Cowboys & Mistletoe – And the Answers Are…

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to play Two Truths and a Lie with us this week – I hope you had as much fun with it as we did!

And, without further ado, here are the Answers:

#1. We once owned an antique wooden horse-drawn sleigh and dragged it out of storage every year.
TRUE
#2. When my children were young, they played characters in the church Christmas pageant, along with our donkey.
TRUE
#3. My husband was recruited as a last-minute substitute Santa Claus at the senior living facility where my late mother resided.
FALSE      My husband has never played Santa Claus

#1.When my daughter was nine, I ice skated with her in a Christmas Around the World performance put on by our local ice rink.
FALSE      I made her costume for that performance, but I am not daring enough to get out on the ice and bust my rear end every time I take a step. LOL She skated as a kid and then went back to it a couple of years ago in her mid-thirties. She is a competitive skater now, and works part time at the ice rink where she skates!

#2. I met Dale Robertson before a Christmas event at The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum when I worked there.
TRUE

#3. I have two relatives who were born on Christmas Day.
TRUE

#1 – I visited Santa’s House in North Pole Alaska.
TRUE I was seventeen and traveling with my mom and brother to the Arctic where my dad was working. There really is a North Pole, Alaska near Fairbanks. I later worked with a fellow teacher who grew up there.

#2 – I once got a horse for Christmas.
FALSE

#3 – My family owned a herd of reindeer.
TRUE  It was a lot different than having cows. I still have several sets of shed reindeer antlers. 

1.    The last year I taught PreK, the teacher scheduled to play Mrs. Santa Claus for the annual PTO Breakfast with Santa fundraiser fell ill a few days before the event. Maybe it was my grey hair, my short stature, or my rimless glasses, but I played Mrs. Santa Claus at a children’s Christmas Party!
FALSE  While most of this is true, the teacher who was originally slated to portray Mrs. Santa Claus did recover in time. I was assigned to the hot chocolate station!

  1. Christmas movies in July?…love them all as I sip on my iced tea…Come October, November, December, I toggle between both Hallmark networks, Up Television, and Great American Country but…I’ve never seen the movie, Elf.
    TRUE
  2. I love wrapping presents! Not just at Christmas but for birthdays, Easter, whatever! However, my family always knows which presents are mine because they are so difficult to remove the bows, ribbons, and decorations. I get teased about it every time!
    TRUE

#1.    I once unwrapped a toilet seat as a Christmas gift.
TRUE  Yes, my husband really did wrap up a toilet seat and put it under the tree for me one year early in our marriage. He even had the audacity to say it was from our infant daughter. Once the disappointment wore off, we got a good laugh, and I have never forgotten it.

#2 My husband has bought me something cowboy-related every year for Christmas since I published my first western romance in 2010.
FALSE My hubby has given me many wonderful cowboy-themed gifts over the years, but they don’t come every year.

#3. The Christmas gift that made the biggest Witemeyer family splash was when I gave my high school daughter a copy of the MLA Handbook.
TRUE  My daughter actually asked for the MLA Handbook, and we just happened to have my husband’s uncle visiting that year for Christmas. He was an English professor, and he couldn’t get over how thrilled and excited Bethany was when she unwrapped that handbook. He had never seen the like, and it made his English-loving heart swoon.

#1.    I had a lovely apartment in New York for four years. Christmas in the big apple is the best!
TRUE 
#2. One of my family’s kooky Christmas traditions is re-wrapping and re-giving the same CD of the worst music ever, to another family member, who then must do the same the following year.
TRUE 
#3. My six kids are spread around the country, which makes getting them together for Christmas hard, but this also means I get to travel sometimes for Christmas, which is fun!
FALSE While most of this is true, I have only three kids, not six!

#1.  I published my first book when I was 52 years old
TRUE 
#2. I studied abroad for a year out of high school.
FALSE
#3. My sister is also a published writer and we had a sister who painted pictures.
TRUE 

#1.   I’m one of eight children. The only author
TRUE
#2.  My most recent release is book #75
TRUE
#3.  I got my first book published the same year my youngest daughter went to Kindergarten
FALSE  I started writing when she went to Kindergarten and had my first book release the year she graduated from high school.

