Category: Excerpt

The Clan of the Wolf — New Series — Free E-book Give-Away

Howdy!

And welcome to another wonderful Tuesday.

My latest work, BRAVE WOLF AND THE LADY, is currently with the editor prior to publication.  This will be (knock on wood) the second book in The Clan of the Wolf series.  The hero is a member of the Society of the Wolf, or as I call it, The Clan of the Wolf.  The clan of the Wolf.  What’s that?

This is a subject I find absolutely fascinating…and I’d love to talk to you about it.  In America’s past, the American Indian tribes had many different societies that a man might belong to.  The Society of the Wolf was a very secretive society.  In fact, outside of its own members, no one else in the tribe knew who belonged to this society.  Why?  Because this was the society of those special individuals who were the eyes, the ears and the life blood of the tribe — the Scout.

apachescout4Brave Wolf, the hero of the new story, is a scout.  The book that is currently on the market, THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF, is the first book in this series, and High Wolf, the hero of that story, is also a scout.  These men were  incredible men:  able to track and even to be able to tell the condition of the person or animal from tracks alone; able to survive in any condition; able to start out naked in any environment and not only survive, but to flourish in that environment.  But one of the most fascinating reads about these remarkable men is the particular way the Scout of old moved and swam in water.  So graceful was it, it has often been called the Scout’s Water Dance.

Tom Brown, Jr., in his book, THE WAY OF THE SCOUT lets you in on the beauty of the way the scouts of old “swam,” or “moved” in water.  My understand goes this way: We all know that if one drops a rock into the water — or any object — it makes concentric circles in the water.  Any movement, it would seem, would cause water to move and to announce the presence of man or animal in the water.  So, how did the scout of yesteryear manage to move in the water without being seen, without making those telltale concentric circles, and so be able to  stalk his prey, or obtain information on the enemy?

In Mr. Brown’s book, THE WAY OF THE SCOUT, he tells you the story of how he came to meet and be taken under the wing of an old Apache Indian, whom Mr. Brown and his friend, Rick, called Grandfather.  Grandfather had been trained as a young man into the ageless ways of the Society of the Wolf — the Scout — and Grandfather wished to pass along some his knowledge so that these things didn’t pass out of existence.

cheyennescoutI’m going to quote from the book now.  Grandfather is speaking:

“You must first understand that it (water) is the blood of our earth Mother, the same blood that courses through your veins.  Once entering the water you must blend your mind with that of the water, thus becoming part of the water and ultimately becoming invisible while wrapped in its mind…  …You must learn to move with the water, for to disobey its laws and move against its power is to perish.”  THE WAY OF THE SCOUT by Tom Brown, Jr.

And so started the lesson, which is at first a little humorous to read.  As Mr. Brown and his friend, Rick, were learning to become part of the water, they were having a tough time of it — trying to keep clear of brushes and fallen logs and other obstacles in the water.  However, he goes on with the lesson and says in his book, “After nearly two full hours of being impaled, battered, and tangled in sharp brush, Rick and I gave in to the stream’s energy and began to move freely, silently, and quickly.”  He goes on to say, “The stream and Grandfather had somehow taught us a great lesson without uttering a word…”  THE WAY OF THE SCOUT by Tom Brown, Jr.

siouxscoutHowever, they had been going downstream and had reached their destination.  Now they had to somehow go upstream.  Says Mr. Brown that he and his friend Rick were struggling even more now and really fighting the currents of the water.  He says that both he and Rick were being beat up by the struggle to fight upstream.  Imagine then, these two boys, who upon emerging from the water being battered and tired, with no energy left, then found Grandfather waiting for them — for he had gotten far ahead of them in the water.  Says Mr. Brown, “He had that smile on his face, unruffled and relaxed, depicting an air of not having struggled at all.  Rick and I, on the other hand, were cold, exhausted, bruised, and cut…”

Grandfather then told the boys that they had chosen to fight the water, instead of moving with it.  But how can one move with the water upstream?  Grandfather answered their questions by signaling them to follow him back into the water.  And here’s what Mr. Brown writes:

“We began to follow Grandfather closely.  His motions were like those of a well-choreographed water dance, a flowing ballet, where he moved effortlessly.  He weaved back and forth, riding whirlpools, slipping through backwaters on the inside parts of bends in the stream, and dancing across submerged logs without a struggle.  He used the power of the waters to move him.”  THE WAY OF THE SCOUT by Tom Brown, Jr.

Isn’t that a beautiful description?0[5]  There is more, of course, as Mr. Brown and his friend, Rick, learn how to move in the water by watching herons and egrets who were in the shallows.  They learn how to raise up out of the water without leaving any of the telltale concentric circles, and they learn to stalk the more aware animals — a fox for example — from the water.  Mr. Brown says that he and his friend, Rick, went on to stalk all kinds of animals from the water, and he says, “We laughed at the antics of our local wildlife population around the waters of camp.  They had become a bit neurotic when approaching the water, but nonetheless seemed happy to join in the game.”

This is an incredible book and an even more incredible journey that Mr. Brown takes you on in this book.  It’s an older book, copyrighted in 1995.  But in the book, Mr. Brown makes mention of a school, a Wilderness Survival School.  If you’re interested, you might pick up the book and see if the school still exists.

In both THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF and BRAVE WOLF AND THE LADY, there is at least one scene in both books that includes a water scene.  When a water dance like this is described so beautifully, of course it moves one, and a person has to write about it to the best of her or his ability.

I thought I’d leave you with an excerpt from THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF and specifically one of the water scenes.

THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF

by

Karen Kay

At the first hint that something had gone amiss, High Wolf immersed himself in the waters of the river, and in doing so, became a part of the river, so much so that not even a swirl could be seen in the water to indicate his progress. Cautiously, he floated toward the ship, practically invisible. He didn’t swim, nor did he float, but rather he executed what could only be described as a dance with the river’s current. Never did he fight the river’s power, but rather he moved with it, letting the water propel him closer to his target.

At last he came up close to the boat, himself a calm influence in comparison to the turmoil aboard the Diana. He could feel the terror there, sense the smoke-induced delirium of the boatmates, but it was not in his mind to aid these men. No, she was the reason he was here; he would find her.

Quickly, he perused the voyageurs, as well as the passengers who were still aboard the steamboat. Some of them were already jumping from the burning remnants of the boat, an action that could bring sorrow, unless a person either knew how to swim with the river’s flow or was strong enough of body to fight it. But perhaps these men were that hardy, for these white voyageurs, who worked the boats, were sometimes admired for the physical marvels they could perform.

Alas, however, High Wolf saw nothing of her.

Making a quick circle around the boat proved to be a waste of time, for he still had not seen her. And so it was that he found himself with little choice but to board the boat. Quickly, he hoisted himself up to the main deck, coming down flat-footed and at a run, aware as he did so that the steamboat was sinking, and with the majority of the Diana’s body enveloped in flames, there was little to be done for her. As it was, her lower deck was flooded, and in places already half submerged.

Still, without losing more than an instant, he found his way around the decks, until as he rounded a corner, something large and heavy fell into the water, creating a terrific splash. But the gray mist of smoke hung heavy over his eyes, and High Wolf found he could see but little.

Swiftly, he trod closer, and looking toward the spot, High Wolf recognized the cause at once: a smaller boat; one he knew to be a lifeboat, had been thrown into the rushing current.

Suddenly, things became worse: A piece of wood from above, engulfed in flames, broke off the Diana’s main hull and fell, streaking, toward the water. And before anyone knew what it was about, the wood, now a flaming dagger, struck the lifeboat. In moments, the boat tipped off balance, catching fire.

A feminine scream split the air, its intensity piercing High Wolf like a knife. Bodies dove off the lifeboat, but not one of these people was female. Where was she?

And then, through the soot-induced haze, he saw her, still aboard the blazing lifeboat, her countenance oddly composed. For she didn’t move, not even to save herself.

What was wrong with her? Was she frozen in place?  Although it seemed impossible, he knew that shock could sometimes cause a person to freeze and become unable to save themselves.

Or was the problem caused by another circumstance or a different emotion? Was it her outrageously full dress? Was she afraid, with so much weight upon her, that she might sink, becoming entangled in its mass?

But if that were true, she was surely acting in a poor manner to solve the problem, for she did not remove any of her clothing, or take any action to save herself. Instead, amid the ballet of diving bodies, the princess slowly sank along with the boat.

Quickly, High Wolf plunged into the Missouri’s depths, then came up for breath and caught his bearings. But she was gone, swallowed up by the muddy, swirling waters of the Missouri. That’s when it occurred to him:

Could she swim?

It seemed amazing to him that he had no answer to that; he, who should know her well. Instinctively, High Wolf swam toward the place he had last seen her, and diving deeper into the water, hunted for her, but not with his eyes, for the murky waters of the Missouri did not allow sight for more than a few feet.

No, he searched for her intuitively, spiritually, and in doing so, found her within seconds. But he had no time in which to experience relief. Grabbing hold of her, he kicked out hard, bringing her up with him to the river’s surface, forcing her head above water, where he heard her gasp for breath. She struggled, and down they both went once more.

He kept hold of her with one arm, while with his other hand, he took out his knife, and then he did the unthinkable. As quickly as the water would allow him, he cut off her dress.

In response, she mustered a formidable response. Whereas before he’d seen little life in her, she now fought him with renewed strength, as though he were some sort of madman, or perhaps she, a madwoman. But High Wolf didn’t have time or even the ability under water to explain his actions, and despite her best efforts, he continued cutting away until the dress was removed and the danger had passed.

The weight of her clothing fell away. That this left her attired in little more than her calf-length drawers, hose and corset was hardly discreditable, for she was still almost fully covered.

But their commotion under water had sunk them too low, and an undertow grabbed hold of them. Quickly, he seized her around the chin, and with mighty strokes, fought his way to the surface of the water, not stopping until he heard her sputter.

At least she was still breathing.

He caught his breath, feeling somewhat safer, now that their heads were above the channel’s surface, and he called out, “Do not fight the river’s current, or me, because if you do, this draught will claim us. You must become composed.” He spoke loudly, but calmly, as though the two of them were taking a stroll instead of fighting for their lives. He continued, “You must become one with the water, for if you do, it will protect you.”

But she appeared to be beyond listening, and she fought him with revitalized vigor. Once again, he called out, “Cease your struggles, or you will force me to bind you, so that you do not drown us both.”

He realized that she was obviously unused to the water, and in the end, it required him to use brute strength against her, holding her arms and legs with one each of his own. Meanwhile, he kept afloat, lugging her with him and letting the water carry them back to shore.

After a few moments, she came suddenly alive and howled at him, “I can’t breathe.” She fought him once more. “You…you’re drowning me.”

“I am not drowning you; you are doing it to yourself. Cease your struggle and merge your body with mine. I will not let you drown.”

“And who will keep you afloat?”

“The water, of course. I have no fear of the water. Only those who fight the river’s power ever come to harm in it.”

“But—”

“Do you see that you are speaking? That you have energy enough to talk back at me?”

“I… I…”

All at once, she ceased her struggle. In truth, his words must have had effect, for she at last let her body meld with his, allowing him to repeat his earlier dance with the river’s current, shoving off here, letting the stream take him there, forging through the water as easily as if he were picking his way across lily pads.

It took little time before he managed to set them ashore, appearing, to anyone who might have been looking, that the river had lovingly placed them there. At once, High Wolf left the water, and with her tucked under his arm, he crept into the protection of the bush, where he granted her a moment to catch her breath.

But a moment was all he could afford.

THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF

https://www.amazon.com/Princess-Wolf-Clan-Book-ebook/dp/B079QPW33V/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1523326562&sr=8-1&keywords=the+princess+and+the+wolf+by+karen+kay&tag=pettpist-20

 

 

Updated: April 10, 2018 — 10:41 am

Caroline Clemmons Shares Her Downfall & Book Giveaway

Thank you for the exciting honor of being on Petticoats and Pistols. Yee Haw!

I will give away an e-copy of DANIEL McCLINTOCK to two people who comment. (Giveaway guidelines apply.)

I love research but it’s my downfall. One thing leads to another and the next thing I know I’ve spent precious minutes/hours falling down the rabbit hole. That’s not too bad, since I believe knowledge is never wasted. (Well, I’m not so sure about algebra since I’m a writer. ?) Research tangents can wreak havoc with a schedule.

Because I like to have unusual twists and occupations in my books, I’ve learned some intriguing things. For instance, did you know that long ago women were hired to mine the small, narrow crevices of coal mines? Or, that they worked in such hot conditions that they wore only a wide sash around their hips?

I learned that irrelevant tidbit researching for O’NEILL’S TEXAS BRIDE (McClintocks book two). Even though the hero has to solve a mystery at a coal mine, this is a western. He’s involved in a trade: find the culprit who’s sabotaging the mine and he gets the money to buy a horse ranch. I wasn’t searching for ancient mining or even Regency era mines. I wanted information on Texas coal mines in the late 1800s. Fortunately, I found enough to make my book credible.

Later in the McClintock series, I researched the early beginnings of physical therapy for DANIEL McCLINTOCK, McClintocks book four. In the previous book, McCLINTOCK’S RELUCTANT BRIDE, I left that hero’s younger brother Daniel paralyzed from the waist down.

Oooh, the angry emails! The gist was that if I didn’t write a book to help Daniel I would lose many readers. These are romance books, so of course I would write his book. My goal is to entertain and leave readers with a happy glow. If we want to be depressed, we can watch the evening news.

I spent several hours researching Daniel’s problem and the origins of physical therapy. By a stroke of good luck (or angels watching over me) I met a man who had been paralyzed from the waist down just like Daniel. This man, who didn’t even use a cane or limp, told me how he regained use of his legs—and the process involved things I would not have found in research.

In DANIEL McCLINTOCK, Daniel has gone from being a shy, kind, hard-working young man to one who is depressed and cynical. You can see how that might happen, right? This book is a sweet romance with the exception of the words “damn” and “hell”.

After being used to ranching all his life, his abilities have been stolen from him by a villain’s bullet. At twenty-two, he fears he’s facing a lifetime of what he feels is being useless. He’s trapped in a shell of his former self.

However, Daniel isn’t totally idle. He paints beautiful pictures that he sells in the mercantile then donates the proceeds to the church. Keeping ranch records for his father is a definite boon for the older McClintock. Secretly, Daniel writes poetry. But, as his younger sister Rebecca accuses, he is grumpy as an old bear.

In Amsterdam, Clara Van Hoosan has been training as a heilgymnast in the new mechanotherapy field. At twenty two, she has had amazing success but faces the battle of patients preferring a man as their therapist. When a request comes from America, she is thrilled when her mentor suggests her—but she uses her initials rather than reveal she’s a woman.

Do you think Daniel will welcome Clara to help him? If you said no, you’re correct. Let me share the scene of their first meeting. Kathryn is Daniel’s mother.

DANIEL McCLINTOCK Excerpt:

Clara followed Kathryn to the room next door. When she entered, she stopped and stared. Daniel wasn’t a boy as she had imagined—he was a man her age or older. And, as handsome as any man she’d ever met.

Kathryn introduced them to one another.

“You’re not serious!” Daniel’s glare chilled Clara as he assessed her head to toe and back up. “You said a man was arriving. You think I’m going to work with this… woman?”

He looked away and made a dismissive wave with his hand. “Forget it and get her out of here.”

Kathryn offered Clara a helpless expression then left the room.

Clara stepped forward, forcing herself to assume her professional demeanor. She had faced this reaction before, but this was so much more important. As much as she longed to help anyone in his position, this man also represented her chance to establish herself in America.

