I promise a story never before read. Now, it doesn't only character's from Rawhide, but various westerns. You will be reading/hearing familiar names, lets see how many Classic actors you can find hidden in this story!

Chapter one

Christine daae climbed out of the rickety stagecoach and straightened her white straw hat. Her eyes scanned the dusty town of Ponderosa Pine. She brushed off her skirt and went over to the boardwalk.

"Here's your bags lady." The stage driver said.

"Thank you." she said gripping her carpetbag.

"Anyone coming for you lady?"

"No. I'll be fine." She pressed a silver dollar into his hand. "Thank you for helping me."

He shrugged as he pocketed the coin. "Thanks lady."

She smiled and glanced around the town again. She'd attracted several men who were staring at her and obviously muttering about her. She pulled her parasol out of a suitcase and started towards the sheriff's office.

"Hey!" a cowboy said tilting his hat. "Can I help you lady?"

She shook her head and gripped her parasol tighter. "No thank you. The sheriff will help me."

"Ain't here." He said crossing in front of her.

She frowned. "Then I'll wait in his office."

"I'd be obliged to help." He insisted.

She shook her head, she knew that look of lust all too soon. "I prefer to deal with the law. Excuse me." He didn't move. "Move please."

"Purty ain't she?" he crowed to the other men milling around her. He leaned forward and sniffed. She drew back with disgust on her face. "Whoopee! Smells like an apple tree in full bloom." He leaned forward. "I love apples."

She stepped back and her hat fell over her face when she bumped someone. The disgusting man actually pulled her close and kissed her. She squealed as she drew her parasol back and hit him over the head with it! He groaned as she kicked him in the leg! She turned as he grabbed her arm. She pulled away and he tore her sleeve.

"Now you've done it link!" one said.

She shrieked and gripped her sleeve. He reached for her again and she began beating him with the parasol! Suddenly, link was flat on his back!

She blinked and spun around and found herself staring into the blue eyes of a masked man. She gasped and shifted her weight. He was tall, handsome, and there was a darkness about him that matched his clothes. The only thing light on his was his gun holster and the silver Marshal badge he wore. His porcelain half mask was black as well. The darkness in his gaze made her tremble.

The stranger studied her darkly before turning to link. He grabbed the man by the collar of his shirt and turned to her.

"Follow me ma'am."

She nodded and followed him to the sheriff's office. A loud thud from inside caused her to jump and she cautiously peered around the corner. She saw a man pulling himself up from the ground.

"Gall darn Marshal what," his voice died when he saw her standing in the doorway. He cleared his throat and smoothed his hair. "a pleasure, miss. May I be of some assistance?"

"yes." She nodded. "I was wondering you would happen to know where my grandfather's ranch is? I'm visiting from out east."

"here that Erik?"

a slammed cell door made her jump again. She exhaled and glanced at the Marshall as he walked over to the sheriff, throwing the keys on the table.

"I think a week is sufficient punishment." He said.

"what'd he do know?"

"the fool was assaulting her." he glanced at her. "what's your name?"

"Christine daae."

"daae?" he frowned. "any relation to Gustave daae?"

"yes." she smiled. "he's my grandfather. He owns the San Angelo ranch."

Erik stared at the beautiful girl in a fancy pink dress full of frills and ribbons that didn't belong out here.

"he owns what ranch?"

he could have sworn she said, "san Angelo." She repeated with a smile. "he's had it for a few years now."

He'd heard right. Oh, Mr. daae had to have been lying all this time! Now what was he supposed to do?

"I haven't seen him since I was ten."

"oh." He cleared his throat and added casually. "does your grandfather know you're here?"

"no." She smiled and his heart stopped again in his chest. "I wanted to surprise him. he's written me so much about the ranch and things haven't been going well at home."

Great. Just what I need. A runaway! A beautiful, worthless city gal on my ranch!

"san Angelo?" sheriff Matt asked. "I think,

"I'll be glad to take you!" he blurted quickly before Matt could spill the beans. "I'm a co-owner of San Angelo."

Oh why am I lying to her? it's my ranch and how can I tell her that her grandfather's just a retired ranch hand living there?

She patted her hair, "oh good. I was so worried that I was going to have a difficult time finding it. is your carriage here in town?"

He and Wyatt stared at her. "carriage?"

She nodded. "yes carriage. You know, you ride in them."

He frowned, "you mean buckboard."

"no." She shook her head, "I mean carriage."

"we call them buckboards out here." Matt said. "it's like a carriage."

"well, I'll go have someone carry my suitcases over for me."


she nodded. "naturally. You don't think I'd leave and not pack my things do you?" she flounced out of the office.

