tami sanders * paper crafter

tami sanders is a paper crafter that teaches locally and does design work for a few companies…

ramblings back up

9/4 realized today that i am liking the story with NO dialog, but can’t continue that way…let’s see if i can get them chatting in the new scene…might be interesting to have no dialog up to this point in their story. like black and white movie suddenly adding color! LOL!

romance ramblings…

working draft

inspiration scene… (mostly reworked)

Her eyes pleaded with him to let her go, the tears pooling, but not falling from her lashes. she would not cry she told herself; her tears would not sway him, of that she was sure. his face gave evidence to his profession. deeply tanned, with fine creases around his eyes as well as and at the corners of his mouth, which was firmly (?) set in a grim, determined (?) line (meter off – firmly determined helps?). there was a ruthlessness emanating from him that was almost tangible  palpable. as his gaze met and locked with hers, as she looked up at him, she found herself staring into slate grey eyes that were like glinted like hardened steel; cool and unyielding.

her refusal to give way to tears moved her up a few notches in his estimation and the rugged {?) bounty hunter felt an unexpected flare of emotions in his chest. feelings he didn’t know he was still capable of. feelings he thought he had buried long ago. as they stared at each other as his eyes fixed on hers, she seemed to change and transform before his eyes. she suddenly became more than just a face on the faded wanted poster folded in his saddlebag. much more than just a way to earn the reward money he so badly needed. in those few moments when his gaze met and locked  held with hers, he became aware of her as a simply {?) a woman. an awareness that and that   a subtle shift in perception that sent a jolt wave of new sensations pulsing through his body. (flow?)

he fleetingly wondered just how desperate she was to escape him. what would she be willing to do to earn gain her freedom? from the information the ex-ranger had been given about his quarry, this was no innocent miss fresh from the farm. although he saw no evidence of it in her face, with it’s peaches and cream complexion and a sprinkling of freckles across the bridge of her nose, he’d been led to believe hers was a life of deception and manipulation. doing what she must to to survive in this wild, lawless (?) territory.

but those thoughts were quickly weighed and discarded. even though he had become only a shadow of the principled man he was raised to be, he had not fallen so low that he would take advantage of her desperation. no matter what she had done or who she had been had become.

***

scene at river…

—beginning of attraction after few days on trail? (mostly reworked)

she slowly waded into the icy cold water, letting her body gradually adjust to the shock of  the frigid temperature a little bit at a time little by little. she had been on her best behavior all day, afraid up until the very last minute, that he would deny her this promised chance to wash the trail dust from her body and clothing. it seemed like weeks, instead of just a few days, since she had felt clean. she dove under the water and feeling energized  by the freezing cold water, swam out towards the middle of the river. the pull of the current was gentle, and it’s gently soft lapping relaxed the tension and soothed the aches that had built up  during the long, dusty ride. she flipped onto her back and floated along with the current for a few minutes, then gracefully turned to swim back before she drifted too far. not knowing how long it would be before he called her back, she decided that it was time to wash and to rinse out her clothes. she swam back to the bank and reached for the sliver of carnation scented soap she had left there. where the bounty hunter had procured this small luxury was a mystery to her, but he had handed it to her along with a small piece length of linen he had pulled from his saddlebag. she heard a rustle in the underbrush beside the river and knew that he was close by. but he had promised her privacy as long as she agreed to answer or to return when he called out. her clothing was in worse shape than she had expected, there were several long rents in her chemise and the hem of her petticoat, which was encrusted in dirt and mud, had grown ragged along the hem. her once pale blue dress, best described as serviceable to start with, appeared to have turned the same shade as the dirt (maybe color of texas dirt instead of general) along the trail. trails ribbons of dirt and soap mingled with the water and floated away fro m her and down the river floated away with the current as she washed and rinsed out her few items of clothing. she laid her freshly scrubbed clothes garments out on rocks along the bank, hoping the late afternoon sun would provide enough warmth to dry them at least enough to make them not too unbearable to don once again. with her clothing tended to, she turned to removing the accumulated perspiration and grime from her body. she was lathering her hair for the second time when she heard him call out. she started to answer(?), but before she could do so, her foot slipped on a algae covered rock on the river bottom of the river. she lost her balance and began to fall backwards, all she managed to let out was a small yelp before her head went under. the water wasn’t deep, but the fall had disoriented her and it took her a moment before she broke to the surface.

