KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
Please refer to https://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules for all contest rules.
What a wonderful day it was yesterday. I enjoyed all of your comments very much and I’d like to thank you all for your kindhearted comments.
For any of you who would like to read the book, GRAY HAWK’S LADY, I’m leaving y’all a link to Bookfunnel, so you can all download the book. It’s the start of the summer and we all love beach reads. Hope you will enjoy the book.
Welcome to another terrific Tuesday. Well, GRAY HAWK’S LADY has just been re-released for its 25th Year Anniversary Edition. Although it is not yet in paperback, we hope to have it up and ready for sale soon. Once it’s published again in paperback, it will be about 25 years since it was in print.
Meanwhile, the e-book is on sale right now for $4.99 at Amazon. It’s also on Kindle Unlimited, so you can read it for free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited.
Isn’t this a beautiful cover? It’s quickly becoming one of my favorites.
When a 25th Year Anniversary Book is released, it’s gone through another series of editing. When the original mass market paperback books were put into e-book format, I didn’t realize how many errors can be made on the conversion. And so slowly, one by one, we’re re-editing them and getting them released again. One of the wonderful things we’re doing is putting back in the original maps. These are special because they were drawn by my then teen-aged daughter, Trina. And so getting the maps put back in them is exciting for me.
This book is also special for me because I met and married my husband while I was writing this book, which makes this a very, very special book for me.
I’ll be giving away an e-book of this today for a lucky blogger, so do please leave a comment.
I’ll leave this here with the synopsis for the book and an excerpt.
Hope you’ll enjoy!
GRAY HAWK’S LADY
Different worlds, one heart.
Blackfoot Warriors, Book 1
When Lady Genevieve Rohan joins her father in the farthest reaches of the American West, she expects to bring a bit of genteel English charm to his dry, academic existence. Instead, she finds her father desperately ill, and it’s up to her to finish his study of the Indian and publish his work—or face the wrath of his creditors.
Her troubles mount when the men hired to capture a member of the Blackfoot tribe don’t bring her a docile maid to study. They present her with a magnificent warrior—proud, outrageously handsome and simmering with fury at the loss of his freedom.
The white woman is beautiful beyond compare, but Gray Hawk can’t think past his plan to exact revenge against this meddling foreigner. It’s ridiculously easy to escape, then turn the tables and take her captive. When anger turns to passion, then to love, he embarks on a new quest. To claim the stubborn, red-headed vixen as his own.
Yet as their hearts strain toward each other, pride conspires to pull them apart…unless they can each find a way for their hearts to become one.
Why didn’t the savage look away? And why didn’t he join in the laughter? Laughter the others in his tribe were enjoying…at her expense.
Genevieve shuddered and glanced away from the window, her gaze catching on to and lingering over the simple, hand-carved furniture that had been given to her for her “use.”
The room was clean, but that was all it was.
There was nothing in the room to recommend it—no feminine touches here and there, no lacy curtains to cushion the windows, no crystal or china to brighten each nook and cranny, no tablecloths, no rugs…no white women, period. Except for her.
She had thought, when she and her father had reached St. Louis, that she had come to the very edge of civilization, but she had been wrong. At least there, she and her father had been able to rent a house where they had enjoyed all the comforts to which they were both accustomed.
But here, away from any sort of civilization, she felt destitute.
Genevieve sighed, her white-gloved hand coming up to bat at a fly hovering around her face.
“Robert,” she spoke out. He bent toward her where she sat at the crude wooden table at one side of the room, and said, “Go ask Mr. McKenzie if there is any truth to the rumor that these Blackfoot Indians are leaving today. Oh, and Robert,” she added as her manservant rose to do her bidding, “please ask Mr. McKenzie if those two half-breed trappers I met yesterday are still in residence at the fort, and if they are, please tell him that I wish to see those men at once.”
Robert nodded, and, as he set off to carry out her wishes, Lady Genevieve turned back toward the window and looked out at the Indians, her gaze riveted by the dark, ominous regard of that one mysterious Indian man, but only for a moment.
She averted her glance, a certain amount of healthy fear coursing through her.
And why not? These Indians, though dignified enough in their savage appearance and dress, wielded enough untamed presence to instill terror into the hearts of even the most stouthearted of trappers and traders.
A shiver raced over her skin, the sensation bringing with it…what? Fear? Assuredly so. She had been gently raised. And yet…
She lowered her lashes, again studying the Indian in question, her head turned away and her hat, she hoped, hiding her expression. The man stood there among his peers, all ten or eleven of them. All were here at the fort to trade; all had come to this room to see—what the interpreter had said they called her—the mad white woman.
But none of the other Indians affected her like this one Indian man. He, alone, stood out; he, alone, captured her attention. Why?
Perhaps it was because he was too handsome by far, primitive and savage though he might be.
Was that it? She concentrated on him again. Perhaps it was the energy that radiated from him…maybe….
She tried to look away, to fix her gaze on something else, someone else, but she found she couldn’t. No, she examined him more fully.
He wore a long skin tunic or shirt, generously adorned with blue and white geometric designs. His leggings fell to his moccasins, and everywhere, at every seam and extending down each arm and the length of his tunic and the leggings themselves, hung scalp locks, hair taken from the human head. Though black was the main color of those locks, now and again she saw a blond or brown swatch of hair: white man’s hair. It made her shiver just to think of it.
