Adam and Evie was from the days when I was obsessed with westerns. I still love them, but every story I write doesn't need to be one anymore.
Evie was super fun to create because I wanted her to be the kind of heroine who was doing the job because it needed doing, but she could also be feminine when she wanted to be. She didn't have anything to prove- all she wanted to do was help her cousin. No idea if I'll ever write more about her, but I'd like to. Or someone like her.
It was, of course, going to be a comedy. About a sheriff named Adam, his deputy, Evie, and the Marshal who comes along and makes hysterical trouble for them. But, beyond that, I had no idea where I was going with it and I think that's the ultimate reason why I never even finished the first chapter.
But, here's what I have written. I hope you enjoy it:
Evie Collins is sitting at the sheriff’s desk, leaning back in his chair, feet up on his desk, reading through the book of town laws, when the door flies open and a man bursts in.
He’s like any other drifter- dressed in dusty pants, shirt, jacket, boots, and hat and toting a gun. His hat flies off when he sees her though. “Where’s the sheriff, ma’am?”
Apparently, because of the way she’s sitting, he doesn’t get a good look at her. Either that, or he’s in too much of a hurry to really look. Whatever the reason, he misses her checked shirt, brown trousers and the badge pinned to her vest.
“Rode out to Ford’s Pass on business,” she says, sitting up, sticking a finger in her book to mark the place. “But, if you’re in trouble, I can handle it.”
He eyes her with a little grin that says he thinks she’s a half-witted puppy. Many a man has given her that look and it doesn’t even phase her anymore. “It can wait ‘til the sheriff gets back.”
She shrugs and leans back again. “Suit yourself. Though, if every person who walked through that door felt like you did, I’d be out of a job.”
“Might not be such a bad idea,” he says.
Brave words indeed considering he’s talking to a girl with a gun. Shows how much he thinks of her. She’d bet he thinks she doesn’t have the guts to fire it.
Not true, of course, but she’s learned long ago men like him aren’t worth it.
“HHHHas it ever occurred to you that you’re keeping a man out of a job?” he continues. “If you’d just stay home where you belong, a good man could be providing for his family.”
A thousand comebacks spring to her tongue, but she has the good sense to keep them at bay. He wouldn’t understand that Adam handpicked her for this job because he trusts her more than anyone else. He wouldn’t understand that a good man with a family to provide for generally picks a safer job than getting shot at. And, of course, he wouldn’t understand that she is home because she lives in the backroom with her cousin.
So, instead of trying to explain it all, she just leans back again and says, real easy like, “You’d have to talk that over with Sheriff Harrick. He’s the one who hired me.”
“I have more important things to discuss with him.”
She barely manages to keep from rolling her eyes. Then why bother arguing it with me?
She knows the answer, of course- because there’s nothing else to do and silence just makes some people nervous. It makes them uncomfortable when there’s no noise or fuss being made.
Evie, she likes a nice healthy balance of both. Just enough noise and just enough quiet to let her know there isn’t any trouble that needs seeing to.
“You seemed in an all-fire hurry when you came barging in here,” she points out. “So, if it would help to get it off your chest, I can listen. Females are good for that, you know. Listening, that is.”
He glares at her. “I’d rather wait for the sheriff.”
She shrugs. “Suit yourself.”
She opens her book again and begins reading. An amused smile plays on her lips and she can’t help chuckling aloud. She looks up at the man who is still standing in the doorway, as if he expects the sheriff back any second.
“Did you know it’s a law that all male citizens must tip their hat to the mayor’s wife? Failure to do so is punishable by a fine of up to two dollars or a week in jail!” She pauses then and the amused look is replaced with a thoughtful one. “Do I really need to enforce that? I wonder how old this law is...”
The man hmphs and leans against the office wall, his hat slouching over his face.”That’s your job, isn’t it? To enforce the law?”
The door flies open again before Evie can reply. She’s unable to help her thoughts that it would have been funny if the man had still been standing in front of it. She quickly rebukes herself for thinking that but smiles at the thought all the same.
The person responsible for the door opening is the town mayor himself, Mr. Fredrick C. Peabody, a man in his mid-forties, with graying hair and wearing a rather tired-looking suit.
“Something wrong, Mayor Peabody?” Evie asks, quickly sitting up again and setting her book on the desk.
The man doesn’t respond right away but instead stands in the doorway, catching his breath. The first man- the stranger waiting for Adam- pushes back from the wall, his hat no longer over his clear blue eyes, his feet firmly on the ground, instead of rocking on the heels.
He eyes the mayor for a good long second before saying, “You’re the mayor of this town?”
Mayor Peabody looks up at the cowboy, assessing him a moment. “That’s right.”
“I’m Marshal Younger,” the man says, flashing a badge, hidden under his jacket. “I’d like to talk with you, when you have a chance, about the law officers your town employs.”
Evie mentally kicks herself for not realizing who this man is. Of course, she’s not sure how she should have known, but she still feels like she should have.
The mayor waves the marshal off. “Later, later. Right now, I have more important things. Evie, where’s Adam?”
“Rode out to Ford’s Pass. Had to see Mr. Cramer about something. Why? Is something wrong?” she asks, not too concerned. The mayor’s one to get excited about the littlest thing and so she’s sure whatever brought him to the office is nothing important.
Mayor Peabody shakes his head. “Tell him to come and see me when he gets back, would you?”
She nods. “Will do.”
As he leaves, the marshal leans against the wall again, quaking a smile. “Is your sheriff’s name really Adam?”
Evie looks up at him in surprise. “Yeah, why?”
He chuckles. “And your name’s Eve?”
She sighs, knowing exactly where he’s going with this. “Yeah. Though, it’s actually Evie and it’s really not as funny as people make it out to be.”
“I think it is.”
“You might have told me you were the marshal,” she says in an attempt to change the subject.
He grins at her. “I could have. But, that wouldn’t have been as fun. You should have seen the way your mouth hung open when I told the mayor. You looked like a drowning fish.”
Evie would protest but she’s too busy trying to puzzle out the drowning fish remark. Can fish drown?
The door opens yet again before she has time to finish contemplating and Mrs. Peabody pokes her head in the office. “Evie, have you seen Fredrick?”
“He just left. Looked like he was headed toward Nancy’s.”
The woman smiles. “Thanks, Evie.”
As she leaves, Evie grins at the marshal leaning against the wall. “Remember that law you told me to enforce?” she asks. He looks at her lazily and nods. “Well, that was the mayor’s wife and you didn’t tip your hat. Will you be going with the two dollars or the week in jail?”
Grumbling, the man reaches into his pocket and pulls out two crumpled bills. Evie grins at him. “Thank you, Marshal.”
And there you have it! I hope you enjoyed it!!
Next week's excerpt will be another western, but a much more serious one. And, Monday we'll once again be talking about heroines. I hope you'll stop back for more.