My Favorite Things ~ Karen Kay

 

Let me say a big Howdy to you all!

Like Linda said in her blog yesterday, I thought for a long time about what I might blog concerning this.  My favorite things.  Hmmm….  Finally I decided to blog about some of the heroes of the stories I write and to tell you a personal experience that caused me to realize how important these romance stories can be.  Probably you are aware that for writers, these characters we create become real people to us, and, in addition, they can help us in so many different ways.

Let me start first with the hero, Eagle Heart, from SHE STEALS MY BREATH.  The title for the book comes from being inspired by many poems from John Trudell — of AIM and Rock & Roll fame.  But the hero of this story came to me recently at a time when things were not so easy for me.

This hero entered into my dreams, calming some fears in my life at that moment in time.  His care and concern for the heroine in the story was really somewhat based on the care that he showed me in my dreams.  It was this hero who encouraged me to research and write about the Medicine Man of old.  Now, this might seem strange that a hero talks to the author.  But, if you have a chance to talk to many writers, they will probably tell you the characters in these books take on a life of their own and often they do talk to a writer.  Also, sometimes they resist my attempts to write a scene they feel is out of character for them.  I’ve learned over the years to pay attention to this.

In the book, SHE CAPTURES MY HEART, the hero of this story, Gray Falcon, showed me what exactly a medicine man was all about when his concept of right and wrong was challenged.  Instead of caving, however, he made light of the problem, and he brought humor (as did the heroine) into the story.  Strangely, the humor came at a time when it seemed there wasn’t too much to laugh about.  These two (the hero and heroine) often gave me the giggles when I was writing the book.

In the book, BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER, the hero’s struggle in a world foreign to him brought about some understanding of what those men faced so long ago and how they coped with what was thrown at them and how they went on to make a good life for themselves despite many trials and tribulations.

In the book, IRON WOLF’S BRIDE, this hero stunned me with his determination to keep his marriage alive, regardless of the lies and “road-blocks” set in his path.  This hero refused to believe the worst of the heroine and also gave me many insights into the Indian character of old because he realized there was foul play afoot and went about discovering it.  And, his determination and “smarts” to figure it all out impressed me.  He never gave up.  I thought it was a good lesson to learn.

In GRAY HAWK’S LADY, I was treated to a hero, who, despite his anger at what heroine had done to him, did not sink to treating her in a bad way.  In fact, he went on to treat her with respect, even protected her from others’ gossip.  It was also this book I was writing when I met my husband, and Gray Hawk was quite willing to re-enact our first kiss, which is written in the pages of that book.  Because of his care for this heroine who had, at first, treated him in a bad way, both she and I fell in love with his character.

These are some of the stories where the hero of the story has taken over and has somehow changed my perspective about something.  And, I love how, when the characters change, I do, too.

And now, for a story about romance and romance books in general and why they are one of my most favorite things:

Long ago, when I had very small children (they were both babies, really), there was a time when my husband (my ex) was often out of town.  He was doing internships and so finance was scarce.  My own parents were no longer alive to help out and my brother and sister lived very distant from me and my husband’s parents lived far away, also.  So, it was up to me to somehow take care of the babies and all this entails, including “bringing home the bacon,” so to speak.  It was at this time when I discovered the real treasure of romance books.  They calmed me down, helped me to get a good night’s sleep and helped to keep me going.  Also, I made some very good friends along the way, too, romance books being one of them.  Life got better, of course.  But, I’ve never forgotten that time, nor the simple pleasure the books provided.  Interestingly, one of my daughters tells me one of her finest memories from that time period is  going to sleep while I was reading a book.  From this, I’ve realized that sometimes all one needs is a good story to get a person through a tough time in life.

Well, that’s all for today.  Am hoping you enjoyed the blog on this terrifically fine Tuesday and, if you did, please leave a comment about your own favorite things.  Oh, I almost forgot.  When you leave a comment, you’ll automatically be entered into the drawing for the e-book SHE CAPTURES MY HEART.  See the Giveaway Guidelines to the right for the rules.

 

 

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!

 

tinyurl.com/SHE-CAPTURES-MY-HEART

Auld Lang Syne — A History & Give-Away

Howdy!

Hope your Christmas was wonderful and hope these last few days of the year are filled with relaxation and perhaps planning for the year ahead.

Since it is so close to New Year’s Eve, I thought I’d continue our History of Christmas songs with the song most popular on New Year’s Eve, Auld Lang Syne.

It is to Scottish songwriter, Robert Burns, that the world owes its debt for the beautiful poem of Auld Lang Syne.  Interestingly, it’s become an  anthem that is recognized and sung all around the world.
 
.As the website at http://www.scotland.org says: “Auld Lang Syne is one of Scotland’s gifts to the world, recalling the love and kindness of days gone by, but in the communion of taking our neighbours’ hands, it also gives us a sense of belonging and fellowship to take into the future.”

 
Robert Burns penned the poem in 1788 and it is said to be set to an old folk song from the Lowland in Scots tradition, but interestingly, the melody sung the world round on New Year’s is not the original tune that the music was set to.  The older tune is said to be sung in Scotland as is their tradition.  I couldn’t find the original melody for this old song, but I wish I had — I’d love to hear what sounds like.

 
Another interesting fact is that it was Guy Lombardo who popularized the song and its use at the New Year’s event — although the song was brought to the United States by Scottish immigrants.  Lombardo started his broadcasts in 1929 — and it just somehow caught on — to the world at large.
 
In the words of Robert Burns, himself:
 
“… is not the Scots phrase, ‘Auld Lang Syne’, exceedingly expressive – there is an old song and tune which has often thrilled thro’ my soul”.
 
Robert Burns — a very handsome young man — who, though born a peasant, yet  lived with vigor.  However, and unfortunately for the world at large, he died young of rheumatic fever, even as his wife was giving birth to their 9th child.  He was only 37 years old.
 
When I heard he’d fathered nine children, I was shocked. And, to die so early, leaving a wife and nine children behind.  What a loss this was to the world.

But, let’s look at the song itself: 

The words to Auld Lang Syne — taken from the website:  http://www.scotland.org/ features/ / the-history-and-words-of-auld-langsyne

I’ve dug up the Scottish version of the song, as well as the English.  Do you have a piano?  A guitar?  Fancy singing along yourself? Here are the verses, and a translation of the words to Auld Lang Syne:
 
Scots Language version
 
Auld Lang Syne
 
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne.
 
Chorus
 
For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne,
 
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
 
Chorus
 
We twa hae run about the braes
And pu’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot
Sin auld lang syne.
 
Chorus
 
We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
Frae mornin’ sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin auld lang syne.
 
Chorus
 
And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right guid willy waught,
For auld lang syne.
 
Chorus
 
English translated version
 
Long, Long Ago

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And long, long ago?
 
Chorus
 
And for long, long ago, my dear
For long, long ago,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For long, long ago
 
And surely you’ll buy your pint-jug!
And surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For long, long ago.
 
Chorus
 
We two have run about the hills
And pulled the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered manys the weary foot
Since long, long ago.
 
Chorus
 
We two have paddled in the stream,
From morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
Since long, long ago.
 
Chorus
 
And there’s a hand, my trusty friend!
And give us a hand of yours!
And we’ll take a deep draught of good-will
For long, long ago.
 
Chorus

************************* 

It’s been a rough year for many of us.  And yet, in some ways, our spirits have risen up to the occasion.  It is my wish for you that this next year be a better and more promising year.  And, though we might still have a bit of a rough ride ahead of us, if we can keep loving one another and showing kindness throughout this next year, I think we’ll be okay.

And now, I promised you a give-away.  As some of you might know, I have a new release out this month, SHE CAPTURES MY HEART, which is book #2 in the new Medicine Man Series.

 

I’ll be giving away this book in e-book format to one of you bloggers.  All you have to do to enter into the drawing is leave a comment to this post.  Be sure to come to the blog tomorrow to see if you have won!

Hot Info:  This new book has been at the #1 spot on Amazon for the New Release Category of American Historical Romances for seven days now.  Below is the link to the book.

tinyurl.com/SHE-CAPTURES-MY-HEART

May your New Year be filled with good health, kindness and love!

A Very Merry Christmas Blog! And, a New Release!

Howdy!

Welcome to a Terrific Tuesday on this December day with only 12 more days until Christmas!

Are you ready?  All your shopping done?  I know I’m not ready…not yet.

Before I begin with the blog, let me be sure to say that I’ll be giving away a free e-book of my new release, SHE CAPTURES MY HEART today.

Although the American Indians in the early 1800’s did not celebrate Christmas — they didn’t really know about Christianity until later in the century — they often celebrated the winter season by telling stories around the campfire.  And so, today I’d like to tell you an American Indian story, as well as post an excerpt from my new release, SHE CAPTURES MY HEART.

This is a true story about a young Blackfoot woman who found romance when she least expected it.  Just so you know, I am changing the names of these people.

Comes Running Woman lost her parents during an Assiniboine raid.  She was a beautiful woman, and, although her relatives asked her to live with them, she refused, preferring to live alone.  Time went on and after her grieving period was over, several young men asked for her hand.  But she refused them all.

Although she might have hated the Assiniboine warriors who had raided the Blackfeet and killed her parents, she tried to encourage the chiefs of her own tribe to make peace with the Assiniboine.  She was not successful, but she kept trying.

Red Coyote was the son of a chief and he loved Comes Running Woman, but he never approached her because she had refused to marry any of the young men who had sought her hand.  Instead, he watched her from afar and he tried to help her with whatever she was attempting to do, even watering her garden at night for her.

