Vin Tanner waited outside the jail for Chris Larabee and the others to join him. As he waited, he sipped coffee and observed the early morning activities going on around him. This morning he'd been awakened earlier than usual, when the rooster in the chicken coop owned by Hatcher's restaurant, next to where he parked his wagon, started crowing.
Parking his wagon in town could sometimes be a hindrance, instead of a convenience. He was assured that no one could sneak up on him while he slept, because the alleyway was a dead end, but being this close to town tended to make him feel pinned in at times.
When you'd spent most of your adult life traveling from place to place, spending a good deal of time without anyone except your horse for companionship, you got used to the quiet and solitude. Towns were something you skirted around or hurried through, unless you needed a doctor or to stock up on supplies. They weren't for planting a stake and putting down roots, yet, he'd done just that.
He'd only planned on being in Four Corners long enough to earn some money to line his pocket before heading out. But that all changed in a blink of an eye. Without a moment's hesitation, he'd intervened when another man's neck was on the line. He knew what it felt like to be unfairly accused of murder when you were innocent.
After all, he'd been living with a price on his hide for over a year. He'd barely stayed ahead of the 'vermin' turned bounty hunters on his trail, as he searched high and low for the real murderer. The last thing he wanted was to draw attention to himself, but he'd had no choice. He couldn't stand by and let someone hang for something they didn't do.
Obviously, he wasn't the only one who thought so. With a glance across a dusty street, he and gunfighter Chris Larabee made a connection he didn't understand. They acted together to save Nathan's life, and they'd had each other's backs ever since.
He'd come clean to Larabee shortly after they'd met, about the bounty on his head. Chris hadn't blinked an eye, instead vowing to help him clear his name. It had taken some time, but it finally happened.
He was cleared of the murder charges in Texas. An eyewitness came forward in the form of Jess Kincaid's own teenaged son, who'd told the circuit judge in Tascosa he'd seen Eli Joe kill his pa in cold blood.
Now he was finally free to live his life anyway he wanted to. There'd been a time when he would have packed up and headed out of town without a backward glance or hesitation. But things were different now.
He was a Peacekeeper. One of seven men hired to protect the citizens of Four Corners from any unsavory characters who sought to make trouble in their ever-growing town. He took his role as a lawman quite seriously. Best of all he had six men he could count on to always have his back. What more could a man ask for?
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