#1.   I once celebrated Christmas with my family in a bike shop.
TRUE It was during the height of Covid, and my son-in-law managed a bike/coffee shop that had a showroom big enough for all of us to spread out at our own tables. I ordered sandwiches the day before (alas, they were a bit soggy), and to this day, I’m bummed our Christmas dinner was a dud. But at least, we were together, and we still had fun.

#2.  A couple of years ago, we made 18 pans of the Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls as gifts, and none of them raised.
TRUE  Again, during Covid. Since we weren’t having our usual big family get-togethers, my sisters and I got together (wearing masks) and made the cinnamon rolls. Everything promised to be perfect and delicious until the rolls started to raise. Even though we froze them as quickly as we could, I was told by a professional baker that when we froze the raising yeast, we effectively killed it, which prevented the rolls from raising after being thawed.

#3.  My Christmas dinner was once delayed for several hours because the fresh turkey just wouldn’t get done.
FALSE  I’ve never roasted a fresh turkey, so this wasn’t me but instead my aunt, who was absolutely mortified that everyone was waiting around and hungry!

#1.  I listen to Christmas music all year long.
FALSE While I love Christmas music, I try to not start listening until after Halloween. But once November rolls around, I’m all about the holiday tunes!

#2.  I love to bake with eggnog.
TRUE I am not a fan of just straight eggnog, and neither is my husband, Captain Cavedweller. But baking with it? Oh, man! There are so many delicious ways to use eggnog. I make eggnog custard, eggnog bread, eggnog Snickerdoodles (probably my favorite), eggnog Bundt cake, and CC’s favorite – eggnog doughnuts. I have recipes for most of these on my website.

#3.  I once received a bag of dog food for Christmas.
TRUE  Although I wish this one was false, it is true. When I was in high school, my family decided it would be great if we drew names and did a gift exchange instead of having to shop for everyone. It never failed that one of my brother’s step kids would draw my name, forget they were supposed to give a gift, and show up with something they grabbed on the way out the door. My “gifts” over the years included an opened bag of marshmallows with a few packets of Swiss Miss hot chocolate thrown in, a partially used bottle of hair mousse, but the “best” of all was a bag of dog food. The following year, I  bowed out of the gift exchange. 

#1. I LOVE Christmas decorations and must have hundreds of tree ornaments alone. In fact I have a walk in closet dedicated just to the storage of my Christmas stuff. Because it became impossible to use all of my decorations on the tree at one time, several years back I began doing themed trees, which allows me to rotate them in and out. Some of the themes I’ve done over the years include angels, bells, stars, snowmen, and even a fairytale theme – but my favorite was the year I did a nativity themed tree.
FALSE  While it is true that I have literally hundreds of ornaments (and still growing!) I don’t try to do a themed tree – in fact it is very eclectic. My kids all have their favorites which MUST go on the tree every year and once those are up I just pick others as the mood suits me, not for how they may or may not match.  I do however have a collection of booklover ornaments and one of tea lover ornaments and I use those as tabletop displays.

#2. When my children were very young I started a tradition of buying them one ornament of their very own each year so that when they grew up and moved away they would have a ‘starter set’ of ornaments of their very own. My plans, however, met with mixed success. Two of my kids took theirs when they established their own homes, two of them still have their collections boxed up and stored in their former closets here at my house with the intention (or so they say) of taking them ‘someday’.
TRUE  The youngest is 37 – here’s hoping ‘someday’ comes soon!

#3. My siblings and I are all big on Christmas candy and treats and when we have our extended family gathering, which usually includes over 45 people, we all try to outdo each other. In fact there are usually more sweets than ‘regular’ food. My personal specialties are peanut butter fudge and a rice krispie based candy – and I like to experiment with at least one new item each year. As for the scrumdiddlyumptious candy my mom used to make, while my other relatives vied for her pecan pralines, I’d pass those up and go straight for her coconut pralines!
TRUE  I remember as a little girl grating fresh coconut for momma to use in her coconut pralines and nothing tops Christmas candy for me like these sweet treats and the memories they engender.

