It’s snowing! Well, it’s really raining, but on Tuesday it’s supposed to snow here most of the day. Don’t know what the weather is where you are, but whatever it is, I hope you are enjoying it. So, without further ado, let me give y’all a warm welcome! Welcome to a terrific Tuesday!
My latest effort, SHE CAPTURES MY HEART, is going to be on sale this week, but the sale goes away on Sunday (or maybe Monday). Normally priced at $4.99, it is on sale now for $2.99.
This story is about two people who met under unusual circumstances when teenagers (Amelia, the heroine of the story, was fourteen or fifteen — I forget which and he, GRAY FALCON, was nineteen, I believe). They meet in book #1, SHE STEALS MY BREATH. And so today, instead of giving you an excerpt of a scene from the current book, I thought I’d share the two scenes Amelia and Gray Falcon share in book #1, when these two meet and became friends.
I’ll start the excerpt out with a short blurb of the current story, SHE CAPTURES MY HEART.
Hope you’ll enjoy the excerpt (First Comes the Blurb from She Captures My Heart).
Two Worlds. Two Hearts. A Forbidden Passion.
Amelia McIntosh was only fourteen when she fell in love with the young and handsome Gray Falcon of the Blackfoot Tribe. He’d helped her through a difficult time, and, for him in turn, she’d opened up a vital part of the medicine man’s world. Five years later, Amelia is still in love with the mesmerizing Gray Falcon, but her refusal to marry anyone but him has created a dangerous problem for her and her family.
When Amelia—the pesky little girl from Gray Falcon’s past—returns to the Northwest, he can’t help but notice she has blossomed into a beautiful, desirable woman — one who sets his heart aflame. Yet, he must resist her feminine charms because, though she is a friend, what she asks of him is against all Gray Falcon stands for as a medicine man.
United only in love, will love, alone, be enough to stand strong against a world threatening to pull them apart?
And now, the two excerpts from the book SHE STEAL MY BREATH.
Excerpt #1 from Chapter Eight of the book, SHE STEALS MY BREATH
“Ipii vai, enter,” called Gray Falcon to the scratch a visitor was making upon his lodge. He was surprised when his friend, Comes Running, was followed into the tepee by a young, pretty white girl. He recognized this girl, for he had seen her often within the fort; he knew she was the younger sister of Laylah, the beautiful white woman who so fascinated his friend, Eagle Heart.
Gray Falcon had not, however, expected a girl to come visiting—especially a white girl—and he didn’t know what to do. How did one act toward such a one, especially since he had never entertained a girl within his lodge, let alone a white girl.
What was she doing here?
But, Comes Running was preparing to leave, and Gray Falcon called out to him, “Are you not staying?”
“I cannot,” said Comes Running. “The girl found me and asked me to bring her to you. I have done this. Now, I must go and fortify my own lodge against the storm.” And, this said, he left.
Not knowing what to do or how to respond to the girl, Gray Falcon came up onto his knees and gestured toward the opposite side of the lodge, inviting the girl to sit. She sat.
She was a pretty girl, with long, brown hair and eyes that seemed to change color with the clothing she wore. Several days ago, he had seen her wearing blue, and her eyes had appeared to be blue. Now, however, their color was not blue; instead, her eyes were a deep green, like those of a mountain lion’s in the dark depths of the night. But, unlike a mountain lion’s stare, her look was not that of a predator. Rather, it was fearful. Was she afraid of him?
It seemed unlikely, since it was she who had sought him out, not the opposite. He continued his study of her, though his gaze at her was fast and sharp, pretending he had no interest in why she was here before him—and in the middle of a blizzard.
Her face was shaped like a heart, as though it might mirror the emotions of compassion and love. But, lovely and pretty though she might be, she was much too young for a man’s admiration. And, she was white.
At present, she was gazing around the inside of the lodge, and Gray Falcon was well aware when she eventually came to include him in her perusal, but she looked quickly away. At last, however, she said to him using sign language, “I have been asking about you.”
He nodded, then gazed at her quickly. He signed, “Me? You have been asking about me? Why?”
“You are the friend of a man called Eagle Heart, are you not?” She had pronounced the name “Eagle Heart” aloud.
“I am,” he signed.
“My…my sister is missing. And, according to my sister’s fiancé, it is possible Mr. Eagle Heart left the fort to go out into the storm to find her and keep her safe.”
