Cassie rode into the quiet, empty town. She saw the sheriff walk into his office and a few men walk out of the local saloon each with a whore in their arms.
She hitched her stallion on a post and walked into the saloon. There was a pianist at the back playing and a group of men playing poker in a corner. She sat on a stool at the bar.
"Fire whiskey," she said. The bar keeper took a glass from under the bar and filled it with Johnson's Fire whiskey.
Cassie took the glass and downed it in one gulp. She flicked a coin to the bar keeper and then went over to the table where the group of poker players sat.
She circled around the men and watched them. A man with a rugged beard and stained clothes put down a full house. The man next to him grinned and put down four-of-a-kind.
"Looks like I win again boys," he said as he pulled the money towards him.
Cassie sat in an empty seat next to the man that had won. She looked into his bright green eyes and smiled sweetly.
"I'm gonna play," she said. "And I'm gonna win."
"No one can win when I'm playing, boy," he replied.
"I'm not a boy," Cassie said irritably as she pulled off her sombrero. Her blonde hair fell down about her neck. The men sitting around the table stared at her, surprised. Cassie grinned as she gathered the cards up.
Cassie and the men picked up their cards. They each made their bets.
"I put down forty bucks," the green-eyed man said. "And if I win, then you are gonna spend the night with me, lil' lady."
"If I have to spend the night with you," Cassie replied. "Why don't you tell me your name first?"
"It's Jesse Lochlane," he said. "Place your bet lil' lady and we can get started."
"My name is not lil' lady," Cassie replied. "It's Cassie. I bet fifty bucks and if I win, then you tell me what I need to know."
This game is for you, Papa, she thought to herself.
They went around in a circle and last was Jesse, who put down a straight flush.
"Looks like I win," he said and reached out to gather the money. Cassie's free hand flew out to stop him.
"I haven't had my turn yet," she said.
She looked at her cards. She had an Ace, King and a ten of spades and two others. But that wouldn't help her win.
Cassie stared intently at the deck and then discarded her two bad cards and picked up two more. She looked at the two cards.
"Oh, shit," she said. "Looks like I win, boys!" Cassie threw down her royal flush for all to see and gathered the money to her.
"You cheated you dirty bitch!" Jesse shouted at Cassie. The whole saloon went quiet. All eyes were on Jesse and Cassie.
"I never cheat," Cassie replied calmly. "My papa always told me not to. Go ahead. Strip me down in front of all these people. You wont find anything used for cheating anywhere on me."
"No one talks to me like that," Jesse replied angrily. He raised his hand and slapped Cassie. The force was enough to send Cassie to the ground.
Cassie looked up at Jesse. Her cheek was stinging. She slowly got up and stared at the man. Then the saloon doors opened and a man walked in.
"Now I've found you, you little whore!" the man said with a cruel laugh. It was James Maloney, the outlaw who had tried to rape her.
"You're coming with me," he growled as he grabbed Cassie's wrist.
"Let go of me James!" Cassie ordered. She struggled but his grip was tight.
"You owe me!" James roared. He struck Cassie on the same cheek that Jesse had slapped her. Stars appeared in Cassie's vision.
"I don't owe you anything!" Cassie replied. James pulled her close to him and grabbed her hair. Her head was pulled back and she was looking into James's eyes. He mashed his lips against hers and placed his free hand on Cassie's breasts.
She raised her knee to where the sun-don't-shine and James fell to the ground, gasping for breath.
Cassie didn't wait to see what happened; instead she ran out of the saloon and leapt on her ebony coloured horse, Shadow. She untied the reins from the hitching post and Storm reared then galloped through the town.
A man on a horse stopped in Cassie's path out of the town. Storm stopped just in time.
"Get out of my way!" Cassie shouted at him.
The man pulled off his sombrero. It was Jesse.
"What's the hurry Cassie?" He asked. "Why was that man after you?"