July, Saturday 2.57am
He came awake suddenly, disoriented but with all his
senses alert. Even in the unfamiliar apartment he knew something wasn't
Chris reached up and removed his weapon from the holster
where he'd hung it over the bedstead before things had become too heated
with Mary the previous evening. Listening intently he placed a hand over
Mary's mouth and hushed the now wide-eyed and sleep-tousled blonde. Slipping
naked from between the sheets he crept stealthily toward the bedroom door,
grateful that his training meant that even exhausted and sated he was capable
of maintaining vigilance.
Pausing behind the door, his toes curling in the deep
softness of the carpet pile, he glanced over his shoulder, signalling to
his lover to remain still and quiet. At her nod he carefully stepped around
the door and vanished.
Mary Travis lay completely immobile, eyes glued to the
space which Chris had vacated a moment before. Silence. She finally had to
remind herself to breathe. But whilst her body was still her mind was racing.
Please God, please God. I've finally got him exactly where he should be,
please don't take him away from me. Please God, Please God.
Interrupting her litany she focussed on the bathrobe
slung carelessly over a chair and determined that in this case Chris Larabee's
command be damned, she would give him a hand. Pulling on the robe she moved
silently to the doorway.
Ear cocked listening for any sign, good or bad, she let
her mind go back to the previous evening.
Everything had to be perfect. Mary had planned this seduction
in every detail during her quiet evenings over the last three years. Well,
perhaps not three years. For the first two years she had silently berated
the bad tempered, hard-assed ATF Agent for getting in the way of her job
as a reporter. Images of the green-eyed glare and the echo of a curt 'no
comment' had begun to haunt her sleep.
It was when the images had started to get more disturbing
and intimate that she knew she was in trouble.
She had carefully arranged for her eight-year old son
Billy to spend the Weekend with his grandparents, she'd even got her
mother-in-law to suggest it. She'd taken the afternoon off work and prepared
a simple starter and main course and then spent the rest of the time preparing
Sitting on the edge of the bath she painted her toenails
a dusky pink and then stretched out her legs and admired the effect. Catching
sight of herself in the full length mirror she was surprised by the flush
on her skin and the gleam of anticipation in her eyes.
Mentally shaking herself she giggled. Oh, God, she was
losing her mind. She was 34 years old, a widow and mother and surely above
GIGGLING. She felt like she was going to her senior prom. In fact that hadn't
felt so good. She had butterflies in her stomach and a ridiculous smile on
her face. She spent the better part of three hours trying on outfits before
settling on a simple white silk chemise-style top and a figure-hugging black
skirt which skimmed her knees. Slipping into heeled sling-backed shoes she
made her way to the kitchen.
When the doorbell sounded she moved to the mirror where
she patted down the blonde curls and adjusted her décolletage, it
wouldn't do to look too keen, or, she smiled ruefully, too desperate. Smoothing
her hands over her hips she opened the door.
Black-clad as usual, Chris was standing in the outer
hallway of the apartment complex looking uncomfortably at a large bouquet
of lilies. Tucked under his other arm was a bottle, presumably wine, and
dangling from his free hand was a six-pack. His hair was probably tidier
than she'd ever seen it and he was sporting a large silver buckle on the
belt threaded into the tight black jeans.
'Chris.' Mary smiled at him and he sheepishly handed
her the flowers.
'Good evening Mary, hope I'm not too early'
'N..n..no, not at all. Please, come in.' She was stuttering.
Get it together Mary. Standing aside she allowed entrance to her guest.
'Thank you for the flowers, you really shouldn't have.'
There was a pause while they looked anywhere but at each other.
'Dinner is nearly ready, perhaps you'd like a drink
'Beer would be great, thanks Mary.' Moving towards what
he assumed was the kitchen he placed the wine and beer down on the counter
and broke off a can, opening it and taking a sip before setting it beside
the others and turning around to meet her eyes.
What Mary saw there caused her mouth to drop open. Not
someone who was usually rendered speechless, Mary Travis, woman of eloquence
and prose, gaped.
