The Lady Doctor's Alibi

BOOK: The Lady Doctor's Alibi
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Table of Contents
Fighting Franco’s Fire
Out of the corner of his eye, Clint saw Jim Boone and his shotgun move onto the boardwalk. There was no flash of silver on his chest.
“Your call,” he said to Franco.
Franco nodded, but before the nod was complete, his hand went for his gun. This was the signal for the others to draw as well.
Clint drew his gun and fired before anyone else. His first shot took Franco in the chest, drove him back a few feet. The shotgun blast shredded Rufus Holmes before the big man knew what had hit him.
THE GUNSMITH by J. R. Roberts
Clint Adams was a legend among lawmen, outlaws, and ladies. They called him . . . the Gunsmith.
LONGARM by Tabor Evans
The popular long-running series about Deputy U.S. Marshal Custis Long—his life, his loves, his fight for justice.
SLOCUM by Jake Logan
Today’s longest-running action Western. John Slocum rides a deadly trail of hot blood and cold steel.
An action-packed series by the creators of Longarm! The rousing adventures of the most brutal gang of cutthroats ever assembled—Quantrill’s Raiders.
Dex Yancey is Diamondback, a Southern gentleman turned con man when his brother cheats him out of the family fortune. Ladies love him. Gamblers hate him. But nobody pulls one over on Dex . . .
WILDGUN by Jack Hanson
The blazing adventures of mountain man Will Barlow—from the creators of Longarm!
TEXAS TRACKER by Tom Calhoun
J.T. Law: the most relentless—and dangerous—manhunter in all Texas. Where sheriffs and posses fail, he’s the best man to bring in the most vicious outlaws—for a price.
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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
A Jove Book / published by arrangement with the author
Jove edition / March 2010
Copyright © 2010 by Robert J. Randisi.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions. For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
eISBN : 978-1-101-18542-1
Jove Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
The “J” design is a trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

When Clint Adams rode into Veracruz, it was between French and United States possession. It had last been held by the French in 1861. Currently, they were ruling themselves. Porfirio Díaz had regained the presidency he’d held for a brief month, then taken back from Juan N. Méndez after three months. The Mexican people didn’t know at the time—and neither did Díaz—that he would now hold that office until 1911.
Veracruz was a port town off the Gulf of Mexico, which was what made it so desirable as a possession. At the moment, it was desirable to Clint just as a place to get away for a while.
He directed Eclipse down the street, keeping his eye out for a livery stable. He didn’t find one until he was within sight of the docks. He was about to turn around when he saw it and shrugged. It was as good a place as any, and there was a hotel right across the street. Neither would offer top-rated services, but Clint wasn’t looking for the kind of amenities he usually liked. A room with a bed would do for him.
He dismounted in front of the livery, which, despite the fact that it was run-down, was clean—as barns go, that is. Favoring his left foot, he approached the front doors.
A man came out wiping his hands on his thighs, then stopped when he saw Eclipse. He stared at the Darley Arabian with wide eyes.
“Señor,” he said, “that is the finest-lookin’ animal I have ever seen.”
Clint studied the man. Late fifties, rawboned with big jug ears. His hands were scarred, a sure sign of a man who had dealt with livestock most of his life. You can’t handle horses for a living without having a finger or two bitten off.
“Can you care for him the way he should be cared for?” Clint asked.
“Señor, horses are my business,” the man said. “I have never seed one like this before, but I know I will take the best care of him.”
Clint held the reins out to the man.
“Then do it. I’ll be staying in the hotel across the street.”
“That is not such a nice place to stay, señor,” the man warned him.
“That’s okay,” Clint said. “I’m not looking for such a nice place.”
Clint turned, winced when he put his weight on his foot.
“Did you hurt your foot, señor?” the man asked.
“Twisted it,” Clint said. “Is there a doctor around?”
“Sort of.”
“What do you mean ‘sort of’?”
“You will see,” the man said. “The doctor’s name is Doc Sugarman.”
“Sí, señor. When you check into the hotel, ask at the desk and they will direct you to the doctor’s office.”
“Thank you,” Clint said.
“De nada, señor,” the man said. “It is my honor to care for your horse.”
“How much?” Clint asked.
“We do not need to speak of that now, señor. Another time.”
“What’s your name?”
“Gracias, Ignacio.”
“Enjoy your stay, señor.”
As Ignacio walked Eclipse into the stable, Clint crossed the street and entered the hotel.
The disinterested desk clerk allowed him to sign in and gave him a key.
“Gringo?” the lazy man asked.
“Top of the eh-stairs,” the man said.
Clint started for the stairs, then remembered he wanted to ask directions to the doctor, but since the clerk apparently didn’t speak much English, he decided to wait. Maybe when he came down later there’d be someone else around who did speak English.
He got to his room, found the door unlocked. He entered, made sure the lock on the door worked by using the key, then closed it and locked it. The room looked neat, and although dusty, it wasn’t what he would call dirty.
He dropped his saddlebags onto the bed, set his rifle down in a corner, then went to the window. The room overlooked the main street, but there was no access to his window from outside. Anybody wanting to get into his room by the window would have to walk up the side of the building.
He sat down on the bed and felt his foot. He didn’t want to take the boot off because his ankle was swollen. He might not get the boot back on. He had to go see the doctor, just in case it was broken—although he didn’t know what even a doctor could do. He’d never had a broken foot or ankle before.
There was water in a pitcher on the dresser, next to a basin. He poured some and washed his face and hands. It was brackish, but wet. Once he felt cleaner, he left the room and went back downstairs. The desk clerk was still the only one there. He had his elbow on the desk, his head in his hand, dozing.
“Excuse me,” he said.
“The doctor?” Clint asked. “Can you direct me to the doctor?”
“Sí, el médico,” the clerk said. “Eh-outside, that way”—the man pointed to his left—“eh-two block.”
“Two blocks?” Clint held up two fingers. “Dos?”
“Sí, dos,” the man said, holding up two fingers. “Up eh-stairs.”
“Two blocks that way, and upstairs.”
The man waved him off, went back to his nap. Clint left, hoping the directions were right.
Clint found the doctor’s office right where the clerk said it would be. He would never have found it without the directions, because it wasn’t marked at all. He saw a stairway and a door above a leather store, walked up, and knocked. A woman in a cotton dress, with a full figure, blond hair, and striking blue eyes, answered.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I was told—I mean, I’m looking for a doctor named Sugarman?”
“You’ve come to the right place,” she said, stepping back. “Come in.”
He limped in past her, and it was probably the last steps he would have been able to take that day without a doctor. The foot was throbbing and he sank down thankfully into a chair.
“What happened to you?” she asked.
“I twisted it,” he said. “Stepped into a chuckhole, like a tenderfoot.”
BOOK: The Lady Doctor's Alibi
13.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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