Noah

Noah by Kelli Ann Morgan

Book: Noah by Kelli Ann Morgan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kelli Ann Morgan
in the wagon.”
    “I’ll be fine,” she said stubbornly.
    “Come on,” Levi said again, motioning with his
raised hands that she needed to dismount.
    A twinge of jealousy settled in Noah’s gut as
Kate swung her leg around the saddle horn and slid into his cousin’s arms. He
threw his tools into the back a little harder than he’d intended.
    When Levi reached him, he held her out to Noah
and winked. He gladly took the lovely Kate into his own arms, capturing her
gaze momentarily before lifting her up onto the high seat. He met Levi’s eyes
with an unspoken ‘thank you.’ His cousin patted him on the shoulder and walked to
the back of the wagon where he tied his mule-like gelding, then strode to the
chestnut mare Kate had been riding and mounted.
    There wasn’t much Noah could do to make the
ride more comfortable for her, as she would still have to rest her foot against
the tilted plank in front of the seat, but he figured at least this way it
wouldn’t be wedged into a stirrup.
    “Did you and the others come up through the
west pass?” she asked when he joined her on the bench.
    “Cal told us that there were a few scattered
animals that had walked down into the ravine. Dell and Clifford are there
checking on them now. Why? Is everything all right?”
    “It might be nothing, but I noticed that one of
the fences we mended last week is broken again and there are cattle corralled
in the east pasture.”
    “How about I take you out there after supper
and we’ll have a look.”
    Kate nodded. “I’d like that.”
    She placed a hand on his forearm and Noah
sucked in a breath.
    “Thank you,” she said with a smile that reached
her eyes.
    The ride back was pleasant and Noah found that
he enjoyed her company even more than he’d remembered. Over the last several
days he’d tried to keep his distance to give her room to breathe as she
contemplated her decision—only seeing her when it was time to soak her foot and
occasionally at mealtime.
    He’d delved into the work, which made it a
little easier, but he found that the more he got to know her, he wanted to spend
more time with her. He selfishly would have loved to spend every waking moment
with her. He was caught between all that needed to be done around the ranch and
his desire to hear her laugh, to see the light in her eyes when she was pleased
by something or someone.
    No, keeping his distance would give the other
two suitors vying for her affections plenty of rope to hang themselves as they
stumbled all over each other to tell her how wonderful they were.
    With only three ranch hands and the foreman, it
was a wonder the White Willow Ranch still functioned. They’d lost nearly eight
weeks’ worth of work when more than a dozen ranch hands had up and left their
employ to find work elsewhere after Emmett Callahan had been killed. So, Noah had
pooled the help of all of the men available to him and together they’d been
able to accomplish even more than he’d expected, regardless of Mr. Stiles’
ineptitude.
    When they got back to the homestead, the other
wagon was already there. Noah jumped down off the seat and held his hands up
for Kate.
    She placed her hands on his shoulders and as he
pulled her down into his arms, her face sat mere inches from his own. He
glanced down at her perfectly shaped lips, imagining for a moment what it would
be like to capture them with his own. He caught her eyes and stared at her for
longer than was appropriate, but he could not deny the draw between them.
    He groaned inwardly, his jaw flexing.
    “You are beautiful,” he whispered, surprised to
hear that he’d said the words aloud, but pleased when color flooded her cheeks
and a smile touched her lips.
    “Are you two going to stand there all day
staring at each other or are we going to get these horses unhitched from the
wagon?”
    Noah cleared his throat and breathed a laugh.
“Coming,” he called out in a two-note sing-song, then turned back to look

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