I got more comments back on Stained by Ashes from one of my beta readers this morning, so that’s what I’ll be sharing from today. A little bit from Chapter 2 and a hint of some trouble to come.
Adam lifted his hand in a wave to his boss and waited for the wagon to approach him. “Patrick, what are you doing out here? I was riding back to the ranch.”
“So soon? I wasn’t expecting you until sometime tomorrow, Adam.”
Adam shifted in the saddle, his shoulders lifting and falling again. “I didn’t stay as long as I planned.”
“I can see that.” He didn’t say more than that. Adam had told him about the last receptions he’d gotten there. “I’m heading into town for a meeting with the other ranchers. I planned to stock up on supplies before I headed back in the morning.”
“What are you meeting about?” Adam turned his horse so he rode beside the wagon. “Rustlers again?”
Patrick shook his head. “Homesteaders. Some of the ranchers, mostly the bigger operations, think they pose a problem.”
“Since when does making their own way pose a threat?”
“Never said I agreed.” He fell silent for a few minutes. “Most of the ranchers around here haven’t even purchased the land they claim. Twenty years ago they only had to build on it.”
“What about yours?”
Patrick shook his head. “Not when I first built here. I filed the deed later when more people came in. Will’s is filed, too. No one can take our land away without a fight.”
Adam’s jaw clenched, and his hands tightened on the reins briefly. It was his most common reaction when someone mentioned the other man’s name. He liked William, really he did. They even formed a sort of friendship while working together in Colorado.
Still, every time he heard that name, he had that irrational spurt of jealousy. It made no sense.
Maggie had never been his.
Still hoping to have this out sometime this summer.