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Authors: Kristi Hudecek-Ashwill

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BOOK: For the Love of Suzanne
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She felt a sense of panic. “I don’t
know anything about any mutinies or Indians or even if Cody Black Fox
is involved. I haven’t seen him since the day he left me here,”
she said desperately.

“Miss Dillon, I can assure you that I do not
care about your lies. I think you are protecting him and you’re
lying to do it. Now, I am placing you under arrest,” he said
casually, his cold dark eyes filled with anger.

She had never been arrested in her life. She
hadn’t even had a traffic ticket or any parking violations and
now she was being
For conspiracy and treason?

Suddenly, the room began to spin and she ran short
of breath before blackness overcame her. She fell to the floor with a

Chapter 12

Cody had been circling the fort at night for over
a week, hoping to get a glimpse of Suzanne and was disappointed that
he never saw her. That worried him. She was a fine, frail woman,
unlike any others he had ever met. She was very beautiful,
soft-spoken and very afraid. He could see the fear in her eyes and
feel it in his bones. He could also see her pain and wished he could
take it all away. He would love to see her happy for even just a
minute, but considering how she’d come here and how everything
was so unfamiliar to her, he understood her sorrow. Still, he felt as
if there was more that she wasn’t telling him.

He hadn’t been to the fort since the day
he’d left her at Annalee’s. Her tears and pleas not to
leave her there still haunted him, but he’d had no choice. It
was either Annalee’s, where she would be around other white
people, or Tall Deer who he was sure would have been cruel to her.

He sighed as he fought his emotions of guilt and
the longing to hold her in his arms again. He wanted to kiss her,
comfort her, and ease her pain. He wanted much more than that. He was
a man, even if he was a half-breed, and she was a woman who didn’t
seem to care about it. He reminded himself that she was married.
There was a husband somewhere. That was what had been keeping him
away, but he didn’t want to lie to her and had come for the
visit he’d promised her he would make.

He was wearing blue jeans and a white cotton shirt
and boots as well as a black wide-brimmed hat. He was dressed like a
white man tonight, but his long hair still hung freely around his
shoulders and down his back.

As he approached the gate, he saw Addison Taylor
in the guard tower and was almost relieved and slid off his horse.
Addison was easygoing and friendly. Cody knew he was a good man and
considered him a friend.

Addison saw him, too, and ran down the flight of
stairs to the ground and opened the gate just far enough to step
outside. The other guards were oblivious as they played cards by the
light of an oil lamp. “Cody, what the hell are you doing here?”
he whispered frantically.

He didn’t understand the urgency in his
friend’s voice and frowned as he realized something wasn’t
right. “I came to visit Suzanne Dillon. I left her here over a
month ago and I told her I would come back. You don’t

“Get out of here,” he whispered
urgently. “Richards has a case on you and wants you shot on

That surprised him. “Why?”

“He thinks you’re causing problems.”

He shook his head with firm denial. “Things
are quiet for now. There are no uprisings in the near future that
I’ve heard about,” he whispered back.

“That doesn’t matter. The man has been
out in the sun too long and he’s got Miss Suzanne locked in the
stockade. He’s accusing her of conspiracy and treason.”

“What?” he exclaimed louder than he’d
meant to.

“Sh-h,” Addison scolded him. “The
man has gone
, Cody. You have got to go before you are killed.”

“I can’t leave her here, Addison,”
he said in hushed seriousness. “Don’t even ask me to.”

“You can’t come in here, Cody,”
he said sternly, placing his fingers on his friend’s chest.
“I’m sorry, but it would put your life at risk--and hers.
Mine, too. Go back to your village.”

He stopped himself from pushing away Addison’s
hand, knowing the man had good intentions. “I can’t. I
told her I would come back for her.”


“No,” he sighed with disappointment.
“This is just a visit.”

“Then go home, Cody. I’ll tell her you
were here.”

