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Cowboy Legacy [Love's Legacy 1] (Siren Publishing Menage Amour) [MultiFormat]
eBook by Stormy Glenn

eBook Category: Erotica/Romance
eBook Description: [Menage Amour: Erotic Western Menage a Quatre Romance, F/M/M/M] Nyssa Dupre has always been different. She's been on the move from one town to the next most of her life, never quite accepted for who she was or what she could do. Finding out that her family comes from Applegate Valley and that she has inherited the family estate just adds to her problems. It could mean she has to settle down in one place and accept the fact that in Applegate Valley, her ability to manipulate air makes her normal. The stagecoach trip from Philadelphia brings change into Nyssa's life that she never imagined. Starting with the extremely handsome Sheriff Lucas Nash. Lucas is unlike any man she has ever met. Besides being domineering and sexy as hell, he decides Nyssa is the woman for him and his two brothers, Royce and Ian. For them, and the rest of Applegate Valley, it's normal to share a woman. But there are those that have their own plans for Nyssa. She turns to Lucas, Royce, and Ian to protect her. But can they save her from people that won't take no for an answer? [Erotic Western Menage a Quatre Romance. Warning: Contains graphic sexual content and adult language.]

eBook Publisher: Siren-BookStrand, Inc./Menage Amour, Published: 2009, 2009
Fictionwise Release Date: May 2010

55 Reader Ratings:
Great Good OK Poor

"5 CUPS: Ms. Glenn has written another winner as far as I'm concerned with Cowboy Legacy! This story has a little bit of everything, mystery, suspense, romance, and blistering hot sex. This book personifies how the west was wild. The antics of the Nash boys had me cracking up on more than one occasion, and the way Nyssa keeps them all in line is very fun to read. The secondary characters are well drawn, and make their appearance when it can further the story, which I really liked. A very fun story that I am more than happy to recommend to others who enjoy quatre stories!" -- Regina, Coffee Time Romance and More

"5 STARS: I love a good western. Cowboy Legacy has an excellent plot...This story has humor, romance, hot sex, love, suspense, adventure, and a happy ending. What more can I ask for?" -- Debra Gaynor, ReviewYourBook

* * * *

Chapter 1

Applegate Valley, Northwest Territory, 1865

Some people called it supernatural. Some people called it sorcery. Some people called it witchcraft. Most people just called it spooky. Nyssa called it natural. It was her legacy, her birthright. As the only daughter of Jolene Dupre, she had inherited the powers of all the Dupre women who had come before her and all the troubles that came with that power. For Nyssa, those troubles seemed to come by the hundreds.

It had been that way for most of Nyssa's twenty-three years. From the mistrust of strangers to the disbelief of those she cared about, Nyssa tended to not have a lot of people in her life. The few times she had tried to get close to someone, it had ended in disaster, usually with them staring at her as if she was a freak.

It didn't take Nyssa long to realize that she was different. From the moment she'd entered the Sisters of Hope Orphanage, after the death of her parents when she was just a toddler, she'd been marked as different. Only people who were different too, could understand how difficult that was.

When people discovered her powers, as they usually did, the stares would begin, followed by the mistrust, then the outright avoidance and disdain for her presence. In the end, some "upstanding member of society," usually the community religious leader, would show up on her doorstep and politely ask her to leave, all the while eyeing Nyssa as if she were going to cast a spell on him at any moment or dance naked in the streets. And in the end, she would pack up what meager belongings she had and move on to the next town and the next set of troubles.

Born a child of magic, Nyssa never really fit in. So eventually she decided not to try. She embraced her heritage, reveled in it almost. From the tip of her long, unruly strawberry blond hair and misty moss-colored green eyes to the bottom of her ring-clad toes, she was different.

When others zigged, she zagged. When others conformed, she took great delight in being a contradiction. When others wore hoop skirts and bonnets, she wore simple homespun dresses and long dangling earrings. And when others talked in hushed tones of supernatural happenings, she was usually in the midst of them.

