“Next time you want to give me a way out and go off to get yourself killed, thinking that I won’t care, remember this.” He turned his head and crushed his mouth onto hers, pulling her up against him. Losing the battle before it began, Brenna reached her arms around his neck and held on.
Gallagher's Pride Excerpt
Montana Territory–October 1882
Ethan sneaked glances in her direction as he set up his own bedroll and heated some beans to go with the cold chicken Mabel had sent along. He didn’t pay too much attention to what Brenna did until she started pulling one item after another out of her satchel. He saw a small mirror, a silver brush, a silver jar holding who knew what, a washcloth, a brown glass jar with some kind of liquid in it, a bar of soap, and a nightgown.
“What on earth are you planning to do with all of that?” He stood up and walked over to her bedroll until he loomed above, casting a shadow over her.
Brenna didn’t even bother to look up as she proceeded to put everything back into the satchel.
“I just wanted to be sure I had everything. I’m going to the stream for a bath.”
She sounded serious, but he didn’t believe her.
“Is there a problem with that?”
“Aside from the fact that it’s close to freezing up here and you’ll probably end up half frozen from the water, or the fact that there’s a variety of critters crawling, slithering, and walking around out there, and not to mention that you’d have to strip down to nothing in order to bathe properly and put on that frilly white thing, so yes I’d say there’s a problem with that.” He hadn’t quite yelled, but something close to it crept into his voice.
Brenna, however, remained undaunted. She tilted her head slightly to the right and smiled, knowing full well she was about to irritate him further, though she had no idea why she wanted to. “Well, I used to swim in the rivers and lochs in Scotland, and I assure you that the frigid temperatures of those make your little streams feel like you’re swimming in a tropical current. Though I don’t like crawling, slithering, and walking things I can’t see any more than the next person, I’m not about to let them scare me away from my bath, and I had absolutely no intention of stripping down to nothing as some of my garments are also in need of washing. As for my nightgown, I have no intention of sleeping in trail-worn clothes only to wake up smelling rank.”
With a bright half smirk and a nod of her head, Brenna walked away from the camp down to the stream hidden by some wild blackberry bushes.
He’d never seen anyone jump back from upset so quickly.
Ethan didn’t know if he wanted to go after her and drag her back to camp for a good lashing or go down to the stream and join her. Since neither would bring about gentlemanly results, he opted for a small smile as he watched her leave. This woman showed him so many different sides of her in three days that he found himself wondering which one could be the real Brenna Cameron.
He was surprised at his own envy of her. She found something good, something to hope for, even after the encounter with her grandfather. After all that she learned, she found reason to not give up.
End of Excerpt
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