For the first time since Cody had met Addison,
Cody was getting the feeling he couldn’t trust him. He had a
feeling there was more going on than what he was saying. He knew his
life was at risk and had the feeling Addison was going to turn him
in. Then he would hang.

He rubbed his neck unconsciously, remembering that
he’d almost been hanged a few years ago when a renegade bunch
of Mexicans had invaded his village, destroyed the dwellings, raped
their women, and had taken some children. He’d been captured
while fighting a bandito with a knife and dragged to a tree. Lame
Bird had shot the men who were trying to hang him, then quickly
scrambled to the horse they’d been using as a makeshift
platform and cut the rope before he dangled too long. It had been the
scariest thing he’d ever been through. No air and his lungs had
hurt while his life flashed before his eyes. He never wanted that to
happen again and avoided it at all costs.

Was it worth risking his neck for Suzanne? Surely
she hadn’t given up on him, had she? It had been over a month.
She was in a strange land, in a strange situation, and she had her
child to consider. He still didn’t understand how she had come
into his life and, despite her denial, still thought she was a person
of the stars. He had to get her back to where he’d found her as
soon as he could. She had a husband and her child needed its father.
Things were calm for the moment between his people and the white man.
This would be a good time to get this done.

Addison looked at his friend, knowing he wasn’t
going to leave and sighed heavily. “Okay,” he said
reluctantly. “I can’t get you inside the stockade, but I
can tell you which cell is hers.”

“Is she alone or with the men?”

“She’s in with a couple of men.
They’re being closely guarded. Stick your hair under your hat
or you’ll be shot for sure.”

He quickly did as Addison instructed, angry that
Richards had thrown Suzanne into a cell with strange men. The man
had, indeed, been out in the sun too long and Cody silently vowed
revenge on him if he had hurt one hair on her head. He followed
Addison through the gate, where Addison showed him how to find her
before returning to his post.

Cody hid in the shadows, walking along the walls
of the buildings, passing by the saloon where there was laughter,
yelling and lively piano music coming through the open door. He kept
his head down and walked on without being noticed, thankful for the
moonless night. The fort was dark except for lamps putting out dim
light through the windows in a few buildings, including the stockade.
He could see the sentry sleeping in a chair with his head down and
his gun across his lap. Cody silently walked by him, looking over his
shoulder to make sure he wasn’t seen. He hid in the shadows of
the building as he made his way around to the side where she was
supposed to be.

He knew the stockade was partially underground
with bars on the windows. There was no way he was going to break her
out of there that way. He took a few steps back to make sure the
sentry was still sleeping and didn’t see anything different.
Keeping to the shadows, he made his way to the window and got down on
his belly and tried to see inside the pitch black cell. He couldn’t
see anything, but could hear one of the men snoring and a light
sniffle. It was too delicate to be that of a man and figured it had
to be Suzanne.

“Suzanne,” he whispered loudly.

Suzanne had been in here for almost two weeks
now, living on bread and water. The first time the guard had given it to her,
it had made her chuckle at the irony of it all. Her mother used to
tell her if she didn’t like her dinner, she could have bread
and water. The reality of it was not so funny. She was tired, hungry,
sick at times, and wanted to go home.

No matter what she did or said, she couldn’t
convince Major Richards that she didn’t know anything about any
revolts, uprisings, or Cody Black Fox. She was interrogated on a
daily basis. Sometimes it would last for hours in the relentless heat
with no water while the major tantalized and badgered her, and even
hit her a few times. She couldn’t tell him what she didn’t

The men with whom she shared a cell were congenial
and treated her with courtesy and respect. Nobody spoke much, but she
knew one man’s name was Zack, the other was Caleb, and they
were both incarcerated for dereliction of duties. They treated her
with respect, always calling her Miss Suzanne, and giving her as much
privacy as possible.

