First Kiss February – Redeemed Rebel by LH author Cynthia Woolf

Today’s Special First Kiss February featured guest is Cynthia Woolf, author of historical romance Redeemed Rebel.  Welcome Cynthia, my fellow Love Historicals author!  Here’s the first kiss between Jake and Becky.

Redeemed by a Rebel 200 x 300

Jake left Becky sitting on a stool by the fire. Tears in her beautiful green eyes. What kind of heel was he? He couldn’t explain to her his failings as a man, he wanted her too much. But he didn’t want her falling in love with him. He had nothing to offer. He couldn’t give her her dream. The white house with picket fence and kids playing in a yard. It sounded like a wonderful dream to him. Almost the same as his own, but until he got these murder charges and the bounty taken care of, he couldn’t think about having a life. A real life.

And then there was Zach. Damn him! His brother had screwed up his life to save Jake. Maybe it would be best if Jake just turned himself in. He didn’t know if he could face hanging. But he couldn’t let them string up Zach, too. The AWOL charge would still condemn Zach. Jake needed to remedy that situation but he had no idea how to get it done.

He arrived back at his brother’s camp before he even knew where he was headed.

“Whoa,” said Liam with one look at Jake’s frowning visage. “What’s the matter? Did you and Becky have a fight?”

“No. Yes. Maybe.” He couldn’t seem to make up his mind as to what exactly had happened with Becky. After pushing him away or keeping him at a distance, she seemed to have decided that Jake was husband material. Little did she know.  “I don’t understand her.”

“She’s a woman. There is no understanding involved. There just is,” said Liam.

“She knows what happened with Elizabeth. Knows I can’t give her the life she deserves, but she seemed upset when I said it.” He grabbed a cup and poured himself a cup of coffee from the pot that was always filled and ready setting on the side of the campfire. It was strong, probably left over from that morning, but he needed strong. “You got any whiskey?”

“No. You know we don’t keep whiskey here,” Liam chastised him.

“You might have changed your mind since I was here last.”

“That was yesterday,” laughed Zach. In the laughter, Jake heard the carefree young man Zach had been when he’s left home as an Army private. Not the war weary Captain that had returned. “She’s really got you twisted in knots.”

“I want to be able to give Becky what she wants. I care for her. But until I get the bounty off my head and the charges dropped, what have I got to give her? An outlaw’s life? Constantly looking over our shoulders? And what if the U.S. Government annexes Deadwood? Then the law will be here and we’ll have to run again. That’s no life.”

“What makes you think they’ll annex Deadwood?” asked Zach.

“There’s gold here. Lots of it. Do you really think the government isn’t going to try to come in and get their share?” said Liam. “Jake’s right. If we don’t figure out how to get those charges dropped. It’ll be a life on the run. Not a prospect I’m happy with.”

“You wouldn’t have to run. You and the kids are safe here,” said Zach.

“I’m not happy with my brothers on the run from the law either. I believe in justice and you shouldn’t have to flee from the law because of false charges.”

Jake listened to his brothers discuss the prospect of law and order in Deadwood but all he could concentrate on was Becky. He’d left her alone and in tears. What kind of man did that make him? He swallowed the last of his coffee and got up. “I’m going back to camp. I don’t want to leave Becky completely alone. At least I’m closer to her if something happens when I’m in my own camp.”

“Jake, think about what you want and what Becky needs. I’m not saying that you should get married or anything like that, but know that there are trials and heartaches no matter what choice you make. Just make sure you make your decision’s based on the right reasons,” said Liam.

Zach nodded and clapped Jake on the back. “Don’t make any decisions tonight. Take your time and reason it out.”

He left and headed back to his place. Somehow he forgot to stop and wound up at Becky’s. She was sitting on the log, staring into the fire with her hands hanging between her knees. Jake had never seen her look so forlorn.

He walked up to her.

“What are you doing back here?”

He didn’t say anything, but pulled her to her feet, took her sweet face between his palms and lowered his mouth to hers.

She looked at him wide eyed and then closed her eyes and kissed him back.

“Jake,” she said, holding on to the lapels of his jacket to steady herself.

“Becky, I want you. You know what I can’t offer you, but I want you with all my being.” He ran his thumbs over her cheeks in gentle up and down motions, easing her. Calming her.

She leaned into his palm. “I want you, too, Jake. I really do. You’ve made me feel things I never thought I could feel.”

“But…,” he encouraged her.

“But…I want more than just a night here or there. I want to be more to you than one of those women down at The Gem.”

He felt like he’d been slapped and took a step back. She was right. He was treating her no differently. “I…I’m sorry. You’re right, but that doesn’t change how much I want you or how I feel about you. I care for you, Becky.”

“But you don’t love me. It’s not enough, Jake.”

He took a deep breath and nodded. “I know.”

“Just go away.”

“I’m not leaving you alone. Our plans don’t change. You still need to get away from Billy and I’m going to see that you can do it. I’m talking to my brothers about starting on the cliff. That’s where the gold is. That’s where the gold we get from the river is coming from.”

Becky collapsed into the camp stool and stared at the fire. She didn’t speak for the longest time and he thought she wasn’t going to say anything when she spoke quietly. “Working those ropes is dangerous work. Are you sure you and Zach are up to the task?”

“We are. We’ll start tomorrow.”

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