Time for another teaser from an upcoming release. I’m still teasing you about Stained by Ashes. I have it back from one beta reader, but I’m waiting to get it back from the other before I start edits on it. So, still no official release date. But, you can always read Stained Snow while you’re waiting. 😉
Two steps took him to the side of the horse she currently stroked. He tipped his hat forward. “Ma’am.”
Her head jerked up at his voice, and irritation turned to interest. Her face went blank. “Sir, if you’ll excuse me.” She stepped back.
“Do you need help with anything?”
Her gaze flicked across the street, he imagined to look for her father and brother. Whether because she feared what they would do if they came over, or uncomfortable and wanting help, he didn’t know.
“Thank you, sir, but my brother has it handled. Now, please, I’d ask you to leave.”
Fear shone in her eyes, and he didn’t think she directed it at him. He nodded at her and took a step back, lifting his fingers to tip his hat again. “Good day then, Ma’am.”
She kept her eyes on him as he took another step back. He didn’t want to take his from her, but he had to turn before he ran into someone else. As he did, Lucas and Louis crossed the street toward them. The old man’s eyes were trained on his daughter, but her brother glared right at him. He veered away from his father and came toward Adam.
Adam settled his hat further on his head and stepped away. He’d moved too late. Louis caught him, wrapping his fingers around Adam’s arm. “Keep your dirty paws off my sister, half-breed. You won’t make her your squaw.”
Rage boiled under his skin, in his blood. That was all these people would ever see him as. He had too much of his mother’s blood to fit in with them, and too much of his father in him to let it go. He pushed Louis away from him. “I didn’t have my hands on her. I asked if she needed some help. And I have no desire to take a wife.” That was a lie, but he wouldn’t let it show. He wouldn’t like anything more than to find someone to marry, someone he could make a family with. Like he’d dreamed of doing with Maggie.
“Louis, leave him alone.” Her soft voice came from behind him. “He did nothing. People are allowed to speak to me when I’m in town.”
“Not him. Get in the wagon, Leah. We’re going home.”
She trembled for a moment then turned to do that. He wanted to strike out at the man for talking to her like that, for putting that fear in her eyes. Before he could do more than think it, Patrick spoke his name. “Come on,” he said when Adam turned to him. “We have things to see to before we head home.”
He hesitated, trembling with outrage as the younger brother jumped into the back with his sister. Then the wagon pulled away. He saw Leah watching him before it disappeared down the street.
“Adam, come,” Patrick said again. “We have things to do.”
A breath shuddered out of him, but he followed his boss. As they moved down the street, Patrick set his hand on Adam’s shoulder. “It’d be better to stay away, Adam. I don’t think about you what they do, but Kline would never let anything happen between you two. You should keep even your eyes away from that one.”
He’d told himself that when he first saw her. It still stung to hear someone else say it, but he kept his face impassive as he looked at Patrick. “I don’t have my eye turned toward anyone. Let’s get that stuff so we can get out of here.”
He had no desire to be in town anymore.