“Daniel, I am here to help you learn to walk again. I have a contract and have moved into the room next door, so you might as well get used to having me here.”

His blue eyes were glacial. “I. Said. Get. Out.”

As if he hadn’t spoken, she continued, “I have completed courses in nursing and mechanotherapy and have helped dozens of people like you recover the use of their limbs. One of your workers has gone to the rail depot to claim my trunks. Inside two of them I have equipment which I will assemble here in your room.”

He threw a book at her but it landed at her feet. “I am not letting you near me.”

She picked up the book, glanced at the title. “Hmm, Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. I have wanted to read this. Thank you.” She laid it on the washstand.

“Give me my damned book.”

She smiled but didn’t return the tome. “But, you gave it to me.”

“You know very well I didn’t.” Using his arms and hands, he pushed up higher on his pillows. “You deliberately misled us by using your initials instead of your first name.”

She widened her eyes and blinked at him. “Oh? I believe it is customary to use initials in business correspondence.”

He crossed his arms over his chest. “Don’t give me that innocent expression. You knew we thought you were a man—which is what you intended. I’m not having a woman working on me.”

Clara tapped a finger against her cheek. “I was under the impression your mother has been working with you to insure your leg muscles do not deteriorate. You were not averse to her and she is a woman.”

“That’s different.”

“She faces prejudice because she is a woman healer. I would think you, as her son who is aware of this, would be more tolerant of other women healers.”

“What she does is entirely different than what you supposedly do.”

“Not so. Each of us does our best to help people. In spite of your low opinion of me, I am going to be helping you for some time. I will be in early tomorrow to help you get ready for the day. After breakfast, I will begin assembling my equipment. You will find it fascinating. For now, good evening.” She reclaimed the book and carried it with her.

He yelled after her, “Bring me back my damned book!”

She smiled to herself as she walked to her room. She thought she had come out best in that round. Tomorrow would begin round two.

DANIEL McCLINTOCK, McClintocks book four, is available from Amazon:

Click Here To Order Daniel McClintock

The first book in the series, THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE. To order a permafree copy Click Here

Book two is O’NEILL’S TEXAS BRIDE: Click Here to Order

Book three is McCLINTOCK’S RELUCTANT BRIDE: Click Here To Order

My question for you is, do you enjoy research?

 

A LITTLE ABOUT CAROLINE

Through a crazy twist of fate, Caroline Clemmons was not born on a Texas ranch. To make up for this tragic error, she writes about handsome cowboys, feisty ranch women, and scheming villains in a small office her family calls her pink cave. She and her Hero live in North Central Texas cowboy country where they ride herd on their rescued cats and dogs. The books she creates there have made her an Amazon bestselling author and won numerous awards. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, and Pinterest.

Click on her for a complete list of her books and follow her there.

Follow her on BookBub.

Subscribe to Caroline’s newsletter here to receive a FREE novella of HAPPY IS THE BRIDE, a humorous historical wedding disaster that ends happily—but you knew it would, didn’t you?

 

 

 

Updated: April 5, 2018 — 1:22 pm

A Little Bit of Fiction — A Little Bit of History — An excerpt & a Give-Away

Howdy!  Welcome to another terrific Tuesday.

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to watch a Rain Dance?  And to watch it from the “roof” of a 19th Century Mandan lodge?

Ever wonder if the men who tried to make it rain all those years ago were successful?

Interestingly, George Catlin — who visited the West in the 1830’s — wrote much about the Mandan Indians, about their rain dances, their ceremonies and religious practices, even the way their lodges looked.  Of course we who write historical romances often find ourselves completely captivated by the facts and outright interesting characters and happenings that we find in our research.  Often the facts of the matter are so outrageous, that an author might feel no one would believe it, and so she might write a scene around it, but “tone it down” a bit — just to make it believable.

I think the rain dance is one of those kinds of ceremonies, and yet it is a fact that many men tried to make it rain by testing their “medicine” against the elements, and that many were quite successful.  The following scene is written within the Minataree village.  The Minataree were a tribe of Indians who lived on the cliffs above the Missouri River.  They had a permanent village and very interesting customs.  These scene of course is romantic, but it also takes into account the terrific sight of a man pitting his strength against the elements in order to help his tribe by making it rain.

Enjoy!

THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF

Excerpt

As they approached the Minatarree village, they were at once treated to the sight of a horse race in full swing. The track was set upon the prairie and a good deal of the village had turned out to watch.

From a distance, unobserved, unnoticed, High Wolf and Sierra sat and watched the race for several moments, before deciding to go on. At last, they approached the main Minatarree village, and Sierra was the first to note the sounds of many drums from within the village.

“There seem to be more drums beating there than what I remember. Do you know why?”

“Perhaps the Minatarree are having a dance. Or maybe, if my vision is correct from this distance, we might find that there are Rain Makers on top of the council house.”

“What?”

“Rain Makers.”

“I have never heard of such a thing. What are they?”

High Wolf, who had been crawling through the shrub, stopped and turned toward her, his manner relaxed and full of good humor. He enlightened her, saying, “Have you seen that the Minatarree raise a great deal of corn and vegetables?”

“I have.”

“Have you also noticed that there has been no rain since we have been in this country, which is almost three weeks? That is a long time to go without rain, if one is raising crops.”

“Ah, I begin to understand.”

“Do you? Here is what happens. When the crops are failing, the women, who raise the corn, appeal to the medicine men of the tribe to help. And if the women’s cries are sufficient, these wise, old men will parley in the council lodge. Here they will burn sage and other medicine herbs, and then they will appeal to the Creator for help.

“Now, this lodge is closed to all but a few—perhaps fifteen young men. These are the young men who are willing to risk their reputations against the force of nature. With their own medicine, they appeal to the spirits to make it rain.

“If one of them fails, he will, then, never become a medicine man.  But if he succeeds, he will become a man of some importance.  Now, if I am correct, this could be the source of the drumming. Would you like to go and see?”

“Most definitely. But if this is a ceremony, won’t we interrupt it?”

“No one will notice our coming and going. There is too much taking place here today, and people will be watching the dancers, not us. But hurry, let us go there quickly and find a good location where we could sit and watch, for I believe you will find it interesting.”

Slowly, he turned around and started in the direction of the river, where they might wash the mud from their bodies before approaching the village. But Sierra tapped him on the shoulder and asked, “Tell me, have any of these young men ever made it rain?”

“If their medicine is good.”

“Oh, really?”

“It is so..”

“And do you believe that one of them will do so now?”

“I do.”

“All because they implore the Creator for help?”

“That,” he agreed, “and because some of them have much medicine of their own, and can talk to the spirits.  I have known such people.”

Her eyes filled with humor, and she laughed. “Well, I, for one, don’t believe it.”

He grinned at her. “Would you like to make a bet?”

“Hmmm. Perhaps,” she felt non-committal. “What would we be betting?”

His eyes twinkled as he suggested, “It is my opinion that a good, long back rub would be in order.”

“Very well.” She raised an eyebrow at him. “I seem to remember you asking for a massage once before. However, I feel I should warn you that in this case, I will be the winner.” She gave him a merry, lopsided grin. “What do you think?”

He stretched, yawning. “Ah, I’ve always loved a good back rub…”

***

Entering the village as unobtrusively as possible, they made their way toward Yellow Moccasin’s lodge. Once there, they were able to quickly find a seat atop his earth lodge, sitting directly at the hut’s apex. That they shared their seat with several of the youngsters made it seem to Sierra as though she were on a picnic.

“Now there”—High Wolf pointed to a particular earth lodge—“is the council lodge, and inside are the medicine men who are singing and beating the drum.  Do you smell the herbs? They are burning them, so that the Creator will be pleased and will take pity on them.”

“And the man on top of the lodge?”

“That is one of the young men, who is determined to test his prowess.  This man I am told is Gray Elk.  Look, he is about to start.”

Gray Elk was certainly an extraordinary man, Sierra decided. Tall, big-boned and well built, he wore a most beautiful costume of what must be elk skin, for it was bleached white. He also carried in one hand a war shield, and in his other, his bow and two arrows.

Then, taking position and brandishing his bow and arrows toward the skies, he began to sing, as though the very air were filled with spirits.

“What is he saying?”

High Wolf leaned close, and whispered, “At present, he is telling the crowd that on this day, their woes are at an end. He is here to sacrifice himself to the task of making it rain, for he knows well that if he fails, he will be disgraced. He says that his shield will draw a great cloud, which will give them all rain.”

Sierra glanced around her, at the cloudless heavens overhead, and queried with good humor, “Is he a dreamer?”

“Perhaps. But he is given all day to make the rain fall from the sky. We have happened upon the fourth man to try.”

“The fourth?”

Haa’he, and Gray Elk will be on top of that lodge most of the day, pleading to the heavens.”

“Do you think he will make it rain and win you the bet?”

“Perhaps.”

Again, she smiled. Such strange customs. Still, she glanced right and left, noticing that behind her, arising, from the west, was a small cloud.

“High Wolf,” she pointed. “Look there.”

He did so, then slanted her a look of delight. “Ah, I will enjoy that back rub very much.”

She chuckled, her glance skimming over the heads of the villagers, who had also spotted the cloud. As Gray Elk’s pleas became more urgent, Sierra suddenly caught sight of something…someone on one of the other rooftops. An image of someone familiar…someone with dark hair, hair that was liberally sprinkled with gray, an oddity for one so young.

But it was not a Minatarree man. It was a white man. A white man she recognized…  Dear Lord, it was the prince.

Prince Alathom?  Here?

But wasn’t he dead? Hadn’t they sung songs over his grave?

Was he a ghost?

No, he looked real, for he was talking and laughing with some children, who were gathered round him.

Her head spun.  What did this mean? Or more importantly, what was she supposed to feel? Relief that a friend was still among the living?

Or remorse?

That’s when it happened. The reality of what this would mean to her, to High Wolf, to them, took hold of her.

 

“Someday, I will have to leave this place, and when that day arrives, there will be no room in my life, nor in my heart for you.  If you would love me, then you must do so knowing that this day will yet come.”

 

It had come. She would lose High Wolf.

No! This could not be. She could change her mind, couldn’t she? She shut her eyes, rubbing her forehead as her very own words came back to haunt her.

 

“We are not bound by rules so much as we are by duty. Duty to do the best that we can for our people and our countries. Rules can always be changed; duty cannot.”

 

No!

High Wolf could return home with her. High Wolf would become her prince. Not…not Alathom.

 

“I was adopted by the prince’s father and mother. Perhaps I could ease the situation between your countries.”

“I’m afraid that would make little difference,” Sierra had told him. “Your relationship to Alathom’s family is not that of a blood lineage. You cannot inherit the throne or rule. It has to be the prince or no one.”

 

No!

She and High Wolf had at last found happiness, had at last obtained peace with themselves. Hadn’t they only realized that they would be blessed with the rest of their lives together?

Yet her duty would be to…

Perhaps it didn’t matter.  Hadn’t she and High Wolf decided that Alathom had done what he had for them? So that the two of them could spend the rest of their lives together?

 

“A man can steal the wife of an enemy with little regard for his actions. But not so a brother. If your brother lives, you must give her up.”

 

Even Grandfather’s words came back to consume her.

No! Perhaps she could pretend she hadn’t seen him. Could she sneak away? Or was that a coward’s way out?

Surreptitiously, she glanced to the side, where High Wolf still sat beside her, unaware of the momentous occasion so unceremoniously thrust upon them. She caught him in the throes of a great deal of humor, as, leaning toward her, he so very sexually suggested, “Would you like to start that back rub now?”

But then he looked at her, really looked at her, and he must have sensed what was in her mind, in her heart, and most likely emblazed upon her countenance, for he asked, “Princess, are you all right? You look pale.  Is something wrong?”

It took Sierra a few moments to speak, and even then, she had no idea what to say. So when she at last spoke, saying, “He is alive,” it was no wonder that High Wolf frowned, gazing at her as though she had taken leave of her senses.

What was wrong with her? she wondered. Surely she could talk, although her tongue seemed oddly thick for her mouth. She found herself stumbling over her own words, as though she were a child of two. However, at last she managed to utter, “The prince…he’s alive.” And that’s when she pointed…

 

The Princess and the Wolf

by

Karen Kay

https://www.amazon.com/Princess-Wolf-Clan-Book-ebook/dp/B079QPW33V/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1521515063&sr=8-1&keywords=the+princess+and+the+wolf+by+karen+kay&tag=pettpist-20

 

Updated: March 19, 2018 — 10:09 pm

The Prairie Doctor’s Bride ~ An Excerpt

A look behind the book!

To create a scene, quite often authors draw on their life experiences and the emotions they felt at the time. That is how Katie O’Rourke’s “date” with Doctor Graham became a scene in The Prairie Doctor’s Bride.

When my husband took his first job as a school principal, he moved our family to a remote rural area in western Illinois. We rented a big, old farmhouse on a hill surrounded by fields of corn and wheat and woods, three miles from the town where he worked. The picture above is similar to the house, except the condition was much better! I enjoyed living in the country, but there was no hospital nearby for me to work in my profession as an obstetrical nurse. I took a position at the closest place ~ a nursing home. I didn’t last long. Those lovely elderly men and women reminded me too much of my grandparents — one of which had recently passed away. My emotions were frayed after only one day of working there.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Nelson Graham, the doctor in my latest sweet western romance, the Prairie Doctor’s Bride, is in need of a wife (and a nurse.) Growing up in the east, he attended a boarding school and then a university in Boston. He never had much contact with the “fairer” gender and so when he decides to take a wife in Oak Grove from among the mail-order brides that the town has procured, he is more than a bit out of his comfort zone.

He makes a list of attributes he expects in a wife, but he also wants to make sure she will work beside him as his nurse. He is not expecting a love-match. There wasn’t much love in his parent’s marriage and so he decides the best he can hope for is a help-mate.

He goes about meeting each mail-order bride and assessing them to see which one would work out for him the best. Needless to say, I had fun with this part!

The following is an excerpt of one such meeting ~ (Hint: Katie is not the heroine!)

* * * * * * * * * *

The next afternoon he called on Katie O’Rourke. He’d heard good things about her from a few of his more gossipy patients. Miss O’Rourke had the start of lines near her pale blue eyes and a more generous girth than the other brides. He was immediately drawn to her pleasant smile and outgoing personality. He invited her to dine with him in the hotel’s restaurant.

“I’m surprised you asked for me, Dr. Graham. I imagined that you would be interested in a younger woman. After all, your first choice was Mara. She’s the youngest of us from the train.”

“There is something to be said for life experience in a good marriage, Miss O’Rourke. You and I are likely close to the same age and have far more in common.”

Rollie brought in two bowls of cabbage soup and two plates of scalloped ham and potatoes. He set them down before Nelson and Miss O’Rourke. “Hello, Doc. Ah…Miss Katie…I would appreciate your opinion on the meal.”

Nelson raised his brows. Miss Katie, was it? It wasn’t like Rollie to solicit anyone’s opinion, especially when it came to his wife’s cooking. Ever since Rollie married Sadie, he had said that she could do no wrong.

“Oh, Katie here is a fine cook,” Rollie said, catching Nelson’s expression. “She’s been teaching Sadie and me some secrets from her native Ireland. I wish she had been here for Saint Paddy’s Day.”
Across from him, Miss O’Rourke smiled. “You’re too kind, Mr. Austin. I’m sure this will be delicious.”

“Well, I’ll be waiting to hear your thoughts.” And with a quick rap on the table as goodbye, Rollie headed over to another table to speak with another couple.

She could cook! That was good news for Nelson’s purposes. He settled back to enjoy his meal, his opinion of Miss O’Rourke rising steadily.