the bounty hunter had been waiting at the edge of the small stand of trees that lined the riverbank. he had tried to ignore her soft gasps in reaction to the effects of the chilly river as she entered it’s waters as well as the sounds of her light splashing that followed. (needs work) he had tried, without much success, to turn his mind away from thoughts of her bathing, to more important matters, like which route he should take in order to skirt around the town that lay in the path of their trail the following day. he wondered why he had allowed her this small pleasure, and more than that, why he had felt compelled to rummage in his saddlebag to find that treasured scrap of soap to give her to use in her ablutions. he had carried that memento with him for more years than he cared to consider. it’s gentle fragrance reminding him of happier times, reminding him of who had the man he had been before he gave up his position of lawman in favor of the harsh life of a bounty hunter. angry at himself, and quickly deciding she had had more than enough time to take care of necessities, he called out to her. in the next moment, he heard her cry out followed by a loud splash. without taking time to consider his actions, he rushed to the bank and quickly scanned the river for any sign of her and became alarmed when he did not immediately see spot her. had she fallen and hit her head? had the current caught her and pulled her under? unsure of whether or not she was in danger, he quickly shucked off his boots and ran in, diving into the river once he was close to it’s center. he swam under the surface of the water, scanning searching along the bottom, looking for any signs of her. breaking the surface for air, he again scanned the river, looking up and down it’s length. he was starting just beginning to dive back down when he heard a shriek of surprise. his eyes traveled to the bank on the far side of the river and there she stood, cowering behind a small grouping of rocks barely large enough to conceal her. he caught a glimpse of pale, creamy shoulders and a sliver of slim leg that were not completely hidden from his view. a wave of relief washed over him, catching him by surprise off guard by it’s intensity. surely the relief he felt upon spotting finding her safe was just only due only to his worry over the reward. after all, in order to collect the bounty, she must be delivered alive and unharmed. he started to swim over to her, but this was met with angry shouts and the frantic waving of her arms shooing him away. secure in the knowledge (?) that she was safe (although he was enjoying the exhibition of limbs that her actions provided), he turned and headed back for the bank. there he stalked past her frilly underthings laid out along the rocks, and once again (and not for the first time), questioned why he had taken on this job. without turning around, he shouted over his shoulder for to her to hurry back to camp, threatening as he stormed away, and threatened that he would come back and get her if she didn’t arrive in 5 minutes time. she scrambled from behind her cover as soon as he was out of sight and dove into the cold waters once again;and quickly swam swimming back to shore as fast as she could. after toweling off as best she could with the need for haste foremost on her mind,  she snatched up her clothes and began to dress. the still wet and now cold garments did nothing to chase the chill of the river from her body. goosebumps (gooseflesh?) raised along her skin and she was shivering and trying to stop the chattering of her teeth before she finally stumbled into the camp.

she had arrived with a few seconds to spare the bounty hunter grudgingly admitted to himself. his gaze traveled up and down the damp clothing that clung to her body, to revealing her lush curves which the now setting sun behind her helped served to outline and define (awkward needs rewording). her hair, which was usually secured under an old hat he had given her, fell in soft copper waves to well past her waist. her face, flushed with the exertion from her hurried race to dress and return to camp, was touched with a soft blush of rose at her cheeks. and her mouth, her mouth was moving in an unnatural way, she seemed to be trying to keep her jaw clenched. his brows pulled together in puzzlement as he stared at her, his mind slowly returning from his perusal of her to realize that she was shaking all over, her arms crossed over held across her body as if trying to stop the quaking motions. he jumped up, grabbing a blanket from his bedroll as he stood and quickly moved towards her. he wrapped the blanket around her shoulders and brought the ends together under her chin. instinctively, he wrapped his arms around her and held her to him until he felt her shivering begin to slow.

