flash of light, followed by a ground-shaking clap of thunder wrenched him
from the whiskey soaked slumber. He bolted upright in his sleeping bag.
Thank God, the rain hadn't started yet.
Struggling awkwardly with
legs still coiled in the bedroll, Dakota reached out and grabbed a branch
of the tree he'd camped under. The wind had kicked up and smoke from the
fire choked his lungs, launching him into a series of throat burning
coughs. Steadying himself against the limb, he tried to decipher how he'd
gotten here, wherever here was.
The last three days were a blur;
all he remembered was what happened, not why. The stinging in his side
grew more intense as he stood in the gathering wind of the approaching
storm. Wetness rolled down his side although it wasn't raining. He looked
down to find his shirt soaked with blood.
The bullet wound had
begun to bleed again. The searing pain in his ribcage began to throb in
rhythm with his rapidly beating heart as wakefulness grew and the
inebriation subsided. This wasn't a safe place; shelter was fast becoming
an important commodity. Another blinding flash of light, followed
immediately by a hair-raising crack of thunder, forced him into action.
Dakota quickly grabbed his bedroll and gun-belt. He could smell the rain
and knew he'd have to get a move on.
No sooner, had he mounted,
than a bone-chilling deluge crashed down upon him and his steed, Trice.
The skittish Mustang began to fight the reins, trying to break into a
gallop. Dakota pulled back on the leather straps and spoke calmly in her
ears, "Easy there Trice, this ain't nuthin' but a lil' rain." Dakota's
soothing deep voice comforted the filly. Fortunately, they were familiar
with the trail and made their way down the mountainside in the alternating
lightness and darkness of the thunderstorm.
He had no idea he was
being watched, and had been for some time. The same pair of eyes had
stalked him from Cortez, Colorado. She'd seen the Slade brothers ambush
Dakota and a couple other cowboys in broad daylight. Fortunately for
Dakota, he was able to make it to the livery stable and his mount. Not so
fortunately, his partners had been gut shot, a death sentence in this part
of the world. As Dakota flew down the dirty main street of Cortez, he'd
taken a slug in his side. Somehow, he'd managed to stay in the
That was three days ago and he'd slept little since,
constantly moving. He knew that Carl Slade; the eldest brother, would be
hot on his heels. Revenge of his youngest brother's death spurred him and
his other siblings onward. If they caught up with him, he'd be just as
dead as Earl and Charlie.
Sure he killed him, but Joe had the drop
on Dakota. He simply hadn't planned on the speed and accuracy of Dakota's
draw. The bullet from the Colt revolver tore through his heart before he'd
pulled the hammer back on his Winchester. His only crime had been one of
birth; a half-breed wasn't accepted in these parts. He'd come into town
with money in his pockets looking for a place to eat and
Just as Dakota disappeared from view, she'd spurred Chestnut
and set off in pursuit. She'd followed the same path as Dakota and his
beautiful gray mare. When she reached the edge of the mesa, she peered
over to see them entering the dank, dark interior of the cave.
Betsy smiled inwardly as she knew the history of the cave. Knew
he'd be safe while she covered his trail and steered the Slade posse off
in the wrong direction. The rain had long since soaked through her clothes
and she fought off the chills running up her spine. She longed to follow
the half-breed into the grotto, to tell him she'd help him any way he
needed; but she wasn't sure he'd accept, not from a young woman. Women
were supposed to be meek and mild, not good with a gun, running a ranch,
hunting game, or satisfying a man.
Dakota led his
mustang into the interior of the cave and tied the reins to a large
stalactite. He had an uneasy feeling, but the pain in his side overrode
any hunch he had about the Slades. For the last day, he hadn't seen anyone
other than a lone rider on his trail. He thought nothing of it, figuring
the rider was just a coincidence.
