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Startled, Star leapt forward and headed home, Bethany clinging to the saddle horn for the second time that day.
I started to turn Jasmine, but Ralph was too fast and, before I could even get her to take a step, he had the reins in his hand.
"Oh no, Rachel," he said, with a grim smile. "This time you will stay and talk to me, like it or not."
I shuddered. Ralph was not a man I wanted to be left alone with. I hoped Bethany would have the sense to ride straight to the farm and get Dad or Ben.
Ralph flashed his sickeningly bright smile. "Well, Rachel. I get the feeling you aren't exactly happy to see me."
I bit my lip and said nothing.
"Not talking to me?" Ralph grinned provokingly.
"Please let go of the reins," I said stiffly.
Ralph laughed. "Now why would I do that? You have cost me a whole lot of time and money, Rachel, and I'm not too happy about it."
I shrugged. "You should have known better than to try to steal a horse in the first place. My dad warned you not to bother us again and he's not going to be happy to find you here with me."
Ralph gave the reins a tug and chuckled maliciously. "I think I can handle your dad."
I had been afraid before, but now I was angry. "Let go of my horse," I demanded.
Ralph shook his head. "No."
The look in his eyes made me tremble inside, but I tried to look confident. "Please leave me alone."
Ralph started toward me and I pulled back. I couldn't pretend not to be afraid any longer.
He still had his hands on the reins so there was no way I could ride off. I knew I was no match for him on foot, but that seemed to be my only option.
I was just about to jump off when a hand grabbed Ralph's shoulder and yanked him away from me.