The Lawman's Surrender
Welcome to Burr, Book 2

Digital Re-release
June 2017
ISBN-10: 0998949523
ISBN-13: 978-0998949529

Digital Re-release
Samhain Retro Historical
April 2012
ISBN: 978-1609289836

Original Release
March 2001
ISBN: 978-0380807758

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U.S. Marshal Jedidiah Brown knew Susannah Calhoun was trouble from the moment he met her, but he certainly never expected her to end up accused of murder. When he arrives to escort her to her trial in Denver, he finds the blonde beauty is just as captivating as he remembers—and just as desirable. But he’s determined to resist her wiles and do his duty to keep her matter how much he longs to taste those sweet lips again.

Susannah still hasn’t forgiven Jedidiah for leaving her without a word a year ago, and she certainly isn’t happy to see him now that she’s been accused of a crime she didn’t commit. The frustrating man doesn’t seem to believe in her innocence, and he’s immune to her charms to boot! So she does the only thing she can—she stages a jailbreak.

But she can’t escape Jedidiah, and their trip to Denver becomes a race to survive as they are pursued by enemies who want Susannah dead before she ever makes it to court. Only Jedidiah can keep her alive, but the more time they spend together, the more they realize they’re fighting for more than clearing Susannah’s name—they’re fighting their hearts as well.






"I can not tell you how much I loved the Marshal and Susannah. [...] I highly recommend The Lawman’s Surrender." - Harlie's Books


Excerpt from The Lawman's Surrender

Wyoming Territory, July 1882

That man was watching her again.

Susannah Calhoun peered over her dance partner’s shoulder at the figure standing in the shadow of the huge crabapple tree. He stood unmoving near the white picket fence that encircled the yard, isolated from the revelry of the barbecue. She had sensed his eyes on her during the last three hours, and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t seem to ignore him.

Matt Gomez, her partner in the Virginia reel, probably attributed her flushed cheeks to the vigor of the dance. But she knew her racing pulse had nothing to do with dancing.

And so did he—the rogue who stared so boldly at her.

The music stopped. Matt released her and turned to applaud the musicians, and Susannah did the same, smiling automatically. But all her attention was on the shadowy figure who watched her.

“May I fetch you some punch?” Matt’s dark gaze warmed with masculine appreciation as he scanned her face.

“That would be lovely, thank you,” she replied. He walked off the dance floor and headed for the refreshment table, but Susannah barely noticed his departure. After a long moment of hesitation, she started across the wooden floor toward the crabapple tree.

Where U.S. Marshal Jedidiah Brown awaited her.

The whole thing was ridiculous. The man was as stubborn as a mule and had the manners to match. She insulted him; he responded with sharp quips of his own. She thought him rude and impossible; he had called her selfish and vain. Yet the memory of their one and only kiss lingered in her mind. Something had shifted inside her the day he had touched his mouth to hers, and she knew that if she didn’t explore this strange and unsettling bond between them, she would regret it for the rest of her life.

As she stepped beneath the branches of the crabapple tree, the flickering light of the lamps illuminated his features. Tall and lean, he had the coloring of a mountain lion: a mane of sun-streaked, tawny hair; sun-darkened skin; and brandy-colored eyes. His long, angular face was a fascinating combination of aristocratic cheekbones, sensual lips beneath a neatly trimmed mustache, and peaked eyebrows that gave him a look of perpetual amusement. Lines creased the tanned skin around his eyes and mouth, adding character. Hatless, he wore a plain white shirt and a brown coat and trousers that made him look almost like every other male there—except for the air of danger that he wore like an enticing cologne.

Susannah’s pulse skipped wildly as she stopped in front of him, as if he were indeed a mountain lion and she a mere field mouse that would make a tasty morsel.

“Evening, Miss Calhoun.” His slow Southern drawl reminded her of molasses in summertime; it made her knees weak and her breathing hitch. He affected her as no other man ever had, but she would die before admitting that to him.

“Good evening, Marshal Brown,” she replied with her best company smile. “Are you enjoying yourself?”

“Donovan and your sister surely know how to throw a party,” he replied.

“They do indeed. I haven’t seen you dancing, Marshal. Does your injury still bother you?”

“Not at all. It was just a scratch.” He flexed his shoulder, where he had been shot a few weeks ago, and his white shirt stretched taut over the muscles of his upper body.