He staggered to the back of the
cave and found an old campsite. Fortunately, there was some dry wood piled
next to the wall and he sat about building a fire to dry himself. The task
was made easier by the fact that there was also a small pile of flint next
to the wood. Once the fire began to burn, he peeled off his clothes and
placed them flat on the rocks around the campfire to dry. His lean dark
body was a framework of supple muscles and taut skin. He'd been fortunate
to be born with the best of both races coursing through his veins; deep
blue eyes, long coal black hair, and the lean frame of the Cheyenne
As the heat from the fire warmed him, he inspected
his wounds. It wasn't looking good. There were red streaks shooting down
his sides and the hole was seeping. Luckily, the bullet passed through
when he was hit, so all he had to worry about was infection, which
appeared to be setting in.
Slipping on his boots, he walked
unsteadily to Trice, pulled out his bottle of whiskey, and tore one of his
shirts, making a rag. With the rag soaked in bourbon, he pressed it into
the bullet-hole. Searing pain tore through his wound and he groaned. His
voice echoed in the cavern and reverberated in his ears. Stars whirled
about his head and knees bucked. He'd collapsed to his knees as pain
wracked his body.
Several minutes later, Dakota pulled himself
back up with Trice's stirrups and grabbed the bottle and his bedroll. The
trip back to the fire was difficult and a couple of times he nearly fell.
He rolled out his pallet and collapsed in a heap beside the fire. He
needed to eat, but his wound drained any appetite. The thought of walking
back to get the jerky out of the saddlebag was
Betsy pulled the reins back on
Chestnut and dismounted. The rain was still coming down in torrents and
she'd begun to shiver from the cold. Although she feared discovery, the
need for shelter was strong. Finding an acceptable spot to tie the horse,
she crept to the mouth of the cave. As she crouched next to the opening, a
bolt of lightning struck the ground. It was close enough that the sizzle
of the fire forced her to hastily enter the cavern.
Just a few
yards inside the opening stood his mare, bigger and more beautiful than
she'd imagined. The horse seemed to be unconcerned and quietly looked at
her. Betsy slowly walked up and began to stroke her mane and neck,
whispering, "Howdy there beauty. My aren't you a lovely one. You're lucky
to have such a nice looking rider too."
Just as she summoned the
courage to walk around the horse, she heard footsteps. He was coming
toward her. 'Had he seen her? Was he going to hurt her?' She couldn't be
sure, so she did the only thing she could. She crouched down beside the
horse and prayed he hadn't seen her.
The footsteps grew louder and
her heart leapt into her throat. She held her breath as he appeared from
behind a large boulder. All she could see were his legs, which were bare
except for his boots. Her hand flew to her mouth, muffling a gasp. His
well-muscled thighs were just inches from her face. The rippling sinew
looked like it had been carved out of granite.
she leaned her head under the horse's belly to get a better look. Just as
she was about to observe his manhood, there was a loud ripping of cloth
and the smell of whiskey. She leaned back, heard a cry of pain, and
watched in horror as the naked form crumbled and dropped to his knees. The
thought of voyeurism left her mind as she sank back against the cave
His breathing was harsh with agony. She watched intently as a
stream of whiskey and blood trickled down his side. His body shuddered as
he reached up and pulled himself back to his feet. Betsy sat up and leaned
under the horse again. She wanted to jump up and help him, but was still
afraid of how he'd react.
She knew he'd been hit in the gunfight.
He needed help and she could give it, but the fear was too much. As he
slowly staggered to the back of the cave, she rolled under the horse and
peered over the boulder. He swayed unsteadily and nearly fell again. She
stifled another gasp while gazing upon his naked back and buttocks. His
body was near perfection. If not for the wound in his side and the scars
on his back, he'd be the vision God had in mind when creating
He eventually made his way to the campfire and dropped the
bedroll. As she looked at him, she remembered her horse, the sulfur, and
the clean rags in the saddlebags. As soon as he collapsed onto the
makeshift bed she scampered out of the safety of the cave and ran to
Chestnut. Her actions were now dictated by the thoughts of his safety, not
Just as he'd managed to get
comfortable on the cave floor, he heard footsteps and rose on his elbow.
He didn't see anything, but Trice was looking out of the cave. Something
or someone was just outside; here he was naked and defenseless.