Which did not fully explain why she was riding in a stagecoach through countryside on the way to nowhere in particular, but it was a start.

Nyssa climbed out of the stagecoach onto the dusty ground. She walked across the road to the main stagecoach building, which was probably no bigger than her last abode. Walking into the building, she noticed that only a few people seemed to coming and going. The place was practically vacant.

This was no surprise considering how far into the countryside she actually was. This was the deep countryside. It could have been the moon for all she knew. Nyssa felt totally lost and out of place.

The way people looked at her when she spoke, the moon would have been a good bet. People looked at her like she was from another country. She didn't know if it was the long, sage green calico dress that she wore, or that they already suspected that she was different.

Nyssa set her bags down next to the front door and pulled out the scrap of paper her notes were written on. According to Mr. Jones, someone was supposed to meet her here at the stagecoach station and drive her to Mr. Dupre's home.

Nyssa glanced around the room. It didn't look like anyone was waiting for her, and she stuck out like a sore thumb, so if someone had been looking for her, she would be easy to find. Picking up her small travel bag, she headed out the front door. The sight outside was not much better than the sight inside. While Nyssa loved the rustic feel of everything, it still was very rustic.

She looked around, hoping to find someone, anyone, who might be there for her. There wasn't anyone. In fact, she didn't see another soul. Spying a wooden bench off to one side of the double doors, she headed for it, sat down, and waited.

Nyssa pulled out the letter she had received just three days before, the letter that had led her to the countryside. She stared at it again, wondering if she had misread the words the first ten times she had read it.

Dear Ms. Dupre,

Mr. Albert Dupre gave your name to me. From my understanding, you and Mr. Dupre had been corresponding for some time. Mr. Dupre has become seriously ill and wishes for you to come out west and see him before he dies. He has provided transportation for you as well as room and board. As Mr. Dupre is unable to correspond with you at this time, please refer all queries to my office.

I have taken the liberty of booking passage for you for Thursday the 24th. You will find a stagecoach ticket and travel information included with this letter. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you.

Sincerely, Abraham Jones

Jones and Hath, Barristers

Nyssa dropped the letter back in her bag and looked down both directions of the narrow road that was just feet in front of the station. No wagons, no carriages, not even a horse. Maybe they had forgotten her.

Grabbing her bag, Nyssa walked back into the station and asked the small wiry man behind the counter if a message had been left for her. He shook his head no. Feeling more than a little nervous, Nyssa made her way back outside.

Maybe she should just get back on the stagecoach before it left. She must be crazy to come hundreds of miles to see a man she had never even met. He could be a weird old coot for all she knew.

"He probably can't even take the time to come and get me. He's probably sending some shmuck to get me. This is crazy," Nyssa mumbled to herself.

Nyssa was so drawn into her own thoughts that she jumped when a buckboard wagon came to a stop directly in front of her. The driver pushed his cowboy hat back on his head as he turned to look at her.

She was preparing to turn down some buckaroo who thought she might be easy-pickings when the deep voice of the man who sat there asked her, "Ms. Dupre? Mr. Jones sent me to pick you up and take you to Mr. Dupre's residence."

Nyssa stood up and grabbed her bag, walking to the wagon. She eyed the large guy in the seat. Not bad. She certainly wouldn't kick him out of her bed for eating crackers. He was very easy on the eyes and big as a horse.

He had shoulder-length black hair, smoky gray eyes, darkly tanned skin, and shoulders as wide as the Mississippi. Oh yeah, he was a looker all right. He had thick muscular arms, a chest so broad and rippled that she could see each muscle move under his tight shirt. His faded Kentucky jeans were so tight she wondered if they were cutting off the circulation to his brain.

He was staring at her like he had just won the world's biggest poker game. She wanted to look her fill, but she was uncomfortable with him looking at her the same way, as if seeing her naked was the most important thing in the world. Yeah, it was a double standard, and Nyssa knew it.

