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Authors: Kristi Hudecek-Ashwill

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BOOK: For the Love of Suzanne
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He easily slid off the horse and held his arms up
to help her down.

She couldn’t find the stirrup with her foot
and tried to ease herself into his arms, sliding down the taut length
of his tall body and landing on her knees only to throw up in the
brush next to his feet. That, combined with the intense heat, made
her faint.

He knelt beside her still body, recognizing the
symptoms of being overheated, and carried her to a somewhat shaded
spot under a tower of boulders. He gently laid her down, then went
back for the canteen, patting the horse as he retrieved it.

She was slowly coming around again when she felt a
little dribble of water slide down her throat. She opened her eyes
and gazed into the dark brown eyes of the man. He looked friendly,
but she didn’t know him and was afraid. What had happened that
she should be with a man like him?

“Where am I?” she repeated.

He recapped the canteen and sat down in front of
her. He knew and she didn’t, plus she had that extraordinary
thing that had exploded. It had moved on wheels, but didn’t
have any horses to pull it. How could that be? What would it matter
anyway? She was going to Chief Tall Deer who would be very pleased.
“You’re on Chiricahua land,” he murmured, looking
away from her.

She knew that Chiricahua was a band of Apache
Indians. “Oh, I’m sorry,” she said quietly. “I
didn’t mean to trespass. Is that why you’re dressed like
that?”

He spread his arms innocently and looked himself
over, finding nothing wrong. She was the one dressed in a strange
fashion with her bare arms and legs and those shoes.

She struggled to a sitting position, then laid a
protective hand on her stomach. Her head hurt and her stomach was
still roiling, but it was a bit better than before.

She looked at the man. He was very handsome with
dark eyes and shoulder-length black hair that blew freely in the
wind. His face was young and friendly and although she hadn’t
seen it, she was betting he had a great smile. He couldn’t be
much older than she was. His nose and mouth were perfectly
proportioned to his face, and he looked like someone she’d see
on the cover of a romance novel. Still, that didn’t explain why
he was dressed like that.

“Where is my car?” she asked calmly,
trying not to panic as she looked around the barren landscape. All
she saw were rocks and dunes and flatness and the biggest black horse
she’d ever laid eyes on.

He looked at her in confusion.

She returned the bewildered gaze. “Car,”
she repeated when she realized he didn’t know what she was
talking about.

He shook his head and spread his arms lamely.

“You know,” she made like she was
holding a steering wheel and moved her arms up and down as if she
were driving. “Car,” she said patiently.

She could see he didn’t understand and knew
it was genuine. The guy didn’t know what a car was. This was
getting crazier by the second. He was dressed like some guy doing a
Western movie. He didn’t know what a car was. He’d told
her she was in New Mexico Territory and then on Chiricahua land.
Things were not adding up and it was getting scary.

“Why were you standing in the road?”
she asked him curiously.

“There are no roads around here,” he
told her quietly and picked up the canteen again. “Would you
like some more water?”

She shook her head. “No, thank you.”

At least he spoke English, but then why wouldn’t
he? This must be some sort of play or maybe she’d stumbled onto
a movie set or something.

He poured some water into his hand and gave it to
the horse a few times. “You are not well?” he queried
quietly, coming back to sit beside her.

For some reason, the resonance of his voice sent
shivers down her spine. That had never happened before and it was a
bit startling. It wasn’t too deep, but it was definitely
masculine and made her feel even more uneasy.

She shook her head. “No. I guess not,”
she admitted reluctantly. “Where are we?”

He shook his head with mild frustration and looked
at her pensively. He’d told her twice with two different
answers, but neither seemed to satisfy her. “I’ve already
told you this.”

She realized then that he had. “Sorry,”
she said softly, thinking that Beau would have at least slapped her
and called her a dumb blond. “Um, you don’t know where my
car is?” she asked uncertainly.

He gave a nod toward the direction from which
they’d come. “It exploded. You would have been killed had
I not pulled you out of the, what you call, car,” he said
humbly.