Dakota reached for his Colt and pulled the hammer back. Whatever
or whoever it was would rue the day they came after him. He was dangerous
enough in the open, but when cornered, he was doubly dangerous. Fighting
sleep, he waited for the attack that was sure to be coming.
mouth of the cave was his focus as the sky had lightened and provided a
backdrop to furnish a silhouette of the intruder. The opening suddenly
darkened and his hackles rose. He waited; not one to shoot first and ask
questions later. It got darker and he knew it was bigger than any man he'd
ever seen. His blood ran cold and his heart slowed as it always did when
Appearing at the opening was a horse. It wasn't alone
though and he called out, "Who's there?"
The horse and the rider
Betsy ran headlong up the path to her
horse and snatched the reins from around the stone. Before she could
change her mind, she led Chestnut down the path to the cave opening. The
sky had begun to lighten as the storm abated and the sun had started its
ascent on the eastern horizon.
She paused at the entrance and took
a deep breath. With a resigned exhale Betsy stepped into the cave and
heard a voice call out to her. "Who's there?"
Not sure what to do,
she froze. Before she could answer, he called out again, "I said who's
She stepped in front of her horse and said, "Betsy Stone.
I'm here to help."
"What makes you think I need
"Because you've been shot. I've got sulfur, clean rags, and
"How do you know I've been shot? Are you with the
"I saw ya in Cortez and I've been followin' ya since ya
lost the posse's trail. No I'm not with them, I wanna help ya." She
replied in her most convincing voice.
When he didn't respond, she
took another step into the cave and saw he'd passed out. His body was
covered from the waist down with a blanket. She quickly tied the quarter
horse's reins next to the mustang and got the sulfur, rags, and canteen.
The wound had become infected and poison was coursing through his
veins. She soaked a rag in the fresh canteen water and rung out the
excess. The streaks of red looked angry against his dark skin. Betsy
unscrewed the cap on the sulfur and carefully poured the chemical onto his
open sore. Dakota's body flinched involuntary from the sting of the sulfur
and his eyes fluttered open.
He gasped, "Thank you," and passed
Betsy cleaned and dressed his wound both front and back.
All that remained was to wait for him to fight off the infection. She was
also worried that the Slade's had picked up the trail and could be just
outside the cave. With this thought in mind, she covered his body in the
blankets, threw a couple of logs on the campfire, and went to her
Her rifle and revolvers loaded, she crept to the cave
entrance and looked out into the bright sunshine of the morning. The rain
had stopped and the sun was rapidly drying everything. The moisture had
made an already hot day, unbearably humid.
Crouched behind a large
rock, Betsy listened for any sign of approaching riders. Beads of sweat
appeared instantly on her forehead and trickled down the side of her face,
tickling her chin. The only noise was that of the roadrunners, chirping
loudly and searching for a meal.
The fact that there were birds
about, was a good sign to Betsy, who'd been taught to track by her father
Vance. Now she was on the side of being tracked and realized that the
lessons he'd taught her applied to being hunted as well.
Emboldened by the indication of nobody near the cave opening,
Betsy took a step out of the cave and peered over the edge to the valley
below. Off in the distance she saw a flash of reflected light. She dropped
to her knees behind one of the boulders and watched for any movement. Her
breath caught in her throat as she waited. Minutes passed and no further
signs of movement. Just as she was about to give up, there was another
flash of light.
She watched as the reflections appeared more often
and grew brighter. Yet, she didn't see any movement of the lights from her
viewpoint. Betsy was suddenly struck by the realization that they were
moving, directly toward her, the cave, and her man. 'Her man,' she
thought. 'Where'd that come from? I don't even know his name.'
vision she watched slowly came into view. It was four riders, travelling
fast. Certainly, they hadn't seen her, but just in case, she moved into a
better position. As she took position, she turned back to the cave and saw
wisps of smoke rising into the air from the natural chimney in the roof of
the cavern. 'That's what they see.' She thought.
for him took precedent over her own safety. If they wanted him, they'd
have to go through her. Minutes passed slowly as the four riders continued
their approach. The closer they got the slower her heart beat. Just like
her daddy, she was cold blooded like a snake when in danger. Ready to
strike without warning.
