Randall Renegade

Randall Renegade by Judy Christenberry Read Free Book Online

Book: Randall Renegade by Judy Christenberry Read Free Book Online
Authors: Judy Christenberry
Tags: Suspense
going to tell me why?” she asked.
    “I’m going to try to hide our tracks. Another attempt to buy us some time. I’ll catch up with you.”
    “When? And where? At the rock?”
    “You’re not actually going to the rock. You’ll come upon a cabin. It’s one my family uses in the summer. There should be food stored there we can eat. Beds we can sleep in tonight. It won’t be long before it’s dark. Then we can have a fire without worrying about the smoke being seen.”
    “Can’t we keep going?”
    “It would be pretty dangerous on the trail at night. It’s mostly switchbacks. One stumble and we’d go over the side. I don’t dare try it in the dark. But we’ll be off before daylight in the morning.”
    “Are you sure?” Patience asked softly.

    “As sure as I can be. But if I don’t show up…”
    He stopped because she was shaking her head desperately. “Don’t even suggest such a thing!”
    “Patience, we have to face reality. I’m sure I’ll get there before too long, but you have to be ready for anything. If I don’t show up, there’s a path leading to the east on the other side of the cabin. You follow it. When you start down on the switchback trail, get off the horse and lead him. Don’t ride. There’s a walkie-talkie in the saddlebag. You’ll be in range by then. Call my home and tell them you need help. They’ll come pick you up at the bottom of the trail and take you back to the ranch. Just tell them everything.”
    “Jim, I can’t leave you!”
    “You have no choice. You have to save Tommy, no matter what happens to me.”
    “I don’t want you to be hurt. Jim, Kane will kill you! He’s evil, as well as crazy.”
    “I know. But he’ll have trouble catching me. Go on now. You’re wasting time. Remember my instructions. And no fire until after dark. Okay?”
    “Yes,” she agreed, but she didn’t move.
    “Patience?”

    Without a word she threw herself into his arms and kissed him on the mouth. It had been three years since they’d kissed, but it felt as if they’d never been separated.
    Finally Jim put her away from him. “You’re too much temptation, sweetheart. Go on, take care of Tommy. Tommy, be good for your mommy, okay?”
    “I will, Mr. Jim.”
    He crossed to Patience, now mounted on her horse and handed her the reins to Jasper. Then he collected Tommy and set the child in front of her. “Don’t unsaddle the horses. Just make sure they get water and feed. There’s some stored in the cabin.”
    She nodded and avoided looking at him. He patted her hand, then stood back, watching as they rode away.
     
    P ATIENCE DISCOVERED that riding without Jim was scarier. His presence had meant safety to her. Now, not only did she have to comfort her son, she also had to reassure herself. She jumped at the least little sound, which she communicated to her horse, which grew more and more skittish.
    “You’re acting like a wimp!” she muttered to herself.

    “What did you say, Mommy?”
    “Nothing, sweetie. Are you doing all right?”
    “Yes, but when is Mr. Jim coming?”
    “Soon. He’s walking, so it will take him longer.”
    “Why didn’t he ride Jasper?”
    “He has to walk because he’s getting rid of our trail.”
    “Our tail? I don’t have a tail, Mommy.”
    Patience sighed. She wanted to know when Jim would catch up with them, too. “I know you don’t have a tail, Tommy. I said trail.” She pulled her horse to a stop. Since she was leading Jasper, he stopped, too.
    “Look behind us in the snow. Do you see where the horses walked? The mean man could follow us. Jim is brushing our tracks away.”
    “Oh. Will he be here soon?”
    “Soon,” she said, giving up explaining.
    They rode on through the late afternoon. Then Patience saw movement through the trees. She stopped her mount at once and froze. Her horse, however, seemed a bit spooked about something.
    Wolves, she thought. She knew there were wolves in the mountains. No doubt that was what had spooked

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