Trilby by Diana Palmer

Book: Trilby by Diana Palmer Read Free Book Online
Authors: Diana Palmer
    “The signs point to it.” His eyes were quietly appreciative of her pretty, blue-checked gingham dress with white rickrack around the square collar. Her hair was long and loose, and Thorn was aroused by it. Suddenly, violently aroused.
    His lean hand speared into the thick waves gently, lifting them so that her head was tugged back, her face uplifted at a very intimate angle.
    “Please, don’t,” she said stiffly. She pulled angrily at his wrist.
    “I have ears like a fox,” he said. His voice was quiet, soft. “And we’re in the dark here.” He leaned closer, his smoky breath on her lips, making her weak, making her want his mouth on hers again. Her own reaction made her angry and she pushed at his chest.
    “There’s no need to fight me,” he said irritably. “I’m not going to hurt you.”
    “Of course not,” she agreed, her eyes furious. “You’re only going to force your attentions on me and then say that I tempted you!”
    He let her go at once. “My God,” he said heavily. “You won’t forget, will you?”
    She straightened her hair and her skirts with trembling hands, averting her gaze from his hard face. “I don’t want your attentions, Mr. Vance. I thought I’d already made that quite clear to you.”
    “I’m wealthy—” he began.
    “And you think that matters to me?” she asked harshly. “I would not sell myself to the richest man on earth if I did not love him. I would love my Richard if he were a poet, with no income to speak of. It isn’t for his station in life that I yearn.”
    “I thought you were a grown woman,” he said curtly. “You speak like a schoolgirl in the throes of calf love!”
    Her chin went up and her gray eyes kindled with temper. “You have no right to make light of my feelings! You know nothing about me.”
    He searched her thin, pale face. “That’s true enough,” he said, his voice deep in the hush of evening. “I’ve assumed a great deal, but I’ve never sought to know you.”
    She turned her face toward the horizon, with its thin streak of color. Fiesta colors, she thought absently. The sunset had a Mexican flavor tonight.
    “You don’t approve of me, do you, Trilby?” he asked easily, lounging back against one of the square wooden columns to roll another cigarette. “I’m neither civilized nor safe, like your dude from back East.”
    “A civilized man treats a woman like a lady.”
    “You sound like a well-brought-up Spanish girl,” he said, amused. “Very correct, helpless without her duenna.”
    “No duenna in her right mind would allow you within a mile of her charge,” she said bluntly, glaring at him as she remembered the vicious pain of his kiss when he’d taken her for that ride in the desert.
    “I hurt you, didn’t I?” he asked quietly. He stared at the tip of his cigarette. “You aren’t going to forgive what happened.”
    “I have forgiven you, Mr. Vance. It’s simply that friendship is all I have to offer you,” she added.
    He glared at her. “What can an Eastern man give you that a Western man can’t?” he demanded.
    “Civilized behavior!” she returned. “Decent treatment. Tenderness. Things you know nothing about.”
    He laughed without humor. “I guess it must seem like that to you. You’re a game girl, Trilby. Sick to death of violence, but you still had nerve enough to doctor me. I won’t forget that. You’ve got grit.”
    “I don’t imagine many people who associate with you can manage without it,” she muttered.
    “I’ll take that as a compliment,” he told her.
    The screen door banged as her father walked onto the porch. “Thorn, isn’t it?” Jack Lang welcomed him, extending a hand as Thorn got lazily to his feet. His enmity for Vance had been forgotten after the other man had saved his cattle. Apparently Vance and Trilby were back on speaking terms, too, which boded well for everyone. “Good to see you. Come in and have coffee with us.”
    “Thanks. I stopped by to ask

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