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Under Wraps
Copyright ©2010-2015 Patricia Green

All rights reserved.

“You’ll be living your worst nightmare if you continue that way,” he said.

Glee’s gaze moved from the horses to the source of the rich, lightly accented, very male, voice. Tawny-gold eyes locked gazes with her own turquoise ones and she blinked at the intensity, the strength which sparkled like gold flecks in their depth. Those golden orbs were in startling contrast with the rest of his well-sculpted face. Dark hair, black perhaps, though it was difficult to tell in the shadow of his weathered hat, waved over his ears and framed a deeply tanned, dark-bearded countenance. His shoulders were broad, impossibly so, Glee thought, beneath the tattered yellow and black plaid of his flannel shirt. She might have been counting buttons, so slowly did her gaze travel down the stranger’s chest to halt abruptly at the manacles which secured his thick red-ridged wrists. Immediately, she frowned, and turquoise met gold again.

“Who are you?”

He shrugged. “Not your guardian angel, dama. Lady. But still I will tell you not to try to sneak up behind the horses.”

“I wasn’t sneaking.”

“Whatever you say, but your quaking was not enough to alert them to your presence. They would have been startled and stomped you into the dirt.”

Glee paled. “I’m not usually such a coward, but horses have always set me on edge.”

“Mmhmm,” he replied, disinterest and disdain apparent in the mocking twist of his sensuous mouth.

Tension made Glee snap when she might have simply walked away. “How dare you address me in such a tone! Who are you?” Their gazes locked as each attempted to stare down the other.

Horse’s hooves thudded on the dusty street as Jake Fletcher came to investigate the delay. “I see ya met my pris’ner.”

Glee’s focus did not leave those tawny eyes. “Explain.”

Fletcher cleared his throat and spat before he answered. “That there’s Esteban Garcia. Thief, murderer, and soon to be dead-man. He’s wanted in Salt Lake City. Convenient, ain’t it? Right on our way to California.”

The dark-haired man’s eyes went cold and Glee’s gaze leapt back to his manacles and followed their chain down through the prisoner’s legs and under the wagon where, presumably, they were secured to a rear axle.

“You didn’t tell me you were transporting a criminal, Mister Fletcher.”

“I tol’ you I’m a bounty hunter. This here’s my bounty.”

This story is unavailable at online distributors. It was previously published by New Dawning, but I recently got the rights back. It will be heavily revised and re-published in 2016, by me.