“My father can’t find her. Her fiancé can’t find her. Her fiancé tells the story that she was thrown from her horse and was hurt bad and was in so much pain, Mr. Thomas, who is her fiancé, could not move her. He returned to the fort then and tried to secure a party of men to go back to her, but he could not raise one because the blizzard came upon us so suddenly. It is true he has looked for her since then. But, because of this frightful storm, no one can leave the fort for longer than several minutes at a time, for, as you know, there is danger of a man getting lost in the storm’s wrath. Still, my father found he could not sit at home and do nothing. So, he and Thomas left the fort in the middle of this blizzard to try to find her, but they could not do so, and they barely managed to make their way back to the fort again.
“Please, I am here because you are Mr. Eagle Heart’s friend, and I was wondering if you might know if he went to rescue my sister. Mr. Thomas has said he believes this is so. Please, do you know if this be true? Did your friend go to her? Is he with her?”
Gray Falcon didn’t answer at once. After all, didn’t the elders teach the boys that a real man must first think through his thoughts before speaking? Yet, he was impressed with the girl. Young though she might be, she had yet mastered the language of sign well enough to make herself understood by him. Still, what could his reply be to her?
No man was under any obligation to tell others what he planned or what he might do, and this included his friend, Eagle Heart. A man made his way in life without needing the assurance of another. It was what made a boy into a man. Still, it seemed only logical that if Eagle Heart had known the woman, Laylah, was in trouble, he would have gone to her.
But, how was he to tell this girl these truths in a way that might set her mind at ease, and without further questioning? At length, and after more thought on the matter, he signed, “I do not know this with certainty, but I suspect my friend might be with her. If he knew she were in trouble, it is to be assumed he went to find her and keep her safe.” He didn’t add that he believed this because his friend was captivated with the beautiful woman, Laylah; it wasn’t necessary to make this known to the girl. One had only to observe the manner in which Eagle Heart glanced at the woman, Laylah, to know he was besotted with her.
“Mr. Falcon, do you really think he might have gone to her?”
“I do. He is not here with me, though this is his lodge. Have no fear. He would not become lost if he went to find her. And, finding her, he would take care of her.”
“But, what if he found her too late? What if…what if… What if she needs a doctor to attend to her?”
“What is a ‘doctor’?”
“You call them ‘medicine men,'” she signed.
“My friend is such a man. If anyone can save her and keep her warm through the storm, it will be my friend. Do not worry.”
Gray Falcon meant what he said. He doubted Eagle Heart would have found the woman too late. If his friend intended to find her and save her, so it would be. Further, he knew Eagle Heart would do everything within his power to keep her alive. And, his friend did have this kind of power.
“Please, sir, I thank you for what you have said, but I am very worried about my sister, and I have come here to ask if you might please take me out of here and into the blizzard to look for my sister in case he didn’t find her….” She sighed. “I am sorry to bother you, but I must do something. I cannot sleep for worry over her. I cannot eat. I would leave on my own to find her, but I cannot go into the blizzard alone. I know this. I would become lost and most likely would die. But, sir, I have not known what to do to help my sister or who to turn to. Neither my father nor my mother understands how devastated I am at my sister’s disappearance.
“And, then I remembered you and Mr. Eagle Heart are friends.” She paused and looked once more around the lodge. “Will you help me to find her?”
Gray Falcon was impressed with the girl’s compassion for her sister, as well as her courage in seeking him out to gain his assistance. However, he could not give her what she wanted, and so he signed, “I…I have no way of finding him. There will be no tracks for me to follow, and, without tracks that show me where he has gone, I can be of no help to you.”
When the young girl began to weep, Gray Falcon despaired. He had no knowledge of what to do for a girl like this. And, not knowing, he remained silent.
“Sir, please. I must try to find her. I know where she last was, for Mr. Thomas could tell us that much. Perhaps you could take me there?”
He didn’t answer at once. How did a man speak to a girl like this and bring her to understand the dangers of this kind of storm? How did he tell her they might likely die if they were to leave here and traipse through the storm, not knowing where they were going? How did he answer her pleas without causing her more grief?
He couldn’t. And, even though his heart was touched by the girl’s love for her sister, he knew he would not be able to help her. At length, he signed, “I dare not take you away from here. Storms like this are best used to settle down in one’s lodge and endure through them. If I were to go with you into the blizzard, we might get lost. Death could be the result.”
She glanced away from him and asked, “May I stay here, then? I can’t go home.”
“You are too young to be alone with me. Do your parents know you are here?”
She didn’t answer.
“I am sorry, but you cannot stay here,” he signed. “Come, I will walk you to the gate of the fort.”
