From the Inside Flap
When Tag raised his head up out of the crisp cool stream, the sound of muffled laughter raised the hair on the back of his neck.
He wiped his eyes and ran his fingers through his too-long hair,pushing it away from his face and glanced from one side of the hidden alcove tothe other.
He shook his head andtapped at his ear. Lack of sleep and decentconversation had obviouslyplayed with his mind and he was hearing things.
There it was again. He flicked his head toward the bushes where he'dlain hisclothing. Two very young boys, wearing mischievous grins, methiseyes--one held his trousers, chaps, and boots, and the other hisshirt, vest,and drawers. Something in their eyes reflected an image ofhim and his twinbrother, Levi, at their age, all full of trouble.
He shook his head and motioned forward, but the youths disappearedbehindsome shrubbery before he could reach them, leaving a very naked Tagwithnothing but his sopping bright blue handkerchief and a bar of hismother's soapto save his pride.
Tag treaded through the water toward the bank, but stopped just shortof emerging from the river at the sound of a woman's voice.
"Everett Hanson and Gandy Stevens, where did you get those things?"
The boys muttered something he could not hear.
"What do you mean there's a man swimming in my alcove?"
My alcove? Itcouldn't be. He'd been told that the Scott's hadn't had any children.
Tag flicked his head from one side of the inlet to the other,searching for a place to take cover, but short of leaving the water and hidingin thetrees, he was out of luck.
A splash of purple filled in the slits at the bottom of the treesandmoments later, a woman, much younger than he'd anticipated, steppedthrough thebushes and into view as she continued to chastise the boys,his clothes in herarms.
"Stay put and I'll handle this," she told the children.
There was nowhere for Tag to go to protect the woman's sensibilities.With one hand, he made small ripples around him. At least the movement ofthewater would serve as some sort of covering and he still had thehandkerchief inhis hand he could use for cover.
"Where did you get th..." her words faded as she searched the alcoveuntil she met his eyes.
She obviously hadn't expected him--especially in this state ofundress,although she did hold the evidence of his obvious vulnerability inherhands. Her face filled with color as she cleared her throat and spunaway,facing the brush from which she'd appeared.
"Who are you?"