Many months went by as he watched Comes Running Woman, but always did he keep his distance from her.

Then, one day the Crow tribe raided the Blackfeet and the Blackfeet repelled the Crow.  However, several Crow were killed in the raid.  Comes Running Woman, however, found one Crow warrior who was badly injured, but still alive.  Because she wanted peace with the other tribes on the Plains, she tried to help this man.  She tried to lift him up to bring him to her lodge where she hoped to save his life.  But she couldn’t move the man.

Red Coyote came her rescue and lifted the man up and took him to her lodge, whereupon he laid the man down on one of her many couches.  Red Coyote didn’t ask for anything.  Instead, he simply looked at this woman whom he admired so much.

When she needed herbs or water, he always brought her the things she requested.  He even helped her to administer them to the Crow warrior.

But, he never asked her for anything.  He simply helped her.

The Crow warrior soon healed and was ready to leave and go back to his own home.  Comes Running Woman asked the warrior to please talk to his people and tell them about how the Blackfeet had helped him and ask them to please come and make peace.  The Crow warrior agreed to do this.

But, how to get him out of the Blackfeet encampment without being seen or causing a fight?

It was Red Coyote who came to the rescue of Comes Running Woman; he dressed the Crow warrior in Blackfeet clothing.  Before they left, Red Coyote asked Comes Running Woman if she was ready to go with the Crow warrior.  But she didn’t answer.

Instead, the Crow warrior said, “I go alone.”

Red Coyote then walked the man out of the tribal camp and answered the questions from the scouts who were on lookout.

Once he had taken the Crow Warrior far away from the encampment, he turned to the man to let him go, but the Crow Warrior, using sign language, asked, “Why don’t you ask Comes Running Woman to marry you?”

Red Coyote answered that he could not, because she was in love with him, the Crow Warrior.

The Crow warrior responded to this and said to Red Coyote that she didn’t love him.  Hadn’t he ever noticed the loving looks she always gave to him, Red Coyote?  No, the Crow warrior said to Red Coyote, she is not in love with me; she is in love with you.

The Crow warrior left to go back to his people and Red Coyote returned to the tepee of Comes Running Woman.  Upon entering the lodge, he simply sat before her, not looking at her, but simply sat with her.

She asked him if the Crow warrior had left with no trouble.

Red Coyote said he had, but then, he asked, “Do you want me to take you to him?  If you love him, I will escort you to him.”

She shook her head and said, “I do not love him.  So I do not wish to go with him.  I love only one man.  Do you know who that man is?”

Red Coyote said, “No.”

“It is you,” said Comes Running Woman.  “It has always been you; you, with your kind heart and helpful ways.  I have loved no one else.”

Red Coyote was joyous to learn this was, indeed, true.  Soon they were married.

A few months passed and one day a Crow chief and several men and women approached the Blackfeet encampment.  With them was the Crow Warrior who had been so well taken care of and nurtured back to health.

Soon, all that had taken place and the good deeds bestowed upon him by Comes Running Woman and Red Coyote were told to one and all, and the Blackfeet rejoiced to learn that these two people had helped this man without letting anyone else know.  Peace was made by the Crow and by this band of the Blackfoot tribe, which was never broken.  And it was all done because of the love of a woman for her people and for all the Indian people.

It is said they lived long and happy lives together and had many children.  And, always, did the people talk about the girl and the chief’s son who brought peace between the Crow and the Blackfeet people.


I hope you have enjoyed this story, which is based on a true story from the long ago.

Now, I also have a new release, SHE CAPTURES MY HEART, book #2 in the the new Medicine Man series.  And, I thought I’d leave you with an excerpt of the book:

SHE CAPTURES MY HEART, Short Synopsis

A Forbidden Passion.

When Amelia was only fourteen, she met Gray Falcon who helped her through a difficult time. Gray Falcon always thought she was a pest, yet she opened up a vital part of the medicine man’s world to him.

As adults they meet again and fall in love, but is it enough to stand strong against a world trying to pull them apart?


Please enjoy this short excerpt:

He looked on as A’sitápi stepped across the distance between them.  Oddly, a sentiment he didn’t recognize caught hold of him, making him swallow hard.  Suddenly his eyes teared a little, and he shook his head against the feeling of the utter joy sweeping through him.

The feeling startled him out of his usual stoic demeanor.  Indeed, he was more than aware that he—who was inclined to show little emotion even under great stress—was happy to see her.  Even considering all the reasons he knew as to why he should keep her at a distance, he wondered how he could not have recognized how much he had missed her friendship.

Pest, she might be.  Forthright and bold, she was.  But, she was also his friend.

She stopped her pacing about two feet away from him, and, instead of throwing herself at him as he had feared she might, she stood before him.  She looked down at the ground.  And, then she said the words he only now realized he had been waiting to hear.  She murmured, “I have missed you so much.”

“I, too,” he replied in English.

“Do you mean it?  You missed me, too?  Wait!  You speak English now?”  Her eyes were wide as she gazed up at him, and she said, “I thought you would not understand me.”

Áa to your questions.  And, I did understand you.”

“But—”

“Your sister taught me English.  She taught me, along with her husband.  But, he was a much faster learner than I was, and he, even now, can read the words of the Americanas, whereas I cannot.”

“You never told me.”

“You never asked.”

“I thought my heart would break,” she uttered, “when we had to part.  I have grown up as quickly as I could, but it was not fast enough for me.  As soon as I came of age, I did everything I could to return here to see you again.  I have thought of you so very much, as you know, and it has been hard for me to be without you in my life.”

He smiled down at her, and, without thinking through what he was about to say, said, “Perhaps you should not tell a fully grown man about this, in case he thinks you invite him to share your blanket with him tonight.”

“Share my blanket?  I don’t understand.  What do you mean?”

He didn’t answer.  He merely smiled at her, but at the same time he wondered at himself.  Never had he ever mouthed words so suggestive to a woman—and he had said them to this girl-turned-woman whom he had always considered to be little more than a troublesome ally.

“Oh, I think I understand,” she said at last.  “Oh, Gray Falcon, I am so happy to see you!”  And, then she acted as he had feared she might.  She threw herself against him, placing her arms around his neck and hugged him closely to her.  Standing on her tiptoes, she stretched up and placed a kiss on his cheek.  At once, he was reminded of another time when she had stolen a kiss from him.

Involuntarily, he found himself attracted to her, the pest, and he honestly didn’t know what to do about it.  Unsure of her and of himself in reaction to her, he backed away from her slightly.  She didn’t, however, allow him to leave her arms completely, and at last he took the only action appropriate at this moment, and, putting his arms around her, he drew her to him.

He wasn’t prepared for the feeling of utter pleasure their embrace brought him, and the idea that he should be experiencing so much delight sent shock waves through him.  Indeed, he was struck by the fact that holding her was much more pleasant than it should have been for being mere friends.

He placed her gently away from him so she wouldn’t become aware of how happy he was to see her.  Also, he required a moment to gather his wits about him so as to provide himself a defense against the impact of her womanly charms.

Hánnia, she had grown up.

 

Well, that’s all for now.  I hope you enjoyed the American Indian story, as well as this short excerpt.

The book, by the way, is priced right now at 30% off its regular price.  Here’s a link to the book:  tinyurl.com/SHE-CAPTURES-MY-HEART

Also, please let me wish you a very Merry Christmas, as well as some very Happy Holidays to come!

Autumn Beauty, Seasons of Celebration and a Special Give-Away

Howdy!

Welcome, welcome to another terrific Tuesday.

Autumn, how I love it — the crisp air, scented delicately with falling leaves and the smoke from wood stoves;  Cinnamon and fresh apple cider, pumpkin pie, turkey and cranberry sauce, apple pie, the last of the corn on the cob…

And what about the “feels” of autumn? Traipsing through leaves, racking them up and jumping in them; picking up a leaf and tracing its pattern; warm days, cool nights, the pleasure of feeling Mother Earth prepare for a few months’ sleep.

And how about the touch of the Fall atmosphere upon one’s skin? And don’t you love the sounds of autumn?  Cold nights and warm blankets, football games announcing the players; the sounds of cheerleaders and marching bands; long practices — even the quiet sound of leaves falling to the ground.  How I love it.

thanksgivingOf course, to the people who lived close to the earth in our not-so-distant past, the look and feel of Fall was as beloved then as it is today.  So much was this the case that the Eastern American Indians devoted an entire festival of fun and merriment to Autumn — and that festival was called the Harvest Festival.

Naturally, we are all pretty much aware that our Thanksgiving has a lot to do with the colonists’ association of the Eastern Indian tribes, and in particular Squanto who helped the new people who had come into this country.  Although sometimes the history of our Thanksgiving is attributed to an English celebration, I’d like to put forth a differing point of view, if I might.  At the end of this blog I’d love you to tell me your point of view..

When the colonists first came to this country, history tells us that the colonists were escaping religious persecution, and, indeed, this is true.  But a deep dive into history also reveals that many people came to America as slaves or indentured servants because England was at that time emptying its prisons.  But, regardless of why they came to America, we also know that their first winter in the new world saw the colonists ill-prepared for what was to come and many of those people suffered that first winter.

Seeing this, a particular American Indian man and a Native American tribe decided to help these colonists and taught them about the earth and how to plant the corn, beans and squash so they could obtain a bountiful harvest.  They showed them the best hunting grounds also, as they went about trying to help these people survive.

