Cotton's War (Sheriff Cotton Burke)
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SHERIFF COTTON BURKE DIDN’T START THIS WAR, BUT HE WILL FINISH IT.
As sheriff of Catron County in New Mexico Territory, Cotton Burke has put his life on the line against some of the West’s most unrepentant outlaws. Like Virgil Cruz—who’s kidnapped the woman Cotton loves and threatens to kill her should the lawman attempt to interfere with his gang’s schemes.
Memphis Jack Stump used to wear a badge and uphold justice until one drink too many cost him his job—and his friendship with Cotton. But he’s the only man Cotton trusts enough to infiltrate Cruz’s gang as a hired gun and help take them down from the inside before the bandit enacts a terrible revenge…
hadn’t been slept in. Cotton mumbled as he gritted his teeth. He struggled into his shirt, grabbed his rifle, gun belt, and hat, and hurried downstairs toward the sound of voices and the smell of cooking. The dining room was at the rear of the house, and he could hear several men in conversation. As he stepped inside, he saw four men laughing as they ate. They were gathered around the table, stabbing potatoes from a bowl in the center, slicing chunks of fried pork, or spooning out a slab of
struggling to keep that promise. There were no words, no promises that could allow him to leave Emily’s life in the hands of scoundrels one minute longer than necessary. He began his search for the missing ranch hands. Chapter 3 Cotton Burke stared at the Colt .45 in his hand. He loved the feel of the smooth walnut grip and the perfect balance. It was the only tool he’d ever been really good at using. He wondered if that was a skill to be proud of. Killing wasn’t something he’d set out
twenty feet short of their position. “They must be using sidearms, Bear. Guess they figured they could get close enough to be effective with a six-shooter. Why don’t you haul out that Sharps buffalo rifle and plunk one of them cannonballs into their position over there behind those rocks and cactus that look like a bunch of hens with their chicks. Don’t try to hit anyone until we know what we’re facin’.” Bear raised the rifle and blasted off a .50-caliber shot right where Cotton had told him
now, I’ve got to get some sleep before the poker tables open this evenin’.” Cotton stood up, took one step toward the bed where Jack had just settled his head back on the pillow, and reached out, grabbing a handful of long hair. Jack was yanked off the bed with a yelp as he crashed to the floor. Cotton picked up his rifle and pointed it at Jack’s head. Jack lifted himself up on one arm, rubbed his shoulder where he’d fallen on it, and gave Cotton a scowl. “Now, what’d you have to go and do a
nodded and went back to where three cells stood in a row. Melody was sitting in the first cell, on an adobe slab with a thinly stuffed mattress. She was bedraggled, her hair falling down, and her eyes puffy and dark. All the toughness she was famous for had evaporated. She was defeated; tears had drawn dark streaks down her cheeks. She looked up at the sound of the door opening, expecting to see Cotton ready to try once more to bend her to his will. When she saw Jack, she cried out, rushing to