This Cowboy's Heart

BOOK: This Cowboy's Heart
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THIS COWBOY’S HEART

BY CIA LEAH

COPYRIGHT-2012-CIA LEAH

 

This is a work of
fiction.
 
Any resemblance to persons,
places, or incidents is co-incidental.

 

No portion of this book may
be reproduced without the written permission of the author.

      
Jace
Brandon heard a truck backfire as it rambled by.
 
He punched his pillow and tried to go back to sleep, but it was
too hot.
 
“Why did people have to come
back here on his property to park and make out, or pass out drunk in their
cars?
 
He was going to have to do something
about that, starting tomorrow.
 
He was
damned tired of it.
 
There was a million
other places they could go.
 

      
He
slipped out of bed, wiping the sweat off his chest, and padded barefoot out to
the front porch.
 
At least it was cooler
out here.
 
Maybe he’d just grab a
blanket and bed down out here, he thought, when he heard a soft moan.
 
He shook his head.
 
If he had a couple kids out in his field making out, he was going
to rope and tie them to their car!

      
He
strode back inside, grabbed his flashlight, and went back out the door.
 
He swept the light around, but didn’t see
any vehicle.
 
Maybe it was just the
wind, he thought, turning to go back inside when he heard it again.
 
He jumped off the porch, and walked down the
road, shinning the light on each side.
 
Someone was out here and he was determined to find him or her.

      
He
hopped on one foot when he stepped on a sharp rock.
 
Besides being hot and miserable, it was only two in the morning
and he’d had a busy day bailing the hay he’d cut the day before.
 
He wanted to get it done before it rained,
and now he wished it would.
 
Maybe it
would cool off this blasted heat wave they’d been stuck in for more than a
month.

      
Jace
heard the moan again and shone his light to the right.
 
A woman’s body lay on the side of the
road.
 
He ran over and knelt down next
to her, shinning his light in her face.
 
“Good Lord,” he whispered, seeing the bruises on her face, the bloody
lip, and the dried blood under her nose.
 
“Miss?” he asked, shinning his light down her body.
 
Her white blouse was torn, her jeans dirty,
and her feet were bare.

      
“Oh
my God,” he said, laying the light down to shine on her. He ran his fingers
over her head and found a lump on the back.
  
He quickly checked her for broken ribs and bones, but felt sure none
were broken.

      
Jace
shook his head.
 
There was only one
thing for him to do and that was to pick her up and take her back to his
place.
 
He didn’t use a cell phone,
didn’t have a landline, and lived on his place by his own standards.
   

      
He
stood up, placed his hands under her and lifted her up as he rose to his
feet.
 
She weighed next to nothing.
 
So fragile, he thought, and it made him mad
that someone had beaten her up.
 
His
mother had always taught him that if you had to hit a woman, then you weren’t
much of a man.

      
In
minutes he had her back to his place.
 
He laid her on his bed, and put water on to heat.
 
She needed those cuts tended to.
 
He probably should take her to the hospital,
but he’d see what she wanted to do when she came to.
 

      
When
the water was hot, he filled his Ma’s spit bath pan that had been her
grandma’s, grabbed a washcloth, and walked over to kneel beside the bed.
 
He quickly cleaned her up, applied some
antiseptic to her cuts and pulled the quilt over her.
 
She was shivering and he was sure it was from shock and the
ordeal she’d been though.

      
Feeling
he’d done all he could for now, he went to the kitchen and heated up a can of
soup, sliced a piece of corn bread and put butter on it.
 
As he ate, he kept glancing across the room
to where she lay, hoping she would awaken soon, so he could see what she wanted
him to do.
 

      
He
also wondered what she would think of his place.
 
It was a sturdy cabin, he’d built himself, but with no
frills.
 
It was all one room.
 
There was the kitchen, a living area, with a
huge stone fireplace, and then the bed against the outer wall.
 
His dresser sat below the bed against the
wall and behind his bedroom was a small bath with a sink, shower, and commode.
 
He didn’t need much.
 
His Ma and Pa were dead, and his sister had
long ago moved away when she married.
 
He never saw her much, but did receive letters from her once in a while.

      
Jace
finished eating, put his dishes in the sink, then grabbed his bedroll, and
walked out onto the porch.
 
He’d bed
down in front of the open door so he could hear the woman if she woke.
 
As he settled in for the night, he whispered
a silent prayer that God help the woman and help him to do what was best for
her.

***

      
Mia
Dawson woke from a deep sleep.
 
She hurt
all over and when she wet her lips with the tip of her tongue, she winced
before opening her eyes.
 
It took a few
blinks of her eyelids to focus, and when her vision cleared, she glanced around
at the room.
 
Where was she?
 
Had he brought her here?
 
Her heartbeat accelerated until she raised a
hand to her chest, trying to breathe past the fear that enveloped her.