there was a moment when they both looked at each other that the (can’t look at each other if he’s holding her!) for a moment, it seemed that time, place and circumstance had faded fallen away. holding her felt right, she fit so perfectly against him, the softness of her body nestled against the hard planes and lines of his own. her head barely reached his shoulder, and he could smell the faint scent of the carnation soap he had given her the faint scent of the carnation soap he had given her still lingered in her tresses.  it was the smell of carnations, and the memories associated with it, that snapped his mind him back to where he was and just who he was holding. that but then he heard her fiance’s words echoing about in his mind, reminding him of her true nature. cursing himself as the worst kind of fool, him shattered when he suddenly stepped back away from her, dropping his arms to his side as he moved.

somehow she felt colder than she had before, as if the chill had suddenly worked it’s way inside her to grasp her heart in it’s cool hand. she thanked him for the blanket, and quickly went moved to sit down on the log he had dragged to the center of camp.

mentally berating himself not only for his impulsive behavior, but also for his failure to anticipate the need for a fire this evening, he turned to make his way to the woods. if his thoughts had been on taking care of his affairs (?) instead of picturing her at her bath, he would have had a fire blazing before her return. as it was, he would still need to go hurriedly gather wood and build a fire as darkness, and the temperature with it, was already falling.

when he returned to camp, there was just enough light left in the fading evening dusk to make out her combing through her hair with her fingertips. when he returned to camp. giving himself a mental shake to stop himself for staring at the innocent scene which somehow seemed (he found?) anything but, he knelt to build the fire.  her the gentle stroking of her hands as she sifted and separated the unruly strands was a purely innocent act, but he found the scene anything bur innocent. once again, he felt something pull and tug at parts (?) of him that had not been touched in a very long time. (really?) deliberately turning his eyes from her, he knelt to lay the fire before the last light of day faded.

***

sleep scene…(mostly reworked)

—letting down his guard for his own sake

knowing that he had to find his (?) rest at night and keep an eye on his prisoner, he had devised what he thought was a sure fire (?) way to do both. he secured one end of a length of rope to a belt loop at his waist, and tied the other end to her wrist. conditioned for the need to be constantly vigilant, he was a habitually light sleeper. any movement from her would awaken him, and so she would not be able to attempt to untie the knots or cut the rope without his knowledge. he had thought to pack an extra bedroll for her, to provide some much needed distance away from her during the night, but the space was not so great as to allow for her to move without disturbing his slumber.

at in the beginning, she had slept warily, afraid to move from her the position on her side with her back to the bounty hunter. she lay hunched and uncomfortable on the cold, hard ground, which the thin blankets did little to cushion, waiting to hear his breathing slow and deepen. but she soon realized that any movement on her part from her brought him from slumber to wakefulness. determined to gain any advantage that she could over him, she began making small, slow deliberate movements during the night. not enough to alarm him, but enough to keep him from reaching the deep sleep (?) disturb his rest, something he was in great need of to recover from the long days and his constant watchfullness on the trail. she kept up her silent torture torment each at night, delighting in its increasing effectiveness judging by if the shadows growing under the bounty hunter’s eyes and the moodiness with with he addressed her each morning were any indications of her success. if her situation wasn’t so dire, it would be almost comical.

he had to do something, this sleeping arrangement was not working. his solution to keeping one eye on her, while trying to keep both eyes shut was not working out at all as he planned. she tossed and turned all night, which caused the rope at his waist to tug and dance almost all night long. just about the time he fell asleep, she was at it again. if he didn’t know better, he would think she was doing it on purpose. he wasn’t sure what else to do, making her share his bedroll would only wreak even more havoc on what little sleep he was getting now.

he worried over his dilemma like (like what) casting aside idea after idea as to how to keep his prisoner her under his control (?) while being able to get the sleep he so badly needed. things could not continue on as they were, he would not make it through another day, much less several more weeks without at least a few hours of sleep each night. at the end of the day, he had still not reached any decision. their nightly meal was eaten in silence, the horses had been cared for and fed, the camp cleared and geared stowed, and nothing was left to be done except to bed down for the night. he had risked a small fire, as the evening had been especially cold. the wind whipping through the small canyon they had taken shelter in.(can they have a fire if wind is whipping through? need to have some wind block?) the fire was what gave him the idea. he would place her between the fire and himself. she would not be able to sneak away without him knowing it. he grabbed up the bedrolls and began laying them out by the fire, a bit closer together than they had been in previous days.

