Here, two men who are old friends from Jake’s story DO NOT FORSAKE ME are discussing Jake and his new life in Colorado. Jeff is a reporter who wrote a book about Jake’s life, and Peter is a lawyer who helped him get a prison sentence reduced. He is also in love with Jake’s wife Miranda. Both these men are now married and live in Chicago. In this segment, to understand the humor here, you have to remember Jake can be TRULY ruthless. He’s killed a lot of men, once rode as an outlaw, spent time in prison, and overall has a bad reputation. Here Jeff is telling Peter about his visit to Jake’s ranch.
“Well, you’ll get a kick out of this. He sits in that chair with his two little granddaughters on his lap, and he tells them stories.”
“Reads them fairy tales.”
Peter had just started to swallow his brandy. He nearly spit it out when he broke into all-out laughter. “Jake?’
Both men laughed hardily. “Oh, Lord help us!” Peter continued laughing as he spoke. “God knows the kind of stories he could tell them! They sure wouldn’t be fairy tales! I’m surprised he hasn’t sent them screaming to their mothers!” He poured them both another drink. “I have to visit them, because that is something I want to see!” He sobered a little. “Randy writes us occasionally and asks us to come and visit. She wants to meet Treena.” He slugged down the second drink, then just stared at the glass. “Is she really all right, Jeff?”
“You know Jake. As much as you love her, Peter, he loves her more. …… She wouldn’t be happy living any other way, and you know it.”
Peter drank yet another brandy. “Of course I know it.” He sighed deeply, running a hand through his hair. “Old memories can really sting sometimes, Jeff.”
“I know. I have some of my own. Half living with them for so long left its mark.”
Peter met his gaze. “I think you should tell Jake about Mike Holt. He and Lloyd have a right to know so they can at least be on the lookout.”
Jeff nodded. “I think so, too. Of course, a man like Jake is always on the lookout anyway. He’ll never quite get over wondering if someone is out there ready to make a name for himself.”
Peter grunted a laugh. “God help the man who thinks he can take down Jake Harkner.”
Jeff smiled and nodded. “I’ve held those guns, and I’ve ridden with the man. He’s the best friend anyone could ask for when you’re sincere and honest…but you sure as hell don’t want to be his enemy.” He rose. “I’d better get back. I have a cab waiting for me. You can keep that paper if you want. I’ll get more details.” He sighed. “In the meantime, I’ll send a wire to Denver. A courier rides out to Jake’s ranch once a week with news. I’ll be sure the wire says someone should go out there right away. If I wait till it hits the papers, it might be two weeks or more before Jake would know. He gets the Denver Post in bunches every couple of weeks. He lets Randy read them and pick out anything he might care about. Jake isn’t a man with the patience to sit and read for hours.”
Peter also rose. “No doubt about that. There isn’t much of anything Jake Harkner has patience for, except for his wife and those grandchildren.” He walked around the desk and shook Jeff’s hand again. “We had quite a time back in Guthrie, didn’t we?”
“We sure did. You don’t run with a man like Jake Harkner without it leaving some pretty vivid memories.” He squeezed Peter’s hand. “And you don’t meet up with a woman like Randy without her leaving one hell of an impression.”
About the Book
Their Passion Shaped a Nation
Over the years, Jake and Miranda Harkner have endured all the dangers a wild and brutal West could throw at them. Now, settled on their ranch in the beautiful Colorado hill country, they’ve finally found peace. But for a man like Jake Harkner, danger is always lurking, and the world may not be ready for an infamous outlaw-turned-lawman-turned-legend to hang up his guns.
Threatened by cruel men in search of revenge, the Harkner clan must be stronger than ever before. Yet nothing can stop the coming storm. With the Old West dying around them and the rules of this new world ever-changing, Jake vows to end the threat to his family no matter what it takes…
Even if it means sacrificing himself so his beloved Miranda may live.
About the Author
USA Today bestseller and award-winning novelist Rosanne Bittner is known as the “Queen of Western Historical Romance” for her thrilling love stories and historical authenticity. Her epic romances span the West—and are often based on Rosanne’s personal visits to each setting. She lives in Coloma, Michigan, with her husband and two sons.