The Indian’s own black mane hung loose and long, the front locks of it extending well down over his chest. His eyes were dark, black, piercing, and he seemed to see past her guard and defenses, peering into her every thought. In truth, she felt as though he glimpsed into her very soul.
Genevieve tossed her head and looked up, the brim of her fashionable hat sweeping upward with the movement. She tried to pretend she hadn’t been staring, hadn’t been inspecting. It was useless, however.
Had she but known, the sunlight, pouring in from the open window right then, caught the green chiffon of her hat, accentuating the color of it. And her hair, the auburn-red locks of it, glowed with a health and vitality equally appealing, and there wasn’t a savage or civilized gaze in the place that didn’t note the lady’s every move, her every expression. She, however, tried not to notice theirs.
She forced herself to look away…from him. She didn’t want to think about him. She needed to concentrate on her own purpose for being here. She hadn’t made such a long, grueling journey to sit here and gawk at one Indian man, compelling though he might be.
She had to find some Indian child or maiden here, now, today, willing to come back with her to St. Louis. She must.
She would not accept defeat.
It should have been a simpler task than it was turning out to be. Hadn’t she made it plain that she meant no harm to these people? That she and her father would only detain the person for a few months?
Hadn’t she told these people that she would return the person who volunteered back to their tribe at the end of that time, handsomely rewarded?
She had thought, back there in St. Louis, to lure one of the Indians with a trinket or two, a gown, a necklace for the women, money—anything, but some treasure no one could ignore. It should have been simple.
She had reckoned, however, without any knowledge of the dignity of the tribe in residence here at the fort: the Piegan or Pikuni band of the Blackfeet. It was a grave miscalculation on her part.
If only she had been more prepared to offer them something they might consider valuable. But how could she have known this?
Wasn’t this the problem? No one knew the Blackfoot Indians. It was this fact and this fact alone that made her father’s manuscript so valuable.
Genevieve sighed. It got worse.
She had such a short time in which to work, too. Only today and perhaps tomorrow.
She had tried to convince Mr. Chouteau, the part-owner and captain of the steamship, to stay at Fort Union a little longer. She had argued with him, using every bit of feminine guile that she possessed, but to no avail. He had remained adamant about leaving on his scheduled date.
The river was falling, he’d said. He had to get his steamship, the Yellow Stone, back to St. Louis before the Missouri fell so low that the ship would run aground.
It was not what she wanted to hear. It meant she had only a few days to accomplish her ends. It also meant that she might be facing failure.
No, she would not allow herself to fail.
“Milady.” Robert materialized at her side, his large frame blocking out the light as he bent down toward her. “Mr. Kenneth McKenzie says the Indians are preparing to leave on a buffalo hunt and will most likely be gone by tomorrow. I have taken the liberty of arranging for the two trappers that you seek to come here to see you.” Robert seemed to hesitate. “Milady, might I offer a word of caution?” he asked, though he went on without awaiting her reply. “The two men that you seek are known to be scoundrels. It has also been said of them that they have often been dishonest in their dealings with the trading post here as well as with Indians. It is my opinion that you would do well to—”
“What else am I to do?” Lady Genevieve interrupted, though she spoke quietly. “Robert,” she said, not even looking at him, “you know the dire circumstances of this venture. How can I possibly go back to St. Louis with nothing to show for my journey? And worse, how could I ever face my father again? You know that his condition is even more delicate now. If I were to fail…”
“But, milady, surely there must be another way besides dealing with these trappers.”
Genevieve raised her chin. Focusing her gaze upon Robert, she said, “Name one.”
Robert opened his mouth, but when he didn’t speak, Genevieve once again glanced away.
“You see,” she said, “even you know it is true, though you won’t say it. There is no other way. Mr. Chouteau keeps telling me that the steamship is to leave tomorrow or the next day. I must be on it, and I must have an Indian on board, too. I wish it were different. I truly wish it were. You must know that if I could change things, if I could make them different, I would.” She paused. “I cannot.”
Robert stared at her for a moment before he finally shook his head, but he offered no other advice.
Genevieve said, “I will see the two gentlemen as soon as they arrive. Please ensure, then, that they are shown to me immediately.”
“Yes, milady,” Robert said, rising. He stood up straight, and, as Genevieve glanced toward him, she was certain that her trusted bodyguard stared over at the Indian, that one Indian man.
But the Indian’s menacing black gaze didn’t acknowledge Robert at all. Not in the least. No, the Indian stared at her. Only at her.
Genevieve rose to her feet, averting her eyes from the Indian, although in her peripheral vision she noted every detail of the man. She shook her head, intent on shifting her attention away.
And then it happened. Despite herself, she turned her head. Despite herself, she slowly, so very leisurely, lifted her gaze toward his.
Her stomach fell at once, and the two of them stared at one another through the panes of glass for innumerable seconds.
She knew she should look away, but she couldn’t. She watched the man as though she wished to memorize his every feature, as though she needed the memory for some time distant, to be brought to mind again and again. And as Genevieve kept the man’s steady gaze, she felt her breathing quicken.
Suddenly he smiled at her, a simple gesture. It should have had no effect on her whatsoever.
But it did, and Genevieve felt herself go limp.
All at once, as though caught in a storm, her senses exploded. Her heartbeat pounded furiously, making her bring her hand up to her chest.
