“You know, Seneca is a good-lookin’ woman. You got a man’s eye for her?”
“Enough to warn the other male talent around here to stay away.” He grinned lazily, and knew Sherry got the message. His words would fly on the gossip hotlines fast as dirt clods flying from beneath his racing hooves. He tipped his hat, grabbed up the bags and headed for the door.
Hopping back in the truck, he backed out as if he weren’t in a rush and cruised the few blocks to the tiny house he’d rented. It didn’t take him long to load up the pickup and start back for her place. Keeping his minimal amount of belongings organized had been a necessity. If an enemy closed in and he needed to make a fast getaway, he’d be prepared. Besides, his few possessions went along with his image as a good-times’ rambler always on the move. He’d made certain to let everyone know he was ready for a more settled life as long as he could find enough work, though.
Furrowing his brow, Trail watched the sun’s rays streak the sky with shades of deep pink. He hoped some of Seneca’s horse people still hung around, since it was strategically smart if he drove at a normal speed. Quick as the idea struck, he cautiously reached out to Chief, sending a mental image of himself in his human form to the paint horse. If the wise elder proved receptive, he could ask him what was going on.
Drojovv Zyan, stallion from the V’Trailuc Realm. I am known as Trail. He formally introduced himself the moment Chief accepted his communication.
Chief sent back an image of him pawing a signal of greeting. After returning a similar greeting, Trail telepathed an image of Seneca. He tail-switched a question about her well-being.
I can speak human , Chief answered. Your mare is nervous. I smell trouble around us. She is bringing all of us inside, feeding us. I will be the last.
Are there any humans around her? Trail edged up the pickup’s speed.
The woman, Mary, and her mate, Harold, are still riding in the big circle. Where is Rory?
He is with his mare, Clara. Do you know her?
I like her. Rory should be here. He would heal faster in his own territory.
Trail spared a grin at Chief’s typical equine logic. You know humans are not wise in many ways.
Your mare told me I am leaving soon. She will miss me. I do not want to leave.
I will talk with her. It is dangerous to stay. You were harmed.
Yes, your mare told me the danger. I want to stay, stallion Trail. I will keep watch for the bad people.
What can you tell me about the bad people?
They are not full humans. Some of them smell ugly like bad water.
How many do you know about?
Two came inside our home, searching. They did not enter our stalls. None of us trusted them.
Did they act like they found what they searched for?
No, they showed anger.
Did you hear any of their words?
Only words of anger. They spoke about a third person. One who would arrive soon. That is all I can tell you, stallion Trail.
Trail sent an image of his horse self making a bow of honor to Chief, a formal end to their communication. Tensing his jaw, he eased his foot off the accelerator. Hell and hoof-sucking mud, he didn’t have time to deal with a patrol officer over a speeding ticket, and, double hell, he didn’t want to spend his energy on detecting them, either.
Seneca had to be protected no matter the ultimate cost to himself. Spreading his sixth sense like a bubble, he watched for enemies while remaining focused on the road. Once he whipped the pickup onto her drive, a moment of relief washed over him.
He made himself cruise as slow as cold molasses, then park. Jumping out, he sniffed for her. Not seeing Chief, he strolled toward the stable. The need to race toward her overwhelmed him, even if he didn’t act on it.
Sensing for her presence, he momentarily took his attention off their enemies. An instant later, she stood before his mind’s eye. He jogged toward the stable, entering as she led her half-Arab stallion toward