Nyssa glared at him as she climbed into the front seat, tossed her bag in the back and settled down. She turned to look at the sexy man again. It really was too bad she wasn't looking for a lover. He would fit the bill to a tee.

But then, she knew he would have to speak, and that would not be good. Because Nyssa was pretty sure just by looking at him that he would have a sexy, deep, raspy voice. "Well, Ms. Dupre, welcome to Applegate Valley. Mr. Dupre was unable to come get you, so he asked me to." Damn! She was right!

"You apparently know who I am. Who are you?"

"I'm the scalawag!" He chuckled.

"Oh, sorry." Oops!

He chuckled again as he snapped the reins and got the wagon moving. "No, you're not."

Nyssa couldn't help but laugh. "No, I'm not." Well, at least he had a sense of humor. She hoped. "I probably shouldn't go around calling you scalawag. Is there something else I can call you?"

"I don't know, scalawag kind of fits right now. But if you're really curious, it's Sheriff Lucas Nash."

The sheriff? Already? Well, hell! That just cut her visit time down to nearly nothing. Experience had taught her that once the local law enforcement was involved, she would soon be on the road to someplace new. She thought she would have a couple of weeks at least before she had to move on.

If it weren't so important for her to meet with Mr. Dupre, she would have told the good sheriff to take her right back to the stagecoach station. Mr. Dupre had been good enough to provide her with an open-ended ticket. She could leave anytime she wanted, headed anywhere within 1,000 miles.

"So," Sheriff Nash began, "how well do you know Mr. Dupre?"

"I've never actually met the man." Well, it was the truth. She had never met him. They had been corresponding for about six months now. Mr. Dupre had contacted her through a newspaper ad Nyssa had placed in the Philadelphia Register concerning her search for her family. They had hit it off and begun writing letters back and forth.

When Mr. Dupre had asked her to come for a visit, how could she say no? He was nearly the only friend she had. Of course, that was because he didn't really know about her and all of her little--peculiarities.

"Do you always go to visit men you've never met?" There was a slight tinge of jealousy and disgust in his voice when he asked.

Nyssa rolled her eyes as she stared across the width of the buckboard at the sheriff. "Yes, as a matter of fact, I do. I especially like to make sure that they are rich old men, so I can milk them for all of their money. It's what I'm good at," she replied sarcastically.

"Really? And you know that Mr. Dupre is rich because--?"

Jeez! He actually believed that crap? "Are you for real?"

"Oh, I assure you, Ms. Dupre, I am very much for real," he guaranteed her as he pulled into a long, gated driveway.

Nyssa looked up the driveway to see the biggest Greek Revival-style house she had ever seen. It was huge, at least three stories tall with several large windows in the front. She wondered how many windows were in the back and how many people had to be employed just to clean them all. Yikes!

"This is Mr. Dupre's house?" she asked, astonished by the sheer size of the place.

"I'd think you would already know that, Ms. Dupre, considering you're after Mr. Dupre's money and all. Didn't you do your research before you agreed to come down here?"

Nyssa snorted. "Oh my gods, are you serious? I thought that at least one person in this little backwater town would have a modicum of intelligence. Guess I was wrong."

The sheriff pulled the buckboard wagon to a stop in front of the house. He turned to look at Nyssa and gave her a good glare from head to toe. "I'm the sheriff in this little backwater town, Ms. Dupre, something you should really think about before you start insulting my hometown."

Nyssa had the decency to look a little ashamed of herself, but not much. The good sheriff had been feeding her as much crap as she had been feeding him. She just hated people who made snap judgments based on how she looked.

"Look, Sheriff Nash, I apologize for making fun of your little town. I'm sure it's a very nice town. However--"

"However, I do believe that Mr. Jones is waiting for us," the sheriff said as he nodded towards the front steps where Mr. Jones stood, anxiously wringing his hands together.