CLICK CHINK. A bullet was chambered in her
rifle. Aim was taken on the lead rider. If it was the Slade posse, she had
to be ready. A missed shot and all would be lost. Betsy had seen how
viscous they were in Cortez; 'her man' was lucky to be alive. They not
only killed his partners; they dragged their bodies down Main Street to
make an example of them.
The four riders stopped at the bottom of
the trail leading up to the cave and began to argue. She was too far away
to hear what they were saying. It was apparent that a couple of them
didn't want to go up the blind trail. Carl Slade pulled his pistol and
leveled it at one of the posse. Without hesitation, his gun belched smoke
and the rider's hat flew off his head.
Shivers ran up Betsy's
spine, if he'd threaten his posse, what would he do to her and 'her man'?
She had to act fast, before they resumed their pursuit. Picking up a rock,
she flung it over the edge away from the trail. Hidden behind the rocks
she watched as they all turned and headed toward the noise with their guns
drawn. She'd learned early on from her daddy that distraction was the best
way to get the drop on someone. As they moved away from the trail, they
moved right into her sights. They were heading right into an ambush.
Everett Slade was the first one she got a clear shot at. Though
she wanted to get Carl first, she couldn't be fussy. Coldness pervaded her
body as she leveled her sights onto Everett's hat. Her right pointer
finger curled around the trigger and she squeezed evenly.
roared, spewing forth fire and death. Everett slumped over in his saddle
as his hat flew off. Before they could turn around she'd chambered another
round and squeezed off a shot at Buster, hitting him in the neck. Blood
splattered from his juggler in a stream onto the man that Carl threatened.
He spurred his horse and took off away from the ambush. The shot was a
difficult one, but she knocked him off his steed with a gaping hole in his
gut. She loaded again and found Carl. He'd jumped off his horse and was
running for the rocks. She took aim and fired. The bullet shattered his
knee, but he made it to safety.
Betsy was unsure if Carl was dead
or not. She moved away from the edge and began to pick her way down the
trail. Suddenly, there was a gunshot and a bullet whizzed past her head,
smacking into the rock behind her. Betsy dropped to the ground and crawled
to the nearest boulder. 'Well, Carl isn't dead,' she thought. 'Now
From below came a voice. "Hey up there, give up we've got ya
surrounded and there's no way off this mountain."
kiddin',' she thought. "Not a chance, mister. I've been watchin' ya for
three days and you're the last one left. You need to give up."
wait a minute missy, ain't no woman's gonna tell me what ta
"There's always a first time fer every thing."
bullet bounced off the rock, nowhere near her. She'd already begun to move
into position. He couldn't see her, but she couldn't see him either. She
moved down the steep edge to a better advantage, picking her way between
rocks and remaining quiet and calm. To make things easier she left her
rifle on the ground and unholstered her six shooters. Hiding behind a
large boulder, she heard a horse galloping. A sick realization jumped in
the pit of her stomach.
She peered over the edge to see Carl urging
his horse up the trail toward the cave opening. Betsy clambered up the
side of the mesa to get a shot at him but he was too fast. By the time,
she made it to the path, he was already near the cave opening. She took
aim and fired off a couple rounds. One grazed his shoulder and he fell off
All looked lost as he jumped up and limped into the
cave. 'Her man' was as good as dead. Betsy screamed, "No!" and took off at
a dead run for the cave. Just as she neared the opening, there was a
gunshot from inside. Tears welled up in her eyes and she dropped to her
knees. Carl had found 'her man' and she knew he was gone.
Betsy crawled into the cave. If 'her man' were
dead, she'd make certain his death would be avenged. Standing up behind
the horses, she looked into the cave with tears streaming down her face.
She couldn't see Carl. 'Was he hiding too? Did he know she was
As she rounded the corner, she heard a groan. On the ground
was a pair of legs sticking out from behind a rock. She gasped as she
realized it was Carl's feet and he was face down. 'Her man' was lying on
his side with his Colt clutched in his right hand; smoke still curling out
of the barrel. His eyes flickered open, "Is that all of
Betsy ran to his side, "Yes, he's the one that shot
"Good." Then he passed out.