“What is it you did before coming to Oak Grove?” he asked halfway through his soup.

“Ach. I suppose you might think that I was married before, seeing as how I’m older than the other brides, but I haven’t had the pleasure.”

“It was on my mind,” he admitted. “I find it refreshing that you don’t make excuses. Sensible.”

“Well…it is what it is, isn’t it?”

She took a bite of ham and potatoes before continuing, “Ye see, I took care of my parents. First my ma fell sick, and it became my duty to do the cooking and cleaning and tending to my sisters. Then, a year after she passed, my da had an accident on the river. He needed my help after that.”

“What about your sisters? Did they help?”

She shook her head. “They married off as fast as you can say Christopher Columbus. First Bridget and then Susan. I’m glad of it. They have bonny husbands and they are happy.”

Another mental check went down on the positive side his list. She thought of others before herself, and she’d cared for a sick mother and ailing father and hadn’t minded her duty. “Miss Katie,” he said. “The fact that someone hasn’t snatched you up bewilders me.”

A becoming blush rose up her apple cheeks. “It’s hoping I am that I’ll never have to care for another sickly person again, unless, of course it was my own. You see—I like to be out of doors and I’ve had so little chance to do that. A garden of my own to tend on my own little patch of land, and cooking what I grow. Could anything be better than that?”

Oh no. That didn’t sound like the life he had envisioned. “What about helping your husband?”

“I suppose it would depend on what he did. For instance, I do like animals you see. And as I said—growing things. Anything that is out of doors.”

“Well, what if he was a doctor?”

Her eyes widened. “Are you asking me for my hand?”

His heart nearly stopped. “No, no!” he said quickly. “Of course not. It’s much too soon.”

“Well, then, just what is it you are saying?”

“I’m obviously not doing a very good job of making myself clear. I meant to say, or to ask…” He was stumbling about like a fool! He took a deep breath and began again. He leaned forward. “I would expect my wife to work with me. In my office. Doing things such as a nurse would do.”

She snatched herself back from him as if burned. “I’m sorry, Doctor. I’ve done my duty as a daughter and I hope never to look on another hurt or dying man or woman in my life. It’s my heart, you see…”

“No. I don’t see,” he said perhaps a little too crossly. “You are experienced. You are obviously well suited for the type of work.”

“But I couldn’t bear to go through it again. Every person I tended would remind me of my ma or my da. I—couldn’t.” The last was said in a whisper as if she was remembering more than she wanted. Her eyes filled with tears. She stood. “I won’t be misleading you to think that I would.”

Others in the restaurant were watching the drama with growing interest. This was not how he anticipated the afternoon going. “Please, Miss O’Rourke. Sit down again. I would have you finish your meal.”

She stood there a moment, undecided.

“Believe me, I do understand. I’m disappointed, for myself, but I completely understand your position.” It was obviously too much for her gentle nature.

“Are we to be friends then?” she asked, her voice uncertain.

“That would suit me fine. A person can’t have too many friends.”

“To be sure,” she said, gave a relieved smile and slowly sat back down to finish eating.

* * * * * * * * * *

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt!

(I thought it fit well with Saint Patrick’s Day!)

Do you have a Saint Patrick’s Day tradition? Do you wear green?
To enter the giveaway, Let me know!
I will choose a winner tomorrow from among those who comment.

 

 

 

Raising her son alone, penniless Sylvia Marks has had enough of being the subject of town gossip. But when her son is seriously injured she’ll do anything to save him…even kidnap handsome Dr. Nelson Graham!

Nelson knows what he wants in a wife; she’s to be amiable, biddable and skilled in domestic chores. Gun-toting Sylvia Marks isn’t what he had in mind, but as the two are forced together he realizes she’s exactly what he needs!

* * * * * * * * *

To find out more please visit my website at http://www.kathrynalbright.com

To purchase, or read more reviews…

 

 

The Princess and the Wolf, another excerpt

Howdy!

Welcome, welcome to a new week here at Petticoats and Pistols.  As you can see, I’m filling in for Winnie, who is busy, busy, busy at this moment.  Hope you will welcome me in her place for today.

Since a new has just been released, THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF, I thought I’d post another excerpt of the book.  I’ll post the blurb for the book so that the scene might make a little more sense, and then the excerpt.  Hope you’ll enjoy.  Do leave a comment, because as usual, I will do a drawing and gift this book to some lucky blogger.

I absolutely love this cover.  What do you think?

Here is the blurb of the book:

TWO HEARTS BETRAYED

Refusing to believe the rumors that the European prince she was forced to marry had died in a far-off land, the princess, Sierra, sets sail to America, bent on revenge and determined to learn the truth. Because she will require a scout to guide her through the wilderness, she calls in a favor from the man who had betrayed her long ago, the man she had once loved deeply and had hoped to wed, the noble Cheyenne scout, High Wolf.

Many years before, a European prince had invited High Wolf to travel an ocean and as a brother, to live as a member of the royal family. There High Wolf had fallen in love with the princess, Sierra. But instead of an engagement and the planned wedding, the princess had treacherously married his friend, the prince. Betrayed and broken-hearted, High Wolf sailed back to America, determined to forget the princess. But a promise given to her years earlier brings her back into his life, igniting a desire he must resist, for to surrender to her again is unthinkable.

Forced into one another’s company, with the threat of life or death around every corner, overcoming their prejudice might be their only means of survival. But can either of them trust in a love, once betrayed? Or will their past force them apart again, this time forever?…

This book has been previously published.

Warning: A sensuous romance that might fan the flames of desire. Be warned. You might fall in love all over again.
And here’s an excerpt from the book.  Enjoy!

The Princess and the Wolf

by

Karen Kay

 

A shadow crept over the water, moving steadily forward. It was looking for something, or someone. But what? Or rather, who?

By evening, Princess Sierra was once again to be found on deck, leaning against the railing, gazing down into the depths of the muddy and frightening waters of the Missouri River.

The boat was in readiness to move into position for its nightly mooring, and every voyageur was involved in the process of maneuvering the Diana through the heavy currents of the river. Perhaps that was why the air was heavy with smoke, much more so than usual. Or maybe it had something to do with the wind, which had shifted from the west to the north.

Dusk had yet to fade into darkness. Indeed, it was still quite light out, despite the fact that the sun was ever so gradually setting. Odd how the land picked up the pink and golden hues of the sky at sunset, the land magnifying the sunset’s intensity by creating the illusion that sky and land were one and the same. It gave a body the feeling of space, as though a person’s troubles gained room, moving away and dissipating.

But Sierra’s problems were far too large for the simple act of gaining space to solve them. The rift between herself and the prince, between herself and High Wolf, was too immense to make the grievance so easily resolved.

Still, glancing away from the sunset, she brought her sights back to the water, noticing how even the river mirrored the sky; the pinks, the blues, the golden hues. For a moment, if a moment only, these sights gave her peace.

Leisurely, she glanced toward a large stick, which had become caught up in the current, the force of the river itself spinning it, making the stick look as though it were dancing…as though it might be a dancer.

It reminded her of another place, another time…a happier time. And without consciously wishing it, she remembered…

 

Wide-eyed, Sierra Morena Colheart watched the toy ballet dancer spin in time to the tinkling strain of the music box. She stared at the miniature dancer, fascinated, until the music at last slowed and the dancer stopped. Glancing up at herself in the mirror, the sixteen-year-old princess smiled at her own image; her grin, young and fresh, was full of vigor. Indeed, it was the giddy gesture of a young woman in love.

Ah, she thought. Tonight was the night. Tonight it would happen. Dreamy-eyed, she stared out her window, only to witness the reddish rays of the setting sun.

Goodness, how long had she sat here, lost in thought? What was the time? Was it already half past six, the scheduled time she was to meet High Wolf? Was he even now awaiting her in their own secret place?

Glancing at the grand, old clock in the corner of her room, she realized she was “going before herself again,” as High Wolf had often said of her, which meant, she supposed, that she was living in the future instead of the present. The clock read only a quarter to five.

Still, she had much to do to prepare for the evening. Where was her maid?

Arising from her seat at the vanity, Sierra felt the urge to run to the rope that would summon Maria. But instead, she cautioned herself into taking steps that were as precise and dignified as her anxious heart would allow. But even then, a silent voice reprimanded:

“A monarch never hurries. Others will wait. You must learn, Princess Sierra, purred Father Junipero, “to sweep into a room as though you own it, and everyone in it.”

But sometimes, thought Sierra, she wished to simply let go of convention and formality. Wasn’t that what High Wolf often did? And if there were one wish Princess Sierra desired more than anything, it was to do everything that High Wolf found exciting.

Still, the habits of the last sixteen years could hardly be ignored, and she walked as calmly as she could to her door, where she rang for her maid.

Almost at once, Maria knocked gently at the door.

“Yes, Maria, do come in.”

Maria did as bid, bowing as she came farther into the room. “May I be of service, Your Highness?” she asked.

Sierra grinned. “Yes, you may, Maria. I need to dress for this evening, for it is to be a very special evening.”

Maria nodded. “Yes, Your Highness. That it is,” she said. “Have you thought of what you might wear? The yellow gown always looks well on you, as does the blue. Although since this is to be a special night, you might think of wearing the new gros de Naples gown. What do you think?”

“Hmmm. The gros de Naples, I think, but not the brown one. The pink one with the satin flowers and pearls. And of course I’ll need my long gloves, the pink pair.”

“Yes, Your Highness. The pink pair.”

“Oh, Maria, think of it,” urged the princess, holding up a pelisse robe to her bosom while she spun about in place. “This is the night my engagement is to be announced. It is to be the best night of my life. I just know it. I can feel it.”

Maria grinned back happily. “Yes, Your Highness,” she said matter-of-factly, and stepped to the closet, where she extracted a pair of white slippers.

“The pink ones, please, Maria.”

“Yes, of course,” agreed Maria, replacing the white pair. “And your hair? Would you prefer ringlets at the side of your face, as you usually wear, or curls?”

“Ringlets, I believe, as well as…”

“Pearls?”

“Ah, yes, pearls. Pearls to ornament my hair tonight instead of a coronet or tiara.”

“Yes, Your Highness. It will be beautiful. You will be beautiful.”

“Do you really think so?”

“I do.”

“But we must hurry, I think. I’m to meet with High Wolf and the prince before the ball, and I don’t wish to be late.”

“Heaven forbid, Your Highness.”

For a moment, Sierra stopped, glancing askance at her maid. And then, without a word being spoken between the two of them, both females broke out in laughter.

Maria said, “I think the gentlemen will wait, do you not think so, also?”

“I believe you are right,” said Sierra. “The gentlemen will wait. But still, I would not cheat myself of a single moment that I might spend with High Wolf.”

Maria smiled. “Ah, to be so much in love. I wish it were I.”

“Someday it will be, Maria. But for now we must hurry.”

“Yes, Your Highness. We must. Now, if you would be so kind as to be seated, I will begin work on your hair.”

“Yes, Maria,” said the princess, dutifully taking her place at the vanity. “Anything you say, Maria,” she said, grinning widely and catching her maid’s gaze before both young women succumbed once again to a fit of giggles..

.

“Princess Sierra? Your Highness, shall I turn down your bed?”

Sierra jumped, startled. Maria’s voice, so close at hand, awakened her from out of the past, but none too gently. She took a moment to compose herself before saying, “Ah, no, not yet, Maria. I think I may watch the sunset for a while tonight. For in truth, you caught me deep in thought.”

“Did I?” asked Maria. “I am so sorry. And yet, it is a beautiful sunset. I can easily see how one could get lost in it.”

“Indeed.”

Maria hesitated, as though waiting for her mistress to say more, but when Sierra remained silent, Maria spoke up, saying, “If you don’t mind, I believe I will go on below and prepare your bed anyway. Perhaps an early bedtime for me, also, will refresh me.”

“That would be most advantageous,” said Sierra. “In the meanwhile, I think I’ll go topside and have a talk with our captain about this journey and when we might at last arrive at our destination.”

“Ah,” said Maria, “that would be most opportune.”

“Thank you, Maria.”

“Yes, Your Highness,” said Maria, and curtsying, she retreated.

But Sierra never did seek out the captain, nor did she change her position from against the rail. Too many thoughts had been brought back to mind; too many recollections were close to hand. And without consciously willing it, her mind replayed that most memorable night…

***

“My father said he would be announcing your engagement tonight,” said Prince Alathom.

Both Sierra and High Wolf grinned at each other, while High Wolf took her gloved hand in his, bringing it to his lips, where he pressed a kiss upon it. He said, “You are the most stunning creature in all the world .”

Sierra blushed, then grinned and looked shyly away. “There are many more young women who are prettier still than I. Many.”

“Where?” asked High Wolf. “Show them to me, for I do not think they exist.”

Sierra merely smiled rapturously up at him while Prince Alathom groaned aloud, saying, “I’m going to have to teach you some new forms of flattery, my fine friend, for I tire of hearing the same words said over and over.”

“Tire all you like,” High Wolf objected. “You may go elsewhere if you don’t like it, for I speak only the truth as I see it.”

Despite all her upbringing to the contrary, Princess Sierra giggled. Just then, as though in accompaniment to the merry sound of the three friends’ laughter, the strains of violins and cellos reached out to them.

“Oh, High Wolf, Alathom, the dance begins,” Sierra observed. “And I am so very anxious to dance. Shall we go?”

“We shall,” agreed High Wolf as he linked her arm with his, leaving Prince Alathom to follow along behind them, a circumstance to which the prince had never given objection.

“Alathom?” the princess called out over her shoulder.

“Yes?”

“Please, come up on the other side of me, that the three of us may enter into the room together and be announced at the same time.”

And without another word, Prince Alathom did exactly as asked…

***

Loud bells rang out unpleasantly, interrupting her reminiscence.

“Fire!”

What was that? Fire? Here? Now? Was that why there had been a smoke-heavy odor in the air?

“All hands on deck,” rang out the call. “All hands on deck. Fire!”

Without further pause, what had once been a calm evening turned riotous. Men rushed by her, below her, above her. Horses whinnied in the haul, while the hogs shrieked.

Sierra stood still, frozen, watching, barely able to comprehend the danger as being real. It had seemed so quiet only a few moments previous. Where was Mr. Dominic? Where was Maria?

She needed to find them…now. Turning, she backed up from the railing, intent on running away. However, she did no more than set herself into the path of a voyageur, who had suddenly come upon her. Inadvertently, she knocked him to the deck.

“I’m so sorry,” she apologized as she threw herself forward and out of the way. Quickly, she clung to the rail as the man jumped to his feet and sped away, all without uttering a word.

“Your Highness.”

It was Mr. Dominic. Somehow he had found her.

“Your Highness, you must come this way.” Taking hold of her elbow, he gestured toward his left. “I will see you safely into the lifeboat.”

“A lifeboat?” Abruptly, the panic of those around her took substance, became more of a reality. Still, “Surely that’s not necessary, is it? These men are undoubtedly able to put out a fire.”

“That they probably are, Your Highness, but there is still danger in staying here. If the voyageurs do manage to put out the fire, you can always reboard. But first you must be safe.”

“Do you know what has caused this?”

“Yes, Your Highness. The cotton being carried upriver caught fire, and has nearly consumed the lower level. It has been discovered too late, I fear. Now, come. There is no time to lose.”

Taking her arm, he propelled her along with him as he fought his way toward the lifeboat, shoving through the hurrying crowd of voyageurs. Confusion reigned supreme, and men rushed by them with little regard to what they did, more times than not pushing Mr. Dominic and Sierra out of the way.

Within moments, although it seemed to Sierra to take a lifetime, the two caught a glimpse of the lifeboat. Through the haze of smoke, they could see that several other passengers were scrambling toward it.

