Ride The Wind (Vincente 3)
her hips, and her
eyes sparkled with blue fire. "What part in all
this is my design? If I had my way I'd still have
my horse and the blankets."
    Reese smiled to himself, not daring to let her see his mirth. She was ungracious in defeat. After last night he'd never think of her in the same
way again. Not only did he desire her; he was
beginning to like her more and more. She was
quite a woman and would make a fine wife. Matthew would never know a dull day with her beside him.

    But Reese knew that he wanted her for himself, and that that would never happen. Being
denied what his body craved suddenly made
him cross, and he nodded toward the horse. "It's
time to go."
    "I'm ready," she said in an irritated voice.
"You don't have to speak to me like I am a child."
    His annoyance grew until it was full-blown
anger not with her, but with the situation he
found himself in. He turned away from her, but
not before she saw the corded muscles in his
neck, and his clenched teeth.
    Why was he acting so strangely? she wondered, watching him walk away. She felt as if a
moment of understanding had been lost, a moment when he would have confided in her but
the moment had slipped away.

     

The half-moon shed enough light so that Reese
could see ahead to avoid hazards that might
cause their horse to stumble. He felt Saber's
head slump against his back. "You need to stay
awake, Miss Vincente."
    She nodded and raised her head, feeling so
weary.
    "My brother told me that horses don't have the
best eyesight at night. This fellow could step in
a hole, and then where would we be?"
    "That's why I need you to help me watch."
    She straightened her spine. If Reese could go
on, then so could she. The night seemed endless,
and riding astride was causing her to ache in places that had never ached before. There were
times when she thought she couldn't stay on the
horse, and twice she nodded off. But a harsh
word from Reese brought her back to consciousness.

    "Can't we stop?" she asked.
    "We don't have the protection of being on Comanche land now, so if you want to put miles
between us and the Millers, we have to keep
moving, Miss Vincente. You can sleep tomorrow-at least half a day."
    Wordlessly she watched the trail ahead of
them, wondering what power and strength
pushed Reese. She guessed he'd stayed awake
most of the time while she slept in the squatter's
shack. How could he keep going like this without sleep when she was so utterly exhausted?
    She tried to think of Matthew, but instead her
mind wandered to the letters he'd written to her
about Reese Starrett. Suddenly something startling and overwhelming expanded in her chest.
Every time Matthew had mentioned Reese in his
letters, she had been fascinated by his description of his friend. Reese owned a small ranch
past Fort Worth on the Trinity River. He had
fought for the South during the war, just as Saber's brother had. Matthew had come to Texas
to oversee the location and construction of several army forts that were meant to help control the Indians and make the area safe for the white
population.

    She thought of their encounter with the Comanche. Apparently Reese had no trouble with
the Indians. She imagined that Quanah Parker
had let them pass through his land because he
liked and respected Reese.
    Her mind went back to the first time Matthew
had mentioned Reese in one of his letters. Matthew had been overseeing the building of a fort
somewhere in the panhandle of Texas when the
Comanche had attacked, forcing Matthew and
his soldiers to seek protection behind the incomplete walls of the fort. According to Matthew's
letter, Reese Starrett had appeared from out of
nowhere that day. He told Matthew to cease fire,
and Reese had gone to talk to the Comanche
chief. After long negations with the Indians on
the army's behalf, Reese had bidden good-bye to
the chief, who had ridden away with his warriors. Perhaps the chief had been Quanah Parker.

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