Kate the Kid Ch. 06bymadam_noe©
By Popular demand, I wrote a new chapter for "Kate The Kid". Thank you to all my fans, who remind me that writing is for you, the reader.
The next day on the trail Rafe was a mess. A virgin. A virgin! The only other woman he'd ever made love to, and there was no foolin' himself that was what it had been on his end, had been his dear wife Faith.
But his thoughts weren't on sweet, meek Faith, they were on a woman with a fiery temper to match her hair, intense passion present even in her innocence. Which he had taken.
"Things not go so well? She seems to be smiling."
Rafe looked at Jerome and saw his friend wince. "Damn it, I don't like this, being watched. Not knowing what's coming. How the hell does she think she knows what she's doing?"
Jerome's grin was lopsided. "So it was good. And let me guess, this time it was the lady who gave you 'don't expect me to hang around' speech, not you."
Rafe fingered his gun, considering, and Jerome's horse was smarter than his master, sidling away.
Jerome snorted. "Fine, I'll leave you to stew." He rode up to Kate and the horse fell in step, responding more to Kate's presence than his urging. "How much longer?"
"Camp one more night and then we meet up. They won't do it out here."
"Why not? It seems perfect."
She kept facing ahead but her eyes scanned watchfully across the horizon. "They'll need proof, and it's a day and a half ride to the nearest town."
Jerome stiffened, and the horse responded to slow down. He watched her go, and Rafe caught up. "Nice gal, ain't she?" his friend said.
"Logical to a fault. I hope Bella knows what she's doing."
And then he watched Rafe's back advance.
When they stopped for dinner Kate was so glad she wanted to scream in joy. There had been an aching soreness between her legs all day, and riding hard hadn't helped.
She busied herself building a fire and cooking over Rafe's protests, but it was the best way not to have to talk. She had no idea what she'd say; Kate was scared to death.
Rafe had felt so...right. It had been every dark aching fantasy and dream she'd ever had, but so much more real. So much hotter, so much more a part of her soul as well as her body.
The image of him naked in the water looming over her was branded in her brain forever. The feel of his body, his hands, his...tongue made her close her eyes and want to find someplace secluded.
But it had been a mistake. He was after her, of that she had no doubt. She had to deliver Jerome, and then either Rafe would leave or she would. Either way, she'd be safe.
They ate in silence, and the good meat was gone. With three of them eating, two of them big men with strong appetites, the dried meat wouldn't keep.
So when the sun started to set she stood and got her bow and arrow from her pack on Sweet. "I'm going hunting."
Jerome frowned. "But it's so late."
She smiled down at him, but it was Rafe who caught her eyes. "The best things come out to hunt at night."
She turned and left them by the fire, walking far and clear of it. She'd clean a carcass and again draw off predators, leaving them safe.
So freshly bathed her scent was strong, so she headed towards a small creek to stand downwind of it. She'd hunt the animals drinking after their supper.
This far out the hunting was slim, another javelina was the best she could hope for. A buffalo would be a sheer waste, but damn she was tired of javelina meat.
Crouching in the bushes, she began to wait. A short time later an older javelina wandered into view, large and proud, his territory well surveyed.
Shed drew back the arrow slowly, the bow taut, and then the sound of heavy boots scared the beast away.
It was Rafe, and she had half a mind to shoot him instead. Sighing, she put the arrow back in her quiver and stood. "Over here, right next to where breakfast was just standing, but you scared him off."
He came into view looking contrite, and far too handsome. "Sorry. I was worried."
She snorted. "For the last time I can take care of my-"
"The last virgin I was...with was sore all the next day. I thought maybe you were having issues, things you couldn't discuss with Jerome around."
Kate felt herself blush, and knew she was probably scarlet. The thought made her drop her heavy bow and hit her boot. She cursed a blew streak and picked it up.
"Damn it, MacNeil, that ain't your concern."
He drew close enough she smelled limes. "Isn't it?"
She backed up but her feet hit the bush, she got tangled, and fell. He was there and caught her easily, lifting her up so her body slid against his.
Her heart was beating in her throat, rapidly, and her breath held. Those amazing green eyes looked into her deeply and his smile made her toes tingle.
"Let me make you feel better."
She didn't respond, nor did she stop him as his arms moved to unbutton her shirt. His eyes bored into her and she was still blushing breathlessly.
