With Song


By Dorothy Garlock

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Molly barely noticed the sedan that pulled up in front of her family’s store. Minutes later, a hail of bullets rained down on her parents. Hod Dolan, the federal agent knows she can identify the gunmen, and soon proposes a trap that uses Molly as bait.


The best way to know a bunch of people is to go and listen to their music.
—Woody Guthrie,
Woody Says, 1975

The Ballad of Molly McKenzie
The sun it was shining that day in late June,
And Molly was singing a popular tune.
She looked out the window and saw the men go,
Then went down the stairs and found carnage below.
Her mother and father lay still on the floor,
Shot dead by gunmen as they tended the store.
Molly, sweet Molly, singing no more.
Molly, sweet Molly, swore to even the score.
A G-man named Hod came to her with a plan.
He asked her to say she remembered each man,
To tell a reporter who'd publish her claim
And lure the men back like moths to a flame.
The G-man named Hod looked deep in her eyes.
The response that she felt took her by surprise.
Molly, young Molly, agreed to be bait.
Molly, brave Molly, tempting cruel fate.
She opened the store every morning at eight.
She scanned the dirt road for killers in wait.
Would they come when night fell—the perilous dark?
Should she fear the next car that drew up to park?
Hod Dolan, she thought, must be watching somewhere,
The look in his eyes—she knew he must care.
Molly, strong Molly, are you doubly in danger?
Molly, dear Molly, risking love with a stranger.
Some troubles grow from the seeds sown by hate.
Some troubles come from the need for a mate.
Some love sweet Molly with hearts that are pure,
Some nourish hate and claim love is the lure.
In and around the town they call Pearl,
Surely there's love that will save a young girl.
Molly, oh Molly, like flow'rs seek the sun,
Molly, wise Molly, you'll choose the right one.


When are you going?"
She felt a little sick and silently prayed that he not see how anxious she was to know the answer to her question.
Hod picked up her left hand and brought it over to place her palm against his right one. Her fingers were white and slender, her nails short and rounded. Suddenly he could picture a ring there, his ring, proclaiming to all that she belonged to him. He gently rubbed his fingertip up and down her ring finger.
While she held her breath and waited for him to speak, a knot formed in her stomach.
"Are you trying to get rid of me?" His voice was strained.
"You know I'm not."
"Did it embarrass you to introduce me as your fiancé?" He looked out the driver's window and swallowed, fighting the tightness in his throat.
"Whatever gave you that idea?" I was sinfully proud to introduce you as my fiancé.
"I'm not going." He turned and looked into her eyes.
Molly's first reaction was stunned surprise. When it passed confusion took its place.
"Won't you . . . get fired?"
"I'm not going," he repeated.
"Why not? If there's no longer any danger that someone will shoot me—"
"—I took a month's leave to make up my mind if I want to go back to the Bureau . . . that's what I told the chief. But I already know what I'm going to do." There was a quiet look on his face that she'd not seen before. "I wanted you to know that I'm staying here on my own without the support of the Bureau."
"I'm glad . . . you're staying. But I don't want you to lose your job."
"I'm not losing it. They'll take me back if I want to go."
"At the end of the mouth?"
"Anytime. I have a good record." Their eyes caught and held. "I want to be near you, Molly. I can't get it out of my head that sometime soon you'll need me."
"But if Norton has given up on eliminating me as a witness, what else could happen?"
"I've got a gut feeling about that shot that was fired into the house last night." A worried look came over her face, and he could have kicked himself for telling her that. "But then again," he added quickly, "I've been known to have hunches that went absolutely nowhere."
She tilted her face to look at him. Desire surged through him, not lustful desire, but an overwhelming need to protect her. What she said next took him completely by surprise.
"Can you stand sleeping on that cot for a month?"
He smiled at that. "That cot is a feather bed compared to some places I've slept." Then, his dark eyes soberly searched her face. "Do you want your aunt to know that I'm not on official duty?"
"I don't like keeping secrets from her, but if we just don't mention it one way or the other—"
"Good idea. I'll have to buy a car. Will you go with me to Liberal to get one?"
"If we drove the truck down, we could pick up the order for the store."
"You can drive the new car back. You drive, don't you?"
"I can drive the truck. I've driven this car only one time. I might wreck your new car."
"We'll go slow and stop often."
Their eyes caught and held. Molly's heart hammered, and a fluttering began in the pit of her stomach. His smile crinkled the lines around his eyes and deepened the indentations in his cheeks, making him suddenly look boyish. She was unaware how brilliantly her violet eyes shone or how radiantly she smiled. She just knew that she was overcome by a surprising, overwhelming burst of happiness.
Holding tightly to her hand, Hod watched her in joyful recognition that her hand no longer lay limp in his but gripped it firmly. The smile that she gave him reached all the way into his heart. He felt as if he had come to a crossroads and that from now on his life would take a new direction.
Molly, sweet Molly, you've stolen my heart.
Hod drove slowly back to the store. He felt lighthearted and young for the first time in years.
"I wonder how Aunt Bertha got along with George." Molly took off her hat and let the wind blow her hair. "She didn't like him at all when she first came here."
"He takes some getting used to. He's a lot smarter than he appears to be."
"Daddy thought so, too. They'd have long talks. George would hang around if there was no one in the store. As soon as folks came in, he would disappear. He never had much to say to me or Mama."
"Have you ever been to his farm?"
"Never. I don't think Daddy had been there for years. George's sister is strange. She doesn't welcome visitors."
"How old do you think he is?" Hod wanted to keep her talking.
"He isn't as old as my daddy, and he was forty-two. I'd say George is someplace between thirty-five and forty."
"That old? Want my guess?"


On Sale
Apr 12, 2001
Page Count
480 pages

Dorothy Garlock

About the Author

Dorothy Garlock is the author of more than 50 novels that have sold 15 million+ combined copies and are published in 15 languages. She lives in Iowa.

Learn more about this author