Her pulse stumbled, and she had difficulty tearing her gaze away from the smooth ripple of sinew beneath the snowy fabric. “It’s a beautiful night, isn’t it?” she quickly said.

He flashed his teeth in a grin. “Small talk, Miss Calhoun?”

“Most people consider it polite conversation,” she replied with just a hint of tartness. “Perhaps you’ve heard of it?”

“Polite conversation. Let me see.” He rubbed his chin. “That would be where I tell you how beautiful you are and you keep agreeing with me, right?”

“Must you always come back to that?” she snapped. “I’m trying to be civil, and you keep insulting me.”

He arched his brows. “Maybe if you were to have a real conversation with me instead of all this ‘civilized’ beating around the bush, I might be more accommodating.”

“And what have we got to talk about?” she asked. “I think you’re rude. You think I’m conceited. End of conversation.”

“I was raised to be a gentleman under most circumstances,” he said softly. “The thing is, I don’t think you’re the kind of woman who wants a gentleman as a lover.”

Susannah stiffened. “Who said anything about a lover?”

“Why not a lover?” His deep voice rumbled like a lion’s purr. “All your life, you’ve been surrounded by men telling you how beautiful you are. And what good has all that gentlemanly conduct done your admirers? No good at all.” He leaned closer. “You like it that I talk straight. That I treat you differently than the others do.”

She gave a haughty sniff. “You’re crazy.”

“I don’t think so. They treat you like a pretty china doll. I treat you like a real woman.” He eyed her with consideration. “But maybe you’re not ready for that yet.”

A hot-tempered retort rose to her lips, but she bit it back. Why was it that this man could make such a mess of her emotions? Anger at his presumption made her steam with temper. But there was also a surge of pure, unladylike lust at the images his words conjured in her mind. She took refuge in disdain. “Your opinion hardly matters to me, Marshal.”

“I think it does.” He took her hand and brought it to his mouth before she could pull away. As he pressed his lips to her palm, his mustache tickled the sensitive flesh, sending ripples skimming along her nerve endings. Her pulse leaped into double-time as his dark eyes met hers, and he deliberately nipped the heel of her hand.

Her entire body felt as it were wax, and he the flame. Never before had any man’s touch melted away her protests until she wanted nothing more than to surrender herself to his tender care. She had finally met her match, and part of her rejoiced in the discovery.

She knew he could feel her thundering pulse as he brushed his lips against her wrist. The knowledge of what he could do to her was there in his eyes. For a moment, he seemed to know everything there was to know about men and women, and she wanted desperately for him to teach her. Then he smiled and pressed her hand to his cheek.

“Ah, Susannah,” he murmured. “What a sweet temptation. A ripe fruit waiting to be plucked by an experienced hand.”

The confidence in his tone snapped her back to reality.

“Not by yours.” She jerked her hand away from his face. He laughed out loud, and she curled her fingers into her palm, her flesh still tingling from the slight roughness of his skin.

“We’ll see about that,” he murmured, his eyes warm with unashamed desire.

Someone called her name. Her mind registered it even as her heart protested the interruption. Oh, he infuriated her, all right, but he also made her feel more alive than she ever had before.

“Your sister wants you,” he pointed out.

“I hear her.” Yet she didn’t move.

“You’d better go on,” he urged. His smile tempted her to ignore the summons, and she wished she had the courage to step into his arms and accept that silent invitation. But the knowing gleam in his eyes made her hold her ground.

Without another word, she turned her back on temptation and left the shelter of the crabapple tree to answer her sister’s summons.

They didn’t speak again that night.

The next morning, when Susannah went into town, toying with the idea of goading Jedidiah into kissing her again, she learned that he was gone. He had left town at dawn, without a word to anyone.

She refused to cry. A man like Jedidiah Brown didn’t deserve her tears. And he surely didn’t deserve her heart. Obviously, she had narrowly escaped making a fool of herself. If she ever saw the rotten scoundrel again, she would thank him.

Susannah returned home, eyes dry, firm in her decision to never again let her heart tempt her head.



Silver Flats, Colorado, One year later


She wondered if she’d killed him.