And, even as she felt herself beginning to swoon, she wondered why she was reacting so. One would think she had never before caught a man’s smile, had never before seized the attention of one simple man.
She heard Robert calling her name, and she breathed out a silent prayer of thanks for the interruption. She shut her eyes, which proved to be her only means of defense, and, taking as many deep breaths as she could, tried to steady the beating of her heart.
“Lady Genevieve.” She heard Robert call to her again.
“Yes, Robert, I’ll be right there.” Her voice sounded steady, though she hadn’t been certain she would be able to speak at all.
She opened her eyes, but she didn’t dare glance at the Indian again. She couldn’t risk meeting his gaze even one more time. And so she turned away from him, walking as swiftly as possible from the spot where she had been so recently seated, her silky gown of lace and chiffon whispering over the crude wooden floor as though it alone protested her departure.
She would never see the man again, never think of him again; of this she was certain. But even as this thought materialized, another one struck her with an even greater force: she fooled herself.
She would think of him, perhaps too often, over and over again, and in the not-too-distant future. She wouldn’t be able to help herself.
She knew it. Truly the Indian was a magnificent specimen of man. Yes, that was the right word. Impressive, splendid.
Utterly, completely and without question magnificent.
So, I thought we might talk about love today, and, if you will bear with me, I thought I’d tell you a bit about my own very personal story of finding love with my husband, Paul. The year was 1995 — late in the year — and my third book, PROUD WOLF’S WOMAN had recently been turned in to AVON/HarperCollins for editing. As I awaited the editing process, my attention went to another story and I had begun work on that. That story is GRAY HAWK’S LADY.
My own tale of finding love again began with a kiss. But let me backtrack. I had in 1992-1993 gone through a divorce and had come back to California, because at that time I had considered California my home, although I wasn’t born there. Unfortunately for me, I jumped right into a relationship that was very bad for…many reasons. After that relationship, I wanted nothing to do with men, love, marriage again. Sigh…and here I was a romance writer.
So I was on my own and definitely enjoying being on my own. One of my best friends (whom I have known and loved since 1970) was pushing me to go on a blind date. I didn’t want to go and told her I wanted nothing to do with men, relationships, marriage, dating…nothing….
But she insisted and I found my self consenting to one date. That was in January of 1996. GRAY HAWK’S LADY was due to my publisher (AVON) in July of 1996, but I had plenty of time to write it and had, indeed, started writing it when I went on this first date.
So off I went on this first ever in my life blind date. (I believe it was Paul’s first blind date, also.) The gentleman (Paul) picked me up at my house and I noticed he was wearing cowboy boots, and, since I am interested in the West and Cowboys and Indians, this was great. He was also born and raised in Montana, and I was very interested in Montana because the story of GRAY HAWK’ S LADY was to take place in Montana.
The date was good, but perhaps a little conservative. I think I was a little stand-offish. (Remember I wanted nothing to do with men, romance, marriage.) We went out to eat, but I was left with the impression that he wasn’t really interested in me. So, I put it behind me. He never called during the week that followed, never asked me back out and never told me what was happening and so eventually, just to end my wondering about it, I called my friend, told her I was sorry it hadn’t worked out and … well, “so long” sort of thing. To my surprise she wouldn’t let it go — I had just wanted to put it behind me. She said, “Oh, no, he’s really interested in you.” and I said, “Oh, no, I don’t think so. Let’s just relegate that date to the past and we’ll just get on with our lives” …or something like that. And she said, “No, I’m sure he really liked you.”
I had no idea that she would call his brother. I am told that they talked, and that the upshot of it was that Paul then called me and asked me for another date. Well, it had been a good first date, I thought, and he was a nice gentleman and perhaps we could be friends. So I accepted.
Goodness! Little did I know what was in store. On the second date, we were both more relaxed, held hands, and I thought, okay, we’ll be friends. He took me home, walked me to the door and just as I was about ready to go inside, he took me in his arms and kissed me. Now, this was quite some kiss. He meant it. And I became very aware he meant it. His hands caressed my cheeks, my eyes, my face, my hair, my neck. It went on and on and on, and when he was done, I felt as though my world were spinning — but in a good way. Afterwards I stared at him and for the first time, thought to myself, “Who is this man who can make me pay attention to him with no more than a kiss?”
Well, that was that. We had a date the next week, and within 2-3 weeks, I had moved in with him and we were married in May 1996. Our first date was February 3rd 1996. So it definitely was a whirlwind romance.
Now you may be wondering what this has to do with the book, GRAY HAWK’S LADY. Well, a lot, I’m afraid. As I mentioned earlier, I was in the middle of writing that book, and I fell so deeply in love with this man, who is now my husband, that of course that love was written all over the printed pages of GRAY HAWK’S LADY. That first kiss and my emotional reaction to it is recorded in that work. Also, my gradual coming to understand that this man was the most important man in my life is in that book. His calmness, his teasing, his care…it’s all written there as I fell head over heels in love. Interestingly, I’ve recently had the occasion to read the book again, as it will be coming out soon in the 25th Anniversary edition of the book, and I was reminded while reading the book how much I fell in love with this man. As I was reading it, I said to my husband that all the love I felt for him is in that book. Indeed, I think the character of Gray Hawk underwent a change in personality and became more and more the personality of the man I love.
