Cassandra Austin

Free Cassandra Austin by Callyand the Sheriff

Book: Cassandra Austin by Callyand the Sheriff Read Free Book Online
Authors: Callyand the Sheriff
She wondered how serious the fever might be. If the sheriff died, she would have to try to explain hersymptoms to the doctor.
    She wished she still had Pa to talk to, although somehow she doubted he would have been much help with this. It might have been nice to at least share her worry with someone. She wasn’t lonely for company, of course. Haywood was the one who thought she couldn’t be alone.
    And Haywood was the reason Pa was dead, she reminded herself. She shouldn’t feel guilty aboutsending him out into the storm, sick as he was. She tried to work up her fury at the sheriff, but this strange fever that possessed her simply let it wash away. For some reason, she felt too good to be angry. With that rather confusing thought she drifted off to sleep.
    And dreamed. Her cheek rested against a starched white shirt. Strong arms held her. Warm masculine lips hovered above hers—and never quite touched her. When she woke up, the fever was worse.
    She expected to be dizzy or sick to her stomach when she got up, and was relieved to find she merely felt- hungry. And perhaps a little giddy. She let Royal out, surveyed the muddy yard and went about her morning chores.
    Andrew spent a restless night. The storm seemed to rage for hours. The barn was damp and drafty. The corner where he huddled was hard and bug-infested. Whenever he drifted off to sleep, one of the animals chose that moment to snort or stomp. When he slept at all, he dreamed of Cally. Those dreams caused as much discomfort as all the other conditions put together. And when he happened to moan in his sleep, the old dog whimpered and nuzzled to comfort him.
    He couldn’t believe he had given up a chance to sleep in his own bed because of a misguided concern for Cally DuBois. He fell into an exhausted sleep about an hour before dawn.
    The sound of the rickety door opening startled him awake. He sat up suddenly, bumping his head on the wall behind him. He groaned and the dog whimpered. At the same moment he registered a gasp from the figure in the doorway. He had clearly startled Callyas much as she had him. Last night he had forgotten to mention that he would be staying in her barn.
    She watched him suspiciously as he came to his feet. He tried to straighten his coat and adjust his shirtsleeves. He ran a hand over his stubbled chin, imagining he looked a sight. But even that didn’t quite explain the curious way she peered at him, leaning forward and moving so the light fell on him as if she were looking for something specific.
    He wanted to think she was worried about his well-being, but knew better. Lord, but it disconcerted him to look at her now, decked out in those baggy clothes, knowing how she looked without…
    He swallowed hard. “Morning, Miss DuBois,” he managed.
    The dog at her feet and the dog at his looked them both over, then trotted off toward the house. Cally spared a glance toward them and Andrew smiled. She still smarted at Royal’s defection. Her watchdog had turned into a friendly pup where he was concerned. Now if she could just follow the dog’s example.
    “I have to milk the cow,” she said abruptly. She still stood in the doorway, perhaps afraid to come inside. Poor girl. He had truly frightened her last night.
    “I’ll be on my way, then.” Somehow, it was harder to pull his gaze from her than it should have been. He couldn’t really see her anyway, silhouetted as she was in the doorway, but he could imagine the red hair and the emerald eyes and the soft curves. He cleared his throat, taking a tentative step toward the mare.
    “You feeling all right this morning? Any fever…?”Her voice trailed off as if she wasn’t sure what she was asking.
    “I’m fine,” he answered. “You?”
    “Fine,” she said quickly. “I have to milk the cow.”
    He nodded and turned away, only to turn back once again. “Cally,” he started before he caught himself. “Miss DuBois, I don’t think you should stay here alone.” He raised his

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