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The Great Train Caper

Jeremiah and Silver Belle are back along with a few more friends to stop a train robbery!

Book 2 Trouble in Texas Series

The Great Train Caper

Pay Pa’s ransom and rescue Belle’s horse from a mean, no-good robber. Seems easy enough. And then they find themselves in the middle of a train robbery that goes horribly wrong.   Just your average Wild West adventure. Action-packed, funny, and a fun read for the whole family.

Jeremiah, my best friend, says I attract trouble because I’m as rowdy as popcorn on a hot stove. Trust me, this is a Wild West tale that may be too exciting for some. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!”

Signed, Silver Belle

Chapter Book for Ages 8-10

To order personalized copies for your favorite middle schooler, call 806.655.4046

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Chapter 1: Double Dog Dare

Texas Frontier, Main Street in the town of Justice.

My buttercup yellow dress felt like an itchy tow sack against my skin in the July heat. Sweat trickled down the center of my back. The only good thing was that my dress wasn’t pink.

“What do you want to do now?” asked my best friend, Jeremiah Fisher. He stood on the hitching rail and balanced with one hand holding the post. He jumped and landed with a thud next to me.

In all my years of living, it has been my experience that dresses are useless, but I was dressed up like a sore toe for a good reason.

The territory’s teacher married the Federal Marshal today, who happens to be my father. Pa and Miss Libby had decided to tie the knot on July Fourth which is a major event in our frontier town.

“Don’t get too close.” I stepped back. “I promised Miss Libby that I wouldn’t get this new dress dirty.”

The town square of Justice, Texas was decked out for the most exciting celebration of the summer. Red, white, and blue cloth streamers draped the storefronts. Various sizes of United States flags adorned posts, fence rails, and carriages. A crowd had gathered along Main Street for the big event.

Besides the horse races, there’d been a shooting contest, foot races, and team tugs. The holiday festivities lasted several days drawing people from miles around. Some folks had rumbled across the prairie for two to three whole days to get here.

In the street a group of little kids played tag while their mothers watched from the back of a buckboard. From under the shade of their parasols, the ladies chattered and beamed with pride when the children ran past. My Ma had never had the chance to watch me like that, which made me wonder how different things might’ve been if she had lived.

I don’t mind so much about Pa getting hitched. My new Mama is the nicest, most sophisticated lady in this rough and tumble town. And seeing as how my Pa is the most handsome lawman this side of the Mississippi, it only seems fitting that they belong together. And besides, they both adore me.

It felt good to have a mother. I never knew my own Mama, because she had to say goodbye to me when I was born. She left me with my name, though.

“Signed up for any races today, Silver Bel-l-l-le?” A red-headed kid taunted me as he walked my way leading a pack of boys who looked a little bathwater shy.

“What does he want?” Jeremiah mumbled and crossed his arms across his chest.

“What do you want, Zave?” I tried to look bored.

Zave Patterson. A scar running across one cheek that’s almost as red as his hair marked his face with a permanent sneer. They say a horse bucked him off before he was barely walking and his face broke the fall. Zave was nothing but rowdy and mean.

“You look like a puffed-up chicken,” Zave said. His cluster of dust mites snickered.

I frowned, and then eased my clinched fist. Punching a bully when one is wearing a dress didn’t seem right proper. I counted to ten like Miss Libby had told me, scratched my neck and smoothed the wrinkles from my skirt. Proper and lady-like wasn’t easy for me. I missed my britches, this being the first dress I’d worn for any length of time in all my twelve years.

“You know I didn’t have a choice about wearing this dress. Miss Libby bought it for me. What do you want?” I asked again.

“Now you’re in for it,” said Zave. “With the teacher being your stepmomma, you’ll always be in trouble.”

That did not worry me none, and besides I’m not that much of a problem. Pa says I’m just a case of big behavior.

“That’s not true. You’re the one that’s gonna be holding a spot in the corner facing the wall when school starts up,” I said. “Miss Libby will always remember you from last year. You almost caught her skirt on fire and burned down the entire schoolhouse when you put that stupid firecracker in her desk.”

Zave smiled while the other clods broke into a fit of snorts and giggles. “It was just some harmless fun. I always carry a few in my pocket.”

“You’re a big problem in this town,” Jeremiah said.

“The only problem is Miss High and Mighty Silver Belle. Every year she mouths on about how she’s gonna win big in the sack race, the tug-o-war, and the egg toss. Every year she scores a big fat zero.” That red-headed devil talked about me like I couldn’t hear and elbowed one of his friends.

“You know I can hear you. I’m standing right here.” I crossed my arms.

“The horse race,” he said.

“What about it?” I managed to stifle a yawn.

“You couldn’t win against a herd of snails.” He pointed a bony finger at my face.

“I can outrun anything and everything,” I smiled. “And I can do it on any animal you name.”

“Oh, no.” Jeremiah’s voice tickled my right ear and made me hear what my mouth had just said. Why I felt a need to add that last little bit, I’ll never know.

“You’ve got more lip than a doggy calf,” Zave said. His bushy red eyebrows raised over the smirk that covered his face. “How’s about you gettin’ behind that jaw waggin’?”

I swallowed the lump in my throat. I heard Jeremiah suck in his breath. He knew my mouth had caused me more than a few bad mess ups.

Zave stepped closer. “The July 4th race. This afternoon.” His warm breath smelled like sour onions. “I double. Dog. Dare you.”

How should I know that taking on that dare would send me and Jeremiah on a whole new adventure?