Yellowstone Redemption(9)

By: Peggy L Henderson



Can you blame her, Russell? She helps you out and you act like you want to get it on with her between the sheets. Well, maybe that thought had crossed his mind, but he was in no condition to follow through with such a thought. At least not at the moment. Hell, his balls had been nearly frozen off, and now he’d almost cooked them. Maybe he wouldn’t be in any condition for quite a while.

He ran his hand over his face. The two-day-old stubble felt rough against his hand. He had to look like hell. What he needed was a good long soak in a hot shower. He bent down and picked up his shorts. They were still wet, but at least the moisture was cold now. He pulled them back on, since it was all he had to wear.

Time to go make nice with the little Indian princess. Guilt nagged him. His actions had been rather rude, he admitted. He didn’t know what made him do something stupid like that. Her deep blue eyes flashed before him, the look of concern on her face when he’d been barely conscious. Angel. Yeah. Hell’s Angel.

Chase walked to the door on unsteady legs. He hated this weak feeling. His stomach growled. How long had he not eaten anything?

You could have had something to eat, you jerk. There was food right in front of you, but you had to act like an ass.

He slowly opened the door and peered into the next room. It was more or less a larger version of the one he was in now. Except for the huge fireplace to his right. Everything looked old fashioned and rustic. Any minute now, Hoss and Little Joe Cartwright would walk through that front door. A lantern glowed on the large table in the middle of the room, casting large shadows on the wall, and another lamp sat on a smaller table by the front door. The last light of day was visible through the large glass-paned window to his left.

His angel was nowhere to be seen. A board of the wooden floor creaked when he stepped on it. The fire crackled warmly in the fireplace. The scene gave him an odd homely feeling. How had Todd found this place? Was this one of the tourist cabins? The ones he’d seen looked nothing like this. They weren’t even cabins, really. This place felt like a . . . home.

The front door opened, and a huge shaggy dog padded in, followed closely by his angel. The dog walked up to him eagerly, and licked his hand. Chase backed up. Those teeth looked like they could do some serious damage.

He glanced up at the girl. She carried a wooden bucket sloshing with water to the bench against the back wall. She heaved the bucket up onto the bench, her arms trembling from the effort. It had to be pretty heavy.

“Can I help?” he asked lamely after the bucket was already on the bench, and took a slow step in her direction.

She wheeled around to face him, the knife drawn from her belt so fast, he’d barely seen the movement. She held it out protectively in front of her. He stopped in his tracks, and held his hands out in front of him.

“Look. Sorry about back there.” He gestured with his head towards the bedroom. “I thought you were part of the setup.” She said nothing, merely staring at him with her eyes ablaze. Her small hand didn’t waver, the knife held in a firm grasp. She didn’t appear nervous. In fact, she looked pretty confident with that weapon in her hand.

Chase sized her up. He could tackle her easily. Of course, she’d probably do some damage to him in the process. He wasn’t about to risk getting sliced open on top of everything else that had happened to him in the last couple of days. Man, what did he do to deserve all this? Something cold and wet brushed against his leg, and Chase peered at the shaggy dog, which was intent on sniffing his pants. He must smell like that soup he’d dumped all over himself.

“Listen,” he tried again. “Can I just use your phone and I’ll have someone pick me up.” Why the hell did she look at him like he was from another planet? It was getting rather annoying. “You can cut the act, all right? I’ll be out of your hair as soon as someone picks me up. Or would you like me to walk back to Canyon in the dark?” Somehow he figured that’s exactly what she’d tell him. He began to wonder if she was daft. She’d sounded normal earlier. But she hadn’t made a sound since coming in from outdoors.

Chase lifted his arm and cupped the back of his head with his hand. Her eyes widened, and she pointed the knife at him. Okay. Wrong move. He slowly lowered his arm again.

“What’s your deal? I wish you’d say something.” Girls usually chatted his ear off. And now he actually wanted one to talk.

She moved sideways, circling him. He realized she was giving herself an opening. Where she’d stood this entire time, he effectively had her cornered. Jeez! She moved like a lithe ballet dancer. Her feet barely touched the ground.

“You have companions nearby?” Finally, she spoke.

“Yeah, they’ll come and get me. I thought Todd was playing a joke on me, but it looks like I was wrong. You mentioned someone found me and brought me here. Is this place part of the park service?”

Her eyes narrowed. “You lie,” she stated firmly. “The Absaroka warriors said you were alone. There was no one else.”

Chase’s brows furrowed, and he shook his head. “Absaroka war . . . what?”

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