Part 2 - Chapter 9 - Forever Bound

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At the sound of Hailee's scream, I dropped my cell phone and whirled around. A middle-aged, bearded man ran full-tilt toward Hailee, closing fast. He was shirtless, muscle-bound arms and chest, and wore tattered jeans. Tyrone Post had been beardless in the photos I had seen of him, yet I had no trouble recognizing him.

Before I could draw my Vaquero, he snatched Hailee around the waist and hoisted her into the air, holding her under one arm like a sack of flour. With his other hand, he covered her mouth to quiet her screaming. Standing near the edge of the roiling water below, it looked as if he was going to pitch her in.

"Don't be a hero," he shouted at me.

How did this jerk get past security? How did he manage to find us here? My Vaquero was tucked away, concealed in the holster under the tail of my shirt. I'd never be able to hike up my shirt, draw, and fire in time to prevent the maniac from tossing her in.

"There is a god," Ty Post said. "All those tents and trailers down there, and my bride comes right to me." He swung Hailee around in front of him, using her as a shield, and set her feet on the ground.

She bit his fingers. He yelped and pulled his hand from over her mouth.

"I can't breathe when you cover my face. I won't scream," she gasped. 

Rage filled me. I was going to kill this bastard for terrorizing her and robbing her of peace-of-mind. Then I remembered my training. If I had any chance of getting both of us out of this situation, I needed to make my mind right. Rule of engagement number three, detach from all emotions. Taking a breath, I said, "Let her go."

He kept his eyes on me while addressing Hailee. "Hiya, baby doll. In prison, I found out from reading The Hollywood Reporter where you would be filming. After escaping that hell hole, I camped out here in the hills, waiting for you to come, long before any security crews came to get setup."

The man leered at her. "Been waiting a long time for you, baby doll. Took a few days to pinpoint your trailer down there. Planned on taking you tonight after cutting the throat of that loser you're bunking with. You saved me the trouble."

"You'll have to kill me before I go anywhere with you," Hailee said. She was trying to be brave, but her voice trembled.

"Have it all planned out, baby doll. We're going to hike up the mountain trail. A few miles from here I left a dirt bike." He stopped talking and knit his brows. "First, I have to deal with one small detail."

From his waistband, Ty Post pulled a snub-nosed revolver with his free hand and pointed it at my chest.

"Nooo," Hailee shouted. She thrashed around and kicked at his shins.

The distraction provided me with the time I needed to pull my Vaquero, but not enough time for me to get a clear shot.

He saw my gun and pressed the muzzle of his revolver into Hailee's ear. She immediately froze.

He smiled. "Is this how you really want to play it, cowboy? In my letters to baby doll, I told her that if I couldn't have her, nobody would have her. Drop your gun and let me end you. That way, at least, she gets to live."

I recalled rule number one, in a gunfight, there are no rules except to win by any means necessary.

"Hailee, look at me," I said.

She trembled and stared wide-eyed at nothing.

"Look at me, Hailee," I shouted.

She focused on me.

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