|Creek at Rain's Oregon farm|
|Near Rain's Tuscon home|
“Some came in. I want you to meet someone.” She pulled Holly to the last place she wanted to be. “Holly, this is Vince Taggert. Vince, Holly Jacobs is who I was telling you about.”
The smile on his face looked as unreal as she was sure hers did. “Glad to meet you,” he said with apparently no sincerity. He didn’t put out his hand, and she was glad. She’d not willingly touch him again, not even to be polite.
“How about you both come into the kitchen. I had something I wanted to explain to Vince, and now that you’re here, you can hear it also.”
Reluctantly, Holly followed Connie, all too aware of the tall man right behind her. Something about the sound of his boots on the wooden floor annoyed her, but then almost everything about him irritated her. She wondered if he would tell Connie how he saved her. She wished she had waited until later to come to the store. Then he’d have been gone, and she’d have been spared the awkwardness.
In the kitchen, Connie motioned for them to sit as she poured hot water into a tea pot. “I think you will like this one,” she said as she brought the pot and three cups back to the table for the tea to steep.
“He was going to the river to bring back fresh greens. He gets restless and a ride in the morning helps.”
“If my supplies aren’t ready, I can come back,” Holly said wanting anything more than to be across the table from that man.
“First drink some tea, while I explain why I asked Vince to come to
“You asked him to come?” she asked without modulating her tone. She knew the him had come out without masking her annoyance. She glanced over to see him watching her with a faint smile.
“I wrote him.” Connie turned to Vince. “Holly is why I wrote you.”
Vince’s smile of amusement broadened. Holly’s annoyance grew. “I am having a hard time understanding why,” he said.
“Holly is an anthropologist, an archaeologist. She is about to go on an excavation into the Cibecue area.”
“Cibecue huh.” He turned that cold stare onto Holly then. “You know much about that country?”
“Enough,” she said tilting her chin up with an expression that she hoped would stop his smile. It did not.
“Nobody with a brain would think that’s a smart place to go pot hunting.”
If she had been annoyed before, she was close to infuriated now. “Archaeology is not about pot hunting, Mr. Taggert.”
“Tell that to the Wetherhills.” He snickered.
“So you are not totally ignorant about the science,” she snapped.
“Not where it comes to making money.”
“Archaeology is about discovery. It is not about making money.”
“Ah and who pays for the digs?”
“Well, benefactors or universities.”
His smile broadened. “Money.”
“In some cases. I am, however, funding my own.”
This time he laughed. It sounded genuinely amused. It made her more annoyed and convinced she never wanted to see him again. “You are funding it because those with more sense wouldn’t.”
She felt as though the top of her head was going to explode. “I did not ask anyone else.”
“Children,” Connie said as she poured the tea. “Drink some tea and calm down a bit.”