Gutting the intruder proved more difficult than Stone Heart expected. Weary as if he swam in thick mud, he could barely fight his own imminent collapse and hang on to the hissing wildcat encased in the enormous buffalo coat.
“Let me go, heathen.”
No wonder she didn’t understand him, he’d spoken in his native tongue and she was definitely white. What was a white woman doing out here?
The question scarcely registered before strong fingers clawed at his arm. Both legs swung free so he supported her full weight. She wiggled and kicked madly.
He could do nothing but release her in order to remain on his feet. Head reeling, he crouched as if to attack, knife circling about in front of him.
In the gloom, his prey emerged from the shaggy buffalo coat. Terrified green eyes reflected the stingy sun’s rays; masses of red hair draped over pale shoulders and back. Full breasts swelled from a torn, fancy dress. His mind, slowed by the cold and exhaustion, at last grasped the situation fully. This was no bear nor man, no threat of any kind, as he had first thought, but simply a small, ill-dressed, creamy-skinned woman. By the look of her clothes, a white man’s fancy woman.
How in thunder did she get out here?
He knew all about such women who sold their bodies to men for whom they cared nothing. This one had plenty of body to sell, but with his vision fading he had little strength to admire it. Her mouth worked and she rubbed at her throat. He must be losing his hearing as well.
Finding her voice she screeched long and loud, soon clearing up that misconception. One arm thrust forward to ward him off, she stumbled backward, thunked into the dirt wall. Debris rained from the sod ceiling, dust motes floated in bars of thin winter light, clogged his nose and burned his eyes. Unable to move or make a sound, he widened his stance in an effort to remain on his feet. Smothering the wail, she hunched in the corner, facing him like a cornered rabbit, breathing heavily, making no other sound.
Cold air through the gaping door invaded the small, warm space and he quickly closed it, then turned back to the problem at hand. The white soul in him did not want to kill this poor terrified creature who had nothing to do with the slaughter of the Beautiful People. But he could not tell her so without breaking his vow to never let the words of his hated father’s people cross his lips again. It didn’t matter, though. From the look of her she wouldn’t believe him, no matter what language he spoke. Overcome by pain and dizziness, his knees buckled under him and he fell to a sitting position.
For a terrified moment Aiden stared at the savage who had fallen on his butt when she fully expected him to scalp her. Warmth washed over her. He’d built a fire and she should be grateful, but was too frightened.
From his position on the floor, he circled the knife in a gesture that was plain. If he could rise from there he would cut her open.
Warily, she slid her gaze from him to the flames and back again, inched toward the coat, eyes aimed into his, pointing with a finger that trembled. “Don’t touch me. Stay right where you are.”
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish