Welcome to this week's Tuesday Tales. The prompt for the week is "Right" .....
I decided on a change of pace this week and left Ginger and the Gray Mortuary behind to move to the paranormal historical I'm working on and hope to have released later this year. It's titled, Darkest Angel, and is Book 2 in my Angels of Deadwood Gulch Series. Emily and Slade are secondary characters in the novel, but I hope you'll enjoy this snippet from when they first meet.
He come riding from the west, a tall man in the saddle silhouetted against the setting sun. Riding slowly, he didn't give the impression he was in a hurry, but from the way he looked around, he was careful. When he rode into the yard, his eyes took in everything.
Emily didn't know why she wasn't afraid, but somehow she knew he wasn't a threat, at least, not to her.
He was cautious.
He was cautious.
She didn't fault him for being so.
Dressed all in black, she couldn't very well deny he looked menacing, especially with the worn leather holsters strapped to his hips, two Colt .45s in place.
When he got off the horse, she held her breath.
What did he want?
She remained behind the waist high well where she was drawing water to carry to the chickens. The board enclosure around the four sides blocked most of his view of her.
“Ma’am,” he said politely and tipped his dark hat.
He remained beside his horse, maybe to assure her he meant her no harm. A gunfighter. The second in three days she’d met—first Rio, now this stranger. Gunfighters weren't new to the Dakota Territory, but she’d always managed to avoid them.
Who was he?
Why was he here?
She nodded a hello and finished pulling up the bucket of water. She hefted the full bucket on to the top of the well. Water splashed over the sides wetting the front of her gown, her shoes, and the boards.
“That water sure looks good,” he said in a soft drawl sliding his gaze up and down the front of her gown. “Mind giving a stranger a drink?”
Heat crawled up her face. Were his words sincere or did they have a double meaning? Emily shaded her eyes against the evening sun and studied him for a long moment. The way his gaze kept returning to her breasts, she was pretty sure his words were filled with meaning.
And yes, she did mind, but she wasn't rude enough to say such words. He didn't appear uncomfortable with her suspicious look directed at him. She didn't detect hostility, but Lord above, she had the feeling he could get dangerous real fast, even if he was the stillest man she'd ever seen.
He must have sensed her hesitation. “I emptied my canteen some ways back,” he said, “but if you prefer not to share your water, I can get back on my horse and mosey on.” He seemed intent on reassuring her he meant no harm, but trust didn't come easy for Emily.
He tossed his reins over his saddle and took a single step toward the well.
Emily let go of the pail of water and closed her fingers around the rifle standing at her side. From where he stood, he couldn't see the gun, but he must have instinctively known she had a weapon because he froze. “Ma’am, my name’s Slade. Slade McKenna. I’m a U.S. Marshall. I’m not here to cause you grief, so if you wouldn't mind, I’d sure like it if you’d take your hand off that rifle.”
“I mind,” she said, keeping her fingers wrapped around the barrel. “I don’t see a badge. Not on your vest. Not on your shirt.”
“No, ma’am. It’s in my pocket. I don’t like making myself a target. There are men who like nothing better than putting a bullet through a badge while a man’s still wearing it.”
“I suppose that’s true enough,” she replied. “You can have a drink of water.” She lifted the gourd dipper off the nail where it dangled on the well post. With her free hand, she dipped it into the bucket of water. “Keep your hands where I can see them.”
He took the gourd from her, careful to keep the well between them. “You sure are a distrusting little gal.”
She didn't reply. Emily had little use for small talk.
He handed the dipper back to her and backed away. Reaching his horse, he grabbed the reins. “Mind if I water my horse at that trough over there?” He’d already turned the sorrel colored mare before he asked.
Startled, Emily snatched up the rifle and leveled it on his chest. “Don’t move.”He dropped the reins and raised his hands in surrender. “Yes ma’am. I reckon I’ll just stand right here until you tell me otherwise.”
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