She lowered herself to
his side and ran her fingers through his sweat soaked hair. "Everything
will be alright now…" Tears of relief streamed down her cheeks.
fever was higher than before and she soaked another rag, placing it on his
forehead. Concern etched her brow. Now he had a much harder fight on his
hands. The Reaper was knocking and he had to fight him off alone. She
couldn't help, just try to make him as comfortable as possible.
nightfall, she'd hidden all signs of the skirmish. She'd dragged the
bodies into a shallow grave and covered them with dirt and rocks. A proper
burial was in order although they deserved to die. She was human after all
and respect for the dead needed to be accorded them. Their horses were
unsaddled and set free. She buried their guns with them but kept the ammo.
Their food and water supplies bolstered by those of the dead men. Last
thing was the saddles. She had to get rid of them as they were branded
with the Slade Ranch Lazy 'S'. They couldn't sell them. The only option
was to burn them.
That night was a long fitful night. Pain, night
sweats, and nightmares tortured his body. A couple of times his eyes
opened and he seemed to be awake, but she couldn't get him to respond. The
fever had hold of him and didn't seem to be letting up. Each time she
cleaned and dressed his wounds, he moaned and flinched from the invasion
of the sulfur.
By morning, Betsy was dog-tired and had drift off to
sleep. She hadn't slept for more than two days and her body needed to
restore itself. Her mind was filled with erotic dreams. She hadn't had any
erotic thoughts for some time. Her focus had been on helping her daddy and
Momma Kathleen run Stone Ranch.
She was shook from her sleep by a
voice, "Betsy, are you awake?"
Her eyes flickered and she looked at
him, "Yes, how ya feelin'?"
"I'm thirsty, can I have some
"Course, here," handing him her canteen. "Ya want something
to eat yet?"
"Yes, I'm starved. I've got some jerky in my
"I'll do ya one better. I've got some side bacon and
"That would be great. Oh where are my manners. I haven't
told ya my name have I?"
"Now that you mention it, no you haven't."
She smiled back at him as she walked to her horse. She noticed he was
staring at her backside and felt shivers run up her spine.
Dakota, Dakota Tomichi."
"Well Dakota, it's nice to meet
"Thanks for helping me, I'd surely be dead if you hadn't shown
up when you did."
"I've got to be honest with ya, Dakota, I've been
helpin' ya since Cortez. I've been keeping them off your trail and keepin'
ya in my sights."
He smiled and said, "So you've been watching my
back for a while then."
"I guess so, I don't why, it just seemed
like the thing to do."
"Well, I'm glad you did. Thanks
Betsy crouched by the fire and began to heat up her skillet
and fill the coffeepot with water. "Can I ask a question
"What's it like to be a half-breed,
God I hate that term, what should I call ya anyway?"
He laughed and
said, "Call me Dakota. I'm just a man. It's not easy; the white man
doesn't trust me. Fortunately, Little Pony has always treated me as one of
his own. That's where I was headed."
"You know Little Pony? He's
one of my daddy's friends."
"I thought you're last name sounded
familiar. Is your father Vance?"
"Yes, he's been Little Pony's
blood brother since before I was born."
"Well, then we've probably
met. I'm the son of War Eagle and White Dove, a runaway from a mining
"So you're the lil' boy that was always asking my daddy when
his green eyed daughter was coming to visit." They both laughed; somehow,
it felt like they were destined to meet.
After they finished the
meal, Dakota slipped into a deep sleep. The struggle against the infection
had drained him of all his strength. Betsy sat and watched him sleep
peacefully. He seemed to be having much more pleasant dreams than the
night before. So pleasurable were his dreams that when he rolled over onto
his back, she could see a large bulge under his blanket.
the telltale signs of excitement welling up in her loins. Absentmindedly,
she reached down and rubbed herself through her clothes. It had been
several months since she'd had sex and the simple touch through her
clothes caused her to moan almost imperceptibly.