The particular man who came to the aid of the colonists was Squanto, who had been captured by the English and brought to Spain.  He somehow found his way to the monks in England, who, in turn, helped Squanto to return to his home.  Some versions of this story say Squanto escaped incarceration in England and in doing so, was discovered by the monks.  Some say he was sold to the monks as a slave.

But, whatever was the cause, Squanto came to live with the monks in England and was taught how to speak and how to read and write English.  Imagine the colonists’ surprise when an Indian stepped out of the woods and spoke English to them.

Because of the American Indians’ help and their teaching the colonists how to plant the food that would grow in the soil of New England, as well as the Eastern American Indians sharing the knowledge of the best hunting grounds, when Harvest came, the Indians and the colonists had a bountiful harvest and they came together to celebrate what the Indians called the Harvest Festival.  Th colonists came to call the same celebration Thanksgiving.

It is written the Indians bought much food to the colonists:  deer meat, turkeys, corn, squash, beans and shared it all with their new friends, the colonists.  And the colonists, in turn, shared what they had with the Indians.  Also, there were many games and much fun celebrated on this first Thanksgiving which were common to the Harvest Festival of the American Indian tribes.

Now, the Harvest Festival was only one of six festivals of the Eastern American Indians.  It was part of an ancient celebration wherein He who was and still is known as the Creator, was thanked for a good harvest season

Before the Harvest Festival began, the women would have already harvested the corn, beans and squash.  Much of it would be dried.  Corn husks were made into many different items, such as dolls, rugs and mats.  Did you know that the dolls didn’t have faces?  It was also a time to gather more nuts and berries.  Men were busy, too, with hunting far away.  Bear, moose, beaver were all sought after and hunted.  When the Festival began, there would be much celebration, such as dancing, speeches and prayer.  And of course — food.  From the American Indian point of view, it was this particular festival that was shared with the newcomers to this continent.

Perhaps it’s because this one festival — Thanksgiving — was shared by the American Indians and Colonists alike that set the tone of Thanksgiving for future generations of Americans.  And I do believe that the love of autumn and giving thanks for that which the Creator had given has its roots in The Harvest Festival, so beloved to the Eastern Indian Tribes.

What do you think?

And now for something very special.  Recently a reader contacted me to talk about some of my books and I found out — upon emailing with her back and forth — that she makes Native American clothing and jewelry.  In fact, very kindly she sent me some earrings that are made from deer skin.  They are shaped in the form of a feather and are hand cut so delicately.  They are absolutely beautiful.  And, I’m going to give away a pair of these earrings to one of you lucky bloggers today.

I’m going to try to get my husband to help me upload a picture of the earrings here so you can see them, but I will also describe them because I am technology-challenged.  Please excuse me on this.  We lost internet last night for a while and so my husband was not able to post a picture.  But, see below for the description.  Update:  Red Feather just sent me a couple of pictures of the earrings, and here they are:

The earrings are a light brown or tan color and, again, are shaped like a feather and have a gorgeous copper-colored chain that hangs down the front of the earring.  They are hand-made, hand-cut and are so very, very beautiful.  The creator of these earrings is a woman by the Indian name of Red Feather who has made other unique creations with Native American Style.  email:  garvinpa@aol.com

The first picture is the picture of the earrings I will be giving away and the second picture is of several different colors of the earrings.

To enter into the drawing for the earrings, all you have to do is comment on this blog.  All the terms and conditions of give-aways on this site apply. (They are off to the right here and easy to read and short.)

So, in closing I’d like to ask your opinion.  Do you think the roots of our Thanksgiving comes from a celebration that is found only in England, or do you think it comes from our American Indian heritage and their Harvest Festival?  Is it uniquely American with its roots in Native America?  Or do you think it might a combination of the two?

For me, I think our Thanksgiving has deep roots in Native America, not necessarily England, and that the ancient celebration of the Harvest Festival is still celebrated as a time of giving our thanks to God, The Creator, for the gift of plenty that was and is to be found within this country.

Thank you for reading, for coming to the blog today and for being loyal readers of the Petticoats and Pistols blog.

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE — Another Blog and Another Chance to Win an E-book

Howdy!

And welcome to another terrific Tuesday!  Yay!

Well, you get me for two days back-to-back this week.  But, this does give one the opportunity to win another e-book because once again, I’ll be giving away a free e-book to one of the bloggers.

So, yesterday, I left a short blurb for the book and then the opening pages of the book.  Today, I thought I’d post the full back blurb for the book, another excerpt from the book and a game called, “Go find it,” in the excerpt.

But, before I do that, I thought I’d tell you a little bit of the backstory about this book.  I had started working with the Blackfeet on a literacy project and I was getting to know the Blackfeet a little better.  Some of what I was learning about these people is in this book i.e., their sense of humor, their ideas of ghosts and the supernatural, as well as many other facets of their culture.  Also, I was learning firsthand of their undying friendship and their willingness to learn.

To this day, I love going back to the reservation and visiting friends.  And, I should say again how beautiful it is in Blackfeet country.  In my opinion, it is probably the most beautiful place on earth.

And so I will leave you here with another excerpt from the book.  I hope you will enjoy it.

NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE by Karen Kay

Blurb:

When lady’s maid Rebecca Cothern journeyed westward, she never thought to leave her mistress’s side. Yet as Katrina Wellington completes her own journey with White Eagle, Rebecca waits at Ft. Union under the protection of Blackfoot warrior, Night Thunder.

Despite what she’s been told about the wild nature of the native tribes, Night Thunder is different. Kind, gentle, honorable to a fault…and handsome in a way that makes her breathless for his next touch.

Though Night Thunder relishes stolen moments with the beautiful white woman, circumstances dictate that he should keep his distance. Until she is stolen away in the night, and he discovers he cannot simply ride into the enemy camp, kill the guilty and sweep her to safety. The thieves are vengeful malcontents from his own tribe, which leaves him only one way to save her from the worst kind of violation.

He must claim that she is his bride. Not only that, she must willingly bare all—heart, soul and body—to claim him as hers.

This is the 25th Year Anniversary Edition of this novel.

Warning: Contains warm, sensual love scenes that are certain to have you reaching for your own true Night Thunder.

And now for the game:

1) Can you find from reading this excerpt what the Blackfeet call the soul or the departed spirit of the person?

2) How many times does the hero mention this word, meaning the departed spirit of a person?

 

So, without further delay, here is the excerpt of NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE

 

“Did I hear you correctly? Ghosts?”

“I do not know what this ‘ghosts’ is. I only tell you about the shadow of those who were once living.”

“Ghosts,” Rebecca repeated, saying it more to herself than to her companion. “I don’t believe in ghosts.”

“I do not ask you to believe,” he replied over his shoulder, his intention clearly on keeping pace with the others from their party. Night Thunder had found their companions’ trail easily this morning and had caught up with them, losing little time in doing so. “I am only explaining to you,” he continued, “why there was no trace of the enemy warriors. A great fight must have taken place where we were trapped last night, and those who are still there must have been blinded or had body parts cut off in the fight, for they are unable to find their way to the Sand Hills.”

“But I heard them, I saw them. One cannot see ghosts.” Rebecca frowned. “And what do you mean, body parts cut off?”

Night Thunder didn’t answer right away. Instead, he kept his stride on a par with the others, not even glancing over his shoulder to ensure she followed. When he finally did speak, she had to strain to hear him. “Most people cannot see those who are departed because they no longer have the physical body to identify them. But their shadows can be felt and experienced if one will only let himself be aware of them.”

“But I wasn’t trying to be ‘aware’ of them,” she complained. “And I didn’t feel them. I saw them.”

“Perhaps it was because you were with me.”

“With you, but—”

“Within my family runs the power to see into the future, to change the weather, even to call to the buffalo. And sometimes, there are those of us who can talk to the dead. All these have I been trained to do.”

Rebecca quickened her pace so as to keep stride with Night Thunder. “Trained? What do you mean, ‘trained’?”

“Perhaps ‘trained’ is not the right word. I have long been an…apprentice with our medicine man. And, because a medicine man must at times talk to the dead, I have learned to do this.”

“I don’t believe in such things. What are you, a mystic?”

“I do not know what this person is, a ‘mystic,’ and I do not ask you to believe.” He paused and seemed lost in thought, though he quickly picked up his pace. “Still there must be some reason why they chose me to see them, to hear them. Perhaps they are hoping I might discover a way to free them from the spell of those they fought, so their shadows can yet find the Sand Hills.”

“Night Thunder, I—”

“I will have to think on it. There could be is something I can do. Come here now and let us not talk of this again.”

“But what did you mean by being blinded or having body parts cut off? What has this to do with them?”

He stopped and let the others move off away from him as he turned to face her. She froze. Despite the feeling of growing closer to his man, her hero, she felt herself cower from his imposing figure.

“It is a belief of my people that the way in which one departs this world is the same way he must spend the rest of eternity. And so there are those warriors who, after a fight, will blind an opponent or cut off a part of his body, so that his enemy might have to go to the next world so burdened. There are those who, having departed this world with a missing body part, choose not to seek out the next life, but determine to stay in this one, hoping to find someone who might at last be able to reverse the spell.”

Rebecca didn’t utter a word in response to this bit of Indian lore, though she stared hard at the man who had so recently become a large part of her life. She frowned and silently fought a battle within herself to hold back her opinions about such things. It was not her place to pass judgment on the beliefs of another. Still, the concepts of which he spoke were so foreign to her, she found herself wondering about him, and perhaps even more about herself.

Somehow at this moment it didn’t seem real, he didn’t seem real.