"Why do you do this?" Her shirt was open and he was stroking the binding on her breasts.
"Keeps them in check for riding."
He slipped her shirt off and stood back, turning her to undo the cloth strips. She closed her eyes against the twilight; she could see the campfire and didn't want to think about what she was doing, didn't want to wonder if Jerome knew.
He unwrapped them slowly, barring her hot skin to the cool air. When they were free he stepped behind her, drew her back to his chest, and claimed her breasts with his hands.
She moaned as her caressed them, her head falling to his shoulder. He responded by kissing her ear softly, showing none of the hesitation she was feeling, and desperately fighting.
"What are we doing?" she whispered.
"I'm making up for a mistake I made." He turned her then and kissed her deep. She clutched at his rough denim shirt and let her tongue sink into him, the way his had shown her.
His mouth barely leaving hers he pushed them to their knees and then made her lay down in the makeshift bed of her shirt.
He pulled back, his mouth moving to a breast as his hands worked at her gun belt. "Just relax, I know what I'm doing."
He opened her pants and his fingers proved the words true. She moaned quietly, mindful of their proximity to camp, but lost in the gentle stroke of his fingertips.
Her ache grew deeper, changing to hunger, and his touch was the barest hint of pleasure. She arched, wordless begging for more, and he drew the breast deeper into his mouth. He parted her folds and stroked the nubbin he'd forced alive, and her breath strangled.
He pulled back from it and murmured against her breast, "No rushing, not tonight."
He moved to her other breast and slid one finger inside her. She gasped, and considered forcing him to move faster, but her guns were laid out of reach.
The finger moved in and out slowly, drawing her growing moisture. She felt inflamed, hungry for the climax he'd shown her the night before.
"Please Mac- Rafe," she breathed out.
He stopped and raised his head. "I love when you say my name. Say it again."
He slipped another finger in and she clutched his broad shoulders. "Rafe!"
His slow movements were shortly joined by the pad of his thumb on her most sensitive point. She bit her lip to keep from crying out as he slowly, maddeningly drew her towards the pinnacle of pleasure.
"Faster, please," she panted, squeezing her eyes shut as the pleasure grew.
For long minutes he had built her pleasure slowly, holding back, but at her broken plea, he let loose.
She felt devoured, conquered, and moved her body, undulating against his hand, desperate riding the growing wave.
When the climax claimed her, he moved quickly to cover her lips with his own and swallowed her cry.
She felt like fire roared through her, she felt as if she was flying. For long, sweet moments her body pulsed around his hand, delighting in his ministrations.
She came down, kissing him back, his hand still buried in her. "Th-"
He slid down her, green eyes tilted up to peer through his dark hair, reminding her of her dreams. She gasped when the realization shot through her mind; then his mouth covered her.
She cried out, his hand belatedly clamping over her mouth. His tongue worked miracles, moving in circles around the nubbin, toying with the skin around it, laving her up and down.
She was bucking in sheer pleasure. Her muscles honed from years of hard riding, almost unseated him. He used his other hand to hold her down, her belly muscles fluttering under the hot roughness of his hand.
For long moments she built higher, her body tightening, Rafe working faster and faster, and then she broke. A flood let loose in her mind as she screamed his name, the sound muffled by his hand.
She felt him move when it was over, but she felt weightless, full of joy. When her brain came to he had moved up and was holding her against his body. His muscles felt like steel, he was vibrating.
And Kate understood his need.
"Is there more?" she whispered against his chest.
"I won't take you, unless you want me to."
Never having run from a fight in her life she sat up to face him, though she knew she blushed deeply. "I want to."
He closed his eyes for a moment and she felt a flutter in her heart as if he might reject her.
Then he moved quickly, opening his own pants, and grabbed her, hauling her across his body. She sprawled, unsure of what to do.
"This way, you on top of me. It gives women more pleasure, I guarantee it."
Beneath her his cock was hard. The light was too dim to see it and she wanted to. Without conscious thought she moved her hand down to stroke it, and he gasped. It was velvet on metal, incredibly soft to the touch but so large and hard it made her nervous.
"Kate, I will do my best to hold off, but you need to stop."
She vaguely registered the words but couldn't still her hand. He grabbed it roughly, shoving it away, and raised her until she crouched over his cock.
"Say you want me. Say it, Kate," he added when she bit her lip.
