White Wind

White Wind Read Online Free PDF Page A

Book: White Wind Read Online Free PDF
Author: Susan Edwards
snake ready to strike before he’d pinned it to the earth with a single arrow. He remembered the child’s complete trust in him as he’d helped her to her home.
    Bright blue eyes whirled against a golden hazy background as sleep claimed him.

Chapter Three
    Willy clenched his fist against the pain. His gut burned, not only from the raw liquor, but with rage toward those who had destroyed his most treasured memory. He burned with the need for revenge. It ate at him from the inside out.
    He leaned his head against the tree and closed his eyes against pain and unwelcome memories. All the injustices he’d suffered, every bit of bad luck that’d come his way, he blamed on his cousin John.
    All his life, John had been the favorite of the two orphaned cousins, had always managed to be first and always got the best. All he ever got was second best. Everyone chose John over him, including Emily.
    It was John who’d found Emily alone, hysterical, in a wooded area near the cabin. The old man had welcomed her into the family as she had none of her own. Willy thought back and recalled the small gifts he’d given her, boasting that he would marry her someday.
    He remembered when he and their French grandfather had taken a load of furs to one of the trading posts along the Missouri River, John remaining behind with Emily.
    When they’d returned, John and Emily were gone. Nine months later, they’d returned from Lac Supérieur with three-month-old Sarah and a marriage certificate.
    Angry and hurt that John had once again beaten him to the prize, he’d fled. Later Willy discovered that the old man had known all along of their plans, had even helped John and Emily make their escape.
    And now John was dead, and he, Willy, was Sarah’s guardian. At first, he’d wanted Sarah because she reminded him of Emily. But now, the girl was an unpleasant reminder of her mother’s betrayal. Willy had not known the truth until John’s dying confession: he’d married Emily to protect her reputation.
    For months Willy hid his hatred of her, his hatred of what she was. Besides, he was greedy. He not only wanted the money that would go to Sarah’s husband, but also his share of the money he and Ben had made trapping furs for the American Fur Company.
    But he was Sarah’s guardian in name only. Ben protected her fiercely, Mary guarded her and Sarah gave him no respect. They treated him like he was dirt beneath their feet, even refusing to let him share her cabin until they could add room for all of them.
    That really infuriated him. He was no animal to be stabled. After John died he’d thought the cabin would become his. But no. It was hers. It wouldn’t be proper for him to stay with her alone, those nosy folks kept telling him.
    “Hell,” he cursed beneath his breath. Since when had he ever given thought to what was proper!
    “Damn!” he muttered, shaking his head back and forth wearily. He’d figured the girl would be easy to manipulate.
    Raucous laughter drew his attention to the dying campfire. “Tenderfoots! Fools! Think to make it rich,” he sneered under his breath, watching the three men unrolling their bedrolls. He’d run into the brothers a week ago, and been persuaded to ride with them. They were eager for his experience, especially Tom, the youngest, who hung on to his every word.
    Willy listened with half an ear as they griped among themselves.
    “Hey, Willy. Where’s them women you tol’ us about? Sure could use one to warm me bed!” Jack yelled out, his brothers chuckling and joining in.
    “Yeah, where’s them virgins you was braggin’ ’bout?”
    Willy pulled his knife from his boot. It glittered in the firelight as he stroked it. Silence descended. “I tol’ you, keep yer voices down, you fools. Sound carries. Ya wants to get us all killed?”
    His body stirred, reminding him of how long it’d been since he’d had a woman. Just remembering the fear on Sarah’s face was enough to make him hard.
    A thin line
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