“Come,” he spoke to her, turning away from her at the same time. “We are too far behind the others.”

Rebecca allowed him to tread on ahead of her while she stood still, lost in her own thoughts. Ghosts, or “shadows,” as he called them, talking to him, calling to him, asking him to set them free from earthly haunts? Could one really be “trained” to talk to spirits? She didn’t believe in ghosts or spirits; she wouldn’t believe. Yet didn’t her own Irish heritage have similar tales? Aye. Still, this was too much for her to grasp all at once, and she felt herself growing distant from Night Thunder.

The Indian’s view of life made little sense to her. For instance, no one had made comment upon the fact that both she and Night Thunder had been gone the entire night, something she felt hard pressed to comprehend. In truth, it appeared the Indians, as a people, rarely condemned one for deeds which seemed important to her, yet made much over what to her were trivial matters.

Perhaps she would never understand them.

With the flip of her hand, she shook back her hair and tipped her head to face toward the sun, welcoming the warm rays of the morning. She paused for a moment more, letting the sun settle in upon her as though it might wash away her thoughts. But too soon, she realized she could no longer see the Indians, and, picking up her skirt, she hurried to catch up to Night Thunder and the others.

Well, that’s it for today.  Hope you enjoy the little “game,” as well as the excerpt.  Be sure to leave a comment in order to enter into the drawing for the e-book.

tinyurl.com/y634cs87 — this book is also on KU at Amazon

NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE, a new 25th Year Anniversary Book — Plus e-book give-away

Howdy!

Welcome to a marvelous Monday!  Yes, that’s right, Winnie is usually here on this day, but she has some deadlines coming up and so … here I am!

Okay, NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE.  This is the third book in the Blackfoot Warrior series and it was wonderful to revisit the story.  It reacquainted me with many Blackfoot traditions I’d forgotten — including a bird’s eye look at an old time Sun Dance.

Oh, and before I go any farther, let me tell you I’ll be giving away a free e-book of NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE.  A person enters into the drawing simply by responding to the blog with a comment.  We do have a few rules you can read over to the right here, so it might be a good idea to read over them — they aren’t too terribly long-winded.

Okay, so I will leave you here with a short blurb for the book and then an excerpt.  I’ll also try to include all three covers of the book.  The newest cover, the cover done by Samhain Publishing and the original cover done by AVON/HarperCollins Books.

This is the most recent cover for the book.  And, I do love this cover.

NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE

Short blurb:

Night Thunder has vowed to protect Rebecca. When she is stolen by an enemy, he goes after her. But he can’t simply ride into the enemy camp and kill the guilty. The thieves are malcontents from his own tribe. There is only one way to save her.

He must claim her as his bride.

Hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt!

Night Thunder’s Bride by Karen Kay

 

Montana Territory

July 1834

During the moon when the flowers blossom, Strikes The Bear’s wife had been raped, abused and killed by the white men. Soon after, his sister had been taken to a white man’s sleeping robes, supposedly in marriage, only to be discarded shortly thereafter.

It had to be these events, and these events alone, which accounted for Strikes The Bear’s present behavior. No true warrior would treat a woman so badly. Not without direct provocation.

Night Thunder, hidden by many trees and bushes, sat considering, with the age-old logic which had been passed down to him since “time before mind,” that Strikes The Bear had some cause for his anger. Still, this particular white woman had not caused the tragedy to Strikes The Bear’s family. And Night Thunder had pledged to protect her; she was his responsibility. His to defend.

Night Thunder inspected the warriors’ temporary camp, knowing with a sickening sensation what was to come.

The men stood in a circle around the fire, which burned ominously, its crackle and smoky, pine-scented odor offensive rather than pleasant. A drum beat steadily, slowly—a throbbing portent of what was to come. The woman had been placed in the center of the circle—fire to her back, Strikes The Bear in front. And in his hand, Strikes The Bear wielded a knife.

Voices were raised in song and in quiet murmurings, occasionally interrupted with a bellow from Strikes The Bear and a whimper from the woman.

Night Thunder observed an oddity: there were no guards posted to watch over the encampment. Either Strikes The Bear was overly certain of his safety, or the warriors, too aroused over the spectacle taking place before them, no longer cared.

Night Thunder suspected the latter and despaired.

How could he save her?

If these men had been of an enemy tribe, Night Thunder wouldn’t have hesitated to act, despite the fact that they were fifteen and he was one. He would have already seized the opportunity for glory, rushing into the enemy camp and killing or being killed.

But such was not to be. These warriors were his own people, many of them his friends. True, they were Kainah, of the Blood tribe, while he was Pikuni—or as the white man called his people, the Piegan. Still, this made no difference. These warriors were Blackfeet, his relatives, his brothers. He could not fight them. Not and remain honorable to himself.

Yet he must save the woman.

How?

As custom dictated, the man who had stolen a woman held all rights to her.  At present this particular man was Strikes The Bear. It was not a law Night Thunder was willing or prepared to break.

Still, he had to do something.

He glanced at the woman now, noting in a single look that her golden-brown hair, usually as bright and shiny as a full autumn moon, lay lackluster and disheveled around her face. Her eyes, which he knew to be as amber as those of a panther, mirrored her fear, though pride and perhaps resignation kept her silent. Her hands shook where they were tied together in front of her; her knees trembled, making her flimsy dress flutter as though it waved in a breeze.

Yet she had jutted her chin forward, had thrown back her head and had a look upon her face which could only be called defiant. And if those were tears which fell over her cheeks, she at least pretended to have no knowledge of them.

She had courage, this one. She might be young, perhaps no more than twenty winters, but Night Thunder knew very few women who would remain so stouthearted in similar circumstances. He added one more quality to his long, growing list of her attributes: her courageous spirit. Someday, he thought, she would make a man a fine wife.

Night Thunder drew his brows together in silent realization.

Wife? Was this a possible solution? If Night Thunder claimed her as his bride…?

No, he couldn’t.

But if he could make the others believe he had married this woman, it would give him first rights to her. He could then save her without raising his hand against his brothers.

Could he do it? To do so would be the height of dishonesty. Surely Sun and the Winds would carry the tale of his treachery into the Sand Hills, reaching the ears of his ancestors, bringing those who had gone before him great shame.

Yet the consequences if he did not act…

Strikes The Bear suddenly let out a growl and, gripping his knife as though prepared to use it, approached the woman.

Her scream split the air with a terrifying intensity as the knife tore through her dress, and in that instant Night Thunder ceased to wonder if and when he should act.

He would rescue her.

Now.

****

The Indian growled at her, striking out at her with his knife, the action plummeting Rebecca instantly and horribly into the present. As though in a dream, she’d been lost in the past. She wished she could have remained there; the present held too much pain, too much fear.

She wasn’t certain how she had lived through the first few hours after her capture by these Indians, so strong had been her fear. Still, live she had.

She stared into her enemy’s black-painted face, trying to remember if she had ever seen a human being look more frightening. Nothing came to her. Nor did she register much else about the man, not even his nearly nude body. All she could focus on was his face and the knife he waved in front of her. Her stomach dropped and the scent of her own fear engulfed her. She needed no wise man to tell her what her future held.

Was this all she had left, then? Was she to join, at last, her dearly departed fiancé? Would she never see the shores of her parents’ beloved homeland, Ireland? Would she die here never to have realized her dream? Would she never dance? This last thought, strangely enough, was more depressing than all the rest, even the idea of dying.

Odd, she considered, that here, before her imminent demise, she found herself bemoaning a ball she would never have, a party she would never attend. How her parents would have moaned her loss, had they been living—that their American-born daughter would not come to know her Irish heritage.

Her heart sank.

Perhaps in the hereafter, please God.

Well, if this were all she had of her life, then let the Indian get on with it. Taking what she speculated might be her last breath, she threw back her head, raised her chin, and voiced, “Is that the best you can do to frighten me, now?”

She knew her words were hollow, however, her bravery for naught. She would break down soon enough, more’s the pity. But perhaps the Lord would let her keep her dignity, at least for a little while longer.


Propelling himself forward out of the shadows, Night Thunder leapt into the Kainah encampment, making as much noise as he could, in order to draw attention to himself.

“Night Thunder!”

He heard the woman scream out his name in the white man’s tongue. Odd, he thought fleetingly, that her voice would sound so pleasant, even under such duress.

“Go back,” she shouted at him. “There’s naught you can do for me here. There are too many of them.”

Night Thunder paid her little attention. He took note of Strikes The Bear, saw the man turn his head slightly. Night Thunder drew his arms together over his chest, preparing to meet the other Indian in silent battle. But all the other Indian did by way of greeting was grunt before he turned back toward the woman. He shouted, “Omaopii! Be quiet!” and at the same time, reached out toward her as though he might strike her.

“The devil bless you,” she spat out, defiance coloring her voice, her composure, her bearing. And Night Thunder realized that though the white woman might not have understood Strikes The Bear’s words, she had clearly grasped his actions.

Strikes The Bear shrieked all at once and sprang forward, slashing out at her again with his knife. Another piece of her dress fell to the ground. But the white woman held onto her pride, this time not uttering even a sound.

Night Thunder congratulated her silently for her fortitude. He cautioned himself, however, to show nothing: not admiration, not pride, not even his anger. “Oki, nitakkaawa, hello, my friends,” he said at last to the warriors at large. Then, with what he hoped was a tinge of humor, he added, “Do we intend to start treating the white women as these new Americans do to ours?”

Miistapoot, go away, my cousin.” It was Strikes The Bear who spoke. “We do not wish to hear your talk if it is to say bad words about what we do.”