Sierra stared around her, coughing as she inhaled soot and smoke. “Where is Maria?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” answered Mr. Dominic, “but I am certain she will find her way here on her own.”

“Find her own way?… Mr. Dominic, do not lie to me. If she could easily come here, she would be here. Why is she not?”

Mr. Dominic didn’t answer.

“There must be trouble, I fear. Please, go and see to her.”

“I cannot, Your Highness. My first duty is to you, and we must get you quickly aboard this lifeboat, while there is still room aboard her.”

“Yes, you are right, I must, but you will not stay with me a moment longer. You are to go and find Maria.”

“Your Highness,” pleaded Mr. Dominic, “you cannot not ask me to desert you. It would cause me great alarm, for not only are you my first concern, I am duty-bound to your father, having promised him that I would not leave your side.”

“Mr. Dominic, how could you make a promise like that to my father?”

“It seemed little enough to ask.”

“Yes, well, you can ease your mind, Mr. Dominic. You have done your duty. My father could not have foreseen all situations that would arise on this trip.”

Mr. Dominic didn’t answer.

“Do you not see? I cannot leave this vessel until I can determine what has happened to Maria. What if she has fallen somewhere? My mind would never rest easy if I saved myself and deserted her.”

“But Your Highness—”

“It is either you go to see about her, or I will do it, myself.”

Mr. Dominic looked uncertain.

“Man the lifeboat!”

Eyes wide, Sierra grabbed hold of Mr. Dominic’s sleeve. She pleaded, “Tell me, is there another lifeboat aboard this vessel?”

“No, there is not, Your Highness.”

“Then you must leave this instant. You must find Maria, stay with her and keep her safe. Do you hear me? I will gladly step into this lifeboat, but not until you—”

Suddenly, Mr. Dominic bent over and picked her up, setting her into the boat. Then, straddling one leg over the side of the boat, he began to climb into it.

But Sierra would have none of that. She jumped up from her seat, straddling the boat herself, her pose an obvious dare. “Please.  I command you to find Maria this very instant. I would be of little help to her, as I cannot swim, but if you do not go, I will.”

“Your Highness, I beg you. I…” Mr. Dominic trailed off his objection, looking, for all that he was big and muscular, as though he might wail. But at last he appeared to capitulate, releasing his straddle from the lifeboat.

“Now go!” It was Sierra commanding again. “Before more time is wasted, go! I promise that I will ride this lifeboat to shore. Do not worry about me. I will await you both from the safety of the shoreline. Go quickly!”

Mr. Dominic looked as though he would raise yet another objection, but, as the flames climbed higher into the smoke-laden sky, and with little choice other than to obey his monarch, Mr. Dominic turned and fled in the direction of the maid’s cabin.

 

 

Chapter 9

 

“ ’Tis said she is the cause of our own prince’s death.”

“Aye,” said the housemaid, “that she is. ’Tis rumored as well that he died rather than return here to her side.”

Gossip between servants at

Prince Alathom’s castle

 

At the first hint that something had gone amiss, High Wolf immersed himself in the waters of the river, and in doing so, became a part of the river, so much so that not even a swirl could be seen in the water to indicate his progress. Cautiously, he floated toward the ship, practically invisible. He didn’t swim, nor did he float, but rather he executed what could only be described as a dance with the river’s current. Never did he fight the river’s power, but rather he moved with it, letting the water propel him closer to his target.

At last he came up close to the boat, himself a calm influence in comparison to the turmoil aboard the Diana. He could feel the terror there, sense the smoke-induced delirium of the boatmates, but it was not in his mind to aid these men. No, she was the reason he was here; he would find her.

Quickly, he perused the voyageurs, as well as the passengers who were still aboard the steamboat. Some of them were already jumping from the burning remnants of the boat, an action that could bring sorrow, unless a person either knew how to swim with the river’s flow or was strong enough of body to fight it. But perhaps these men were that hardy, for these white voyageurs, who worked the boats, were sometimes admired for the physical marvels they could perform.

Alas, however, High Wolf saw nothing of her.

Making a quick circle around the boat proved to be a waste of time, for he still had not seen her. And so it was that he found himself with little choice but to board the boat. Quickly, he hoisted himself up to the main deck, coming down flat-footed and at a run, aware as he did so that the steamboat was sinking, and with the majority of the Diana’s body enveloped in flames, there was little to be done for her. As it was, her lower deck was flooded, and in places already half submerged.

Still, without losing more than an instant, he found his way around the decks, until as he rounded a corner, something large and heavy fell into the water, creating a terrific splash. But the gray mist of smoke hung heavy over his eyes, and High Wolf found he could see but little.

Swiftly, he trod closer, and looking toward the spot, High Wolf recognized the cause at once: a smaller boat; one he knew to be a lifeboat, had been thrown into the rushing current.

Suddenly, things became worse: A piece of wood from above, engulfed in flames, broke off the Diana’s main hull and fell, streaking, toward the water. And before anyone knew what it was about, the wood, now a flaming dagger, struck the lifeboat. In moments, the boat tipped off balance, catching fire.

A feminine scream split the air, its intensity piercing High Wolf like a knife. Bodies dove off the lifeboat, but not one of these people was female. Where was she?

And then, through the soot-induced haze, he saw her, still aboard the blazing lifeboat, her countenance oddly composed. For she didn’t move, not even to save herself.

What was wrong with her? Was she frozen in place?  Although it seemed impossible, he knew that shock could sometimes cause a person to freeze and become unable to save themselves.

Or was the problem caused by another circumstance or a different emotion? Was it her outrageously full dress? Was she afraid, with so much weight upon her, that she might sink, becoming entangled in its mass?

But if that were true, she was surely acting in a poor manner to solve the problem, for she did not remove any of her clothing, or take any action to save herself. Instead, amid the ballet of diving bodies, the princess slowly sank along with the boat.

Quickly, High Wolf plunged into the Missouri’s depths, then came up for breath and caught his bearings. But she was gone, swallowed up by the muddy, swirling waters of the Missouri. That’s when it occurred to him:

Could she swim?

It seemed amazing to him that he had no answer to that; he, who should know her well. Instinctively, High Wolf swam toward the place he had last seen her, and diving deeper into the water, hunted for her, but not with his eyes, for the murky waters of the Missouri did not allow sight for more than a few feet.

No, he searched for her intuitively, spiritually, and in doing so, found her within seconds. But he had no time in which to experience relief. Grabbing hold of her, he kicked out hard, bringing her up with him to the river’s surface, forcing her head above water, where he heard her gasp for breath. She struggled, and down they both went once more.

He kept hold of her with one arm, while with his other hand, he took out his knife, and then he did the unthinkable. As quickly as the water would allow him, he cut off her dress.

In response, she mustered a formidable response. Whereas before he’d seen little life in her, she now fought him with renewed strength, as though he were some sort of madman, or perhaps she, a madwoman. But High Wolf didn’t have time or even the ability under water to explain his actions, and despite her best efforts, he continued cutting away until the dress was removed and the danger had passed.

The weight of her clothing fell away. That this left her attired in little more than her calf-length drawers, hose and corset was hardly discreditable, for she was still almost fully covered.

But their commotion under water had sunk them too low, and an undertow grabbed hold of them. Quickly, he seized her around the chin, and with mighty strokes, fought his way to the surface of the water, not stopping until he heard her sputter.

At least she was still breathing.

He caught his breath, feeling somewhat safer, now that their heads were above the channel’s surface, and he called out, “Do not fight the river’s current, or me, because if you do, this draught will claim us. You must become composed.” He spoke loudly, but calmly, as though the two of them were taking a stroll instead of fighting for their lives. He continued, “You must become one with the water, for if you do, it will protect you.”

But she appeared to be beyond listening, and she fought him with revitalized vigor. Once again, he called out, “Cease your struggles, or you will force me to bind you, so that you do not drown us both.”

He realized that she was obviously unused to the water, and in the end, it required him to use brute strength against her, holding her arms and legs with one each of his own. Meanwhile, he kept afloat, lugging her with him and letting the water carry them back to shore.

After a few moments, she came suddenly alive and howled at him, “I can’t breathe.” She fought him once more. “You…you’re drowning me.”

“I am not drowning you; you are doing it to yourself. Cease your struggle and merge your body with mine. I will not let you drown.”

“And who will keep you afloat?”

“The water, of course. I have no fear of the water. Only those who fight the river’s power ever come to harm in it.”

“But—”

“Do you see that you are speaking? That you have energy enough to talk back at me?”

“I… I…”

All at once, she ceased her struggle. In truth, his words must have had effect, for she at last let her body meld with his, allowing him to repeat his earlier dance with the river’s current, shoving off here, letting the stream take him there, forging through the water as easily as if he were picking his way across lily pads.

It took little time before he managed to set them ashore, appearing, to anyone who might have been looking, that the river had lovingly placed them there. At once, High Wolf left the water, and with her tucked under his arm, he crept into the protection of the bush, where he granted her a moment to catch her breath.

But a moment was all he could afford.

 

THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF

https://www.amazon.com/Princess-Wolf-Clan-Book-ebook/dp/B079QPW33V/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1520213225&sr=8-1&keywords=the+princess+and+the+wolf+by+karen+kay&tag=pettpist-20

 

Updated: March 4, 2018 — 8:36 pm

WOLF SHADOW’S PROMISE — An excerpt

Howdy!

And Good Morning!  How are you doing today?  Well, I hope.

My latest release, WOLF SHADOW’S PROMISE, is just out in e-book format.  To honor this occasion I’m giving away two e-books of the book.  So please come on in and leave a comment, join in the discussion and automatically you are entered into the drawing.  Do read the Giveaway Guidelines off to the right here — these govern our give-aways.  And please do come back either tomorrow evening or Thursday evening to see if you are one of winners.  I rely on your doing so.

I must admit to really loving this new cover.  What do you think?

Today, I thought I’d open with the blurb for the new book release, and then an excerpt.  Hope you enjoy!

Wolf Shadow’s Promise

by Karen Kay

Legendary Warriors, Book 4

She saved his life. The only way he can save hers is to deny their forbidden passion…

When eight-year-old Alys Clayton saved the life of a young Blackfeet Indian, she had no idea her own life would be forever changed. To honor her bravery, Moon Wolf pledged his heart to her, vowing to marry her. But they were both too young…then.

Returning to Fort Benton in the Northwest Territory fifteen years later, Alys again encounters the deeply handsome hero who had once set her heart afire. But Moon Wolf has changed. He has become the legendary Wolf Shadow, a warrior intent on helping his people’s struggle against those who would destroy them.

Because a precious jewel like Alys warrants more from a man than risking death at every turn, Moon Wolf battles his desire for her, denying her what she needs most. But Alys has other ideas. She is determined he will not walk his chosen path alone.

Yet, how can their love survive when they are surrounded by enemies determined to destroy them, in a world where their love is forbidden?

This book has been previously published.

Warning: Sensuous romance that might renew a love that was written in the stars. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

WOLF SHADOW’S PROMISE, an excerpt

by Karen Kay

 

Fort Benton on the Missouri River

1857, Northwest Territory

 

“Two and two equals…?” The teacher slapped the ruler against the blackboard, the wap of the wooden stick an unspoken threat. The teacher—who, by invitation, had only recently arrived here—stood frowning, arms crossed at her waist. “Young lady,” the teacher threatened as she took a menacing step forward and unfolded her arms, “answer me.”

Still the young Indian girl, standing at the head of the class, didn’t make a sound. Head down, she stared fixedly at her feet.

Looking at the child, who was no older than herself, Alys Clayton felt as if her heart might break. Personally, she had never understood why the wild Indians had been brought to this school. Her mother said the whole matter was an experiment by their Indian agent, Alfred J. Vaughan, to see if the Indians could be civilized, whatever that meant.

But the project was doomed to failure because Indians didn’t learn from this kind of teaching.

At least that’s what her mother had told her: that the Indians of the plains had not been brought up with the same books and stories as the white man; that the Indians had their own legends and tales, their own way of teaching, of doing things. Indians were close to the land, were free, or at least they were supposed to be. Alys’s mother had also said, and Alys agreed, that the Indians would be better off if left independent which, Alys decided, must mean “left alone.”

So, if all these observations were true, why was their teacher making an example of this poor child? What did it matter if the girl could or could not add the two plus two on the chalkboard? Alys knew that if she were to approach the girl and promise her four beads while giving her only three, the young girl would know the difference.

Tears streamed down the youngster’s face as she endured not only the silent threat of the teacher but the sneers and scoffing of her “fellow classmates” too.

Something should be done. Such dealings were not right. Yet Alys felt helpless. She was only eight years old, a child herself. What good was she against a teacher—against the taunts of the others?

Oh, no. Alys caught her breath.

The teacher—an overly skinny, sickly-looking woman, had raised the ruler as though she might hit the girl, causing the youngster to put a hand over her eyes as though to shield them.

Then the worst happened. Down came the ruler, down across the Indian girl’s arm.

The child didn’t cry out, didn’t even flinch, although she whimpered slightly as tears streamed down her face.

The teacher shouted out a few more unmentionable words. Still the young girl remained silent.

“I’ll teach you to sass me, you heathen,” the teacher hissed, while Alys tried to make sense of what the teacher had said. The young girl hadn’t uttered a word.

Wap! Another slap across the girl’s arms. The teacher raised her arm for another blow.

It never came.

In a blur of buckskin and feathers, a young Indian boy, the same one who had been at their school for about a week, burst into the classroom, putting himself between the youngster and the teacher. In his hand, he wielded a knife.

The class went from a mass of jeers and prankish catcalls to abrupt silence.

Where had the boy come from so suddenly? And the knife? Where had he obtained that? It was well known that the wild Indians, even the children, were relieved of their weapons upon entering the fort.

Yet there was no mistaking that knife or the boy’s intent.

Good, thought Alys.

Immediately, the teacher backed up, but in doing so, she tripped over a wastebasket, losing her balance and falling into the trash can, bottom first.

Alys couldn’t help herself. She laughed.

It was the only sound in an otherwise silent classroom. No one looked at her, however. Everyone appeared…stunned.

The teacher’s face filled with color, her hands clenched over the top of the basket. “You…you savage. You pushed me—”

“This one,” the Indian responded, pointing to himself, “has not touched you. But give me good reason to”—he waved his knife in front of her—“and I will.”

The teacher spat ugly words deep in her throat, before she uttered loudly, “I’ll have your skin for this, young man.”

“Humph.” The boy approached the teacher, then said, “And I will have your hair.”

It took a moment for his meaning to register, but as the boy swung out his knife, taking hold of the teacher’s tight bun, she screamed. Whack! Off came the bun, harmlessly falling into the youngster’s hand.

“You heathen, why, I’ll…” In an almost superhuman effort, the teacher jumped up, out of the basket. The boy quickly grabbed hold of the Indian girl, and pulling her after him, fled toward the classroom’s only window.

That was all it took for the other youngsters in the room to come alive. Insults and threats reverberated through the early morning air, while the two fugitives made the best escape they could. Boys, almost all of them of mixed heritage themselves, suddenly sprang up from their chairs, leaping after the two runaways, who had by this time cleared the window.

The entire school became a mass exodus as student after student bolted out the door, out the window, chasing after the pair.

Alys, however, arose from her seat at a more leisurely pace, strolling slowly and thoughtfully toward the doorway of the tiny cabin which served as the schoolhouse. Fingering her soft auburn curls as she moved, she trudged home, concluding that school had been let out for the day.

Poor Indian kids, she mused. Wasn’t it enough that the children had been taken away from their family to be “educated”? According to her mother, the townspeople weren’t making it easy on these wild ones either, scolding them and making fun of them. Who would want to stay amidst such hatred? Alys asked herself.

