Frontier Wife

Frontier Wife by Margaret Tanner

Book: Frontier Wife by Margaret Tanner Read Free Book Online
Authors: Margaret Tanner
been in battle could not understand, he felt something akin to shame. He deliberately set out to turn the townsfolk against him, intimidated, threatened retribution on any man who mated his mare with the Lindsay stallion.
    He didn’t like feeling guilty. All his adult life he had been as ruthless as his father before him; one had to be, to hold on to such a large property. He would fight to the death, if necessary, to hold on to the legacy forged through the hard work and sacrifice of his forebears.
    Normally he was not a vindictive man, and believed David could be persuaded to sell. The fact he might be taking advantage of a sick man bothered him, but he needed the Lindsay water if his stock were to survive a prolonged drought. Tommy was the one fighting him. David’s fighting days had ended. He gave a savage curse. This was war, between her and him, and he intended coming out victorious.
    When she argued and defied him it proved easy, but those big blue eyes swimming in tears affected him even more than the milky white bare flesh around her shoulders. Her skin, perfumed with just the faintest hint of flowers filled his nostrils. Her hair shone like polished gold. He had never seen such a vibrant color on a woman before.
    He clenched the reins so hard the horse snorted in protest until he loosened his grip. He tried to calm himself by thinking of Sophia. She would make him a suitable wife. Those extra acres she brought into the marriage would come in handy. He must keep this fixed in his mind and if he valued his sanity, he wouldn’t come within a fifty-mile radius of Tommy Lindsay. She was dangerous and made him feel things he didn’t want to feel.
    ****
    When Tommy went to check on David the next morning, he slept peacefully.
    She fed Warrior, milked the house cow and made some butter. It promised to be another scorcher so she wanted all the outside work completed early.
    The buggy had been left out the front, the horse released into one of the holding yards. What time Adam had arrived here she couldn’t even hazard a guess, as the stress of last night caused her to oversleep.
    Before she woke David, she decided to make some bread. The yeast had been prepared the previous day, following the instructions their housekeeper imparted years ago. There was another way of making yeast, although she preferred the recipe containing flour, brown sugar, salt and water. Her bread was a source of pride as the loaves always rose and had crisp brown crusts.
    David slept until noon. On waking he seemed none the worse for his ordeal. Once he got dressed he showed no signs of distress, except for a slight pallor. They ate their meal, cold mutton and warm bread, spread with freshly churned butter.
    “I can’t help worrying about Jamie. He should have been back by now.” Her hands fluttered at her breast.
    “Don’t fuss, Munro will take good care of him. I think the squatter has a soft spot for our little brother.”
    “It would be the only soft thing about him.” She banged her cup on the table.
    “He doesn't seem such a bad type. We owe him for last night.”
    “I know, and I hate being in his debt. This is the second time he’s helped us out.”
    When Tommy thought of the exhibition she made of herself weeping all over him, she wanted to scream. So, he had been kind. She had watched his eyes darken with shock then widen with genuine concern when he saw David’s wounds. She dared not let her guard down because she felt so vulnerable in his presence. Why hadn’t they met under different circumstances?
    “I might fix those shingles on the barn,” David announced, as he stood up.
    “Don't be ridiculous, the doctor instructed you to rest.”
    “It needs doing. Those wretched birds are getting through the hole and devouring all our seed.”
    “Wait until tomorrow; one more day won't make much difference.”
    He thrust his jaw out. She found it useless arguing with him when he set his mind on something. He could be so

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