Interestingly, I still have the pictures of our wedding on my website http://www.novels-by-KarenKay.com — can not bring myself to take them down, even though it’s 25 years later. People sometimes write to me and congratulate me on my recent marriage — and I smile. To me, in many ways, it does seem like a recent marriage, as I fall in love with this man all over again every day.
I’ll tell you true that I love this man with all my heart — and as the years have gone by, that love does not diminish; it grows and grows and grows. He stole my heart with that first kiss. (I’ll knock on wood here.) As the — gee, was it the Ronettes who once sang the song, “And Then He Kissed Me,” — it has always seemed to me that it started with that kiss.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the blog today and I hope you’ll come in and leave a message. I would love to hear about your own personal love stories.
To the left here is the e-book cover of GRAY HAWK’S LADY, but, as I said, it’s going to be coming out fairly soon as a 25th Year Anniversary book so instead of giving this book away, I’ll be giving away a paperback copy of the book, THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR.
And please remember to check back on Wednesday or Thursday evening to see if you are a winner!
Many thanks to all of you who came to the blog yesterday and played the word game. We have many wordsmiths amongst us. Let me name a few: Charlene Whitehouse was able to make 111 words. Sejoc created 104. Arlene Jones topped the list in second place with 127 and Patricia B. got 47 before she had to go. And, Pam Hamblin is in 1st place and created 161 words! Wow!
There was a book of mine within those letters, too, but it was a little too hard because an “s” was left out of the words (and I didn’t notice). But Arlene Jones and Alicia Haney and Sarah Taylor got the right book, despite there being no “s” in the letters when there should have been. That book was IRON WOLF’S BRIDE.
My husband drew the name of the winner tonight and the winner of the paperback copy of the book, SENECA SURRENDER is
Congratulations Arlene. Please email privately to get your address to me. I think I have it already, but if you could email it to me again, that would be great. The address is: karenkay(dot)author(at)startmail(dot)com
Also, if you came to the blog yesterday, please email me and let me know and I’ll send you a link to get the e-book, LAKOTA PRINCESS, free from bookfunnel.
Thanks again to everyone who came to the blog yesterday! Do well.
Welcome to Game Day! Are you ready to unscramble some letters and see how many words you can make? Wanna have a contest and see who can make the most words?
It is also possible that 3 of those words make a title of one of my books. Can you tell which one it is?
The give-away, however, isn’t dependent on how many words you can make or even telling me which book title is in this scramble. It’s based solely on coming to the blog and leaving a comment. The paperback I’ll be giving away is the book, SENECA SURRENDER.
So, you ready? Here goes! Leave a comment and let me know if you’ve enjoyed the game. I’ll post not only who wins the book, but also will post who discovered the most words.
We have two (2) winners for the free e-book of IRON WOLF’S BRIDE!
First before I announce the winners, let me thank each and every one of you who came to the blog yesterday.
And the winners are:
Julie Butler &
Congratulations to you both. Now, it’s possible that you might already have this book, and if you do, please email me privately at karenkay(at)startmail(dot)com and let me know what book you might like if IRON WOLF’S BRIDE is one you have already read.
For any of the other bloggers who came to the blog today, if you go to this link, you can get your free copy of the book (this is my page for reviewers).
Have you ever wondered what goes into an American Indian’s name? One of the first things I do when starting a new book is name the hero of the story. But, why are “eagle,” “hawk,” “horse,” “buffalo,” “bear,” good names for a hero? Well, there are some rules and I thought I’d talk about them.
The Sioux had three different classes of names. The first name would show the order of children…like First Child, or First Born Son. The second class of name (at least in the Lakota society) was the honor name or public names. The third name was a nickname (sometimes an unflattering name). Sometimes a man might gain a honoring name different from one of his childhood and this is sometimes called a “deed” name. And sometimes childhood names remained with a person for all of his/her life.
An honoring name is given usually by the clan medicine-man in a public ceremony. In the story I’m writing currently called, BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER, the opening scene in the book is a scene where a boy is being given an honoring name. His grandfather bestows his own name on the boy, BLUE THUNDER STRIKING.
Trivia question: did you know that Crazy Horse was given his name by his father, who then took a lesser name? The name Crazy Horse was given to him because of a great deed he performed.
Many years ago, when I was adopted into the Blackfeet tribe in Browning, MT, I was given an Indian name, but it was bestowed on me by the chief of the tribe, Chief Old Person.
In the story, BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER, the boy had been given a nickname prior to his honor name, and that name was somewhat unflattering…Little Skunk.
Deed names usually require some act of courage and so the courageous act is celebrated by giving that man or boy a name from some fear-inspiring animal, like a buffalo, a bear or wolf. A noble sort of name might be given to a man from one of the nobler birds, like the eagle, the hawk the owl. Sometimes the character of the courageous act is given along with the name. For instance, swift or strength or endurance and these give the name a descriptive element, like Challenging Wolf.
Here are some honoring name for boys: White Eagle; Black Buffalo; Red Wind; Storm; Kills the Man; Shadow Hawk.
What about names for girls? Well, there were some rules here, as well. No Indian girl was permitted to wear the skin of a bear or a wolf, a cat, etc. Nor could she wear eagle feathers as these were masculine representations. Instead a girl could wear the skins of a doe, ermine, mink, etc.
As far as names were concerned, girls were usually called after the fawn, mink, beaver. While only boys could have the names of the fiercer animals. Both boys and girls could be named after the wind or water or sky, but not by the name of Fire. At least these were the rules in Lakota society.
