Zach carried her to the other side of the standing wall. A weathered bench sat among broken pottery and rusted utensils. An old coffee pot, dented and missing its lid, rested on its side next to a pile of ashes left by previous travelers. He sat her down on the rickety wooden seat. “Will you be all right while I get our gear?”
She nodded, lowering her head and making a futile attempt to brush the dirty stains from her skirt. “I suppose.”
When he returned, laden with his bedroll and her pack, and both rifles slung across his shoulder, the bench was empty. His breath caught in his throat. He whipped his gaze around and didn’t see her. She couldn’t have gone far.
Storm nickered loudly. Zach dropped everything and dashed back to where he’d left his horse. Odessa struggled with the reins, trying to lift her foot into the stirrup. Storm snorted and reared. The girl jerked and stepped back when flying hooves clawed the air close to her head.
Zach snared the reins that now dragged the ground. “Shhh, it’s all right, boy. Calm down.” Storm snorted again and pulled against him.
“What the hell were you…?” His harsh tone faded when he noticed her eyes were wide as silver dollars, her chest heaving.
“I’m sorry.” Tears clouded her eyes. “Please don’t have me hung for being a horse thief. I just…” Her chin sagged to her chest and she sobbed.
“Oh, don’t cry. I hate when you women do that.” Zach clucked his tongue against his teeth. “No one’s getting hung, so stop your caterwauling.” This wasn’t exactly the reward he expected for his good deed.
Odessa sniffed and swiped her sleeve across her nose. “I don’t know what I was thinking. Maybe I’ve been in the sun so long it’s baked my brain. I should be thanking you instead of trying to leave you stranded. Can you forgive me?”
Those eyes again. How could he say no? He lowered his gaze and kicked at a pebble then looked up. “I guess I can, but how do I know you won’t try it again? Am I gonna have to tie you up?”
Her mouth gaped. “You wouldn’t?”
“It’s your call. This horse means more to me than you do.”
“I promise I won’t do anything so addlebrained again.” She clasped her hands beneath her chin and flashed a weak grin.
“And why should I trust you?” He cocked his head, still holding the reins.
“Because I give you my word, and my pa, may he rest in peace, taught me about honor.” She dropped her arms and squared her shoulders.
“I guess you must have forgotten a few minutes ago, huh?” He patted Storm’s forehead. “But then, you don’t know anything about me, so I reckon I understand.”
Her shoulders sagged. “I’ll be good. I swear on my mama’s grave. Pa’s too, if I knew for sure he had one.”
Good news....all of my books are now available via Books We Love. You click on the cover, download the format you need and pay using a credit card or Paypal....your choice. So...if you like what you've seen, check out the page and keep an eye out for the cover. It should be available anyday. In the meantime, you might enjoy something else I've written: http://www.bookswelove.com/authors/simpson-ginger/
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http://authorjamiehill.blogspot.com/ (Jamie Hill)
http://triciamg.blogspot.com (Tricia McGill)
http://romancingscifi.blogspot.com (Vijaya Schartz)
http://connievines.blogspot.com (Connie Vines)
http://yesterrdayrevisitedhere.blogspot.com/ (Juliet Waldron)