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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?
Sneak a peek at Chapter 4 of Sarah M. Anderson's Nobody:
His body clenched as she removed the top layer of clothing. She wasn’t any less clothed than she’d been before she started, but she made something as routine as taking off a coat sexy.
“Well?” she called over her shoulder. “What do you think?”
All sexy thoughts fled Nobody’s mind. He froze—didn’t even breathe. Was she talking to him? Was that even possible?
“I know you’re there, you know.” She was still admiring her pile of metal. Not looking at him. “You’re stealthy, but you’re not invisible. Come tell me what you think.”
Shit. She was talking to him.
He had two choices here. He could turn tail and run—be the coward people thought he was. Or . . .
Or he could do as she asked.
“I don’t bite,” she added, sounding cheerful about it. Like this whole thing was no big deal. “If you want, I won’t ask about the scars. Deal?”
She really did know it was him. If he bolted, she probably wouldn’t leave him any more extra-polite notes.
He took a deep breath and, heart racing, stepped out into the circle of light.
He saw tension ripple down her bare shoulders but otherwise, she gave no sign that she’d heard him.
He wanted to trail a finger down those shoulders, watch her skin jump at his touch.
But he didn’t. Instead, he made damn sure to keep a good distance between them. Say, about six feet.
“There, that wasn’t so hard, was it?” Moving slowly, she turned to him.
His lungs quit working. She had the most beautiful smile on her face, all warm and inviting. Especially the inviting part.
God, he wanted to close the space between them and kiss her. It’d been so long . . . just one kiss. Was it wrong to want that? With a woman as beautiful as Melinda—a woman who smiled at him, for crying out loud?
“Hello, Mr. Bodine. How nice of you to join me on this lovely evening.”
The last time she’d asked him a direct question, he’d run back to the safety of the shadows. He wasn’t going to do that this time. Not as long as she was smiling.
Still, that meant he had to talk to her and talking was not something he did in great quantities. He cleared his throat, trying to find his voice. “Ma’am.”
He wouldn’t have thought it was possible, but her smile grew. “How do you do that?”
“Do what, Ma’am?”
She wrinkled her brow at him, but she didn’t lose that smile. It lit up her whole face. “That stealthy thing. You’re almost invisible.”
No ‘almost’ about it. He was invisible to everyone—everyone except her. “Don’t know.”
“Really? You have no idea how you blend into the shadows like that?”
“No, Ma’am.” She kept looking at him like she expected him to say something more, but what else could he say?
“Do you call everyone Ma’am? Or just me?”
This could be worse, he decided. She could be asking about the scars.
But it was still pretty bad. He didn’t know how to answer her. He didn’t talk to women, really. Just her sister, and only then when he needed stitches. But to say that out loud? ‘I don’t talk to women all that much and they don’t talk to me’?
So he didn’t answer. She waited a moment longer before saying, “It was just a question, Mr. Bodine. It’s called a conversation—two people talking.”
She was making fun of him. It stung for a moment, but then she made a face at him—like she was waiting for him to laugh with her or something?
“Okay, one person talking.” She tilted her head to one side, sizing him up. Studying him. “Anyway, it’s nice to see you again.” Then, thank God, she looked back at the metal remains on the ground in front of her. “What do you think?”
“About what, Ma’am?”
“Here, you can put all those muscles to good use. Help me, please.” She grabbed one of the sheets of metal and poked at the other with her toe. “Thank you.”
All his muscles? He knew he was a brute—that’s how involuntary manslaughter happened—but the way she said it, it didn’t come out as a criticism. It almost sounded like a compliment.
Nobody did as requested, picking up what was left of the metal. What had started out as a solid sheet was now in about forty pieces.
But the piece in his hand had a—well, maybe not a pattern to it, but it didn’t look like she’d just randomly attacked it with a blowtorch. Circles and swirls were cut into it. Same with the piece she was holding.
“Now,” she said, heading toward the door, “do you think that part should go on the outside or the inside? Here, hold that one up to the top of the door.”
Nobody stood there, unable to move as she bent over and jammed her section against the bottom of the door. Even in her non-skin-tight skirt, the outline of her ass was enough to give any man pause.
She straightened up but didn’t move away from the door. “Well? Go on.” She shooed him forward.
Nobody hefted the metal up against the door, but he was having trouble focusing. Melinda was closer now—barely two feet away from him now. He could smell the tang of hot metal, but underneath that was a bright scent of . . . oranges? She smelled good enough to eat.
“What do you think?” she asked again.
He couldn’t really tell, not while he was holding the metal up. But she’d asked him that several times now, so he felt like he had to come up with some sort of answer. “Looks good.”
For some reason, that made her laugh. It was a pretty sound. It fit her well. “Here, take your piece down.” Then, thank God, she stepped away from him.
Nobody did as she asked. By the time he set his metal down, she was already behind him, grabbing the parts she’d cut out off the ground. “See, it’s going to be a reverse image. On this side, we’ll have the bottom piece here and these that I cut out of the top. Then, on the other side, we’ll have your part on top and the pieces I cut out of the bottom in roughly the same place.” She held a few of the smaller bits up, which had the effect of stretching her body right in front of his eyes. The skirt may not be skin tight, but the tank top sure as hell was. “See?”
The only thing he could see was the black bra strap that couldn’t be contained by the tank top. Black would look so good against her creamy skin. God, so good.
He forced himself to take a step back. Then another one. “Yeah,” he offered when she snapped her head around. “Looks good.”
“You’re not leaving, are you?”
He needed to. She was messing with his head in a way that he wasn’t used to and didn’t know how to handle. Women didn’t make conversation with him. They didn’t flaunt their bodies around him. They didn’t ask his opinions on—on—hell, he didn’t even know what to call whatever she’d done with a blowtorch. Art. No one asked his opinion on art. Ever.
“Don’t go yet.” That was even worse, the way she said that with a soft voice and a softer look in her eye—like she’d be sad if he disappeared back into the dark.
Oh, yeah—she was messing with his head. Badly.
“Are you . . . are you afraid of me?”
Yes. Oh, hell yes. She scared the shit out of him, out of what he wanted to do with her. He’d rather get shot again that admit that out loud. “No.”
Copyright © 2014 by Sarah M. Anderson
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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.