“You think that I would say bad words about this?”

Strikes The Bear groaned slightly before he continued, “We all know how you cater to the white man, spending so much time in his forts and lodges. Many are the times when we have likened you to a dog seeking the white man’s scraps. But you are alone in your regard for this woman. Most of us hate the white man for what he has done to us, to those dear to us. Look around you. Do you not see this for yourself?  Has not each warrior here suffered from the white man’s crimes? We do not wish to hear your honeyed words about him.”

Night Thunder listened patiently, as was the way of his people, and he paused only slightly before responding, “I come here before you with no pleasant talk for the white man on my tongue. But this woman, she is different.”

“Go away. I will do as duty requires me. Can you deny that I have the right and the obligation to do to this white woman those acts of violence which were done to my wife? Is it not true that only in this way can my spirit, and my woman’s, at last find peace?”

Night Thunder again paused, long enough to show respect for what Strikes The Bear had said. But after a few moments, Night Thunder began, “Aa, yes, my cousin has cause to speak and to do as he does, I think, and all our people weep with him in his grief.” Night Thunder shifted his weight, the action giving emphasis to his next words. “But even as he scolds the white man for his ways and scorns his path, I see my cousin also adopting his customs. For, is it not the sweet scent of the trader’s nectar that I smell here in your camp? Is it not the stench of whisky on your breath that I inhale as you speak to me? I cannot help but wonder how a man can curse one part of a society while holding another dear.”

Strikes The Bear howled and turned away from the woman. He took a few menacing steps toward Night Thunder before, motioning with his arms, he snarled, “Miistapoot! Go away!”

Night Thunder didn’t flinch, nor did he raise an arm against his cousin. “I think you have had too much of the whisky, my cousin,” he said. “It would be best if you slept through the night before you decided what to do with this woman.”

Miistapoot! I will hear none of what you say. No man can tell another man what to do.”

Night Thunder nodded. “So the old men of our tribe tell us. But if you value your life and your few possessions, you will take great heed of my words.”

Strikes The Bear hesitated. “You speak in riddles. Say what you mean.”

“I mean this: you must leave this woman alone.”

These words seemed to cause Strikes The Bear great humor, for he began to laugh, though there was little amusement in the sound of it. At last, though, Strikes The Bear said, “My cousin has taken leave of his senses, I think.”

Night Thunder grinned. “Perhaps I have,” he said, “or perhaps you should ensure you learn all you can about a woman before you decide to use her for your own purposes.”

“A white woman? What value is a white woman to me? There seem to be so few of them that maybe if we kill them all, the white man will go away, since he will have no one in which to plant his seed.”

This statement appeared to amuse the crowd, and Night Thunder smiled along with them. Shortly, however, he held up a hand, silencing all present as he said, “You speak with the foresight of a child, my cousin. Must I remind you of the teachings of the elders in the value of life?”

“Not a white man’s life.”

“Who said I speak of a white man’s life?”

Strikes The Bear smirked. “Are your eyes so weak, my cousin, that you cannot see the color of this captive’s skin?”

“Is your mind so cluttered,” Night Thunder countered, “that you have failed to discover who she really belongs to.  I say this to you: she is not only white, she is Siksika. She is Blackfeet.”

 

Well that’s all for today.  Here’s hoping you enjoyed the excerpt.  Be sure to leave a message — oh, also, let me know what you think of the three different covers for this book

Here’s a link to the book and the book is also on KU.

tinyurl.com/y634cs87

 

Misty Beller Finds Inspiration

The Fillies are so happy to welcome Misty Beller back with another new book! Scroll down for a giveaway.

Hey, y’all! I’m so excited to visit again! The Petticoats and Pistols reader family is one of my favorite groups to hang out with.

One of the things I love about writing stories set in the 1830s Rocky Mountains is that Eastern civilization hadn’t yet touched the frontier. The only people who lived in or visited the Rockies during that were Native Americans and mountain men (usually trappers, but sometimes just explorers).

One of my favorite stories from that time inspired part of my latest release, Calm in the Mountain Storm. Wanna hear the fun, real-life details?

From their limited experience with white people, two of the native tribes realized they wanted to learn more about the white man’s God and his “Book of Heaven” (the Bible). In 1831, a delegation of four Native Americans—two Nez Perce and two Flathead—showed up in St. Louis, Missouri, asking for someone to come and teach their people about God.

Over the next several years, a number of people went west as missionaries, including Samuel Parker and Marcus Whitman, two well-known missionaries who settled in what would later become Oregon. Their story is fascinating too (and tragic), but is a whole post in itself.

From the first time I heard the story of the Indians showing up in St. Louis to learn about God, my writer mind started What if’s. What if a woman decided went west to share her faith with the natives. She couldn’t travel alone, so who would go with her? How would the tribes respond?  Gradually, the characters and storyline of Calm in the Mountain Storm developed in my head. Though the characters in this book are fictional, the events certainly could have happened!

When the heroine, Elise Lane, heard that the Indians wanted to learn about God and simply needed someone to come tell them, she knew she had to answer that call. Of course, her brother Benjamin couldn’t let her go into that danger alone, so together, they set out on an expedition they knew would likely change them forever. Elise doesn’t have any idea exactly how much!

I pray you enjoy reading the story of Elise and Goes Ahead, the Indian brave she meets who’s desperate for help getting his young children across the mountains. As with our hero and heroine in the story, I pray your faith is inspired!

About the Book:

This epic journey will test his ability to protect his children—and they’re all he has left.

Missionary Elise Lane returns with her team to the Rocky Mountain native tribe they serve to discover the entire village—including the children she’s come to love—has been massacred. A fierce brave standing at the edge of the devastation has taken the only surviving child.

Goes Ahead returns home with his son to find his worst fears have come true—his entire village has been slaughtered, including his wife. Only their infant daughter has survived. But there’s no time for grief or vengeance. He must get his children across the mountains to the protection of his family.

The last thing he wants is help from the white people who’ve brought this disaster on his village, but his babe is not yet four moons old. Her hungry cries prove he can’t make this journey without the white woman already nursing a babe of her own. But she refuses to come without the rest of her group, including the opinionated missionary who thinks she knows best for his children. As winter closes in and the mountains prove treacherous beyond anything Goes Ahead can control, only a strength and love greater than his own can save his children—and the woman he’s come to love.

From a USA Today bestselling author comes another epic journey through breathless landscapes and adventure so intense, lives will never be the same.

BUY LINK

 

Today, I’m excited to give away a copy of Book 1 in the series, Freedom in the Mountain Wind.

I’d love to hear from you, what are some of your favorite book settings?

Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love. Raised on a farm and surrounded by family, Misty developed her love for horses, history, and adventure. These days, her husband and children provide fresh adventure every day, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

Misty’s passion is to create inspiring Christian fiction infused with the grandeur of the mountains, writing historical romance that displays God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters. Sharing her stories with readers is a dream come true for Misty. She writes from her country home in South Carolina and escapes to the mountains any chance she gets.

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New Anniversary Book and e-book giveaway of WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH

Howdy!

Welcome, Welcome to another terrific Tuesday.  Please excuse this late post.  I’m very sorry.

Truth is, I just finished editing an anniversary book, NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE, and the edits were a little hard and so once finished, I went into veg mode.  Oh, also, about 1 1/2 weeks ago, I put the finishing touches on a new book soon (in a couple of months or less) to be released.  It’s the 2nd book in the new Medicine Man Series, and the title is SHE CAPTURES MY HEART.  It’s in editing right now.

But, before that book is released, I’ll be re-releasing an Anniversary book of NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE, the 3rd and final book in THE BLACKFOOT WARRIOR series.  And so, I thought I’d leave you with an excerpt from book #2 in the series and tell you a little back story of the book, WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH, book #2 in the series.  And, I’ll be giving away an e-book of WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH, also.  But before I talk about the 2nd book, WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH, let me give you a sneak peek at NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE’s new cover.  Again, this is the 3rd and final book in The Blackfoot Warrior series and we’ll be releasing the 25th year anniversary edition of the book in about a week.

So, onto Book #2, WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH.  It was originally written for AVON books in 1996-97 and published in 1998 (I think that’s right.)  My husband and I were married in 1996 and so in the end of 1996 and the beginning of 1997, I was falling deeper and deeper in love with my husband.  We had married in a whirlwind and so it was after we were married that we really started to get to know each other.

Below and left is the new Anniversary cover for the book.  The male model, by the way, is  Lakota Indian.  And, he models under the name of “Lakota.”

In these anniversary books, we are correcting errors made when the book was converted to e-book from the original mass market.  There is no plot change or anything like that.  It’s just correcting computer errors made in the conversion.  Also, I might give the book a few better word choices here and there.

But, it was in the editing of this book that I began to see how much I was (at that time) falling deeper and deeper in love with this man I had married.  It’s there in the conversations between White Eagle and the heroine, Katrina.  Both of them are changing in regards to each other.  More love.  More understanding.  And, at that time, I guess I couldn’t help but write about how deeply I was in love with this man.

Our courtship (my husband and me) is pretty well illustrated in the first book in this series, GRAY HAWK’S LADY.  But this book goes one step further.

So, in ending, I’ll leave the blurb for the book and an excerpt.  Hope you’ll enjoy!

WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH

by

Karen Kay

Two worlds. Forbidden love.

Blackfoot Warrior, Book 2

Katrina Wellington is vexed. She must marry to obtain the rest of her inheritance. But her uncle, who left her in New York with a governess to make his fortune out West, has suddenly decided he must approve of her fiancé before he will loosen the purse strings to her dowry.