Susannah Calhoun stared down at her employer, who lay unconscious on the sumptuous carpet of his dining room, and felt a twinge of remorse for hitting him with the very ugly statuette of the naked woman. But damn his hide, Brick Caldwell had gone too far in his amorous pursuit this time.

Gathering the skirts of her blue dress, she pushed back her silver blonde hair and crouched beside his body, placing a hand on his neck. A pulse beat there, and she sighed with relief. But since he owned the opera house where she sang every night, she felt certain that she was now unemployed.

He moaned, and she quickly straightened. Brick was likely to awaken with the temperament of a wounded bull. It would be much healthier all around if she wasn’t present when he opened his eyes.

As a matter of fact, the sooner she got out of Silver Flats—and beyond Brick Caldwell’s reach—the better.

As if he read her thoughts, his eyelids flickered, then opened.

For a moment he stared blankly at her shoes. Susannah took a quick step back. With a groan, he rolled over onto his back and raised a hand to his head. His gaze slid to her face and stayed there for a long, breathless moment. Recognition switched to rage.

“You!” he thundered, then winced and rubbed his head.

Brick’s body blocked her escape, but if she timed it right, she might be able to get past him.

He suddenly sat up and grabbed for her, and only her quick maneuver prevented him from snagging her skirt with his fingers.

“Now Brick,” she cajoled. “I realize you’re probably a bit angry—”

“Angry?” he roared. “I’ll teach you a lesson you’ll never forget.” He staggered to his feet. “No woman is going to get the best of Brick Caldwell! And certainly not some opera house whore.”

Whore!” Incensed, Susannah propped her hands on her hips. “As I recall, you pig of a man, it was my refusal to be your whore that got us to this point!”

“You’ll never work in this town again,” Brick warned, as if she hadn’t spoken. Then his lascivious gaze came to rest on her generous bosom, and his expression took on a sly cast. “Unless you decide to mend your ways, that is.”

“And I suppose your idea of mending my ways involves spending time in your bed? I don’t think so.” She glanced down his body. “The benefits appear to be very…small.”

Brick’s face flushed. “You’ll do what I tell you, Susannah Calhoun!”

“Get out of my way.” She gave him a shove that upset his unsteady balance and sent him crashing into a mahogany table. He thudded to the floor. The vase of flowers atop the table wobbled and then smashed over his head, soaking his expensive pinstriped suit with water.

Susannah eyed the daffodil that sat perched atop his balding pate. “By the way, Mr. Caldwell, I quit.”

She skirted around his outstretched legs and hurried out into the hallway, his enraged bellow following her. As Susannah yanked open the front door, the housekeeper, Abigail Hawkins, came scurrying out of the kitchen.

“Better get your rifle, Mrs. Hawkins,” she said. “Seems like there’s a wounded bear in there. You might have to shoot him.”

The housekeeper looked startled at first, then a smile flashed across her face. Susannah gave the woman a cheeky salute and hurried out into the night.

The sooner she saw the last of Silver Flats, the better.


Forty-eight hours later, Susannah watched Sheriff John Benning of Silver Flats turn the key to her jail cell. She had taken the early stage out of Silver Flats and made it halfway to Colorado Springs before the local lawmen had caught up to the coach in search of her. They had called her a murderess and made a big scene of dragging her off the stage and back to Silver Flats.

And to add insult to injury, the sketch on the wanted poster they had brought with them had been very unflattering.

“Sheriff Benning, this is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard!” Susannah protested as the lawman hung the key on a peg on the wall. “I did not kill Brick Caldwell!”

The sheriff sighed. “Look, Miss Calhoun, a neighbor saw you run out of the house after midnight last night.”

Miss Calhoun. Susannah’s heart clenched at his formality. Over the past few months, she and the sheriff’s family had been easing toward a close friendship. Now the suspicion of murder put distance between them. “I won’t deny that I was there, Sheriff,” she said, pride stiffening her spine.

His expression wavered between apology and duty. “From what Miss Anne Blanchard says, you had a supper with Mr. Caldwell after last night’s show.”

“Anne Blanchard!” Susannah snorted. “She wanted my spot on stage. And she wanted Brick for herself. Darn it, Sheriff, she just wanted to be me!”

