Bill thought of the first day he'd met Marie. Fresh from Texas, driving a herd of cattle, the Owen crew had encountered the little sister, half-paralyzed with fear. She'd barely missed being abducted by an outlaw band. She was safe, but the miscreants had kidnapped Marie and the Bates girl--she who was now Carl Owen's bride.
The Owens and their hired hands had tracked the party to a cave, and finally rescued the girls at great cost. His own cousin had paid the ultimate price.
For a moment, Bill let the barely abated grief wash over him, but his cheerful mood didn't want to go toward darkness just now.
On the way down the mountain, they'd stumbled across a deep black pool of water shaded by trees and surrounded by protective boulders. Rulon Owen had called a brief halt to better bind up Carl's wounds so he wouldn't expire from loss of blood
Marie reluctantly rested beside the pool, expressing her anxiety over Carl's dire condition and her desire to reach home. Be that as it may, Bill got the idea she had appreciated the beauty of the spot as she gazed around at the sheltered area. He'd brought her a tin cup to dip into the water. She'd looked up at him then, an intense gratitude in her dark eyes as she thanked him in a quavering voice for being one of her rescuers.
That was the moment when she had captured his interest. Even bedraggled as she was, with her shoulders and sleeves covered with dirt and her hair tangled and bedecked with twigs and leaves, she was the most beautiful creature he'd ever seen. Ever since that day, Bill had thought of the pool as their special spot.