Swallowing her outrage, the socialite treks to the same wilderness that claimed her parents’ lives years ago. Some small part of her is crestfallen that her uncle is not waiting with open arms. Only three guides, Indian guides, await her, and one of them is far too handsome for his own good.

At first, White Eagle does not like the spoiled, willful niece of the white trader. When he catches a glimpse of the vulnerability behind her prickly exterior, he can’t resist challenging the dazzling beauty to rediscover her true inheritance—the inner strength bequeathed to her by her parents.

Close contact on the trail soon arouses a soul-stirring passion and in its turn, love. But love may not be enough to sustain a relationship that is forbidden in both their worlds.

This book has been previously published.

Warning: Sensuous Romance that contains a captivating passion that could lead to a romantic evening spent in the company of one’s own love.

This is the original cover done for AVON Books.  The excerpt is the first meeting between White Eagle and Katrina in the book (and after many years of being apart).

Chapter Four

June 25, 1833

Midmorning 

 

“I say, what vision of loveliness descends upon us now? Is she a princess, a queen? Do you think I should bow? Or is she a mere fleeting whiff of my fancy? Oh, dear, I don’t think I can rhyme fancy…can you see?” The Marquess of Leicester chuckled before he put a finger over one nostril, taking a sniff of the powder which he held in a box in his hand. “What do you say, my friends? Am I poetic?”

The marquess’s two friends murmured polite words of agreement at all the appropriate places, while the marquess, pocketing his snuffbox, paced forward to take hold of Katrina’s hand. “Ah, my dear, you look stunning, simply ravishing, rather.”

“Thank you, Lord Leicester.” Katrina suffered her hand to be kissed by lips which looked as though they bore more rouge than her own. She pulled her hand back as quickly as possible, but failed to loosen his grip. “Are we prepared to meet the new guides?”

“Yes, I say,” the marquess replied, setting her hand onto one of his lacy cuffs.

Katrina smiled at him.

“Am I to understand, my dear, that the guides of which you speak are to escort me to yet another fort?”

“Yes, that is correct. My uncle has been delayed, and he asks that you join him at a place called Fort McKenzie. The scouts are to take you safely to him.”

“Quite unusual, wouldn’t you say? But I must ask you: The hunting, is there good hunting at this fort? After all, mustn’t disappoint the dogs, don’t you know? Brought the hounds all this way to hunt, and hunt we shall. Why, do you know that I have met the most interesting fellow, a Mr. Hamilton, although I don’t believe that Hamilton is his real name. A right good sort of chap. English, I say. Says he has been here at this fort for several years. Seems to like it here, though he does appear to hate Indians.”

“Does he?”

“Yes, rather. Well, now, come along, my dear. Mr. McKenzie informs me that his clerk is awaiting us outside the house here to escort us to the guides on the other side of the gate. A monstrous proposal, I must say. That is why I have asked Mr. Hamilton to make the introductions. I can’t say that I am overwhelmed by Mr. McKenzie’s manners. A clerk to see to us, indeed. Ah, here is Mr. Hamilton now. Come along, my dear. Let us get these introductions over with.”

“Yes,” said Katrina, “let us.”

And with little more said, she allowed Mr. Hamilton and the marquess to lead her out into the sunshine of a new day. That the marquess’s friends followed the three of them wherever they went, that the marquess’s men kept murmuring always agreeable tidbits concerning Lord Leicester’s undoubtedly brilliant humor, did little more than annoy her.

At least for now.

 

 

McKenzie’s clerk, Thomas, was waiting for their entire party just outside the gate. And what a party they made. Not only were the marquess, his two friends and Hamilton in their group, somehow the marquess’s dogs, barking loudly, had joined them.

“Come this way, Gov’nor, the men ’ee seek are by the wall over thyar,” Thomas said.

“Where?”

“Over thyar, do ’ee not see?”

“They’re…”

Conversation ceased, replaced with silence. Dead silence.

Their entire entourage, even the dogs, stopped completely still. No one said a word; no one moved. Then the dogs started to whine, and the shuffle of feet could be heard—moving away.

It was he, the Indian she had glimpsed from the boat, along with a few companions.

“Why, Thomas,” said one of the men, “they are—”

“Yep, Injuns.”

Now, it wasn’t as though their party had never seen an Indian until this moment, nor was it possible that anyone in this party had thought never to encounter an Indian in this country. After all, they had glimpsed enough of the native population from the steamboat as it had made its way up the Missouri.

But never had the people in this group seen primitives such as these—at least not so close to their own person. Warriors, all, were these savages and, by the looks of the heathens, dangerous.

But Katrina stared at none other than him.

She opened her mouth as though to utter something…some scathing comment, perhaps. But when no words issued forth, she closed her lips.

“This one hyar’s name’s White Eagle.” Only Thomas seemed able to speak. “Them three behind him are Night Thunder and Good Dancer. The woman is married to Good Dancer, near as this ole coot can tell. Blackfeet, they are. Gov’nor?”

“Indians?” This from Katrina, at last, her glance never wavering from him.

“Yes, ma’am. But they’ll get ’ee through Blackfoot country all safe. They knows the way.”

“He goes too far!” She glanced toward the clerk.

“Ma’am?”

“My uncle goes too far this time.”

“You tell the man,” the marquess spoke up from behind her. “Yes, my dear, tell the man.”

Katrina gazed over her shoulder. The marquess had positioned himself to her rear, his own men standing, as though in a line, behind him.

“Does your uncle not think favorably of you, Miss Wellington?” This from Hamilton, who seemed as dumbfounded as the rest.

She ignored the Englishman, glancing instead at him, the Indian, the same one who had so disturbed her thoughts, the one called… “What is this man’s name again, Thomas?”

“This one hyar, ma’am? He’s White Eagle. He’s their leader, near as I can tell, a chief maybe.”

White Eagle. So, that was his name. Katrina stared at the Indian. He, back at her. The man looked dangerous—foreign, frightening…handsome. Handsome?

He still wore no shirt, exposing to her view that muscular chest she had glimpsed the previous day. And she would have looked at it, at him, had she been of the mind. But she wasn’t.

She swallowed with difficulty and, allowing her gaze to drop no farther than the bridge of the Indian’s nose, asked of him, “Does my uncle bring word to me?”

The Indian just stared at her. No grin, no recognition of her, no intimation that he had seen her, too, the previous day—nothing, not even an acknowledgment that she had spoken.

She raised her chin. “Do these Indians not speak English, Thomas?”

“Guess they do well enough, ma’am. They been tradin’ with us long enough now to have learnt it. But ’ee is a woman. No Blackfeet is goin’ to speak to ’ee b’cause of that, beg pardon.”

Katrina looked at the Indian from down the end of her nose. She said, “Then ask him for me if he brings me word of my uncle.”

Thomas stepped up to her side. “Very well, ma’am. ’Ee heard her, Injun. Does the lady’s uncle send word?”

The Indian didn’t move, didn’t speak, didn’t even shift his weight. He just stared, his glance never wavering from her.

“Speak up there, you primitive animal,” Hamilton demanded.

None of the three Indians, and especially not White Eagle, paid the Englishman the least attention.

“Are ’ee sent here from the woman’s uncle?”

Nothing. No response at all, until, at last, piercing Katrina with his glance, the Indian said, “I have news for the woman alone.” Oddly enough, the man spoke in unbroken English and, Katrina noted, his voice, low and baritone, was peculiarly pleasant, almost melodic.

“Alone?” Hamilton again spoke up from a safe distance away. “Is the Indian mad? Does he presume to think we would leave the lady unaccompanied with him, so filthy a creature as he is?”

The Indian didn’t move a muscle, nor did he indicate in any way that he’d even heard Hamilton’s comments.

Katrina stepped forward, away from the crowd. Glancing around behind her, she ordered, “Leave us.”

“What?” This from all five men.

“Leave us, but take this man’s Indian friends with you. I will do as he asks and speak with him, but only with him. Here, Mr. Hamilton, give me your pistol that I may defend myself, if I must.”

“But milady,” Hamilton protested, “surely you can’t mean to—”

“Mr. Hamilton, your pistol, please.”

The Englishman looked as though he might protest further, though he nevertheless pulled the weapon from his coat and handed it to Katrina.

“Leave us.” Again she addressed the men who remained behind her without turning toward them. “I warn you, Indian,” she said confidently, “I can use this firearm Mr. Hamilton has given me as skillfully as any man. So do not think me defenseless that you might take advantage of me.”

The Indian said nothing, nor did he give her any sort of acknowledgment, not even by the bend of his head or a flicker of emotion across his features.

Katrina listened to the fading footsteps of the men behind her. After a nod from White Eagle, the Indian’s two companions followed.

The deference shown to this man did not escape her notice, but when she spoke, she made no mention of it, saying only, “What you ask is highly irregular and impolite. Hear me now, Indian, I am humoring you only because I wish to know what my uncle has to say. That is all.”

Glancing directly at her, he replied, “I will speak to the white woman only within the walls of the fort.”

“You will not,” Katrina countered. “You asked for an audience with me alone. You have it now.”

The Indian didn’t utter another word, just gave her a peculiar look and made to move away from her.

She reached out, grabbing at his arm, effectively staying him. He glanced down at her hand as it lay upon his arm, then back up at her. Something…some little excitement passed between them as they stared at one another, the intensity causing Katrina’s knees to buckle. Several moments passed as they stood there, sizing one another up.

