Kate the Kid Ch. 10-11

bymadam_noe©

A frown formed between her brows. "Rafe, I-"

"Kate, I know you're used to being alone, but you don't have to be alone anymore. Trust me not to weigh you down. I'll do anything to be with you. I- what's wrong?"

Tears had gathered at the corner of her eyes. "Rafe, I'm not with child. I thought I was, but I'm not."

He sank down to his back, a paul around his heart. "Kate, are you lying?"

She shook her head. He felt it, more than saw it. "It doesn't matter."

Beside him Kate froze. "But why get ta marryin' if there's no child?"

He turned to her and took a deep breath. He hadn't told anyone he loved them since Faith, and the words felt rusty on his tongue.

She turned her back on him before his nerves could calm. "See? No reason. Rafe, you need to leave. I tracked Izzy and her brother in law to a ship, the Palmatorre. It left yesterday, but another ship, the Adovanti leaves in the morning. I'm booking passage, and I knew Jerome will want to be on it. Whether or not you're on it doesn't matter. We can't keep doing this."

His heart winced. She didn't love him. She wasn't carrying his child. She'd been using him for a good time.

He began to understand what some of the women who'd briefly stayed in his life must have felt, and Rafe felt lower than a slug.

He felt her leave the bed, heard her begin to dress, and then sounds of packing began. He was too heartsick to move for long minutes, and then a plan began to formulate.

He was Rafe MacNeil, the toughest bounty hunter in all of Texas. His name was known far and wide, even in territories he'd never set foot in. He'd never run from a fight.

The Kid might be a legend in her own right, but this was no gun fight in the street. This was a battle that mattered, and damn it, he'd win.

He turned to see her at the door, in pants once more, laughably posing as a man. She clapped her hat on and gave him the nod of one ranch hand to another, a move designed to distance them even more.

But those amazing violet eyes of her told another tale.

Rafe MacNeil would make her his, he'd bet every last cent of Jerome and Isabella on that. The only one left to convince, was Kate herself.

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