Yes, it’s true I’m coming out with another western historical romance, which is actually a reprint of my earlier title, The Hanging Bride. (formerly published under Pam Labud) It will now be available as Cole’s Redemption by Leigh Curtis.
I’ve decided to pub all of my westerns under Leigh’s name because I’m hoping it’ll make it easier for readers to find me in that genre. I also write Regency Historicals, Paranormals, YA, and Urban Fantasy stories so it’s an easy choice for me.
Not only that, but Leigh Curtis is my name, also! Lee is my middle name, (since it sounds kinda masculine, I decided to go with the Leigh spelling). And, my maiden name is Curtis. So, in reverence to my parents, I deduced to use it as well. My husband loves me publishing in his name, so I will keep that up as well.
As for my urban fantasy and YA books? The plan is to publish them under Caitlin James. I have a couple of projects not yet published in those genres but I’m working on ’em!
Excerpt from Cole’s Redemption:
“I’m going to kill you, Jared Greene.”
The noise of the saloon evaporated to stone silence. Through the thick haze of lamplight and tobacco smoke, Cole Remmington held his pistol steady. The two men who’d been playing cards with Greene exchanged quick, nervous glances. In an instant, they pushed away from the table, clearing out of the line of fire.
“That a fact?” Greene carefully set his cards on the table. Slowly, he pushed the chair back and, standing up, faced Cole eye to eye.
Tense seconds passed while the two stared at each other. Cole had memorized this face; the wide brow and single jagged scar that ran the length of the man’s right cheek and disappeared into his pale, blond whiskers.
“You can try, sodbuster.” A lazy smile spread across Greene’s face.
“I’ll do more than try.” Cole said in a low voice.
The hushed silence of the room exploded with the sounds of scraping chairs and feet scurrying across the hardwood floor as the patrons ran to the relative safety of the street outside. Only a few brave souls dared to watch, their face pressed against the saloon’s grimy window panes.
“Let me tell you what’s about to happen, sodbuster,” Greene said in an oily tone. “You’re gonna reach for that iron on your hip and, before you can touch your hand to the trigger, I’ll be holding my Colt and fillin’ you full of lead.”
“Just like you did six months ago, in Illinois?”
Greene’s eyes narrowed, and he drew in a sharp breath. “Well, I’ll be damned. You’re that fella from the camp we raided. I thought you was dead.”
“I stayed alive for only one purpose–to send you to hell where you belong.”
Greene shrugged. “You think so? You can try, but even if you did, you wouldn’t walk away from here alive. My Pa’s a Texas Ranger. He’ll hunt your sorry ass to the very ends of the earth.” Greene leaned forward, leering. “If you want to keep from dancing on the end of a rope, you’d best put that gun down and just walk away. Seems to me, you were one lucky son of a bitch to escape dying the first time I shot you.”
“You should have made sure I was dead when you had the chance.”
Greene laughed and suddenly sprang forward. Throwing his fist in a wide arc, he connected with Cole’s jaw. Cole retaliated with his own sharp punch, catching Greene in the abdomen. The outlaw grabbed Cole’s shirtfront, pulling him sideways.
Furniture crashed as they plowed through the chairs and tables. Half-empty glasses flew to the floor, shattering and raining stale beer and whisky. Cole managed three quick punches, dazing his opponent for a few seconds. Greene staggered backwards, nearly falling as he lurched sideways. The man’s sharp blue stare cut right through Cole. It was the expression of a wild animal about to devour its prey.
Throwing himself forward, Greene knocked Cole into the bar. He attempted to twist out of the way, but the gunfighter used his weight to knock them off balance. Cole fell backwards and sprawled across the sawdust floor with his opponent landing on top of him. Greene wasted no time in pulling his gun from his holster. He slammed the butt against Cole’s jaw.
Dazed only for a second, Cole twisted sideways and, in a moment, was back on his feet. Greene was just as fast. He, too, gained his stance and pressed forward. In seconds, the gunfighter held his peacemaker high and steady, the barrel only inches from Cole’s face.
“You just won’t stay down, will ya, boy?” He cocked the pistol.
Cole didn’t answer, but leapt at his opponent. Crashing into Greene, they both fell and in the process, trapped the Colt .45 between them. The men struggled, rolling right and then left, with Cole barely managing to stay on top.
Suddenly the room split with the crack of a gunshot. Both men froze, neither one even daring to breathe. When Cole pulled back, he looked down.
His shirt was covered with blood.
Drawing a shaky breath, he scooted away from his opponent. Cole swallowed, vaguely registering the taste of saliva mixed with blood. He couldn’t help staring at the gunfighter.
The man he’d chased over half the country for the last six months now lay unmoving in a growing pool of blood. Jared Greene was finally dead. In his chest was a wound the size of a fist.
Cole breathed in deeply. He didn’t take his eyes off Greene for several seconds and didn’t hear the people entering the saloon behind him.
“Come on, son,” A gruff voice broke into his reverie. Looking up, Cole saw a man leaning over him, and the barrel of a rifle held firmly, inches from his face. The lamplight glinted off the tin star on the sheriff’s shirt.
“You want to tell me what happened?”
“I killed him,” Cole said.
“That’s it? You’ve got no other explanation?”
Cole didn’t answer, returning his gaze to the still form lying beside him. The other man sighed.
“Until I know what went on here, I’m placing you under arrest.” Cole didn’t argue, barely noticing when the sheriff pulled him away from the dead man.
“I killed him, that’s all there is to it,” he said one final time, his gaze dropping to the floor.
There simply wasn’t anything else to say.