“Sir, please don’t send me away.” She glanced down. But, soon, lifting her glance to his, she signed, “It took me most of the day to summons my courage to come here to speak to you. Please do not make me leave.”
He frowned at her. “I cannot keep you here. We are alone, and you are too young to be here with me while no one else is in the lodge with us. Also, you will be missed, and when they look for you and find you here with me, there will be trouble for me, for my people and for you, too, I think. But, I will tell you what I will do. There is perhaps a way I might be able to reach my friend. But, I must be alone to accomplish this, and I must do this in the ancient and proper way. You cannot be here while I reach out to him, for you would distract me. I will take you back to the fort, and you may come here tomorrow to see what I have discovered. Come, I will walk you to the fort’s gate so you do not lose your way in the storm.”
“No, please don’t send me away. Please.”
He didn’t speak. In truth, he didn’t know what to say to this girl or what to do with her, and he had been honest: he was afraid there would be trouble because she was here with him…and alone with him.
“Couldn’t I sit in the back of your lodge? I would turn my back on you.”
“No,” he signed. “It is not right that you should be here with me when no one else is present. I cannot state this too greatly. And, if you wish me to try to contact my friend, I must be alone.”
She didn’t answer. She simply sat before him and stared down at the buffalo robe she sat upon. At last, she signed, “I am afraid I won’t be able to return here tomorrow because I am gone now, and they will be strict with me tomorrow. Please, I won’t be any trouble to you.”
Gray Falcon sighed. “What you do not understand is that you are already in trouble,” he signed. “After a certain age, no young girl may be alone with a boy of my age. What is your age?”
“I am fourteen.”
“No, you cannot stay here. You are old enough that you could be thought of in an ill manner if you stay here with me. I do not wish this for you. I do not wish this for me.”
She sat still for a moment, then began to cry.
He sighed. What was he to do? Eventually, he gained her attention and signed, “Stay here. I will see if one of the women in our band will allow you to stay with her in her lodge.”
“You would do this for me?”
“I will try. I may not be successful.” He didn’t look at her to see what her response might be. Instead, he rose and trod toward the entryway; leaning over, he prepared to crawl out of his lodge. But, he didn’t.
Looking back at the girl, he signed, “Did you bring any of your things with you? Extra clothing? Food?”
She shook her head. “I had to run away quickly.”
He didn’t answer. Instead, he pulled back the flap to his tepee and stepped out into the snowy blizzard.
This is the first time these two meet. And now for the second excerpt in the book, which occurs later on, but again, Amelia is asking Gray Falcon to let her go with him to rescue her sister.
Gray Falcon heard the scratch on the buckskin covering of his lodge’s entrance. At once, he knew the identity of the caller without even looking.
He said, “Ipii, enter.”
When Amelia McIntosh stepped into his lodge, he greeted her with a quick nod and a smile. Indeed, in these last few weeks, he had become used to her many visits; he even looked forward to them. At first, he had considered her a nuisance, but with her continued determination to speak with him, he had become used to her—and considered her to be a friend.
She was a pretty girl in her youthful demeanor. Her brown hair often shone with health, and her facial shape looked more heart-like than round or straight. Her cheeks most often were rosy, and her eyes were gray—the color of his namesake, the gray falcon. But, the color of her eyes was unusual, for it often changed depending on the shade of her clothing.
She was not flirtatious with him when she came to visit, nor was he with her. This made it easy to be friends. Usually, their conversations concerned his friend and her sister, and it was through Amelia that he had learned of Eagle Heart’s marriage to the woman his friend called Ikamo’si-niistówa-iitámssin, Steals-my-breath.
“I’ve come to inform you of what my father is doing,” Amelia told him using sign language, for they had neither one learned the other’s language.
He nodded and gestured toward the place across the fire opposite to him. It was his way of asking her to be seated.
As she sat down upon the buffalo robe which he had long ago placed there especially for her, she continued, “My father has hired a Crow scout who brags he can track anyone or anything, and he and my father have left the fort to go in search of my sister and your friend. My father has told my mother he intends to catch your friend and my sister together, and he means to kill Eagle Heart and bring Laylah back home.” She glanced away from him, and he saw so much sadness within her look he felt compelled to rush to her side and give her comfort. But, she was not his to touch nor to hug, not even as one friend might give aid to another.
“My mother begged him not to do this,” continued Amelia, “but, my father is determined. ‘No daughter of mine,’ he’d said, ‘is going to leave a perfectly good man at the altar to run off with a savage.’ Even now, my mother is in her room, crying. I have come to you to ask if your business at the fort is done and, if it is, if you might be able to track behind my father and the Crow scout. It is in my mind to ask you to prevent my father from killing your friend. If my father really does find them and he murders Eagle Heart, I know my sister will never forgive him. And I would not ever see her again.”