And there you have it – some personal glimpses as well as some playful lies from your friends here at the junction. How many did you get right? How many really surprised you?

Stay tuned – winner post is coming soon!

Janalyn Voigt Is Heading This Way!

Yippee! We have a Wednesday guest! Miss Janalyn Voigt will arrive on Wednesday, May 10, 2023!

How fun! She’s going to tell us about how cowboys used to sing to the cattle. Do you know why?

She also has a giveaway!  That’s exciting.

So shake the wrinkles out of your bustle and head over on Wednesday!

We’ll sit on our front porch and drink some iced tea. Join Us!

Cover Reveal for Deadly Yellowstone Secrets!

When your book finally feels like a book…

March of 2022 I signed a contract with Love Inspired Suspense for a book that was then titled, Blizzard Warning. Before signing, I’d actually gone through TWO complete edit/rewrites with two separate editors.

When I got the call, it was with an editor I had met at a conference in 2017 and that made meeting this goal all the sweeter. A few months later (after another full edit and rewrite), I was handed to one of the new Harlequin editors, not realizing at the time that my editor was going to be leaving.

And that editor wanted…you guessed it…another rewrite.

This isn’t surprising, every editor has their own things they like to see. They want to be proud of every book they sign off on. And, I’ve got to tell you, I’m incredibly proud of this book.

So, you get to be the first to meet the characters. Because you’re awesome.

Meet, Yellowstone naturalist, Tamala Roth

She follows bears and studies their habitat and movement. When she’s trapped by a poacher who takes aim at her, the hunter becomes the hunted. Tamala has to not only save the bears, but herself.

And did I mention she’s trapped in Yellowstone during a blizzard?

Law Enforcement Ranger Clint Jackson has a long list of things to do with an impending blizzard, but saving lives takes top priority. But what will he do when he and Tamala are locked alone in Yellowstone with a raging blizzard and nowhere to turn? Find out Oct, 24th when Deadly Yellowstone Secrets releases!

While this story isn’t outwardly western, Clint has the heart of a cowboy. He reads like a cowboy hero, so I hope you’ll accept him as a cowboy that wrangles bad guys instead of cows.

 

What would you do if you found yourself trapped in Yellowstone with a blizzard moving in?

Yee-Haw! Marisa Masterson is Comin’ Round the Mountain this Friday, March 31, 2023!

How’d y’all suppose all those long-ago pioneers ever crossed the North Platte River, that troublin’ river that took more lives than a single-edged huntin’ knife?

Well, come a visitin’ here at the Junction on Friday and Ms. Masterson’s gonna tell us all about it.

Marisa’s totin’ a giveaway too!

So, this here’s an invitation ta come on over to the Junction this Friday.  Let’s give Ms. Masterson a mighty big western howdy!  But be prepared to sit a spell and have hootin’ good time!

 

Yee-Haw! Tess Thompson is Ridin’ into Town Tomorrow

 

Come one, come all and meet vivacious Tess Thompson, a USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author!  And best of all, she’s gonna be here tomorrow, March 24th!

Tess is aimin’ to give away two print copies of her bestsellin’ book, The School Mistress of Emerson Pass.

Come help us welcome her.  Grab a cup of coffee or a cup of tea and be prepared to have a honky-donkey good time! 

Names, Names, Too Many Things to Name

Naming characters, fictionalized towns, ranches, and businesses is a daunting task for me with every story I write. In my current project, Aiming for His Heart, Book 10 in the Pink Pistol Sisterhood Series, (I’m so excited to finally be able to say that!!!) my hero Dalton walks into the town’s main restaurant after an incident makes him become the town’s latest gossip victim. Frustrated, he calls for everyone’s attention to set the record straight. Goodness, I’m still working on naming all the folks in that scene! (Because of course, even the cooks come out to hear this juicy news!) Since he’s grown up in the town, when he enters the restaurant, I can’t refer to someone as the waitress or the bartender because he knows everyone from the owner to the cooks and thinks of them by name. (How on earth do authors of 50 plus books name new characters after creating thousands of characters?!)

