Courtship of the Recluse (Chapter Eight, page 1 of 10)


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Over the next couple of weeks, Cynthia made a few visits to town, once taking in a movie before she returned. But if Mary and Cade met, there was no indication. Maybe they were having a fight.

One beautiful day followed another and she gradually wandered farther from the house exploring the ranch - sometimes on horseback, sometimes on foot. It was on one of these occasions that she wandered farther than she realized. A low rumble brought her attention to the horizon. The clouds were low and moving fast. In the distance they were dark and threatening. She turned to go back to the house and realized she wouldn't be able to make it before the storm caught up with her. Her heart in her throat, she raced down the hill. She turned at the drum of hooves behind her and watched Cade plunge his horse down a steep embankment and turn toward her. He rode as if he were part of the horse, his lean body swaying with the stride of the graceful animal. He drew his mount to a halt beside her and kicked one foot free of the stirrup, offering a hand up.

Wasting no time, she jabbed her left foot in the stirrup and lifted her hand to be swallowed in his. He pulled as she lunged up, and as soon as she was settled behind him, he urged the horse into a lope. The storm kicked up dust behind them, but they managed to beat it to the corral. Tiny drops of rain spattered their faces as she took his hand again and dismounted.

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