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By Beth Williamson
Samhain Publishing, Ltd.Copyright © 2006 Beth Williamson
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTrevor kept an eye on Adelaide all morning, at least when he could. She seemed to be everywhere, busy doing all her daily tasks with Dustin at her side. He still couldn't come to terms with the fact that he'd slept with Adelaide.
Had amazing sex with her. Sex so incredible he was half-erect just thinking about it. With an annoyed grunt, he went into the kitchen to wash up the breakfast dishes. He actually enjoyed spending time in the kitchen with Marybeth. Reminded him a bit of home, of his mother. He missed her and home, not that he'd admit that to anyone until pain of death or torture. There were a few things a man had to be manly about. One of them was missing his mama.
He put the last load of plates into the soapy water as Marybeth stepped outside to "take care of business". It wasn't until he heard Adelaide yell that he realized something was wrong in the saloon. He slammed out of the kitchen and assessed the situation in a blink.
Two men were holding her down, one of them had his boot on her hair. The other straddled her waist. She struggled and punched at both of them. Trevor felt rage sweep through him like a bonfire.
He yanked the man off her stomach by the collar, earning a choking sound that gave him grim satisfaction. He punched that bastard in the nose, spraying blood everywhere. The second one, a black-haired, scurvy devil, slammed into him with a roundhouse punch to the right side of his jaw. Trevor stumbled, but didn't fall. He ducked to avoid the next punch and landed a blow to the man's flabby paunch.
"Lousy bastards!" Adelaide picked up her favorite spittoon and wielded it like a weapon. "Get out, McGee, or I swear to Christ I'll split your head open."
Trevor knew she meant it. Hell, he still had a headache from his encounter with that damn brass thing.
"Call off your dog." The one he assumed was McGee bared his yellowed teeth at Trevor.
"Only if you take your lackey and get your asses out of my saloon in the next ten seconds." Adelaide looked about ready to do murder. Her eyes glowed with fury and retribution, a veritable warrior goddess.
A twinge of pride for her rang through him. Reminded him a bit of his sister, Nicky, a woman who didn't take shit from any man.
Trevor stood, fists at the ready, until McGee started dragging his companion out of the saloon.
"I'll be back, Adelaide. Don't you be worrying about that." McGee snarled as the door closed behind him.
Trevor's blood rushed through him like a lit fire as he looked for more sons of bitches to pummel. He was frustrated that he'd only gotten a few good punches in. Wasn't much of a fight. Hell, he got more out of one of his brothers when they were drunk. That ass McGee definitely had trouble written across his face.
"What did he want?" Trevor felt his jaw where the idiot had hit him. Slightly swollen, no teeth loosened though. He looked at Adelaide. She stood with her fists clenched, hair dirty, and a mixture of anger, fear and frustration on her face.
"Red?" He stepped toward her, but she didn't answer him. "Are you okay? Did they hurt you?" Trevor reached her side and cupped her cheek until she turned her gaze to his. "Honey, can you hear me?"
"I'm not deaf, Malloy. I'm just angry as hell. How dare he?" She huffed out a breath. "Did you see what that bastard did?"
Trevor noticed a red handprint on her cheek and realized the sound he'd heard was a slap. McGee dared lay his hands on her. A fresh wave of anger whooshed through him and he couldn't stop himself from following that dirty cur. As he headed to the door, Adelaide grabbed his arm.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm gonna pound that son of a bitch into next week."
"No you won't. This is my fight." She yanked on both his arms. "You leave him to me."
Trevor almost laughed at the absurdity of it. She wanted him to back away from a fight so she could handle it. He touched the mark on her cheek, then leaned forward and kissed it. She sucked in a breath that he felt all the way to his toes.
His mouth followed that breath and his lips landed on hers. The heat of anger gave way to the heat of passion. She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him against her.
She fit to him like a glove. Her lips danced and sang with his as she rubbed her breasts against his chest. No longer half-erect, his dick lengthened and hardened against her softness. In another minute, he'd have her back in bed, deliciously naked in his arms.
He licked her lips from one end to the other until she opened her mouth with a sigh and her tongue rasped against his. Oh, yes, so hot and wet. Trevor needed to be with her, alone. Adelaide's hands fisted in his hair, pulling him closer. He reached around to cup her breast and found the nipple hard already. Rolling the turgid peak between his thumb and finger, Trevor sucked her lip into his mouth.
"God, heaven ... you taste like heaven," he whispered against her mouth.
"You two are like a couple of goddamn rabbits." Dustin's annoyed voice shattered the fog of arousal surrounding them. He set a handful of bottles on the bar with a tinkling thump of glass.
Trevor broke the kiss and stared into Adelaide's befuddled eyes. "Damn, woman, I can't seem to keep my hands off you. What's that all about?"
She pushed away from him. "I expect that's a common occurrence when you're around any woman, Malloy."
Dustin's normally hard expression turned to granite when he caught sight of Adelaide. He grabbed Trevor by the shirt front and pulled him up to his furious face. "What did you do to her?"
Adelaide slapped at his hands. "He didn't do anything, Dustin. It was McGee. Now let him down."
With one last narrow-eyed glare, Dustin let him back to earth. Trevor realized he'd gotten off lucky last night-the big man could have snapped him in half. It was like being held by a three-hundred-pound dragon with rock-hard fists.
"Why was McGee even in here?" Dustin growled.
Adelaide gestured widely with her arms. "The door was open and you weren't here. How do you think he got in? Magic carpet?"
"No need to be so harsh, Adelaide. You look like someone beat the shit out of you."
"They were about to. That bastard was sitting on her while his minion stood on her hair." Trevor grew angry again just thinking about it. "I wanted to go pound the daylights out of them, but she wouldn't let me." He jerked an accusatory thumb at Adelaide.
Dustin glowered. "I know. She keeps telling me the same thing."
Both men looked at her with annoyed, "let me be the man" expressions. She burst out laughing, gut-busting laughs that made her bend over and hold her stomach.
"If ... you ... c-could see ... yourselves," she gasped out between guffaws. "It's ... like s-someone ... shrank D-Dustin."
Trevor glanced at Dustin, then back at Adelaide. "We don't look anything alike."
That just sent her off into longer peals of laughter. After she got herself under control, she wiped the tears from her eyes and hiccupped a few times.
"Damn, I needed that." She shook her head at them, then walked over to Dustin and kissed his cheek. "Thank you for being worried about me. You are the brother I never had."
When she turned to Trevor, his heart skipped a beat. Adelaide was getting under his skin. He was losing control and he had no idea what to do about it. Dangerous territory since he'd always maintained a sense of being in charge around women. His charm usually did the trick.
She flipped her hair back and a small grin tilted the corner of her mouth. "As for you ..." She poked him in the chest. "There's work to be done, so get to it."
With one hard kiss and a shocking squeeze on his ass, she grabbed up her pile of receipts and money and walked into the hallway, out of sight.
"I'm in trouble." Trevor didn't realize he'd spoken it aloud until Dustin chuckled.
"Yep, I reckon you're right about that. Shoulda kept your dick in your pants, cowboy." Dustin went behind the bar and picked up the bottles he'd set down. "Adelaide gets into your blood and there ain't a damn thing you can do to get her out."
Excerpted from The Gift by Beth Williamson Copyright © 2006 by Beth Williamson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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