she prepared for bed, removing her boots, and braiding her hair. like the bounty hunter, she slept fully dressed, so her nightly routine (?) took only minutes to accomplish. she glanced at the bedrolls and noticed the slight changes that he had made, but knew any knowing questions about his decisions were usually met with silence, she decided to keep quiet herself. she moved to sit down on her blanket, and surreptitiously turned to watch him finish his evening preparations. she wasn’t sure why he was still moving around about camp, there was nothing left that needed to be done she was sure. finally, he moved to bed down for the night. she waited for him to attach the hated rope to her wrist. her nightly game had deprived her of sleep as well, but she was determined to keep up her attack on his sleep. she needed any advantage she could over him. but instead of securing her to him, he simply turned his back and pulled the blanket up over himself. she sat where she was, waiting for him to realize his oversight and tie her up for the night. she wasn’t sure how long she waited before she finally realized that the bounty hunter had drifted off, a soft snore escaping from him with each breath he took. she weighed her options, was he testing her? was he pretending sleep just so he could catch her attempting to escape? she sat awhile longer, contemplating this new situation. after turning numerous scenarios and potential outcomes over in her mind, she finally decided her best course of action was to get a good night’s sleep herself. if the bounty hunter was beginning to let down his guard, then an opportunity to get away from escape him could present itself soon and she must be ready for it.

***

another “attraction” scene… (somewhat reworked)

one moment they were standing close, breathless from the close call. (what might that be!? need better opening) the next, she found herself gathered up in his arms, his body and his lips pressed up against hers. she felt the hardness of his chest, the strength in his arms as she gripped them. and then he angled his head down towards her, his lips meeting hers with an urgency that shook her. there was nothing gentle in his kiss, nothing tender about the way his arms held her in their iron embrace. he pressed even closer, his knee riding between hers, she could feel the heat emanating from his body, smell the unique mix of leather, horse and man that she had come to associate (better word) with only him (really rough). she felt her initial resistance in reaction to this sudden assault on her senses begin to recede. she found herself leaning into him, tilting her head allow him better access as she felt his tongue slide between her lips. she had never been kissed like this, never known how alive her body could feel, how instantly a spark could turn into flame. she found herself melting against him, her hands moving up to sift through the strands of his dark head, pulling him down towards her, she needed him closer still she could not seem to get close enough.

all at once, his arms left her and she staggered backwards under his unexpected release. her mind and senses reeling, her body still surging with the wash of passion that his kiss had awoken in her, she gulped in air, trying to find her balance (?). she stared up at him, trying to grasp what had happened, why he had pulled away, why he abruptly released her as if she it was a red hot poker he was holding instead of her.

the flames of passion that had leapt in his eyes just moments before had been replaced by scorn. in his eyes she could sense his disgust in the rigid way he suddenly held himself away from her. she wasn’t sure what he had been told about her, couldn’t begin to guess at the lies her ex-fiance had fabricated against her. she longed to tell him her story, to pour out the whole sordid tale. she needed someone to listen, someone to believe her.but she knew he was not the one to confess her sins to. he would not grant her absolution.(really rough, needs work)

but she had long ago held herself accountable reconciled for her choices, for the decisions she made and her reasons for them. at first, it was easy to blame her fiance for the path she found herself on. laying all her problems at his doorstep, and avoiding looking deep inside herself ???  he had eased her into his lifestyle bit by bit, like (what?) chipping away at her morality, offering her the adventure and excitement she hadn’t know she craved until he had introduced it to her. she was not proud of the things that she had done, but she was not the person her fiance accused her of being. he had his own reasons for wanting her back, for doing, saying or paying whatever was necessary to have him returned to him. but she could not go back. she had to find a way to reclaim her life as her own. a way to cleanse herself of the past so that she could move ahead to a future she was sure awaited her. (needs LOTS of work – but basic idea)

