She set the jacket neatly with the other items
and helped herself to a ladle of water. She dribbled some down her shirt, but
the coolness was so inviting, she considered turning the whole bucket over her
head. Only propriety stilled her hands. She loosened the ties of the small
purse she’d attached to her wrist and fished out the handkerchief she’d wrapped
around the coins to keep them from jingling. If not for the Kane’s paying her
fare to Texas, she’d still be trapped in New York with no way to escape. The
few precious coins she’d hoarded amounted to just under five dollars.
Dipping the handkerchief into the pail, she
soaked it down and used the tepid water to wash her face and bath her neck,
barely noticing the dribbles soaking her shirt and the chemise below. She
The sound of a throat being cleared froze her in
place. No. I am not turning around and
finding that the very kind, very good looking, Mr. Kane has returned while I am
trying to wash. No. That is not what is going to happen.
“Excuse me, Mrs. Miller. I just wanted you to
know I was here before I started hammering. Didn’t want to startle you.” But of
course, that was exactly what happened. An entirely new heat stung her cheeks
and she pressed the handkerchief to her mouth.
“Just don’t mind me. I’ll keep my back turned. I
promise.” The earnest proclamation melted her reticence and she looked over her
shoulder. Sure enough, he’d returned, every sweet, gleaming muscle of him. He
had two branches in his hands and knelt near the wheel, doing something with a
knife and a flatter instrument.
“Thank you.” She mustered her composure. “I’ll
fetch fresh water as soon as I’m done. I didn’t even think when I started to
wash up that you might want a drink when you came back.”
“Not to worry, ma’am. I’m about ready to throw
myself in that stream when I finish this. It’s hotter than the fires
of—well—it’s hotter than fire.” He coughed.
The catch in his voice when he cut off the curse
was sweet. “Is it typically this hot?”
She glanced at him again, making sure his back remained toward her
before dipping the handkerchief in the water. Rubbing her neck, she didn’t even
care when it dribbled down her back.
offer you a lie if I thought it would make you feel better, but no—it’s Texas,
ma’am. It gets very hot here—just seems hotter this year than usual. The worst
is in July and August.” A metallic tink of a tool accompanied his words.
Learn more about the Fevered Hearts!
“Heather Long’s Fevered Hearts series gets better and better with every volume and has gained a spot on my must-read list. If you are looking for a passionate tale of the Old West, look no further than the Fevered Hearts. I guarantee, you’ll thank me for it.” – Fallen Angel Reviews calls this a recommended read and gives it five angels.