“Did he see action?”
“Yeah. Then he was wounded and sent home. Your dad was in Nam, wasn’t he?”
Gabe nodded. “He was a sniper. He won’t talk about what he saw or what he had to do.”
“Neither will my dad. It must have been awful.” She fell silent for a moment. “You didn’t answer my question.”
Gabe sighed, running a hand through this long hair. He nodded for her to follow him. They walked over to the mixing area and added more ingredients to the adobe. He didn’t say anything until the were plying the hoe and shovel to the mud.
“Ramon, the guy who had Claire, is a bad dude. He’s been in prison more than he’s been out. Dad is worried that he’ll decide he was insulted—maybe hurt someone just for the heck of it.”
“Oh, my. Do you think so?”
“I haven’t seen my dad wrong many times. I think it’s a really serious possibility. I don’t know that they will attack us, but I think they’ll try to cause trouble.”
“Should I be scared?”
Gabe stopped mixing the adobe, touching her cheek. “Only if you really want to be. It’s a beautiful day, sun’s shining, warm breeze is blowing and I’m talking to the prettiest girl in the world. I’d sure like it better if she wasn’t scared.”
“Why?” her voice caught in her throat. She couldn’t explain how the touch of his fingers made her feel.
“Because if you’re scared, you’re not gonna want to—” He leaned forward, brushing her lips with his.
The touch was fleeting, barely even a kiss, but it made Maddie’s heart race. She hoped no one had seen, then realized she didn’t care if they did nor not. It wasn’t like they’d done a thing wrong. It was a kiss—not even a proper kiss. That brief touch of his lips on hers made her hungry for the real thing. She wanted to kiss him more.
Gabriel went back to mixing the adobe, doing his best to forget that he’d just kissed Maddie He couldn’t help himself. She was so sweet and innocent, beautiful and sun kissed. He’d been strongly attracted since they met, but having her weep in his arms had brought that attraction emphatically home. He wanted to kiss her again, badly. He wanted much more than that, but knew that Maddie wasn’t the kind of girl to hop in his bed—or, more accurately, the back of his pickup truck.
Instead of making another move, he changed the subject, asking her what kind of music she liked. It pleased him when she named off half a dozen musicians he liked too. They talked about music the rest of the afternoon.
Clayton watched Gabe and Maddie from a distance. He wasn’t sure he liked what he saw. He thought highly of the young Mexican man. He was courageous and honorable—and hadn’t known Maddie her entire life.
© 2015 Dellani Oakes