Authors: Cassie Edwards
Winner of the
Lifetime Achievement Award for Best Indian Series
“Cassie Edwards writes action-packed, sexy reads!
Romance fans will be more than satisfied!”
“I do not like that word âhostage,' or âcaptive,'” High Hawk said. “It is not my habit to take either. And I do not see you as my captive. You are with me for a specific reason. The moon's glow showed me to you. Destiny made it so.”
“A specific reason?” Joylynn gasped out. “Destiny? The moon showed me to you? What sort of nonsense is all of that? You heard my horse and came for it, to steal it, and then could not pass up the opportunity to take a woman to your lodge with you to do . . . to . . . do whatever you plan to do with me.”
“Plan to do with you?” High Hawk said softly. He reached a hand out for her, to touch her face, only to have her slap it away. “In time you will understand why I had to find you and bring you to be among my people.”
“I will never understand why you abducted me,” Joylynn cried. “It is wrong. All of what you have done tonight is wrong.”
Other books by Cassie Edwards:
TOUCH THE WILD WIND
ROSES AFTER RAIN
WHEN PASSION CALLS
SECRETS OF MY HEART
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Copyright Â© 2006 by Cassie Edwards
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Trade ISBN: 978-1-4285-1805-6
E-book ISBN: 978-1-4285-0409-7
First Dorchester Publishing, Co., Inc. edition: October 2006
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I lovingly dedicate
to a darling friend, Joylynn Pratt, who is no longer
with us, but who will be remembered forever in this book,
whose heroine is named after Joylynn. Before God took her
away, Joylynn was aware of her name being used in
and that the book would be,
in part, dedicated to her.
I also include some other special people in this dedication:
Bob and Kay Ostermiller of Colorado, and also Sandy
Harkcom, who was Joylynn's loving caretaker.
My soul whispers softly,
A heart cries out loud.
Do you hear it?
Is it not loud enough?
A spirit abandoned,
A soul betrayed.
My soul whispers softly,
Our past but blood in the earth.
The only drums, my heart pounding
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â in my chest.
The only pride, that which is hidden
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â deep beneath my breast.
My heritage, I will never lay to rest.
poet, fan, and friend
Nebraska TerritoryâAugust l86l
Westward, the horizon swallowed the sun, belching red skyward, turning everything in its path a lovely violet color. A village of one hundred tepees sat in a horseshoe shape beside a winding river, everything peaceful at this early evening hour. The children ran and played, sending laughter into the air. The elderly men of this Wolf band of Pawnee sat around a huge outdoor fire, smoking their long, feathered pipes. The women were cleaning up after the evening meal, some taking their baskets of wooden dishes to the river, some washing their dinnerware in small wooden basins in the privacy of their lodges.
High Hawk, a young warrior of twenty-six winters and son of the band's chief, Rising Moon, sat with his father. Beside the lodge of his
were thick, rich pelts where they could rest comfortably. They
were talking of serious matters, man to man, while High Hawk's
, his mother, was at the river with the other women.
Although it was August, the evenings had a coolness to them, and a soft wind stirred the entrance flap behind High Hawk.
“High Hawk, again I remind you that you are the last of the bloodline of our family who can be chief, until you yourself have a son,” Chief Rising Moon said. He rested the bowl of his pipe on his bare knee, smoke spiraling in tiny wisps from it. “Your brother, Sleeping Wolf, who is three winters older than you, can never be chief. He is crippled and cannot even fire an arrow from a bowstring.”
Rising Moon placed the stem of the pipe between his teeth and, sucking on it, brought the rich aroma of the tobacco into his mouth and down his throat, gazing with proud admiration at his younger son.
While Rising Moon wore beaded moccasins and a warm buffalo robe decorated with colorful quills, his son, who could bear the changing temperatures better, wore only a brief breechclout and moccasins.
Rising Moon wore a lone eagle feather secured in a loop of his raven-black hair that hung down at the right side, as did his son.
When Rising Moon too was stripped down to only a breechclout, it was scarcely evident that the older man had once been as muscled as his young
son. Now his chest caved in, and the skin was wrinkled across it.
It was not only the muscles of his son's young body that attracted women to High Hawk, but also the sculpted features of his face. He was admired as a noted hunter and warrior, an energetic young man who would one day work as tirelessly for the good of the Wolf band as his chieftain father.
Thus far High Hawk had ignored such attention from women, for he had not yet found a maiden who made his heart pound inside his chest, as Rising Moon's had when he had first laid eyes on his wife of thirty winters, Blanket Woman.
It was Rising Moon's deep desire that this son would find a woman soon, for as old age now claimed Rising Moon, he was afraid he might never see his grandchildren. He longed for a grandson whom he could teachâhow to shoot an arrow, how to ride a pony. When a son was born to his second-born, Rising Moon did not plan to be chief any longer. He would pass that responsibility on to High Hawk. The new chief's duties would take him from his son, leaving the boy in the care of his grandfather to learn things only a man could teach him, as it had been when Rising Moon had first had a son.
had tried hard to teach Rising Moon's first-born, Sleeping Wolf, the skills of a young brave, but to his sorrow he learned that Sleeping Wolf would never be able to do anything
that normal young braves did. He had been born with his affliction.
High Hawk, on the other hand, had been born with a straight back and was a quick learner. Rising Moon had been determined that his second son would be everything his first son was not.
And, ah, how High Hawk had brought pride into the heart of his chieftain father.
But Rising Moon loved his first-born no less, for it was not Sleeping Wolf's fault that he came from his mother's womb with a twisted back.
Even now, as Sleeping Wolf walked in the moccasins of an adult, he could not ride a horse or even hold a bow straight, much less fire an arrow from its string.
But even so, this son was loved as much as the second-born, and was shown that love in every way that a father and mother could demonstrate it.
, your mind seems to have drifted from what you were saying about my being the last of our family's bloodline,” High Hawk said. He studied his father's expression as it changed quickly from contemplative to serious.
, yes, my mind wandered, as it is prone to do too often of late,” Rising Moon said. “That is proof, in itself, why your attentiveness to what I say this evening is important.”
“What do you want of me that brings such seriousness into our conversation?” High Hawk asked, searching his father's eyes. Those midnight-black
eyes had faded as his age progressed, something that seemed to be happening much too quickly of late.
It sorely pained High Hawk to think of the topics they were discussing, yet he understood why they must be broached. Because of his father's age and inability to think as clearly as before, it was time for such talks.
And it was also time for High Hawk to get serious about finding a woman for himself. He would be chief one day soon, and the chief of the Wolf band should have a wife and son to share the honor with him.