“Miss Calhoun, I don’t think you appreciate the gravity of your situation here.” Sheriff Benning pushed a hand through his dark hair and gave her a sympathetic look. “You’re the only one we can place at the murder scene last night. Since he was killed with a knife from the dinner table…and since you left town early the next morning…”

“You think I killed him.” Fear curled in the pit of her stomach. “But I didn’t. Brick was alive when I left. Alive and cursing, as a matter of fact, since I’d just hit him over the head with a statue.”

“Now why would you go and do a thing like that?”

“Because he was trying to force me to become his mistress,” she said bluntly. “Ask Abigail Hawkins, his housekeeper. She was there when I left. She heard Brick shouting after me.”

“Mrs. Hawkins left town yesterday morning,” the sheriff informed her.

“Left?” The world spun for a moment as Susannah realized her best hope had taken the morning stage to who-knows-where. “You let her go? How do you know she didn’t kill Brick?”

“Mrs. Hawkins stated that she left that night at seven o’clock, as she always did,” the sheriff said. “Mr. Caldwell’s neighbor saw her leave. She’s not a suspect at this time.”

“But she was there,” Susannah said softly, then lifted her gaze to the sheriff’s as fear clogged her throat. “I didn’t kill him.”

He sighed. “That’s for a jury to decide, Miss Calhoun.”

Susannah leaned weakly against the bars. “When is the trial?”

“In two weeks.”

“Two weeks!” She stood up straight. “Why so long? Can’t you just get a jury together so I can prove my innocence and get this over with?”

“It’s not that simple.” Sheriff Benning scratched his chin. “You know Mr. Caldwell’s family owns that big mining company out of Denver, and his uncle the senator asked the governor if the trial could be in Denver to make it easier for them to attend. A U.S. Marshal is on his way to escort you there.”

“A U.S. Marshal? Oh, that’s just what I need.” A vision rose up from the past of wicked dark eyes beneath peaked brows, but she forced the memory from her mind. “Is there no way we can just have the trial here, Sheriff Benning? After all, this is where the crime occurred.” She gave him her most winning smile.

“Sorry, Miss Calhoun.” John Benning swallowed hard and shuffled his feet. “I’ve got my orders straight from the governor. You’re going to Denver. There’s nothing I can do.” He turned away.

“Sheriff.” When he looked back at her, she asked, “What’s my supposed motive for killing him?”

“Maybe self-defense,” he replied. “You said he was pressing his attentions on you. But it doesn’t really matter; according to the evidence, you’re the only one who was there.”

As he left the room, Susannah sank down on the stark cot her cell. One moment she was the star performer at the Silver Dollar Opera House, the next she was a murder suspect. She wracked her brain for a way to prove her innocence.

She had indeed dined with Brick after the eleven o’clock show the night before last; he had made it clear that to refuse the invitation was to lose her job. While she had rebuffed Brick’s attentions many times without repercussions, that night he had seemed determined that she would end up in his bed—willing or not. Things had escalated, and she had been forced to defend herself.

Susannah got up and paced the length of the tiny cell. It wasn’t the first time she had been forced to fight for her virtue, and it probably wouldn’t be the last. She knew that men found her beautiful, and that was fine. But some of them lost all sense of reason in their desire to pursue her. She would have cursed fate for giving her such stunning looks, but it was hard to feel remorseful when she had deliberately cultivated a lethal charm to go with her striking appearance. Many a time she had used her attractiveness to get out of tight situations, but it didn’t look as if she’d be able to charm her way out of this one.

Fear rose again, and she fought it back with pure strength of will. If she gave in to her rising panic, she wouldn’t be able to think. She had to figure out what to do next.

The only flaw in Sheriff Benning’s case was his assumption that she had been the only one there that night. There was one other person who had been at the scene, the one person who could clear her name—Abigail Hawkins. But Sheriff Benning had obviously crossed Brick’s housekeeper off his list of suspects. And now that the woman had left town, the chances of getting her to change her testimony were slimmer than ever.

She remembered Abigail’s smile and wondered what had been behind it. Why had the housekeeper lied to the sheriff? What was she hiding? Had she killed Brick? These questions had to be answered.

John Benning was as honest as the day was long, and just as stubborn once he made up his mind. Since he wouldn’t bring Abigail back in for more questioning, the task fell to Susannah. She would have to find Abigail herself and clear her own name. Obviously the law wasn’t going to help her do it.