"Fine." Nyssa grabbed her bag and climbed down from the wagon, disappointed that the sheriff was being such an ass. She knew he was too good to be true. Great to look at, but the moment he opened his mouth, well, his sexy body started to pale in comparison to his disgusting ideas.

"Ms. Dupre, it's so good to finally meet you."

"Mr. Jones, thank you for sending the sheriff to come get me. I had been getting a little worried when no one was there to meet me. Is Mr. Dupre available to see me now? The sheriff said that he was unavailable."

Mr. Jones quickly looked behind her to the sheriff. "Uh, why don't you come in and make yourself comfortable? Then we can discuss Mr. Dupre."

Nyssa could feel the nervous vibe coming off the lawyer as he grabbed her arm to lead her into the house. She could hear the sheriff following them up the steps and through the front door.

Mr. Jones led her down the large entryway to a room off to one side. Nyssa could see that it was a study. He gestured for her to sit down in one of the vacant French Victorian chairs in front of the massive rosewood desk, while he sat down behind it. The sheriff closed the door and leaned against it, his arms crossed over his chest, his gaze intently searching Nyssa's.

"Ms. Dupre, you know that Mr. Dupre has been ill for some time."

"Well, yes, you mentioned it in your letter to me when Mr. Dupre sent for me." Nyssa looked from the barrister to the sheriff. "What's going on here?"

"Ms. Dupre, I'm sorry to have to inform you of this, but Mr. Dupre has gone missing."

Nyssa just stared at the sheriff, her mind numb for a moment. He was missing? "Are you serious?"

"Oh, he's definitely missing, Ms. Dupre, I can attest to that. My question is why are you here? What business did you have with Mr. Dupre?"

"He was, uh, we were both into genealogy. Mr. Dupre contacted me after finding my ad in the Philadelphia Register. We started corresponding after that. A couple of weeks ago, Mr. Jones contacted me on behalf of Mr. Dupre and asked me to come visit before he died."

"What kind of ad?" the sheriff asked.

"I was raised in an orphanage. I've been looking for my family. Mr. Dupre and I shared the same surname," Nyssa replied.

The sheriff looked over at Mr. Jones, his eyebrow cocked up in query. He let out a deep sigh as Mr. Jones nodded. Well, that was one worry off of his mind.

Nyssa saw the look that passed between the two men. They were keeping something from her. She could feel it. And she didn't like the feeling it was giving her. She suddenly felt like she was going to need to leave town in a big hurry.

"Sheriff--" Nyssa began.

The sheriff walked across the room to sit down in the chair next to Nyssa's. He took off his cowboy hat, his hands playing nervously with the brown brim of the Stetson.

"Ms. Dupre--"

"Would you please call me Nyssa? Ms. Dupre was my mother, and she died many years ago. You're making me feel old here."

Sheriff Nash chuckled. "Fair enough. My name is Lucas."

Nyssa nodded at him. "It's nice to meet you, Lucas. Now, would you please tell me whatever it is you need to tell me so I can go?"

"Did Mr. Dupre tell you why he asked you here?"

"No. I assumed it was like he said, because he was ill and he wanted to meet me before he passed away. Why? Is there something I don't know? Is there another reason Mr. Dupre wanted me here?"

She looked quickly over at the sheriff. "You know I wasn't serious when I said I was after his money. I was never after his money. Heck, until we pulled up in front of the house, I didn't even know he had money. He was just a nice old guy that I talked genealogy with. You just made me angry, and I tend to get a bit sarcastic when I get angry."

Lucas chuckled. "Yeah, I can see where that could be a problem. But, no, I didn't assume you were after his money. Mr. Dupre had in fact informed me of your coming arrival a few days ago. I was expecting you."

Nyssa looked at him peculiarly. "If you knew I was coming, why all the questions in the wagon? Just being a scalawag?"

