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Authors: Shelia Chapman

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BOOK: Blood of the Rainbow
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Jared smiled and studied her eyes. He grinned. “It must have been the cold hands that gave me away.”

“Actually, it was the - ah – the thing around your neck,” Sara sighed, embarrassed that she’d forgotten its name.

Jared furrowed his brow. Then he realized she was talking about his stethoscope. He grinned, lightly brushing the back of his index finger down her cheek.

Lucy slid a small clear plastic box, across the table to Jared. “Here you go.”

Out of the corner of his eye, Jared glanced over the contents of the box and rolled his eyes. “Lucy, this is pathetic,” he grumbled. “What I
is a small bowl with some hydrogen peroxide in it, and some cotton balls. I need to
the wound. I
you have those?”

Lucy frowned as if she’d just been scolded by her big brother. “Sure,” she scoffed. “I’ll be right back.”

Sara could see Lucy was upset. She frowned.
He’s being rude
He didn’t need to be so harsh!

With a pair of tweezers, Jared began separating Sara’s hair from the wound. “When was your last tetanus?”

Sara’s mind was still fuzzy.
She tried to unscramble her thoughts.
Wait a minute!
Did he just say tetanus?
I hate shots!
Bile started rising to the back of her throat again. She felt nauseous. Sara’s blood pressure jumped a couple of notches. “Um… gosh… I don’t know. Four, five, maybe six years ago. Why?”

“Just to be safe, I might need to give you a booster.”

Lucy sat the supplies on the table next to the first-aid kit. She sat in a chair beside them. “How did this happen?”

Jared dipped a cotton ball in the bowl, and started dabbing it on Sara’s head.

Sara winced and clenched her teeth. “That stings!”

Jared’s voice was soothing, caring. “Sorry, I’ll try to be more gentle.”

Strange… he practically yelled at Lucy. Why is he being so nice to me? Lucy is more attractive, and she’s closer to his age too.  He’s at least five or six years older than me.

Jared picked up another cotton ball, dampened it, and continued cleaning Sara’s wound. “It was my fault. I was trying to be a gentleman, but I scared the daylights out of her.”

Envy bubbled to the surface of Sara’s carefully composed poker face. “You two know each other?”

Lucy half smiled. “Yeah, we do.”

Just my luck
. “Oh.” Sara’s voice sounded pitiful.

Jared smiled knowingly.
She’s jealous. She thinks me and Lucy are….

“Sara, this is Jared Thundercloud. He owns ‘Raging Storm’ – the band I told you about - and he plays keyboard for us. Jared, this is my niece, Sara Foster. Oh, and Sara, as you might have guessed, Jared’s a doctor.”

Sara rolled her eyes.
No joke
The stethoscope around his neck was a dead giveaway – really Lucy!

Jared smiled, and briefly shook Sara’s hand. “Nice to meet you Sara.”

Their eyes met, and Sara forgot about everything. She took a deep shaky breath, still utterly dazzled by his handsome features and deep, husky voice. “Nice to meet you too, Jared – Oh I mean Dr. Thundercloud.”

“Just Jared, Sara. I think you can get by without stitches,” he smiled, slowly stroking the full length of her hair against her back.

Sara shivered.

 Jared continued. “I would feel more comfortable if you had a tetanus booster, though. I’ll give it to you myself. I can make a quick trip to my office and bring it back. Will you let me do that?” he prompted, as he studied her eyes.

Sara could feel her face flushing.

Lucy smiled and tucked her head. She knew how much Sara hated hospitals and needles. Jared must have sensed Sara’s apprehension. “I’ll be gentle,” he added, waiting.

Sara drew in a deep sigh. No matter how much she wanted to tell him no – she couldn’t. “I guess so,” she responded reluctantly.

“Thank you,” he whispered in her ear as he stood. His hot breath made her tingle.

Jared turned his attention to Lucy. “Speaking of ‘Raging Storm’. We’re still on for practice tonight – aren’t we? Unless you and Sara want to spend some time with each other,” he smiled.

Jared sat in the chair beside Sara, took her hand, and turned it over. “That’s your head clean. Let’s see if I can get rid of the blood off your hand before you throw up on me.” He grinned and wiped it with an alcohol swab.