Her thoughts troubled, Alys left the schoolhouse and slowly trudged toward her home.

Her house, a wooden structure and one of the nicer homes in the fort, lay situated toward the rear of the town, away from the river and isolated from most of the fort’s more rambunctious activities. It was a relatively quiet spot, a location her father had personally selected before he had passed away almost four years ago.

That Alys’s mother had refused to return east after her husband’s passing had been the fort’s greatest gossip during the first few years after his death, at least for the few white women who had come west with their husbands.

There were only two types of unmarried women on the frontier, or so it was said: Indians and the hurdy-gurdy girls. Her mother had been asked which one she was.

And it hadn’t mattered that her mother had helped found this town, right alongside her father. Nor had the richness of her purse given her immunity. As it was in many small towns, there wasn’t much to provide gossip, leaving Alys’s mother to supply fodder for the wagging tongues, a circumstance that had effectively isolated her, and her youngster, from the community.

As Alys made her way through the fort, she wondered what her mother would say about the events of this day, knowing that it was her nature to blame the townspeople, not the Indians. Hadn’t her mother often commented on the unchristian-like behavior of the few white women in this town? Hadn’t she herself observed that those here, more oft times than not, made up the grievances they complained about?

Why? Alys Clayton could little understand it.

She only wished there were something she could do, some way to help. If only she knew where the two Indians were right now, she would offer them kindness and hope. Yes, she decided, with all the naïveté of a young girl her age. She would be kind to them, make friends with them, show them that they could trust her.

Why, she would…

What was that? There is was again, a glimpse of something out of the corner of her eye. Buckskin, feathers—two small arms and legs? There in the bushes? She turned to look.

A knife suddenly appeared out of nowhere, pressing close into her throat, and a hand covered her mouth as arms slipped about her waist, dragging her backward, toward that bush.

“You cry out…I kill you,” threatened a young male voice.

Alys looked up into a set of the deepest, blackest eyes she had ever seen. She nodded.

The dusty scent of the boy’s skin, the dirt on his hands assailed Alys until she thought she might gag. It wasn’t that the smell was unpleasant, it was more that he held her mouth too tightly. She squirmed.

“Be still.”

Two young boys flew past them, more footsteps followed, more shuffling, the pounding of boots, of adult feet striking the ground, rushing by.

Alys struggled in the boy’s arms. She wanted to let him know that she was a friend, that she would help him. It was useless, however. The boy held his hand too securely over her lips.

Gunshots in the distance caught Alys’s attention, and then came more shouts and hurrying footsteps. Gunshots? Surely no one intended physical harm to these two, did they?

She had to do something. Quickly, Alys took stock of where she was. Over to her right was her home—within running distance—and beside her house was the secret place, that place known only to Alys and her mother…

It was a special locale, a part of Alys’s heritage that might prove to be the salvation of these two outcasts, if she could make them understand. Could she?

She had to try. Motioning toward the house, Alys pointed at the two Indians, then flapped her hands like wings, trying to show an image of birds, flying away free. Would he understand?

The young boy followed her hand motions for a moment, then tugged at her to remain still. He looked away.

Alys tried again. Point to the house, to the Indians, a bird flying away free. Once more, over and over. It took a few more gestures before the boy frowned, looking down at Alys, at her hands, at the house.

More voices, more footsteps coming toward them.

Alys gestured again.

With a stern frown at her, the boy loosened his grip, allowing Alys to whisper, “I know a secret way out of the fort.”

Would he believe her? Did he understand she meant to help him?

Dark eyes glared into her own.

“It’s at the side of my home.” She motioned toward the house.

“There is nothing there, white girl; a house, a wall, no more. Do you try to trap us?”

Alys didn’t say a word. And perhaps it was her silence that accounted for her redemption.

He asked, “How we escape there?”

“In our root cellar,” Alys was quick to answer, “my mother’s and mine.  There is a hidden tunnel.”

“What is this…root cellar?”

Alys pointed to a set of bushes that almost, but not quite, hid the wooden doors of the cellar. “There,” she said. “See it? It goes down to a passage underground. It’s like a cave. It leads to the hills.”

She could see him hesitate, watched as indecision played across his features. At last, though, he volunteered, “You show us.”

Alys nodded.

They waited until the approaching footsteps faded away. Then he prodded her forward, and she fled as fast as her small legs would carry her, on and on toward the side of her yard, with the two Indians following close on her heels.

“Here.” She pushed her way into the bushes and pulled at the doors of the cellar. They wouldn’t give. She almost cried.

The Indian boy came to her rescue, tugging on the doors and hauling them up.

“Hurry.” She motioned to the two of them to enter. Quickly, they did as she bid, fleeing down into the cellar, Alys coming in after them and dragging the doors shut behind her. Instantly, all was darkness inside, but it didn’t bother Alys. She merely sighed in relief.

“This is trap,” the boy said, his knife coming once more to Alys’s neck. Maybe he didn’t like the darkness, Alys considered.

“No,” she insisted, unafraid. “I’ll show you.”

Lifting a rug on the floor, Alys uncovered a small earthen mound. Brushing the dirt away, Alys pointed to a meager trapdoor.

Pulling on the door, she glanced up toward the boy, barely able to make out his features in the darkness.

“Come,” she said and dropped down to the ladder. Down and down she climbed, her two charges following.

Plunging to the stone floor of the cavern below, Alys fumbled in the dark until she found the lantern her mother always kept there. Checking first to make sure it was working properly, she lit the wick, instantly throwing a shadow of light throughout the cave. Instinctively, she took the hand of the Indian boy.

“Hold hands,” she instructed and began to lead the two of them through the tunnels. The darkness of the caves, their earthy smells and coolness had never bothered Alys. They were a part of her family, a part of her.

She and her mother came here often, hunting a treasure that had been lost here long ago. Although if Alys were honest, she would admit that sometimes she sought out the comfort of the caves for pleasure alone, these caverns being a legacy to her from her father.

“If you lead us back to…that village, white girl, I will kill you.”

“I know.” Alys hesitated. “But I won’t. I promise you.”

He let out a snort. “The vow of a white girl.”

“The word of Alys Clayton.” She might not be aware of it, but Alys lifted her chin. “Not all white people are bad.”

He didn’t say a word, though another menacing growl escaped his throat.

Well, what did it matter anyway? She would show him. Wasn’t it what her mother had always told her, that actions, not words, were important? It took an hour or so of careful travel, but she didn’t falter in her step. She knew the way.

The tunnel climbed slowly, gradually, until at last, up ahead, she could see light, hear the rush of a waterfall.

Ah, the great falls, behind which lay the tunnel’s entrance. This was her most favorite spot in the world, isolated, untouched and unspoiled. No one else knew of the caverns or the beauty of these cliffs either, as far as she knew, since they were hidden on all sides by the height of the hills. At least, Alys silently corrected herself, no other white man knew of them.

Alys led their party underneath the falls, out onto the rocks and into the bright sunshine, allowing the two young people to adjust their eyesight to the light before she stated, “I don’t know where your people are, but I reckon you’ll be able to find them from here.”

The boy looked around him and inhaled a deep breath before glancing back at Alys and staring intently at her.

Then, without any expression on his face whatsoever, he murmured, “What strange manner is this? A white girl who keeps her word?”

Alys stiffened her spine before she responded, “I told you I would.”

He nodded. “So you did, white girl, so you did.”

The young Indian miss at his side didn’t seem as devoid of human emotion as her male counterpart, however, and she came up to Alys, hugging her profusely and saying something in a very strange tongue.

The lad translated, “She says something good will come to you.”

Alys nodded, smiling. Then it occurred to her. “She doesn’t speak English?”

“Saa, no.”

“So she could not even understand the teacher?”

The boy remained silent, though when he gazed down at Alys, he suddenly smiled, the first cheerful emotion Alys had seen on his face. The action made him look younger still, innocent, and oh, so very handsome. Alys gaped at him, admiring his long dark hair that fell back from his face. The cooling breeze from the falls brought tiny droplets to his tanned skin; his dark eyes, surprisingly full of approval for her, watched her closely. Alys couldn’t help herself. Gazing back, she fell instantly under his spell.

Slowly, the boy took a piece of jewelry from around his neck. A round, single white shell dangled from a chain of bleached buckskin. He drew it over Alys’s head and settled it around her neck.

“Soka’pii, good.” His right hand signed the meaning of the word in a single gesture. “Looks good on you.”

With the tip of his finger, he tilted her face up toward his. “I will remember you always, young white girl, and what you have done for me and my sister.”

So, thought Alys, thè Indian girl was his sister. Pleased by the realization, she said, pointing to herself, “Alys.”

“Aa-lees,” the young lad rolled her name smoothly over on his tongue.

She pointed to him. “And your name is?”

He shook his head. “A warrior does not repeat his own name. To do so would be dishonorable.”

“But I would like to know…”

She was interrupted by the boy saying something to his sister, again in that strange tongue.

With a quick glance up at Alys, the Indian girl spoke, and, pointing to her brother, said, “Ki’somm-makoyi.”

“Ki’somm-makoyi,” Alys whispered. “That is your name?”

He nodded.

“What does it mean?”

“I cannot say.”

“Please?”

He took a deep breath, grinned at her slightly, then said, pointing to himself, “This one is called Moon Wolf.”

“Moon Wolf.”

Another nod.

She smiled up at him. “Moon Wolf, I will never forget you.”

He stared into her eyes, his look serious, before he volunteered, “Come with us, young Aa-lees. Come with us and I promise that when we grow older, I will take you for wife and show you great honor for what you have done for us this day.”

Under any other circumstance, Alys might have chuckled, the thought absurd for one so young. Yet there was a somberness to his words that she couldn’t discount. “I cannot,” she replied, her voice sounding strangely adult. “I would bring you more trouble if I went with you. No one in the fort would rest until I was found.”

He inclined his head. “That is true. For a small girl, you speak with wise tongue. But still,” his chin shot up in the air, “no matter what others would do, I would honor you in this way.”

His words, or perhaps it was the pride in his manner, reached out to her, its effect on her profound, and she felt herself responding to the boy, tears of appreciation, maybe even joy, coming to her eyes. She said, “I cannot. My mother would miss me too much.”

He remained silent for many moments before he nodded at last. “So it will be,” he uttered, “but know that though you choose to stay behind, I will carry your image with me, here,” he held his hand to his heart, “for so long as this one should live.”

Alys stared. These were strong words, a powerful declaration, for a boy not much older than she, and Alys contemplated him in silence for several seconds, afraid to move lest she spoil the moment. Slowly, he brought his hand up to run his fingers over her cheek, his touch gentle; he reached up with one of his fingers to trace the path of her tears, before bringing that same finger to his own cheek. “And now,” he whispered, touching his face with her own tears, “a part of you is a part of me.”

He didn’t wait for her to respond. All at once, he turned and fled, disappearing with his sister down the rocks and into the countryside as though they belonged to it.

Alys fingered her cheek for what seemed an eternity, letting the warmth of the sunshine wash over her and dry her face. In the distance she could hear the birds sing, while closer at hand, she could smell the perfumed scent of the grasses and wildflowers. Lightly, the wind ruffled her hair, lifting her spirit gently upward until she felt herself becoming a part of all this, a part of the natural course of things.

She would never forget this, never forget him. She couldn’t.

Alys had become, in the space of a moment, infatuated:  She had fallen in love. A love that would last her a lifetime, she thought, no matter the state of her youth. And in that instant, she knew she would never be the same.

WOLF SHADOW’S PROMISE

by

Karen Kay

https://www.amazon.com/WOLF-SHADOWS-PROMISE-Legendary-Warriors-ebook/dp/B075YC2T3X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1507565489&sr=8-1&keywords=wolf+shadow%27s+promise+by+karen+kay&tag=pettpist-20

Updated: October 9, 2017 — 9:10 pm

LONE ARROW’S PRIDE, Excerpt and Free E-book Give-away

Howdy!

LONE ARROW’S PRIDE was just uploaded to Amazon Kindle and Amazon KindleUnlimited.  Always I remember this book because on one of my visits to the Crow Reservation (in Montana), a friend of mine, Jeff Rides-the-bear asked me why I didn’t do any stories about the Crow.  My answer was that because the Crow language is the first language (before English) for the Crow people, it scared me a little because my efforts might not be exactly right.  Hearing this, Jeff  volunteered to help me with the language and he and another fellow on the reservation looked over all of the Crow words used in the story to make sure they were correct.  And so was born the book, LONE ARROW’S PRIDE — which is a light-hearted romance.  In writing this book, I took some actual legends from the Superstitious Mountains and brought some of that legend to the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming.

I will be offering a free e-book to one of the bloggers today, so do leave a comment.

Buried treasure shines brightest in the dark…

The Legendary Warriors, Book 2

Ten years after she survived a cholera epidemic that wiped out her entire wagon train, Carolyn White is on a quest to shake off the bad luck that follows her everywhere and which now threatens her adopted family. The unending string of mishaps can have only one source: the gold piece that she, in childish innocence and wonder, once took from a stolen cache.

She tells herself her journey to Crow Country is merely to put the piece back in the cave where she found it. Yet in her heart, she knows it’s the memory of Lone Arrow, the boy who sheltered her there. The boy whose face, now that of a man’s, inhabits her dreams.

Lone Arrow’s anger knows no bounds. Anger with the white woman he suspects isn’t being truthful to him. Anger with himself that he cannot ignore the beauty who captured his heart even as a boy. Though trust is in short supply, he can’t deny his burning need for her. Whatever else she may be, she is his destiny.

 

LONE ARROW’S PRIDE

 

It started harmlessly enough. A bee buzzed around Carolyn’s face and fingers, most likely because honey still clung to her in those places.

Darn. She hated these little bees. She swished at the insect, but the little bugger wouldn’t leave her alone. She could stick a few of her fingers in her mouth to wash off the honey, she supposed, but she hated to do that. What with petting the horse, keeping hold of the reins and pushing aside bushes in their way, Carolyn’s fingers were filthy, covered with bits of dirt and dust…and they were sticky.

Wait, she had put her handkerchief into her bag only a few moments ago, and it was within her reach. It would take her only a second to get it.

Hating to bother Pretty Moon, Carolyn leaned down to open her bag. Unfortunately, she brought up her leg slightly as she turned, not realizing until too late that the movement hit the bee, which had already landed on the horse.

The bee stung the horse, who then reared, and Carolyn, already twisted in her seat, could not hold on. She flew off the horse’s back, sailed through the air and came down with a plop, landing in a boggy mire of dirty water.

“Ouch!” Lifting a mud-soaked hand out in front of her face, she wiggled her fingers and toes; at least everything still seemed to work.

And perhaps the entire incident would not have been so bad if it hadn’t been for Pretty Moon. The other woman stood beside her, laughing.

Carolyn smoothed a lock of hair from her face and grimaced as she watched a rivulet of muddy water slide down its length.

“Go ahead and laugh,” Carolyn called to her. “I know I would, too, if someone looked as silly as I must. Although, don’t you think that one of us should go after the horse? He’s carrying all our supplies, and the mule’s following him.”

Pretty Moon nodded, although she made no move to go after the animal.

Carolyn came slowly to her feet, her bonnet flopping down over her forehead. She tried to push it back from her face, but it kept collapsing forward, splattering even more mud and gunk on her.

Her antics caused Pretty Moon to giggle even more furiously than before, one hand thrown up over her mouth.

Drat, Carolyn thought, she was wet from her neck clear down to the tips of her toes; her skirt and petticoats, now muddy and slimy, clung to her legs like oily rags, and her boots gushed murky water with each step she took. Even her bodice was drooping.