Mr. Jones stared at Nyssa in horror. No one called Sheriff Lucas a scalawag--well, no one who wanted to live, anyway. He nearly fell out of his chair when the sheriff started laughing at Nyssa's words.

Lucas thought she was very straightforward and totally adorable. Most people were afraid of him because of his massive size. Few actually stood up to him and let him have it like he was a normal person. At six foot six, very few people looked at him with anything other than apprehension. It was kind of refreshing.

"Not exactly, Nyssa. I just needed to know what you were made of. You didn't disappoint me."

"Why?" Nyssa asked, totally confused now.

"I'm sorry to tell you this, but Mr. Dupre did not disappear of his own free will."

"He was--he was kidnapped? And you think that I--"

"No, no, your whereabouts are well known." Sheriff Lucas pulled a notepad out of his pocket and flipped it open and began reading from it. "The coachman said you boarded the stagecoach at 9:45am yesterday morning, and at no time did you leave the stagecoach. The station manager here saw you get off the stagecoach at 3:05pm. So your alibi is iron clad."

Nyssa just stared at Sheriff Lucas, not quite sure what to say to him. He had obviously looked into her whereabouts during the time of Mr. Dupre's disappearance and thankfully eliminated her as a suspect, hadn't he?

"Am I a suspect?" she asked hesitantly.

"No, Nyssa, you're not a suspect. However, I think that your being here does have something to do with Mr. Dupre's disappearance."

"But you just said--"

"Who knew you were coming here, Nyssa?"

"Uh, apparently you did."

"Besides me, Nyssa!"

Nyssa waved her hand a little. "I don't know. Mr. Dupre knew I was coming, of course, and Mr. Jones. I can't think of anyone else. Why?"

"No one else? What about your friends and family? Did any of them know you were coming? Associates? Your boss? Anyone you can think of? Your husband?"

"No, I'm not married. No one else knew I was coming here. Why do you want to know?"

"Are you sure? Could anyone have overheard you making plans to come here? What about work? Wouldn't you have had to make arrangements with your work to take a leave of absence?"

"No, I got--I don't have a job right now."

"You got what?"

Nyssa rolled her eyes. "I got fired, okay? Is that what you wanted to hear? I got fired and kicked out of my room at the boarding house. I have no job, no place to live, no friends, and no family. No one knows I'm here. Happy now?"

"No one really knows you're here? Do you think that was wise? Coming to someplace you've never been, to meet a man you've never met?" Mr. Jones asked, astounded.

"Oh, please! Anyone trying to mess with me would find themselves with a lot more trouble than they bargained for. Take my word for it. I may be small compared to you, but there is a whole lot more to me than meets the eye."

"I have no doubt, Nyssa, that you are probably very good at taking care of yourself. You look like you've been doing it for awhile. However, I do believe that Mr. Jones has some news for you that may alleviate some of your worries. Mr. Jones?"

Nyssa looked over at Mr. Jones in confusion.

"Ah, yes. You are quite correct, Sheriff." Mr. Jones flipped open a file that was sitting in front of him on the desk. "Ms. Dupre," he began to read, "as the only living relative to Mr. Albert Dupre, he has bequeathed to you the Dupre Estate and all that it entails, as well as a sizeable monetary bequest. There are also a few personal items he wished for you to have."

"What? I don't understand. I'm not related to Mr. Dupre. Why would he leave me anything? I never even met the man. You must have me confused with someone else."

"You are Nyssa Ann Dupre, daughter of Jolene Nyssa Dupre, daughter of Margarita Jolene Dupre of the Louisiana Dupre's? That is correct?" Mr. Jones asked.

Nyssa nodded. "Yes, but what does that--"

"Margarita Dupre never married and had only one child, your mother, Jolene Dupre. Your mother was never legally married to your father, Edward Williams, but was with him until their deaths when you were a toddler. You were their only child. Is this correct?'


