All in Good Time (The Gilded Legacy) - By Maureen Lang

MY RESEARCH of 1880s Denver was made easy and enjoyable because of the work and help of Jay Moynahan, retired professor from Eastern Washington University. Not only did I benefit from Professor Moynahan’s own publications, but he generously pointed me in the direction of pertinent material he used during his decades of work. Without his recommendations I’d have been far less informed about society’s vices so common in many frontier towns, including Denver.

I’d also like to thank Massimo Duraturo for his help with Mrs. Gio’s Italian, and my friend Jeff Gerke for the introduction. Jeff is a perfect example of the wonderful generosity found in the Christian writing community.

And as always, I’m indebted to my critique partner, Siri Mitchell, and to the amazing talents of the Tyndale team: Karen Watson, Stephanie Broene, Sarah Mason, Beth Sparkman, Stephen Vosloo, and the marketing and PR support of Babette Rea and Maggie Rowe. It’s so easy to possess a grateful heart when surrounded by people who deserve to see one.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.



Mosquito Range, near Leadville, Colorado, 1875

“BE SURE to send my gratitude and affection to Mr. Wells and Mr. Fargo,” said Henry Hawkins.

The stagecoach driver’s hands shook as he offered Henry the contents of the lockbox—a box Henry had coerced the driver to blow open, providing the right mix of explosive and mud to adhere to and destroy the lock without harming anything inside the box. Heaven knew Henry had practiced enough times to get it right.

A quick glance assured Henry he’d gotten what he’d come for. He was three times a robber, three times of the same coach. Each time he’d been certain of the lockbox’s contents; otherwise it wouldn’t have been worth the risk. Today the familiar green pouch nearly burst with gold fresh from Colorado mines and smelted pure in Leadville. Accompanying that was a stack of greenbacks and banknotes, all of which Henry received while still aiming his rifle at the familiar but wide-eyed driver—the only man Henry had left unbound.

Henry stashed the goods in his own pouch. “Get over to the side, Zeb,” he ordered the driver, whom he’d met on his two previous holdups. “You know the routine by now. Hands high so my boys won’t fire on you. That’s it.” He let his grin of confidence speak for itself, but truthfully he could barely contain his mirth. His “boys” were nothing more than roughly hewn, perfectly straight lengths of wood. Placed at just the right angles amid boulders above them along the narrow pass, they looked as if they were the ready rifles of his gun-toting partners in crime.

Henry avoided meeting the gaze of only one man in the party, the one he’d ordered Zeb to secure first. He’d rather not have waylaid a coach with Tobias Ridgeway aboard, but it couldn’t be helped, not with the amount of gold and cash Henry knew would be transported this time through.

His mother’s brother was known from Leadville to Denver as straight and trustworthy, outspoken but earnest, an honorable sort every boy wished he could claim as a father—as Tobias was in surrogate form to Henry.

Except today Henry wished he didn’t know him at all.

Even now, with a false beard and mustache—fairer in shade than any Henry would have naturally grown with his jet-black hair—and his lanky form thickened by the padding he wore beneath his shirt, Henry dared not look his uncle in the eye. Unfortunately, Uncle Tobias was standing right next to a man Henry must address: a courier in the employ of Leadville’s largest mine. He routinely rode the coaches between Denver and Leadville and was this very day carrying a considerable amount of gold. Henry knew this because the man was a regular customer at his mother’s mercantile, and Henry had overheard him boasting more than once about being trusted with such an important task.

“I’ll take the nuggets from the mine.” He kept his voice to a raspy whisper, staring at the other man through the eyeholes of his mask.

The man’s eyes nearly popped from their sockets, but then he let his gaze slip upward, as if wondering how accurate Henry’s cohorts might be. Evidently he decided not to take the risk of running. “I don’t . . . know . . . what you’re referring—”

Henry poked him with the muzzle of his rifle, pushing aside his jacket lapel. “No one will get hurt if