Here are some names of girls: White Bird; Sky; Jingles; Earth Maiden; Laughing Maid, Swan Maiden.
Also, often in the stories I write, the hero will give the heroine an Indian name, sometimes flattering and sometimes not. In the story THE EAGLE AND THE FLAME, the hero first named the heroine, “Deceiving Woman.” Later, it changes, of course.
So, I thought I’d leave you with an excerpt from my most recent book, IRON WOLF’S BRIDE, and I’ll be giving away a free copy of the book today. So do please leave a comment.
IRON WOLF’S BRIDE
Iron Wolf followed her. It was time to learn what was happening here. Who was that man?
He intended this to be his first question to the woman who should be, and still was, his wife. His second question to her would be why she believed he, her husband, had betrayed her. But this could wait.
He noted that she had fled into a maze that was flanked by fragrant bushes which were taller than a man, and, were he not the scout and tracker he was, he might have become lost within these high shrubs, for the paths intersected one another and led in multiple directions. But he didn’t lose his way. He found her soon enough.
Once he had discovered her, he spoke out softly, so she might become aware he had followed her. “What is going on here? Who is that man you were touching, the one who sat next to you? What is he to you?”
Jane spun around, the look of surprise on her countenance quickly turning to anger. She didn’t pause an instant, though, as she accused, “How dare you follow me!”
“I am your husband. It is my duty to follow you.”
“Well, you can go away now. I came here to be alone.”
Iron Wolf didn’t leave. Instead, he repeated his question, for he intended it to be answered, and he asked once more, “Who is that man?”
“The one you touched. The one who sat beside you tonight.”
“He and I were to be married today.”
She turned her back on him and Iron Wolf didn’t speak; he couldn’t, for he felt as though she had punched him in the gut.
She added, “We didn’t marry today, as it turns out, because I would like my sister to be a part of the marriage ceremony. So we have postponed our wedding for the time being. And now you see that I, too, might marry another, as you have.”
Although he wished to speak out loudly, to rage the truth at her, he found it impossible to find his tongue, and so he paused until at last he was able to say, “My wife, you have become like a wild pony in my absence. How can you marry another when you are already married to me?”
“Am I? Do you forget you divorced me? And, how dare you call me ‘wild,’ when you…when you…” Her voice caught.
He ignored the insult and said instead, “You have now accused me of this too many times. Who has told this to you?”
“No one has ‘told’ it to me, as you say it. It was written up in the newspapers, and I have the divorce papers that you signed, or have you conveniently forgotten that? And, how dare you seduce me in front of all these people tonight; you, who are married to another. Is she here tonight? Does she care that you looked at me as you danced as though you were making love to me?”
She spoke so swiftly that he took a moment to understand all she had said, and then he asked, “Do you speak of the white-man’s newspapers where you saw my ‘wife’?”
“Who showed this to you?”
“Does it matter?”
He sighed. “Hau, hau, it matters. I would ask you again, who has said this to you?”
“My uncle, if you must know.”
“Your uncle who owns this house?”
Iron Wolf took a moment to collect his thoughts, then said, “You are wrong to believe these people, even if they be family.”
“So you can say easily enough. But, my uncle is beyond reproach and I am certain he wouldn’t lie to me. Besides, you forget that I have evidence of your betrayal of me.”
“No,” he countered, “what you have is ‘proof’ that is a lie. And, now I say that it is good you did not marry that man this day, for had you done so, you would have committed a grave error, one I could not easily set aside. So now, you must decide and choose between one or the other of us: me—your husband or that man. For, even in my society, a woman may have only one husband.”
“I have already chosen, and that man is not you.”
“Hau, then I will go.”
“But before I go, I wish to see these papers you have mentioned to me many times. I would witness these lies with my own eyes.”
“They are not lies.”
He raised his voice. “I say they are, and if you continue to tell me these untruths, I will say that you are a woman of no honor, who tells lies, as well.”
“How dare you shout at me, and how dare you say I am not honorable!”
He blew out his breath in an attempt to control his temper. At length, he said, “I am a man who must be convinced. Show me the papers you speak of, for I tell you true: I did not place my written name on anything. I have no other wife, but you. Why would I want another woman when the one I have is the sweetest, the most beautiful woman I have ever known or seen? I ask you, why would I throw away the woman of my heart, for, if I were to do that, would I not destroy her and myself, too?”
He noted that the compliment, spoken as it was from his heart, might have found its target. However, she did not respond favorably, and she turned her back upon him.
He encouraged, “Show me.”
When she turned around, she was crying, and his heart sank to realize that his raised voice and unkind words might have caused her grief. Still, what he’d said had been true.
“Do you really think I stoop to tell fibs? That I don’t have these things in my possession which show you betrayed me and then married another?”
“I would see them.”
She paused, as though she seriously considered his demand, even against her will. At length, she said, “I suppose that might be a fair request. So follow me. I will show you, although I am certain you are already aware of what I am talking about.”
He nodded, but he said nothing except, “Show me. I will do as you ask and follow you.”
She turned around then and stomped out of the maze. And, Iron Wolf, astonished again by the obvious—that this was no act and that his wife truly hated him— trailed after her.
Indeed, everyone who came to the blog yesterday will be gifted with the e-book of LAKOTA PRINCESS. It’s coming to you via Bookbub and all you have to do to get your copy is to email me privately at karenkay(dot)author(at)startmail(dot)com. I’ll provide the link in order to claim your book.
