Chapter Two

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Zachary woke up with a pounding headache a few hours later in his hotel room. The sun was too bright shining through the window and he slammed the shutters closed. His mind went to the night before and he fell back into the bed while covering his face with his hands.

"I'm a complete jackass." he said out loud to the empty room. If his mother and father were alive they would both skin him alive for what he had done. But she had been dressed like a whore in a saloon full of drunk cowboys so it wasn't entirely his fault. He needed to find her and try to apologize and clear his conscience.

He took a bath and shaved his face. He put on a clean pair of jeans and a white button down. Then he put on his new leather vest and his leather gun belt with two holsters for his twin pearl handled colt revolvers. He threw his rifle in the sling behind his back and tied his two large hunting knives to his legs.

He walked down the hall and out the doors squinting in the harsh sunlight. He pulled his black stetson hat lower and walked down the road to the saloon. The bar room was empty and he was about to go upstairs when he heard a loud crash in the back and a female voice curse.

He walked through the door into the backroom and saw the woman from the night before standing in front of a case of shattered whiskey bottles. She looked startled when he walked in.

"Can I help you?" she asked. Zachary stood there awkwardly waiting for her to recognize him.

Samantha looked him up and down. He was tall and lean. His face was cleanly shaven and he had a face that was rugged more so than handsome. He was her definition of sexiness.

"James isn't here right now. He'll be back in a couple of hours." she said. She couldn't see his eyes because his hat was too low and she wondered why he wouldn't answer her.

"You don't know who I am do you?" he asked. Samantha covered her mouth and took a step back. She recognized him now that he had spoken. He was the man who had taken advantage of her the night before.

"What do you want from me?" she demanded. He removed his hat.

"Nothing ma'am." he replied. "I just wanted to come apologize for my behavior last night. Had I known…. Well I wouldn't have…." he stopped talking and seemed unsure of what he should say.

Samantha sighed and smoothed out her gray cotton dress in an attempt to keep her hands busy and hide her nervousness.

"You should not feel so guilty." she said. "I was working as a whore."

Zachary grimaced. Hearing that word come out of her did not make him happy. She looked like anything but a whore today. Her red hair was only half up and most of it hung down her back and across her shoulders in long red waves and curls.

Her skin was a pale ivory and freckles covered her face. Her eyes were a dark green and Zachary saw an innocence and youth in them and wondered how he had gotten so drunk the night before to not notice.

"You shouldn't say things like that, ma'am. I'm not sure why a woman like you was working the floor last night but I'm sure you have your reasons."

"Yes I suppose I do." Samantha said thinking back to the conversation she'd had with James that morning. He had informed her that if she didn't make him any money tonight she was going to find herself homeless.

Zachary saw her grow pale and he thought it was because he was there.

"I'm sorry, ma'am. I'll leave. I just wanted you to know that I'm not really like the man you met last night. If there is anything I can do for you just let me know." Zachary turned to leave and Samantha found herself not wanting him to go.

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