Often, I asked for help. Once when my youngest son, Nathan and I were driving from Dallas to Clovis, New Mexico, to visit my oldest son, to stay sane and awake on the long stretch of nothingness road through west Texas, we brainstormed names for businesses for my Wishing Texas Series. That task proved extra daunting because Wishing was known for its wishing well, and all the business chose names that had dreams, wishing, or fit in with that theme.

Because of this and that I write at a certain well known chain coffee shop, Nathan sent me a post he’d seen. It’s from @byalexcrespo and reads, “writing at coffee shops is great bc every time I need to add in a minor side character I just steal the name and essence of whoever is picking up their order from the barista in that moment. Enjoy your cappuccino Isaac you are about to die to advance the plot.” My son then asked if I did that. While I have killed off people before the story opens, like Cassie’s sister and brother-in-law in To Love a Texas Cowboy, I don’t do that in the stories. However, I told my son I would definitely use that technique to name characters from now on.

I’ve also discovered another strategy. Yesterday when I needed a last name for my hero’s best friend’s first love, I scrolled through my contacts on my phone for one. Oooh, my FB friends could also be a good source. Yippee, another strategy! And then I realized yet another one. You wonderful readers! But don’t panic. Since you’re all so sweet and wonderful, I’d never give a grumpy character part of your name. ? But you’re warned. Don’t be surprised if your first or last name shows up in one of my books.

Giveaway:  To be entered in my two random giveaways this month, tell me what’s the craziest, funniest, or most confusing business or town name you’ve heard of.  If you haven’t heard of anything with a crazy name, what’s the wildest one you can think of for a town or business? And don’t forget to tell me what the business is or does. 

 

 

Julie Benson’s Winner!

The winner of my Valentine’s Day T-shirt and signed copy of Family Ties is:

Connie Lee

Congratulations, Connie. Look for an email from me on how to claim your giveaway.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by the corral to chat with me.

Julie

 

 

 

Pegg Thomas Will Visit Friday!

Historical author Miss Pegg Thomas will arrive for visit Friday, January 20, 2023!

She’ll tell us about a new series called A More Perfect Union. Historical lovers will be thrilled to get this. Miss Pegg will talk about some of the devastating effects left on the men who fought.

She’s toting the second book to give away to a lucky commenter. Yee-Haw!

We’ll have a wonderful chat so don’t you miss it.

Hope to see you come Friday!

Good Evening! We have a winner for the e-book SHE CAPTURES MY HEART

Good Evening!

Hope your day have been good.  We have a winner for the e-book of SHE CAPTURES MY HEART.  Yay!

The winner is:

Kathy Rader

Congratulations Kathy!  To claim your book, please email me privately at karenkay.author@startmail.com

Thank you to everyone who came to the blog yesterday!  Your posts were both heartwarming and enlightening.  Have a super beautiful rest of the week.

Welcome to 2023! Interview & Give-Away

Welcome to my first Tuesday blog in 2023!

Hope y’all had a great and warm Holiday season.  Must admit mine was very busy, made busier because I had a new release out in December, SHE CAPTURES MY HEART.  A little bit of trivia:  forgive me if I blow my own horn here, okay?  This new book, SHE CAPTURES MY HEART, hit #1 spot for new releases on Amazon in the American Historical Romance category.

It’s a first for me and it was an unexpected excitement, I must admit.  I’ll be giving away an e-book of this new release to one of you bloggers today, so please don’t hesitate to come on in and leave a message.  I don’t know how to do screen shots yet and so I made a pdf of the page.  I tried to copy it here, but all that came out is here:

New Releases in American Historical Romance
#1
She Captures My Heart (The Medicine Man)
17
Kindle Edition
18 pts
Karen Kay
$3.49

Also, during December, I was interviewed by Written Word Media and I thought I’d post it here.  And, if you would be so kind, I’d like to leave a short excerpt of the book, also.  So here we go!