She had been sleeping when she felt something
crawling up her dress. She scrambled off the flea-infested cot only
to fall, scratching her leg in the process. She scooted across the
floor and leaned against the wall between the cots, covering her
mouth in an effort to stay quiet while she burst into tears. She
could feel blood running down her leg and tried to press the
petticoats to it to stop the bleeding.

She was tired and hungry and all of the rodents in
the cell were driving her crazy. She hated rats and mice and the ones
that shared the cell were not shy. They came out at all hours of the
day and night.

The heat, the lack of food and water, the stench
from the cell where everybody relieved themselves in a corner, the
vermin, the filth of her body, and the constant interrogations were
wearing her down. She couldn’t take much more.

She took a few deep breaths in an effort to calm
herself when she thought she heard someone whisper her name. She held
her breath then and strained to listen. Who would be calling her?
When she didn’t hear it again, she knew she was really losing
her mind. A whole new flood of tears started. She couldn’t keep
going like this. It was too much for her, and she certainly didn’t
want to raise her child in such a rough environment.
, she
thought wryly,
who says the baby was going to live through this?

She sniffed and pushed her hair out of her face,
then heard it again.


She wasn’t sure she’d heard it, but
began to look around for the source and saw the silhouette of a man
wearing a hat at the window. She slowly made her way across the cell
and looked up at the window. “What?” she whispered.

“It’s me. Cody. Are you okay?”

“Oh, my God,” she covered her mouth in
relief. “Cody.”

He had barely heard her, but at least she had
acknowledged him.

“There are rats in here,” she choked

He reached his arm through the bars. “I’m
sorry,” he murmured sincerely. “Can you reach my hand?”

She reached for it and grabbed it, thinking it was
the best feeling in the world. He’d come back for her and the
relief was almost overwhelming.

“I’ll get you out,” he whispered
to her and squeezed her hand affectionately.

“How? They’ll shoot you.”

“Not if I turn myself in. This isn’t
right. You shouldn’t be in there, especially for me.”

“Go away, Cody,” she said shakily. “I
don’t want you to get hurt or killed.”

She didn’t want anything to happen to him
not only because he was the only one who could get her back to her
world, but because she was feeling something more for him than
friendship. She’d had a lot of time to think and figured it was
just infatuation. She hoped she wasn’t like some women who
instantly fell in love with any man who gave them a second look, but
she wanted to find out. It was scary after what she’d endured
with Beau. She was determined that she would never go through that
again, but she knew Cody was different. He was kind, compassionate,
and respectful. Beau had never been that way. He hadn’t always
been cruel but his compassion had been less than nothing.

She leaned against the wall wearily, still holding
his hand, wondering how all of this had happened. She longed for the
comfort of a clean bed, a shower, air conditioning, and privacy. She
was exhausted and didn’t feel well with morning sickness
attacking her every day.

She wanted to run away, but she would never get
out of here as long as Major Richards was convinced she was in
cahoots with Cody Black Fox. The man was relentless with his
interrogations and she knew he was losing his patience.

Cody could hear her crying softly and his
conscience pricked him again. He never liked to see people sad, but
with Suzanne, he hated it. He didn’t want to see her sad or
frightened; right now she was both and it was his fault.

All he could think of was how he’d kissed
her in the desert and how ladylike she’d been. Not at all like
Annalee’s girls who were paid for passion. He’d also held
her that night as she’d slept and remembered how she’d
snuggled into him and fit his body perfectly.

He gave himself a mental slap. She belonged to
another man and she was going to have that man’s child. Cody
had no rights to her and had to get her back to where he had found
her. What he’d told her about the renegades had been true but
he’d had his own selfish reasons for not taking her back. He
wanted to know her. He knew from the first time he saw her that she
was a special person. After just a few kisses and the way she had so
innocently laid in his arms that night, he knew that she was

He squeezed her hand, noticing that she’d
been doing Annalee’s dirty work. It wasn’t so soft
anymore and he wished he could do more to help her, especially
considering her fragile condition.

“I’m going to get you out,” he
promised softly.

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

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