Raw desire. Oh, it was tempered with a bit of insecurity,
but there it was. This man, who she had spent the better part of 12 months
dreaming about and for whom she had planned a slow and subtle seduction wanted
her as much, if not more, than she wanted him. It was too much. The silence
stretched. And stretched.
'Mary, would you
'Chris, if you want to
Finding their voices they spoke simultaneously. Breaking
off, they stared hungrily at each other again.
The quiet was broken in this instance by the 'ping' of
the timer on the oven and the clicking as it turned itself off.
'It can wait a while if you'd rather sit and talk or
She saw the glint in the green eyes and the hint of a
smile as he stepped forward and reached out for her.
Mary nearly sighed, stopping herself as she remembered
she was supposed to be quiet. They never had got around to having dinner.
Oh well, he'd just have to come over another time. She caught herself grinning
and mentally slapped herself. This was not the time. She returned to the
task in hand, eavesdropping.
Chris trod silently down the hallway, giving Billy's
darkened room a quick glance as he passed. The noise seemed to be coming
from the kitchen and the light was on. The intruder was obviously hungry.
Hell it was probably Vin. Scowling at the thought that his number two would
be in Mary's apartment at any time, let alone at three in the morning, he
scanned the living room and moved quickly towards the source of the noise.
Careful to stay out of the light spilling through the opening he put his
back against the wall and took a breath. Getting a firm grip on his weapon
with both hands he leapt into the doorway.
Whatever he'd been expecting, this was definitely not
Frozen in the open doorway of the refrigerator with a
half eaten peanut butter sandwich in one hand and a diet soda in the other
was a beautiful girl dressed in knee-torn denim jeans, which may once have
been blue but which had been washed almost white, a denim jacket, which looked
almost as ancient, a white T-shirt and a pair of badly scuffed brown cowboy
boots. Her long blonde hair was tied roughly in a pony-tail high on the back
of her head and she was looking at him with very amused dark green eyes.
Chris took all of this in at the same moment that he realized that he was
wearing nothing but a scowl and a gun.
'YOU, have got to be the 'Chris-who-can-do-anything'
I've been hearing so much about.' Her voice was deep and husky and she was
trying unsuccessfully not to laugh. 'Billy didn't tell me you were
' She looked him up and down and if possible her grin got
bigger, 'so well put together!'
Chris tried to maintain his dignity and give her his
famous Larabee glare but from the way she snorted and then doubled over laughing
he guessed it didn't carry the same weight when he was bare to the breeze.
He felt himself flush. Dammit, Chris Larabee NEVER blushed.
'Who the hell are you?' He yelled trying to get control
of the situation, after all HE had the gun.
'I'm Angel. And you can put your weapons away Mr Larabee,
both of them.' The girl seemed to think her comment was hilarious as she
sank down on the kitchen chair and wiped the tears from her eyes with the
back of the hand still clutching the sandwich.
From her position halfway to the living area, Mary recognised
the laughter. Turning around she went back and collected Chris's boxers and
made her way back to the light.
'It's OK Chris, I know her. Put these on.' She handed
him the shorts and he glanced at her for confirmation before lowering the
gun and turning his back on the intruder to dress.
'Angel, what are you doing in my kitchen at the three
in the morning? For that matter what are you doing in Denver?' Mary glared
at the younger woman, tightening the belt on her robe and trying not to look
like a teenager caught making out by her parents.
Angel grinned again watching Chris donning his clothes
and not even sparing Mary a glance.
'Why, I'm admiring the scenery, Mrs Travis. You never
said Denver had such perfect full moons.'
Mary knew her angry façade was slipping and fought
against the laugh she could feel at the corner of her mouth. Chris caught
' His tone was warning 'would you care to
explain this young person to me?'
She settled for an introduction.
'Chris, this is my baby sister, Angelina MacCoole. Angel,
I know Billy's told you about Chris, he's also with the ATF. And you STILL
haven't told me what you are doing here.'
'Also?' This from Chris.
'Angel is the Agency MD in New York. And yes I know she's
young - she graduated three years early at Harvard Med.'
'I'm the family geek.' Angel put in. 'Pleased to meet
you Agent Larabee.'
