Bret must have dropped off to sleep. When he roused himself he sat on the edge of the bed for several minutes. He was about to stand when Davie rushed into the room.
The boy looked about to cry. “Mr. Craig, can you come to the porch? Mr. Winfield is here upsetting Mama.”
Bret reached for his rifle. “You’d better walk beside me. I’m not too steady yet. Help me tuck in my shirt so I look decent.”
They made their way to the front door.
Bret pulled off his bandage and tossed it at a table before stepping onto the porch. “Is something wrong, Charlotte?” He carried his rifle.
She looked almost as surprised as the man facing her. Another man sat on his horse nearby.
The man facing Charlotte scowled. “Who are you?”
“A friend of the family and you must be Winfield.”
Charlotte glared at the man. “Mr. Winfield was just leaving.”
Winfield pointed at Bret. “I still don’t know who you are, mister.”
“I don’t see that it’s any of your business, mister. I believe Charlotte said you were leaving.”
He cocked his rifle and leveled it at Winfield. “You on the horse, don’t draw or you’re a dead man. In fact, I believe you’re both trespassing and I can shoot you without worry.”
“You’ll regret this. I’ll talk to you another time, Mrs. Dunn.”
“Not everyone is for sale, Mr. Winfield.”
The man mounted his horse and after a glare at Bret, he galloped away with his friend following.
Davie cheered. “You did it, Mr. Craig, you scared him off.”
“Mrs. Dunn, I beg your pardon for addressing you by your given name. It seemed best under the circumstances. Now, I believe I’d better sit down somewhere.”
She rushed to his side. “Let me help you. Put your arm over my shoulder so I can help support you. Davie, tend to the rifle and remember it’s been cocked.” She guided Bret inside the house.
His legs threatened to give way. “Perhaps we could stop and rest a moment.”
“If you can make it into the kitchen you can sit at the table. Our lunch is almost ready.”
He was never so glad to see a chair. At least he didn’t believe he was. “Why was he here this time and what upset you so?”
“It’s almost laughable.” When she looked up, anger sparked in her eyes. “If you can believe the nerve, he came to propose to me.”
“I thought you said you were a recent widow.”
“I am. He said he knew I didn’t want to lose the ranch and if we married I could share all the land. He even agreed to let me bring the children.” She appeared angrier. “Of course Davie and Susie would have to go to boarding school. He graciously said Jimmy wouldn’t have to go away until he was a year older.”
Bret looked where Davie had stood his rifle. “I wish I’d shot him.”