Meanwhile, we have a winner for the free paperback of LAKOTA PRINCESS, an that winner is: LOIS IMEL
Lois, I’ll need you to email me privately and provide me with a mailing address for you.
Many thanks to y’all who came to the blog and left a message. Very appreciated.
Welcome to a wacky Wednesday. Well, not too wacky.
LAKOTA PRINCESS, the 25th Anniversary Edition, is just out in e-book and print. The book has been re-edited and an updated Anniversary Edition cover given to it and best of all, it’s on sale for $.99. Yay!
Let me tell you a little about this unusual “Western” romance. First, it’s set in England. So, we brought the West to that little island empire, England. Next, it’s set during the Regency period (early 1800’s) and so it has a bit of that time period within its pages, as well as the customs of the Lakota Indians before the Europeans came into their country and changed things. Then, it also entails some interesting facts about the Royal Family, and indeed, the Royal Family becomes a character — so to speak — in the book.
Hope you’ll enjoy the following blurb and excerpt:
A love that defies the ocean. A secret deeper than blood.
Lakota Princess, Book 3
Driven from her home in England by hostile political forces, Estrela was little more than a girl when she came to be raised by a far western Lakota tribe. On the wide, sweeping plains she grew tall and strong, and won the love of a handsome warrior.
But on the eve of their marriage, she is torn away from her native family, torn from the man she loves, and forced to return to a place that feels more like a foreign country than her home. There she merely exists, haunted by her love’s sweet kisses and heated embrace, yearning for his unforgettable touch.
Black Bear has braved the ocean to find the woman whose beauty has captured his soul. But no sooner has he arrived in England than he is called upon to save her life. Who in their right mind would want to murder such a gentle spirit?
As Black Bear comes between her and death time after time, Estrela wishes they could both just disappear back to the plains, and bury the secret she has long hidden –- even from him. A secret from which only their love, truer than blood, can save them.
Warning: Sensuous romance that contains separated lovers who will let nothing come between them…not oceans, her mysterious past, or a murderer bent on destroying their future.
LAKOTA PRINCESS, an Excerpt
She wore the pink, transparent creation into the breakfast parlor after all, and was rewarded for her efforts by a frown from Black Bear. The gown’s lines trailed downward from an empire waist, and Estrela smoothed the outer filmy material down with a self-conscious gesture of her hand. She hadn’t wetted down the undergarments as was the current custom, it being thought by those who ruled fashion that if the material beneath looked wet, it would allude more to the feminine form; something which, it would appear, was most desirable.
Her shoes of soft, pink satin peeked out beneath the hemline of the dress as Estrela paced forward, and all at once, she felt the heat of Black Bear’s piercing scowl.
She peered down at herself. It didn’t matter if she hadn’t wetted down the undergarments; the dress still made her look practically nude. She looked up then, and away, her cheeks awash with unbecoming warmth; she felt suddenly inadequate.
It also didn’t help, she realized, when she looked at the other women seated around the breakfast table and found them to be dressed in a much more risqué fashion than she. They didn’t appear to bother Black Bear.
He scowled at her alone.
She advanced into the room.
“Ah, Lady Estrela.” The Duke of Colchester arose from his seat and smiled at her. “So good to see you this morning. Did you enjoy your morning of exercise?”
“Yes, Sir, I did,” she replied, sweeping her lashes down over her eyes to study the Duke without his knowledge. The man had been most kind to her. Did he mean more by his question? She couldn’t tell.
“Ah,” the Duke continued. “I must admit that I was concerned after that dreadful event yesterday. But, I see that you have recovered most splendidly. Jolly good of you to join us, I say.”
Estrela smiled. “Thank you, Sir,” she replied, and, treading down the long length of the breakfast table, took the seat that a servant held out for her.
She smiled at the servant, then at the Duke as he, too, sat down.
She glanced around the table noting that the Duchess of Colchester chatted gaily with her daughters and with Black Bear, who, after his initial glare at Estrela, hadn’t looked again in her direction.
There were other people here, too, women she did not recognize and a few other men. The Royal Duke of Windwright must have spent the night, for he sat just opposite her at the table.
He glanced at her now, and, clearing his throat, said, “So good of you to join us, Lady Estrela. I say, did you sleep well?”
Estrela smiled at him. “Yes,” she said, “quite well, thank you.”
Black Bear glowered at her down the length of the table, but he said nothing and Estrela wondered if Black Bear intended to discipline her—and if he did, what form would it take?
Well, she wouldn’t think of it now. She had done the right thing for him. In time, he would see this. She only wished that time would elapse quickly.
“I daresay, old man,” the Duke of Windwright addressed the Duke of Colchester. “Must retire to the country soon now that Parliament is out of session. Can’t afford to miss the fox hunt, you know.”
The Duke of Colchester chewed upon a long cigar, not daring to smoke it in the presence of ladies. As it was he bordered on committing a social faux pas just by bringing a cigar into the same room as a lady.
He leaned forward across the table and leered at the other Duke. “I say,” the Duke of Colchester said, “geese are in season now. Do you fancy hunting geese? Could make a trip to the country, we could. I say, there, Black Bear.” He turned his attention to the Indian. “Have you ever hunted geese?”
