Authors: Linda Broday
She jumped back when Jake's eyes suddenly flew open. He stared at her a moment his dark eyes looking glassy and blank. “Santana?” he muttered. His eyes closed again. Miranda put a hand to her chest and breathed deeply to stop her sudden shaking. Was she crazy to do what she had just done? She clenched her fists, forcing herself to stay calm. The man certainly couldn't do her any harm tonight and he didn't even know where his guns were.
She longed to just lie down now, but she remembered the poor draft horses were still in harness. She lit one lantern and set it on the table, then lit another and carried it outside.
It was dark out now, which made everything seem more frightening. She hung the lantern in the shed and began the arduous task of removing the harness from the horses, a job difficult for most me and doubly difficult for her small arms, especially tonight, when her whole body screamed from a day of emotional upheaval and a tenseness that brought physical pain. Suddenly she realized that in her concern for the horses, she had left her own rifle inside the house. She quickly took down the lantern and closed the shed door, then hurried back to the cabin to find everything the same. She went into the bedroom to check on Jake once more, only to find he had not moved. His breathing was deep and rhythmic, and she thought his forehead already felt a little cooler.
She picked up his clothes and carried them into the main room, where she took down a wooden laundry tab and set it near the fire. She threw his clothes into a tub, poured hot water over them and added some lye soap. She would scrub them and hang them out in the morning. At least that would leave the man even more helpless for the time beingânot only would he not have his guns, but he wouldn't even have any clothes to put on!
She closed her eyes and tried to make herself sleep, realizing the much-needed rest was not going to come easily. It had been a long day. It was going to be an even longer night.
Linda Broday resides in the Panhandle of Texas on the Llano Estacado. At a young age, she discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. There's something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up! A
bestselling author, Linda has won many awards, including the prestigious National Readers' Choice Award and the Texas Gold Award. Visit her at
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