***

9/4 she tries to get him to open up… (new, needs work)

after 7 days, the silence between she and the bounty hunter became had become unbearable. communication between them had been limited to only short polite exchanges necessary to delegate chores or to set up or tear down camp. she counted herself lucky that he had spared her a few sentences this morning to warn her about (about what). she was fairly confident that this morning’s discourse had been their longest to date. she cast about for something, anything, to ask him about that might provoke more than a one or two word response. her eyes fell on a the scrap of paper tucked into his hatband. she had witnessed his nightly ritual of removing the small square from it’s resting place with almost a reverence (awkward, reword). he would slowly unfold the paper, and spend a few moments gazing at whatever was on it. then he would refold it with just as much care and return it to it’s home in his hatband. she was never close enough to discover what exactly was on the bit of paper. was it a letter? a photograph? it’s size suggested a photograph, but she couldn’t be sure. blurting out the question that had she had been longing to ask for days, she could tell by the way he whipped his head around to look at her, that she had definitely captured his attention. but now that his eyes were riveted on her, she wasn’t so sure she wanted his attention notice. his mouth opened and closed once, then twice. and when he clamped his jaws together for the second time, his mouth arranged itself into a frown that left no doubt about as to just how unwelcome her query was. as he turned to face the trail once more, and she thought she caught an agitated mummer that sounded very much like “damn nosy women”. for some reason the way he said it had left a smile dancing on her lips. deciding that any further attempt to breech the chasm of silence between them would be futile, at least today, she  instead focused her attention on scanning the distance horizon for any signs of habitation.

that evening progressed much the same as the previous days had with them each taking care of the tasks required of them to set up the camp for the night. each working they both worked with quiet efficiency to dispense with chores as quickly as possible so they could sit and rest and recover from the after a long day spent in the saddle. their supper of cold biscuits, left from this mornings breakfast, and equally cold beans from a can was also quickly and quietly dispensed with.

as she finished wiping the tin plates clean, she glanced up and saw the bounty hunter was arranging the bedding on the rock strewn ground. inwardly she cringed groaned, knowing she would spend another night tossing and turning trying to find a position that would evade the dig of at least the larger rocks into her tender skin. she returned the tins to their place in his saddlebag, and moved to sit on her blankets. she unbraided her her and massaged her scalp to relieve the ache that sprang to it once her tresses were loosened from their tight confinement.

slowly she became aware of the bounty hunter’s gaze on her. a glance in his direction confirmed her suspicions. she turned away and with nimble fingers, quickly rebraided her hair. usually by this time, the bounty hunter would already be under the blanket with his back facing her. but tonight, he remained as he was, sitting atop his bedding with his legs stretched out and crossed at his ankles. she was disturbed to find he was still watching her. finding his regard somehow disquieting, she was about to slide under her own covers and present her back to him, when she saw him reach for his hat which was hanging from his saddle horn. deciding that perhaps this might be her chance to ease her curiousity about what exactly was on the scrap of paper he appeared to revere, she remained where she was and tried not to look as though she was watching him.

her alertness was not to be disappointed as just like he had every night on previous nights, the bounty hunter carefully slid the small paper from beneath his hat band. but instead of turning his gaze to it once he had it in hand, he lifted his eyes to meet her own.

startled by being caught watching him, she dropped her eyes and started to turn away. his the sound of his voice caught her by surprise almost more than his words did. instead of the brusqueness that usually accompanied his short commands of her, there was a huskiness that seemed to be filled with an emotion she could not identify. he had risen from his pallet and was moving towards her now, his arm outstretched and holding the paper out to her.

“my family” was all he said, but those 2 simple words conveyed a wealth of emotions, a depth of care, she wouldn’t have thought the bounty hunter capable of. the shock on her face must have shown as she reached to take the small photograph from him. he made a short, self deprecating sound that may have been a laugh, she couldn’t be sure as laughter was not a sound she had heard emitting from him. “bet you thought i didn’t have one”, he said quietly; and the loneliness and longing that was expressed along with that short phrase tugged at her heart. she glanced down at the well worn photo, lined with creases from it’s repeated folding and unfolding, and saw a  woman surrounded by 3 children, a boy and 2 small girls. she focused her attention on the boy, he was standing behind his mother, his back ramrod straight, but a small played about his lips and his eyes seemed alight with mischief. the girls, both with long pale hair and eyes, were arranged on either side of the woman, and both appeared to have been caught mid fidget in the photo. finally, she looked at the woman at the center, there was a weariness about her that showed in her face, but her eyes were clear and appeared to look out at her with an with a gentleness that seemed at odds with her care lined face. (good start, but rough)

she returned her gaze to the bounty hunter and found him warily watching her. as if he wanted to snatch back the photo and his impetuous actions to share this part of himself with her along with it.