Black Bear glanced down the table, glaring first at Estrela, then turning his solemn gaze upon the Duke. He didn’t smile and his features revealed nothing at all. At length, he said, “Geese are many in my country. I have hunted them, yes.”
“Well, I say, old chap,” the Duke of Colchester said, “would you quite fancy taking to the country with us to hunt geese?”
Black Bear didn’t scowl, but he didn’t smile either. He stared at the Duke of Colchester, then at the Duke of Windwright. And, as he studied the two men, his brows narrowed. At length he answered, saying, “I would greatly honor the chance to hunt with you. But it is autumn, the season to make meat, and I think we would do better to hunt deer or elk so that the women can fill the food stores for the season when the babies cry for food. Does your country have—tatá?ka—buffalo?”
“Make meat?” It was the Duke of Windwright who spoke.“I daresay we have no buffalo, my fine fellow, but the deer are aplenty and we could hunt them, too; however, shooting geese or any fowl is more the sport this time of year.”
The Indian nodded. “Then we will hunt geese,” he said, returning his grimace once more to Estrela.
Estrela glanced away.
And Black Bear, after a quick survey of the people sitting around the table said into the quietness of the room, “There is old Indian legend told in my country about geese.”
“Is there?” It was the Duchess of Colchester who spoke. “Oh, how exciting. Won’t you tell it to us, please?”
“Oh, do tell us.”
Black Bear smiled, and, shooting Estrela one last glare, began, “It is said that—”
“I say, young fellow,” the Duke of Windwright interrupted, “what is ‘making meat’?”
Black Bear’s gaze leaped to the Duke.
“Oh, do be quiet,” the Duchess of Colchester said, perhaps without thinking first. “Can’t you tell that…?” She stopped, and, glancing quickly at the Royal Duke, carried on, “Oh, so sorry, Your Grace. It’s only that the Indian is telling us a story and I thought that you were my husband or that—I mean—perhaps I—”
“’Making meat,’” Estrela spoke up, thereby “saving” the Duchess, “refers to the necessity in an Indian camp to ensure there is enough food in store to get the people through even the harshest of winters. Usually in the fall, there is one last buffalo hunt during which the women will take what meat they get and dry it and pound it into wasná, which is a mixture of pounded meat, fat, and chokecherries. It is an important venture since, if there is not enough food to get through the winter, the people will starve.”
Estrela glanced at Black Bear, and nodding, returned her attention to her breakfast.
The Duke of Windwright snorted.
The Duchess of Colchester fluttered her eyelashes and her husband, the Duke of Colchester, brought his attention onto the Indian.
“I say,” the Duke of Colchester started, “I believe I would like you to tell that story you were about to begin—the one about the geese.”
“Oh, by all means.”
“Please do continue.”
“We want to hear it.”
Black Bear smiled. “There is a legend,” he said, relaxing back into his chair, “about the geese in my camp. For you see, the geese tell us much.” He gazed at the Duchess a moment before sweeping his attention around the table. And, seemingly satisfied, he fixed his glance once more upon Estrela, his stare a sulky glower. “Those birds’ habits announce the season change,” he continued, “and we look upon the geese as good food when there is no buffalo to feed our women and children. But, their meat has too much fat, though the taste—good.” He paused, and, with his glance clearly on Estrela, said, “It is well known that geese mate for life, something a wise person will study.”
Estrela choked on the bit of sausage she had just swallowed while the Duchess of Colchester exclaimed, “Oh, how endearing. Tell us more!”
“Yes, please, tell us.” The women’s enthusiastic voices re-echoed the plea around the table.
And Black Bear, ever ready to continue, said, “This story is about the female goose who could not select just one mate.” He stared directly at Estrela, who, in turn, moaned, closing her eyes.
Obviously enjoying her reaction, he continued, “Once there was a family of geese.”
“I say, young man.” It was the Duke of Windwright speaking again. “Do you force your women to work, then? You have no servants, no slaves? You make your women—”
“Your Grace,” the Duke of Colchester interjected. “This young man is trying to tell us a story. Perhaps you could ask your questions later.”
“So sorry, I didn’t mean to—it’s only that—well, who would hear of it, after all? Forcing women into physical labor? I mean, after all, are all their women merely servants?”
“The women,” Estrela spoke up, if for no other reason than to stall for time, “work, but the work is not great and there is much time to talk and to tease. Mayhap one could compare it to the fine ladies at work over needlepoint.”
And, although the Duke of Windwright merely “humphed,” and scoffed, he said no more.
“Yes, do continue.”
He smiled. “Most geese have many children,” he said, satisfied, “all of them dedicated to the continuation of their race, and…”
Estrela glanced away, trying to concentrate on something else besides Black Bear. She knew the story was told for her benefit, alone. He believed he spoke about her; this form of storytelling was probably one of the more severe forms of discipline he would administer. The Indian, regardless of Western belief, rarely punished his children. Estrela realized that most people who did not know the Indian in his own territory, did not understand Indian logic: that he did not scold his children, did not physically punish them in any way, and did not even raise his voice to a child, a mild look of disapproval sufficing to correct any bad behavior.
“…but this female bird was beautiful, her feathers most fine, more colorful than any other, her squawk more pleasing to the ear,” Black Bear was saying. “She did not wish to have only one mate, it is said, and she did not feel she should be confined to merely one husband. Nor did she have to. There were several young ganders who sought to have her under any condition.”
And, Black Bear did not take his gaze from her.
