I just finished editing all the chapters I’ve gotten back from my beta reader for Stained by Ashes. I should be getting more back soon, but for now, I have a teaser from the beginning of the first chapter I don’t have back yet. Things have been going good for Adam(and you may be able to figure out what happened just before this), but they’re about to take a turn:
Adam sat on his horse, watching as Leah rode off, deeper into Kline land. He wanted to ride the rest of the way with her, or even better, taken her back to the Bailey ranch. Neither would have been a good choice. He knew that, even if he despised the truth of it. He hadn’t wanted to let her go at all, but they had shared one more kiss before parting. If he kept her with him, he didn’t doubt her father would have him in shackles for abduction. It wouldn’t matter what Leah said. This was best for now.
He stayed there until she moved out of sight. He turned his horse. He’d felt so light when they left the cabin, until he’d had to say goodbye to her. Now, a heavy weight laid on his chest. He wondered if it was his fear he’d never see her again. He wanted more than these stolen moments with her. He needed them.
He couldn’t have them.
Adam ran a hand through his hair then shoved his hat back down on his head and headed back for Patrick’s ranch. He shouldn’t have been missed yet. Although if he couldn’t get this crazy grin off his face, he wouldn’t be able to lie about why it took him so long to return. Everyone would know.
Yet his lips pursed, and he whistled a tune as he rode back toward the Bailey ranch. He turned off the main trail, knowing a less used one that would get him back home faster. Not that he was ready to push aside what had happened this day. He’d have to stop thinking about it if he didn’t want everyone to know. Also, the sooner he returned, the less questions there would be. He wasn’t sure he could lie about what had happened today.
He crossed a stream, guiding the horse through the trees. The ground remained soft from the hard rain they’d had days before. He tried to nudge the horse around the worst of the mud. Not that the animal needed a lot of help. He had a good feel for where to walk.
Adam had only ridden maybe a mile when he realized something was wrong. It could be his presence that had the birds quiet, but that was unlikely. They would have flown out ahead of his arrival if he disturbed them. There was something else here. He saw the birds perched in the trees, other animals hiding in the brush, but none of them moved. Almost as if they sent off a signal to some instinct in him.
Still planning to have this out next month, before the official end of summer.