Courting the Outlaw's Wife - Part Two
by Paty Jager
“No!” screamed Sara Lynn, dropping to her knees beside Shaw. Blood seeped from his left shoulder and a red gash appeared across his forehead at the hairline, trickling blood down his face. She ripped the hem of her shift and pressed it to the seeping shoulder wound.
With her free hand she picked up Shaw’s revolver and pointed it at the two outlaw’s standing over her dead husband’s brother, Boyd Star. “Take him away from here now or I’ll shoot the lot of you.” She kept her voice steely and low, like she’d learned from Chet. If you wanted people to do what you said, you had to say it like you meant it.
They picked Boyd up off the ground. He moaned.
Sara Lynn cringed. If he woke up before they were a good distance away, she knew he’d be right back as quick as the horse could run. He’d been after her since the day Chet was wounded in a failed robbery. He couldn’t wait for his brother’s body to grow cold before he started talking about bedding her.
She shook with disgust. Boyd had always made her skin crawl.
Chet on the other hand… She’d been infatuated with Chet Star the day he rode into her little town and smiled at her. The farmer’s sons in the area hadn’t sparked her attention like the young man riding tall and staring at her as if she was made of gold.
The two outlaws flung Boyd’s body over his horse and headed east at a trot.
She dropped the revolver and ripped another strip from her shift. Measuring enough to wrap and tie around Shaw’s head, she ripped the remainder off. The extra was folded and placed over the gash. She wrapped the long strip around his head and the folded piece, tying the ends.
Having a husband that got in scraps with the law frequently, she’d learned the first week of their marriage how to tend to bullet holes.
Her shift grew smaller and smaller as she ripped more strips for bandages. Easing Shaw’s head out of her lap, she walked behind the bush concealing her clothes and slipped out of the shift. She stood in just her drawers contemplating whether or not to don the corset. It would be uncomfortable against her skin without her shift underneath. She decided to leave it off and toed it under a bush to hopefully retrieve later.
When her petticoat, skirt, and blouse were all on and buttoned up, she carried her shoes, stockings, and shift back to where Shaw lay.
He murmured and stirred.
“Shh… Don’t move too much until I get your shoulder bandaged.” She ripped her shift up in two strips and the rest in squares.
“What? Where are they?” His blond lashes rose, revealing unfocused brown eyes.
“They’re gone.” At least until Boyd wakes up. She fumbled with the buttons on Shaw’s blue cotton shirt. This is no different than any other man I’ve doctored.
Her gaze drifted over his strong chin, full lips, masculine nose, and his brown eyes, half hidden behind slightly lowered lids. Her breath hitched. What she felt for this man was ten-fold the feelings she’d felt for a man she married. And this man she’d talked to briefly and watched often.
Her fingers trembled as she worked the buttons free and revealed his broad, tan chest. A small patch of shimmery blond curls graced the center of his chest. She shoved the shirt back to reveal the bullet hole. The garish red hole and trickling blood, stilled her heart. If the bullet had hit more to the right, he wouldn’t have made it back to Grass Valley.
She pressed the cloth to the wound and leaned over him to run her hand behind his shoulder to see if the bullet went all the way through. Her fingers touched a sticky, warm spot and Shaw grimaced.
Peering into his eyes, she said, “The bullet went all the way through. That’s good. It means it didn’t damage any bone and will heal quicker because I don’t have to dig around in you and get the bullet out.”
She pulled her hand out from under him and started to straighten.
His other hand grabbed her arm. “How do you know so much about patching up someone whose been shot, and why did those men know you by your first name?”
Sara Lynn didn’t like the distrust glowing in his eyes. She had dreamed of seeing those eyes filled with love—for her.