Thursday’s Teaser

From Robin, Book 1 of Brides of the Feather series

           William’s watch showed half-past midnight. The room was hot, no breeze came through the open windows, and scenes of the day’s events insisted on being rehearsed. He slipped on his britches and padded barefoot down the steps and onto the porch.
            “You couldn’t sleep, either?”
            William jumped at John’s voice. “I hear you, but can’t see you.”
            “I’m tryin’ to keep this wall from fallin’ down. Keep your voice low, if you don’t mind.”
            “Oh, I’m sorry. I don’t wish to awaken anyone.”
            “Not worried about wakin’ anybody. You got good eyes, son?”
            William moved to John’s side. “I don’t wear spectacles, if that’s any indication.”
            “I been a starin’ at one spot so long I can’t tell if they’s somethin’ a movin’ out there or if I got myself spooked. Look yonder, toward the barn. There! Did you see somethin’?”
            William peered into the darkness. He did see movement, but what would anyone be doing way out here at this time of night? “You have any idea who or what it might be?”
            “They’s been somebody snoopin’ around. He’s been seen here and over at Ty Morgan’s, too. Usually on horseback, and never looks to be hidin’. Never gets close enough, or stays around long enough, for anybody to catch up with him.”
            “Want me to take a look? If it’s the same person he wouldn’t expect two men on your place, would he? Do you have a gun handy?”
            “There’s one a hangin’ above the door in the kitchen. Can you manage handlin’ a gun without shootin’ somebody?”
             “Don’t intend to shoot anyone, but if it’s an animal I might find the weapon useful, don’t you think?” He stepped inside and retrieved the gun. 
            Humph. I knowed you weren’t no city slicker the minute I eyeballed ya in town. Think you can stay out of sight ’til you get to the barn?”
            “Trust me.” He slipped into the shadows and scolded himself as he crept toward the barn. Only a city slicker would go out at night without his boots. What was he thinking?
            He stopped at the edge of the tree cover, his jaw stiff from clamping it shut so he didn’t yelp as he encountered twigs and stickers along the way. He leaned against the trunk of a tree. Whoever or whatever it was had slipped into the shadows. He’d wait to see if he could detect movement again.  
             Did Robin know someone had been spying on them? What kind of danger was she in? Was Jacob in danger?
            A twig snapped and a tingle ran the course of William’s spine. Had he been stupid enough to let someone get behind him? Heavy breathing accompanied another crunch of undergrowth. He shouldered the gun and whirled to face his opponent.