Chapter Two - To Find A Good Man

Meanwhile, in a neighboring town called Maclary, Lucy was riding in and parked her horse in front of the newspaper office. She gave the horse part of her apple and at some of the other half. Then she straightened her skirt and dusted off the ride. She unrolled the blanket and took some copies of the special edition.

"Sweets, you could not be a day over 14 – why did you come instead of your boss?" the newspaper Editor said as Lucy handed him the special edition.

"Because she knows if she came that men would harass her and I am pretty headstrong. I am Mollie's daughter Lucy Lizbeth Lavender. I am 16 years and 15 days old. I can ride, shoot and take care of myself. I just need a stable for my horse, room for the night, something to eat and a hot bath"

"Well Miss Lucy, you can just go over to the Hotel at the end of the street and they can help you. Good luck young lady" the Editor said returning to his work.

Lucy walked down the street toward the Nightingale Hotel at the end of the town. She tried not to look as she passed by the Saloon. Her mother had told her about these places and to avoid them. Now she is having to pass directly by one to get to her desired destination. Crossing the street was almost impossible with horses and buggies coming through. So she decided to stay true to her chosen path and just do not look as she passed.

She could here a piano playing, laughter and the clinking of poker chips. She just had to look as she passed from curiosity. She saw a trio of men gambling and drinking whiskey. One of them had eyes as blue as the sky, one looked Spanish with dark eyes and the third was scary looking with long black hair and beard. They sensed the girl peeking at them and the handsome blue eyed one stood up and smiled at her inviting her to come in.

Lucy straightened her hair, pushed her hat back on her back and took a deep breath and

then pushed open the swinging doors. The sounds became louder along with the overwhelming stench of sweat and tobacco.

"Well, hello there little lady – want a Sassafras? The bartender asked offering her a brown liquid in a glass.

The handsome blue eyed one tipped his hat to her and smiled. "My name is Brice Bolton, this is my brother Brandt and this is Arturo. What is your name?"

"My name is Miss Lucy Lizbeth Lavender. My mother is Mollie Lavender the Owner and Editor of Wild West News from Delight. I am delivering our special edition to other towns for the next couple of weeks." Lucy said with her head held high like her mother had taught her. To always be a lady no matter what the world put in front of you.

"Well lets see this paper. Maybe we can help you. Well look at that boys, a town full of girls and women seeking out gentlemen to run their ranches and their farms and possibly be candidates for husbands. Must have gentlemanly manners, monetarily sound and ready to commit in a permanent lifetime partnership." Brice said with a boyish grin

"We could do that. We can escort you to the next town Barbers ville We have some unfinished business there" Brandt said smiling.

"Hermanos – I do not think this is a good idea. Lucy could get hurt." Arturo said cleaning his dirty fingernails with a bowie knife.

"Gentleman, I can take care of myself. My mother taught me how to ride, shoot and judge people. You three seem honest enough. I will go with you tomorrow. We leave after breakfast. Good evening." Lucy said departing the Saloon and heading back down to the Hotel.

"The little lady needs help and does not have to know what our business is. Play along with me – I am interested in meeting her mother" Brice whispered to his brothers and smiled.

Lucy signed the register at the Nightingale Hotel, went upstairs to her room, took a hot bath and changed clothes and then went downstairs to get some supper.

"Excuse me, Miss? I will have the chicken the. potatoes and a glass of milk and some information please

. Do you know anything about the Bolton Brothers?" Lucy asked after looking at the menu.

"Brice and I are sweet on each other. He seems nice. I would not say he is not rough around the edges though. I think all three of them were in the war and still have some anger issues." Miss Candy the waitress said writing down the order.

"Miss Candy, do you think I will be safe going with them to Barbers ville?" Lucy asks curtly.

"I can answer that ladies. Yes ma'am, she will be safe. I will personally see to it Miss Candy" Brice said smiling.

"You better – she is young and only has a couple of months to make the rounds before returning home. Will you be going back with her to Delight?" Miss Candy asked Brice and his brothers as they sat down next to Lucy at the table and ordered.

"Why not? I am kind of curious about who the Sheriff is, Brice is interested in meeting Lucy's mom and Arturo said the town needed his protection." Brandt said smiling and winking at Miss Candy.

"Brice, you are mine, so do not be getting crazy notions in your head about cheating." Miss Candy said serving the plates and drinks.

"That is funny Candy. I do not remember asking you to marry me and I am not branded with your name so I reckon I am free." Brice said smiling as Miss Candy stomped out angrily.

The group talked about their quest ahead of them and which towns they would be visiting and the time frame from which they would be working with.

"Good night gentleman, I am tired and need of rest. I will see you for breakfast." Miss Lucy said excusing herself.

The trio went upstairs and pulled out a map of the railroad. Brice spread it out on a table and the door closed.

The next morning the brothers were sitting downstairs waiting for Miss Lucy drinking coffee and eating biscuits and gravy, eggs and hash browns. Lucy walked down the stairs fresh and smiling.

"Good morning gentlemen. You know it is bad manners to begin eating when a lady has been invited to your table" she said as Brice pulled out her chair and smiled.

"You sure look pretty today Miss Lucy. So in each town you will be interviewing men to join us?"

"Yes, Mister Brice. Forgive me but I just get lost in your eyes." Lucy said looking deep into Brice's eyes as if she was looking into his soul.

"That is the first time I have ever heard that one" Brice said blushing.

"Arturo and I had different mothers yet the same father as Brice. Arturo is a half-breed Cherokee. My mother was Spanish. Brice's mother white as driven snow. Our father a highly decorated Captain in the Northern Army. He died for his country and for the North. We survived that war and we would fight again. We miss the excitement and danger each day." Brandt said to Lucy.

"Well Mister Arturo, this is the third time I have seen a Native American. Our towns doctor is a full Cherokee healer – Doctor Red feather Our towns Deputy Sheriff Loti is a half-breed Cherokee and Doctor Red feather's daughter." Lucy said informantly.

"Your town sounds very interesting. Who is your best cook?"

"That would be Miss Esmeralda who runs our cafe and hotel. She is full Spanish and very beautiful.

"Miss Lucy, please tell me about your mother." Brice said putting blueberry jam on his biscuit.

"She is very pretty, independent, a wonderful writer and very smart. She has red hair and green eyes." Lucy said looking into Brice's eyes.

"That really sounds wonderful. I can not wait to meet her and see your town" Brice said smiling.

"Miss Lucy – can you tell me about Sheriff Andrea?" Brandt asked

"She is headstrong, loves guns and you cannot sneak up on her because she always knows what is going on around her. I feel sorry for any criminal that comes into Delight. She makes them check their guns and we do not have a saloon of debauchery for men to gather." Miss Lucy said.

The group finished up their breakfast and packed their horses and rode off to Barbers ville

Several hours later they arrived in the town. The trio said they would meet Miss Lucy for dinner at the hotel. Lucy went into the hotel and checked in and ate some lunch. Then she went into the town newspaper office and brought them the special edition. She started interviews around the town with different men.