Cade turned and took several steps away from her and then turned and strode back.
“I don’t stand a chance, do I? You’re a beautiful, proper woman. Daughter of a lawman, and I’m an outlaw. He’ll never stand for me marryin’ his daughter.”
“Marryin’?” Amelia widened her eyes as big as she could.
Cade took her hands in his. “Amelia, I want to spend every minute with you. I plan to tell Luke that I’m done ridin’ with the gang. I’m ready to settle down.”
“You’d give up riding with the Brodys for me?” Amelia put her hand to her throat.
Cade pulled her into his embrace and kissed her again.
“I’ll do whatever it takes to make you mine.”
She could see love shining in his eyes and she clung to him. “Oh Cade.”
He held her tight and his mouth found hers once again, then he took her hand and started back toward their picnic area.
He picked up the basket and she shook out the blanket and rolled it up. This time when he put her on the horse and climbed up behind her, she leaned against him.
As they neared town, Amelia sat up straight again and hoped her father wouldn’t see them.
When Cade’s horse set foot on the town’s main street, two deputies and Amelia’s father appeared. Amelia’s father stood in front of the horse, a deputy with a rifle at each flank.
“Daddy, what’s going on?” The pitch of her voice sounded high even to her own ears, as her father lifted her from the horse and set her feet on the ground.
“Get on home, Amelia.” “Cade, you come on down off that horse.”
Cade did as he was told without a word.
When her father grabbed Cade by the arm and started walking toward the jail, Amelia felt her knees go weak and she grabbed hold of a wooden post to keep from collapsing onto the ground.
“Daddy! What are you doing?” Her voice was loud and shrill.
“Amelia, this is none of your concern. Now get on home like I told you.”
Anger rushed through Amelia giving her legs the strength she needed to propel herself forward. “Daddy, please, what are you doing?”
He stopped and looked at Amelia with steely eyes. “I am arresting this fella. Please don’t interfere with the law.”
“Arresting him for what?”
“Kidnapping? Who did he kidnap? Certainly, you’re not talking about me.”
“You went missing this afternoon. I looked everywhere and couldn’t find you. It’s been hours.”
“If he kidnapped me, why did he bring me back? He didn’t kidnap me. I went willingly. As a matter of fact, . . “
“Amelia, don’t.” Cade met her eyes.
“Cade, you didn’t kidnap me. This is ridiculous.”
“It’s okay. If he didn’t arrest me for kidnapping, he’d arrest me for something else.”
“I will not stand by and allow you to do this, Daddy.”
“Amelia, for the last time, go home!”
Tears stung her eyes and rolled down her cheeks as she stood in the middle of the street watching her father and Cade disappear into the jail. She felt a nudge at her shoulder and turned to find Cade’s horse.