From chapter 27
Clem waited in the house. "How you been, Miss Diana? Heard there was some trouble."
She hung her jacket and wool muffler in the hall, dropped her hat and gloves on a chair. "What did you hear?"
He hooked his thumbs into his vest pockets. “Well…you and Del had a big fight and you tried to kill him. 'Course, it's also been said he shot himself by accident."
"That's what he told the sheriff."
“Miss Diana--" Clem gave her a searching look, but she shook her head. No. She would not discuss the incident. Teresa bustled down the stairs bearing a tray laden with empty dishes. Clem turned to her. "How's the patient today? Does he want comp'ny?"
"He is much better.” Her eyes were bright. “But he wishes to see the Signora."
Oh, no. Seeing Del was the last thing Diana wanted to do. "I don't have time now. Teresa, can you please get me a change of clothing from my room?"
With a shake of her head, the housekeeper declared, "You must get for yourself anything you want. You cannot delay seeing him. He is your husband and must be obeyed."
Clem smiled. "I'll be back tomorrow."
Engulfed by a torrent of angry thoughts, Diana didn't watch him leave. Husband? Well, yes. Master? No. Never.
But eventually she went to her room. So warm. Someone was keeping the fireplace well-fed lest the invalid get a chill. Without a glance at the bed, she strode to her bureau and opened a drawer. Why didn't he say anything? If he was asleep she could avoid a confrontation. She took a chance, looked into a mirror and saw her own pink-cheeked face, and Del, gazing at her with half-closed eyes, a cryptic smile on his lips.
Flustered by the weight of his gaze, she lifted several nightgowns out of the drawer, then turned to face him. "I needed some things. Teresa refuses to fetch them."
He didn't speak but continued looking at her. Propped up by pillows, a quilt drawn to his bandage, he was bare-chested, all black hair and hard muscles. Much too masculine for the lace trimmed pillowslips and the elegant roses embroidered on the quilt. Ebony dozed on the floor at the foot of the bed. Another traitor. Like everyone else at the ranch.
She licked her dry lips. "Will you be able to move back to your room soon?"
A shrug lifted one shoulder. "Soon's doc says I can. Are you keeping my bed warm?"
"I've been sleeping in Randy's room." Face tingling, she hugged the clothes and looked aside. "Why don't you ask Alfredo to give you a shave?"
"Alfredo's busy. Why don't you do it for me?"
Her gaze swung back to him. "Ha. Put a razor in my hand I just might slit your throat."
“Diana." His tone was softly chiding and she stared at him in surprise. "I trust you. Why don't you trust me? Come sit so we can talk."
Despite her reluctance, she perched on a chair beside the bed and looked out the window. What did he want to say? Why didn't he get it over with? She asked, "How do you feel?"
“Like I’ve had a bullet carved out of my side. Like I've had my flesh stitched together. Want to see it?"
"Oh no. No!" Embarrassed, she added, "I can't look. I–I have an aversion to the sight of human blood. I panic. I can look at animals covered with blood, dead or dying. But wounded people--never." Damn, she was jabbering. She rubbed her brow. "I--didn't mean to shoot you. It--just happened."
Another awkward silence. At last he said, "I'm sure I deserved this. Go ahead, call me a miserable son of a bitch." He paused, but when she said nothing, he continued, "What do you think the sight of you half-undressed does to a man? Especially when he knows you aren't the saint you pretend to be? Why don't you stop acting the prude?"