Erik groaned, "I'm going to kill Gustave."

"don't. I'll have to bring you in, and I have no wish to die."

Erik groaned, "how am I going to tell her that her grandfather is just a hand there and that it's my ranch she's on?"

"she won't be here long."

"won't she?" he frowned. "she's visiting her grandfather that she hasn't seen in about ten years!"

"reckon she's twenty?"

Erik frowned, "that's not for us to speak of! You don't question a lady's age."

"sorry." Wyatt said. "how come you didn't tell her about San Angelo being your ranch?"

Erik scowled at him, "and would you have told her after she's ridden from New York in a stage coach for several week?"

Wyatt had the decency to look guilty, "no."

The door flew open and they turned to see Christine there, her cheeks a flaming red. "marshal, I loaded the trunks into your buckboard."

Erik's eyes rose, "you did?"

"well, I had some help with the heavier baggage, but I did load up some of my stuff."

Erik frowned and looked at Matt, "be back, send Hugh if there's any trouble."

Wyatt nodded, "will do," a mischievous look lit his eyes. "but it looks like you got all the trouble right there."

The Marshall slammed the door, "damn." He muttered.

"sheriff!" Christine gasped.

"marshal." He corrected.

"sorry." She said.

"likewise ma'am." He gripped her elbow and steered her around a mud puddle. Something in his grip made her heart rate speed up. he cinched his hands around her 16 and ½ inch waist and lifted her up into the buckboard. "tiny thing ain't you?" he said.

"Marshall!" heat filled her cheeks.

"I only meant you're tiny. Waist about 17 inches?" she spluttered. "I must have guessed too much. 16?"

"16 and ½!" she blurted out. He smirked, but that vanished when she tapped him on the head with her closed parasol. "and it's none of your affair!"

he laughed as he went around and climbed into the buckboard beside her. she smoothed her pink skirts away from the edge of the buckboard. "no ma'am. I reckon it isn't any of my business. Incidentally, how long are you visiting your grandfather?"

"I'm planning on staying all year." Christine remarked.

She saw him twitch and frown. "oh." He cleared his throat. "do you mind if I ask what you're doing here?"

She sat up primly and faced the dusty road ahead, "I don't see it's any of your business."

"no, but we're three miles away from the ranch, so it might do you good to be sociable. Besides, I can always ask your grandfather."

"fine!" she huffed. "I didn't want to get married, so I left! Satisfied?"

"indubitably." He said. "can I ask who the groom was to be?"

"Vicomte Raoul de Chagney."

"fancy title."

"clear from France." She said sarcastically. "rolling in millions of francs, just waiting for a lucky lady to get her fingers into."

"so, why didn't you?"

she shrugged, "I didn't love him." she frowned, "And you Marshall, what is your name?"


"Erik what?"

"Erik o' Brian."

She frowned, "interesting name."

"And your complete name is?"

"Christine Elise daae."

"Christine Elise?" he said. "nice name."

She cleared her throat, "thank you Erik o' Brian."

"so, Christine, how long do you think you'll be staying here?"

she frowned, "as I stated, I'm going to stay here all year!"

he coughed, "Christine."

"Miss daae!" she corrected. "Mr. o Brian."

"look, you're visiting half of my ranch, so it's ridiculous to refer to me by my last name."

"thank you Mr. o' Brian."

He groaned, "God, you're stubborn!"

"And you're irritable!"

"well, while you're here you're to stay indoors, away from the men and out of my way. Do we understand each other?"

she nodded, "indeed Mr. O' Brian."

They pulled up in front of a two-story ranch house. It was dusty, but it appeared well kept. Mr. o Brian pulled up the buckboard and went towards the house.

"Mr. o Brian." She stated. "you may help me down."

"help you down?" he scoffed. "Are you serious?"

she arched a brow, "I'm serious."

He growled and stomped towards her. his hands closed around her waist and they almost met in the back. He swept her down to the ground and she blushed at their closeness. They stared at each other; heat filled her at the gaze in his dark, brown, smoldering, and almost black eyes.

She cleared her throat and stepped away from him. "thank you." her voice was a faint whisper.

"you're welcome," his voice dangerously near her ear. "Christine."

She kept her eyes riveted to the front door. she walked up the stairs and pushed the front door open. She could not hold back the scream that escaped her lips as her horrified eyes took in the sight around her.

Ok, don't forget to review. From now on, I won't update each chapter unless I get two reviews! (Considering katdancer typically reviews, it makes it easy for everyone else!)

What characters/Actors are Erik and the sheriff named after? I will reveal who, they are on the next chapter so you can kinda match a face with the characters.