“There was one gander, one male who loved her more than any other…”
“Why don’t you,” the Duke of Windwright cut in, “hunt for two or three years at a time, or raise the animals for slaughter, or…”
All the rest of the table groaned except for Estrela, who was only too glad for the interruption.
“The Indian does not wish to disturb the balance of nature,” Estrela said. “And so, he takes only what he needs and leaves the rest.”
“Bad show, I say. Jolly bad show.”
“Yes,” she said, “we could discuss the economics of the Indians and—”
“Wí?ya? Ho Wa?té,” Black Bear snapped at her. “I am telling a story.”
“Yes, well, I—”
“I want to hear more.”
“Yes, pray, finish your story.”
Black Bear grinned, the gesture not sitting well with Estrela. “The goose,” he carried on, “the beautiful goose could not decide on just one gander. And, the one who loved her most of all was but one among the many and she wanted many. And so, she took many to her, not realizing that the gander seeks only one mate.”
He paused, and his focus on Estrela was such that he didn’t even notice the gasps from around the table at so delicate a subject.
But no one stopped him. All, except the Duke of Windwright, seemed entranced with him. And, whether it was his deep baritone or the unusual content of the story that mesmerized them, Estrela could not tell. She only knew that he held the attention of most all seated around the table.
“Yes, she had many,” he continued.
“Bad show, I say,” the Duke of Windwright spoke. “Jolly bad show, making your women work—actually work—why I’ve never heard of such a thing—except servants, of course, but then—”
“The gander,” Black Bear continued as though the Duke weren’t at that moment speaking, “will allow no competition with the mate that he seeks and so one by one the males vying for this beautiful goose’s favor fought among themselves until not one male bird lived. And, she looked in vain for the one gander who had loved her more than any other. But, he had gone to seek his mate elsewhere believing that she, like the sparrow, could not be satisfied with only one mate. And so died out her race, not because of man hunting her, not because of the wolf or bear who would seek her meat, but only because the female goose sought to have more than one mate.”
He paused and glanced around the table. “And so it is,” he said to his entranced audience, “that we learn from the geese that a woman must seek only one husband. And, the more beautiful the bird, the more careful she must be to ensure she chooses only the one.”
“Dare I ask, young man,” the Duke of Windwright plowed right in, “are all your women servants?”
Black Bear ignored the Duke as did the others.
“Oh, that was lovely.”
“Tell us more!”
“Yes, please, more!”
Black Bear held up a hand. “I will gladly tell another story tomorrow at the morning meal, if you are all here again.”
And, while exclamations of joy and wonder resounded around the table, Estrela groaned.
It would be the same story, told again, a bit differently, said over and over until Black Bear determined that she’d been suitably chastised.
And, Estrela made a mental note to ensure she missed each breakfast meal in the future.
“Well, it is my belief,” the Duke of Windwright carried on, “that the Indians must be saved from themselves. Yes, I believe that—”
“I think the gander acted most irrationally.” Estrela’s quiet statement, said amid the Duke’s meanderings, had the effect of silencing all other chatter at the table, including the Duke’s, and, as Estrela glanced down the table’s length to peer at Black Bear, she noted that every single pair of eyes were turned on her.
“And what would you have him do?” Black Bear asked, each person at the table looking to him. “Wait until the silly goose decided she wanted him more than any other?”
“He could have waited,” Estrela countered, recapturing the attention of everyone present. “Had he truly loved her, he would have waited.”
“Waited for what? She was taken. Before he even had a chance to take her, she was taken.”
“Who was taken?” the Duchess of Colchester intervened. “Did I miss something in the story?”
“He could have understood,” Estrela replied.
“Understood what?” the Duchess interrupted.
Black Bear nodded in agreement, repeating, “Understood what?”
Estrela snorted. “If he believed in her, he would have known—he just would have known.”
“He’s a bird,” Black Bear said. “He’s incapable of thinking.”
“Known what?” It was the Duchess who spoke.
“Then why tell the story if the gander is such a fool?” Estrela asked.
All heads turned back toward Black Bear.
“Because the story has a moral,” Black Bear said, each word clipped. “We are supposed to learn from such a story. Most people do unless they have the morals of a sparrow.”
Estrela flushed, and, looking down the length of the table, saw that each person present gazed at her as though they watched a fox surrounded by hounds.
“Well,” she said, “I think you should pick a more intelligent bird in the future, unless you want your characters to act so…so…stupidly.”
And with this said, she jumped from the table, upsetting her plate and knocking over her cup of tea.
“Oh! See what you’ve done?” she addressed Black Bear.
“I’ve done… You are the one who—”
“How could you?” Estrela threw down her napkin just as a servant came up behind her. “Why don’t you use swans next time, or wolves—at least they have a certain intelligence that I find sadly lacking in the gander.”
She spun about, upsetting the servant, his tray of food and the tea. But the servant was well-trained and caught the tray before any damage could be done.
Black Bear watched her leave, but only for a moment before he, too, arose. And, though his movements were slower than Estrela’s, he still moved quickly to follow her.
The servant stood behind him. The tray of food and tea crashed to the floor, most of its contents spilling innocently, except for the tea, of course, which landed on the Duchess of Colchester.
And as she, too, jumped to her feet, wiping at her dress and holding it away from her, one could hear her say to an oddly silent room, “Oh my, oh my, did I miss something from that story?”
The only response to her question was complete and utter silence.