"I want you-oh!" He slammed her down and she had never felt so full. There was still a slight soreness that evening, but the pleasure far outweighed it.
She groaned and then opened her eyes to see his squeezed shut. "I don't know what to do."
He didn't speak but used his hands firmly on her hips to raise her up. She let her weight bring her down and moaned low in the back of her throat, her nipples tightening with the sensation.
After that she moved herself, strong thighs moving her faster and faster. His hands fell to hold her thighs and he moved slightly against her.
Something was missing, her mind thought, and a sound of impatience escaped. His eyes opened, a jeweled green that stole her breath, and he moved a hand until his thumb pressed against the nubbin. The shock it turned her movement more into a grinding motion and then the pinnacle was upon her.
The climax stole her breath and left the others in the dust. She felt as if she was exploding, her body unable to contain itself as her muscles fluttered. She threw her head back and her body stilled.
Rafe raised her with one hand and slammed into her again and again from the bottom. His pleasure was swift, arriving on the heels of hers, and she watched his beautiful face as his essence poured into her.
When it was over the sounds of the night came back to her ears. Her heartbeat still pounded and her body was slick with sweat, Rafe's as well.
She had no idea what to say.
He opened his eyes and smiled before wariness came into his eyes. "Those herbs you mentioned...do you still have them."
Whatever magic she had felt in the moment died.
She tried to dismount but it was awkward, and she fell on her side. "Nothing to fear, MacNeil," she spat out. "I ain't the motherin' kind neither."
She jerked on her clothes as he buttoned his pants.
"Kate, look, I didn't mean-"
"Thanks for the lessons," she spat out. "I'm sure they'll come in handy in the next town."
His whole body tightened but it was the anger in his eyes that made her heart skip a beat.
"Kate," he growled, but then, like her, froze. The sound of rapidly approaching hoof beats put them both on alert.
"Go to Jerome, now, I'm right behind you."
He ran for camp and she belted on her guns and slung her quiver on her back. When the rider appeared she had her gun out, level.
The rider pulled the reins and the horse reared up on hind legs with the force of the stop, almost throwing him.
When he stopped he tipped back the hat and she gasped. "Finnegan!"
"Kate, I have news."
"Let's go to the fire, Jerome and his friend Rafe are waiting."
He leaned down, offering her an arm, and she fluidly mounted behind him. They rode into camp facing Jerome's rifle and MacNeil's guns.
"He's a friend!" Kate called and Jerome shored up, putting the gun nuzzle down to the ground, But MacNeil only lowered his, the hammers still pulled back.
"Finnegan, this is Izzy's man Jerome, and his friend Rafe."
"MacNeil?" Finnegan said with the appropriate touch of awe.
Rafe jerked a nod. Finnegan dismounted and held up hands to Kate. He held her tightly as she came down and she saw Rafe glare at the man, his scowl deepening when Finnegan slung an arm over her shoulders.
"Well gentlemen, I have good news and bad. Good news first. Kate here knows I have family in Boston, asked me to look into who was hiring killers to tail you. They found the gentleman sending wires, and he gave them the name of Benito Vercelli."
"Shit," Rafe cursed and Jerome frowned, his look almost as scary as Rafe's, to Kate's mind.
"Isabella's brother-in-law. The snake."
"What's the bad news then?" Rafe asked.
"That's for Kate. Kate, may I speak to you privately?"
She nodded, despite the frowns of her companions, and she shrugged off Finnegan's arm to take his horse's lead. They walked it to the others by the creek, and when they were out of earshot, she sighed. "So what is it?"
"It's White Cloud. This cable came."
He handed the piece of paper to her and she read it, her heart dropping. "She's in trouble. I have to go to her."
He nodded. "I told Izzy and she sent this." He handed her another cable. Izzy told her to go ahead to Chicago.
"Finnegan, Dan Forth is at the next town waiting for them. Can you make sure they get there?"
"I have a better idea, Kate. If we ride back we can catch the hired guns, and Jerome will be safe. He's got MacNeil and town is only a half day ride from here."
She thought about it, her concern for White Cloud sharp. "All right."
"Kate I'll ride with you. You have done this job for Izzy, now you can get to your sister."
She nodded and knew Jerome would agree, but he wasn't the one she worried about.
They'd been riding for two days and there was no sign of any gunmen. Families traveling, a commercial stage, that was all they passed.