“Oh, no,” she said. “Look at me. I’m going to have to change into another skirt.”

Pretty Moon nodded, trying her best to keep from smiling. “Pretty Moon,” she pointed to herself, “will take mule…and catch…horse. Does…white friend have…other dress?”

“One,” Carolyn said. “I didn’t bring many of them, since I figured we’d do some laundry along the way.”  But she hadn’t thought she’d need to do it so soon.  “If you’ll go and fetch the pony,” continued Carolyn, “I’ll slip out of these clothes. Maybe there is some clear water here where I can wash the skirt.”

“There…” Pretty Moon pointed in the direction of a small stream. “Pretty Moon…go…get horse.”

“Yes,” Carolyn agreed. “Please.”

In answer, Pretty Moon turned around and took off, chasing after their single mode of transportation.
Carolyn took a step forward, only to trip over her own skirt.

Goodness, it was one thing after another. Maybe she should step out of the skirt so she didn’t keep tangling herself up in it.

Reaching down, she began to undo each of the buttons which held the skirt in place. So intent was she upon her task that she was unaware for the moment of the things going on around her. Perhaps that was why she didn’t see it.

Something poked her in the backside.

Turning around, she saw the reason at once. A buffalo calf had come up behind her. Curious, she reached out a hand toward it.

“You’re a cute little fellow,” she said with a smile. “Where’s your mother?”

As if in answer, the little guy switched its tail.

“Well,” she said, pulling the skirt down around her feet. “It’s been nice talking to you, and you’re a sweet little thing, but I really have to be going. I’d like this skirt to be washed before Pretty Moon comes back.”

Carolyn took a step. With one foot precariously raised, she lost her balance and fell backward…right into the calf.

It cried, and as Carolyn pitched to the ground, the calf collapsed over her.

Goodness, but the little guy was acting like a baby. It whined and cried as though she had done it bodily harm.

Carolyn tried to extricate herself from underneath the calf. Praise be, but it sure did weigh a great deal. She shoved against him, but she could not budge him.

“Would you move off me?” Exasperated, the question came out as more complaint than question.

The calf merely let out another moan. Goodness gracious!

Unfortunately, another buffalo, perhaps the calf’s mother, was making its way toward them, a little too quickly.

But Carolyn barely noticed. She had her own problems. The calf could not get up, and she could not move it, either. Its feet had become entangled, and the more it struggled, the more ensnared it became.
Carolyn sent a helpless glance up toward the heavens. What was she to do? As she tried once more to move and could not, she realized that she was going to have to help the little buffalo get to its feet. Leaning over, she touched its hairy legs and began to set its feet out, one over another.

There, now. She almost had it. In another moment, she would have the calf back on its feet, and gain her own legs out from underneath it.

Miserably, she noted as she glanced around her, she had drawn a crowd. Four buffalo had come to stand over her, looking down at her as though she were the latest in Wild West entertainment.

In little time, however, the calf was back on its own legs, and Carolyn was able to struggle to her feet. Taking a deep breath and stepping completely out of her skirt and petticoats, she paced around the other buffalo that had come to watch her.

They reminded her of cows somehow. Big, dangerous, wild cows, yes, but cows nevertheless.

The stream that Pretty Moon had pointed out was only a short distance away, and Carolyn paced quickly toward it, unaware that the calf followed her. And so it was that Carolyn had little knowledge that the calf’s mother followed it, and that the other buffalo began to follow the mother, keeping to its quickened pace.

Soon a few buffalo tramped by her. Then several more.

Carolyn did notice that the animals appeared to be moving a little too fast. But she didn’t think much about it; certainly it was no reason to glance behind her.

Unaware of what was beginning to take place, Carolyn picked up her pace. In truth, she began to run toward the stream. She had almost made it, too, when it happened.

The buffalo, which had begun to surround her, were beginning to pass by quickly, their speed perhaps matching her own. And at last, Carolyn thought to glance over her shoulder.

Dear Lord, she thought as she took it all in. How had this happened? The entire herd was beginning to follow her and the calf. Worse, unless she did something soon, she might likely be trampled to death.

But if they were following her, would they also stop if she did?

The little guy behind her let out another whimper as the bigger animals pushed past them. Carolyn turned around, her gaze falling onto the baby. At least he wasn’t running away from her. Carolyn fell to her knees before him, throwing her arms around the animal. Could he possibly be her lifeline?

Would the other buffalo be aware of them, perhaps even watch out for him, making a path around him?

As the thunder of pounding hoofs began to drown out even this disturbing thought, Carolyn could only pray that it would be so.

##############################################################

 

Lone Arrow was not happy. It was an understatement.

How could the white woman have left the fort as she had? After he had forbidden it?

And Pretty Moon; what did she have to do with the white woman’s escape? Did the two of them think it a mere game to defy their men?

Their men?

Raising up from the ground where he had been squatting over the women’s trail, Lone Arrow snorted at the thought. He was not her man; she was not his woman.

Staring off in the direction the women had taken, he tried to speculate on what was in the white woman’s mind. From her tracks, here in the sand, he could tell that she was agitated. What he did not understand was why the women were not bothering to cover their trail, nor the direction of their path.

Did they think no one would come after them?

Perhaps the white men at the fort might be content to let them go. But he…

That was another thing. How had Carolyn convinced the soldiers not to follow them? She must have done something, for the bluecoats were making no moves to send out a rescue party.

Lone Arrow looked off into the distance, and he figured that from the freshness of the tracks, he and his friend were only a half day behind them. In the meantime, his pony snorted and shoved her nose under Lone Arrow’s hand.

“Easy, girl,” he said, whereupon, without thinking, he began to pat the animal.

Why weren’t the women traveling more quickly?

Obviously they wanted to be found.  Why?

Lone Arrow scowled. Who knew the workings of a woman’s mind. As the old ones had often said, “Do not try to understand them. Simply love and protect them.”

Shrugging, he signaled to his friend, telling him to move on ahead. And Lone Arrow, jumping up to regain his seat atop his pony, refused to try to make sense of these clues he found.

At least the women were not far ahead of them. If he and his friend rode hard, they should catch up to the women by the time the sun was highest in the sky.

Hopefully, The-girl-who-runs-with-bears and Pretty Moon had met with no trouble, although that seemed unlikely. This was, after all, The-girl-who-runs-with-bears. She seemed to be involved in more accidents than any single person he had ever known.

He could only hope that Pretty Moon would be alert enough to rescue her, since Lone Arrow was certain that his white woman would need it.

His white woman?

Lone Arrow pulled his brows together, frowning, as an abrupt realization came over him. He was worried about her…really worried about her…

Lone Arrow heard the thunder of buffalo hooves in the distance. It meant that the herd was in the throes of a running stampede.

His stomach turned over at the sound. Why? There was nothing to fear there; nothing unusual.

Or was there?

He stared down at the imprints in the ground, which told him a story. He did not like this. He did not understand it, either. Why would the women’s path lead them in the direction of a stampeding herd? Pretty Moon would have avoided contact with the buffalo, if at all possible.

It had to be the inexperience of The-girl-who-runs-with-bears. She did not know the ways of the plains well enough to discern danger. He had observed this in her too many times in the past not to be aware of it now.

Pulling back on his buckskin reins, Lone Arrow stared straight ahead of him. What was wrong? Why did he feel as though he were on the verge of toppling over the precipice of some high cliff.

Glancing over his shoulder at his friend Big Elk, Lone Arrow gave him to understand that they needed to hurry.

Why this was so, he did not know. It was only that he had a bad feeling about this.

He saw her at once, heard her scream, even over the beating of buffalo hooves.

How she had managed to situate herself in the midst of a stampeding buffalo herd, he might never know. But it was of little value to ponder it.

This time, he thought, The-girl-who-runs-with-bears had gone too far. This time her antics had gotten her into more than a simple stumble over herself.

This was serious. She could be killed.

The sudden realization brought on a sense of panic within him, and alarm swept through him like a tide of black fear.

He had to do something.

For she must live. For herself; for him.

Ho! There it was. In this moment of stark unreality, one thing stood out clearly. He had feelings for this woman; raw, carnal yearnings.

And so it was with no sense of surprise that, perhaps for the first time, Lone Arrow admitted the truth. His own happiness, his own future, was irrefutably wound up with that of The-girl-who-runs-with-bears.

Turning toward Big Elk, who was watching him, Lone Arrow signed that the rescue of the white woman was to be his concern alone. Big Elk should go and find his own wife.

And while Big Elk spun about, Lone Arrow pressed his war pony forward, into the herd of buffalo.

“A-la-pee,” he called the Appaloosa by her name, which meant in the Crow language “Grass Fire.” “We will have to rescue her, do you understand?” The pony whinnied and shook her head, and Lone Arrow continued, saying, “Step sure of foot, my friend.”

The animal snorted, as though it understood every word he had said, and Lone Arrow thanked his medicine, as well as his spirit protector, that he’d had the foresight at the start of this journey to ride out on his best mount.

At least, thought Lone Arrow, the herd was not in a full run…yet. But if the animals caught the human scent or had the least inducement, they might stampede…and then there would be no hope…for her…for him.

He had to get to her quickly.

“Délaah! Go!” Lone Arrow shouted to his pony over the noise of the herd. But the encouragement was hardly needed. A-la-pee sensed the excitement and began to squeeze her way into the herd, avoiding oncoming buffalo, and heading toward the girl.

Had The-girl-who-runs-with-bears seen them? Did she know that help was on the way? No, she could not, he answered his own question. Her head was down.

And what was that she was holding? A calf?

Lone Arrow silently congratulated her on her wisdom. Even the mean-tempered, old bulls would skirt around the calf, protecting it.

“Carolyn!” he shouted over the noise of striking hooves.

He had been right. She had not noticed him, for she stared up at him quickly, sending him a startled glance, and as she did so, he added, “Take my hand.”

Her eyes looked big and white in her face as she swung around to glance up at him, and he heard her mutter, “Lone Arrow” as though she did not believe she was seeing correctly. “You’ve come after me.”

He nodded. “I come. Now, give me your hand.”

She did so at once, and he pulled her up behind him.

“Hold on to me,” he instructed, although he might not have bothered. She grabbed hold of him instinctively. “Do not let go of me no matter what happens. Do you understand?”

She nodded. And he began to ease A-la-pee out of the herd.

Trained to respond to knee pressure alone, and sensing her master’s intention, the Appaloosa needed little direction. She sidestepped her way out of the buffalo herd, pressing toward the edge of it, dodging one buffalo after another, avoiding the horns of an ill-tempered bull, moving ever closer to safety.

In truth, she had almost cleared the herd completely when a particular buffalo bull spun about toward them.

Lone Arrow saw the animal at once, witnessed its turn and, at the sight, felt his heart jump up into his throat. Recognition of the animal made his spirits sink. This was not good; not at all.

This was not the sort of bull who bluffed a charge at the enemy, attempting only to make his foe go away. This buffalo was a special type of animal. Lean and skinny, its mangy mane hung down over its eyes bluntly, as though its coarse hair had been cut that way. This alone made the animal easy to identify.
This was the type of buffalo that never charged unless it meant to kill you; it never gave up. And it had put its sights on them.

A-la-pee must have seen the animal at the same time as Lone Arrow, for she had made a series of moves, away from its charge. Lone Arrow could feel her desire to run, and he struggled to hold her back.

Lone Arrow’s muscles bulged under his exertion, and it was with little more than personal willpower that he forced A-la-pee to retreat, while ever so gradually winding her way to the side of the herd.

Still, the buffalo charged.

Another turn by his mount kept them out of the bull’s reach. Unfortunately, the pony and riders faced the oncoming charge of the rest of the herd as well. There was a moment of confusion, as the entire world seemed to be coming down around them, and Lone Arrow could feel A-la-pee’s panic.

Had he saved The-girl-who-runs-with-bears only to be killed together?

“Ap-xi-sshe.” He used an endearment to calm the animal. “We will survive this. You are the best war pony a man ever had.”

A-la-pee raised her head as the buffalo made yet another rush at them.

The Appaloosa dodged at the perfect moment, swinging around to confront the bull. Another step, another pace or two, another dodge from the oncoming bull, and they were free at last.

But the buffalo followed them, making another charge. It was at this moment that Lone Arrow let A-la-pee have her rein, and so quickly did she spin away from the herd, to run across the prairie, that one might have thought a demon were after her.

And perhaps it was true.

Lone Arrow glanced over his shoulder, noting that the buffalo was giving them chase. And though Lone Arrow knew the huge animal’s speed was no match for his pony, he still experienced a moment of concern.

Soon, however, A-la-pee put more distance between them and danger, and Lone Arrow watched—again over his shoulder—as the bull stopped, the huge beast pawing the ground in frustration. And then, as though realizing it had done all it could do, it turned tail and headed back toward the herd.

Seeing this, Lone Arrow drew a deep breath. It was only then that he allowed himself a moment of relief.
A very short moment, for he would not let himself rest. He could not. Guiding his mount up onto higher ground, he wasn’t satisfied until they had put more than a few hills and gullies between themselves and that buffalo.

At last, Lone Arrow drew back on the reins, bringing A-la-pee to a halt.

Jumping down from his seat, Lone Arrow threw the buckskin reins onto the ground, expressing his foul mood. Never, not ever, could he remember being so upset with another human being. Never had a woman given him reason to lose his temper like this.

Striding back and forth in front of Carolyn, who was still atop the Appaloosa, Lone Arrow quipped, “You—you were supposed to go home! This land, my country”—he extended his arms in a circle—“is a dangerous place for people who do not know the ways of it. Do you realize what would have happened to you, soon…very soon, if I had not come for you?”

She did not answer, which only incited him further, for she looked innocent, much too innocent. And it was this, her attitude, that was more than he could stand.

Did she not understand that she had almost lost her life?

He continued, “How did you manage to get into the middle of that herd?”

He watched her gulp, as though she attempted to answer, but no words formed on her lips. Narrowing his eyes at her, he beheld her fear, watched as she seemed to choke on mere syllables, but he was not inclined to spare her the tiniest bit of sympathy. Instead, he carried on, saying, “Where is Pretty Moon?”

The white woman pointed, although again she said nothing; it was as though fear had taken hold of her voice.

But not so for Lone Arrow. “What were you thinking?” he said. “You will never find that cave and help your family if you get yourself killed. Do you not know this?”

She nodded.

“Then why did you leave without me?”

That question, more than anything, seemed to stir a spark of life in her, for she narrowed her eyes at him, raised a well-arched brow and spat, “Without—you?”

He crossed his arms over his chest, muttering only, “Humph! Éeh, yes. Without me.”

“You, you—you…”

He jerked his head slightly to the left, while she tipped her chin defiantly toward the sky.

And then, as though she had at last found her tongue, she began, “You, Lone Arrow, made it abundantly clear that you would not take me where I need to go.” As though she gained inspiration by speaking, she jumped down from the Appaloosa, her feet hitting solid ground with a dull thud. She even took a step toward him before she continued: “Is it my fault that you chose to ignore me? Is it my fault that you are bullheaded and stubborn? Is it my fault that you can’t seem to trust me?

“No, it’s not,” she answered her own questions. “And it’s certainly not a sign of weakness on my part that I seek a way to get to the mountains without you. And don’t think you can talk me out of going there, or Pretty Moon, either, for that matter. I’m determined to get there. And she is, too…I think,” Carolyn added, although Lone Arrow had to strain to hear this last.

However, all he uttered in response to her was, “Humph!” before he said, “Where are the rest of your clothes?”

