Salty continued addressing the bandit as if she weren’t even there. “You see, I’ve got reason to believe that this here woman is a dirty cheat.”
“Don’t be such a sore loser,” Bonnie piped up. “Vi beat you fair and square!” One of Salty’s men leaned in at her menacingly and she let out a squeak. Caroline waited until his back was turned and made a rude gesture.
“Well, if’n she is, she’s got to be the worst cheat I ever saw,” the bandit said with a smirk, leaning back and opening his jacket to reveal his own pair of side-arms. “Honestly, I’d started to feel sorry for her. She hasn’t got any luck at all.”
“Are you sure about that?” the ‘businessman’ asked silkily.
“Vi!” Peter yelled. “Get out of here. Just get out of your seat and go!”
As much as she would have liked to heed his advice, Vi couldn’t tear her eyes from George struggling against the giant’s grip. Sure, she could run. But what about everyone else?
Jeb slowly rose to his feet. “You saying I’m too stupid to know when I’m being taken?” he asked darkly.
The world held its breath.
“He ain’t saying you ain’t too stupid!” someone hollered.
Later, no one would likely admit to being the one who said it, but once it was said the entire saloon surged into action. The poker table tipped over as men on all sides rushed to their feet and an assortment of money, cards, and glasses flew into the air. Vi ducked behind the table to avoid the first onslaught of fists and sweaty bodies tangling together all around her. It would be so easy to just slink out through the back door, but Caroline’s piercing shriek pushed the idea out of her mind.