- Author: Barbara Goss
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A Bride for Cameron
By Barbara Goss
Copyright © 2021 Barbara Goss
All rights reserved.
Cover by V. McKevitt
Editor: Elise Sherman Abram
Poem by: Ron Gale
All Scripture is quoted from the King James version of the Holy Bible.
All the characters described in this story are fictional. They are not based on any real persons, past or present. Any resemblance to real persons, living or deceased, is coincidental and unintended.
Decisive moments to deceive, but suddenly he can conceive, and puts his spirit in the fold, and lets the Good Lord take ahold. By Ron Gale
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Hunter’s Grove, Kansas, 1870
Judge Mitchell Banner pounded the gavel on his desk. Silence permeated the room quickly; so much so that Attorney Cameron Hart, thought he could hear his heart beating. It had been a rougher case than usual. He was defending Charles Wilson, an alleged murderer, though in his heart, he had an inkling the man was likely guilty. The judge cleared his throat and took the piece of paper from the bailiff.
Aside from muffled coughs and the sounds of rustling clothing, the courtroom was still, awaiting the verdict. The windows were open, and Cam was thankful for the early morning breeze that ruffled his dark hair. He swallowed hard. Could he live with either verdict?
Usually, his clients were innocent, and he loved throwing out all of his evidence to prove it, but this time he’d had to work hard to convince the jury there was reasonable doubt. The prosecution claimed that Charles Wilson had killed his wife’s lover with an ax. They maintained that Wilson had come home from a trip early to find Silas Monroe in the bedroom with his wife. Cam had to prove that Monroe had been dead before Wilson had come upon the scene. He tried to suggest that Mrs. Wilson or Mrs. Monroe had axed the man.
Both women denied killing Monroe, but that was natural. If he lost the case, it would be his first. If he won, a suspected murderer would go free. His partner from the firm, Joe Simmons, wouldn’t be happy since he’d warned him about taking the case. Cameron had wanted a challenge, and he’d gotten it.
The prosecuting attorney, Roger O’Brian, had been somewhat lax, almost as if he hadn't wanted to win the case. Cam had based his case on the time the stagecoach had brought Wilson home from Topeka. He’d argued that it hadn't given Charles the time to walk from the stage stop to his home a mile and a half away. Cam knew that when people in Hunter’s Grove saw anyone walking, especially carrying a suitcase, they’d offer a ride. However, no one had come forward to say they had.
The judge frowned at the paper the jury's foreman had handed him. Cam wasn’t sure if it was a good sign or not.
“Charles Wilson,” the judge called, “please stand.”
Wilson gave Cam a frightened look. The man had never openly admitted he’d axed Monroe, but Cam figured he must have. He doubted Mrs. Wilson or Mrs. Monroe could have caused the severe wound found on the dead man.
The judge looked at Wilson and said, “The jury has found you innocent of killing Silas Monroe. You’re free to leave of your own free will.”
The room erupted into murmurs. Some expressed happiness, and some sounded cheated.
The sheriff stepped up to escort Wilson from the courtroom.
Cam swallowed hard again. Had he done the right thing? Had he freed a guilty man? He kept trying to tell himself that he had done the job Wilson had paid him to do.
He packed up his satchel and headed for the door. His friend and partner, Joe Simmons, called him back from leaving the courtroom.
“Yes, Joe?” Cam said as he approached.
Joe whispered, “Might I have a word with you? I’ll buy you coffee at Parker’s in an hour.”
Cam sipped his hot coffee and waited to hear what Joe had to say. They’d been friends since Cam had graduated from the University at Lawrence, Kansas, and had moved to Hunter’s Grove. Joe had invited Cameron into the firm, and their friendship had never interfered with their law partnership.
“Fine job you did on the Wilson case, but now we’ll never know who killed poor Silas Monroe.”
Cameron smiled. “The prosecutor had a weak case.”
Simmons shook his head vehemently. “No, no...you did an expert job.” He studied Cameron while stroking his beard. “I hear there is a Senate seat opening up in our district. I think you should consider running.”
Cam nearly choked on his coffee. “Me? A senator?”
“We need someone like you to represent us. I think you’d be fantastic, and I know you’re tiring of getting gunslingers off on misdemeanor charges. You’d make four times what you do now, and think of the distinction.”
Cam swirled what remained of the coffee in his cup. “Do you think I’d have a chance?”
“Right now? No, but the seat won’t open until next fall. You have about eighteen months to prepare.”
“Prepare?” Cam wondered what he'd meant.
“You need a wife and a family,” Simmons whispered. “I hadn’t thought of it until now, but to get elected, you’ll need a family. Have you any at all in these parts?”
Cam shrugged. “My mother died shortly after I was born. My father remarried and moved to Wyoming. I don’t hear from him at all, and he was never a part of my life. My mother’s older sister reared me in Toledo, Ohio,