'Angel, don't make me ask you again.'
'OK, OK, don't get so intense Mare. I wanted to surprise
you.' A pause 'I guess I succeeded. What a welcome!' Finally finished with
her perusal of Chris's chest she met Mary's gaze. At her sister's dark look
Angel attempted to control her mirth and elaborate.
'Ok, I'll fit in with the theme of the moment and bare
all.' Another grin, which was met this time with twin scowls.
'You're my only family, Mare, so I applied a couple of
months ago to the Denver office so I could spend more time with you and Billy.
I start on Monday. I'll be doing some fieldwork when required but mostly
I'm in charge of the Agent Physicals. As an aside to which, Agent Larabee,
from what I've seen
which is pretty much everything, you'd have to be
a pass.' Laughing at her own humor she took another bite of her forgotten
'Behave yourself Angel. Does Orrin know?'
'He didn't initially but does now. Our connection is
loose at best and need not necessarily be a problem. Besides he has no say
in the Medical assignments, it's handled through the Central Office in DC
with local rubber stamping.'
'I was gonna crash on your couch, my place is ready tomorrow
but I can see you are otherwise occupied. Thanks for the food. I'll call
you in the morning, late I promise, and fill you in on the details.' This
delivered en-route to the front door. 'Sorry to break up your evening guys,
Ciao.' The door swung shut and she was gone.
'Oh my God. The boys are gonna be climbing over each
other to get to the medical wing. A woman who looks like that has no business
doing medicals on hundreds of unsuspecting males. She looks even younger
than JD. How old is she anyway?'
A woman who looks
Mary studied Chris for a moment
but there was no predatory interest in his eyes.
'24 and yes I can see your point. She can handle herself
though, and them. She's looked like that since she was a kid and has lots
of practice. I can't wait to see what your team make of her. Don't you think
she'd be perfect for JD?' This last with a teasing smile as she took his
arm and led him back to the sleeping area.
Chris looked horrified and Mary laughed. Billy would
be thrilled. It would be good to have her sister around. She hoped.
The bust had been a fiasco. Chris pushed his hand through
his hair and cursed again at the higher-ups who'd put his team in danger.
Chris, Josiah, Nathan and JD had been providing back
up support for Team 10 who were handling an illegal moonshine business which
had sprung up in a local high school. Impurities introduced in the distillation
had already cost the lives of two students and possibly the eyesight of another
Neither group had been happy about working with the other,
but with Ezra, Buck and Vin all on light duties after suffering injuries
in the Barenti gunrunning Case the previous month and with only two teams
available, AD Travis had been unable to justify using 7 as lead when 10 were
at full strength.
Team 10 were a new team headed by Agent Stockton, a
diminutive redhead with an 'anything-you-can-do' chip on her shoulder, at
least according to Buck. JD thought this was more to do with the fact that
she'd 'set him on his ass' than with her actual abilities and said so.
'I dunno JD' said Vin frowning up from behind his computer.
He'd not trusted the woman on sight. 'They could be cowboys, watch your backs.'
'Jenkins from 5 thinks she may be keen to prove she and
her team are as good as, if not better than, everyone else. Her enthusiam
might get someone killed.'
'Let's hope not Brother Dunne.'
'Ok boys' said Chris as he came out of his office, 'we
are just support. You move on Agent Stockton's word and sweep up any stragglers.
Four hours later JD was in hospital with concussion and
Nathan was at Josiah's babysitting a slightly scorched profiler with no eyebrows.
Chris and Nathan were the only members of the top team still active.
Chris looked up as AD Travis entered his office. Shutting
the door he asked without preamble 'What the Hell happened Chris? Lattimer's
dead and the rest of Team 10, with exception of Stockton, are hospitalized.
I've spoken with her and she told me the still exploded without warning,
that it must have been rigged somehow.'
'No Sir, Stockton fucked-up.'
'Spell it out'
'It will all be on the tapes Sir.'
'There were no tapes Chris. This was supposed to be a
walk in the park, a gentle team-building exercise for team 10 and with you
and the boys to hold their hands if necessary. So tell me again.'