He nodded and, by way of gestures, said, “I will do as you ask. The trade I came here to do is finished, and I have been preparing to go on the trail of my friend and join him in his search of his brother. I have only delayed leaving because he is newly married and would not appreciate me interrupting his first days together with his bride. But, now is the right time to go, though only a few weeks have passed.”
“You will do this for me, for my sister, too?”
“Áa,” he said, then continued in sign, “If your father and a Crow scout are on his trail, I must leave at once. It is good that all my trading is now concluded.”
“I want to come with you.”
Gray Falcon was taken aback and signed, “You cannot. It is not safe for you to come with me.”
“I would, too, be safe. My father would never hurt me.”
“It matters not. Bullets can go astray as can arrows. And, there is another reason you cannot go: you must not be alone with me on the trail. You are too young and others will think that we… No, if your father means to kill my friend, where I am going could be very dangerous.”
“I know,” she signed. “I still want to go with you. And, I disagree with you about being alone together. After all, I’m here with you now, and nothing has happened.”
“Saa,” he said. He then signed, “There are many others in this camp who can see our shadows on the tepee, and I have always ensured our silhouettes are never close together. You also come here frequently, and so many of my people are accustomed to seeing you with me. But, being on the trail with me is different. We would be entirely alone.”
“Instead,” he continued, “please stay here and keep my friend’s lodge with you until either he or I can return and claim it from you.”
“My mother could do this, and I could then go with you.”
“Saa.” The word was more emphatic said the second time. “It is too dangerous. You are too young. People will think bad things about you if I allow you to travel with me and if I don’t also marry you. And, you are too young for me to marry.”
“I am not. My grandmother on my father’s side married my grandfather when she was fourteen. I am fourteen, soon to be fifteen.”
“You forget. I have not asked you to marry me.”
She glanced up at him with a look of reserve in her eyes. It was an emotion he had not witnessed in her demeanor before now.
She asked, “Are you married to someone else?”
He sighed deeply, then signed, “I am not. But, you must not do this. It is the man’s place to ask the woman.”
“I am waiting….”
He laughed. He had often found her to be an amusing girl, but this… He was Indian, she was white and her father was tracking his friend, Eagle Heart because he had dared to marry his other daughter. This was trouble. She was trouble. And, it was drama he did not wish to court.
After a moment, she breathed in deeply and signed, “If you will not let me go with you, will you at least kiss me goodbye?”
“Saa,” he said. He followed the word with sign and said, “We are not a married couple that we might kiss, and I say this again: you are too young for me to marry. You must be content to grow up and wait.”
“And, then you’ll ask me?”
He chuckled again. “If I were to marry you,” he signed, “I would be as bad off as the hawk who must do the bidding of his mate. Always, you would be squawking at me like the female sparrow to do this or that. A man likes to have peace in his home.”
“Well, I can see I will have to do it, then.”
She came up to her feet, paced toward him and, bending, kissed him on the lips. He was startled—not by her behavior, because he had come to expect these kinds of occurrences from her. No, he was shocked because it felt good. Too good.
He looked up at her with new eyes, but he did not kiss her back. Instead, he scooted as far away from her as his lodge would allow.
Nevertheless, she followed him, knelt in front of him and signed, “I will never forget your friendship with me at a time when I desperately needed a friend. And, I hope you will never forget me.”
He nodded. He would not forget her, nor would he be able to put her kiss very far out of his mind. But, all he signed in response was, “Do not fear. I will always remember you. Will you come here tomorrow to see me off on my journey and take the tepee and other possessions from me?”
“I will be leaving early in the morning, before the sun is up in the eastern sky.”
“I know,” she signed. Then she smiled at him as she came up to her feet and, turning away from him, strode toward the tepee’s entrance flap. Before she stepped over the bottom fold, however, she looked over her shoulder and smiled at him again. She whispered, “Wait for me,” in English, and then she was gone.
He didn’t know what she’d said, yet he nodded all the same. And, as he watched her go, he prayed the time when she would grow into adulthood might pass quickly, for he did wish to see her again and experience her kiss once more. But, perhaps when they were both a little older.
Well, that’s all for today! Hope you enjoyed reading the excerpt. Again, the book is on sale at Amazon for $2.99 and is is also on KU so you might be able to read it for free.