Texas Trio Pt. 02 – Becky’s Debt Ch. 19-20

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REMINDER: I write long stories. Many chapters don’t have naughty bits, but those that do will be way more fun if you read the others, too! Also, although TT2 is a stand-alone novel, it takes place in the same family as Texas Trio, so you might want to read that one first! –Stefanie

NOTE: This chapter DOES have the naughty bits. 🙂

–:–:–:–:–:–:– Chapter 19 –:–:–:–:–:–:–

“Tenderfoot!”

Clancy’s shout scratched its way into his head, and Brody grimaced, wiping the sweat off his face with a rolled-up sleeve.

The scrawny little sod wouldn’t live for another five minutes, if it were up to Brody.

“Bradbury!”

He threw the shovel at a hay bale and stalked from the stable into the barnyard, snapping, “What?”

Clancy’s head snapped around and his eyes narrowed.

“–can I do for you?” Brody ad-libbed.

Clancy sneered, pointing with the new ebony cane Mrs. Connor had given him. She’d had it shipped in from Galveston, where is was made especially for him by the very same jeweler who had made General Sam Houston’s walking cane. Brody had already heard it a million times, not counting today.

“After you’re done muckin’ out the stable, that trough in the paddock needs fillin’.” Clancy jabbed the cane at the long box backed up against the barn.

Brody nodded sharply, turning to the stable with renewed energy. It’d be nice to be in the shady grove by the creek for even a few minutes, instead of the scorching, stifling stable. He’d hook up the little pony cart and take his time coming back–

“Tenderfoot!”

Brody stopped in his tracks, his teeth clenching. That bastard had waited until Brody got all the way to the stable on purpose. Every time he called him out to give him another gleeful order, it had been that way. All day. Brody spun and walked back to Clancy. One punch, that’s all he’d need, Brody thought, glaring down at the older man. He wasn’t half-dead now, like he’d been the night he arrived. With one punch he’d knock Clancy clear into next week.

“Yes?” he asked calmly.

“Miguel has the cart out collectin’ lil-bitty rocks for Miz Connor’s garden. You ain’t got a problem carrying buckets on a shoulder pole, do ya?”

“No.”

“Good. I’ll be back after lunch. Miz Connor’s got some of that lemon pie everybody likes so much.” He grinned as he turned away.

Brody watched as Clancy hobbled off, surprised he wasn’t actually rubbing his stomach at the end there.

“Son of a bitch,” he muttered under his breath as he stomped toward the stable. “Bradbury, Brady, tenderfoot, boy . . . .”

He snatched the shovel out of the hay, the rant continuing in his head. Kendall had to be the biggest bastard in Texas to give Clancy control of Brody for the day. It was a hundred degrees in the shade without a breath of a breeze, and Clancy had him doing the nastiest jobs he could think of with the least appropriate tools he could find.

Brody finished shoveling shit and grabbed a forkful of fresh hay to scatter around the big birthing stall. As soon as he got in there, a tinkle of metal caught his attention, followed promptly by another tiny sound, and then one quiet footfall. That footfall sounded suspiciously like someone trying to be quiet.

He leaned the pitchfork gently against the side of the stall and walked slowly into the main area of the stable. It was empty. He approached the tack room quietly, being careful where he set his feet. He needn’t have been concerned about the amount of noise he was making, he discovered: Becky was shuffling her feet and couldn’t hear him. She backed out of the last stall on his right carrying a heavy saddle and slammed ass-first into Brody’s hip. Then she caught her heel on something, dropped the saddle as she struggled for balance, and toppled.

Brody caught her.

“I’m so sorr–” she was saying as she turned.

When she saw it was him, she stopped speaking and pressed her lips together.

Brody hadn’t seen her since the night they’d walked down to the creek, and that was eight days ago. Supposedly Becky hadn’t been feeling well, and Nanny had been making excuses for her whenever Brody stopped by to visit.

She didn’t look as though she felt under the weather, Brody thought. He let his eyes roam her face and drop down to trace the shapely lines of her legs, clearly visible to him because she was wearing trousers again.

“Miss Connor,” Brody greeted her, not smiling.

Becky put her hands on her hips, fully prepared for a fight. “Mr. Easton.”

“Going for a ride this fine, sunny day, Miss Connor?”

“Why, yes I am, so–” She spun away from him.

