CELTIC CROSS by Tammy Doherty
Genre: Historical Romance (Christian)
Moonlight streamed into the room, glinting off the porcelain pitcher and washbasin on the dresser. A silver river of light flowed from the window to the bed and curved upwards to cross the quilt. Matt sat up, glancing around at the shadows. What was the noise that woke him? He strained to hear the sound again. There...a muffled moan.
He leaned forward in the wing-backed chair. Cristeen’s breathing was much faster. Beneath the closed lids her eyes moved rapidly. She was dreaming. About what? Matt stroked her temple with the back of his hand. Her breathing slowed. The rapid eye movement ceased. He continued tracing a line from her temple along her hairline down to her ear.
Her breathing was now slow and steady. She was pallid from the loss of blood, the silvery light made her look more pale. Matt sat back again. The minutes ticked by slowly. Then she blinked. He sat up straight. Was that his imagination?
Cristeen’s eyelids fluttered then stayed open. At first she stared up at the ceiling. Slowly she turned to look at Matt. Her eyes searched his. The tortured pain was gone, replaced by an almost desperate questioning. She blinked again. Still the questions went unasked. In the end Matt spoke, unable to keep silent under the weight of her gaze.
“You’re okay now.” The half-truth sounded hollow to his ears. “You are safe here.” At least that was honest.
The corners of her mouth twitched, almost smiled. “Where is here?”
She whispered, but in the stillness of the night Matt heard clearly. He chuckled. “That’s a fair question.” Now she really smiled. “This is my home, my ranch. My name is Matt Donovan.”
She continued gazing at him. Finally she asked, “Do you know who I am?”
The question was completely unpretentious. She truly wanted to know if he knew her. Which led Matt to believe she was not sure of her own identity. To avoid alarming her, he steered her attention elsewhere.
“Would you like a drink?”
The distraction worked. She accepted the offer and with Matt’s help drank a glassful of water. As he eased her back down onto the pillow her eyes began to close again. Matt brushed an errant strand of hair from her face. Then her eyes opened again and locked on his. “Thank you,” she whispered then fell asleep.
He sat down but continued to gaze on Cristeen. She looked peaceful. He vividly recalled the pain in her expression yesterday as he carried her into the house. Now her eyes were closed, her face smooth. Nothing about her appearance the day before had suggested femininity. She had been wearing men’s clothing, the boots meant for work not fashion. Her gun, a Colt Cavalry pistol, held five rounds in the chamber — one shot had been fired. Every bit of her gear was utilitarian, except the hairbrush which had an ivory handle painted with a floral pattern. And the book.
Still, she was quite feminine. Her hands were callused, her nails cut short, but that could not disguise the slender gracefulness of her fingers. Katie had loosed the braided hair and brushed the red-gold strands so that now Cristeen’s face was framed by coppery tresses. She turned her head slightly, hiding the ugly purple bruises covering her left cheek. Matt saw in her softly rounded face a vision of gentle kindness. Her quiet voice seemed to echo in his mind.
Strong, courageous, stubborn, tenacious, all these seemed good words to describe the woman who arrived here that morning. To this list he now added gentle, inquisitive, and vulnerable. An indignant ire grew inside him. The monster responsible for hurting this woman must be brought to justice.
Matt leaned back in the chair. He ran a hand through his hair and sighed. Could he possibly judge her character from their brief, very brief, interactions? The first time she had barely been aware of him. When she wakes and recovers, then he could learn about her. He let his eyes close even as he smiled.
Buy on Amazon
Tell us 5 random things about you the person, not the author
1) I'm kind of an Anglophile. I like Dickens and Shakespeare, Sherlock and Doctor Who, and British accents.
2) Happy endings make me cry. So does Puff The Magic Dragon.
3) I really don't like to cry in front of people.
4) Disney cartoons are entertaining no matter how old you are.
5) Every time I drink soda, I get hiccups.
Where to connect online