'There was no official surveillance but you will
find that JD has tapes. He was trying out some new long distance monitoring
equipment. Ez and Buck were controlling it from the van which was parked
here in the basement. The audio should be fine, the visual comes from lapel
pins worn by JD and Josiah so I have no idea what the quality will be like.'
'So tell me what I'm going to see. Humor me.'
Chris sighed again and leaned back in his chair. He hated
to damage the career of another Agent, no matter how Gung-ho. 'Off the record
Orrin?' Receiving a nod he continued.
'Everything was fine. 10 moved in on Stockton's command
with Nathan Josiah, JD and I following. Stockton was to the North of the
basement directing the team from the rear so that she could keep everyone
in view and move them systematically. There was a bit of a scuffle but no
shots were fired initially. They caught a couple of bootleggers who were
disarmed and passed on to us to be held by the DPD and then they moved towards
where the distillery itself was set up. It was pretty textbook until then
'That's when it all went wrong. Once the rest of the
gang had been cuffed, she called out the all-clear which seemed to consist
of 'Yeehaw we did it boys!' punctuated with celebratory shots in the air
from her hand-gun. One of the rounds bounced, caused a spark and, well the
rest is history.'
'The better part of that school certainly is. God how
could she be so stupid?'
'Over exuberance, we've all been there.'
'Damn Chris, she fired unnecessary shots with a flammable
hazard in the area. That's just dumb.'
'Let me have those tapes ASAP. You and your team are
off the rest of the week, once you've filed reports. Take some downtime and
get the boys healthy. You'll get a new assignment on Monday.' With that the
senior agent left.
Vin Tanner appeared in the doorway. 'Hell cowboy ya look
like shit. Wanna share?' Seating himself across from his friend he stretched
his legs out and rested his feet on the corner of Chris's desk.
'If ya didn't need to keep that leg elevated I'd bust
your ass for insubordination Tanner'
'Yeah, yeah. So spill it.'
Chris wiped his hand over his face and put his feet up,
mirroring Tanner. 'I'm getting too old for this crap Vin.'
'Hell Cowboy if it comes to the good guys blowin' themselves
up, I'm gittin' too old for it.'
'Ez called Nathan to check on Josiah.'
'Stockton tried to say the still self detonated. She
wasn't to know JD was recording.' They exchanged a look.
Shit. She's history.
Could'a happened to anyone.
With that silent communication Vin dropped his feet to
the floor and stood. 'We goin' to the ranch tonight?'
'Yeah. Travis gave us the rest of the week off, we can
spend some time with the horses if you want. Boys will be out tomorrow.'
'I'll check on the boys and file my report. Catch up
with you later.'
Vin made his way through the bullpen picking up his jacket
and keys and turning off his console. He was pleased with the new relationship
Chris and Mary had developed and happy to see his friend so content. Billy
had been spending increasing amounts of time, particularly on weekends with
his Aunt. All the team had quizzed Chris on Mary's sister, particularly when
he seemed so uncomfortable with the subject, almost embarrassed in fact,
but he would only say she was young and that she was the new Agency MD. They'd
heard on the grapevine that she was pretty hot, some agents coming back from
their medicals full of enthusiasm for a date but as yet no-one had managed
to get one. There was a book running, controlled by Ezra of course, on who
would prove to be the successful candidate. Buck and JD both reckoned their
team would win since they had an added advantage with Chris dating her sister
but as yet none of them had even seen her.
Shaking his head as he climbed onto the Harley he headed
to the ranch.
'Ready to ride Peso?' Vin chatted to the horse as he
saddled him. He'd prepared a flask and was headed out to watch the sunrise
from his favourite spot.
It was still dark at 5.30 when he settled himself, slightly
back from the ledge against a twisted pine, and opened his coffee. It would
be another 20 minutes before the sky changed and he shuffled slightly getting
comfortable for the wait.