With a thoughtful expression, Susannah regarded over at the small, barred window of her cell and started to plan a jailbreak.


“Marshal Brown!”

Jedidiah groaned and, half-awake, reached across the bed, as if searching for someone even in slumber.

The call came again, louder. “Marshal Brown!” Then there was a pounding noise, like thunder. Was it going to rain?

“Marshal Brown!”

With a start, Jedidiah sat up in the bed. Daylight streamed into his hotel room, a rude contrast to the moonlight that lingered in his memories. Scowling, he glanced at the pillow beside him, but there was no evidence that anyone had shared the bed with him.

He let out a gusty sigh and rubbed both hands over his face. Another dream.

“Marshal Brown!” Someone continued to shout his name and pound on the door.

With a muttered curse, he shoved aside the sweat-dampened sheets, grabbed his gun from beneath the pillow, and stalked across the room, unconcerned with his naked state. He positioned himself to the side of the door, then reached over and yanked it open, leveling his Colt at the startled hotel clerk. “What?”

The young man’s eyes bulged, and his mouth worked for a full minute without any sound coming out of it. Finally he just shoved a piece of paper at Jedidiah and ran.

Jedidiah slammed the door, then turned to face his empty bed. Crumpling the paper in his hand, he leaned back and pounded his fist against the sturdy wood in frustration. The damned dream was always so real. He hated to wake up to the truth.

Even the memory of the dream was enough to stir his flesh. He glanced at the paper, but the words blurred before his sleep-heavy eyes. With a muttered curse, he went to the washstand and put down the paper, then poured water into the basin. It was cold from sitting out all night, and he gratefully sponged off his overheated skin, his mind still awhirl with the images the night had brought.

If it had just been an ordinary erotic dream, he would have shrugged it off as the normal fantasies of a healthy, thirty-nine year old man. But she was in it again, and that wasn’t so easily pushed aside.

Damn Susannah Calhoun.

He finished washing and reached for his pants. Ever since he had met the woman last year, he hadn’t been able to get her out of his mind. Lord knew she was a beauty, but it wasn’t just her looks that drew him. The first time he had seen her, he had been struck by a feeling of recognition, as of she were a part of himself looking back at him.

That feeling still disturbed him.

Uncomfortable with the emotion, he had tried to avoid her. But it was a small town, and their paths were bound to cross occasionally. When they did, conversation became a battlefield of dagger-sharp insults and strategic retorts that grew more heated each time they met.

Perhaps if he’d never kissed her—or better yet, if they’d just ripped up the sheets a time or two—he’d be getting more sleep.

Jedidiah grabbed a plain white shirt, buttoned it up, and tucked it into the waistband of his buckskin-colored pants. The woman had haunted him ever since he’d left that one-saloon town.

She was just a woman, he had thought, and women were easily forgotten.

But now he found himself dreaming of her nearly every night. More than once he had considered riding through Burr again just to see if he had imagined the whole thing. But he had managed to stop himself before he did something so foolish.

One thing he had learned in life was that caring brought pain. So except for his older sister Lottie, he made it a policy never to open his heart to anyone.

Jedidiah sat on the bed and reached for his boots. He hadn’t seen his sister in a while, and now that the Slater gang was safely behind bars, he planned to go home to Charleston for a visit. He looked forward to seeing his nieces and nephews.

He lifted his leg to yank on his boot, and his gaze fell on the message still sitting on the washstand. He stomped his foot into the worn leather, then reached for the crumpled piece of paper. He frowned as he smoothed it out. It had better not be more orders; he needed a break.

The telegram was short and sweet. So was the curse he uttered.


Damnation, he was going to have to put off Charleston, after all. And the reason made even a cynic like him appreciate Fate’s sense of humor.

He shoved the telegram into his pocket. Jack Donovan was perhaps the only real friend he had in the world, and he was real fond of Jack’s wife Sarah, too. Now Sarah’s sister Susannah was in trouble, and there was no way Donovan could possibly go help. Which left it up to Jedidiah.

He grabbed his other boot and stamped his foot into it, then quickly donned his dark duster and worn tan hat. He packed his things by the expedient method of sweeping them off the bureau and into his satchel. Then he headed toward the door. He had telegrams of his own to send.


Copyright © 2017 Debra Mullins

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