“Now we have to go back to reality and the fact we have no food,” she said.
He kept quiet, pulling on his shirt and grabbing his gun.
The sunlight warmed her skin once they were back outside. It felt good after days of rain and cloud cover. They returned to the wagon. She saw Luanna and Luke waiting.
“Any luck?” asked Luke.
“We still need to check the warehouse I came to see,” said Draven. “Get the horses ready.”
She sat up front with Draven again. Ashley noticed that Luanna and Luke were getting very friendly. She pretended to be oblivious to their flirting.
The wagon ride was bumpy. They rode all the way down the main street, turning right after passing the last store. One of those salt storage sheds was ahead. It looked like a pyramid.
“There it is,” said Draven.
“Road salt?” asked Luanna. “I don’t get it.”
Draven hopped down from the wagon, grabbing a crowbar before heading to the oversized doors of the building. All three of them followed behind him. Ashley was curious what he was up to, and obviously Luke and Luanna were, too.
“When things started going to shit, some people were ahead of the game. They prepared, stockpiled, hoarded supplies. Most of them didn’t make it, but what they left behind has proved a benefit to us. It’s just a matter of finding the goods.”
Draven bashed the lock off the door, the metal clanging until it broke apart. He took a breath and stepped back, stretching out his arm in greeting.
Luke opened the doors. Ashley and Luanna peered into the dark space as the sunlight filtered into the room.
“Oh my God,” Luanna whispered.
Ashley covered her mouth with both hands. The salt storage was filled with food—boxes, sacks, and containers full. She began to cry, hot tears streaking down her cheeks. Food supplies meant they wouldn’t have to worry or venture out into the world for a very long time. It felt like a miracle.
With careful planning, Draven knew they were going to be well set for the next two years. Not only did they have canned food, but also seeds ready to get started on planting. Luanna surprised him by revealing she was once a keen gardener and was more than happy to take the lead on growing crops and doing what needed to be done to ensure their kingdom survived.
He put her in charge of that and made sure she had everyone at her disposal to prepare, plant, and plan all the necessary items she’d need to keep them all well fed. She thrived with purpose, and now she had it.
Glancing across the field, he gritted his teeth. Ashley knelt down in the dirt. Her long hair was pulled back into a baseball cap, one from his room, and she was getting her hands dirty. Just yesterday she admitted to him she’d not gotten her period, so they were waiting another couple days for her to take the test. He needed to know if she was pregnant with his child.
Running fingers through his hair, he felt ready to punch someone for allowing her outside. Since the attack, he’d granted her more freedom. Of course, Luanna had also proven herself to be a fierce protector, which was another reason he didn’t have a problem with her being around the others.
The men knew to keep their hands off. Ashley belonged to him, and no one else. He didn’t fucking share.
Storming across the field, he ignored the greetings he was getting. Hands on his hips, he glared down at her, stepping directly into her light so she couldn’t see.
“Hey, you’re in the way.” She sat back on her knees and looked up at him. “Oh, hey you,” she said, offering him the sweet, sexy smile he absolutely loved but didn’t want to get involved with right now.
“What the hell are you doing?”
“I’m helping. What does it look like I’m doing?” she asked, dusting her hands off as she did so.
“You’re not supposed to be out here, messing around in the dirt.”
“Draven, I want to do my bit to help. I like messing around in the dirt.” She reached down, picking up a handful of soil and letting it fall through her fingers. “See, fun.”
He crouched down, reaching out to cup her cheek. “Babe, I want you back in the house. You’re doing too much.”
“Draven, I was locked up for a short time because of this stupid thing.” She held up her wrist. “You kept me locked up because of your men. We’re all finding our way now. Please, don’t take this from me. I want to help. We’re all a family. I want to be part of this.” She cupped his hand, and he saw the sadness in her eyes.
“I’m not going to lock you back up even though I want to. I’ve got to protect you, always.” He slowly slid his fingers down her body. He wanted to linger on her tits, but he didn’t. Cupping her stomach, he looked at her. “You could be pregnant.”