Chapter One - A town called Delight

It is 1872 in the Northwestern Territory of Delight, Colorado. There is a sign being posted up in the window of the local newspaper office that reads Wild West News Special Edition. The newspaper rolls out of the press and neat stacks are made of the special editions. Newspaper work is tedious and finding out the news to report in a small town can become boring and monotonous if one does not flower some things up a bit once in awhile. To make the paper you have to take print molds of each letter of the alphabet, set them in order on a plate and then ink them. This makes a print of the master page and then that page is run on the hand press to make other copies. Me, I'm Miss Molly Lavender, the newspaper Editor of Wild West News. This edition is very special today because it could it may completely change the course of our lives.

It's another day of sunshine and nobody visiting our town again. You see our brothers, fathers and husbands died in the war and we were left to fend for ourselves five years ago. Oddly enough we only had daughters. It must be the water. So there are no men in Delight. We have women running ranches and farms, preaching, being the Sheriff and even our Judge. Our town is ready for more visitors and we need the commerce. We had a town meeting last night and decided to advertise for new visitors and most of us need a man in their lives. Most of the women are still child-bearing age and would love to have a larger family. So the

special edition has been written. It states that we are looking for 47 good men from neighboring towns who are ranchers, farmers and interested in relocating to our town and beginning a new life with one of our women. Of course there will be an interview process and they must meet the town's criteria.

This is my daughter Lucy. She is a mere 16 years old but do not let that fool you. She is a headstrong lady who can take care of herself. She is going to be going on this quest and delivering the special editions and interviewing the men. She wants to be a Judge when she is learned and this is good life practice for her. More than she could learn in our local school. The school of life is the best way to learn. Lucy takes the large stack of papers, rolls them up in a blanket and mounts her horse.

"Now Lucy, you do not dilly dally in the towns. Do your job and you will not get into any trouble. You get back home as soon as you are done before the Winter sets in. Do not bring back any copies. I want them all given out and at least 40 good men returning with you" Mollie said handing her a flour sack filled with cornbread, fruit and beef jerky. She also handed her a canteen full of cool water.

Lucy rode off as her mother watched. Mollie saw Sheriff Andrea sitting on her porch whittling a cat for her daughter.

"Lucy going to be safe Molly? Does she have a gun?" The Sheriff said without looking up. Sheriff Andrea always had a way of knowing what was going on around her at all times.

"I did not think she would need one – besides, she could not hit the side of a barn! She will be fine. It is the men and outlaws that I worry about. What if the men that answer the ad are outlaws and try to rob the bank and kill you and burn the town? I had a dream last night."

"Mollie, it is just a dream just like your other ones. No men are going to start trouble in this town

because we all know how to ride, shoot, fight and hold our own. Men can be a good thing when you have one that can take care of you and work hard. Even better when you have true love and he treats you right. Hopefully, this time there will be no more wars to take this batch from us. I just hope Lucy finds me one that can keep up with me." the Sheriff said while disappearing inside the jail.

So I went to the General Store and picked up a few things. Eating would be just me for awhile so I will have to adjust the rations.

"Heck, I miss my Lucy already. This will be hard, I am so used to having her around" Mollie said picking out some cans of peaches, flour and beans..

"I would never had let Carly go on such a dangerous quest. There are some really mean men out there that would just love to take advantage of a young lady by raping her and turning her into a dance hall girl. You might need to worry about that" Miss Sandy said curtly as she packed up the goods.

"She will be fine. I raised her right" Molly said leaving the store with her head held high. Returning to the office, she sat at her desk with a cup of coffee looking out the window wondering what was happening with her daughter.