her wide eyes filled with tears and she finally allowed herself to break down. 

She moved around the dressing table chair and sat in it, placing her hands flat on the table and resting her head on them. She sobbed for a moment, releasing the fear and anger pent up inside her.

To her, the fact that he didn’t respond meant that he would, in all actuality, probably kill her if he felt the need was there. If he didn’t trust her to keep her mouth closed about everything she knew, he would make sure she didn’t have a chance to tell anyone. Permanently.

The thought made her cry harder and she put one hand on her stomach. 

“I’ve been cursed,” she murmured. “Oh God, why must I go through this life with this heartache? What have I done to deserve this? I’m so sorry for whatever I’ve done to you, Lord.” She looked up with pleading eyes, as if she could see into the Heavens. “I didn’t mean to offend you, God. Please. What have I done?”

She found her mind drifting as the exhaustion from her tears covered her. She heard Angus and Henry talking, remembering their conversation and wondered how Angus could let someone treat a woman the way Henry had treated her. He was supposed to be the sheriff. He had been the sheriff for American Fork for at least ten years. Everyone knew him. She didn’t understand it. 

It was strange the way they’d been talking only moments before Henry opened the door. Could he have been saying those things because he knew she was listening and wanted to put fear into her? It was a possibility. It seemed like something Henry would do.

No matter how hard she tried to spin it, Rebecca knew that she couldn’t trust Henry with her safety. He would take her life if it was the only way he could feel safe with his secrets. She wished she didn’t know anything. 

She could tell him that her suspicions would fall on deaf ears no matter who she told, especially if he said they were divorcing. Sheriff Barton would make sure no one believed her, even though he knew the truth. But Henry wouldn’t care. If he thought there was even the slightest chance she would be believed, he would make sure she never got to say a word. The more she thought about it, the more she realized the people in American Fork probably would believe her, which would put her in even more danger. So, she’d always kept her mouth shut and didn’t plan on spilling the beans anytime soon.

Chapter 4

Thank you for reading the first 4 Chapters of my Best Selling Novel "The Patient Saint At Round Birch Ranch"! Loved what you've read? Read my full novel on Amazon!

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