William agrees to take Thankful to Fort Grant
“Call me Bill at the post,” William coached. “Lieutenant Bourke is the only one to hold to my childhood name, and it gives too much a laugh to the others.”
“Maybe it’s not your name they’re laughing at,” Thankful said, poking his side with her thin, gloved finger.
“What are you saying?”
“I just mean that maybe they have their own concerns and aren’t as against you as you think.”
“I know well enough if I’m being played the fool,” William said, but his stomach pained him. He wasn’t sure of anyone’s motives.
At the stables, Thankful laughed at William’s pony. “The Friesians at home could swallow that little thing. Are you sure he’ll hold me too and with the carbine?”
William pat the horse’s rump. “You shouldn’t go making fun of Sophie. She’s a good girl.”
“Sophie? What a name for a horse.”
“I like it. Maybe I had a dog or something named Sophie. You’ll have to ride Indian style. I had to sell her saddle.”
“No one will see that I care about,” Thankful said with a blush as she straddled the horse exposing her striped pink stockings.
William steadied her and pretended not to notice her shapely legs. Thankful was tall like her mother and father and solidly built. The sunlight streaming through the stable window played up her deep blue eyes.
“Thankful, I have to drive her. You’ll have to hang off back if you don’t mind.”
“I can ride quite well, Mr. Bill Weldon!” Thankful said, but slid off to let William on first.
“Maybe so, but you’re your mother’s daughter.” William swung his leg over the horse with a shy smile.
Thankful followed and wrapped her arms around William’s middle. He felt flustered again. But this was crazy. She’d be gone tomorrow.
Although his parents tried to keep him from horses after his accident, William always found a way to ride. He enjoyed this one good thing about himself and liked showing off to Thankful.
They cantered out on the desert path and rode for hours.
“William, have you missed me?” Thankful asked in his ear.
“I . . . I guess I miss the folks at home sometimes—you being one of them—so yes . . . I guess so,” William said.
Thankful stayed quiet until the fort came into view at twilight. “I’m so excited!” she said.
The guard’s ears pricked at the sound of Thankful’s voice.
“Bill Weldon, who do you have there?” the guard asked.
Thankful slid from the horse. “I’m Bill’s cousin from home with no place to sleep tonight—will the army put me up? I’ll pay.” She held out her hand, confident in the effect her looks had on men.
The man sported a big yellow grin. “Bill, you’ve got cousins? How many?” he asked, looking Thankful over. “I don’t know for certain, young lady, but I think the officers could find you something. Your cousin’s got special privileges.” He smacked William’s back. “Nice to see you, young fellow. We’ve missed you.”
The guard led them to the sergeant of the guard who gawked with pleasure at the girl with high cheekbones.
“Miss Crenshaw, Bill will show you in—he knows the way,” the sergeant said and whispered to William, “I guess we owe you now—bringing in such a beaut—she’s not spoken for is she? Has she got sisters?”
“A twin,” William let slip.
The man’s eyes lit. “The officers get this one, I guess, but send for the other and give us non-commissioned men a chance at happiness.”
PREVIOUS EPISODE HERE
Excerpted from WEARY OF RUNNING. Read more about Buck Crenshaw and his misadventures when you buy the book today!
“The second installment in The Tenafly Road Series definitely did not disappoint. With the introduction of new characters and the return of familiar ones, Weary of Running made for an exciting read. The protagonist, Thankful, is the real highlight of the novel. She consistently makes very poor decisions but in the end, you can understand why she has made every last one of them. The story ranges from love and romance to questions of faith and morality. It does all this without being preachy and explores many angles of different aspects of life. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time.” Amazon Review
“Buck Crenshaw is my favorite dysfunctional lovable character.”