she handed the photograph back to him and watched as he absently rubbed his thumb gently over the images once it was back in his possession. had been received in returned to his hand. his eyes however, remained locked on her, as if cautiously awaiting her response to this unexpected gesture.

she felt like this was somehow a test she could not let herself afford to fail. she had sought to breech the distance barrier of silence between them, but now that it had been, she was unsure of how to react, what to say. she was afraid of breaking the tenuous connection they had established. between them. (that’s the idea, but really rough). her mind raced to grasp hold of a response that would not close this small window of opportunity to learn more about him. the door that had been opened between them, she finally asked “what are the names of your sisters’ names?”

for a moment, she saw a shadow pass over his eyes, and instantly wished she could call back her question words. he briefly closed his eyes closed briefly, and when they reopened, the shadow was gone, but and his usually steely glance had returned to them.  replaced by his usual steely glance. the hard edge had returned to his voice too, “maggie and meagan” (change names) they were 12 when they died”. twins! she had noted their similar looks, but had not realized that they were twins. she knew instinctively that questions an inquiry about the circumstances of their death would end their brief encounter. instead, hoping for more neutral territory, she gently asked “what were they like? i always wanted a brother or sister.” for a moment she was afraid he wouldn’t answer, he had turned away from her and she saw his body stiffen at her question. but he slowly turned to face her again, his eyes looking past her, as if he were calling to mind some faded distant memory. when he spoke his voice was low and and unsteady, as if the words were too painful to pass his lips. “i was always getting them out of one scrape or another”, “but they were good girls, just too full of mischief for their own good”, at this, his mouth lifted at one side, almost like a grin.

unsure of his reasons for sharing this small part of himself with her, and regretting his actions.

 

***

fragments

his only concession to her comfort had been to secure her hands in front of her rather than behind. making this journey easy on her was not high on his list of priorities. ensuring that he arrived in time to deliver her and collect the reward was. he was determined that nothing deter him from reaching his destination and his ultimate goal.

***

she knew there was no use struggling against him at this point, better to pretend a docility that she did not feel and wait for an opportunity to escape. she was no match for his strength, her only chance would be to try and outwit him. she would have plenty of time to plot and plan; she would have to be prepared to leap act when her opening (opportunity?) came.

***

he had begun to leave her alone while he went off to collect the wood for the fire or hunt (?), but there was no where for her to go even if she did try decided to make a run for it. but her temporary escape from his watchful eyes, did not provide her with a real opportunity to escape the bounty hunter. she had no idea where they were, no idea which direction to run to if she were to decide to run from him. they had not passed any towns or settlements and she had not caught so much as a glimpse of anything that would indicate that one was nearby. he was careful not to follow the river or any trail that she was able to discern. only he seemed to know where they were headed and how to get there. she also was honest enough to admit to herself that her survival depended on her reliance on the bounty hunter and the protection that he offered for now. he knew the terrain, knew where to find fresh water and locations that would provide some shelter in the evenings that were now turning cool. the land was vast and flat as far as the eye could see. there were no hills, no outcroppings of rock, with and only the occasional groupings of small scrub brush to provide a hiding place. even if she did run try to leave,  there was no where to go, nowhere to hide. he could easily track and catch up to her, even with a had start of several hours or more. {awkward phrasing)

***

nothing in her life had prepared her for the (situation faced with) predicament she now found herself in.

the ruthlessness in the bounty hunter radiated from him —- *in an almost tangible (?)

***

he figured the journey would take roughly 6 weeks, much longer than he would like, but he would have to be careful to avoid towns and dwellings (?) along the way. he could not risk providing her with an easy escape route. deciding to let her have her own horse had been risky enough, but the thought of making the long trek with her riding pillion with him was enough to make him secure with his decision to allow her to have her own mount.