Finnegan, never a man of many words, was quiet, and she wished he would talk. The incident in his room weighed heavily on her mind, and now that she had...her mind trailed off, trying hard not to think of Rafe..
"Two days, and no bodies. Finnegan, I don't get this."
"Rafe and Dan are safe, we got the cable this morning. Perhaps the hired guns got scared off. It's time to stop."
She nodded and the found a creek and let the horses cool down in the hot sun. "I'll hunt us down some meat."
Finnegan nodded and she took her bow and arrows down from Sweet before rubbing his sweat off. Done she set of to walk far from camp, and downwind of the swell in the creek.
Something moved in the bushes and she stopped. Cherokees were near, and so she waved her hands in friendship.
A brave stood then, tall and striking. He walked towards her quickly, but she sensed no danger from him.
"Do you speak English?" She asked and he looked blankly at her. She tried French and he nodded.
"The man you are with is he a friend?" His French was broken, but she understood him well.
"He is one of my oldest and dearest friends. Why?"
The brave scowled. "You came here many days ago. Two men followed your group. This man killed them."
She shook her head. "He came from Denver, far west."
"I do not lie. What this means to you means little to me. I do not know how a white woman knows the signs of the Lakota, but I tell you because I owe your tribe a great debt. Do what you will."
He melded into the thick bushes then, a true man of the land. It made no sense. If Finnegan had found the assassins, why were they looking for them?
She slung the bow over her shoulder and pulled her gun. Damn it, were Finnegan and Dan in cahoots? How could they want to kill Izzy's man?
Now with Finnegan having drawn her off, she smiled to know Dan would have a helluva time with Rafe. She said a silent prayer to the God and gods of her childhood and made her way stealthily back to camp.
Finnegan was gone, but his horse was still by hers and the small copse of trees. She scanned the horizon but there was nothing.
She moved quickly to the horses and flipped open Finnegan's pack. She hoped she was mistaken, but the cable from White Cloud had come from Chicago to San Francisco.
Jerome or White Cloud? Her best friend or her sister? She resolved to shoot Finnegan dead and then decide.
Turning, she found her nose against his barrel.
"Drop the bow, arrows, guns, and the knife in your boot, Kate."
His handsome face was grimly determined. "Do it."
"You won't shoot me," she said, but she wasn't sure.
"Maybe not, but I'll shoot Sweetwater."
At his name her horse nickered and her blood ran cold. She slowly did as he said until she was without weapons. "Tell me this. Was Dan in on it?"
He threw his head back and laughed. "Dan? No."
"Then why are you with me? Why isn't Jerome dead?"
"I'll have plenty of time to explain it. We're going to Chicago."
When the gun lowered she made a fist and drew back for a punch, but he kicked her fast. She landed on her back, the wind knocked out of her, and he knelt beside her.
"Kate, remember who taught you how to fight dirty." And then he brought the butt of his gun down on her skull, and Kate's world went black.
After five days of riding there'd been no incidents. Rafe breathed a sigh of relief as they reached the Rockport.
It was a very nice hotel, right on the bay, the clapboard sides gray with age, the trim freshly painted white.
Dan and Rafe saw to the horses and bid Billy goodbye, paying him extra for a job well done. He tipped his hat and rode off to collect his next fare.
"I'll be cabling Kate in Chicago after we get settled. Want to come with?" Dan asked.
The time alone with him had been good. Rafe slowly grew to trust the man, and he had learned a lot about Kate.
An orphan raised by the Lakota tribe, she had no family, no education, and she'd made her way in the world. If he didn't tread carefully, his heart just might crack the ice that had settled over it when Faith died.
They had two weeks before the wedding, and Rafe hoped she'd make it back to Frisco for it. He planned to buy a new suit, something well tailored, get a good shave, have his hair trimmed up nice, and maybe she'd see something in him.
"Sure," he replied at long last, shaking himself. He was acting like a damn school boy with his first crush.
Hadn't she twice now rejected him? Not the marryin' kind, or the motherin' kind, she'd said, when she really meant she didn't want to marry him, bear his child.
"Ready to meet Izzy?" Dan said, and Rafe nodded.
They found her in the front parlor, a gorgeous woman with dark hair she unconventionally wore loose in ringlets down her back. Her dress and grooming was as frilly as Kate's was relaxed, and he found himself smiling over the picture they must make.