At last, Katrina stuck out her chin and asked, “Who do you think you are, Indian, that you gape at me? Do you not know it is impolite to do so? Now, you will tell me what it is you have to say to me, right here and now…or not at all. Do I make myself clear to you?”

The Indian had become perfectly still as she spoke; his gaze roamed from the top of her bonnet to the very bottom of her skirts. Katrina watched him, ignoring the tingling sensation which spread throughout her nervous system. Fear, she supposed.

Odd, too, but she noticed he smelled good: of wood and smoke, of grass and mint—she had heard that the Indians chewed the leaves of the mint plant to stave off hunger, as well as to scent their breath.

His skin felt warm, too, moist and…strange, there was no hair upon the flesh of his arm where she touched him.

He was close to her, too close. The wind suddenly blew a lock of his long raven hair over her hand where she still touched him. The feel of those strands against her skin was fleeting, sensual, its effect sending shivers through her body.

She glanced up, startled, and wondered if the Indian had felt it, too, this strange sensation, but his expression revealed nothing.

She didn’t know how it was possible, yet she considered this man, this Indian, handsome almost beyond belief, in a primitive sort of way, of course. Not a man she would ever admit to being attracted to, particularly since he was nothing more than one of the savages that this country produced. And yet, she couldn’t help but admire the straight, imposing figure he cut as she looked up to where he stood over her. With his shoulders back, displaying his sculptured form, he looked as though he were a work of art, not a person of substance.

Something within her reached out to him, and she felt as though she knew him, his thoughts, his passions. It was as though there were a part of him that matched her perfectly…

She gave herself a shake. What was wrong with her? This was not the first time she’d felt as if there were something between them. It had happened the first time she’d glimpsed him, there from the boat…

She stared up at him then, in silent challenge, if only to purge this sensation from her consciousness. Yet, all the while, her touch upon his arm never relinquished its hold. His eyes were black, she noted, the darkest eyes she had ever seen, and they revealed nothing.

Suddenly, his look turned sardonic, and he broke eye contact with her, pulling his arm back, out and away from her grasp.

He turned from her then, suddenly and without warning. He began walking away from her at a steady gait, following on the footfalls of the other men. The Indian was treading, it would appear, toward the main entrance of the fort.

Katrina stood still for several moments, watching him, until she suddenly realized what he was doing. This man—this mere Indian—was defying her. She had made demands of him; he had told her nothing. Nothing!

Somehow this fact disturbed her more than any other detail she had observed about him. Blast!

She had to try to detain him. She took one step forward, and called out, “It was you who demanded to speak to me alone, Indian.”

No response, not even a catch in his stride.

“If you wish to talk to me, do it now, for I will not see you once we are in the fort.”

The man didn’t turn around, nor did he say or do anything further, except to present her with the view of his backside as he continued to walk away. She should have been appalled by the man’s bad manners and by his dress, or rather, its lack thereof. In truth, she was…almost.

She watched him, his lean, sculpted figure an unusually strange and exciting sight. And then she saw it, the man’s breechcloth fell apart from the outline of his leggings now and again, presenting her with an occasional view of a portion of hard, muscular buttocks.

Katrina was almost struck dumb with the observation. Never, not once in her life, had she ever witnessed so much of a man’s anatomy.

How utterly heathen. How primitive.

She didn’t, however, glance away. “I won’t meet with you,” she announced again. “And that’s my final word on the subject.”

Her challenge had no effect on the Indian’s actions.

Katrina was fuming. She felt like shouting at the man; she felt like pummeling him, but she refused to reduce herself to a show of temper.

She did, however, stamp her foot. The insolent barbarian. And to think she had been admiring his looks.

Humph!

She picked up the front of her skirt, her white petticoats contrasting oddly with the brown of the earth beneath her feet. She would follow that Indian back into the fort. Not because she had to, she reminded herself. After all, she was residing within the walls of the fort. She had a right to be there. This Indian did not.

Oh, but she didn’t like this. It was she who should be the person putting forth demands. It was she, not this man, White Eagle, who was the civilized one here, the more intelligent one.

So why was she the one left staring after him?

Well, it made no difference. There was at least one action she would take as soon as she met with this man: She would ensure he would hear her opinions of him and his insolence—that is, if she met with him.

She wasn’t certain at this moment that she would even permit the man an interview. There must be some other way of soliciting news of her uncle.

The Indian turned around at that exact moment, catching her staring at him, and goodness, but it looked as though he smiled at her. Did he know her thoughts? Could he see her frustration? Worse yet, had he felt her gaze upon that more intimate portion of his anatomy?

How dare he! Oh, what a wicked, wicked man!

She threw back her head and thrust out her chin. Ah, but it would please her to tell this Indian what she thought of him…and soon!

Make no mistake.


White Eagle turned his back on the woman and walked away from her, a grin tugging up the corners of his mouth.

In truth, he had enjoyed the confrontation with Shines Like Moonlight…but he would never let her know it. Not when she had dared to try to command him, a Blackfoot warrior. Such was the height of bad manners.

Yethe could appreciate her spirit, her courage in confronting him when even the men who had surrounded her had shied away from him. Too, he acknowledged her unusual beauty; in truth, she had overwhelmed him with the allure of her feminine charm, more pleasing in close proximity than from a distance. He could still smell the sweet fragrance of her, hear the silvery timbre of her voice, and if it hadn’t been for her lack of manners…

Certainly, she was fairer than he’d anticipated she would be, but this wasn’t what bothered him about her. No, it was her touch, the simple graze of her hand upon his arm. With that touch…

He grimaced. And he wondered if she knew she had stirred something to life within him, something sweet, something carnal, something completely sexual. It was one of the reasons he had turned his back on her—that, and her insolence.

Hánnia! He should have more control. He was not some young boy, unable to control the physical urges of his body; and yet, even now he could feel the result of her effect on him down there in the junction between his legs. It was good that he had left her before his physical reaction to her became more pronounced.

Did she remember him?

A picture flashed in his mind, an image of a child, frightened and crying, clinging to him as he had hung onto the crest of a hill, both he and the child watching the gushing floodwaters rush past them, its danger only a short distance away. He had almost lost her in those waters.

He remembered again that he had clasped her to him then, whispering to her, giving her as much comfort as he was able, until long after the danger had passed. But that had been much too long ago. They had both been different people then, children.

That the child in her had grown up was evident. That she had reached adulthood without the guidance of a mother or a father to point out the necessity of courtesy and good manners was even more conspicuous.

Would she remember him given more time?

White Eagle thought back to the world he had known so long ago, to the people he had befriended, to a little white girl he had admired—a girl with yellowish-gold hair—to the child’s father and her mother.

They had perished, her parents. The girl had barely survived, and her father’s brother had sent her away long ago.

So, her uncle had been right about her. The woman he had met today was spoiled, a person completely devoid of maidenly gentleness. She spoke when not asked, demanded when a man’s mind was already settled; in truth, her spirit towered over the white men who had accompanied her.

Did she rise above these men because she had bullied them into submission with the same womanly harping and angry tongue she had shown to him? Or was she merely stronger-willed than they?

Whatever the reason, White Eagle despaired of the intervening years since he had last seen her.

If he reminded her of it, would she remember?

It was doubtful. She had been before the age when a child comes into its senses, and he had been no more than a young boy. He’d kept a lonely girl company during those times when her father and uncle had journeyed to his tribe on trading excursions. If he told her what he knew of her, of her family, would any good come from it?

He did not think so. This person he had observed today had been as someone alien to him—certainly not the girl he had remembered…had once known.

In truth, he had caught her looking upon him with not only a womanly sort of attention, but with contempt, the same sort of foreign attitude that White Eagle had witnessed upon the countenance of the white man.

He didn’t like it.

No, it was better that he keep what he knew of her to himself. It was apparent she did not recall her life before the white man’s world, and he was certain she would not care to hear what he had to say to her.

So be it.

He entered the fort, taking his place amongst his friends. Good Dancer’s wife had already started setting up their camping lodges in the area surrounding the fort’s flagpole. One for himself and Night Thunder, the other for herself and her husband, Good Dancer. That Good Dancer’s new wife had demanded to accompany them on their journey did not bother White Eagle, nor did it seem strange to him.

The young couple had just been married, after an unusually long courtship. Of course they would want to be together now. Such was to be understood. Such were the ways of married people.

Besides, he’d wanted a woman along to keep Shines Like Moonlight company and to provide her with a chaperone. White Eagle grimaced as he adjusted his breechcloth, certain Shines Like Moonlight would need that chaperone.

He glanced around him, at his place within the fort. He had noticed, when he had first come here, that several half-breed hunters resided within the tepees around the flagpole. This seemed only right to White Eagle; that these half-white, half-Indian men chose to live not in the square, wooden houses of the white man, but rather in the more comfortable lodges of his own people.

At least this is how it appeared to White Eagle.

He could not know, nor would he understand that to some within the fort, the mixed-bloods were not on an equal footing with the more European breed of men, that such would not be allowed the right to live in the square, wooden houses.

And so, not knowing, White Eagle settled down, content for the moment, to initiate the necessary chores needed for the return journey to Fort McKenzie.  Indeed, the time consumed in fashioning arrowheads, making a new shield and manufacturing a new spear was time well spent.

He was certain that Shines Like Moonlight would delay a meeting with him for as long as she was able. This didn’t bother him. Why should it? Time was not an enemy to him, and White Eagle was full-blooded Indian; he was a patient man.

He smiled. Perhaps here was something else he could admire about this woman: She had a stubborn strength of character. And this was good.