     
She
threw back the quilt covering her and sat up to let her feet rest on the
floor.
 
Nausea hit her and she gulped to
keep from throwing up.
 
Inhaling several
deep breaths, she stood and swayed.
 
The
blow to her head must have given her a concussion, she thought, sitting back
down, when she saw a man standing in the doorway.
 
She scooted back against the wall, fear racing down her
spine.
 
She watched as he walked inside
the room, move to the stove, and put on coffee.
 
He didn’t say anything until he was finished with the task, and
then turned to sit at the table.
 
He was
tall, about six foot four, she’d say, shirtless, with a washboard stomach and
bulging muscles in his arms.
 
His jeans
rode low on his hips, with the top button unbuttoned.
 
His thick black hair was cut short, his eyebrows thick but well
defined for a man, and his eyes were the color of storm clouds on a rainy day.

      
“You
okay?” he asked, cutting a piece of something from a pan on the table.
 
“You hungry?”

      
Mia
didn’t utter a word, but just watched him.
 

      
He
took a bite of something and looked at her again.
 
“I found you out there on my place.
 
You’re pretty beat up.
 
I
tended to your wounds, and then let you sleep.
 
I wasn’t sure if you would want me to take you to a hospital or go to
the police, but thought it best you decide what you wanted to do.”

      
Mia
wet her lips again and winced.
 
Her lip
was so sore and it burned when she wet them.
 
She remained quiet, just staring at him.
 
She watched him get up and pour two cups, set one on the other
side of the table from him, and motion for her to come and get it.
 
She stayed where she was.

      
“I’m
not going to hurt you.
 
You might feel
better if you get something to drink and eat in you.
 
If there’s anyplace you want me to take you, just tell me and I
will.”

      
Mia
felt her heartbeat slow.
 
Did she dare
trust this man?
 
God, after her uncle’s
abuse and beatings, she never wanted to trust another man.
 
Yet, she would like some coffee.
 
No food because her stomach couldn’t handle
that right now.
 
Her fear held her in
place as they both stared at each other.
 
When he got up and lifted the coffee cup and advanced towards her, she
pressed against the wall.
 
She couldn’t
stop the trembling that seized her.

      
“I’m
really not going to hurt you,” he said, squatting down by the bed, and holding
the cup out to her.
 
I put some cream
and sugar in it for you.”

      
Mia
decided that if this man were going to harm her, he’d have done it by now.
 
She reached out and carefully took the cup
from him.
 
She cradled it in both hands,
soaking up the warmth.
 
“Thank you,” she
whispered and took a sip, wincing again when the hot liquid touched her lips.

      
“You
have a nasty split lip.
 
There’s a tube
of lip balm on that little stand if you want to use it.
 
Has a numbing effect.
 
Might help some.”

      
She
watched as he rose to his feet and walked to the dresser.
 
He opened a drawer, pulled out a shirt, and
slipped it on.
 
She sipped the coffee
and sighed.

      
“I’ve
got barn work and farm work to do.
 
If
you’re sure you don’t need to go to the police or anything, then make yourself
at home.
 
There’s a bath back there
behind you.”

      
“Thank
you,” she said softly.

      
He
turned as he went out the door.
 
“My name
is Jace Brandon.
 
I’ll be back around
noon.”

      
Mia
didn’t say anything.
 
He shrugged and
left.

      
She
sat there for a long time, sipped at her coffee until it was gone, then scooted
off the bed, being careful to hold onto it until the dizziness passed.
 
She walked to the door and looked out.
 
She saw Jace across the road working on a
tractor.
 
He was shirtless again.
 
As if he sensed her watching him, he rose up
and glanced towards the house, then resumed what he was doing.

      
Mia
turned and walked to the kitchen and poured herself more coffee and sat down at
the table.
 
Se put sugar and cream in
it, and then reached for the pan of cornbread.
 
She was so hungry.
 
Her uncle
hadn’t let her eat in days.

      
Fear
of him returning for her or to see if she was dead, made her shiver in
fear.
 
Hopefully he would just think
he’d killed her when he dumped her body out of the truck. She sliced a big
piece of the cornbread and spread butter on it off the plate sitting on the
table.
 
She bit into it, and groaned,
despite her sore lip.
 
She finished it
off and felt her stomach settle.
 
Besides the knot on her head, she was probably nauseated from not eating
in so long.
 
She felt some better.

      
She
pushed up from the table and went to the bathroom.
 
She looked in the small mirror.
 
Her right eye was black and blue. Bruises marred her cheek and chin. Her
lower lip was swollen sporting a wide, nasty split was on the right side.
 
Her neck had bruises where her uncle had
almost chocked the life out of her.
 
A
sudden need filled her to wipe all traces of his hands off her; she closed the
door, locked it, and stripped.
 

BOOK: This Cowboy's Heart
11.04Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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