She was mystified by his lack of knowledge.
Everybody knew what a car was and most people had at least one. This
was getting really scary now, but she swallowed her panic. “What’s
your name?” she asked him in a soft voice.

“Depends on who you ask,” he replied
casually, absently picking up some sand and letting it slip between
his fingers.

“What do you mean by that?” she asked
him curiously.

He shrugged. “My people call me Black Fox.
The white men at the fort call me Cody.”

She struggled to remember if there was a fort
around here and couldn’t recall, but then she really didn’t
know where she was. His answers to that question had been vague at
best. “What fort?”

He flippantly tossed his arm out, his gaze
following. “It’s far away.”

She didn’t even bother to look because she
knew what she would see. More sand, cactus and rocks. This had to be
a nightmare. Nothing was making sense. “I need to go home,”
she said uneasily and got up. “Please take me back to my car.”

He looked up at her. “This car you speak of
is no more. It created fire like I’ve never seen,” he
said anxiously. “You could have been killed.”

“Then maybe you could take me back to town
on your horse,” she suggested, dreading his answer.

“There are no towns around here. Only my
village,” he said patiently.

She ran her fingers through her hair with
frustration, not sure what to do and not at all clear on what had
happened. She knew the car was incinerated, but that didn’t
answer the question of where it was. She also knew she had to get
back to it.

“What is your name?” he asked her
politely.

She looked at him. “Suzanne.”

“Suzanne,” he echoed. “Suzanne,”
he said again as if playing with the word. It was almost as if he’d
never heard the name before and it was a novelty to say it. “Did
your mother name you Suzanne?”

“Yes,” she barely breathed, rubbing
her aching forehead. He was her only source of help and she didn’t
need him knowing she still wasn’t at the top of her game. “Will
you take me back to the road?” she asked him in a shallow
voice.

“There are no roads, Suzanne,” he told
her in a soft voice, knowing she was confused. He then offered the
canteen to her again. “Would you like more water?”

She slowly shook her head. “No, thank you.”

He took a quick drink and replaced the cap,
watching her as she weaved unsteadily before him. “Are you well
enough to travel now?” he asked even though he suspected she
wasn’t.

“Where are we going?” she asked
nervously.

He rose to his feet. “To my village. To
Chief Tall Deer. We can be there by nightfall.”

She took a step and steadied herself against the
big boulder she’d been leaning against, putting her hand to her
forehead again as the world began to spin.

Cody watched her, ready to lend her aid should she
fall. He thought they should stay the night. He could hunt for food,
but water was scarce and he would have to travel for that; hopefully,
not very far. “We should stay. You are not well.”

She sunk back down to a sitting position, rubbing
her forehead. “Maybe I’m not,” she conceded. “It’s
so hot.”

He opened the canteen again and handed it to her.
“I will go hunt and find water. You wait here.”

She drank lightly and handed the canteen back to
him. “I don’t know where I would go. I’m lost
enough as it is,” she said sadly.

Panic was brimming. She didn’t know where
she was. She didn’t know who he was or how she’d gotten
here. She didn’t know how to get back to her car that she now
knew was blown to smithereens and, to top it all off, she was sick
again. It had to be a dream. A hallucination. She’d been in the
heat too long. That was the only explanation. Nothing here was real.

“You’re leaving?” she asked
distressfully, gazing up at him. She was afraid to be out here alone.
It was hot and the sun would be setting eventually. The wild animals
and snakes would be coming out as the heat subsided.

He could hear the panic in her voice and knelt in
front of her. He wanted to offer her comfort, but knew a man like him
could never touch a woman like her. He was a half-breed Indian man
and she was a white woman. He was risking his neck just riding on the
same horse with her. “I have to get some food and water,”
he explained gently, wanting to touch her yellow hair. He’d
already smelled it and it smelled clean and sensual, unlike anything
he’d ever smelled before. “I will be back,” he
promised. “I won’t be gone long.”

“Can I go with you?” she asked him
weakly, not wanting to be left alone.

