Time for another teaser from Stained Snow. Still hoping to get this out by the end of the year.
William finished fastening the second horse into the wagon. “There’s really no reason for you to go, Anna. I’m picking up some supplies then I’ll be back. I shouldn’t even be gone a full day.” He didn’t even look up as he checked each of the straps, but she huffed, and he couldn’t quite fight back a smile.
“Will, I hardly ever get to go to town. Sometimes, I feel like I’m stuck here. I want to see some people, talk to people. We hardly hear anything out here.”
Anna had spent the last several years before William met her living with her father and stepmother at Fort Steele. While she had been surrounded by mostly soldiers, there’d been other families there. Other women and girls she could socialize with. He had taken her away from all of that. “I don’t know if it will be safe.”
“How is it safer for us to stay out here by ourselves than it would be with you? He’s not going to attack us in town. He’s not stupid, Will. That’s why being with you would be safer. He won’t come at you from the front. It’s been weeks with nothing. He’s probably moved on again.”
William shook his head. His brother was good at laying quiet. He could act like everything was fine then suddenly lash out. William had felt the sting of a sudden attack enough times. “Doubt it. He’s waiting.” Waiting for William to let his guard down, which he didn’t plan to do. “You’re not alone here. None of the men will let anything happen to you.”
“Which men? The foreman old enough to be my grandfather who can barely walk straight in the morning? Or the boys barely old enough to have left their mother’s lap? How will they protect us if they’re out riding fence? They can’t be here and taking care of the cows.”
“Then, I’ll make sure at least one or two always stay here with you, but I’m not going to let him get you.”
“Then let us go with you. We’ll be safe with you, Will.”
He was running out of arguments. She apparently wasn’t though. “You told David the next time you went into town, you would take him with you. If you go back on that now, he’ll be hurt.”
William sighed and ran a hand through his hair before putting his hat back on. “Fine. Go get him. You two can visit while I get what we need.”
“Thanks, Will.” She slipped her arms around his waist, and he held onto her for a moment, setting his chin on top of her head. Sometimes he wondered if he didn’t love her so much, maybe he would be able to say no to her more. Then, he stepped back. “Go on. I want to get going soon.”
She hurried up to the house, calling for David as she neared it. He shook his head and turned back to his horses. When had he been able to say no to either of them? Maybe she was right. It would be safer to be with him than alone. The last thing he wanted to do was leave them alone. He’d have to talk to the sheriff and find out if he’d made any progress on tracking Thomas down or finding who else might have been responsible for those deaths. If he hadn’t found anything, he might have to leave his family alone while he took care of it himself.
His jaw clenched as he tightened the last strap and gave one of the horses a pat on the neck. He didn’t want to do it, but he would if it meant keeping his family safe.