A look of shock passed over her features as she gazed down at herself. Mayhap she had forgotten that she stood before him in no more than calf-length drawers and corset.

Ignoring her red-faced countenance, he went on to say, “Pretty Moon knows not this cave that you seek or where it is.”

Carolyn appeared to recover quickly enough, and placing her hands on her hips, she said, “But I do. I’ll recognize it again when I see it.”

He squinted his eyes at her. “Will you?” he asked.

A glimmer of doubt crossed over her features, but he said nothing. At last, bringing his arms down to his sides, hands clenched in fists, he took one step toward her, saying, “You are not to defy me again, do you understand?”

She did not appear to take orders well, he observed, for she stood straighter and countered, “I will do as I please. You are not my lord and master.”

“Am I not?”

She shook her head.

“Ho,” he said, “and what happened to your marriage proposal? Have you forgotten it so soon?”

That simple statement seemed to startle her. Her glance dropped to the ground. And Lone Arrow was silently congratulating himself on his cleverness, when she said, “You have already told me what you think of me.”

Again Lone Arrow experienced a moment of anxiety, though of a different sort and, for a moment, his stomach knotted up. Had he told this woman of his concern for her? How could he, when he had only just become cognizant of it himself?

“Please,” she said, “don’t rub my nose in it. I understand perfectly that you do not wish to have anything to do with me. Do me a favor, please. Truth be known, I would consider it an act of kindness if you would simply go away and…”

Go away? Strangely enough, relief flooded his system. He had not revealed himself to her after all.

“…And leave me and Pretty Moon alone.”

Leave her alone? After that hair-raising rescue?

It was with some revelation that Lone Arrow realized he could no more leave this woman alone than he could stop the wind from blowing. But he had no intention of telling her that. And with good reason.
And so, he uttered, “Pretty Moon’s husband might have something to say about what she does, as well he should.”

Carolyn tilted her head, sending him a glare. “Perhaps,” she said. “But I think she is running away from him.”

Lone Arrow uttered a grunt beneath his breath, while aloud, he commented, “He is here with her now. He will take her back with him, and you will follow me.”

“I will not.”

“You have not the choice.”

“I have every choice.”

Lone Arrow set his feet together in a stance as natural to him as the act of breathing: feet not too close together or too far apart; weight on one foot while the other was thrust slightly forward. One hand at his side, the other holding his bow, which had previously been hanging from his shoulder. It was a way of holding himself, a position and a manner which said, “Do not tamper with me.” As if to complete the image, he commanded, “You and Pretty Moon are not to go anywhere alone. It is obvious that you will only get into trouble. I forbid it.”

Lone Arrow was happy with himself, though he carefully hid such satisfaction from her. And why should he not feel some elation? He had done well so far; curbing his anger toward her. He was even instilling caution within her with his well-chosen words.

Yet his self-appreciation died a quick, silent death. For when she spoke, despite the fact that she should have shown him deference, she seemed completely unaffected by him. She even went so far as to utter, “You, Lone Arrow, have no right to forbid me anything.”

Why that statement should bother him, he did not know. Yet it did all the same.

He narrowed his eyes at her but did not reply at once. And it was with some feeling of surprise that he realized he itched to shake some sense into her. But of course he would not do it. As the elders always said, only a coward or a man of little character would use physical force on a woman or on anyone who could not fight back.

Yet, for all his good intentions, Lone Arrow could not curb his tongue, not quite. And though he knew he should think the thought through, perhaps a little more thoroughly, he found himself uttering, as though in challenge, “Then I accept.”

Color slowly drained from her face, and she stared at him as though he had gone mad. She asked, “You what?”

He did not move a muscle; he merely stated again as calmly as possible, “I have decided that I will accept your proposal.”

“M-my…what?”

He gritted his teeth. “I will marry you.”

He watched as her throat worked against itself, as though she did not know whether to swallow or to speak. At some length, she said, “You…you wish to…marry me?” She raised her eyes to his. “Really?”

He nodded.

“Then…you…have some…feelings for me?”

He did not budge. He did not even blink, and he said, “And as your husband, I will forbid you to go any further in search of this cave.”

“Oh,” she uttered. He watched as darkness fell over her features. “I see,” she continued. “Well, then I guess I will not marry you, after all, because there is nothing—not a single thing that you can do that will make me stop my search.”

He stepped forward. “I could tie you up,” he stated, though he made no move to do it. Instead, he reached out to push a lock of her hair away from her face.

She knocked his hand away. “And I will only get loose and come out here again. The only thing you would gain is time. But because I have so little of that, by doing such a thing, you could cause the ruin of my family.”

“I? I have not caused their ruin now, nor will I cause it in the future, no matter what I do. Others cannot live your life for you.”

“And yet, you rescued me today.”

He shrugged, seeing no harm in admitting the obvious.

“Yet, you would keep me from rescuing my family?”

“That is different.” He watched as the wind blew that same lock of her hair forward, and once more he reached out to tuck it behind her ear.

This time, however, she did not whack his hand away, though she did say, “How is it different? A rescue is a rescue, whether it be from bears or buffalo or a land-hungry banker. You would deny me the right to help another? The same right that you take for granted?”

He sighed. Why was it so hard to win an argument with this woman?

“Lone Arrow”—she reached up and grabbed his fingers with her own—“I once offered you the only gift I have to give to a man. Now you accept my proposal, but only in exchange for my obedience to you. Somewhere in between, there must be a compromise we could make. Marry me, but take me to the cave.”

One touch.

That was all it had taken. One touch of her hand and his body came to instant alert. He supposed he could remove his fingers from her own, but the will to do so was not there within him.

He said, “That is no compromise at all, and well you know it. It would be more like my surrender. Besides, I could make you marry me.”

She shook back her hair. “I think not.”

“I can prove it to you.” He took a step forward.

She shook her head.

And that’s when it happened. He kissed her.

LONE ARROW’S PRIDE

By Karen Kay

https://www.amazon.com/LONE-ARROWS-PRIDE-Legendary-Warriors-ebook/dp/B0745KNRPK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1500951783&sr=8-1&keywords=lone+arrow%27s+pride+by+karen+kay&tag=pettpist-20

Updated: July 24, 2017 — 10:35 pm

SOARING EAGLE’S EMBRACE, Excerpt & Free Give-Away

Howdy!

WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH — one of my best selling books — is going to be — sometime this week — released by Amazon in e-book format.  And although we authors might never admit to having a favorite book,  well…gotta say that this book is one of my favorites.  So, I thought I’d tell you a little of the background that went in to the making of that book.

I love this cover by the way.

WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH starts with my love of a rather spoiled, head-strong heroine — one who is really quite soft-hearted, but for reasons explained in the book, she harbors opinions that are far from flattering.  In the story, the heroine, Katrina, is blond-haired, stubborn, almost out of funds and is demanding her inheritance in order that she might marry into royalty.  She has also grown up without ever knowing her parents — who perished out West — or her uncle, who holds the purse-strings to her inheritance.

In other words, she has some reason to be spoiled, because she’s grown up without love — with a succession of nannies.

There are problems — mainly that her uncle will not release her funds until she comes West and parades her fiance in front of him for his approval.  I must admit that it really is a lot to ask of a young woman who has known only the comforts of New York City — still it was rather fun to play around with her outrage.

Of course her uncle doesn’t show up at the scheduled rendezvous — he sends his friend — who is almost like a son to him — White Eagle — to bring her to him.

Of course the story goes on from there — spoiled, rich-girl meets handsome, yet determined young Indian warrior.

Now, the truth of the matter is that the character of Katrina was patterned after my daughter, Trina, who is definitely not blond.  Not that Trina is spoiled, but at the writing of this story, Trina was a teenager — about nineteen, I believe — and she definitely had her likes and dislikes.  Off to the side here is a picture of Trina with her daughter and my granddaughter, Lila.  But patterning the heroine after my daughter really gave me a deeper understanding of my character, Katrina’s, personality — it also helped me to love this character, even when she is at her wit’s end.

In writing this book, I often had pictures of clothing and what the heroine might have looked like at that time.  Off to the left here is a picture of that period’s clothing.  I love this clothing, I must admit and sometimes wish we could go back to an age where women looked so very feminine.  Now this picture to the left really — in my mind — has the look of my heroine at this time.  A little bored, a little spoiled, always well dressed and trying to do the right thing — although in the West, my heroine’s efforts are sometimes clumsy and humorous — as she tries to “fit in.”

As for the hero, another one of my loves — I’ve always held a passion for a hero who brooks no argument, yet who is kind and generous — and who is waiting patiently for the heroine to come to her senses.

There is one scene in this book that I particularly like.  It was a scene where the hero, along with his friend, concoct a scheme to send Katrina’s fiance packing.  At the writing of this book, I had just the previous year, married my husband, Paul.  When I married Paul, however, I also discovered that he was extremely close to his brother, Bob — this picture to the right is of Bob and Paul — Paul is the one sitting down.  But this particular scene was about these two fellows and what they would do if they were there to rid themselves of this very unwanted person, and send him packing for home.

Interestingly, that “friend” of White Eagle is Night Thunder who has a book of his own — next in this series.

To end I thought I’d show you a picture of the original cover for WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH.  The reason I have to show you is that this cover is also one of my most favorite covers.

WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH

Excerpt

By Karen Kay

 

It took the Indians less than an hour to fabricate the boat, it being scantily constructed of several buffalo hides stretched over a crude framework of willow branches, the willow being the closest wood to hand. A paddle had been made from a few tree limbs, too, and within little time, Katrina observed many of their party’s supplies neatly stowed within the bull boat, although Katrina took note that it was only the marquess’s things.

White Eagle motioned the marquess forward just as Katrina began to set foot into the boat. But White Eagle motioned her away, despite her protest, making signals to his friends to bring forward the marquess…and his dogs. White Eagle turned to Katrina. “You will ride in the wagon across the river.”

“But I don’t wish to wet my dress, and I might if I don’t…”

White Eagle looked sternly at her, and she fell silent, as he clearly had meant her to. She watched as the marquess sauntered toward them.

“Ah, finally,” the marquess said to White Eagle as he stepped into the boat, “you savages are recognizing your betters. It is about time.”

“Humph!” was the guttural response from White Eagle as he motioned to his friends, and, at a signal, the marquess’s hounds joined him in the crude structure.

White Eagle beckoned to Good Dancer to come forward, and after some counseling, Good Dancer strode toward the water, taking the rope of the boat in his hand and leading the craft into the water.

He began to swim ahead of the boat, tugging the craft out into the swirling currents.
No sooner had the marquess set out in the boat, when White Eagle directed both Katrina and Rebecca into the wagon.

The women seated themselves and immediately, upon doing so, the marquess’s two men—who had been driving the wagon—started the horses forward, into the swift-rushing currents. This being done, White Eagle and Night Thunder took hold of the rest of the horses and began guiding those animals, too, across the water.

No one appeared to notice the bull boat being led farther and farther downstream, away from the main party; not even the marquess, who, it would seem, was busily engaged in gazing at the sky and sipping the wine he had managed to bring with him.

Trouble hit without warning. One of the ponies pulling the wagon stepped into a pool of quicksand and jerked on his bridle, unseating the drivers and shooting them forward. The horse next to it reared, becoming entrenched, itself, in the mire and only the fast action of the two drivers saved the wagon from the same fate. The men righted themselves and whipped at the ponies, cursing them in a more colorful language than Katrina would have liked to hear, but the driver’s efforts were to no avail; the poor ponies could not extricate themselves, not with their burdens of bridle and harness.

One of the horses tried to rear again, its action tilting the wagon off kilter. Off slid the marquess’s baggage and particulars as well as her Saratoga, all tossed into the sandy murk of the quicksand and, had the two women not been holding on to their seats, they would have been flung overboard, too.

Katrina screamed; Rebecca, also.

The two women held onto one another as readily as they did to the wagon, and Katrina, as the wagon sank deeper and deeper, decided it would be better to jump for freedom, rather than sink into the muck of the sand.

“We’re going to jump off this wagon,” she yelled above the noise of the ponies and drivers’ cursing.

“I can’t,” came Rebecca’s reply. “I’m afraid.”

Katrina took her maid’s hand. “We’ll do it together, all right? It’s better than staying here. Now, ready, one, two, three.”

The two of them jumped, landing in the sandy marsh instead of sanctuary, their feet sinking quickly into the wash.

Both women shrieked.

Suddenly it was over. Strong hands caught hold of Katrina and pulled her out, bringing her up and onto a horse.

Barely able to hold on to the pony, she looked up into White Eagle’s face. She didn’t say a word, nor did he, as he nestled her against him.

“Rebecca…is she…?”

“She is fine. My friend has her. Hold on to me,” he said, and as soon as he ensured she had a firm grip upon him, White Eagle whipped the pony into the fury of the river, forcing the animal to swim against the current and, it would seem, against all odds.

Onward, across the river, defying the swirling water and eddies, they swam, the pony’s body, except for his head, completely submerged.

The currents unseated them, and White Eagle barely held on to the pony by its tail, though he never took one arm from around her.

Soon, the other shoreline beckoned, and, within moments, the pony leapt to its feet, White Eagle able to do the same almost as quickly.

But he didn’t waste any time. “Wait here,” was the only instruction he gave her as he spun back toward his pony, the animal heaving with exhaustion. Still, White Eagle jumped back onto his mount and guided it once more into the water, Katrina watching him cross over, to the other side.

Good Dancer and Night Thunder had already rushed to the wagon, Night Thunder having deposited Rebecca safely on solid ground much as White Eagle had done with Katrina but, rather than chance the danger of the river, Night Thunder had settled Rebecca upon the safety of the eastern shore of the river, the opposite shore from where Katrina now stood.
Katrina looked around her to see if she could find any sign of the bull boat, but there was nothing to be found; as best she could tell, the marquess had not landed upon this same shoreline.

Yet there stood Good Dancer, trying to extricate the wagon. And he had been the one leading the bull boat. Where were the Englishman and his dogs? Had they been set adrift?

Far from being alarming, the thought was…amusing.

Katrina returned her attention to the ponies and the wagon.

It took the labors of all three Indians and the marquess’s two men finally to extricate the animals from the quicksand.

But they did it at last, with the least possible damage to the wagon, the ponies or the men…although much of the marquess’s clothing sank further and further into the sandy wallow.

The Indians and the two servants sprawled for the moment upon the sandy shore…but on the opposite side of the river. And no one seemed in any hurry to see to the marquess and his concerns, wherever he was.

Almost an hour passed, an hour during which the Indians sat up and smoked, working over something, while the white men rested. Katrina had tried to communicate to them all by shouting across the distance of the river. But it was almost impossible—nothing could be heard over the noise of the river. The most she learned was that Rebecca remained unhurt.

Finally, the Indians arose; to go in search of the marquess, she supposed.

More time passed, White Eagle no longer within sight, and Katrina’s clothes had almost dried upon her by the time the Indians returned, the marquess and his dogs trailing behind them. But what had happened to the marquess? He stood drenched from head to foot, while the Indians, in contrast, remained amazingly dry.

And then she saw that White Eagle did not return with the others.

“Where is White Eagle?” Katrina yelled across the stream, but no one could hear her.
She tried again, “Has something happened to White Eagle?”

Panic rose up within her. Surely, he wasn’t hurt, was he?

Without realizing what she did, she started toward the river, more willing to face it than remain in ignorance. She had no more than stepped foot in the water when from behind her, came a voice, saying, “Stay here.”

She recognized that baritone timbre and she turned.

“White Eagle,” she breathed out in relief, “you are all right.”

He nodded. “I am here. I am unhurt.”

“And the others?”

“They are fine.”

“But what are they doing over there, on the opposite shore? And why aren’t they crossing the river?”

