Kate the Kid Ch. 02bymadam_noe©
"Well you best get on, handsome as he is he's scowling something fierce. And you know how Janine likes those brooding types. She'll steal him away if she's a mind to."
"She's welcome to him." Kate brushed out her hair and fixed it under the bandana. She removed her embroidered shirt and pulled out her blue linen.
Suzy frowned. "Why do you bind your breasts like that? Golly, if I had such a large pair I'd make twice what I do each night."
Kate snorted. "They bounce when I ride and hamper my timing when I have to be quick on the draw. I need them restrained but a corset just ain't the thing."
"Well, I packed something in your saddle bag for you. It's called a peg-nor."
The French of her childhood came back to her and she laughed. "Peignoir, dear. Thanks, but it'll never get used."
"It should, Kid. Just remember let those breasts free first. I packed a garter too, he'll love it."
"He'll never see it."
"Sure thing, Kid." Suzy giggled.
Clamping her hat on her head Kate gritted her teeth. "Thank you, Suzy." She knew there was no point in arguing with the strong-headed woman.
"Kid!" She heard the bellow and opened her watch as Suzy opened the door. It was only a quarter to eight, what the devil was Rafe doing stalking her out?
"Coming!" She yelled down. She found him standing feet spread and arms crossed, surrounded by a group of tittering prostitutes. They were well dressed and beautiful in their own right and for some reason, that annoyed her. She felt, for the first time in her life, dowdy.
She placed the heel of her hand on her Remington for comfort. It was bitter and long in coming.
Rafe paid no attention to the women beside him he frowned at her. In the light of morning he was freshly shaved, his hair was wet and slicked back. His clothes were clean but closely molded to his body. Kate understood those other women and their desires very well, now. A torrent of imagery filtered through her mind, tales from Suzy that made her face feel all too warm.
"What's the hurry MacNeil? I was almost up anyways and ready for breakfast."
He gritted his teeth as she came down the stairs. He got a good look at her guns now, large caliber .45's. His own .45 rode low on his hip, a man's gun. Not a gun for this slip of a girl. And she'd spent the night in a whorehouse. Had she been meeting a lover? Maybe she wasn't particular, maybe it was just a way to make money.
God, what did Isabella see in her?
"We'd best get a move on it." He jerked his head towards the door. He wanted to get away from the strutting women surrounding him, even the madam was primping. He'd spent his share of time seeking comfort in such houses but at the moment he felt stifled.
He tore away from them and opened the door, holding it as she stalked past him into the morning light. Today she didn't look like a woman, she looked like a Kid. Until they saw that beautiful face directly, he knew everyone would think her some peachy-cheeked youth of sixteen. Who'd spent an entire night whoring. Even he couldn't claim that.
She stalked away towards the Raven without waiting for him, saddlebag slung over her shoulder. He raced to catch up.
"What is it about me that makes you so scared that you'd rather spend a night whoring than share a room?"
That stopped her in her tracks. Her jaw froze like ice in a grimace.
"Are you wanted, Kid?"
She whirled around to face him. "You know nothing about me, MacNeil. And do the math! I run in the territories, I go by an anonymous name, and I carry two six shooters. Like almost everybody else I'm sure I'm wanted somewhere! But I'm small potatoes, nothing a bounty hunter like you would be interested in."
He grabbed her before she could turn back, her body close enough to his that she stiffened against his heat. "You didn't answer my question. What is it about me?"
"I just don't like you, MacNeil." Now that was a lie, and it almost stuck coming out.
His smirk told her he knew it. Time froze as their faces stood mere inches from one another. His shoulder pressed her saddlebag into hers and she could smell his aftershave. It smelled like lemons or limes, she couldn't tell beyond a tasty tang. His bright green eyes were too distracting.
"You're lying, Kid. What's your real name anyways?"
She licked her lips. His eyes followed her quick little tongue and Rafe felt it all the way to his toes.
"I don't have one."
Two lies in less than a minute. He shoved her away roughly. "Get to breakfast."
Her blue eyes glowed like icy fire and he smiled. It was obvious she was fighting the urge to spit at him. Without another word she turned and strode slowly away.
She intrigued him. A beautiful woman with no name, full of fire and legendary exploits. He'd never met anyone like her. But she was a liar and a deceiver, and most probably a loose woman. She'd be a fun toss in bed, of that he had no doubt, but she should be less than that to him. So why was Rafe so curious? She couldn't be the Kid MacMasters sought, so she was just Isabella's friend, ergo Jerome's.
So why did Rafe find himself saying to her back, "I'll find out your secrets someday, Kid"?