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Authors: Cindy Spencer Pape

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Eagle's Redemption

BOOK: Eagle's Redemption
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Eagle’s Redemption

Cindy Spencer Pape

 

Book two in the Texas Passions series.

 

Dash Hyde is a former Chicago cop, scarred both inside and out. When he inherits a share in a Texas ranch, the last thing he expects is to meet a woman who can see past the scars to his very soul—even though she’s nearly blind.

Carmen Whitefeather loves taking care of wildlife, but the damaged man she finds on her doorstep with an injured eagle fascinates her even more. The spark between them is instant and overwhelming, and she’s determined to enjoy every second.

As Carmen and Dash explore the passion they find in each other’s arms, they both take the risk of getting burned. When an old enemy of Dash’s targets Carmen, Dash will have to face his deepest fears and walk into the flames to fight for the woman he loves.

 

 

An Ellora’s Cave Romantica Publication

 

www.ellorascave.com

 

Eagle’s Redemption

 

ISBN 9781419928826

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Eagle’s Redemption Copyright © 2010 Cindy Spencer Pape

 

Edited by Mary Moran

Cover art by Dar Albert

 

Electronic book publication June 2010

 

The terms Romantica® and Quickies® are registered trademarks of Ellora’s Cave Publishing.

 

With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056 Home Avenue, Akron OH 44310-3502.

 

Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded or distributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, without the publisher’s permission. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. (http://www.fbi.gov/ipr/). Please purchase only authorized electronic or print editions and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted material. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

 

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.

 

EAGLE’S REDEMPTION

Cindy Spencer Pape

Dedication

For animal rehabilitation staff and volunteers across the country, who work tirelessly to help undo the damage done by other humans to the creatures who share our planet. You get bitten, scratched, pooped on, peed on and puked on, and you still keep on going, even when funding is cut to zero. You’re all heroes in my book.

 

Trademarks Acknowledgement

 

The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:

Chicago Bears: Chicago Bears Football Club, Inc.

Johnnie Walker: United Distillers and Vintners, LTD

Stetson: John B. Stetson Company

 

Cindy Spencer Pape

Chapter One

“Is that an eagle?” The Texas sun beat down on the back of Dashiel Hyde’s neck, and he wiped his forehead with a bandana as he looked up at the sky. Then he lifted his almost-new black Stetson hat and wiped his shaved head as well. Moose, his big brown quarter horse, shifted slightly between his legs, forcing him to grip with his thighs to hold on, which hurt. Even after being here three months, he still didn’t quite have the hang of riding. The heat was taking some adjustment too—and it was only May, so it was about to get a whole lot hotter.

“Nope. Vulture,” his half brother Mac Moreno noted. Mac’s dark, Hispanic complexion was as beaded with sweat as Dash’s own. “See how the wings sort of make the shape of an M? Eagles’ wings curve up, more like a U.” The two men were riding fence lines in the northern pasture, checking for any broken spots in the barbed wire where the cattle might slip through. Dash had thought he knew all about fences, growing up dirt-poor on Chicago’s south side. There had been plenty of fences, most enclosing small spaces and designed to keep kids like Dash out, but here—here the damn things were put up to keep the cows in, and they ran literally for miles. The vastness of it all still blew his mind. Nothing but green as far as the eye could see, dotted only here and there by trees or cattle. Shaking his head yet again, he nudged his horse into motion, following his brother.

Though Mac ran a bar for a living, he was at home in the saddle, making Dash feel even greener. If his buddies on the Chicago police force could see him now, they’d be laughing their asses off. Still, he’d been coming to grips with the idea of living in Texas, and of having two more half siblings, ones a lot closer to his own thirty-five years than his mom and stepdad’s kids in Illinois. He still wasn’t sure how he felt about the father who had left him one third of the White Eagle Ranch. The gesture might have meant a 6

Eagle’s Redemption

whole hell of a lot more if Joe Morgan had bothered to contact Dash even once while he was still alive.

“Hey, I got a postcard from Leah and Shane today,” Mac said. “Sounds like they’re enjoying Hawaii.”

“Hell, I was surprised they even left their hotel room,” Dash said with a rueful grin.

At Mac’s raised eyebrow he shrugged. “I got one too.” Their half sister Leah had just gotten married to Shane Duffy, the local vet. Of Joe Morgan’s three kids, Leah was the only one who’d been legitimate and had grown up on the ranch, so she was their unofficial leader. After she’d been hurt a few months back, Mac and Dash had stepped up and pitched in to keep the ranch going, just as they were now that she was on her honeymoon.

“Well, they’ll be home in a week,” Mac said. “Guess we’d better be able to tell Leah these fences are all in top condition, right?”

Dash chuckled. Their little sister was a perfectionist when it came to the ranch.

“You said it.” He clicked his tongue, urging his horse to a faster pace.

Mac laughed. “Yeah, city boy, we’re gonna make a cowboy out of you yet.”

