Growing up it used to be the thing to take in a western at the movie theater on Saturday afternoons.. So here's a bit of my indie book The Rancher's Irish Bride for your viewing pleasure...
The roar of the flames filled his ears as Clay waded into battle. Left hand up over his brow for protection, he tried to smoother the greedy tongues of fire with the burlap sack only to have it smolder to pieces in front of his eyes. He should have doused it in the creek, but the water level was so low it would have taken more time. He needed something, anything to deprive the flames the oxygen they needed.
Pulling his jacket from his back, he latched on to one sleeve and began to beat back the ever-advancing fire. The hot breath of the blaze spread across the dry grass consuming an ever bigger portion of the range. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see her rushing dangerously close to the burning grasses only to be beaten back by the scorching heat.
"Stay back. My men will be here soon," he ordered. Even as the words left his mouth, he knew she would not heed them. Together they danced, dodging the hot ash and orange cinders.
Soon shouts of other men and the roll of wagons filled the air as his wranglers joined in the fight. The men of the Rocking R converged on the growing fire. "Throw me a wet sack," Clay shouted to the man standing behind the barrels, tossing the burlap to the others. He dropped his smoldering jacket as a sack flew into the air sending a shower of cool water to douse his heated skin.
Rushing forward, he joined his men in a line of defense. Moving together, slinging water, and beating out the flames they began to turn the tide of the orange sea. Advancing, retreating, they continued the macabre dance, uttering a hailstorm of oaths strong enough to make a minister blush. Concentrating on saving his grazing land, Clay forgot all about Maeve Campbell until he heard the night air pierced by her frightened screams.
Clay paused. The scream came again from the right. He turned his head and his heart dropped to his boots. Her arms flailing, Maeve rushed away from the smoke and flames, the hem of her skirt consumed by orange. The more she ran, the faster the fire grew.
"Stand still!" he yelled. Turning to the man next to him, he snatched the wet bag from the wrangler's hand and rushed toward her.
"Stop running," he ordered.
Grabbing her closest hand, she turned, clawing at him, trying desperately to get away from the heat. With a jerk, she stumbled. He took the pause in her fight to open the wet rough cloth. His arms held out wide, he captured her body. They fell to the ground, his body covering hers to smother the flames. In order to silence her, Clay pressed his mouth to hers. As the heat melted away from his legs, suffocated by the wet burlap, another type of heat, one more consuming settled in his groin.
For a mad woman, Maeve McKenna tasted just short of heavenly. Her cries lessened, turning into soft moans. Instead of beating his chest, her fist gathered the loose cloth of his shirt and she clung to him. Unconsciously, his lips moved over the fullness of her bottom lip, capturing it for the merest of seconds before he let it go. His chest heaving, Clay broke the kiss and pulled away.
The light from the flames danced across her face as she stared at him in wonder, her lips full from his kisses. His body hard from want, he drew his brow together and knew he should not be there, should not be doing this. Steeling his mind from desire, he turned his attention to her skirts.
Slowly, he eased his body away and sat back. He lifted the wet burlap away from her, revealing the burnt edges of her skirt and petticoat. As his heart ceased to hammer against his chest, he could hear Maeve's own rapid breaths. His eyes rolled up her frame. The sodden blanket not only smothered the flames but it transferred its dampness to her clothing, making the muslin blouse nearly transparent.
Clay closed his eyes to count to ten and swore under his breath. "Are you hurt," he asked, looking at her again.
She shook her head. A soft breeze whisked away the remaining body heat and he watched her nipples pebble. The sight sent a molten finger of desire spiraling through his body to make itself at home in his stones.
Clay glanced away and spied the blackened shawl on the ground. Leaning to the left, he snatched it up and tossed it over her upper body. "Cover yourself," he growled. Scrambling to stand, Clay helped her to sit up and draw the blackened material around her shoulders. He moved to the side and slid his arm beneath her knees. "Hold on to my neck," he commanded and drew her to his chest, then stood.
Maeve's arms held tight around him as they moved toward the wagon. He could feel the weight of her cheek against his shoulder. Even though the scent of smoke was strong, a whiff of something clean, something almost flowery washed over him. Using utmost care, Clay placed her on the back of the wagon, next to the barrels of water. Loosening his kerchief, he held it up to the wrangler staring at them. "Soak it, "he snapped.
While he waited, he looked down at the angry red mark on her ankle. "You're burned." He glanced up, their eyes met.
To purchase your copy for $1.99 please use the following links...