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Lost Hearts-- Kathy Otten

Lost Hearts


Trapped in a life of violence and abuse, Johnny Bodine
disguises her femininity and dreams of a family who loves her. Haunted by flashbacks he can't remember, from a war he wants desperately to forget, U.S. Deputy Marshal Richard Bennick arrives in Indian Territory with warrants for a notorious outlaw and his feisty irreverent son, Johnny. As they journey through the dangerous Choctaw Nation, Richard and Johnny must learn to trust each other in order to survive, forming a unique bond of love between outlaw and lawman that can only be broken by Richard's oath to uphold the law, and by the justice of the hangman's noose.

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4 Stars from RT Book Reviews (Jan. 2010)
"Flawed characters in need of healing find each other in this emotionally charged tale of a rugged time where men shoot first and never ask questions.  The action is fast paced and the story is full of interesting twists." -- Reviewed by Donna m. Brown
4.5 from Long and Short Reviews
"Kathy Otten's skill with dialect... make(s) Lost Hearts irresistible reading.  Her graphic descriptions and life-like characterizations create a memorable story...  Lost Hearts grabs one's attention and holds on to the very end." -- Reviewed by Camellia


“God, it looks like a damn battlefield.”

He shook his head. “No. We’re only two days from McAlester. Help me wrap the bodies, and we’ll send them home on the train.”

He blew out a weary breath. “And give me back my damn rifle.”

She passed over the Winchester, the familiar letters, R-A-B, carved in the stock. “Found it yonder where ya dropped it. Now ya can point it at me an’ threaten to shoot me iffin I don’t do like ya say.”

His dark brown eyes narrowed. “Are you ridiculing me?”

Johnny stared at him, her brow furrowed in concentration. She shifted her feet, glancing down as she swatted at the tips of grass with her manacled hands.

“Don’t reckon I know what re-dic-u-cule means.”

He blew out a long sigh. “It means to make sport of someone.”

She shrugged.

He tried again. “I wondered if you were laughing at me, outlaw?”

This time her shoulders snapped back, and she lifted her chin to squarely meet his dark eyes. “I reckon iffin I had call to be a-laughin’ at ya, I’d be adoin’ it right in yer face, so there’d be no wonderin’ about it.” Spinning around, she stomped off.

Richard couldn’t stop the grin that tugged the left corner of his mouth. Despite the pain in his leg, despite the grief pressing against his heart, despite the tenuous grip he held on his sanity, that obnoxious little outlaw could still make him laugh.

“And it’s ridicule!” he yelled.

A clod of dirt came hurling out of the blue and landed with a thunk against the toe of his left boot. For a moment his laughter rang out to mingle with Johnny’s sputtering curses.

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