Angel had calculated it would take about 20 minutes from
her cabin to 'Sunrise Rock' as she'd christened it when she saw it three
weeks earlier. This was the first opportunity she'd had to come up and see
if the show was as good as she anticipated. Securing her horse she walked
forward and stood, right at the edge of the cliff, pleased with the view
of the pink-tinged horizon. Setting down her blanket and flask she sat
cross-legged and poured a cup of tea.
Vin stayed perfectly immobile, not wanting to disturb
the stillness of the view, hell, both of them. She was slim with a scrubbed
face and a long blonde braid hanging down her back. From where he was sitting,
behind and to the right, he could see her chest rise and fall as she took
great gulps of fresh air. She was smiling and sipping her tea.
Suddenly, after about 10 minutes, she stiffened. She
could smell coffee. Cautiously she turned her head and found herself looking
into the bluest eyes she'd ever seen. Long dark curls hung over his shoulders
and he was warmly wrapped in a leather jacket and jeans. He smiled at her.
Her back went up. How DARE he creep up on her!
Vin watched the changing emotions crossing her expressive
face. Caution, fear, surprise, interest, he could identify with that, and
finally anger. Hoping to calm the storm he smiled and spoke.
'Sorry, ma'am. Didn't mean ta scare ya.' He held up his
coffee cup. 'Seems we had the same idea.'
Angel sat and regarded him for a moment, berating herself
for leaving her sidearm at home. Unwilling to leave she tried to determine
whether or not he was a threat. Vin could see her warring with herself and
waited. Finally he said 'I ken leave iffen ya don't trust me.'
Seeming to come to a decision the girl smiled. 'Technically
I should leave since you were here first.'
'Tha'ss ok, I ken share my view with y'all.'
'How gracious' Smiling she indicated the blanket. 'Please,
join me. I'm Angel'
Vin was a bit stunned at that since he'd been thinking
along those lines himself. Seeing the look on his face as he took up the
offer she laughed. 'Not that kind of angel.'
Returning her smile Vin held out his hand. 'Vin'
They sat companionably for some time, sipping their drinks
and watching nature's display. Finally, with stiff legs Angel rose, Vin's
hand on her elbow.
She packed up her stuff and gathered her horse.
'Highho? Yeah, I've had him stabled for the last few
years while I was living in the city but I bought a place here recently so
now he lives with me. He's a great guard horse.' Vin seemed to understand
her reference to horses alerting owners when strangers approached and didn't
'Because he's silver of course.' She grinned at the
incredulous expression and swung up into the saddle.
'See you round Cowboy.'
'Will ya be back?'
''Spect so.' She called over her shoulder as she disappeared
down the trail.
10am Chris's Ranch
'Hey Chris.' Vin smelled breakfast as he entered the
house. He could hear JD and Buck bickering. 'Hey boys.'
'Hey Vin, tell Buck he has no chance with Mary's sister
won't ya?' JD's voice came from under Buck's arm where he was firmly held
in a headlock.
'Sure he does Kid.' At Chris's look he added 'A fat chance.'
Buck growled and released JD as the younger man tried
to sink his teeth into Buck's forearm. 'JD!'
'What? I used the only weapon available and you were
hurting my head. I did have a concussion ya know.'
'How ya feeling JD?'
JD grimaced, caught out by the medic's question as he
came in through the back door. 'Fine Nate. Didn't see you there. Morning
'JD.' Getting a good look at the team profiler the others
all began to laugh.
'You sure look different Josiah, new hairstyle?' Chris
dared to tread where the others only gawped.
'Funny Chris, at least I didn't have to shave. In fact
I'm not sure I ever will again.' They all joined in the laughter.
'Whatcha makin'?' Vin leaned over the stove peering under
various saucepan lids.
Chris rapped the back of his hand with a spoon and glared
at him. Vin just shrugged. He'd find out soon enough.
They were settling down to eggs, bacon, tomatoes, toast
and coffee when Ezra arrived with croissants and Donuts. Joining the others
at the table and grabbing his Starbucks Cappuccino out of JD's hands he surveyed
his battered comrades. Just as well we have some time off he thought as he
counted bandages and casts. Meeting Nathan's eye he shrugged.
'What is our agenda for today gentlemen?'
