Noah

Noah by Kelli Ann Morgan Page B

Book: Noah by Kelli Ann Morgan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kelli Ann Morgan
a horse
act so erratically. Something was off. He glanced at the horse’s feet, but by
the way he pranced about, there was no sign of injury to his legs. A red,
sticky-looking splotch appeared just below the ridge of the saddle, oozing down
from the underside of the blanket.
    He is hurt.
    In moments, Dell, Eamon, Levi, and the three
hired hands had joined him, forming a semi-circle around the mount, ropes at
the ready.
    The steed reared, screeching.
    “We need to get that saddle off of him,” Noah
declared emphatically.
    “You are a blamed fool, Deardon, if you think
you’re going to be able to get close enough to that mount to remove his
saddle.” Dell snorted.
    You’ve met this horse, Deardon. Let him know he
can trust you .
    “Levi,” he called quietly. “Go to the barn and
get the bag of apples from my saddle bags.”
    Noah continued to watch the horse, trying to
figure out the best way to calm the animal and appeal to his better nature.
    “Enough of this.” Dell pulled out his rifle and
aimed.
    Click. Click. Click.
    Levi stood behind the man, having returned
quickly from his task, his newly cocked pistol aimed at the foreman’s head. “I
wouldn’t,” he said as he handed Noah the fruit.
    If shooting a horse without finding a cause for
its behavior was the foreman’s approach to ranching, he was in the wrong
profession.
    Noah nodded his appreciation at Levi as he
opened the bag.
    Dell dropped the rifle to his side and Levi
re-holstered his weapon.
    “Whoa, big fella,” Noah said, placing one of
the apples in his palm as he had last night and then he tucked another under
his arm. “It’s all right.” He took a step toward the horse, the other hand
raised lightly, his fingers waving in a downward motion. “I can’t help you,
boy, if you won’t let me.” He spoke soothingly to the fitful Arabian.
    The horse neighed and took a few steps
backward.
    Noah broke his eye contact and dropped his
head, inviting the steed closer.
    Nature’s silence descended on the ranch as everyone
stood around them, watching. The horse stopped kicking about and, for the
moment, stood perfectly still, except for his irregularly swishing tail. He
tousled his head, but didn’t shy away as Noah got closer.
    Amazed, he held out the apple and waited,
breathing slowly, but deeply. The horse sniffed at the treat, then wrapped his
lips around it and took a bite. When it was gone, Noah took a side step toward
the saddle, but the Arabian backed away several short steps, still wary of
assistance.
    “What should we call you, boy?” he asked,
almost in a whisper. He’d never learned Mr. Thomas’s name for the mount and
thought it a shame.
    What a magnificent animal.
    The horse dipped his head and sniffed at the
air.
    “Do you want another one?” He retrieved the
apple from under his arm and placed it in his palm, repeating the process.
    This time, Noah backed away a few feet and sat
down on the ground, facing the guarded horse, but giving him his space.
    He waited in silence as did the small, anxious
crowd.
    After several minutes, the beautiful animal
took a step toward him, then another, until he dropped his head level with
Noah’s.
    “Good boy,” he said, reaching out to rub the
horse’s nose, grazing over the bridle as he grasped a hold of the slack reins.
    Noah moved his attention to the neck as he
pulled himself into a standing position and maneuvered to the horse’s flank. He
quickly unbuckled the rear cinch and let it hang while he moved to the front,
cautiously draping the fender and stirrup up over the saddle as he folded the
tie strap.
    When it was time to remove the saddle, Noah grabbed
ahold of either end of it. The Arabian was tall, standing at least fourteen
hands, so he was careful not to slide the tack from the horse’s back as he
lifted. He handed the saddle to Levi and reached for the blanket. There was a
distinct bump in the wool covering directly above the blood that now stained
the light coloring of the

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