Luke's Eyes (Eyes of Silver Revisited #2)

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Story Summary:

Luke Bennett came to Denver to buy purebred Hereford bulls for the family ranch. He expects to spend the few days before the cattle auction deciding how much to bid and on what. His evenings are reserved for a few drinks in congenial company in the bar at his hotel.

Luke’s plans go awry when he meets the intriguing Miss Theadora Pierce. Teddy claims to own the best bull in the sale, so does her uncle, who claims Teddy stole Merlin.

Excerpt:

Sheepskin and a man with a scarf tied over his hat came from one direction, the Wrestler and another with a full beard halfway down his chest from the other. All four men carried stout sticks. Grinning in anticipation, Beard bounced his club rhythmically off his gloved hand.

Luke pushed Teddy back against the pen. “Stay here. Better yet, as soon as you can, climb over and stay on the other side of the fence.”

* * *

Luke stalked slowly toward the Wrestler and the Beard.

“Not in any hurry to get some of this, hey?” Beard swung his stick through the air viciously.

As Pete came over the fence behind the two, Luke broke into a run, catching Beard off balance. Ignoring the Wrestler, Luke took an ugly whack across the shoulders in order to help Pete get Beard’s club away.

Teddy did as Luke had suggested and climbed over the fence behind her into the pen. From there she watched Luke duck the Wrestler’s next swing.

Flapping her coat, she shooed and shoved among the Angus calves in the pen until she spotted the club Cord had thrown there. Tossing it over the fence rails, she followed it over.

Luke and the Wrestler circled each other warily. Luke ducked another swipe, then caught the end of the stick on the next. He could never win a tug of war with a muscle-bound thug like the Wrestler. Teddy ran.

Intent on their struggle, neither Luke nor the Wrestler tore their eyes from the other as Teddy darted in and brought her stick down on the Wrestler’s forearm with all her strength. He let go and fell back, as a hard arm circled Teddy, pinning her arms to her sides and dragging her away.

Teddy kicked and struggled against the iron band around her as the grunts of effort, thuds of leather-gloved fists on flesh, curses, and howls of pain gradually stopped. Cord let Teddy go as silently as he had held her. The only sounds now were moans. Pete had a gun pointed at Wrestler and Beard.

From the look on Luke’s face as he approached, Teddy expected fury. He was still breathing fast and deep, his eyes dark with emotion. She braced herself. His hands landed on her shoulders hard, and he kissed her just as hard. She tasted blood and didn’t care, kissed him back. No one watching would doubt they’d done this before, and she didn’t care about that either.

“You’re better than a cattle dog,” he said when he finally raised his head.

“I should hope so, and you tell your half-uncle he better keep his hands off me.”

* * *

Not only was there blood around his mouth, he had a cut over one eye, and the side of his face that had been uninjured this morning was scraped. The eye that had been swollen to a slit last night was almost all the way open now. Her shiner made her look like something children would run from. He looked good enough to kiss some more.

“So Miss Owns the Cows, Makes the Decisions, what do you want to do?”

Teddy considered the men on the ground. “Let them go. These two can help the others up and get them to a doctor.” She told the Wrestler where the doctor who had set Ben’s arm had his office.

“Are you sure you don’t want to go along and hold their hands?” Luke muttered.

“No, I need to get over to Merlin and the girls. The hay wagon is almost there.”

“If you bring out that blasted currycomb, I’m going to leave you there alone.”

Teddy smiled and started down the row in the opposite direction from the one her uncle’s men had taken. Luke fell in beside her.

“Did you ever consider simply telling me about your half-uncle?” she said.

“I wouldn’t know how to tell you about Cord, and if I could figure a way, you wouldn’t believe me.”

She had to give him that. * * *  “You’re still angry.”

“How can I be angry at a woman who charges into a fight and rescues me?”

“I didn’t rescue you. I just helped a little, and you’re the one helping me instead of doing what you came for.”

“Helping you is more fun.”

Fun.

Teddy watched bemused as Luke turned and walked backwards. He held one hand over her head, and yelled at Pete, who was walking beside Cord a little ways back. “Hey, Pete. I found one!”

Pete laughed. “You sure did, and you’re the last to figure it out.”

“At least Cord can hold a woman back out of trouble better than Uncle Eph. She says don’t ever do that again, Cord.”

Cord pulled his hat lower over his eyes. “Make sure I don’t need to.”

Luke turned back around, and Teddy said, “What do you mean you found one?”

“It’s a family joke. I’ll tell you sometime.”

Teddy said nothing, but regret twisted through her. Sometime had better be soon or it wouldn’t happen. One more day before the sale and Luke Bennett, his charming smile, male pride, bloody kisses, and strange family would be only memories. She had looked forward to starting a new life somewhere with Ben. Now she wished she could suspend time.

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