I don't own Phantom Stallion

This story takes place a couple of weeks after my New Year's Eve story! Sam and Jake are dating still!

In the Cold

A couple weeks after New Year's Eve, Sam rode Ace up to Witch on War Drum Flats to search for seven stray cows. Sam was wearing her brown winter jacket and dark jeans with her working boots and looked every bit a cowgirl with her new brown Stetson on her head. Jake's black Stetson cast a shadow over his face and covered his dark hair and his jacket made him look even more muscled.

For a greeting the couple shared a joyful smile before allowing the horses to continue walking toward Lost Canyon, where the cows were last seen. To keep up with Witch, Ace took long strides and determinedly looked ahead of them.

A light snow began dusting the already white ground, but the search party pressed on. Sam happily took in the beautiful white landscape that looked pure and peaceful. Scanning the white scene for her pale stallion, Sam sat comfortably giving Ace his head.

The snow softened Jake's voice, "Looking for your horse, Brat?" He used his childish nickname for her because even though they were dating he stuck to the familiar name.

"Yeah, but he is probably still safely sealed in his secret valley," Sam took her eyes off the snowy scene to look at her boyfriend. A tingle traveled through her remembering their New Year's kiss and a soft smile covered her lips.

With his "mustang eyes", Jake held his girlfriend's gaze while taking in her slim figure and auburn hair. His signature tomcat grin raised the corner of his mouth when Sam blushed under his approving gaze.

Sam ducked her head watching Jake watch her. Her heart warmed at the thought of him liking the way she looked and so she returned his lazy grin with a smirk.

As they continued on, the snow started falling thicker just as they reached the trail that wound down in to the canyon. Then they spotted the heifers with their tails tucked from the cold huddled along the path. Skillfully, Jake moved Witch onto the narrow path and pushed the cows out of the canyon. Sam let Ace fall into step beside the cows on the right.

After braving the weather for about ten more minutes, the snow thickened once again and Jake began to search the visible parts of the mountain for any kind of shelter. He caught sight of a nearly six foot deep cave to the right of the trail.

Angling Witch and the herd toward it, Jake made sure Sam stuck close to the cows and didn't drift off. When they reached the small cave, Jake swung down from Witch and ground tied her near the entrance. He walked the few steps to Sam's side just as she jumped down from Ace.

Just as Sam's left foot reached the ground, her ankle rolled on a snow covered rock. Feeling herself falling, Sam awaited the sickening snap of her ankle bone as the ground rushed toward her side.

Jake darted his last step to Sam. Grabbing her left elbow with one hand and sliding his other arm beneath her lower back, he pulled her weight to him. Jake prayed he had caught her in time to avoid a broken bone.

Instead of feeling searing pain in her ankle and cold snow against her body, Sam felt a dull throb in her ankle and the Jake's strong arms around her. Smiling sheepishly, Sam looked up at Jake, "Thanks, that could've been a lot worse. You really do end up saving me a lot, you know."

Jake continued supporting her as he replied, "I could always stop." A mischievous look shined in his eyes at the comment.

"Hey, I was not complaining. To be honest, I really don't mind so much anymore." She purposefully implied that she liked it when he held her. Sam pushed herself out of his arms and swayed slightly on her weakened foot.

Moving next to her, Jake put a reassuring arm around her waist to steady her for the brief walk to the cave. "You could just start asking me to hug you 'stead of falling all the time," Jake joked back at her hidden comment.

Sam smiled and let him support her for their short walk. Entering the cave, Jake helped Sam slide to the floor before he tied both horses with their heads inside the shelter and rear ends in the cold. He then made sure the cows were sticking close by. Each cow huddled together against the mountainside and lay down.

Jake came back in and settled down next to Sam crossing his arms over his raised knees. Sam broke the silence, "Can't the horses come all the way in?"

Shaking his head, Jake replied, "Then we'd have to sit outside."

"Aren't they cold? What if they get sick?" Sam questioned as she watched the horses close their eyes.

"Naw, their heads are in here and have winter coats." Jake soothed Sam's worry over the horses with his sure words.

Despite her jacket, Sam felt a shiver run down her spine and rubbed her hands together for warmth. Jake saw Sam try to hide her shiver and slid closer so their thighs were touching and slung his arm over her shoulders. "Your ankle hurt?"

"Not too bad. I'm just cold." Sam felt his warmth radiating into her and nestled into his side resting her head on his shoulder. They sat that way for nearly two hours until five in the evening. The weather continued to drop and it hit about 15 degrees.

Please Review with opinions, ideas, suggestion, feedback, etc.!!!!!!!! Chapter two coming soon!