Her eyes didn't
blink as she focused on his crotch. The petting of her pussy became more
intense and she soon had loosened her pants and slipped them down her hips
to her ankles. The thought of being discovered hadn't crossed her mind. If
honest, she wanted to be caught.
Pants and panties around her
ankles, she now had complete access to her inflamed pussy. The dark curly
hairs were matted from her extreme wetness. Betsy sank her fingers down
through the downy hair and spread her lips. As if on cue, Dakota's
hardened member began to throb under the blankets. She saw his cock's
action and sank her middle finger into her sopping hole.
began to convulse, catching her by surprise. The orgasm came on suddenly
and violently. She groaned and thrashed her head from side to side. Her
dark hair falling down over her face, obstructing her view of Dakota's
sleeping form. As she came down from the orgasmic high, she heard a moan
and opened her eyes to see Dakota awake and staring at her exposed sex.
Her first response was modesty. He smiled and pulled the blankets off his
Betsy stared at the exquisite shape of his body. He looked
better than she'd imagined. His musculature was near perfect, the only
flaw; his dressed bullet wounds. The hardness of his body matched by that
of his throbbing member. He gripped his cock and began to slowly stroke
himself. Betsy watched as he scanned from her pussy up to her eyes. As
their eyes met, they locked on each other. As if under a trance, she
pushed her pants off and unbuttoned her shirt, revealing her bra clad
Dakota gasped, as her body was uncovered for his viewing
pleasure. He watched with rapt attention as she reached up and slid the
camisole off her shoulders. When the straps slid down her arms, the
camisole fell to her lap revealing her creamy breasts. The erect nips hard
and longing for attention. Betsy gaped at his cock as she stripped for
him. Her desire grew as she exposed herself to his piercing eyes. The
lewdness of the act seemed to add to the excitement, causing her wetness
to flow out and seep down, coating her nether hole.
The speed of
his strokes grew more urgent and forceful as he neared the peak of his
self-gratification. His cock swelled in his fist with the rapidly
approaching orgasm. Dakota knew he couldn't last long; her beauty was such
that his impending orgasm would soon spill out. To stave off the
inevitable and make the moment last, he slowed the pace of his
masturbation. This did little to reduce the building pressure. It didn't
help much that Betsy had completely shed her clothes and was masturbating
in response to his display. He watched as her fingers splayed and teased
her sensitive lips toward her own climax.
Nothing was said, but
each could tell the other was close to orgasm. She threw her head back and
moaned as she sank three fingers into her dripping pussy. Her thumb
pressed against her clitoris as she screwed her digits deeper inside
herself. Dakota gripped his hard shaft and stroked the full length in
Their eyes locked on each other and
simultaneously plummeted into a mind-numbing climax. His cock swelled
further and spewed forth a volley of searing cum into the air, landing on
his chest. Her pussy clamped down on her fingers and gushed as she pressed
upward. The mutual masturbation pushed each into a state of blissful
satiation. Stream after stream of his heated release launched into the air
and landed on his chest and flat belly, as Betsy quivered with each spasm
from her orgasm.
Slowly, they floated back to earth and reality set
in. Neither felt shame for what they'd seen or done. Betsy raised herself
on her knees and crawled over to Dakota, kissing him full on the mouth.
Tongues and lips entwined in a love making session of their
She broke the kiss and lowered her head to his chest, trailing
her tongue through his spend. The act of licking him clean elicited a moan
from Dakota and a smile of satisfaction from Betsy. The salty-sweet taste
of his cum excited her taste buds. She slowly worked her way down to his
semi-hard cock and cleaned it of his seed.
Betsy sucked him soft,
slid back up his side, and kissed him on the mouth again. He tasted
himself on her tongue and his limp member twitched in response. Dakota
wanted to roll her over and plunge himself deep into her. However, his
strength was now completely gone and he fought to keep his eyes open.
Betsy saw the internal struggle in his eyes and whispered while laying her
head on his chest. "Sleep now, you'll need your energy later."
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