“–if you’ll–”

Brody gripped her upper arm, preventing her from bending to retrieve the saddle. “Who’s going with you?”

Her chin jutted out as she set her teeth, not answering.

Brody spun her all the way back to face him and stepped forward, towering over her. “Haven’t you learned your lesson? You could’ve died in that quicksand.”

“I’m escort ataşehir sure it’s none of your concern, Mr. Easton,” she said coldly.

That was about the worst thing Becky could have said to him at that moment.

Brody was tired. He’d taken everything that happened to him over the past couple of months with equanimity, he thought. He’d absorbed the infuriating arrogance of her mountainous brothers, Clancy’s constant insults, and the hardships of living in a log cabin with twenty uncouth cowboys with nary a complaint.

He didn’t even mind the annoying conversational jabs she’d been taking at him lately, because he could see what she couldn’t, and he was willing to wait. Even the beating he’d taken from the railroad deputies didn’t look so bad in retrospect, since going through that was what brought him here, to her. But for Becky to act like they were strangers, completely refusing to acknowledge his feelings for her, well that was just too much. He was hot, hungry, and too damn tired to cope with her childish pretense.

Brody took two steps forward and Becky took four fast steps backing away from him until she ran out of floor space.

Brody put his hand on the wall near her shoulder. With the tack room jutting out into the stable on her other side, she was cornered.

He was a foot away when he leaned down, glaring into her golden eyes. “It’s not my concern?”

It wasn’t loud enough to be called a holler, but the volume and tone of Brody’s voice conveyed his emotions just as easily as a full-blown bellow.

Becky’s anger evaporated into the shadowy, still air. She’d never seen Brody angry.

A muscle twitched in his jaw.

Her lips parted slightly as her breath quickened. She’d never seen him anything but calm and courteous.

“It damn well is my concern!”

Her eyes widened. Even Clancy’s taunts and Colt’s ill-humor had rated only the occasional grim expression from Brody, never anything like this.

Becky’s lack of verbal response goaded him as much as her snitty comment, and the steel band Brody kept wrapped around his temper snapped. He closed the tiny space between them and kissed her, hard.

Becky shoved at his chest, trying to turn her head away. The wall limited her movements, but Becky’s thrashing penetrated his fury, and Brody gentled the kiss. Leaning back just enough to give her breathing room, he wrapped his arms around her shoulders, effectively quelling her struggle.

She tried for at least another two or three seconds to free herself, while his mouth whittled away at her rebellion. When Becky’s slight form melted against him, Brody thought his heart might burst from his chest.

He pinched her full lower lip between his own, angling his head for a deeper taste of her sweetness, and Becky’s lips parted softly at the first touch of his tongue.

It was her first real kiss.

In the barnyard he’d been circumspect, but now Brody kissed her with all the passion he’d been holding in check. When his tongue dipped between her lips, Becky responded without thought, and shuddered at the difference it made. She knew it happened, of course, but until then she hadn’t understood the intimacy of that small penetration. The kiss was all-encompassing, everything else wiped out by the tender friction of lips and tongues, tasting, rubbing, touching.

Swept away for a few long moments by the flood of intriguing sensations, Becky at last pulled away to catch her breath, suddenly remembering that she was furious with Brody’s high-handed attitude, and she didn’t want to kiss him. Her hands wormed their way between their heated bodies, and she went back to pushing at him, trying to wiggle from his grasp.

Brody actually growled, startling her into stillness, and giving him plenty of time to lift her hands away from his chest, pinning them to the rough board wall at either side of her head.

Becky set her teeth, thinking there was no way she’d let him kiss her again. She stared straight ahead at a button on the blue cambric shirt he wore, determined not to notice how the damp garment clung to the width of his chest.

“Becky.”

Her lashes didn’t even flicker, and neither of them noticed his easy use of her Christian name, though she’d never given him leave to call her that.

“Becky, look at me.”

A miniscule twitch of her head signalled her refusal.

Unconsciously, Brody lowered his voice, using a tone of command that came naturally to him when his dick got hard. “Becky,” he repeated.

Her response was instinctive, immediate, and completely uncontrollable. A shiver rippled across her torso, her shoulders curled helplessly inward, and her eyes closed as she tried– and failed– to deal with the unfamiliar urges wrapping themselves so tightly around her will that they were impossible to resist. When her eyes blinked open, they went straight to Brody’s, exactly as he’d requested.