Book Title:

SHE CAPTURES MY HEART

 

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write this book?

The Native American Medicine Man has always intrigued me because he was known to be able to heal people with natural remedies, as well as to help them become well by means of rhythm and song.  Sometimes the medicine man was known to be able to see into the future and often he was aware of what was in the environment for many miles around him.  The old Native American Scout also had this ability to see for miles around him.  There is a lot we don’t today know about these gallant men and it intrigued me to be able to research into this and to write about it. 

 

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of your book, what would they be? (Meant to be fun. Skip if you need to!)

For the heroine, Amelia McIntosh, I would pick the song, “A LOVE SO BEAUTIFUL,” by Roy Obison.  I would pick this song because she brings beauty and love into the hero’s life.

For the hero, Gray Falcon, it would be “HEART TAKER,” by John Trudell.  This is a beautiful and romantic poem/song by John Trudell.

 

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

Romance, of course.  But I also enjoy Fantasy, Paranormal and Adventure.  But with other genres, for me, it must have a romantic element.  Also, I love reading Native American history for my stories.  This research, as we call it, is truly the icing on the cake.

 

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

Mostly I have research books on my TBR list:  AN INDIAN WINTER by James Willard Schultz; THE SUN GOD’S CHILDREN, by James Willard Schultz; IN THE GREAT APACHE FOREST, by James Willard Schultz; FOOLS CROW by Thomas E. Mails; BLACKFEET AND BUFFALO, by James Willard Schultz.  There are others but, at present, these are what I have waiting for me.

 

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

There’s a scene in the book near the middle of it where the heroine “comes clean” with the hero and confesses not only what’s in her heart, but the terrible problem she is facing and how she hopes it might affect him and her.  I didn’t really know what his reaction was going to be to this.  At first he was a little angry with her, but then, when he began to tease her and to court her for real, his antics made me giggle a little.

 

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

Hmmm.  I like to be warm when I write, especially I like warmth on my feet.  Must have my coffee handy, also.  And, when I am creatively writing (not editing), I love to have music playing in the background.

 

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

Another hmmm moment…  I guess when it comes to writing, it might be “finish what I start.”  Also, it applies to other things, like housework…finish what I start.  Sometimes not easy to do, but if I don’t do it, my mind seems to get cluttered.  So the motto, “Finish what I start,” would work well, I think.

 

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

I think I might like for people to think about this: that people are people regardless of color.  An Apache Medicine Man once said that we are all one race, the human race, and it comes in different colors.  I think he was very wise.

 

What is your Author Website? (If you have one, great! If not, no worries! 

https://novels-by-KarenKay.com


Well, that’s all of the interview.  And now for a short excerpt:  Please enjoy!

SHE CAPTURES MY HEART

by

Karen Kay

CHAPTER ONE

The Season When the Grass Becomes Green

St. Louis, Missouri

March 1840

As nineteen-year-old Amelia McIntosh scanned the contents of her trunk, she rejoiced.  After an entire year of planning this trip, the day had finally arrived: she was returning to the Northwest Indian Country.  Only her sister and her mother knew of her intentions, and they had sworn their allegiance to her, promising to not tell her father about what she had arranged until it was too late.

She smiled as she reached out a hand to trail her fingers over her several pairs of slippers and silk stockings; so pretty, so delicate.  These lay at the bottom of her trunk.  Picking up two muslin chemises, she placed these on top of the slippers and stockings.  Then, reaching out to gather together an assortment of corsets and stays, as well as petticoats and garter belts, she gently folded these on top of the rest.  Even a few pairs of trousers followed; these would be useful for wearing under her skirts whenever she felt inclined to take a stroll over the prairie.