***

nightfall brought with it a sudden drop in the temperature; fall was almost over and winter was quickly setting settling in. most nights, there was no fire to provide any relief from the bone chilling jarring cold, as the bounty hunter was wary of inviting unwanted attention. some mornings, much to her chagrin (enough? mortified is too much – embarrassed?)  she awoke to find discover that she had sought out his warmth during the night, and found herself curled up next to against him.

***

this bounty would be his last, of that, he was sure. he found himself questioning his path, the left turn his life had taken somewhere —-in years past (?) his childhood dreams of becoming a texas ranger had been fullfilled, but if he had realized the cost, would he have spent his nights gazing up at the stars and making the same wishes on them night after night (too hammy, needs work)

***

how had she come to this? how had her life veered so far off it’s predictable course? just how had meeting the man of her dreams led her down this dark and dangerous path. (needs work – tie into ranger dreams)

***

he knew all too well that appearances could be deceiving, that was a lesson he had learned the hard way, and he would not be so easily played the fool again. he must find a way to harden his feelings against her feigned naivety.  find a way to remember how she had manipulated and used others for her own purpose. {describe her how?},

***

the hours in the saddle were long, with nothing to break the monotony except the sighting of the occasional jackrabbit or armadillo. there was not much in the way of conversation, her attempts to try to draw the bounty hunter out were met with terse, monosyllabic (need better word) answers. he asked her nothing about the circumstances that had brought her (?) to have a bounty leveled on her head. of course, unlike the horse thieves and bank robbers whose faces usually graced (need better word) the weathered posters lining sheriff’s offices across the territory, her’s stipulated that she was to be returned “alive and unharmed”. no doubt the reason he had not simply trussed her up hand and foot and tossed her over the back of a pack horse.

***

they had settled into a routine, each day blending into the next with nothing much to differentiate them except the amount of dust that had collected in her hair and clothing on any given day (really – dust?) most meals consisted of nothing more than hardtack washed down with lukewarm water, consumed while on horseback. but occasionally the ex lawman allowed a fire, providing the means for the rare treat of coffee and small game or fish.

plot elements…

someone injured? him? her?

if him – she could cause his injury while trying to escape – wants to leave, but feels responsible – how can he turn her in after she helped him

  • she hits him over the head with a rock/branch to knock him out.

if her- if she’s accidentally hurt on journey back or while trying to escape – either way he might feel responsible. brings out his gentler instincts out of necessity. conflict of coming to care while needing to turn her in for reward.

  • caught in storm, she gets sick, horse bolts, throwing her,

character backgrounds…

her – raised in loving home, idyllic childhood, parents died/killed, left on her own, accepted help from distant relative, who in turn introduces her to “fiance”, things go wrong and then what? she has to learn something negative about fiance that forces her to leave situation. takes enough to get her somewhere? fiance wants her back so accuses her of theft and hires bounty hunter? for what reason – needs to be hidden agenda that motivates fiance. secret inheritance? too simple? don’t like orphan / inheritance idea

maybe she is just wanting a little excitement – boring town, nothing ever happens, meets newcomer and plans to run off to elope, but doesn’t go exactly as planned – he keeps postponing wedding…  he shows his darker side once it’s too late for her… she manages to get away but he wants her back – “fiance’s” need for control /revenge… i don’t see her as a total “innocent” in this story – definitely naive, but allows her “fiance” to lead her astray a bit… until she discovers his secret (what?)

him – raised in similar situation, mom and younger siblings left – he has to support them. but something large is motivating him to earn $$$ fast as bounty hunter. has to be reason he turned from ranger to bounty hunter.  family farm threatened? too obvious? needs to be related to bad relationship in his past that makes him distrustful. thrown over for someone with more $$$?

drafts…

Her eyes pleaded with him to let her go, the tears pooling, but not falling from her lashes. she would not cry she told herself; her tears would not sway him, of that she was sure. his face gave evidence to his profession; deeply tanned, with fine creases around his eyes as well as and at the corners of his mouth, which was set in a grim, determined (?) line (meter off – determined helps?). there was a ruthlessness emanating from him that was almost tangible  palpable. as his gaze locked with hers, she found hers self staring into slate grey eyes that were like hardened steel; cool and unyielding.