In light of kadıköy escort the fire flooding his veins, it was a miracle his expression didn’t change at all. “Don’t move.”

His eyes fixed firmly on hers, Brody gently released her wrists, straightening as his hands moved to cup the sides of her face.

Becky held her hands aloft, against the wall where he’d been holding them, as though she’d forgotten their existence.

“I’m concerned,” he stressed the word she’d thrown at him, “because I don’t want you to get hurt.”

With his thumbs, he wiped the sheen of sweat from her cheeks, noting again that small scar near her eyebrow. “I’m concerned because I care about you.”

Brody lowered his head to kiss the places his thumbs had touched, his breath a feather of sensation on Becky’s heated flesh. When his lips claimed hers, Brody was no less gentle. A taste was enough for him now, when she’d given in so sweetly.

Becky shivered again when his mouth lifted, and opened her eyes immediately. She hadn’t looked away from him yet.

He pulled her against his chest, which also pulled the backs of Becky’s hands from the wall where he’d placed them. Brody felt the small hesitation before she moved them further, to return his hug. When she wrapped her arms around his middle and put her cheek against his chest, Brody’s anger vanished.

No amount of scut work could dim Brody’s elation over the remainder of his day. He practically skipped to answer Clancy’s bidding. His good mood had the added benefit of irritating the older man, especially when Brody began to add “sir” to the end of every answer. Yes, sir! No, sir! Right away, sir! like the solitary soldier in the KCW brigade. Once or twice, Brody even had the urge to salute, but figured the gesture would definitely get him hit with Clancy’s ebony cane, so he suppressed that final glorious thumb to his nose.

He contented himself with humming, whistling, and thinking of Becky, though he was almost afraid to dwell on their encounter. He’d had no intention of trying to dominate Becky, probably not ever. He’d never even considered the possibility, but in the heat of the moment, the command had sprung from his mouth.

He’d been too inflamed to regret the words immediately, though in retrospect Brody was certain he would have apologized in just another moment, if Becky hadn’t reacted the way she did. Her eyes had hit him like a hoof to the middle of his spine, though, and he’d barely restrained the shudder which threatened to engulf his body.

Her capitulation was beyond belief.

Brody could never have anticipated it, and still didn’t trust the conclusion which had come so quickly to his mind, no matter what his ears and eyes and the fire in his belly were telling him. It didn’t seem possible that the virginal Rebecca Connor could be aroused by submitting to his will. It didn’t seem real. Brody was elated, but almost afraid to hope: if it were true, the stakes were much higher than he’d ever dared to dream.

–:–:–:–:–:–:– Chapter 20 –:–:–:–:–:–:–

Inside the shadowy interior of the northern bunkhouse, Becky stood with hands on her hips, surveying the beds which lined the walls. Every single one seemed to have a bag or box of some kind stashed beneath it. How was she supposed to know which bunk was Brody’s?

She sighed and, bending, pulled the metal trunk out from beneath the first bed. She probably wouldn’t find Brody’s bunk today– she wanted to clear out at least a quarter of an hour before the men arrived, and she had one of the younger stable lads watching the trail to keep an eye out for their return. It wouldn’t do to get caught rustling through the men’s unmentionables, especially while she was wearing pants herself.

The brass latch of the first trunk opened easily, and she flipped the lid open. The long, low building didn’t have many windows, but it wasn’t too dim to see inside the trunk. She closed it just as quickly, her eyes wide. She squatted by the bed gathering her courage before opening it again. The small stack of papers she’d seen were just the kind of evidence she wanted to defend herself from Brody’s advances. If she found something bad enough, her brothers might even banish Brody from the ranch, but at the very least, she hoped to silence his threats and worm her way out of their bargain.

–:–:–:–:–:–:–

Brody had been out mending fences all day and already had mischief on his mind when he returned to the bunkhouse that day. He’d been riding the eastern borders of the ranch alone this week, checking for breaches before they became a problem. It was a hopeless task, because a boy could hide in the bushes waiting for Brody to pass by before taking out another section of fence.

Brody thought the KCW would be better off sending one hand to watch each of the nearest ranches from a hilltop somewhere, waiting for the troublesome youth to strike off on his own. But it wasn’t up to him to decide, and maltepe escort bayan he wouldn’t be offering advice to Becky’s brothers, no matter how much time he spent sitting on their porch.