'Fixing that drooping porch over the woodshed, mucking
out the horses, stocking up logs for the winter
'Gentlemen, please, you are aware that I do not
partake in menial labour, yeah we know' The others
Chris surveyed his team and smiled. Everything was Ok
with his boys. They were back to normal. Settling his gaze on the sharpshooter
he paused. Something happening there. Blue eyes met Green.
Enjoy the view?
Hmmm. Who'd ya meet?
'Can you get a device that can listen into 'those'
conversations JD? I'd dearly love to know what that was about' Nathan had
caught the exchange.
Banter around the table ceased while everyone looked
at Chris and Vin who returned the looks calmly. Despite the barrage of questions
neither man gave ground and they finally gave up and moved off to do the
Chris's Ranch Late Evening
Everyone had finally gone and he had Vin at his mercy.
He regarded the man he considered his best friend over his whiskey glass.
Vin was sprawled on the couch with a soda.
I should hope so.
Pause. 'Got any new neighbours?'
'Not that I know of, no. The Daniels place has been on
the market though. It's that cabin at the top of the hill, big picture windows
overlook the valley.'
Yeah I know it.
'What's she like?' Oh that good?
She have a name?
Chris sat in silence thinking about his friend. Good
to see Vin interested in someone. He wondered whether his shy friend would
pursue it. Have to wait and see. Switching off the lights, Chris headed upstairs.
Angel's Cabin - Friday 5.30 pm
'Aunt Angel!' Angel caught the tousle-headed boy galloping
towards her and returned his hug.
'Hey short stuff. How's life?' Without answering Billy
tore off toward the corral. 'Hi Mare. Wasn't expecting you today.'
'We're going out to Chris's ranch. You're on the way
and Billy wanted to see HighHo. How's it feel to be second to a horse in
a man's affections?'
'Refreshing. Chris live round here?'
'Just over the hill. We're spending the weekend. Chris
promised to let Billy have a go on one of his horses. He still can't get
over that you won't allow him on Highho but I think he is beginning to understand
that the horse is too strong for him. What are you planning this weekend?'
'Just going to watch the sunrises, maybe the sunsets
too.' This with a secret smile that had Mary's interest piqued immediately.
'You met someone.' Statement not question.
'I think so. I don't want to talk about it yet Mare so
don't push. Come and have some coffee.'
Sunrise Rock Saturday 5.20am
Angel rode to the rock looking around for the handsome
cowboy. Nothing. Sighing and slumping her shoulders when a last look into
the trees revealed no evidence of human habitation she poured her tea and
turned her attention to the horizon.
Vin watched from his perch in the crooked tree. He grinned
when she searched the woods obviously looking for him. And nearly laughed
when she sat so dejected on that old blanket. Slipping down he made his way
silently further down the path to approach again, noisily, seeming to have
She heard him coming and was sitting up straighter and
pretending to be engrossed in the view when he appeared through the undergrowth.
'Good morning Vin. Couldn't stay away huh?'
'Nope. Coffee?' He held his flask out towards her as
he sat down on the blanket.
She wrinkled her nose at the thick dark sludge that lurked
in the bottom of the canister. 'No thanks Vin I'm not really a coffee person.
Tea?' She returned the gesture.
'Only if I'm made to for medicinal reasons. Ya don't
drink coffee?' What kind of woman was this? Everyone drank coffee.
'Only Capucchino, possibly double Latte.'
'Horse pi.. Sorry. I meant yuk. Tha'ss not coffee. I
have a friend who'd agree with ya though. I like it strong and dark.'
'So I see. I think your friend sounds like a man of taste
and refinement.' She smiled at him, taking the sting from the words but her
smile slipped with his come-back.
'Tha'ss the general opinion but who said it was a man?'
Vin looked at her from under his lashes and bounced his eyebrows suggestively.
Angel considered him, chewing her lower lip.
'Don't do that, ya'll destroy the line.' He lifted his
hand and placed his thumb against her lip, rubbing away the pain.
Angel's stomach dropped and she automatically parted
her lips, holding her breath and waiting to see what he did.
