Shadow Walker

Free Shadow Walker by Connie Mason

Book: Shadow Walker by Connie Mason Read Free Book Online
Authors: Connie Mason
    “Morning Mist! Come back to me.”
    Dawn rose and went to Cole. She placed her hand on his forehead and found him hot to the touch. His fever had returned, just as she’d feared.
    “Morning Mist.”
    When he started to thrash about, Dawn feared he would hurt himself and tried to calm him. “I’m here, Cole. Your Morning Mist is here.”
    Cole appeared to hear her and quieted immediately. He sighed and spoke to her in the Sioux tongue. Dawn understood some of the words, for her mother had taught her the language years ago. “Lie beside me, my love. It’s where you belong.”
    Dawn was startled when Cole reached out and pulled her down to lie against his uninjured side. He stroked her long black hair and crooned love words to her. Dawn made no attempt to free herself, since it seemed to calm him. Warily she relaxed against him, stunned by her thoughts. She wondered what it would be like to sleep in Cole’s arms every night.
    And she was a fool who dreamed impossible dreams.
    Scant moments before Dawn fell asleep, she imagined she heard Cole whisper her name.
    Cole stirred, cautiously testing his limbs. He felt stiff and sore throughout his entire body, but it was nothing he couldn’t handle. He wondered why his arms felt strangely empty. Then he remembered. He had awakened during the night and been pleasantly surprised to find Dawn nestled beside him. The warmth and scent of her still lingered.
    Light flooded the cabin; he could feel it against his eyelids. He opened his eyes slowly. When the haze before them cleared, he saw her. She was standing by the stove, wearing a new yellow dress. She looked like a ray of sunshine, all bright and golden, her cheeks flushed from the heat. She’d been to the river to bathe, and her hair was still damp and curling around her face. She must have sensed his eyes upon her, for she turned to look at him. She smiled shyly.
    “You’re awake! How do you feel?”
    “Like hell, but tolerable. I can’t remember much after you bandaged my wound.”
    “You slept. Fever set in, but I think the worst of it is over. I had no medicine to give you but I did what I could.”
    “What was that?” Cole asked curiously.
    “I sponged you with cool water until the fever subsided. Are you hungry?”
    He grinned. “Matter of fact, I am.”
    “Good. I found a rabbit in one of my traps. I skinned and cooked it while you were sleeping. The broth will give you strength. You lost a considerable amount of blood.”
    She ladled out a portion of broth and set it on a small table next to the bed. When Cole reached for the spoon, his hand shook so badly he couldn’t bring the spoon to his mouth without spilling the liquid. Pushing his hand aside, Dawn sat on the edge of the bed and carefully spooned the broth into his mouth.
    “That’s good,” Cole said, feeling stronger by the minute. “Once, a long time ago,” he reminisced,“when I was sick, my twin sister fed me broth just like you’re doing right now.”
    “You have a twin sister?” Dawn asked eagerly. She was anxious to learn more about this man who had made such an impact upon her life in so short a time. “Where is she now?”
    “Ashley and her husband Tanner are living in Oregon with their two children. I visited them in ’72 but haven’t seen them since. We correspond regularly. I’ve been wanting to pay them another visit but haven’t found the time. I have a nephew I’ve never seen.”
    “Does Ashley look like you?”
    “She’s much prettier,” Cole joked. “We both have green eyes, but her hair is redder than mine. She came West with a wagon train in ’66 to join me at Fort Bridger. I was in the army at the time. She asked Tanner to marry her because the wagon master wouldn’t allow a single woman to join his train. Tanner is from the South. He had a grudge against all Yankees, but my sister managed to tame him. Running Elk saw Ashley and stole her from the wagon train. Remind me to tell you the story

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