Nobody Bodine is a nobody who came from a nobody and will always be a nobody.
He disappears into the shadows—no one sees him if he doesn’t want them to. He exists in neither the white man’s world nor the tribe’s, dispensing vigilante justice when he sees fit. There’s no other place for a man like him in this world.
Until Melinda Mitchell shows up on the rez. From the first moment he lays eyes on her, he can tell there’s something different about her. For starters, she’s not afraid of him. She asks where his scars came from, and why he has so many. But more than that, she sees him. For the first time in his life, Nobody feels like a somebody in her eyes.
Melinda has come west to run the new day care on the White Sandy Reservation. She’s intrigued by this strange man and his tattered skin, and when she discovers that he’s a self-appointed guardian angel for the boy in her care, she realizes that there’s more to Nobody than meets the eyes. But how far will he go to keep the boy safe? And will she be able to draw him into the light?
In case you’ve missed it.. I don’t know how… See how much I love Nobody here… And now Sarah is nice enough to visit me and give us more of him to love with this excerpt.
Chapter 10 Excerpt
What was left of the firelight caught the colors of her hair as she smiled a wide, open smile at him. She was sitting on a blanket, her skirt fanned out around her. “I’ve been waiting on you, Mr. Bodine.”
He whipped his hat off his head. “Sorry to have kept you waiting. I was making sure.”
She accepted this. “I was worried about you.”
He wasn’t sure what he was supposed to say to this. People didn’t worry about him. At least, they didn’t worry that he was all right. More than likely, they worried that he was around and up to no good.
She looked up at him, her eyes shining in the low light. “Come,” she said, patting the blanket next to her. “Have a seat.”
Nobody didn’t move. It was one thing to have had her in his arms—on his lap, essentially—when he’d been too wounded to be considered a threat. But he was better now. Not great, but better. Most people would be afraid of him.
Not her. “I don’t bite,” she said, her tone light and teasing. “And I won’t make you talk this time. Just . . . come sit with me. Please.”
He wanted to do just that, maybe slip his arm back around her waist again and feel the weight of her body anchored against his. It was the sort of thing that probably happened all the time. Rebel sat like that with his wife on a regular basis. There was something about it that seemed normal.
He wanted to sit with her. She wanted him to do just that. So why couldn’t he make his feet move? Why did he feel like maybe he shouldn’t have come?
“Nobody?” Her voice was soft in the night—concerned. “Why won’t you come sit?”
He realized he was crushing his hat. He tried to stop but it didn’t work, so he ducked his head. He couldn’t even come up with a response to a simple question.
He couldn’t be normal.
He heard her get up. She was probably going in—had probably given up on him. Just as well. He began to move back into the shadows. He’d go check on Jamie. Yeah, that’s what he needed to do.
“Don’t.” He startled at how close her voice had gotten. His head popped up. She was walking around the fire. Toward him. “Don’t go.”
He stood, rooted to the spot as she closed the distance between them. One of her pretty little hands reached out and settled on his side, where the bandage was. “How are you?”
Her voice was like the trickle of water in his stream, cool and inviting after a hot summer day. “Good,” he managed to get out as her fingers skimmed over his shirt.
She took another small step toward him, her hand settling on his hip. “Do you need Madeline to look at it?”
“No, Ma’am. It’s healing.” She gave him a soft smile as she took another step in. His heart began to pound. He didn’t like it. He could face down six men and get stabbed in the gut and not be nervous about it at all, but one woman with wildfire hair made him all jumpy.
“Did you take the antibiotics?” Her other hand settled around his waist. The only thing keeping her chest from his was his hat.
Jesus, she was playing with fire. She had no idea what he was capable of. None. “No.”
He waited for the scolding. At least, that’s what her sister would have done. But not her. Her fingertips dug into the waistband of his jeans, pulling him forward. Into her. “Not even as a personal favor to me?” she asked, her lips curving into the most secret of smiles.
Nobody set his jaw. She was playing with him, that was all. She was just dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight because this was all a joke. Maybe she got off on him being dangerous. Maybe she was just trying to prove something to her sister.
She tilted her head to one side, looking up at him through her lashes. He’d read books where the woman would do that and then lead the man over the edge of a cliff. He’d never understood why any man would fall for it—until now.
It was the same look she’d given him when she’d woken up with her head in his lap. God help him, she wasn’t afraid of him. He didn’t know why she wasn’t, but he was pretty sure he didn’t care anymore.
“I’m going to kiss you,” she said, her voice barely a whisper as she stood up on her tiptoes.
His fingers dug into his hat. It was a good hat, but he didn’t mind that it was meeting its death in the line of duty like this. He braced himself for her touch. He would not lose control. He would not do anything that hurt her. “Okay.”
She stopped then and he was just sure that he’d blown it by opening his big, fat mouth and doing the stupid thing—talking. But instead she just stared at him like—like—like he was the only man in the world. Just him. “Are you going to kiss me back?”
He didn’t have a clue what he was supposed to say to that. So he didn’t say anything. Instead, he let go of his poor hat and pulled her into his arms and crushed her lips against his.