The only good thing about mending fences was taking off for the bunkhouse half an hour earlier than he expected the rest of the crew to arrive and getting the first shot at the sun-warmed water. It was hot enough that no one minded bathing in the creek or in water drawn from the creek, but it was a fact of life that shaving your face with warm water left more skin behind.

So Brody wasn’t expecting to find anyone else at the bunkhouse when he arrived. The flash of movement, though it was dun-colored and disappeared with haste, drew his attention immediately. The dun color was trail dust, and it was decorating the boots and trouser bottoms of a slim young man slipping through the bunkhouse’s solitary door– very possibly the self-same lad everyone had been scrambling to catch practically since his arrival.

Brody reached for his rifle, but switched direction and came up with the Colt instead. If he’d been serious about killing the kid, he would’ve grabbed the rifle for this distance, but Brody just wanted to scare hell out of him, and the pistol would do that. It wasn’t one of the pretty pair of nickel, pearl-handled gentleman’s guns he’d been carrying when he arrived in Texas– those had been stolen from him, too– but he was just as happy to have the second-hand, single-action Cattleman by his side. The whole herd could trample a Colt and it still wouldn’t jam up on you.

He stayed to one side of the track, walking the twitchy mare through the alfalfa. He dismounted fifty feet from the bunkhouse, leaving Rolly to graze and hoping like hell he didn’t have to track her down later. He didn’t see another horse but assumed the boy had one somewhere, though Brody wasn’t planning on letting him get to it. Depending on the kid’s attitude, he might even hogtie him and sling him over Rolly’s broad hind-quarters for the ride up to the ranch-house. Even if he let the kid sit astride, a visit with Kendall and Wilson would scare the hell out’ve almost anybody. A dangerous smile graced Brody’s face as he strode silently toward the door.

–:–:–:–:–:–:–

Becky’s nose and forehead wrinkled as she stared at the drawing on top of the pile. She blew a breath out through pursed lips and told herself to stop being such a ninny. She knew what happened in the bedroom– Nanny had made sure of that, and looking at a few dirty pictures wouldn’t hurt her. She lifted the pile and scanned them one by one. Most were printed on the same kind of stiff paper as postcards, but a few seemed to have been cut from books. More than half were drawings or etchings, even one original pencil drawing on regular stationery, but partway through the pile, Becky found a few photographs. The one on top was of a naked woman reclining on a chaise, one knee bent so the photographer had an unobstructed view of the hair between her legs. That was mild compared to some of the sketches she’d already seen. Three photographs down, though, Rebecca found a photograph so disturbing that she tossed the pile as though her fingers had been scorched. After a minute, she pinched the top one carefully between two fingertips and flipped it over to read the back.

Tom Perkins.

Her eyebrows rose. She neatened the stack, closed the trunk, shoved it back under the bed, and stood staring along the row of beds.

Tom Perkins was such a nice man. He stopped by with bones for Topper whenever he came up to the barn and gave candy to the children at Christmas. Now she could never look him in the eye again. And if Tom Perkins . . . Tom Perkins! had pictures like those, what was she going to find in the rest of them? Becky grimaced, lowering her eyes to the trunk at her feet. How could she face twenty more?

She squared her shoulders and squatted, grabbing the leather straps of the bag beneath the next bunk. She could darn well face just about anything to get rid of Brody Easton.

The satchel was nearly empty, but the stiff canvas exterior stuck on something when she tried to push it back under the bed, and she had to mess about for a minute to get it in there. When she stood this time, the steel in her ear said she wasn’t getting a glimpse under the third bed.

“Hands up,” a voice sliced through the darkness behind her.

Before both words left his lips, Brody had recognized the slim shoulders and the curve of her thighs. He tipped his hand to point the barrel away from Becky, easing his thumb off the hammer as he gritted his teeth.

The woman was trying get herself killed, one way or another. If it wasn’t a flood or quicksand, it would be her sister’s husbands or Catherine herself.

Heart in her throat, Becky raised her hands, not even noticing when the gun was withdrawn. “I’m–”

In an instant, she was pinned to the rough board wall, the heavy male body pressed to her back holding her in place.

“What the hell are you doing in here?” Brody’s breath brushed her cheek as he growled roughly in her ear.

Becky’s heart quickened, the knowledge of who was behind her more intimidating than the gun had been. “I–”

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