Satin Boots: Six Short Western Romances
“Var är jag?” she muttered. “Är jag död?”
Tony set down his plate and gaped at the prettiest green eyes he’d ever seen. Although he did not understand a word she said, he assumed she was confused as well as in pain, and probably thirsty.
He held a cup of water to her lips and said, “Drink.”
He slid his hand behind her head to help her drink. She took a sip, then another. Water dribbled from her lips and trickled over smooth, pale skin. He gently lowered her head back to the pillow. She blinked again.
“Vem är du?”
Guessing as to her questions, he pointed to himself and said, “Antonio.” He pointed at her and said nothing, but gave her a small smile of encouragement. He pressed his fingertip to his chest and repeated his name, then pointed at her. Awareness flickered in her eyes. He pointed to himself and she said,
“Antonio.” Tony thought her accent charming. He pointed to her and she said, “Linnea.” He repeated it, savoring the syllables on his tongue and giving them a Latin inflection she thought charming.
“Är du spansk?”
Tony shook his head, not understanding the question. He held up the cup and offered it to her. She nodded and he helped her drink.
Consuela returned with her arms filled. She smiled when Tony told her that his guest had awakened and spoken with him. She chuckled with him when he informed her that they hardly understood each other. She agreed to look after the girl, because it just wasn’t seemly for a bachelor to do so. The undertaker had a respectable reputation to maintain.
Tony returned his attention to business. He sold two of his premade, elegant caskets to the two most prominent families in the area. He took his dinner on a tray at his guest’s bedside and enjoyed a slow exchange of words to communicate before thinking to ask her if she spoke English.
“Ja, a little,” she replied.
He smiled. “Oh, good.”
Her expression took on the desperation of hope. “My mamma? Pappa?”
Understanding that question, Tony shook his head.
She closed her eyes and looked away from him. Tears trickled.
“I am sorry,” Tony said.