She would not be one to come a cropper in an emergency. Such people were few. Such people were valuable.

He shrugged. Whatever the case, his next few days within this fort promised to be far from dull.


Well, that’s all for now.  Look for the book in a few days.  At present, it’s undergoing the final proof reading.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Oh, and this is the cover to the left is the cover of the book currently up at Amazon.  This cover was done when I was writing for Samhain Publishing.

Indeed, all of these covers have a special place in my heart.  I am, however, extremely drawn to the new cover.  Hope you’ll like it, too.

SHE STEALS MY BREATH, Excerpt and e-book Give-Away

Good Morning and welcome, welcome to another tiptop Tuesday!

What a hot August we are having!  Goodness!

Hopefully, the chance to win SHE STEALS MY BREATH (or another e-book of your choice) will make the heat a little more bearable.

Well, I’m going to post another excerpt of my newest effort, SHE STEALS MY BREATH.  Now, in this excerpt, the heroine is realizing she made a mistake.  Much of the excerpt are her thoughts and how she comes to realize she’s made a mistake.  But, there’s another creature that helps her along that path.  So, first I’ll post a brief blurb of the book and then the excerpt.  But, do read to the bottom because at the end of this blog, I’ll be posting some info about our birthday event here at Petticoats and Pistols.

Her Beauty Takes His Breath Away… Only She Can Restore It.

 

A raging blizzard forces Eagle Heart of the Blackfeet Nation and Laylah, the daughter of a Trader, into each other’s company.  As their attraction deepens, both fight the knowledge that a love between them is forbidden in both their worlds.

SHE STEALS MY BREATH

by 

Karen Kay

The suggestion of riding out onto the prairie was an idea Laylah could little resist.  But, she would not go with Thomas.  Rather, she would make this trip alone.  Perhaps the wide spaces would serve to ease the affliction within her heart.

Also, if she were to be truthful, she would have to admit it was impossible to resist leaving the fort to go in search of Eagle Heart.  If he were still somewhere in the fort’s vicinity, could she find him?  Would he have set up camp close to where they had once sat out the blizzard?

Feeling a little happier, she left the trading room to rush to her quarters in the proprietor’s part of the house.  There, she dressed as quickly as she could for an excursion out-of-doors and, using her cane, hobbled  toward the livery.  There, she was able to attain help in saddling her pony, Honey Sugar, for, with her right arm broken, it was a task she could not do alone.  She was glad to see the gate was open, and she fled out of it, wistfully hoping no one in the fort took note of her flight.

Interestingly, Honey Sugar appeared to know where to go.  Laylah didn’t even need to steer the animal.  Hoping she might catch Eagle Heart still in residence at their shelter, Laylah found she could barely breathe.  She had so much to tell him.

Keeping to a fast pace, she came quickly upon the coulee.  But, rather than ride her pony down a hard pass, she dismounted—though with some difficulty because her ankle wasn’t fully healed—and walked her mount down into the ravine.  At last, she beheld the place where she and Eagle Heart had once encamped.  It looked to be still there.

She smiled.  Was he within?

Throwing her pony’s reins to the ground, she limped as quickly as possible to the place where she and Eagle Heart had so recently resided.  But, she saw at once that where their shelter had once stood, nothing remained to indicate the adventure she had once shared with Eagle Heart.  Nor was Eagle Heart anywhere to be seen.

Was it really such a short time ago when she’d had Eagle Heart’s attention all to herself?  Though only a week had passed since they had sat out the storm together, it seemed like a lifetime ago.

As she stood looking at where the hut had once been, she realized she might never be the same again.  She had thought she would be able to start her life over, as was expected of her by her family.  But, more and more she was coming to realize this might be impossible.

She shouldn’t feel this way.  After all, she had made her choice and had refused Eagle Heart’s proposal.  And now, having done so, she should try to live with it and marry Thomas, as was expected of her.  But, could she marry Thomas when, to the depths of her heart, she felt she belonged with Eagle Heart?

Perhaps another question she might ask herself was this: was she ready to throw away the lessons her grandmother had taught her?  Hadn’t her grandmother married a man she didn’t love?  Hadn’t it ended in a bad way?

Truly, it was beginning to seem to Laylah as if she were plunging headlong into as heartbreaking an experience as her grandmother’s.

When she had left Eagle Heart, she hadn’t fully realized the extent to which she had changed.  Had it taken losing Eagle Heart to pound some sense into her, to see him more clearly?  Because of the differences in their cultures, she had been unwilling to break with her former ideas of love and marriage.

But, it was a mistake.  In her heart now, she knew it was a mistake.  Was she, however, too late to tell Eagle Heart she had changed her mind?

Gray Falcon had said his friend had blocked his thoughts from her.  She knew he had done this because he did not wish to interfere in her life.  Would it follow, then, that he might leave, never to know she was experiencing a change of heart?

He might do exactly this if she couldn’t get a message to him either through her own efforts or via Gray Falcon.  Perhaps when she rode home tonight, she would seek out Gray Falcon, ask him to find Eagle Heart and beg him to relay a message for her.

She worried, because one aspect about this was becoming very clear to her now: she would never forget Eagle Heart, even if she married another and never saw him again.  Nor would she ever stop loving him.

Oddly, along with acknowledging what was truly in her heart, came a sense of responsibility and an awareness of greater self-confidence.  At least she knew now that what had been between Eagle Heart and herself was more important than others’ ideas—as well as her own mistaken belief—of how she should live her life.

The idea was freeing somehow, and this spurred her on toward another realization: she had to throw Thomas away.  Really, she had no other option.

Besides, she was fast becoming aware that Thomas possessed an injurious trait she had chosen to ignore; one that had almost claimed her life: he did not wish to give up any part of his privileged life to be of service to another.  Indeed, he had valued his own comfort over hers and had left her for dead, apparently after engaging in a show of trying to find her.  He had only left the fort twice in search of her, and, according to Millie and her mother, hadn’t tried again.

At last, it was clear to her.  He did not love her.

Yet, he at least deserved that she should speak to him and inform him of her change of heart and her wish to not marry him.  And so, she would seek him out, and possibly would do so tonight.  She would not criticize him; she would simply let him know she wouldn’t marry him.  And, perhaps this, once done, would allow her to come to Eagle Heart with an open and clean heart.

She could only hope Eagle Heart might still wish to make her his woman.  If, however, she were to discover he didn’t, what would she do?  Return to Fort Union?

No.  She couldn’t.  Perhaps, were this to be a reality, an alternate plan might be to return to St. Louis, for she would always be welcome at her grandmother’s house.  Yes, this was a good plan.  But, if she left this country and didn’t marry Eagle Heart, would she become, then, an old maid?

Perhaps.

Oddly, the idea of leaving behind the security of her own world did not cause her to turn away from what she felt she must do.  Truly, it would be hard to live Eagle Heart’s lifestyle when she was not accustomed to it and didn’t know its rules and mores.  But, it was worse thinking she might have to live her life without him.

Yes, as soon as she returned to the fort, she would find Thomas and speak to him; she would break off their engagement, and then she would try to contact Eagle Heart once again with the mind speak.  If this didn’t work, she would try to find a way to convince Gray Falcon to take her to Eagle Heart or at least relay a message for her.

And so, it was on this thought that she turned to leave, and that’s when she beheld the gray wolf watching her.  At first she was afraid of the creature, but then a memory returned: it was the recollection of the wolves lying next to her freezing body, keeping her warmer than she would have been without them.

She owed them her thanks.

Hesitantly, she watched as the wolf slowly paced toward her.  Using her cane for balance, Laylah came down onto her knees to show the wolf she wasn’t a threat.

Her voice was almost a whisper when she asked, “Were you one of the wolves who, many days ago, came to help me?  If you were, let me tell you how much I appreciate what you did that day.”

The wolf bent down to rest its paws in front of it, its back legs sitting upon the ground as though it were ready to spring up and retreat in an instant.

“I wish I had something to give you, wolf, but I don’t.  I came here without food.  I don’t know really how I can properly thank you.  I wish I could speak to you in the mind-to-mind talk like Eagle Heart can, but I can’t.”

The wolf looked her directly in the eyes before it came up onto its feet and turned around, trotting back in the direction it had come.  However, before it went too far, the animal turned around and asked in distinct mind speak, “Where is the human boy?”

“The human boy?” Laylah asked uncertainly, also using the mind-to-mind form of talking.  Was she really speaking with a wolf?

“Your mate,” answered the wolf.

“My mate?  Oh, you mean Eagle Heart?”

“Yes.”

“I don’t know where he is.  He is gone from here.  I was hoping he would be here, but he is not.”

The wolf didn’t answer.  Instead, it turned away and trotted off again.  In the distance, Laylah could see another wolf waiting for the one who had approached her.  The first wolf had been a female, she realized, because the one she had talked to was smaller than the bigger wolf lingering in the shadows.

Laylah watched them both as they trotted away, though the female paused once and turned her head back to take another look.  Briefly, Laylah brought her good hand up in the sign of a goodbye, and it was some minutes before she realized she had spoken to a wolf as though this were an everyday occurrence and as easy to do as speaking with another human being.

What else was she going to learn in this wild land?

No wonder she now understood she could no longer marry Thomas.  She had forever changed.

 

 

 

And don’t forget to come by on Thursday to help us celebrate our 15th birthday!!

 

Spread  the word – there are going to be BIG prizes and BIG fun!

Play Fifteen Filly Fact or Fib? and you could win!

Happy Birthday to us!