One Shot at Love


One Shot at Love: A Sweet Western Romance


Epitaph Press May 2023

Available in ebook as a Kindle Unlimited and Kindle, Plus print.

11 Exciting stories (each stand-alone) of a pink pistol that appears, offering love and hope.


      As the books release, more will be added.

Amid danger and secrets, she struggles to resist a handsome stranger who needs her help. But can she trust him?

The challenge of raising her siblings is one Mariah Bartee willingly bears. She’ll keep them together at all costs – And safe from the danger lurking on the mountain. A handsome stranger’s arrival raises the stakes when he asks for her help. She doesn’t trust easily.

Dax Nolan, a cowboy from the lowlands, hesitates to involve Mariah but no one knows the mountains like her. Desperation drives him. Can the bones recently uncovered be his missing sister?

Mariah reluctantly agrees to guide Dax and they encounter danger and secrets. As they search for truth, she finds herself falling for him. He can offer security – and love. But can they build a life on promises and the folklore of a legendary pink pistol?




Mariah was about to turn away and finish dusting the shelves when an old Model T, trailing smoke, pulled up in front of the store, coughing and sputtering.

Mr. Freeman chuckled. “That tin lizzy’s seen better days.”

“I wonder who he is.” Mariah took in the young man’s brown vest and fedora. He climbed out and kicked a tire. “Whoever he is, he’s not happy.”

His white shirt sleeves rolled to the elbows, the stranger strode into the store. His smile looked a little forced. “Howdy, can I trouble you for some water? My motor needs cooling.”

“Of course. There’s a hydrant outside. Help yourself.” Freeman shook his hand. “We don’t often get visitors through Panther Creek so you’ll have to excuse us for staring. I’m Joe Freeman, the owner of this store. And Mariah here runs it.”

The stranger passed a curious gaze at Mariah and nodded, taking Freeman’s offered hand. “Dax Talon.” He scanned the shelves. “Nice place you have here.”

“Thank you. It suits our needs and serves the few remaining people here. Most moved away when the mine shut down, but we have about a hundred or so stubborn hangers-on.” Freeman dropped Talon’s hand and glanced out at the car. “Your lizzy ain’t faring so well in the high altitudes of the mountains.”

“No, sir. She runs well down below and I can’t complain but here I might as well have a horse.” Talon turned to Mariah. “I’m looking for someone—my sister. A young lady about your age. I heard I might find her around here. I’ve been searching for Rosanna ever since she was taken a year ago on her seventeenth birthday.”

Freeman scratched his head in thought. “Rosanna. Rosanna. What does she look like?”

“She’s slender, not as tall as your helper, and has reddish-brown hair. Her disappearance has left our parents in poor health, so it’s fallen to me to find her. I promised my father.”

“What makes you think she’s here on our mountain?” Mariah asked quietly.

“Ma’am, I’ve pretty much followed the path the abductors took to Denver. There it went cold.” He paused and glanced out the window. “Then I recently got a letter from a man saying I should look for Levy Tyler in Panther Creek so here I am.”

The name Levy Tyler sent chills over Mariah. The man scared her with his violent ways. Everyone on the mountain with half sense steered clear of the Tylers.

“I don’t know what you’ve heard, Mr. Talon, but…I hope you brought a gun.” Mariah hated the hardness of her tone, but Talon needed to be aware of the danger.

Freeman scoffed. “Now, Mariah, don’t go scaring him.”

“Just laying out the facts. The Tylers are moonshiners, and they shoot anyone who comes near their still. Folks around here don’t bother them. If Levy took your sister, she’s not had it easy.” Mariah pitied Dax Talon. She truly did. Even if he got his sister back, she’d never be the same. “I recall a girl with Levy quite a while back. She looked scared. Never heard her name spoken so I don’t know if she was your sister.”

The young girl’s sunken eyes and pale face had haunted her for days. Mariah’s gut had told her something wasn’t right. But they had no law to turn to in Panther Creek.

“When exactly did she disappear?” Freeman asked, rocking back on his heels.

“September 15th. That was Rosanna’s birthday.” Talon swallowed hard. “Thank you, Miss Mariah. This gives me something to go on.” He looked away. “This has taken a heavy toll on our family.” He ducked his head as though he’d said too much and stepped toward the screen door.

She patted the sides of her hair that she’d pulled back and tied with a string then instantly dropped her hands. She didn’t trust men, especially ones with pretty faces.

Yet Talon seemed different. It was the sincerity in his eyes. A man could lie about everything but his eyes always gave him away.

She lowered her lashes and studied him through the dark fringe. What she could see of his hair under his hat appeared to be the color of freshly plowed earth. His sleeves rolled to his elbows revealed thick veins along his muscular arms. Lean waist, broad shoulders.



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