West (Chapter Eight, page 2 of 2)

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Lance tapped his fingers on the desk. "Her. You've got a soft spot for women, if what I heard is true."

"Old-fashioned respect. I came from an era like this one. My mama beat it into me."

"Well then, I'll pull the trigger for you, old man." Lance smiled.

Taylor gave him a warning look. "Not how I do business, and you won't either, since you're on my territory."

"I'll be good, Sheriff." Lance nudged back the brim of his hat and sat back. "You know, I thought Carter was a myth."

"He's very real. Very active." And getting more dangerous with the technology that lets Josie speak to spirits the way Fighting Badger does. Taylor hadn't yet decided how to handle that issue, because it meant Carter had embedded sophisticated technology in her head that his people knew nothing about.

What was stranger: Carter obsessed over advanced technology for the brain but hadn't yet learned how to return his travelers to the future or the times they came from. It had taken Taylor little more than two seconds to assess Josie didn't know she was permanently stuck here, unless his people decided to return her to her time.

"All right. You call the shots. What're we doing?" Lance asked.

"Right now, nothing. Watching."

Lance grimaced. "I'm a man of action not waiting."

"Then this will be a lesson for you. Patience."

The shutters slammed against the side of his office loud enough for Lance to jump. Taylor sat still, unconcerned, while the newer agent shifted in his seat.

"We can wait for a few days," Lance allowed. "But if I don't have progress or something to tell them soon, they're threatening to send The Mongol."

Taylor's hands clenched into fists. An agent taken from the Genghis Khan era, The Mongol was wild, unpredictable and strong, a man of unparalleled violence and strength. Their paths had crossed only once, for The Mongol was normally reserved for situations where absolute brute force - and usually a massacre of some size - was all that would save history from the actions of men like Carter.

Josie didn't stand a chance against Lance. She wasn't even a speed bump for The Mongol.

But worse than this was the sense that The Mongol wasn't coming for one life. He never did. He was coming to reset history, to core the source of the ripples they were seeing in the future, and Taylor had an idea of what that meant.

"Then we'll have something to tell them," he said softly.

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