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Can a white woman whose family has been slaughtered by Indians, and a Crow warrior who despises the white man, find love and peace with each other, thereby rectifying mistakes of another lifetime? Are sacred visions and predictions enough to overcome hatred and fear of foreign cultures?
Elisabeth Ryan and Arakashe, captive and captor, conquer these obstacles, only to find their love thwarted by the scheming and jealousy of others who seek to drive them apart…again…
Weary, Elisabeth opened her eyes.
Her breath caught in her throat, locked around her heart. Elisabeth scrambled back. The painted savage loomed down and a whimper scuttled up her throat. The heathen locked his fingers onto her upper arms and hauled her to her feet. Pain tore through her ankle. Her leg jerked up, tipping her off balance into his buckskin‑covered chest. She yelped and wrenched back. His fingers gripped tighter, forcing her still, inches from the pungent smell of his shirt. The aroma she'd once so loved in Old Grandfather.
Painted Indian's out for killin'! Hobbie Sears crowed in her mind and Elisabeth looked away from that painted mask. She leaned back. The Indian pulled. His right hand released her arm, moved for her face. Such long fingers. Long and lean and strong and she imagined them closing around her throat. Squeezing her eyes shut, she turned her face aside.
The Indian grasped her chin. "Dictawice."
His voice was unexpected, deep and quiet. She shuddered and moaned, straining to pull from his touch, his scrutiny.
"Dictawice," he repeated, and then again, "Dictawice!"
Elisabeth's eyes flew open. She heard his sharp breath and drew in her own as eyes so black they seemed onyx shone through those ghastly slashes of red and black and yellow paint. His hands crept hot and damp up the sides of her face. His eyes darted back and forth to hers, hoarsely whispered words coming from his throat.
His fingers spread through her hair to the back of her head, a light pressure drawing her closer. She realized with awful finality that while her family fed the wolves, she'd be the feast for this savage's lust.
"No." She retreated two steps. His hands at the back of her head drew her in. His head lowered, that ugly mask closing in until she felt his hot breath brush her mouth.
"Please," she whispered, to him, to God, "not this...."
She trembled in a cold sweat. Her teeth chattered. Was it for this she'd spurned Tim, saved her virginity? To have it torn by a monster who'd not appreciate its worth and would then strangle her and take her scalp. "Please¼"
The mask retreated, the paint on the forehead and between the brows drew in. He tipped his head. The bright features relaxed, the paint cracking as the skin eased back into place.
"Tsire'sa," he said in just above a whisper.
That voice, almost soothing, so incongruous to the hideously colored face. His large hands on her cheeks felt unseemingly gentle. He was so tall. His buckskin smell so untamed. He pulled her closer. Her knees buckled.
"Help me!" Her knees touched the ground. A twig snapped under the left and pierced the skin. He knelt before her, hands tight on her arms. "Sweet Jesus, help me!"
He stilled. Barbarous infidel, the Indian heard her prayer and stopped. He released her and Elisabeth sat back, lowering her head to her bent knees.
Enough...enough...I've had enough...
"Bi ikya," he said and touched her arm. "Bi ikya, huu!" He got easily to his feet and drew her up with him. She resisted and he commanded, "Arahuuwa!"
More gruff words tumbled from his mouth, accompanied by abrupt hand motions ordering her to gather her belongings.
He was taking her with him!
Elisabeth couldn't move. For all she knew he was one of those savages that had, without reason, slaughtered her family. Sparing her was no reprieve, she was sure. Lurid tales of beatings and rape raced through her mind. She stared at him without breath or beating heart.
The warrior nodded to her clothes on the bush. Authority shot from those coal black eyes. He was so fearsome, so imposing. She knew she couldn't resist. Trembling with fear, and frustration at her helplessness, she limped away to do his bidding.
She snatched her clean yellow dress from the quilt and pulled it over her head. Slowly, stalling, she folded each laundered garment when taking it from the bush. Skirt, blouse. Towel.
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 432
Paper Weight (lb): 18.0
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