A Lady in Defiance

A Lady in Defiance by Heather Blanton Page B

Book: A Lady in Defiance by Heather Blanton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Heather Blanton
the evening. Moving fast and sure like a little
mouse, he shot through the bat wing doors of the saloon and snaked his way
around crowded tables back to the storage room. She flexed her fingers
    Stupid brat , she thought. He hadn’t even tried to find her. Well, that
just meant she didn’t have to waste time being nice. He knew what happened when
he disobeyed her.
    Forgetting the customer waiting on the glass, she sauntered
behind the bar and grabbed a plate covered with a white hand towel. Pushing
past Brannagh, the bartender and only man in town who seemed actually bored by
Rose, she marched towards her brother’s room.
    “Emilio,” she snapped, bursting through the door. “Wake up
you lazy rat.” Irritably, she snatched the blanket off him and threw it on the
floor. “Get up,” she ordered again, setting the plate in her hand down on a
barrel and lighting the small lamp on the wall. Reluctantly, Emilio sat up and
looked at his sister with weary acceptance.
    She sat down on a stool across from his cot and spoke slowly,
to let him soak up her anger. “I told you to find me before you went to bed.
Tell me about the gringas .”
    He ran his hands through his black hair, showing his
frustration with her bossiness, which only made Rose smile. “I don’t know. They
seem very nice. What ees it you want to know?”
    She sighed and looked around for something to throw at him. “ Stupido ,”
she growled, clenching her fists. “I want to know more. I told you to find out
anything you could. Where do they come from? Why are there no men with them?
Why are they in the old general store?”
    “They come from some place called North Carolina but were on
their way to California. The skinny one, Senora Naomi, her husband died
on the trail. I don’t think there are any men with them. They’re going to turn
the store into a cantina−no, a, um,” he snapped his fingers. “A
Restaurant. A restaurant and a hotel. That’s all I know. But they want me to
help again mañana .”
    Rose fiddled with the little gold crucifix at her neck. Were
these pale-faced gringas trouble or just a small bump in the road? Maybe
the answer to that was up to McIntyre. Just how close would he get to them?
Best not to take chances. “Surely it wouldn’t be too difficult to get them to
continue on their way to California,” she purred. “They just need to understand
how inhospitable Defiance can be.”
    Emilio groaned. “You should leave them alone. They don’t want
any trouble.”
    Rose grabbed her brother’s jaw and shoved him back down into
his cot, her soul burning with hate. Gouging her fingers into the soft flesh of
his cheeks, she hissed, “Did I ask for your opinion? Tell me something like
that again and I’ll gut you like a pig. I take care of you. You do as I say.”
    Giving him one last, vicious squeeze, she stood up and
straightened her gown. “Sleep tight.” Chin in the air, Rose spun and opened the
door into the light and smoke.
    Pouring his friend a drink, McIntyre walked the whiskey over
to Ian then returned to his closet to finish dressing. As he buttoned up a blue
silk vest and reached for a tie, he noticed Ian was unusually quiet. He wasn’t
speaking, but the thud, thud, thud of his cane on the carpet spoke volumes.
    “Something on your mind this evening, Ian?”
    The cane stopped and he heard Ian shift in the chair. “I was
giving thought to the young ladies ye were telling me about.” McIntyre smiled
at his last word which sounded like a boot . 
    Stepping in front of a full length mirror, McIntyre started
to work on his tie, but he couldn’t miss the worry he saw in his friend’s
reflection. “And what were you wondering?”
    “How is it ye can be so sure they’re they’ll run a decent
place? Ye dunna anything about them.”
    McIntyre grinned as he pulled his string tie into a
symmetrical bow and straightened it. “Naomi Miller is the kind of woman who
would die before ever

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