Chapter 23

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The soft pink light of the sun was kissing the morning sky when Faith opened her eyes the next morning. She smiled and stretched then rolled over to see a note laying on the pillow next to her, she picked it up and read it.

I'll be back this afternoon. Stay inside and keep your gun with you.

Cade

He must be following the tracks from the intruder last night. Just the thought of waking up and finding a strange man in her bedroom sent another chill down her spine. What would have happened to her if Cade hadn't been there? She knew what would have happened. That foul man would have violated her then killed her. Faith quickly shoved those thoughts from her mind. Cade had been here and nothing had happened to her. She threw back the covers and dressed for the day.

"Look Sheriff, I followed the tracks from Miss Matthews' window back to just outside Hurst's ranch. If I hadn't been there last night that bastard would have raped and killed her! You know it and I know."

"I don't know what would have happened. For all I know this man could be her lover. She is a good looking woman and she does live on that ranch with only men. Hell for all I know she might be doing all of the men, including you."

Cade wanted to knock the sheriff's teeth down his throat. It was all he could do not to shoot the man right between the eyes. "I'm telling you now, either you do something about him, or I will!" His jaw was clinched and his body was tense as a bow.

"Are you threatening me?" Sheriff Turner asked in disbelief.

"No. I'm promising you. And I don't make promises that I don't plan on keeping."

Sheriff Turner took a few steps toward Cade, expecting the man to back up. Instead Cade straightened his relaxed stance to his full height, which was a good three inches taller. "I'd be real careful if I were you."

"Do your job, sheriff, and I won't have to do it for you." Cade turned and walked out of the sheriff's office, leaving the man speechless and furious.

Cade was not used to feeling so much anger, here lately, that seemed to be all he was feeling. And it all seemed to revolve around one beautiful blue eyed woman. He rode back to the ranch, made a quick pass to see if he there was anything out of place, then put his horse up, and went to find Faith. He was halfway between the barn and house when he stopped in his tracks. A strange feeling fluttered in the pit of his stomach. It almost felt like he was anxious to see Faith. Nah, he was just tired and glad to be out of the saddle, that's all.

The doorknob turned and Cade walked in with an angry scowl on his face. "Why in the hell wasn't this door locked? He barked, slamming it behind him hard enough to rattle the windows.

Faith stood there in shock for a moment. She had been worried about him all day long. This had been one of the longest days of her life. She had even checked the clock several times to make sure it hadn't stopped. She decided to cook a good dinner for them to help the time pass more quickly. She had even taken extra time with her appearance, including wearing a dress, not that it mattered. Of course, she couldn't do anything about the bruise on her cheek. "I saw you coming and just unlocked the damn thing!"

Turning she huffed over to the stove, snatched up a bowl and ladled stew in it. With the bowl in one hand and a plate of cornbread in the other, Faith walked the few steps to the table. She slammed them down on the table causing several drops of stew to slosh over the side and splash onto the table. "Here's your dinner." It was on the tip of her tongue to tell him she was going to skip dinner and retire for the night, but her growling stomach had her turning around to fix her own bowl.

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