* * * * *

Carmen Whitefeather hummed an aria along with the CD player as she stirred the pot of chili on her stove. It was hotter than hell tonight and she’d planned to eat leftover salad for dinner, but for some reason she’d gotten the urge to cook. The scents of browning beef, onions, chili peppers and garlic filled the air of her cabin. She’d just finished shredding a couple of carrots, a nontraditional ingredient but one that would add both a touch of sweetness and some extra nutrition to the sauce, when Silverfoot stirred from his rug in the corner of the kitchen and started to whine loudly enough to be heard over the blaring stereo.

“What is it, boy?” She’d talked to her grandfather not half an hour ago on the phone and her cousin Leah was in Hawaii on her honeymoon. Nobody else ever stopped by 7

Cindy Spencer Pape

Carmen’s snug little cabin tucked into the hills. Nonetheless, there was a sharp rap on the door, and Silver barked loudly in response.

“Just a minute,” she called. With a sigh, Carmen checked the heat on the stove, set down her spoon and picked up her glasses. Even with them, she couldn’t see much, but they’d let her make out the general size and shape of her visitor. Moving by memory, she crossed the open main room of her cabin to the front door with Silver’s nails clattering on the wood floor right beside her. Her unofficial leader dog, the big shepherd-wolf hybrid followed her pretty much everywhere she went.

“Hello,” she said, tilting her head up at the face of the man who stood on her porch.

It was way up, and though she couldn’t quite make out his features, she recognized his voice as soon as he spoke.

The voice was deep and gravelly with a sexy rasp. “Hi. I’m Dash—Dashiel Hyde, Leah’s…brother. We met at her wedding. Your grandfather told me you might be able to help me out.”

“Hi, Dash.” Oh yeah, she remembered him. Just one dance at Leah’s wedding and she’d practically begged him to take her home and fuck her—all that hard muscle and the musky, masculine scent of him when she’d had her cheek pressed against his suit coat. Why the heck had Grandfather sent him here? “What can I do for you?”

“I found a bird,” he said. “An eagle. I think it’s been shot, but it’s still alive. With Shane gone, I didn’t know what else to do, so I called Ken.”

Of course—she knew her grandfather Ken Nightwalker had taken the newcomer under his wing. “Come with me,” she said, stepping out onto the porch with Silver close at her heels.

“He’s in my car,” Dash said. “I’ll go get him.”

She hadn’t even heard a car, but then she’d had the stereo cranked pretty loudly.

“The barn’s right behind the cabin,” she told him. “I’ll meet you there.” Gravel crunched beneath his feet as he strode off toward the driveway while she turned to 8

Eagle’s Redemption

follow the well-worn path to her barn, one hand resting lightly on the top of Silver’s head.

When she reached the barn, she flipped on the light switch then held the door for Dash, who’d caught right up with her, a large white container held cautiously in both hands. “Is that a laundry basket?” she asked, motioning him over to the stainless steel examining table her grandfather had installed for her to work on. About a third of the barn was sectioned off to make a big, open room with pine-paneled walls and a Saltillo-tiled floor. The worktable sat in the center.

“Yeah,” he admitted somewhat sheepishly. “It was the only thing I had big enough.

I bungee corded a piece of plywood over the top, just in case he got feisty.”

“You think on your feet,” she said, getting out antiseptic, gauze and tweezers, along with her big magnifying lens and a pair of leather welding gloves. “That’s good. You said he was shot?”

“I was on my way back to my place when I heard the shot, and after what happened to Leah a few months back, I thought I should go check it out,” he answered.

Leah had been shot, nearly fatally, by an unscrupulous geologist trying to steal the mineral rights to the ranch. The thought of Dash, even though he used to be a policeman, going off single-handedly to catch the shooter made Carmen shiver.

“I found him lying beside the road, but there was no sign of the shooter.”

Carmen could feel him watching her. As soon as she was ready, he started unfastening the bungee cords. “Could you see a bullet wound?”

“Not specifically, but there was some blood on the left wing up close to his shoulder.”

The eagle started screeching when the wood came off the top of his cage. Carmen made shushing sounds and slipped on the gloves. Peering closely, she could see that the big bird was wrapped in a soft plaid cloth, as tightly as a swaddled infant. “Nice job, by the way. You’ve done this before?”

9

Cindy Spencer Pape

“No, but Ken gave me play-by-play instructions.” Not waiting for her, he tenderly picked up the wrapped bundle and lifted it out of the plastic basket onto the table. Since he didn’t scream, Carmen was pretty sure he’d managed to avoid the wicked yellow beak.

“Might’ve called me with a heads-up,” she grumbled. Typical of her grandfather—

he only told her what he thought she needed to know. She grabbed another pair of gloves from a hook on the side of the table and handed them to Dash. “Here. You’ll have to hold her feet while I check her out.”

“His…feet?” Dash gulped, missing her use of the feminine gender. Carmen couldn’t see it, but she knew his eyes had gone wide. “You sure that’s a good idea?”

“Better to hold on to them than let them move around and find you.” Eagle talons could be dangerous as hell, and this was a big bird—maybe fifteen, sixteen pounds.

“We’ll unwrap her feet first and you need to wrap one hand carefully around each of her ankles, holding her still.” She laid her left forearm gently but firmly across the bird’s breast, holding the angry raptor in place.

BOOK: Eagle's Redemption
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