Rue Allyn

Rue Allyn by One Night's Desire Read Free Book Online

Book: Rue Allyn by One Night's Desire Read Free Book Online
Authors: One Night's Desire
Si’s ranch. One image was of an elegant Boston blue blood. The dark serviceable dress obscured her figure, her expression was serious, but the beauty of that face was as undeniable as the gleam of light in the woman’s pale hair. The other picture showed a slim young man with a shock of white blonde hair.
    Ev studied the face and stature of each figure, marveling at the story that had come in the files that accompanied the picture. Kiera Elizabeth Alden, Boston heiress, ran away from home at age nineteen. Pinkertons followed her but had no contact at the request of Carlton Alden, her grandfather and guardian. The girl then disappeared from San Francisco where, according to the madam of a bordello, Miss Alden murdered one of the madam’s clients. Alden resurfaced in Wyoming approximately eighteen months back. Disguised as a man, she’d earned a living as a photographer’s assistant for a US government exploratory expedition of the Wyoming Territory. That’s when the second picture had been taken. Eventually her deception was discovered, and the expedition’s leader abandoned her in the mountains where Pinkertons once again lost track of her. The leader’s actions were criminal. Ev didn’t know if the man should be shot for his inhumane treatment of a woman or sheer stupidity. How anyone could imagine the youth in the photograph was male was beyond understanding.
    “You looking at those pictures of the Wildcat again?” Boyd asked. “I swear you spend as much time looking at the photographs as you do in the saddle trying to find her.”
    Quinn ignored Boyd’s jab and continued his examination of the photograph. He did a mental comparison with his memory of the Wildcat and her image in the photograph. Each was slim through the shoulders and pale skinned. Each had enchanting smiles that lit the eyes and identical delicate eyebrows. The only resemblance to the woman from the mercantile was the eyebrows. The Wildcat had a scar at her temple that didn’t show in either image. He hadn’t seen the mercantile woman’s hair color, but hadn’t needed to, once his suspicions were roused by her voice and Boyd’s comment. How many women in Wyoming would be picking up a package of silver nitrate, an essential chemical for photographic work?
    “Geezus in a dress,” cussed Quinn. “We let her get away again.”
    “The woman from the mercantile is the Wildcat.”
    “The one just talking to Salter? Not possible.”
    “Boyd you said yourself she seemed familiar.”
    “And you said you didn’t know her.”
    “I didn’t. However, I recognized her voice and began to wonder. Look at these pictures and then think about that woman’s face.”
    Boyd took the photograph and gave it a long look. “Her face was shadowed by her hat, so I didn’t get a good look at her. Are you sure?”
    “I got a real close look when I bumped into her. I should have recognized her then.” Ev wasn’t about to admit that he’d been too dazzled by the woman’s green eyes to think, let alone make the connection between a rancher’s wife and a horse thief.
    He felt like a damn fool. One look into those endless green depths and he’d clean forgotten about the silver nitrate or the suspicions that prompted him to get in her way. His body had gotten hard, and his heart wondered if anyone so beautiful, delicate, and guileless could possibly be interested in a saddle bum like himself. The realization that she was anything but guileless left him feeling ill used. He shook his head at himself.
What did I expect her to do? Waltz up to me, smile, and say, “Hi Marshal, I’m the Wildcat. Please arrest me.”
    “Guess we better get our horses.” The gunman man handed the photograph back to Ev and moved to the stairs leading from the porch of the mercantile.
    Ev tilted his head toward where Clem Salter and the gunslinger also watched the fading dust trail. “I’d prefer not to have them following. No sense in

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