Excerpt from Tame A Wild Heart

I will be giving away an ebook copy of Tame A Wild Heart to 2 lucky commenters.  So be sure to leave a comment.

When her concentration was on Zeke and his broken leg, she was fine. Now that it was over, she could let go. She sat back and trembled.

Duncan leaned forward and touched her shoulder. “You all right? You look a little pale.”

“I’m fine.” She grasped her knees to her chest and rested her chin on them.

“Are you?”

“I couldn’t have done it alone. Thanks for that.”

“You’re welcome.”

She hated to admit that she needed help. Especially, his help, but she was glad he’d come when he did. He extended his hand to her.

“Thanks.” Taking a deep breath, she got to her feet and dusted herself off. She was not the vulnerable girl she’d been. She was a woman. A woman determined to make her way in a man’s world. One little stampede wasn’t going to change that.

“We’ll have to make a litter to take him back to the ranch. Even though the supply wagon didn’t break anything when we flipped it back on its wheels, Wildfire doesn’t take to pulling a wagon.”

“Jake can pull the wagon. Tie Wildfire to the back and I’ll drive while you take care of Zeke. Fair enough?”

“Fair enough.”

He harnessed Jake to the wagon and Catherine gathered all the blankets and other soft stuffs to pad it. Together they managed to load Zeke.

As they pulled into the ranch yard several hours later, Catherine’s father, James, slammed out of the house followed by a very pregnant, young blond woman and a little boy.

“Did you find him?” James called as the buckboard pulled to a halt. “Did you find Zeke?”

“We found him. He’s got a broken leg but he’ll be good as new in a few weeks,” Catherine said as she jumped to the ground. “He’s going to need some tender lovin’ care, Sarah.”

Sarah ran to the end of the wagon and clamored up despite her bulk. “Zeke, honey, are you okay?” She knelt beside him, grazed his cheek with her knuckle, while tears rolled in streams down her cheeks.

Tenderly, Zeke wiped the tears from her face. “Here now, we’ll have none of that. I’m going to be fine.”

“Papa! Up!” demanded Jacob.

Duncan set the brake and went around to the back to help lift Zeke from the wagon bed. Instead a curly haired blond boy confronted him, pulling on his pant leg.
“Up Mister. Pease.” Jacob held his arms up for Duncan to lift him.

Duncan didn’t want to lift the sweet child. He didn’t want to hold this tiny body in his arms for even a moment, but it looked like he had no choice. Catherine, the only one near enough to do it, just stood there with her hands on her hips, and a grin on her face, waiting.

This small child was not going to defeat him. He’d faced desperate men, men willing to kill to save themselves from Duncan McKenzie, bounty hunter. None of them frightened him as much as this one little boy, who couldn’t be more than two or three. All Duncan had to do was bend down and lift the child, but his knees shook and he could feel himself quiver inside.

“Oh for goodness sake, Duncan, just lift him up so he can see his Papa is all right.” Catherine knew. He didn’t know how she knew, but she did. His only real weakness…children.

Getting a grip on himself, he bent and hoisted the anxious little boy up and over the wagon’s gate. He was light as a feather, so tiny…so innocent.

Catherine was beside him. “That wasn’t so hard now, was it?”

He didn’t miss the laughter in her sparkling silver gaze or the smile formed by her perfect rosebud lips. Without answering he stalked toward the house and the front door.

Duncan closed the door behind him and took a deep breath. He could still smell the fresh bread that Alice baked that morning. He glanced around the foyer, glad to see it hadn’t changed. Directly in front of him stairs led to the second floor and the bedrooms. Down the hall to the right of the stairway were James’ study and a storeroom. The formal parlor, which still looked like it hadn’t been used, was to his left. The Queen Anne chairs and overstuffed divan looked as new as when he’d helped James haul them in.

Beyond the parlor was the formal dining room. A massive oak table and chairs dominated it, in stark contrast to the lace curtains covering the windows. They hadn’t used when he’d lived there, preferring instead the comfort of the kitchen.

Duncan shook the memories from his head, turned and started for the storeroom where he heard James muttering expletives.

“Dagnabit,” James said, “I’ve got a canvas stretcher here I got for just such an emergency, if I could just get it out from behind these steamer trunks.”

“Here, let me help.” Duncan quickly moved the trunks and freed the stretcher.

“Good to see you, Son. You’ve come at the perfect time.”

“To help with this maybe,” he said, lifting the stretcher and following James out. “But not soon enough to keep this incident from happening or keep your daughter from jumping down my back for being late.”

“Things happen for a reason, Son. You’ve got to find the reason.”


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