Cowboys – need I say more? There is nothing like a good western on a Sunday afternoon. Dance on the Wind is on sale for .99 until August 14th. Hope you will enjoy the beginning of The Misfit series. Here is a little peek at the book.
Thunder had little choice but to sleep in his clothes since his gear hadn’t been sent over. Ward had promised to bring a few of his things over today.
Of course, Thunder would prefer a bedroll under a starlit sky, but white men seemed to like soft beds. He hated to admit it, but he had slept well last night, soft bed or not.
He rubbed his jaw, then stretched. He was surprised he hadn’t awakened in a bad mood today. His disposition was far from being sour. He attributed everything to the fact that he had been so tired. There wasn’t much of a possibility he liked it here, especially when he was being forced to do something against his will.
One thing he knew for sure: he was hungry. Deciding it was time for breakfast and hoping the meal was ready, Thunder pulled on his black cavalry boots. He could use some good food this morning.
He stepped out into the courtyard ready to inhale the fresh morning air, but something tainted it.
Smoke! He smelled smoke.
Gray clouds of smoke filtered out of the small cookhouse. Wasting little time, Thunder ran to the kitchen door just in time to hear Brandy swearing from somewhere in the midst of the grayish-white haze.
“I take it you don’t have much experience with cooking,” Thunder said from the doorway.
Brandy jumped with surprise. “You scared me!” She squealed and, in the process, inhaled more smoke, producing another bout of coughing. “I—I seem to be having a few problems. Don’t just stand there,” she blustered between spasms. “Help me!”
In two long strides, Thunder stood beside her. He took the pan from her hand and tossed it into the sink.
He jerked open the window and began to fan the fumes outside. As the haze cleared, he looked down at the griddle to find a small piece of something black Evidently, that had been breakfast.
Thunder looked up. The first thing he noticed was she’d forgotten to put her hair up, and wisps of it clung to her damp face. She had a smudge of flour across her cheek, and her eyes were red. She looked like she’d been in a battle this morning, and she definitely hadn’t been the victor.
“I guess I burned it.” She sighed and added quietly, “Again.”
“You could say that,” Thunder agreed. “Surely, you have a talent for something.”
“I’m beginning to wonder,” Brandy said doubtfully. “I can’t seem to do anything correctly.”
“What will you do when you have to cook for your husband?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know. Perhaps he will know how to cook” She took the ends of her apron and wiped her face. “I’ll worry about that problem when the time comes.”
Thunder finally chuckled. “You live dangerous, lady. Hell, he’ll probably pay me to bring you back here.”
“That’s not funny!” Brandy snapped and straightened her stance to show her irritation.
He moved toward the stove. “As a peace offering, I’ll cook breakfast. You can do something safer—like set the plates on the table. You have done that before, haven’t you?”
Brandy ignored his sarcasm and watched as he made breakfast look like something a child could do.
In no time, the bacon had fried crisp, and the hotcakes were a golden brown. “You can cook?”
“Among other things. I can even eat with a knife and fork,” Thunder added dryly. “My grandparents taught me many things, some of which were civilized manners.”
Brandy didn’t understand his statement about his grandparents. And she wondered why his mood had changed so quickly. He seemed insulted. She wanted to inform him that she hadn’t meant to offend him at all, but before she could, Scott, Ellen, and Amy entered the kitchen.
“Something sure smells good.” Scott sniffed the air. “Brandy must not be cooking.”
Thunder laughed. “I see you have eaten her cooking before.”
“Sure have.” Scott put his hands around his throat, pretending he was choking.
“I’m sure there are other women in this country who can’t cook besides me. And I don’t see your ribs showing,” Brandy protested primly.
“That’s because Ellen and Mary saved us.” Scott giggled. “How come it’s smoky in here?”
“It’s a long story.” Brandy wasn’t about to tell the children what had happened. They already thought her useless as it was.
Thunder figured young Scott was apparently the lively one. It showed in his eyes. “Have a seat, young man, and we will see if I can fill you up.”
“Who are you?” Scott must have finally noticed Thunder for the first time.
Evidently Mary hadn’t told the rest of the children about their new guest last night, Brandy thought.
“This is our guide, Thunder.” Brandy nodded toward him. “He’ll help us on the trip to Wyoming.”
Ellen set Amy on a high stool, then took her seat beside Scott. She watched Thunder suspiciously. However, she remained quiet.
Brandy placed the food on the table, then introduced the children. “This is Scott, Ellen, and Amy, and I believe you have met the other two, Mary and Billy. They’ll be here shortly.”
“It is good to meet you.” Thunder set a small stack of hotcakes in front of Amy. “Are you hungry?”
Amy nodded her head as her chubby little hand reached for the fork. “Silver eyes,” she said, looking up at Thunder.
“Yes, they are silver, little one.”
The door banged open, announcing Mary’s entrance. Her gaze darted to the table. “Good. I don’t have to cook.” She sauntered over and poured a cup of hot coffee, then took her place at the table.
“Would you like some hotcakes?” Brandy asked.
“Not if you cooked them” Mary answered sullenly.
“My, you have such a pleasant disposition,” Brandy said as she sat down at the table with her own plate. “I don’t know how I could make it through the morning without seeing your smiling face.”
“These flapjacks are good.” Scott stuffed a huge bite in his mouth, then looked at Thunder and smiled. “He’s our guide.” Scott pointed his fork at Thunder, but didn’t wait for her comment as his mind moved back to the food. “You don’t know what you’re missing, Mary.”
Mary frowned, then sipped her coffee. “I’ll take my chances.”
Thunder watched the sulking young lady but remained silent. The girl definitely needed her manners improved, he thought.
“Good morning,” Billy said, yawning as he came through the doorway. “Thunder! What are you doing here?”
“I am your guide, kid. Hadn’t you heard?”
“You mean Brandy talked you into helping us?” Billy’s surprise showed on his face.
“Brandy and the marshal.”
“It was either agree or hang … I had a choice.”
“Great! A prisoner. Just what we need,” Mary muttered.
Billy chuckled as he sat down, reaching for a jar of honey. “Some choice.”
“Yeah. That’s what I thought,” Thunder answered sarcastically. Then he, too, joined them at the table.
“You don’t like us, Mr. Thunder?” Scott asked. He seemed disappointed.
“You can call me Thunder. And to be honest, Scott, I don’t know your family, so I will save my judgment until later.”