Wind Song

Wind Song by Margaret Brownley Read Free Book Online

Book: Wind Song by Margaret Brownley Read Free Book Online
Authors: Margaret Brownley
Tags: Fiction, General, Romance
    She dropped the blanket to the ground and wiped her damp brow with the back of her hand. Her heart beat so fast, she could hardly breathe against the thick dust that filled the air.
    Mr. Tyler set the lantern on an upturned barrel and lifted his young son in his arms. Matthew wrapped his arms around his father's neck and buried his face. The man was dressed in only a pair of trousers, and his sturdy arms and back gleamed with moisture. "Don't cry, son," he said soothingly. "They're gone."
    He murmured words of comfort to his son, but his eyes remained on her. "Are you all right?" His voice was so gentle, it bore no resemblance to the hard-edged voice that had greeted her earlier, when she'd first appeared on his doorstep.
    She nodded, and then, thinking she heard the sound of hooves returning, she grabbed him by the arm and glanced back into the dark void that was the prairie.
    "Indian drums," he explained. "The Cheyenne believe that buffalo are afraid of drums."
    "They sound so…close," she stammered. Suddenly aware that she was dressed in her nightclothes, she quickly pulled her hand away and stepped away from the light.
    "They're not that close," he assured her. "Sounds tend to carry on the prairie."
    Despite his assurance, she shivered. She wasn't certain what she found more disconcerting--the buffalo, the Indians, or the bare-chested man whose eyes seemed warm and inviting in the dying light of the lantern.
    "You better try to get some sleep." His son in his arms, he picked up his lantern with his one free hand and started toward the door of the soddy. "Good night."
    Her eyes wide in disbelief, she watched the bronzed span of his retreating back. "Are you going to leave me here? Alone? By myself?"
    He stopped in mid-stride and turned. In the flickering light he looked tall and lean and ever so powerful. The lantern sputtered and went out, leaving them in darkness.
    "You were the one who insisted upon sleeping outside." The softness and concern had left his voice, and what remained was the kind of voice that a reluctant host might use on an unwanted guest. "You can sleep inside if you want."
    She swallowed hard and cleared her throat. Her mouth felt dry with the taste of dust. "It wouldn't be proper for a respectable schoolteacher to sleep in the same room as a man," she said, though without her usual boldness.
    "It's your decision." He walked into the house, and the door closed gently behind him.
    An owl flew overhead, startling her. It was nearly pitch-black, but that didn't prevent her from imagining herself surrounded by buffalo, Indians or man-eating owls.
    It took no time at all to give the matter thorough consideration; she decided it would be far less proper for a respectable schoolteacher to be found dead outside the man's house than to remain in perfect health inside. Like it or not, Mr. Tyler was stuck with her until morning.
    Calming the nerves that made her stomach do flip-flops, she charged inside the house without bothering to knock. It was dark inside--so dark, in fact, that she rushed headlong into Mr. Tyler.
    Before she could regain her sense, he took her in his arms and steadied her. "I thought you might change your mind." His voice, soft in the darkness, caressed her ear like the tip of a feather.
    Startled by the feel of warm flesh, she quickly backed away. Lordy, what was the matter with this man. One moment he was all cold and businesslike, the next warm and gentle. "Change my mind?" she stammered.
    "About sleeping inside."
    She was afraid to move for fear she would bump into him again. She could hear him moving about but was unable to pick him out in the dark.
    When he spoke again, he was so close, she could almost feel his warm breath against her flesh. "I spread a bedroll out on the floor for you. Is that respectable enough for you?"
    Feeling foolish, she was thankful for the cover of darkness that prevented him from seeing her flushed cheeks. Now that the danger had passed, she felt

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