Here Comes the Bride

Here Comes the Bride by Laura Drewry Read Free Book Online

Book: Here Comes the Bride by Laura Drewry Read Free Book Online
Authors: Laura Drewry
Tags: Romance, Historical, Historical Romance, Western, Westerns
only trying to prove a point, she did not let on. She simply looked up at him with wide-eyed amazement and burst out laughing.
    “I did it! I got all the eggs! Isn’t that wonderful?” Her whole face lit up like a child’s on Christmas morning. “Can I do this again tomorrow?”
    Gabe fought to keep his own smile suppressed. No point in letting her think he was happy with her; it would only reinforce her will to stay.
    “Not only do you get to collect the eggs,” he said dryly, “you get to clean the coop as well. There’s fresh hay in the barn and there’s feed over in that bucket.” He pointed to a large gray pail at the far end of the coop. “When you’re done, come find me. There’s plenty of work to be done.”
    “Oh, thank you, Gabriel,” she gushed. “I knew I would love this and I do. This is what living is all about!”
    Gabe hadn’t heard a word she said since speaking his name. When had he been suddenly switched from “Mr. Calloway” to “Gabriel”? Nobody called him Gabriel, it just wasn’t done. He had always hated his name, always thought it was the furthest thing from a man’s name that could possibly be, yet when spoken by little Tess Kinley, with her silky soft voice, it sent a raging fire through his belly. He wanted to hear it again, exactly as she had just done, with joy that bubbled through her laughter and shone through her eyes. It was as though he had given her a precious gift instead of a hand full of peck marks and a coop full of chicken crap.
    Before he opened his mouth and embarrassed himself, which he was sure to do, he turned on his heel and stomped toward the barn where Zeus stood saddled and waiting to go. A good, long ride out to the herd would clear his head of this nonsense.
    Tess practically skipped into the house, so happy she was with her collection of dirty eggs.
    “Rosa!” she called. “Look what I did! Eggs—and a whole lot of them, too!”
    Rosa peered down into the basket and then up at Tess’s shining face.
    “You do eggs?” she asked, clearly in disbelief. “Gabe Calloway no help?”
    Tess shook her head vigorously with more than a little pride.
    “No, I did it all by myself.”
    “Show hands.” Rosa demanded, pulling the basket from her tightened grasp. Tess held out her hands, almost apologetically, and waited for the scolding.
    “I’m sorry,” she said. “I’ve never done it before and I guess the chickens didn’t like having me there.”
    Rosa clicked her tongue in disgust. “Where Gabe Calloway?”
    Tess’s heart sank. Rosa was upset with her for disturbing the chickens. Now her only ally would surely convince Gabe to send her away.
    “He was walking toward the barn the last I saw of him,” she finally answered. “I’m terribly sorry, Rosa, I had no idea . . .”
    Rosa wasn’t even listening. She pushed past Tess and stormed toward the barn, ranting in her native tongue the entire way. Frantic, Tess ran to catch up.
    “Please, Rosa, I’ll try to be more gentle tomorrow, don’t be angry.”
    “Where Gabe Calloway?” Rosa yelled as she threw open the barn door.
    “He ain’t here,” Joby answered from the stall he was cleaning. With his blond curls and freckles, he didn’t look any older than sixteen. “Took that horse from hell . . . oh, pardon me, Miz Kinley. . . .” He straightened as soon as he saw her. “He’s ridin’ out to the herd. Looked like he was in a bit of a mood.”
    “I give him mood,” Rosa snapped as Miguel rounded the corner.
    “What is wrong?”
    Rosa flew into a Spanish tirade, her arms flailing around her head, speaking faster than Tess had ever heard another human speak. Rosa grabbed Tess’s hands and thrust them under Miguel’s nose, yelling all the while. Miguel spoke soothingly to her, pried Tess’s hands from his wife’s and turned her back toward the house. Tess stood where they had left her, wanting very much to cry but refusing to do so in front of Joby.
    “Whoo-ey!” Joby

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