On top of these, she laid out her many beautiful dresses, neatly folded.  There was one in green velvet, another in blue silk as well as a pink dress made of satinet.  But, her favorite was the dress of yellow silk.  It was beautifully low-cut, emphasizing a tiny “V”-shaped waistline.  And, it showed off her figure to perfection.  This was the dress she would wear to see him again.

Looking up, she glanced out her bedroom window, beholding the neighbors’ several cows grazing in the field that adjoined her parents’ property.  In the distance, she could clearly see corn and wheat fields stretching on and on into the distance, seemingly without end.

She sighed.  Nothing ever happened here.  At least nothing that helped to cure her of the longing to be out West, where every sunset was a work of God’s beauty and where the weather could change in a second.  Indian Country…  Gray Falcon was there.  She wanted to be there with him.

Silently she said, “I am coming back to the Northwest to see you—as well as my sister and her husband, of course.”  She didn’t say the words aloud.  Indeed, she spoke to Gray Falcon with her mind alone, not expecting him to answer, since he only sometimes “spoke” back to her.

“I know,” answered Gray Falcon.

His response surprised her, given that she had not anticipated a reply.  For five years they had communicated with one another in this way—mind to mind.  And, the distance between them hadn’t mattered.  The only drawback was that he rarely originated their little talks.  And, not always did he even answer her, although whenever he didn’t, he assured her afterward he had “heard” her well enough.

She sighed and said in the mind talk, “I am now grown up and ready to meet you again.”

“I know.  I am glad you reached out to me, for I have been wishing to speak to you.”

“You could always begin the conversation yourself, instead of waiting for me to contact you.”

She almost heard him grin.  “I should not encourage you.  You are already too forward for a girl.  My message to you is this: you must not travel alone.”

“I am not.  My best friend and her fiancé are accompanying me.”

“Does your father know you are traveling into my country?”

“No.”

“And your mother?”

“She is not here.  But, if she were, she would not try to stop me.  Indeed, it is she who suggested I travel to see you…and to visit with my sister, also.”

“Why would she recommend this to you?”

“Because I have had several proposals of marriage, but have turned them all away.  My mother is a little upset with me.”  Deliberately, she refused to think of the real reason her mother and father were “a little” upset with her.  It would serve no purpose to tell him, and it might even hinder her if Gray Falcon knew the rest of the truth behind this trip.

“Several proposals?  Of marriage?”

“As I mentioned, I am now grown up.”

“Why have you turned them down?”

“Because I do not love those men.  Don’t play innocent with me, Gray Falcon.  You know I love only you.  I have done so since the first time I ever saw you, and you know it.  I have not changed.  But, my mother thinks I should renew our friendship, for she believes only in this way might I change my mind about your culture and about you.”  There, that was all she would communicate on the matter.  Again, she kept the other motive for returning to Northwest carefully hidden within her thoughts.  Besides, she had always known she would return there to see him.  She was not lying to him about this, nor that she loved him and would always love him.

“Renew our friendship?  Surely she is not seeking for us to come to know each other in a physical way, is she?”

“Don’t be silly.  Of course she is not.  She hopes that I will come to see your world as primitive, and, realizing it is so, will give up my wish to marry you.  The truth is, she seeks to bring peace between me and my father, which will happen only if I give up my dreams of spending the rest of my life with you.  She tells me she doubts her plans for me will fail, for she believes either I shall soon tire of you, or you of me.”

He didn’t answer.  At last, however, he said in the thought speech, “Why do you tell me this?”

“To be fair and so you will know there is another reason besides simply seeing you and my sister to account for my coming to where you are.  I have not swayed away from being true to our friendship or from loving you—not even a little—but my mother wants me to put my feelings for you behind me, and she believes I will only be able to do this if I come to know a little more about the Blackfoot people, and you in particular.”  Again, Amelia kept her own reason for returning carefully buried in her thoughts.  Now was not the time to speak of it, if there ever would be a time.

“I have never sought to marry you.”

“I know.”

“But, your mother is wise, since she is aware of the friendship we formed between us.  It is this, I think, that causes her to be alarmed, for we became closer than perhaps she would have liked.  She, like your father, is afraid of a marriage between us.  But, what she doesn’t know is this: we can never marry.  Indeed, to marry one another could cause us both unhappiness.”