"Margarita Dupre was the only child of Albert Dupre. When Margarita became pregnant while away at boarding school, Albert brought her home and gave her the Dupre Estate, which had belonged to his mother."

"Good gods, how old was Mr. Dupre?"

"Albert Dupre is 103, quite old. And I assure you, you are related to Mr. Dupre. In fact, you are the only living relative of Mr. Dupre. Mr. Dupre never had any other children. Jolene Dupre was Margarita's only child, as you were the only child of your parents. You are the last living Dupre besides Mr. Dupre."

Albert Dupre had been her great-grandfather? Nyssa couldn't say anything. She was too shocked. She just stared at Mr. Jones like he had suddenly grown two heads. Sheriff Lucas got up and poured her a small drink and started to hand it to her.

She just shook her head, holding her hand up to stop him. "No, thank you. I don't drink."

"You might want to start." He chuckled as he downed the scotch himself. "I know I've been thinking about it."

"I don't understand any of this. Why would Mr. Dupre leave me anything? Why wouldn't he tell me we were related? I don't care about the money. He was the last relative I had. I would have much rather have had him than his money."

"What about your father's family?"

"They disowned us years ago, right about the time my parents got pregnant with me. Apparently my father was stepping down in society, so they had a fit. I've never met them and don't care to. My grandparents are alive somewhere back east. Boston, I think."

"Nice!" Lucas chuckled.

"Not exactly how I would put it, but--"

"So, you basically had no job, no place to live before you came here. Now you have your own home and a nice bank account. Things could be worse, Nyssa."

"My last living relative was just kidnapped before I could meet him. How much worse do you want things to get?"

"Now Nyssa--" Lucas began.

"Don't you now Nyssa me, you moron! You're the sheriff here. Aren't you supposed to solve crimes? Well, get to solving. Why the hell did someone kidnap Mr. Dupre? What good are you? You're just standing here." Nyssa stood to her feet. Her finger stabbed Lucas in the chest as she yelled at him.

Lucas chuckled again. "Feel better?" he asked when she ran out of steam.

Nyssa stared up at Sheriff Lucas for a silent moment, and then she laughed. It started out as a small smirk and quickly worked into a full laugh.

"You're such an jackass." She giggled.

Lucas just laughed as he blew her a kiss. Yeah, he liked the idea that she wasn't afraid of him. It would make it a lot easier when he called on her. And call on her he would. She was too intriguing not to.

"Okay, so what does my being here have to do with Mr. Dupre's disappearance?" Nyssa finally asked as they both settled down into their chairs once again.

"I'm not exactly sure, Nyssa, but I am positive that the two are related. It's just too much of a coincidence for them not to be."

"Why? What could my coming here have to do with anything? No one knew I was coming here except Mr. Dupre, and us."

"I'm not exactly sure yet. But I will find out."

"Could someone be upset that Mr. Dupre was giving me the Dupre Estate? This is a pretty fancy house."

"Oh, Ms. Dupre, this isn't the Dupre Estate. This is Mr. Dupre's personal residence. The Dupre Estate is across town. Mr. Dupre's personal residence, as well as the bulk of his estate, has been bequeathed to the town of Applegate for the purpose of maintaining the town."

"Oh." Nyssa ran a trembling hand along her long braid.

"Mr. Dupre's family was one of the founding families in Applegate Valley. He loved this little town, probably more than anyone did. He wanted to make sure that it kept its little town feel. That was very important to him," Mr. Jones stated.

The sheriff nodded his head in agreement. "Mr. Dupre set up a fund to help with almost every area of this town. He supports the arts, employment, and even our newest doctors' clinic. He has been a great benefactor to this town."

"Could someone want to dirty his name then? Did anyone have a beef against him? I mean, what kind of man is he?" Nyssa asked.

Lucas sat back in his chair as he answered her. "Mr. Dupre is loved by everyone in Applegate, right down to the little children he plays Santa Claus for every year. I can't think of a single person who has anything against him. He has helped keep this town together."

