Home of a mother, wife, writer

Time for another teaser from Stained by Ashes. This is from Chapter 10, the last one I’ve gotten back from my second beta reader.

Leah stepped around Adam, but he held out an arm to keep her back. She shook off his arm and stood at his side. “Louis, what are you even doing here?”

He barely looked over at her. “Saving your reputation, it appears. You think any of your suitors would want you if they knew you had sullied yourself with the likes of him?”

The color fled from her face, and Adam went rigid beside her. His kiss had swept her away, even if she shouldn’t have let it happen. She shouldn’t have come, but she’d wanted to find out what had happened here. She’d been hoping to see Adam out here again, even though that was ridiculous and dangerous.

“First, my reputation doesn’t need saving,” she told her brother. “Second, I don’t care about my suitors. I don’t want any of them. Third, we’ve done nothing. I’m as clean and pure as you and Pa want me.”

She almost thought Adam snorted, but when she glanced at his face, she couldn’t see anything there. He was so hard to read. They hadn’t talked much the last time, other than about Henry, but she’d felt something being around him, and she wanted to feel it again.

She never would have thought they had so much in common, even if only losing their mothers. She heard the pain in his voice when he talked about it. She wondered if he knew there was still a lost little boy in there.

She had kissed him. She hadn’t planned to. She wanted him to know she understood his pain, but there had been something in those dark eyes beside that shared pain. She’d been compelled to move forward.

Everything changed, all because of Louis.

Now, her brother swung down from the horse, and Adam shifted in front of her again. She put a hand on his back, letting him know it was okay, but he didn’t budge. Louis headed toward them, and more than irritation with her flashed in his eyes, a gleeful anger there now. Her stomach twisted, knowing he directed all that at Adam. What was her brother’s problem with him? She’d seen it that day in town too. Like he hoped Adam would give him a fight. Now, three of their men were ranged behind him. If something happened, Adam wouldn’t have a chance.

She stepped around Adam, not letting him stop her this time. He reached out for her but let his hand drop. One of the men drew a rifle from the scabbard on his saddle, and Leah was sure Adam had seen the same thing. “Did you follow me here, Louis?”

“Someone obviously needs to keep an eye on you. Barrett cannot be trusted to. He should have stopped you from even coming here.”

“This has nothing to do with Barrett. I’m allowed to ride on our own land.”

“Then, he is trespassing,” Louis said. “We do not abide by trespassers.”

“Just killers then,” Adam said from behind her.

May not be the best time to be mouthing off, Adam. 😉 But, just what will happen? Hopefully you’ll find out before fall gets here. 😉

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