Roy Manning’s Vengeance Valley

A Favourite from the Library of Murray Roberts:

vv 003Rusty the marshal has to head into town to arrest Stern, a crooked bank manager and murder suspect. His hot-headed lady, Rita wants to come too, but she is already in trouble after getting stranded in the desert and the marshal doesn’t need any further distractions.

Brow-furrowed, Rusty turned to the wondering Rita. “I’ve got to get to town pronto! See you later.”

Quick protest poured from Rita’s lips at the marshal’s declaration. “But you can’t ride all night,” she objected. “You’ve scarcely been out of the saddle for two whole days.” Eyes appealing, she stepped close, her fingers lightly caressed his grey-shirted shoulder. “Stay over and ride at sun-up. You’ve earned a rest!”

Impatiently Rusty shrugged free, his mind afire with the possibilities of his discovery.

“Nope,” he retorted stubbornly. “I’ve got to get into town and get hold of Stern.”

“Then I’m coming too,” announced Rita.

“You’ll stay right here!” snapped the marshal. He slapped his Stetson on his head and strode towards the door.

Her eyes blazed. “You’re not my guardian, Rusty. I’ll ride when and where I please.”

The marshal stopped and pivoted on his heel, mingled anger and bewilderment in his eyes. “Dog-blast it, Miss” he burst out, “you got no more hoss-sense than a one-eyed mule. You jest got bogged down in the desert, and now you’re buttin’ into my business.”

“It’s my money!” Cheeks glowing with anger and chin upraised, she glared stormily into his eyes.

“And my job,” he grated. “You stay here!” With this parting shot he banged the door behind him and descended the steps into the starlit yard.

With a quick wrench the door was flung open behind him. Hat thrust hurriedly on top of her dishevelled hair, Rita dashed after him.

From the obscurity of the yard, Rusty heard her quick footsteps on the porch planks. He swivelled, glimpsed her scurrying figure outlined in the broad shaft of light that streamed through the doorway.

Eyes frosty, he waited. Dashing through the semi-darkness, the hurrying girl collided violently with his still form. She drew back hastily, exclaimed tartly:

“Well, split the breeze if you’re in such a hurry!”

“Rita!” His voice was low, almost weary. “You’re like a young filly that’s run too long with the wild bunch and never known the bit. You’re spoiled thru f’r the want of a bridle and spur. You listened to Whitey’s crooked tongue and would have strung Lefty. I stopped you! You hit into the desert without water. I had to yank you out. Now you’re hornin’ into the most godammed murder case a marshal ever tackled. I got plenty to do in Sweetwater without ridin’ herd on you. Get inside and quit actin’ like a loccoed broomtail.”

With all the force of her vigorous young arm she slapped him across the face. “That’s for the insult,” she panted. “I’ll do what I please!”

Cheek burning from her hand, he stepped forward, bent quickly. His right arm encircled her slim waist and his left hooked her legs. Straightening, he swept the surprised girl off her feet and carried her – an armful of furious femininity – threshing, scratching, and kicking, towards the house.

Hat knocked askew, face bleeding from her raking fingernails and bruised by her pummelling fists, he struggled up the steps, entered the house, kicking the door shut behind him.

Breathing hard, for the jerking, fighting girl had lithe strength of a young wildcat, he plumped into the nearest chair and turned her twisting body face downward across his knees. Right hand firmly pressed upon her squirming shoulders, he yanked up her short riding-skirt with his left hand. With a resounding slap, his open palm descended, again and again.

Slowly the outraged Rita ceased to kick and squirm. Her angry gasping was succeeded by deepening sobs which she tried in vain to subdue. Still the remorseless hand of the tight-lipped marshal rose and fell. At last he stopped, picked up her shaking form, and set it in a deep armchair as thought it were a sack of oats.

Face tear-streaked, shoulders quivering, hair tumbled in confusion, she sagged against the chair-back, sobbing silently. But her brimming eyes met his, as he stood and silently eyed her crumpled figure, with undiminished defiance.

“Someone had to spank the daylights out of you,” he said apologetically. Then his voice hardened: “You leave the house and I’ll give you another dose – of the same!”

“You brute – I hate you!” she choked, but the marshal was already closing the door behind him.

Trivia Note:

A broomtail is a small, usually wild and untrained western range horse of inferior quality.

Murrays Comment:

Roy Manning (a.k.a.Tom Westt) was a fairly prolific (c70 titles) Western author of the 1950s/60s. In the 50 odd titles I have read, there are 5 spankings, which gives him a higher ‘hit’ rate than most. When he featured a young lady who needed to be spanked, she usually was, and he deserves credit for that.

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