Snow Bound

By: Dani Wade

A heavy weight slammed into his back, carrying him forward to stumble against the edge of the porch. “Holy shit.” Damon’s body dived straight into combat mode, falling into the patterns from his military days. The weight on his back lifted and he recognized the movements as a large man.

Unwilling to remain trapped between his attacker and the porch, he kicked out with his steel-toed boots, catching the man along the front of his shin. A low cry echoed in the stillness around them, punctuating the heaving of breath from their lungs. The other man’s pain gave Damon a moment’s grace, and he twisted, nailing the bastard in the shoulder with his elbow.

During active duty Damon’s buddies had learned not to spar with him throughout training. He might look like a good ole boy in his jeans and cowboy boots, and talk with a southern drawl as slow as syrup, but he was a mean SOB in hand-to-hand and quick, no doubt about it.

He struck fast now, pushing his attacker back with a series of rapid blows to his head and chest. Force and momentum propelled them out into the swirling snow. The other man recovered from his surprise, returning Damon’s punches with some of his own—hard, quick jabs that spoke of street-fighting experience. Despite Damon’s slight height advantage, they proved an even match on the sloping ground. Soon Damon’s arms ached from deflecting blows and he was wishing to hell he’d grabbed his gun on the way out of the house.

His wish came true when the loud report of a shotgun shattered the desperate struggle. Damon got one quick look at the avenging angel in satin on the back porch before a hard blow to his temple turned out the lights.

Chapter Two

Damon’s awareness returned in a rush, bringing the sting of snow on the skin of his cheek where it lay against the ground. He rolled so he faced the sky, even though the move caused his aching head to twist and twirl like the white flakes that had eased up a little.

“Are you all right?”

His brain soaked up the soft, feminine murmur, so different from the violent attack he’d been expecting. At once his muscles surrendered, the tension melting like the snowflakes beneath him. Pale, blurry features and an abundance of bright blonde hair leaned over him, and his mind flashed back to the last thing he’d seen before the bastard had landed his sucker punch.

Miss Priss, the woman whose only wardrobe seemed to consist of ladylike sweater sets and skirts with the occasional dress pants thrown in, stood on her back porch. A robe draped her delicate shoulders like a shiny jacket, but the front had been whipped open by the wind to reveal the valley between her breasts, the creamy skin of her stomach, and a tiny pair of panties whose color he couldn’t determine in the darkness. But all that surprising sexiness contrasted with the double-barrel shotgun resting so comfortably in her delicate fingers.

Holy shit! Miss Priss was packin’ with nothing lackin’. On both fronts.

“Where’d he go?”

“I’m not sure,” Tori said, her voice solid though he couldn’t make out her lips clearly. “When he started toward me, I cocked old Betsy again and he took off for the woods. Guess he didn’t think he could stand up against a shotgun.”

“Old Betsy?”

Her laugh danced like the snow on the wind. “Yep. That’s what my daddy always called her.”

He could lay there all night listening to her talk in her languid southern accent, but his ass was going numb. Concentrating on his arms instead of his pounding head, he pushed up from the ground and managed to get his feet underneath him. On the periphery of his awareness were gentle hands that offered more moral than physical support. Turning to get a good look at her, he was appalled to find her dressed just like he remembered—bare feet digging into the crunchy grass while the silvery material of her robe soaked up moisture in a spreading dark stain.

He pushed the weakness aside, gaining his feet and gathering strength by the minute. At least he liked to think so until a few steps made the world tilt like a carnival ride. Her warm body snuggled against his right side, her hand drawing his arm around her shoulders. “Let me help you,” she said.

“Darlin’, you aren’t big enough to play crutch to a fella like me.”

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