by Patricia Burroughs
She refused to ask how much longer they would be riding. Instead she chose her words carefully to find out the same information, she hoped, without seeming to complain. “Have you chosen our destination?”
He cast her a sidelong glance from under the brim of his hat. For the past few miles their horses had walked side by side, still steady, though definitely the worse for wear.
“Your destination,” he replied.
“Mine? You mean you aren’t going with me?” Her mind was too numb to question the panic that set her heart racing.
“We’re about half an hour from Fort Davis. I’ll get you that far.”
“Fort Davis? I can’t go to Fort Davis!” This time there was no effort to hide the panic, the fear from his scrutiny. She tugged hard on the mare’s reins, pulling the confused beast into a sharp turn as she tried to change direction. Coulter reached out and grabbed the horse’s bridle, holding it steady before she could take off.
“Just what are you—” He broke off, and she saw him eyeing her left hand and the narrow gold wedding band glinting in the sun. “I should have known.” He jerked his hand away. “Running away from your husband, bringing a whole town after me before it’s over with.”
She stared at the wedding ring, and for a moment she saw blood, black and sticky. Joel’s blood. Maybe Clayton was right. If it weren’t for her, Joel wouldn’t have killed himself. Wouldn’t have—wouldn’t have —
She fought the memory, seizing instead on the one thought she must convey. “I can’t go to Fort Davis.” The words were measured, even, showing none of the emotion quaking through her.
“Lady, you don’t have a choice.” Continue reading