her refusal to give way to tears moved her up a few notches in his estimation and the rugged {?) bounty hunter felt an unexpected flare of emotions in his chest. feelings he didn’t know he was still capable of. feelings he thought he had buried long ago. as they stared at each other, she seemed to change before his eyes. she suddenly became more than just a face on the faded wanted poster folded in his saddlebag. much more than just a way to earn the reward money he so badly needed. in those few moments when his gaze met and locked with hers, he became aware of her as a simply {?) a woman. an awareness that and that a subtle shift in perception that sent a jolt wave of new sensations pulsing through his body. (needs reworking – flow)

he fleetingly wondered just how desperate she was to escape. what would she be willing to do to earn her freedom? from the information the ex-ranger had been given about his quarry, this was no innocent miss fresh from the farm. although he saw no evidence of it in her face, he’d been led to believe hers was a life of deception and manipulation. doing what she must to to survive in this wild, lawless (?) territory.

but those thoughts were quickly weighed and discarded, he had not fallen so low* that he would take advantage of her desperation, no matter what she had done or who she had been.

Her eyes pleaded with him to let her go, the tears pooling, but not falling from her lashes. she would not cry she told herself; her tears would not sway him. his slate grey eyes were like steel, hard and unyielding and his mouth was set in a grim line.

her refusal to give way to tears moved her up a few notches in his estimation and the rugged bounty hunter felt an unexpected flare of emotions in his chest. feelings he didn’t know he was still capable of. feelings he thought he had buried long ago. as they stared at each other, she seemed to change before his eyes. she suddenly became more than just a face on the faded wanted poster folded in his saddlebag. much more than just a way to earn the reward money he so badly needed. in those few moments when his gaze met and locked with hers, he became aware of her as a woman. an awareness that sent a jolt of new sensations pulsing through his body.

he fleetingly wondered just how desperate she was to escape. what would she be willing to do to earn her freedom? from the information the ex-ranger had been given about his quarry, this was no innocent miss. although he saw no evidence of it in her face, he’d been led to believe hers was a life of deception and manipulation. doing what she must to to survive in this rough and tumble territory.

but those thoughts were quickly discarded, he had not fallen so far that he would consider abusing his power over her.

even though he had become only a shadow of the principled man he was raised to be, even he had not sunk so low as to take advantage of her situation.

Her eyes pleaded with him to let her go, the tears pooling, but not falling from her lashes, she would not cry she told herself. the rugged bounty hunter felt an unexpected flare of emotions in the area near his heart. feelings he didn’t know he was still capable of. feelings he thought he had buried long ago. she seemed to transform before his eyes. she suddenly became more than just a face on the faded wanted poster folded in his saddlebag. much more than just a way to earn the reward money he so badly needed. he became aware of her as a woman. and this awareness sent a jolt of new sensations pulsing through his body.

Her eyes pleaded with him to let her go, the tears pooling, but not falling from her lashes. she would not cry she told herself. her tears would not sway him anyway. his slate grey eyes were like steel, hard and unyielding and his mouth was set in a grim line.

her refusal to give way to tears moved her up a few notches in his estimation. the rugged bounty hunter felt an unexpected flare of emotions in the area near his heart. feelings he didn’t know he was still capable of. feelings he thought he had buried long ago. she seemed to transform before his eyes. she suddenly became more than just a face on the faded wanted poster folded in his saddlebag. much more than just a way to earn the reward money he so badly needed. in those few moments when his gaze met and held hers, he became aware of her as a woman. and this awareness sent a jolt of new sensations pulsing through his body.

Her eyes pleaded with him to let her go, the tears pooling, but not falling from her lashes. she would not cry she told herself; her tears would not sway him. his slate grey eyes were like steel, hard and unyielding and his mouth was set in a grim line.

her refusal to give way to tears moved her up a few notches in his estimation and the rugged bounty hunter felt an unexpected flare of emotions in the area near his heart. feelings he didn’t know he was still capable of. feelings he thought he had buried long ago. she seemed to transform before his eyes. she suddenly became more than just a face on the faded wanted poster folded in his saddlebag. much more than just a way to earn the reward money he so badly needed. in those few moments when his gaze met and held hers, he became aware of her as a woman. and this awareness sent a jolt of new sensations pulsing through his body.

last saved revision…

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