“You aren’t well,” he reasoned.
“You’ll be okay here,” he assured her and
gracefully regained his feet.

She couldn’t understand this. It was too
unreal. He looked like an Indian right out of the old West and he
spoke impeccable English. She’d never been a good student in
history and now she wish she’d paid more attention in class. At
least, she might have remembered if the Indians had spoken English.
She knew some had, but that had been a century or more ago, hadn’t
it?

“Are you a movie star or something?”
she asked him lamely, looking up at him.

“Movie star?” he echoed with obvious
confusion. “I know nothing of this movie star. What is a movie
star?”

She gazed into his dark brown eyes and could see
the genuine question in them. He really didn’t know what a
movie star was. There was no way he was lying about this. He honestly
didn’t know what a car was nor did he know what a movie star
was.

With a feeling of disbelief and even dread, she
asked him in a trembling voice. “What year is it?”

He arched his dark eyebrows with surprise.
“1860.”

Her mouth dropped open in horror. “No! It’s
2015,” she said hastily. “It’s 2015!”

He looked at her skeptically, thinking she really
had been out in the sun too long. “You rest. I will return.”

She watched him mount the big black stallion
without using the stirrups and ride away, hoping he would. She was
alone now and more frightened than ever.

What was going on?

Chapter 7

Several hours later, Cody came back to the place
where he had left Suzanne and found her sleeping with her head
propped against a big boulder. He took the opportunity to really look
her over and appreciated what he saw. He’d seen many white
women while he’d been in boarding school and even had a few for
teachers, not to mention the brothels he’d frequented from time
to time while he was working in the white man’s world. But none
of them looked like her. Her hair hung over her shoulders, curled at
the ends and parted down the middle.

Her clothing was scandalous, but he had to admit
that it was alluring. He’d never seen pants on a woman let
alone pants that were that short. At least not in public. Women
usually wore that sort of thing as undergarments, but it did reveal
her shapely legs that were lacking hair, something he found
incredibly attractive. He watched her chest rise and fall evenly,
admiring the fullness of her breasts and her fine neck that just
begged to be kissed.

Her fair skin was pink from being in the sun and
he wondered if the sun was bright where she came from like it was
here. He wondered a lot of things about her world, especially if all
women dressed like she did.

His body reminded him that he hadn’t been
with a woman in a long time. Maybe he could keep Suzanne for himself.
That thought wasn’t altogether unpleasant. She could be his
slave and do his biddings; he would treat her far better than Tall
Deer treated his women. He would treat her right and maybe she would
grow to like him even if he was a half-breed. But he knew that was
never to be. He had to hand her over to Tall Deer. He owed the chief
even if the crazy fool didn’t know it.

Suzanne slowly opened her eyes when she felt him
looking at her. She hadn’t heard him come back and wondered if
she’d been sleeping that hard or if he was just that quiet.

He threw his leg over the horse’s neck and
slid to the ground with two rabbits in one hand and a knife in the
other. “You skin these.”

She sat up and looked at the small gray beasts and
shook her head with revulsion. “No.”

He gaped at her. “No?” he asked in
shock.

“No,” she said more sternly. She was
sure her stomach wouldn’t take the sight of blood and guts
while cleaning wildlife. Besides, she’d never done it before
and had no idea how to even start. She had nothing against hunting,
but she didn’t want to watch or clean up after it.

“But it’s your work,” he tried
to reason with her.

She placed her hand over her stomach, wondering if
he was going to hit her. “I can’t,” she said
weakly.

“Ah,” he said slowly as the
realization hit him. “You still are not well. I will clean and
cook them,” he said casually and tossed them to the ground a
few feet away from her and went back for the canteen.

She watched him, admiring how the muscles played
in his back as he moved. He was muscular like he went to the gym
every day, but she knew he didn’t know what that was. He was
tall and graceful and had a few scars on his arms and chest.

He handed her the canteen. “Fresh water.”

BOOK: For the Love of Suzanne
6.41Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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