“I don’t agree.”

“I am not asking you to.  But, as you have been forthright with me, I will be so with you, if you do not fear me to speak of concerns that may not be easy for you to know.”

“Yes.  Please.  I am not afraid of what you have to tell me.  I probably know anyway.”

“Yes.  Although we became allied long ago, I have not wished to make you my woman.  It is not because there is anything wrong with you or because I do not like you.  I do like you.  I have always liked you, as you know.  But, I fear that were I to seek making our friendship into a romance, my life would be full of conflict and strife.  Always, there would be a plan or a scheme you would be urging me to fix for you.”

“You would never be bored if we married.”

“This is true.  However, I would also never have peace in my life.  But, we leave a detail behind us which concerns me.  Are you aware that if you continue to reject these men who seek your hand, your father might likely force you to marry a man of his choosing, not yours?”

Quickly, she froze her thoughts.

After a moment, he asked in the mind speak, “Did you hear me?”

“Yes, I did, and I suppose he could try,” she replied.  “But, I am, after all, the one who is required to say ‘I do.’  And, I will tell you again, I love only you and wish to be with you.  Still, I have given my word to my mother to renew our acquaintance and to try to give you up.”  This was all she would say on the matter; she would not lie.  She was simply keeping a rather large part of the truth from him.

He was silent for a long while.  At length, he said in mind speak, “You have pledged your word to her about this?”

“I have.”

Again there was a long pause before he continued, “I say this to you: your mother is wise.  You are white; you have no knowledge of my people and what would be required of you as a Pikuni man’s woman.  And, your experience with me is limited to one snow season, now five winters ago.  I think it is mere infatuation you feel for me, not love.”

“And, so you know my heart better than I do?”

He paused for a long moment, and she wondered if he had turned his attention to something else.  At length, however, he continued, “Again, I will say it: we are like the fox and the wolf.  We are natural enemies, but, under the same cause, we became aligned in an effort to help my friend and your sister.  Perhaps we should have never allowed ourselves to become friends.  But, we did.  Remember, we have never been more than allies in a cause, made to be that way because of a great threat to those people who were very beloved to us both.  I will tell this to you once more: I wish to be only a good friend to you.  Nothing more.”

“Why?  When I—”

“Because you are not like any girl I have ever known, and, while there is nothing wrong with you, if I were to bring you in close to me, I fear I would never know again what it means to have a sense of harmony and calm in my life.  And, I would like to have peace in my lodge.  I tell you this again: your mother is right.  Becoming my woman can never be in your future, and perhaps your coming here will help you to give up this idea.  Indeed, I am thinking I might align myself with your mother and invent ways for you to dislike me.”

“Oh, stop it.  And, I don’t like this concept of ‘never’ becoming your woman.”

“It will not be, simply because I say it will not be.”

“But, you are willing for me to become more familiar with you so I might give you up?”

He paused.  “Perhaps.  That is, if ‘becoming more familiar’ with each other is about helping you to give up this idea of becoming my woman.  Again, I must say this to you: I am not inclined toward marriage with you.  Nor should you be trying to be this with me.”

“But,” she said in the mind speak, “if this be so, and our bond with each other is not based on love, but rather, as you say, a need to help my sister and your friend, why have you not married yet?  You are not too young to have taken a wife by now.”

“I am the way I am because a man must have his feet firmly planted upon the ground before he marries.  Do not think it is because I wait for you.”

And yet, she knew this was not the complete truth.  She knew it because his thoughts and hers were momentarily joined.  There could be no lies between them, unless—like she was doing—those ideas were well hidden within his mind.

She glanced at her pocket watch.  “Oh dear.  I am late.  I must go,” she said, jumping to her feet.  “Our boat is set to sail shortly, and I must be aboard.  Wait for me.”

“This is my home.  I will be here.”

The communication ended.

 


Well, that’s all for now.  I would love to hear from you!

 

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