“They are not all coming.”

“What? Not coming?”

“The Englishman refuses to travel any further.” White Eagle smiled slightly. “He said something about the expense of his suits and his silks and not liking all this adventure. They are turning back.”

“I see. I’m not surprised.” She paused, a thought occurring to her. “Did the marquess mention how he intended to pay for his stay upon returning to Fort Union?”

White Eagle shrugged.

“And what about Rebecca? Why is she still over there? When will you and the other guides be bringing her across the river?”

White Eagle looked off in the distance, avoiding Katrina’s eyes. He said, “Your friend will be going back to the fort, too.”
“No!” Katrina responded at once. “You can’t, she can’t. She has no one to watch over her and protect her there. Either I must go with her or she must be brought to me.”

“Night Thunder has promised to keep her safe.”

“Night Thunder? But he—”

“He will guard her and see to her needs.”

“But—”

“Someone must go with the Englishmen and guide them back to the fort. They are as helpless as newborn babes.”

“But what has that to do with Rebecca? She must stay with me. I would worry about her otherwise, and—”

“Have you not noticed the looks shared between my friend and yours? It is better they stay together. Do not worry. Night Thunder will be with her. This I can promise you.”

“Do you? I still don’t like this, and what do you mean by the looks shared between them? I—”

“It has been decided.”

“Well, you can un-decide it.”

White Eagle, his lips turning up into a grin, seemed to be amused by Katrina’s determination. “Do you worry about a chaperon? Is that what bothers you? Do not. Good Dancer and his wife will join us as soon as the others have started back to the fort.” White Eagle crossed his arms over his chest. “Do you think I would take you on this long trip without another female companion? And with us as yet unmarried?”

“As yet?”

“Humph,” was all the answer she received from this man.

“Perhaps it is for the best.” Katrina looked away from White Eagle, glancing out across the river. “This trail could well prove dangerous, and I wouldn’t want Rebecca risking her life unnecessarily. So mayhap you are correct in your judgment.”

“Humph,” he uttered again, and though she was fast beginning to tire of this standard response from him, she said nothing about it, gazing instead toward Rebecca and calling out, “I will miss you.”

Katrina waved, and Rebecca returned the gesture.

“I will miss you too,” Rebecca cried back. “If I could, I would be with you.”

Katrina smiled and mouthed the words, “I know,” and, turning about, she began to follow White Eagle up the steep incline, to the bluff just above the river.

They were dodging stickers and thorny plants when she heard White Eagle say, in a rather offhand manner, “Did I mention to you that your Englishman agreed, giving me his word of honor, to end your engagement and promised not to cause you any further trouble over this?”

Katrina could barely believe that she was hearing correctly. She opened her mouth to say “No, you did not,” but nothing issued forth. And so she did the only thing afforded her in her situation.

She stared at his back as he moved ahead of her, simply stared…

WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH

by

Karen Kay

Well, that’s all for today.

Do come on in and leave a comment.  That’s all you have to do to enter into the contest.  And of course the Giveaway Guidelines all apply.  Remember to check back tomorrow to see if you are the winner.

 

 

Updated: June 5, 2017 — 12:43 pm

Third Time’s A Charm

Hi everyone, Winnie Griggs here.

I have a new book out this month and I thought that today I’d share with you a little bit on how it came to be.  Sometimes the stories we write come to us easily and sometimes they take a very roundabout path. A Tailor-Made Husband is an example of the later. This is the ninth book set in the world of Turnabout, Texas (FYI they are all totally standalone) and my hero and heroine will be familiar to any readers who have been keeping up with the series.

Ward Gleason, the steadfast town sheriff, has made an appearance in just about every book since Handpicked Husband, the first book in the series. Hazel Andrews, the town’s seamstress, first popped up in book two, The Bride Next Door, and she really made a splash in book six, Second Chance Hero, where she was the heroine’s flamboyant best friend.  It was originally my intent to have book seven be their story. In fact, I thought I set it up nicely when I mentioned Hazel’s long standing but unrequited crush on the town’s sheriff.

The problem was, because I’d dropped those hints in the earlier book without much forethought, I’d boxed myself in. I not only had to figure out just why Ward would ignore Hazel’s obvious interest, but I also had to find a way to add a little extra zip when I’m starting with a heroine who is already in love with the hero.  I actually got pretty far along into my first version of the book before it became apparent it wasn’t going to work. I decided to put their story on hold and work on another of the stories I’d planned for the series while I gave it a bit more thought. Once I turned in book seven, The Holiday Courtship, I took another run at it. But again, after quite a bit of work, it became obvious this new story wouldn’t work either. So again I moved on to another book in the series, and Texas Cinderella was the outcome.

By this time, I was determined to give Ward and Hazel their turn in the spotlight.  And, with the help of some friends who are not only willing to listen to me whine without judging me, but are excellent brainstorming buddies, I finally came up with a story that I felt was worthy of this couple.  And I’m really excited about the way it turned out. I hope you’ll agree it was worth the wait.
So what about you – have you ever had a situation where things just weren’t coming together for you and you had to take a step back and regroup?

Leave a comment and you’ll get your name in the hat for a chance to win a copy of A Tailor-Made Husband, or any book of your choice from my backlist.

Below is an excerpt from A Tailor-Made Husband.

Ward frowned. Surely Hazel hadn’t meant that the way it sounded? “You mean you’re taking your annual trip back east early?” Her mother had come from New York and Hazel still had family there that she visited regularly.

“No.” She tucked a stray tendril behind her ear. “I mean I’m moving to New York permanently.”

Turnabout without Hazel’s vibrant presence? He couldn’t quite picture it. Trying to keep his demeanor matter of fact, he raised a brow. “This seems a bit sudden.”

She studied her hands on the table. “Not really. Aunt Ellen has asked me a number of times over the years to join her in her fashion design business. I’ve finally decided to accept her offer.”

“I see.” Except he didn’t. Why would she do such a thing? And why now? She’d always said when she returned from her trips that it felt really good to be home again. “Exactly how soon do you plan to make this move?”

“I haven’t set an exact date, but soon. I talked it over with Verity before she and her family headed out on their vacation and I promised her I wouldn’t leave until she returns.” Hazel shrugged. “They’re due back in about three weeks.”

So soon! And if she’d been planning this since before the Coopers left, why was he just now hearing of it? She usually told him everything. “I see,” he said again, not that he did.

Why had her decision unsettled him so much? After all he had no claim on her.  “And you’ve definitely made up your mind?”

She nodded, looking down as she brushed at her skirt. “So you see, I can only help you with Meg for that long.”

This was so much bigger than not helping with Meg. How could she just leave like this? How long had she been contemplating this? Was she so unhappy with her life here, or was there something in New York drawing her there? Could she have met someone on her last trip? Was—

Hazel reached across the table and touched his wrist, bringing his thoughts back to the here and now.

“But for the next three weeks,” she said, “I’ll do whatever I can to help with Meg.”

He forced a smile. It was the second time today she’d touched him that way. He found he liked it.

Perhaps a little too much.

 

A TAILOR-MADE HUSBAND

From Bachelor Sheriff to Family Man 

Tired of pining for handsome sheriff Ward Gleason, seamstress Hazel Andrews plans to head East for a fresh start—until Ward finds an abandoned child. Hazel can’t turn down his request that she watch the little girl while he investigates a spate of crimes. But spending time with Ward is sending local gossips—and Hazel’s heart—into turmoil. 

Nothing in Ward’s world is the same since he took charge of orphaned Meg…and that includes his growing feelings for Hazel. A fake engagement will allow them to care for the child together until Hazel moves away and finds someone more worthy. But with little Meg convinced she’s already found her forever family, can Ward and Hazel dare to make her dreams come true, along with their own?

 

 

Updated: June 5, 2017 — 12:11 am

LOVING THE TEXAS LAWMAN– SNEAK PEEK by Charlene Sands

Today I’m super excited to share with you the first scene in my upcoming story.. LOVING THE TEXAS LAWMAN!  It’s book 2 of the Forever Texan Series, but can certainly be ready as a stand alone.   Here’s a sneak peek and keep on reading for the giveaway!

 

Gravel crunched under Sheriff Jack Walker’s boots as he exited his patrol car and headed for the cherry red sports car parked alongside the road just outside of Hope Wells. The Texas night sky twinkled above with bright stars, but on the ground his flashlight was his guide. Years of wearing a badge made him ready for anything and he knew better than to think he’d find a driver in that car, not with Wishing Wells, the town’s natural flowing hot pool just fifty feet away. Lovers and others often frequented the waters past closing time, past curfew, sometimes breaking other Texas statutes as well. His mouth cocked up at the notion. He’d broken a law or two at the wells in his younger days. But Jack didn’t rightly recognize the car and that put him on alert.

He crossed the road where gravel became wildflowers and then headed down the familiar path. As he came upon the gate, the chain link didn’t appear to be jimmied, but that didn’t mean much since the gate was more than climbable. There’d never been a need to secure Wishing Wells with anything more than a strong link fence, Hope Wells being a peaceable town for the most part.

The honeyed sweet scent of star jasmine flavored the air as he drew closer. His ears perked at a disturbance in the wells, a quiet swishing that only occurred when someone was upsetting the soothing waters.

“Who’s there? You’re trespassing at this hour. This is Sheriff Jack Walker.” Giving fair enough warning for a trespasser, he climbed over the gate. He hoped like hell he wouldn’t find two lovers going at it hot and heavy.

His flashlight illuminated the springs with a blast of brightness. Nope not two lovers at all, but one scantily clad woman.

A woman he recognized.

His eyes burned hot and his senses blurred.

He shined the light just below the soulful, baby blue eyes of the trespasser.

Damn.

Jillian Lane.                                                                                                                                                                     

What was she doing here? He didn’t think he’d ever see her again. It’d been years since Jillian had washed her hands of Hope Wells… and of him. He was over her, but cool and casual wasn’t what pounded in his chest now. Instant disappointment at his reaction to her sent him back eleven years.

“Hello, Jack.”

Her soft sultry voice filled him up with memories. “I see you’re still breaking laws, Jillian.”

A smile surfaced and the baby blues that had once done incredible things to him, seemed just as potent now. She had charm and grace to spare, a trait he’d once thought was exclusive only to him. He’d thought he’d known her mind too, but she’d proved him wrong in the end and his grief had lasted too long to admit, even to himself.

“As I recall, you helped me break more than a few, Jack.”

The moonlit waters flowed freely around Jillian’s bare shoulders. What in hell was the famous lingerie designer wearing underneath all that pooling water? A bikini? A thong? The woman ran a successful million-dollar company aptly named Barely There. Maybe Jillian wore next to nothing.

Jack drew a deep breath reminding him that Jillian wasn’t the girl from the wrong side of the tracks anymore. She wasn’t that poor misunderstood wild child that had once touched his heart and made him want to protect and cherish her. But seeing her at the wells again, unguarded, smiling up at him with a gleam in her eyes and that come-here look on her face, had him stumbling for a comeback.

She had moved on. So had he. Both had made something of themselves. It was best to let it alone. “Now. I protect the law, Jillian.”

She looked away, staring out into the darkness. “And the fine people of Hope Wells.”

“One in the same.”

She stroked the water, her hands playing over the pooling liquid like a delicate instrument. “You were meant to be sheriff. It suits you.”

“Don’t see as I could be anything else, what with my father and his father before him, being sheriff. It’s in our blood, I suppose.”

“It’s a good thing, Jack. I understand you saved a little boy’s life. You’re the town hero.”

“I’m no hero, Jillian.”

His gut twisted. Visions of that fateful day tormented him still. That winter night six months ago, rain had poured down so heavily the banks couldn’t hold and the river overflowed in large gulps. The blinding deluge and a set of bad tires had the driver of a sedan skidding off the road and plunging into the raging water. Trapped inside the car was a family of three, a young boy and his parents. Jack had seen it all happen from his patrol car and hadn’t hesitated to jump into the river. Frantically, he’d searched for the passengers, hoping to help, hoping to save everyone. And then he’d seen it, the small arms of the boy flailing wildly from inside the car, his parents offering up the boy through the darkness as if to say, take him. Take him. Their faces strained in panic as they realized their fate. Jack would never forget that scene, as the swift current carried the car and the boy’s parents under and away. There wasn’t anything Jack could do for them but bring the boy to safety.

“I did what any other man would do in that situation.”

“Not every man, Jack.”

A breeze blew by and Jillian trembled. She’d been in the water too long. Typical Jillian.  “I think it’s time you got out.”

“You mean I can’t make a wish in the wells?”

“Is that what you’re doing, wishing?”

She gave her head a tilt. “Maybe.”

“It’s cold tonight. You should get out.”

“Is that an order, sheriff?” A teasing smile played on her lips.

“It’s a firm suggestion.”

“Will you hand me that towel over there?”

Jack reached for the towel hanging over a tree branch and walked closer to the wells as Jillian stepped out of the waters. Dewey droplets cascaded down her body adding a glimmering sheen on tanned, healthy-looking skin. He held the towel open, dipping his gaze to take a peek of frilly black silk covering her near naked body. Male fantasy wet silk.

“Thanks,” she said, tucking herself into the towel.

“It’s late. You’d best get to wherever you’re going.” He kept his focus on her face and off the tempting swells pushing the barriers of her towel.

“I’ve already been there,” she said breathlessly, running a hand through wet hair, “and the Winslows weren’t home.”

Jack arched a brow, ignoring how the honey blonde strands fell against her bare shoulders. “You’re staying at the Winslow place?”

“Yes. They said I’m welcome anytime.”

Jack twisted his lips and shook his head. He had a thousand questions for her, but only one pounded hard in his head repeatedly. Why was she here? What brought her back to Hope Wells after all this time? “Damn, Jillian. As far as I know, they’re gone for the weekend. Won’t be back until Monday.”

Jillian shrugged. “That’s okay. I’ll get a room at the motel or something.”

Jack took his hat off and ran a hand through his hair. Leave it to Jillian not to see things through. She’d always been the impulsive one, the make-love-to-me now and damn the consequences, kind of girl. Jack had been the one to hold back, to want to wait, to do right by her. Jillian had been a temptation from the start, a girl he’d wanted above all else, but he’d been the responsible one. Sometimes, he hated that about himself.

“Doubtful. The rodeo’s in town this weekend. You won’t find a room anywhere.”

Her face fell. “Oh.”

She chewed on her lower lip and Jack’s temperature rose watching her tongue dart in and out of her mouth as she contemplated her next move. He dragged his gaze off her mouth and glanced at his watch. It was almost eleven–too late for her to go traipsing along the highway looking for a place to stay. Jack doubted she’d find a vacancy for fifty miles or so.

Another breeze blew by and she shivered. Goosebumps erupted on her arms as she hugged the towel tighter. Ah, hell. “Follow my patrol car. I know a place you can stay.”

A nervous little laugh erupted and she shook her head. “No way, Jack. I’m not staying at the jail.”

Jack didn’t hide a wicked grin. “You don’t have too many options, now do you? Get dressed. I’ll wait for you by your car.”

 

Do you enjoy stories about lawmen? What did you think of the excerpt?  Some of my favorite television shows revolving around lawmen are Gunsmoke, Justified and Blue Bloods.  What are yours?  Post a comment and one blogger will be picked randomly and announced at the very end of the day to win a gift ebook copy of Taming the Texas Cowboy, book 1 or another of my available titles.  

LOVING THE TEXAS LAWMAN is available for PRE-ORDER and released on May 22nd.

Be sure to sign up for my latest news and contests at Charlenesands.com 

 

Updated: May 9, 2017 — 4:31 pm
Petticoats & Pistols © 2015