The Lady and the Horse Trader
Disclaimer: Lancer belongs to the 20th Century Fox people and not me which is a shame because I would treat them better.
Thanks to my friend Patty for a quick beta. I hope you all enjoy this. Char :-)
The Lady and the Horse Trader
He had always prided
himself in being an expert horse trader. He knew his horseflesh, finding the
perfect one and he enjoyed the thrill of the hunt. Not chasing a wild horse and
roping it, although he did enjoy that as well, but it was the fight of the
auction or the horse trade. Outbidding others, stealing away what they wanted
because he was shrewder, smarter, and more cunning. And a one-on-one horse
trade. No fast shuffling horse trader would ever take him, he knew all their
tricks. No one had ever sold him a nag or a dud ... until now.
Murdoch Lancer sighed. The horse wasn't a nag. She was the prettiest little filly he had ever seen. Perfect form, she was a red Morgan. He wanted her to breed to the Aztecas he had rounded up on the range. He hoped to make excellent cow ponies, maybe even, if he was lucky, get some palominos started. Lancer Palominos was a dream Murdoch had held onto for years.
But this filly could not be ridden. Neither by him, nor any man on the ranch. She was worse than any stallion. She would buck them off, she would not move. Murdoch did not think that a fire wouldn't cause her to move. At least not if he started the fire.
Murdoch looked out the window toward the corral. His new hand, Cipriano, was trying to cajole the filly from the paddock. Murdoch laughed, knowing she would not move for the man. Then he saw her, out of the corner of his eye, moving softly towards the horse. She held out her small hand and stroked the red mane. How he loved it when she ran that same delicate hand through his hair.
The very thought of him filled Murdoch with warmth and happiness. He smiled as she continued to stroke the filly, he could see her talking ... he knew softly ... to the horse. He tilted his head wondering what she was saying to Cipriano. Murdoch's mouth dropped open as Cipriano handed her a bridle. He started out the French doors as she slipped the bridle on the horse and held her, talking, as Cipriano saddled the filly.
He heard Maria laugh as he was striding across the yard and before he could read the corral fence, she had sailed upon the filly's back. With the reins in her ungloved hands, he she started riding the horse around the paddock. Slowly at first, and then faster and faster.
She laughed again. The sound was soft and lyrical. "I love her Murdoch. Her name is Flor Roja."
"Si. She's beautiful. May I have her?"
He looked into the most soulful brown eyes he had ever seen and felt, as he always did, that he was falling into the chocolate pools. If this was drowning, he would happily do it, no rescue required. "Of course she's yours. Everything I have is yours."
"Including you, my husband?"
"Especially me, Maria." She laughed again. She had conquered his heart as easily as she had conquered this horse. "I don't understand how you can be riding this horse."
"The seller told you she was broken, no?"
Murdoch grunted. "That's what he said."
"Si, and she is, my Flor. She was broken by a woman."
"She was broken by a woman. Horses broken by women will only allow women to ride them, my husband. Did you not know this?"
He shook his head, "No. That I have never heard. Who told you that?"
"Mi padre. He was one who ... how you say ... altavoz a los caballos."
"He spoke to horses?"
"Si. There was no one better than mi padre with the horses. He taught me some of what he knew. The rest, he said was natural."
"I believe that. So he was a horse whisperer."
"Si," she said as she leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. "Our son, he will be as well."
"Our ... son?" Murdoch asked her a smile spreading across her face. "You're ... we're ..."
"Si. Around Christmas I would think," she said patting her still flat belly. With that, she clucked and nudged her heels ever so softly into the horse. The two took off across the field, Maria's laughter echoing behind her.
A son. Another son. One that would never be stolen from him, Murdoch thought. Laughing himself, he ran to the barn and saddled his horse, taking off in pursuit of his runaway wife, knowing he'd catch her because she'd let him. Murdoch Lancer was confident that she would always let him catch her.
THE END ...