Sara thought her heart was going to jump out of her chest. Jared was so handsome. She couldn’t help but stare at his copper-toned skin, and his long black hair that hung just below his shoulder blades. He had it tied back at the base of his neck.

Lucy winked at Sara. “Actually, I was thinking about bringing her with me. You see, the Kid here plays guitar, and sings pretty good too. I taught her
I know. I was hoping Raging Storm could use another female vocalist….”

Now he’ll want me to play and sing for him.
Sara sighed and rolled her eyes. Her voice full of sarcasm. “Thanks Luce!”
Even if I wasn’t scared to death to be on stage, if he’s anywhere near me, I’ll have trouble remembering my name, let along song lyrics. Breathe Sara! Breathe!

Jared grinned. “Yeah, I saw the guitar. Sara, in that case, would you like
to teach you to play?” he joked.

Lucy punched him in the arm – hard. “You rat!”

“Damn Luce!” Jared complained, glaring at her, and rubbing his arm. He turned his attention back to Sara, and his tone changed. “I’ll look forward to tonight. That is, if you’re feeling up to it. If not, we can put it off until next week. You might have a slight headache from your head butting session,” he teased.

If you want to spend time with me, I’m not letting a headache stop me.
“No! I’m fine,” she blurted out too quickly. Jared turned the full force of his dark, piercing eyes on her.
I think.
He stood.
Oh no – he’s leaving!
She groaned inwardly.

Jared softly chuckled. “Maybe we better be sure, first. How about you and I go for a walk, so I can make sure you’re not going to have any adverse effects from your bump?” He waited for her response, enjoying his advantage.

Did he just ask me to go for a walk with him - alone?
Sara had been following rules for so long she automatically looked to Lucy, eagerly waiting. After all, if there were rules to adhere to, it would be Lucy’s now.

Lucy smiled. “You’re almost nineteen now. It’s up to you Sara.”

She’s right. I am an adult. Lucy couldn’t legally stop me from doing anything I wanted to.

Nevertheless, Lucy was sweet and had always treated Sara with respect, so Sara gave her the same courtesy. She would have given Kaye more respect, if she’d stop treating Sara like a child. “Sure, I’d love to… unless you want me to stay here with you Luce,” she added, begging Lucy with her eyes.

Lucy smiled. She saw right through Sara’s sugar-coated gesture.
Lucy, he doesn’t want you – remember that!
“Jared, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear you were hitting on my niece,” she teased.

“Lucy!” Sara groaned, rolling her eyes again.

Jared chuckled, and smiled down at Sara. “That’s because I

Yep – thought so.
Lucy faked a laugh. “So where were you thinking of taking her?”

“Down by the river.”

In her excitement, Sara had almost forgotten she was supposed to call her mother. “Oh no! What about Mom?”

It’s official. Now I know I don’t stand a chance. He wants my niece!
Be happy for her Lucy – be happy for her.
Lucy shook her head and waved it off. “Go on – get outta here,” she smiled. “I’ll think of some kind of lie to pacify your mother. That’s what she expects me to do anyway.”

“Are you
?” Sara prompted.

“Yes I’m sure. Now get outta here before I change my mind.” She flashed a warning glare at Jared. “

Jared frowned. “Shoot – there goes my fun. Don’t worry Luce. Sara is safe with me.”
Safer than you could imagine

Jared put his hand at the small of Sara’s back and guided her toward the door. He turned. “Oh! Don’t eat Luce. I’ve got that covered. We’re having a cookout.”


There was an awkward silence as Sara and Jared walked side by side down the pavement. Jared not knowing
to say and Sara too embarrassed to say

 Finally, Jared broke the ice. “So, Sara… are you planning on going to college here in Shreveport?”

 “I really hadn’t given it a lot of thought, to be honest. If I could get past my stage fright, I’d like to pursue my music.”

Jared grinned. “I think I could get you past that.”

Sara inhaled, trying to steady her quickened breath.
I’ll just bet you can too
He’s flirting with you stupid – do something – say something. I can’t! I just can’t! Sara you’re a chicken!

Jared softly chuckled.
Sara certainly seems like the right girl
. “Luce is right. ‘Raging Storm’
use another female vocalist. Maybe you and I could do some duets?”

