Rayanna twisted her sweat-slicked wrist and wrenched free from his grip.
He snatched the hem of her blouse and snarled. “No, you don’t.”
She pulled away with every ounce of strength. “Lemme go!” Her shirt ripped as she lunged for the door. The rent fabric peeled from her body and scraped at her raw arms. With a guttural yell, she threw aside the board bolting her exit.
The knob torqued and she fell through the opening door. Crashed against the burly chest of a uniformed trooper.
The officer stumbled back a step.”What’s–”
Rayanna folded her arms over her bra and huddled behind him. “He’s gonna kill me!”
Wielding the Bowie knife, Reeve stomped forward. His eyes bore the same garnet sheen, though no longer reflecting the firelight. “Step aside. This ain’t none of yer affair.”
“I’ll be the judge of that.” The trooper aimed his sidearm at the grizzled mountain man. “You mean to harm this lady?”
“That what you think? Wouldn’t catch me harming ne’ry a hair on a lady’s head.” Reeve snort-sniffed. He sauntered to the threshold. “But that there varmint ain’t no such thing.”
“Let’s see how judgmental you feel from a jail cell. You can come quietly or–”
“You ain’t got no cause to arrest me. I got rights.” He slapped the door jamb beside him.
Through chattering teeth, Rayanna shouted, “Rights?”
“Self defense against invaders.” He pointed the knife at her. “Caught her prowling around my property. She’s the one you ought to throw in yer clink. Lock her up for good.”
“Liar!” She hugged herself, but the bitter wind scathed her burns and her violent shivering persisted.
While keeping his weapon trained on the homeowner, the trooper darted a glance at her. “So, how’d you come to be here, missy?”
Rayanna gulped. How could she answer when she didn’t know?
**** TO BE CONTINUED ****