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Behind the deep shadow of the wide tree, Josiah crawled to Emma and lay down beside her on the buffalo robe. "I ain't had a woman in quite a spell," he breathed quietly, "but I'll try not to bother you too much."

Emma whimpered helplessly as Josiah's mouth found hers. When she wouldn't return his kiss, the mountain man left off kissing and continued on with his business.

What else happened behind the tree, I won't say, but when the Blackfoot Indian came to see if Josiah was true to his word, the Indian left, content that Josiah really had wanted a wife.

As the sky overhead began to change hue with the coming of morning, Josiah propped himself up on one elbow and peered down at the sleeping woman beside him.

"Yeller hair," he wondered in amazement. Josiah had once seen a woman with yellow hair, but she had been the wife of a prominent white man, and had been decidedly off limits to her many admirers. Josiah took a loose strand of the long blonde hair and rubbed it between his fingers. It flowed behind the woman's head and cascaded in a gentle wave of captured sunlight.

The soft light of day finally revealed Emma's face to the man, and he saw that she was probably about as old as he was-- most likely coming on thirty years of age. How could a woman who looked like this, still be a virgin? The night before had confirmed this fact to Josiah; he didn't need to check for any blood in her petticoats to know that she had never known a man before him. The graceful curve of her cheek, the long eyelashes, the rose colored lips that had refused to kiss him, all held Josiah's rapt attention.

Feeling someone's breath on her face, Emma's eyes suddenly fluttered open in alarm. A rough hand quickly smothered her cry, and an eagle feather dangled in her face as its owner turned to look back at the cold campfire.

"They've been taking turns all night, and staying up to keep an eye on us. I've an oneasy feeling they ain't done with us," he softly breathed, turning back to look at the woman. Josiah wasn't prepared for the frightened brown eyes that met his, and he had to swallow hard and steady his voice before speaking. "Morning Ma'am."

From beneath the long lashes Josiah had been admiring, Emma gazed at him with curiosity. His chest felt greasy, and he had a rank smell that suggested he hadn't bathed in awhile. Against the light of day, Emma saw that his hair wasn't black after all, but a dark shade of brown that lightened at the tips-- very much like a grizzly bear. There was a slight curl to it that nearly made Emma smile, for she easily guessed he had been curly headed as a boy. Besides his tall stature and solid build, his face was his most prominent feature. It was strong and unyielding, and bespoke a hard life seasoned with experience. Then there were those piercing dark eyes that seemed to bore straight into her. Shifting uncomfortably on the buffalo robe, Emma realized she was staring, and awkwardly tried to look elsewhere.

"Excuse me, Ma'am," Josiah apologized, "but I don't believe you ever told me your name."

Mortified, Emma bit her lip. How could she possibly be married to a perfect stranger, who didn't even know her name? Emma felt the touch of his hand as he stroked her long mane.

"Your name?" he pressed once more.

"Emma. Emma Perkins."

A noise from the campsite momentarily distracted Josiah, and Emma could feel the eagle feather on her neck as he turned to see if both Indians were awake. When he saw just the one, Josiah looked back at Emma. "They ain't gonna let go of a beauty like you, for no half a jug of whiskey. I reckon I'm a dead man, unless I do something about it afore they do."

The young Blackfoot yawned and looked back at the tree. He could still see Josiah's moccasins, and was satisfied that the trapper was still asleep. The Indian eyed the empty whiskey jug on the ground and wished Josiah had had more. That one jug had bought the mountain man a night with the white captive, but now that it was day, he was going to be in for a surprise.
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