Earth and Sky

Earth and Sky by Zahra Owens Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Earth and Sky by Zahra Owens Read Free Book Online
Authors: Zahra Owens
was bit of a balancing act—controlling both horses and making sure Danny held on to him firmly—but Grant seemed in total control.

    Hunter counted every step Raven took, hissing every time the horse lost its footing, breathing whenever the steps seemed to be easier. Little by little, they came closer to the shore and eventually made it up on dryer land. Grant untied the ropes and let Danny dismount into Hunter’s waiting arms.

    Hunter knew he couldn’t have felt better if Danny were his own son. He would never have forgiven himself if something had happened to the boy, and he nodded his appreciation at Grant and Tim.

    Grant patted Hunter’s back. “Go on, ride home on Belle and take Danny to his mother. Tim and I will see if we can fix the gate, and then Tim’ll pick Belle up at the house. We’ll make sure the horses are well taken care of.”

    Hunter tried to convey his thanks to the other two men as they helped Danny onto the horse behind him, and then he urged the mare to bring them home safely.

Chapter 6

    It was still raining when Hunter walked into the shower block more than an hour later. Automatically, he shook the wet off his oilskin duster and took off his hat, a stream of water running off that as well. He was so nervous he could barely breathe, yet he had to do this. He remembered feeling like this when he’d come home from school with bad grades one term and his mother had made him wait in the mudroom for his dad to come in from the ranch. Only this time, he wasn’t going to be scolded. He simply wanted to convey his thanks to Grant, and that was that. Yes, knowing that the wrangler was washing the rain off his skin, standing under the shower butt-naked, was making Hunter sweat. Part of him hoped that Grant hadn’t shut the stall door all the way so he could catch a glimpse of him and could let his eyes wander over those broad shoulders and narrow hips, but another part of him knew that if that happened, he’d never be able to get the image out of his mind.

    So he paced the small corridor that led to the shower cubicles, hat in hand and incessantly dripping, until he heard the shower being turned off. He knew Grant had to pass through the corridor on the way to the main house, so it was simply a matter of being patient and Grant would come to him. Hunter couldn’t stand still, though, so he paced. He had just turned around when he heard Grant’s voice behind him.

    “Hunter. What an unexpected pleasure.”

    Straightening his back, Hunter turned to face him. “Grant,” he nodded. Hunter couldn’t look him straight in the eye, afraid he wouldn’t be able to hide his appreciation of the long limbs, the slightly rough skin, still wet with moisture, the fact Grant wasn’t wearing anything but a towel slung low on his hips. Suddenly Hunter was grateful Grant was carrying his wet clothes, otherwise he would have seen the dusting of chest hair or the washboard stomach he knew Grant possessed. Damn, there was a reason Hunter never went into the men’s shower block, and it was because it would awaken feelings he tried every day to hide.

    Grant was still staring at him, clearly expecting him to say something.

    “I wanted… I wanted to say thank you.”

    “My pleasure.” Grant nodded. “I didn’t think twice, to be honest. I saw Danny leave and I thought he might get into trouble, so I followed him out. He’s too young to be out in this sort of weather on his own and on a horse he’s barely old enough to manage, so it was obviously without permission. I knew you’d never let him go out like that.”

    “With his dad gone, he’s a bit messed up,” Hunter said, by way of apologizing for Danny’s behavior. “He seemed to be okay about it, but I guess he misses him.”

    “Yeah, we all do,” Grant mused. “So he’s okay now?”

    “Yeah,” Hunter said, still not looking directly at Grant. “He was shivering like mad, and he’ll get an earful from Lisa as soon as she’s sure

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