His hand fell away and he pointed to the mountain where
the colours were rapidly growing warmer. Gaping at him for a minute, she
gathered herself and gazed at the beauty before them.
God Angel that was witless. Get a grip on yourself,
don't chase him away.
She wasn't used to having to encourage men, rather the
opposite, and she now appreciated that it was harder than it looked. Maybe
he wasn't interested, hell maybe he was gay. She stole a look.
I think not. What to do?
As she sat and pondered she was unaware of Vin doing
the same thing.
Why did you touch her Tanner? Now you're never gonna
get any sleep. He wanted to taste her so badly it hurt and all he could
do was change the subject. He didn't want to scare her off. He was aware
of her covert glance and wondered for a minute if perhaps she'd wanted him
Don't go there, maintain your sanity. For the first time
since he could remember he needed to break a silence.
'So what do ya do? Ya said ya bought a place, do ya work
Angel glanced at him grateful for the conversation if
not for the topic.
'I promised myself when I first saw this rock that I'd
never bring that four letter word here.' At his puzzled look she clarified.
'Work. Not that I don't enjoy what I do it's just, not here, if you get my
Vin could appreciate that and said so. He asked her what
were safe subjects and heard her chuckle.
'Tell me what you see.' She closed her eyes and waited.
Hell that was a leading question.
When he said nothing she opened her eyes and looked at
him again. 'The countryside, Vin, tell me what you know about our temporary
haven.' The green eyes closed again.
He turned and looked out across the valley and the rising
mountainside and managed to find his voice. Angel was amazed by what he knew
about the flora, fauna and geology and astounded by the way he expressed
it. Looks to drool over, the heart of a poet and, well, who knew what was
under that Denim.
The sun was warm and his voice scratchy by the time he
ended his monologue. Angel opened her eyes and smiled at him.
'Beautiful. You are truly eloquent. How about I treat
you to breakfast at my place as a thank you? I will even let you make the
'Sounds great but I'll have to make a call first - I'm
'If it's putting you out
. Wait, you're not married
are you?' Where did that come from? Angel cringed.
He snorted. 'Nah, just m'best friend and he has his
girlfriend over so I'm a kinda third wheel anyways.' He opened his cellphone
and pressed a couple of keys.
. Yeah I'm staying out a while
. Had a better offer (smile)
. Yeah sure later.' He
snapped the small box closed and bent to help her pick up the signs of their
stay. Angel led the way back to where she'd left Highho a few hundred feet
down the trail. Turning a corner she stopped dead.
'No problem. Couldn't move if I wanted to. Always hated
snakes. Adam had the right idea in the garden of
.' The nervous babble
was abruptly cut off by a gunshot and the large rattler that had been getting
aggressive suddenly lost its head. Literally. Vin expected Angel to be shocked
by the snake, more so by the gunshot.
'Where the hell did you get that?' She pointed at the
gun he was slipping back into the waistband of his jeans.
'Always carry it. I live in Purgatory.' Angel hadn't
been in Denver long but understood the reference.
Smiling at the thought that ANYONE could live in Purgatory,
on impulse she threw her arms round his neck and kissed him 'my hero'. Vin
wasn't expecting the embrace but never one to look a gift horse in the mouth,
immediately kissed her back.
A while later she drew back and smiled shyly. Now
she's shy? 'I promised you breakfast. I never break my promises.' They
set off again for the horses.
Chris's Ranch Saturday 10.45pm
'Howdy Pard. Good day?' Chris stood on the porch drinking
beer and watching as his friend emerged from the barn after settling Peso.
Vin grinned at him looking somewhat like the literary Alice's Cheshire cat.
Vin looked shocked and shook his head. 'She's a lady,
Chris, of course not. Hell it wasn't even really a date. Had fun though.'
'Does this girl have no sense, picking up wild, woolly
cowboys she finds straying in the woods?' Chris chuckled at his friend's
'Have ya ever just clicked with someone Chris? Felt like
ya knew 'em even though ya've never met 'em before
?' Catching the disbelief
on Larabee's face he smiled sheepishly.
Not me Chris. Female.
Yeah. I just knew.
You're in trouble, Pard.