Wonderful short story from Revolving Point, Texas , a town saved and run by 3 outlaws. who were the subject of the first three books. If you haven't read this series, I highly recommend it. Ms. Lence is an accomplished western historical writer. This story showed her talent in writing short fiction as well as novel length. Hope to see more about the folks in Revolving Point. 5 Stars Agnes Alexander
Tom, a tormented soul designating demons of his past....Jessie strong and determined....just such a wonderful short story that connects to the soul and the heart. 5 Stars Dawn (Amazon Reader)
This was a quick sweet read. I really enjoyed it. Jessie loved an older man and wanted him to care for her. She was such an innocent, honest person despite the world she lived in, and I loved that about her. Tom had been hurt in the past and did not want to cause Jessie any pain. His desire to protect Jessie and her future by ignoring his own desires made him a special kind of hero although he almost lost his love. I recommend this story. 5 Stars Christine Woinich
Quietly moving across the floor, he nudged the door open to find Jessie wearing her night clothes and sitting in a chair before the hearth, her blonde hair hanging loose down her back. She cradled a cup in her lap, caressed the rim while staring at the low-burning fire. He filled a cup and joined her.
“Can’t sleep,” he asked.
“Oh,” she startled, and arched her neck toward him. “I didn’t hear you.”
“I didn’t mean to frighten you.” He nodded toward the hearth. “May I join you?”
Her guarded gaze traveled the length of him. “Al-all right.” She shifted her attention back to the crackling wood.
He pulled a chair beside her and sat, took a long drink of the hot brew. “Are you up because you’re worried about the squatter?”
“No. The sheriff and the deputies will find him.” She kept her gaze on the flame. “They won’t allow harm to come to their wives and children.”
“Reckon you’re right about that.” He took another long swallow to settle the unease snaking through his gut. He had plenty to say to her, and hoped the words came out right.
“Why are you awake?” she asked.
“I’ve got a lot on my mind.”
“Most people do.” She leaned forward, pulled a log from a basket beside the hearth and added it to the fire. Sat back in her chair.
“Jessie,” he started, only to pause and take a deep breath. He let it out slow, prayed his gumption wouldn’t desert him. “I apologize for what I said to you earlier. You’re more than a waitress to me. You’re someone I care about very much.”
She sniffled and met his gaze. Except for the moisture clinging to her eyes, her expression was void of feeling. “So you’ve often said.” She cocked her head. “Are you willing to do something about that?”
He swallowed hard. “If you’re referring to marriage, than I’m sorry, but the answer is no. I can’t marry you.” He touched her arm. “But I can be your friend.” And loveyou with everything I am. “Someone you can depend upon for anything.”
“I have friends, Tom,” she said, stonily. “I want more than that.”