Yellow Rock

Yellow Rock by Elle Marlow

Book: Yellow Rock by Elle Marlow Read Free Book Online
Authors: Elle Marlow
serious enough. But he had no idea if she was speaking from her right mind. He decided it didn’t matter. Loving him was as good as a death sentence and he won’t let her suffer because of him. Dutch’s pulse pounded hard past his ears, spurring him to react.
    With a guttural growl, he roughly grasped her wrist, pulling her towards him and crushing her body against his. Before he could talk himself out of it, he pressed his lips against hers hard enough that nothing about her mouth was left to his imagination. He wanted to scare her, to scare the wits out of her so she’d stop resisting common sense and agree to get off the mountain. Dutch moaned as he devoured the sweetness of her. He boldly ran his free hand up her back until it buried into the mass of her hair. When it registered in his mind that she was kissing him back, he dropped his rifle to the ground and engulfed her in his embrace until he couldn’t tell where he ended and she began.
    “Willow, I want you so much,” he breathed against her jawline, that he wasted no time in covering with kisses and flicks from his tongue. His control was gone. Completely shattered and it wasn’t until he heard her whimper into his ear that his mouth and his hands froze.
    “Do you love me too, Dutch? Do you?”
    Every inch of his body jolted. He let go of her to take two quick steps backwards. Did he love her? He cared about her. He wanted to see her safe. He’d hoped she’d find enough peace to regain her rightful mind, but did he love her?
    He could say yes and mean it, but already?
    “Willow. It’s not as easy as that. I wasn’t looking for a woman when we met and I…”
    “I see. Well then, I guess we’d better skip the mining and head straight back to Hell’s Creek. It’s been a week, and I know they’d said a stage to California would be coming about now. Maybe there’s still time for me to catch it. Of course, I don’t have two coins to rub together,” she said turning away from him.
    Obviously, she was hurt. He swallowed down the urge to just tell her that yes, it was possible he loved her this soon, but did he love her enough to give up prospecting? Keeping her here would risk her life. He clenched and unclenched his hands into fist. He had no right to ask her to wait, to put herself in jeopardy. And, she didn’t have to, did she? She had the money to leave, find somewhere safe and warm—with someone else. The Wiles told him she had plenty of coins to rub. He also remembered the Deputy saying the Wiles had visited the bank before leaving for California. He could bet right off that they’d made a deposit for her. He looked to the floor. Once she knows she has money, she might just leave. Forever.
    She spun back to face him. “Dutch. Did you hear me? I’d like to go back to Hell’s Creek. Maybe I’ll find employment there to earn my trip to the coast.”
    “Willow. You have money. Lots of it, I imagine. If you’ll promise me you’ll get help and talk to someone about what you’ve been through, I’ll take you back first thing tomorrow.”
    She started pacing the cabin, then stopped abruptly to look at him. “You want me to talk to someone who will listen to my sappy story and help me? Well, what about you? What about right now? Let’s both bare our souls,” she said, raising her voice. “I think you might need it just as much as I do,” she insisted, her chest heaving up and down. He was fine, he didn’t need to talk. What was she talking about?
    “Don’t want to start? Okay, I’ll do it. Let’s see…my mother died bringing me into this world and for punishment, my father hit me whenever he felt like it. Then, because his pride was more important to him than his own daughter, he burned down our plantation to keep it out of the hands of the Yankees. Homeless, I was ordered to board a wagon where I was captured by Apaches for the color of my hair and one of them raped me. And for all of that, I was tied to a tree as

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