{Chapter} 19

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{Chapter 19}

What have you done, you insensitive yahoo?

Adam rubbed his face and groaned. How could he have kissed her? Knowing that she was still grieving for Ben? He grabbed the pommel of his saddle and swung up onto the back of his horse.

He had to apologize again after she calmed down a bit. She probably wouldn’t even want to see him. He deserved that. Of all the stupid things to do! He had been completely oblivious to her feelings and her grief. Even now he could hardly regret kissing her because of the pleasure if gave him. He felt like the most selfish man alive. He arrived back at camp and didn’t see Katie anywhere. His search was interrupted by the harsh voice of Mark Curtis.

“Sterling! Where have you been? I need you to ride out with McBride and the others to watch for strays” Mark’s face held it’s usual expression of disdain as he spoke.

“I’ll ride out now” Adam grumbled, turning back to his horse.

“You weren’t fraternizing, were you? I remember specifically telling you boys to stay away from the cook” Mark warned.

Adam didn’t reply but swung back up onto Blondie.

Mark caught the horse’s bridle before Adam had a chance to escape. “I’m warning you, Sterling.”

“I know” Adam jerked his horse free. “You have nothing to worry about, Boss Man.”

He turned and rode out toward the herd. He had told Mark the truth, as Katie would more than likely never speak to him again.

**********

“What have I done?” Katie blubbered to herself quietly under the chuck wagon. “I’ve betrayed Ben in the worst of ways.”

She had fallen in love with another. Or rather rekindled an old flame with a man she used to loath with a passion. Was it possible to do so much damage to herself in such a short amount of time? Her mind was spinning in several different directions, causing a splitting headache that bawling like a calf didn’t help.

“Whoa, Katie. What happened to you?” Toni squatted down to where she could see under the chuck wagon.

“I’m the devils’ spa-awn!” Katie wailed.

“How’s that?”

“I let him kiss me.”

“Adam?”
Katie nodded.

Toni let out the only feminine sound she ever mustered: a giggle. When Toni giggled, you knew something good had happened. Only nothing good had happened this time.

“I knew it!” Toni pumped her fist.

“This is a bad thing!” Katie exclaimed, throwing a twig at her.

Toni composed herself. “Sorry. How is it a bad thing?”

“Because of Ben. I’ve betrayed him in the worst possible way.”

Toni sighed. “You haven’t betrayed him, Katie. You and I both know that he would be happy for you. You’re crying for yourself, that’s what. You’re scared of loving again.”

“I ain’t neither” Katie protested, wiping tears from her eyes.

“Yes, ya are. Now I suggest you get over this before you drive yourself and Adam crazy” Toni stated as-a-matter-of-factly.

Katie stilled. He probably felt awful. No telling what he was thinking after she up and ran off like that. Probably all the wrong things.

“Where is he?” Katie asked Toni.

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