In the late 1870's, orphans Benjamin and Molly are finally old enough to strike out on their own. Leaving behind the life they knew in Dry Ridge, Kentucky, the siblings head for Texas, a new territory where Benjamin has been ordered to undergo advanced training for the Second United States Army Dragoons. But along the way, hardship strikes when one of the axles on their Conestoga wagon fails just outside of Marble Falls, Texas. Deciding to seek shelter for the night, the pair comes across an abandoned white rock house and agree to stay there until they can get on the road again.
Soon after, they meet Joe Eagle, a local Indian boy who saves Molly from a rattlesnake. The three quickly become friends, and Molly soon discovers that she has feelings for Joe. When the siblings decide to stay in Marble Falls and make enough money to buy the white rock house, Joe begins to wonder if Molly truly cares for him or if the white rock house is her only love.
As the distance grows between them, Molly and Joe must find a way to either put aside their feelings for each other or find a way to start a new life together at the white rock house.
SEVENTEEN Molly wrapped up in her part of the blanket; inadvertently in most of his half also, and with her legs drawn up, arms locked around her knees she was comfortable and ready for slumber. Joe Eagle lay back and clasped hands behind his head, staring at her through the gray light that spate in from above, “Molly, are you going to share the blanket,” he asked in a playful voice. She rose on one elbow, and then sat up pretending to be a little annoyed by his comment. Feeling frisky, she couldn’t resist putting a foot in his side and with a shove, bowling him completely off the blanket and almost into the water. Giggling as she waited for him to retaliate. He rolled back, claimed a kiss, and commandeered his half of the blanket and wrapped up in it then he extended an arm, she grasped his hand as they looked into each other’s eyes. The look in her eyes seemed to invite closeness as he pulled her toward his body, almost crushing her against his chest as in a protective manner. She offered no resistance as he kissed her freely. For what seemed an eon, their lips demanded more and more from each other, until very slowly, he loosened his arms around her and gradually pulled away.“I hate to bring this trip to an end, but I guess it’s about time we headed back,” said Molly with a trace of satisfaction in her voice.“I’m with you on that, let’s go,” he said with the same warm emotion.Outside where their horses were tethered, Joe Eagle fastened the blanket behind his saddle. Then they saddled up and started out for the house.Molly would never have believed that it could be so hard riding a horse down hill. Red shuffled and slipped along in front of Joe Eagle, who amused himself watching her trying to stay in the saddle. Her horses’ ears pointed forward, its head swinging from side to side. Rocks and pebbles rolled under foot, she was bathed in perspiration, and breathing heavy by the time they reached level ground.“You know, I have to say it again, you ride pretty good for a girl,” Joe Eagle said.Molly stuck out her tongue at him.“Really, you do ride pretty good.”She glanced back toward him; he was motioning for her to hold up. Pulling up along side her the two looked into each other’s eyes for a moment, at the same time a cactus wren trilled from the top of a hieroglyphic rock. They stopped before some veined morning glories long enough for their fingertips to touch. Then leaning in their saddles for a kiss, they slowly headed toward the river ford.They followed grass overgrown, old twin wagon ruts leading northeast, riding boldly, yet cautiously, they splashed across Buffalo Creek. Upon reaching the far bank, Molly was attracted by the sound of something unfamiliar. The trail that they were following was narrowing so she decided to turn her horse around and as she did, scarcely ten yards ahead, stood a snarling cougar, seemingly almost twice the size as the cat she and Benjamin came across right after they entered Texas .Joe heard the cougar and reined Amigo toward the sound.Seconds later he found her. Red had thrown her and she had crawled to the nearby elm and leaned against it. Crouching beside her, he carefully lifted her up by the shoulders and held her firmly, and as he carried her, her auburn hair floated against his cheek. He heard the chop of hoofs fading in the far distance. Riderless Red was fast on her way back to the white rock houseWhen Molly fully regained consciousness she felt herself held tightly in his arms, her head supported in his muscular arms. It would be impossible to mistake the kind expression in his eyes as he looked into her young face.He hurried toward Amigo and gingerly lifted her onto the saddle. On their way back to the house Joe Eagle saw that she was aware of what was going on.“How do you feel, Honey?” Thrilled at his ‘Honey’ salutation, she replied, “My head hurts and my arm hurts, Honey.”Arriving at the house, Joe Eagle lifted Molly off of Amigo; he reached for his blanket and threw it over one shoulder. Pushing open the door, he entered, threw the blanket on the floor, laid her on it, and spread the blanket out enough for the two of them to lay on it. After seeing that she was comfortable, he built a fire then lay down beside her.