Koltees gazed sadly down at his daughter. "Take care, little one, and remember the things we spoke of. You are a brave woman, Neeva, but do not allow this bitterness inside you to take possession of your heart."
"I hope, father, that some day I will be wise enough to know the meaning of your words, but for now I am doing what I must do." Before he could protest, she threw her arms around him, then turned and walked to her horse.
Samar lifted her up on the rangy stallion, handing her the leather reins. He was not fooled by her tranquil smile, but she had made her decision and, though he opposed it, he admired her.
As Jessie followed the two men from camp, she saw them buckle on their gun belts. A web of helplessness wove itself through her insides and though the sun was warm overhead, a chill crept up her spine. For a small measure of comfort she reached down to the pocket on the inside of her moccasin. Her fingers touched on the smooth handle of her Bowie knife and she assured herself she would be all right.
Valiantly attempting to hold her chin high, she faced the mountains to the south, heading into a territory unfamiliar to her. Uncertain danger and an unknown future lay ahead, not to mention a way of life she knew little or nothing about. And yet a strange feeling of excitement flooded her veins. Could she actually be looking forward to this venture?
When Scott Cordell suddenly turned in his saddle to reward her with a frigid glare, her thoughts scattered like feathers in the wind. His brows were drawn into a heavy scowl, and even from a distance, Jessie could feel the icy chill of his blue eyes. As he removed his jacket she became exceedingly aware of his broad shoulders and hard muscular arms. She could only imagine the cruelty in his hands if he should touch her. Had she made a grave mistake thinking she could stand up to him?