Oh God! His voice is so sexy, I can only imagine what he sounds like when he sings.
She scoffed. “You might not say that after you’ve heard me sing.”

Jared grinned again. “Not hardly….”

Sara blushed and laughed nervously. “Do you sing, or just play?”
Of course, he does you idiot
Lucy already told you he did both. What’s wrong with me? You’ve been around guys before – but Jared doesn’t even begin to compare to Jeff – the cheat! Try asking Jared something that he hasn’t already answered - dunce!

Jared sensed her embarrassment. He smiled. “I do both.”

“Jared, can I ask you a question?”

Jared chuckled, and answered the questions Sara was too shy to ask him. “No, I’m
married. And no, I don’t have a steady girlfriend –
,” he added giving her a sideways glance.

Sara rolled her eyes, sighed, and lied. “Very informative, but that wasn’t what I wanted to know.”

Jared appeared to be deflated. “Oh….”

Sara blushed again and took a deep breath. “I don’t want you to think I’m prejudice, but which tribe are you from? I mean, obviously you’re Native American, right?”

Jared smiled. “Aren’t we observant? Was it my dark skin, high cheek bones, or long hair that gave me away?” he teased. “Please tell me it wasn’t the accent. I’ve been working extremely hard, not to say ‘how’, when I greet people. You tell me. Guess Sara.”

Great – now you’ve offended him.He’s just too polite to say anything.
“I’m not good at guessing games,” she blurted out.
Offending him was the last thing I wanted to do.

Jared stood in front of her, forcing her to either look at him or the ground. “Oh come on – try -

Oh God – don’t beg Jared
. Very quickly, Sara taxed her memory, but she came up blank. Sara had been fascinated with Native Americans since she was a child, which was probably one of the things that attracted her to Jared, but not the only one. She glanced at the thunderbird on the wide leather band on his wrist. She took a pot luck guess. “Navajo?”

Jared studied her eyes, his expression serious, and unreadable.

Oh God,
Sara thought
. I must have gotten it wrong!

Jared finally grinned. “You got it right.” He stepped to her side again.

Sara sighed noticeably. She still wasn’t thinking clearly. “Do you live on a reservation?”
Her face turned a deeper shade of red.
You’re so stupid! Of course, he doesn’t. There are no Navajo reservations anywhere near Shreveport – you moron!

Jared softly laughed. “No. I live at Wisteria Hall, to the north of Cross Lake. But, my grandfather still lives on a reservation in Arizona. Maybe I could take you there sometime. ‘Raging Storm’ plays at the annual country music convention there every year.
I can keep my schedule clear enough.”

Sara was relieved. “I’ve always wanted to see Arizona. I loved ‘Geronimo’ and ‘Last of the Mohicans’.”

Jared laughed again. “Well at least you got one of them right.”

Sara looked horrified. “What?”

They started walking again. “Ah – Sara - ‘Last of the Mohicans’ took place in Colorado.”

Sara blushed again. “Oops – sorry. Guess I took the movies too seriously.”

Jared smiled. “It’s all right. I’ll enjoy serving as your guide.”

Sara was getting confused. “Where – in Colorado?”

“No Silly!” Jared chuckled. “Arizona. I’ll look forward to showing it to you… all of it.”


They walked a while longer before Sara built up enough courage to say anything else. “Is Wisteria Hall some kind of plantation?” She hoped the house would be a safer subject.
If you embarrass yourself much more, your face is going to burst into flames. You already look like you’ve been sunburned!

Jared smiled slightly. “Yes. During the slave days, it was a huge cotton plantation. It’s about eight or nine miles outside the city limits.”

Sara felt a little braver. “Why is it called Wisteria Hall?”

They neared the curb. Sara’s last question seemed to make him uncomfortable. He smiled again, and reached down, taking her hand. “You’ll understand when you see it.”

Jared led her across the street, where they stopped at a low, white picket fence. When they’d crawled over the fence, instead of letting go of Sara’s hand, he laced his fingers with hers.

Sara was caught off guard. Jared’s touch sent chills down her spine.
If I had known you were here, I would have moved long ago. Even if it meant running away from home and finishing school in Shreveport!

Jared grinned knowingly and led her to the edge of the lake. Every so often, he’d look at Sara and smile.

BOOK: Blood of the Rainbow
11.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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