She made a little squeaking noise in the back of her throat. Damn it all to hell, this is what she did to him. He made a promise to himself that he wouldn’t hurt her and what did he do? Scare the hell out of her.
He pulled away, fighting the urge to bolt. “Sorry,” he mumbled, wondering if it was worth it to get his hat before he ran. He let go of her. “I—sorry.”
“Oh, no you don’t.” The next thing he knew, she had looped her arms around his neck and was holding him in place. “Don’t you dare kiss me like that and then disappear.”
“I don’t want to hurt you.” There. He’d said what he should have said earlier.
“Then don’t hurt me.” Her lips brushed over his, a whisper of a touch. Jesus, she was going to kill him. “Just kiss me slow and hard.”
He couldn’t help the way his arms shook as he tightened his grip on her, her breasts pressed against his chest. It’d been a long time. God, he hoped he wouldn’t screw this up. “Yes, Ma’am.”
She made a sound that could have been a giggle but could have been a sigh as he pressed his lips against hers. So, so long. Too damn long. Going slow was harder than he’d thought it would be, but he wanted to remember everything—the way she tilted her head to one side and sighed, the way she felt in his arms—the way she made him feel. Strong and real and alive.
Then she traced her tongue over his lips. He heard a noise and realized that it was him, groaning. She tasted of sweet oranges and sunsets and something wild and free.
He had to be careful. If he hurt her, he’d never forgive himself. So instead of filling his hands with her ass, he forced his hands to glide down over her clothing. Instead of ripping her shirt off and feasting himself on her breasts, he focused on kissing her.
Which was a good plan until her teeth nipped his lower lip—not hard enough to draw blood, but more than enough to make his dick stand up at attention. The desire hit him so hard that it worried him. What if he lost control?
Better not to. “Don’t,” he growled, grabbing her arms from around his neck and holding them to her side.
She shook her head in a slightly dazed way. “What? Why not?” Then she realized that he had her arms pinned. She raised an eyebrow at him as she flexed her wrists, testing his grip. But amazingly, she didn’t scream or sob in terror. She just licked her lips. “No biting. Got it.”
“I didn’t say that.”
“Then why shouldn’t I?” She leaned forward and he was powerless to stop her as her teeth skimmed along his neck. “If you liked it.”
His arms shook. ‘Liked it’ wasn’t the way he’d describe it. It made him rock-hard for her. It made him want to do things that he had no business doing to her.
And the fact that she kept pushing him instead of running away from him—it made him mad. He didn’t know why, but it did. “Why aren’t you afraid of me?” he demanded. It came out meaner than he meant it to, but he couldn’t help it. Why couldn’t she see the dangerous man everyone else did?
“Why are you afraid of me?” she replied in her quiet tone.
“I’m not,” he snapped back even as he knew he was. He was scared of this fearless woman. He didn’t like being scared of anyone, especially beautiful women. “You should be afraid of me. I’m a bad man. I hurt people.” These were unavoidable facts. No one would dispute them.
“You protected me. You keep Jamie safe.”
“You don’t understand.”
She stared up at him, all wide eyes and innocence. Could she really not see the truth? “Then make me understand, Nobody. I like you. You’re an unusual man with an unusual talent and a code of honor that’s all your own. A gunslinger from the Old West—minus the gun—just like the hero in a Louis L’Amour book. How does that make you a bad man?”
He wanted the talking to stop. He wanted to go back to the kissing part and he wanted to let the kissing go on and on until they were tangled up in each other, unable to tell where his skin ended and hers began.
But to do that would be to lie to her. And he wasn’t going to do that. Not to her.
Stupid codes of honor. He would have rather her never known what kind of animal he was but she’d forced his hand, all because she wasn’t afraid of him.
He couldn’t bear to look her in the eyes. So he roughly pulled her into his chest and put his mouth near her ear. At first she was soft against him, like she was ready for the kissing to start back up.
“You should be afraid of me,” he began, feeling the goodbye in his throat, “because I killed a man with my bare hands. I did hard time. I am not a good man.”
Her body went ramrod straight. He let go of her and took a step back. Her eyes were wide-open with shock, her mouth stuck in a silent scream.
Yeah. His work here was done.
He turned and began to run. Not away from her—not because he was afraid of her, damn it all. Because that was the best way to keep her safe. To stay the hell away from her.
“Nobody,” she called out after him.
He didn’t stop.
Nobody is available as an ebook now at Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, B & N, and Apple. Print editions are available at your favorite online bookseller.
About the Author:
Award-winning author Sarah M. Anderson may live east of the Mississippi River, but her heart lies out west on the Great Plains. With a lifelong love of horses and two history teachers for parents, it wasn’t long before her characters found themselves out in South Dakota among the Lakota Sioux. She loves to put people from two different worlds into new situations and to see how their backgrounds and cultures take them someplace they never thought they’d go.
When not helping out at school or walking her rescue dogs, Sarah spends her days having conversations with imaginary cowboys and American Indians, all of which is surprisingly well-tolerated by her wonderful husband and son. You can learn more about Sarah at www.sarahmanderson.com.