He slowly saunters to a chair and sits with legs spread, his gun within easy reach. I’d like to see his silvery gray eyes, but the brim of his Stetson hides them. I’ve heard they’re quite startling. Some have called them quicksilver. There’s an air of danger about him that I find very attractive. I’ve always been drawn to bad boys.
My heart is racing like a herd of wild horses.
“Tait, I hope you don’t mind us meeting here at my home.”
“Probably safer here, ma’am.”
If he only knew. Tingles dance up my spine as I pick up my notebook and assume a professional pose. “I have to commend you for taking in your sister’s small kids. I heard they’re a handful.”
“Yes, ma’am. Let me tell you, trying to corral my twin nephews is like roping the wind. They’re always up to something. Not like their sweet four-year-old sister. But they’re good kids and I have help now since Melanie came.”
He removes his hat and I suck in a breath at his beautiful eyes and his sun-streaked brown hair is the stuff of romance. I’ve never seen a more handsome man. I struggle to get my thoughts back on track. “I’ll bet it was a shock having the kids just appear from the blue.”
“Yep, sure was. A man with a high price on his head and the law chasing him has no business with children. But they had no place else to go and I couldn’t turn them away. We’ve had our challenges for sure but we’re making it fine now.”
“That’s good.” I change the subject. “I’ve heard folks say that you’ve planted a quite a few men on Boot Hill.”
He shifts and his eyes harden. I wish I could take my words back. “Forget I said that, Tait.”
His voice comes low and a bit raspy. “I never shot anyone who wasn’t trying to kill me first and that’s all I’m saying.”
“Got it.” I swallow and take a sip of water. “How is wedded bliss? Melanie seems well-suited to an outlaw’s life.”
Tait leaned back and gave me a heart-stopping smile, his eyes softening. “That woman is my whole world. I never thought I’d love anyone like I do her. She’s not only a real beauty, she’s smart and kind to boot. The kids love her to death. She’s changed me, whittled off a lot of my rough edges.”
I wondered if the rumors were true about their rocky start and asked him.
“Yes, ma’am. We had us quite a few problems at first. We surely did. But we got past those. I reckon we weren’t much different from other couples just getting acquainted. Marriage is about learning each other’s likes, accepting faults and forgiving mistakes.” Tait laughs. “I had a whole lot more to work on than she did. Took a while to get rid of those demons.”
“I’m sure. Some never do. I was pleased that your friends Jack and Clay are in this story. How are they?”
“Married life agrees with both. Clay’s mail order bride idea was pretty brilliant. The town is growing by leaps and bounds.”
“You mention Hope’s Crossing. I’d love to live there and many of my readers have voiced the same wish.”
“The outlaw town has become respectable. It’s a great place to live and raise kids. Everyone has a past so no one is more important than another. We respect each other and band together to ride out the bad times and rejoice in the good. We just all get along and work for the common good. You can’t say that about too many places.”
“For sure. Tait, I’ve heard that you’re pretty philosophical.” That seemed a rather odd thing to find in a wanted man. I lean forward so as not to miss a word.
Tait places his hat back on and straightens. “Life is what you make it. Gripe and complain all you want but it’s a pure waste of time. Best to put your energy to fixing what you can. Never give up on yourself. Or your partner.”
I hear pounding hoofbeats. He pulls his Colt before I can blink, strides to the window, and moves the curtain to peer out. “A posse. Can you hide me until they ride on?”
“Absolutely.” Not believing my good luck, I wink and open the door to my bedroom. “You’ll be safe here while I throw them off your scent. Get under the covers and I’ll be back to help you undress…uh, make you comfy.” This was going to be a memory I’ll never forget. I just hope Melanie doesn’t find out. That woman doesn’t like to share.