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Y'all come on in!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sweet Tilly...

It's Saturday Snippet Day!
Lots of folks who have read Sweet Tilly have asked me if I ever made moonshine...that's a story for another day! But today I thought I'd give you a little snippet of that story. The time is during prohibition days. The setting is out around Healdton, Oklahoma! Matilda called her 'shine running car Sweet Tilly and the sheriff? Well, he coveted that car, and he sure wanted to put Matilda in jail! 

Tilly Anderson wrapped her arms around her knees and drew them up to her chin, staring out between the bars of the jail cell at the new sheriff. Rayford Sloan. Irish by name but those were Indian cheekbones. Having grown up with her grandmother, Katy Anderson, she knew Indian when she saw it. The high chiseled cheek bones, black ebony eyes under dark lashes. Black Irish? Maybe a little with a name like Sloan. Indian? Definitely. The lips were a combination, though. Full. Sensuous. Soft. Tempting. She focused on a soft looking mouth, one that she’d like to get to know much better. She blushed at that idea and wondered where in the hell it had come from. Ever kissing Sheriff Sloan was completely out of the question. She’d do better to be attracted to Lucifer, himself, than the sheriff of Healdton, Oklahoma.

However, watching him kept her mind off the mattress beneath her, the lingering combination of too many Saturday night drunks, rat urine, and stale sweat. If she kept herself drawn up into a tiny ball, perhaps there would be no evidence that she’d ever been in this place when Tucker came to rescue her. She focused on the sheriff again. His trousers fit snug around his narrow hips, his shirt tight on his broad shoulders. If she narrowed her eyes she could imagine muscles rippling beneath the soft chambray shirt. He had to be somewhere around her age … early thirties. Yet, his face said he’d lived longer. Seen more. Been more places. Etched into those high cheekbones were stories she’d love to hear. Personal ones. And Tilly didn’t figure they were all sugar and spice tales either.

“What are you staring at?” His tone matched his dark hair, worn a little too long, his near black eyes. Dark, with no warmth. Somber, with no humor. His color was jet black.

She’d always matched a person with a color. That made them easier to understand. Clara, her cousin, was light blue, soft and sweet. Bessie, down at the Morning Glory Inn, an elderly woman she’d adopted as another grandmother years ago, was pink. Beulah, the other new owner of the Inn was lilac. Libby, Clara’s new daughter, was bright yellow, like a ray of sunshine. Tilly figured she was red. Bright red. Bold. Sassy. Didn’t give a damn what people thought. Red, that was Matilda Jane Anderson.

“Sheriff, the first lesson you’d best learn if you want to keep that bright new shiny badge is not to corner something meaner than you are,” Tilly said in a silky smooth, southern voice.

“And you think you are meaner than I am?” The sheriff raised a heavy, jet black eyebrow at the snippet of a woman behind the bars. Dark hair, eyes the color of a blue summer sky; looks that would have gotten her burned at the stake three centuries before because no decent woman could be that pretty naturally. She’d have had to have used spells and sorcery. Chills tickled up and down his spine, but he held her stare, not backing down for an instant.
“Oh, honey, it’s not even a contest,” she whispered.
 “Yep, it’s a fact that you are definitely cornered. But, I don’t think I’ve got anything to be afraid of in the likes of a common moon shiner,” he propped his legs up on the desk and combed his thick black hair with his finger tips. “This time tomorrow that fancy car you got out there with Sweet Tilly on the big heavy plate coverin’ the radiator will be mine. And if I can uncover a still on your property, it’ll be mine, too. The whole farm, not just the still.”  Lord Almighty, he’d locked up seasoned hookers that were terrified of him out in east Texas. Tilly Anderson acted like she was on a Sunday afternoon picnic, not a drop of fear in those icy cold, blue eyes. She might be half witch after all.
 “Sheriff Sloan?” the door swung open and another woman filled the space, the sunrise silhouetting her, but leaving no doubt that Clara Anderson Nelson had come to town to rescue her cousin. She was taller than Tilly but the two of them stood the same. Ramrod straight. Confidence oozing out their pores like sweat on a hot July day. Clara left no doubt she’d attempt to put out a forest fire with a bucket of water. She was only a little less daunting than her shorter cousin, who the sheriff figured would expect a forest fire to die if she spit on it.
“Mrs. Nelson?” Rayford Sloan slowly slid his feet from the desk and stood up.
The tap of her boots made a rat-a-tat across the wooden floor. Despite the early morning hour, her dark hair was piled up on top of her head and she was dressed like she’d just come from a Sunday afternoon social. “I’ve come to see exactly why Tilly is behind bars,” she pulled off snow white gloves and propped one hand on her hip, the other on his desk as she leaned toward him.
“Matilda Anderson was caught in a moonshine car with a whole load of empty fruit jars. She’s a moon shiner,” he said.
“Darlin’ did you open those jars smell them. Did you run your tongue all around the inside to make sure there was moonshine in them?” Tilly asked.
“Of course not,” the sheriff barked. Damn, she looked like a queen. Even wearing men’s overalls, rolled up at the hem and a size too large, and a flannel shirt. Sitting on a tick mattress, behind bars. She could have used a broom handle as a scepter and men would have fallen all over themselves to be the one she selected to break her out of jail. Whoever the unlucky fool was, he’d go to the gallows with a smile on his face and an ethereal look in his eyes.
“Then how do you know they held moonshine?” Clara asked. “Sounds to me like you made a big mistake, Sheriff Sloan. Tilly was bringing those jars to me to can soup in this week.”


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