"Then why would someone kidnap him? Could it have been a random thing? A robbery?"

"No, nothing was taken."

"So, basically he was kidnapped because I was coming here, then?"

"Looks that way. Which makes me wonder, could someone have something against you? Some reason that someone didn't want you to receive your inheritance or make contact with your family again? Does someone have a beef with you, Nyssa?"

Nyssa looked quickly up at the sheriff in surprise, then down at her hands, twisting them together nervously in her lap. Well, that was a loaded question. Did anyone have a beef with her? Just nearly everyone she had ever met.

"You mentioned that you had been fired from your last job and kicked out of your apartment. Care to tell me why, Nyssa?"

"No, not really," she replied quietly.

"I'm afraid I must insist, Nyssa," the sheriff directed.

Nyssa shrugged her shoulders. "Let's just say that my former boss, who was also my landlord--we had a difference of opinion. I decided that it was better if I just left."

"A difference of opinion?"

"Yeah, he was of the opinion that my job duties included sleeping with him. My opinion was that he could go screw himself, without my assistance. So he fired me and kicked me out of the boarding house. End of story."

Lucas chuckled. "Yes, I can see where that could cause some problems. But that doesn't explain why you moved suddenly six months before that. Or the one before that or the one before that. You move around a lot, Nyssa. Have issues with all of your employers and landlords?"

Nyssa stared at the sheriff in surprise and a little bit of anger. He had obviously had her investigated. Why? What exactly was he looking for, and how much had he found out about her? Did he know everything?

"So I move a lot. So what? I'm not wanted by any law enforcement, nor is anyone looking for me. And I don't have any associates, known or unknown. You have no reason to have me investigated."

"Actually, I didn't. Mr. Dupre did. He wanted to know what type of person you were before he invited you here. After he sent the letter to you, he gave me your file and asked me to keep an eye on you. He seemed to be worried that something might happen to you."

"Could he have known he or Ms. Dupre might be in danger?" Mr. Jones asked.

Lucas just shook his head. "I'm not real sure. He obviously knew something was up, but he never discussed it with me. He just asked me to keep on eye on Nyssa, make sure she stayed out of trouble."

Lucas looked over at Nyssa, an eyebrow raised curiously. "Any reason he should be worried?"

Nyssa had just about had enough of the third degree from the good sheriff of Applegate Valley, no matter how sexy he was. It was time to go because if he were to find out why she had had to move so often, she would just have to leave anyway. Might as well cut out the middleman and just leave now.

Grabbing her bag off the floor, Nyssa stood to her feet. "Look, this really has nothing to do with me. I think it would be best if I just leave and then you can get on with your investigation, Sheriff."

"Aren't you interested in seeing the estate that Mr. Dupre has left for you? It is your family estate. It's been in the Dupre family for two hundred years, and now it all belongs to you. Haven't you ever wanted to set down roots, Nyssa? Have a place all your own?"

Nyssa glared at the sheriff, an overwhelming urge to slap the knowing smirk off his face coming over her. He knew she wanted to see the Dupre Estate, that she really had no place to go from here.

"Besides, the next stagecoach isn't due for another three days. So, unless you have some other sort of transportation, the next town is over a hundred miles north of here. It's quite the walk, Nyssa. Hope you're up for it."

He rose to his feet, placing the brown cowboy hat back on his head. "Of course, if you wanted to stick around for a few days, see the Dupre place, get to know some of our townspeople...." Like the good sheriff.

"Fine!" Nyssa sighed deeply. It wasn't like she had any other choice. A hundred miles to the next town? Yeah, walking that far was just what she was looking forward to. She might as well have a horse kick her while she was at it. Both were at the top of her list of fun things to do.

"So, now what?" she asked.

Sheriff Lucas chuckled as he walked towards the door, turning to look back at Nyssa, winking at her. "Now I get to take you home."

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