A love A love that defies the ocean. A secret deeper than blood.
Lakota Princess, Book 3
Driven from her home in England by hostile political forces, Estrela was little more than a girl when she came to be raised by a far western Lakota tribe. On the wide, sweeping plains she grew tall and strong, and won the love of a handsome warrior.
But on the eve of their marriage, she is torn away from her native family, torn from the man she loves, and forced to return to a place that feels more like a foreign country than her home. There she merely exists, haunted by her love’s sweet kisses and heated embrace, yearning for his unforgettable touch.
Black Bear has braved the ocean to find the woman whose beauty has captured his soul. But no sooner has he arrived in England than he is called upon to save her life. Who in their right mind would want to murder such a gentle spirit?
As Black Bear comes between her and death time after time, Estrela wishes they could both just disappear back to the plains, and bury the secret she has long hidden –- even from him. A secret from which only their love, truer than blood, can save them.
This is the 25th Year Anniversary Edition of the book.
Warning: Sensuous romance that contains separated lovers who will let nothing come between them…not oceans, her mysterious past, or a murderer bent on destroying their future.
It was in either 2011 or 2012 when my books, which were mass-market paperbacks, got turned into e-books. At the time I didn’t realize the number of mistakes that could be made in the conversion process, and so when it came time to edit those early stories, I didn’t pay too much attention to the books because they had been thoroughly edited when they were put out as mass-market paperbacks.
Sometime in 2017. the rights for one of my books, THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF, reverted back to me, and for the first time, I had to be the one to turn a mass-market paperback book into an e-book. This was when I became aware, really, for the first time that there could be several errors in the book due to the conversion process. Thinking back on it, I began my career before there were any digital books and most of the work on manuscripts was done by hand, not a digital computer.
With this realization, so began the incredible work on my earlier books (from the late 1990’s). It’s quite a process to go back over these books. It involves re-editing the entire book, fixing those edits, then re-editing those things I “fixed.” To date, with the re-editing and re-releasing of LAKOTA PRINCESS, the entire three book series, the Lakota Series, is now re-released as 25th Year Anniversary Books. One of the books (Lakota Surrender) needed a new cover. The other two books did not, but all of those covers are redone so as to distinguish the Anniversary books from the other.
Lakota Surrender is the first book in the series. Proud Wolf’s Woman is book #2 and Lakota Princess is book #3.
Something I should mention about this series is this: At this time, back in the late ’90s, books weren’t necessarily written as a “series.” So all of these books, although in a series, are stand-alone books. Lakota Surrender and Proud Wolf’s Woman are related books. But Lakota Princess is only related to the other two books because it’s about the Lakota tribe.
Most of my books (I have twenty that are published at present) are thoroughly edited as e-books. But, I still have six books from my earlier titles to go through and ensure the mistakes are fixed. One by one, we’re doing them. It’s a bit of a long process though.
So, with the release this month of Lakota Princess, my first three published books are now thoroughly edited and back on the market in e-book and also paperback. Yay!
Thank you so much for reading my newsletter. I’ll leave you with an excerpt from the newest Anniversary Book release, Lakota Princess.
By Karen Kay
Estrela smiled. Yes, she supposed she’d had some “strange ways” when she’d reached England, almost five years ago.
Anna bent over to pick up the blue gown, holding it out toward her mistress. But Estrela, caught up in her own thoughts, turned slowly away, striding back toward the windows. She laid a hand on the door at the same time a breeze blew in, bringing with it something else…an effusive fragrance…his scent.
A memory stirred, a vision; without her willing it, the sweet image of him swept before her. And, as though caught in a dream she could neither change nor control, she remembered other things. His touch. The taste of his lips. The feel of his body against hers. She inhaled sharply. She swayed. And all at once the fragrance from the garden was her undoing. It was the same scent, the same rosy fragrance that had been there that last day. The last day she had seen him.
Estrela closed her eyes and for just a moment, one delicate instant in time, she allowed herself to remember.
She moaned. She shouldn’t. Estrela tried to pull up her thoughts, but it was useless. She could not keep them at bay.
It was a warm spring day, and the Earl of Langsford waited for her as she and Mato Sapa returned to camp, the two young people’s moccasined feet making little sound over the newly washed, green grasses. Estrela sniffed at the air appreciatively, noting the fragrance of the wild rose and of the welcoming campfires that scented the moist air. They strode into camp, the Indian brave in front, Estrela following. Both she and Mato Sapa were trying to restrain their joy. Estrela was looking down so she didn’t see the Earl until she was almost upon him.
“Ma!” she exclaimed, the Indian interjection proclaiming her surprise. She hadn’t known the Earl had returned, and at first, all she registered was astonishment, though her shock gradually subsided into a shy smile. Still she dared not look up at the Earl, observing a form of Lakota courtesy.
Four years. Four years the Earl had been gone. It was a long time for the man to be away. A long time to wait. And so much had happened during that time. Why, she was thirteen winters now, marriageable age by Indian standards, having passed into womanhood almost one year ago today.
Estrela smiled and darted a glance upward at last. It was perfect. The Earl had returned and would soon learn of her good fortune. Mato Sapa, Black Bear, had at last asked her to become one with him; to share his sleeping robes, his adventures, his very life. And she had told him she would accept his hand in marriage. It was wonderful. And her old friend, the Earl, would be here to witness her happiness. After all, wasn’t Mato Sapa going to offer his two new ponies to her Indian parents today? And wouldn’t her parents accept his proposal? Hadn’t she already spoken to her father and mother?
Estrela, her blond hair gathered in two neat braids at each side of her head, waited the required time that good manners dictated she wait, until at length, she said in Lakota, almost under her breath, “Ma! Cokanhiyuciya. Welcome home.”
“Ah, Estrela.” The Earl spoke to her in a foreign language that Estrela had not heard for so long, she at first barely understood.
She gulped. “Es-tre-la?” And though she easily spoke the words, they still sounded strained—and so foreign.
“Do you not remember your own language, my girl? Has it been so long?” the Earl asked.
She understood what he said. Strange. Though his speech was odd, she could comprehend him. She answered, however, in Lakota.
“Wa-ksuya. I remember,” she said. “And yes, it has been a long time.”
“I’ve come to bring you home.”
“Yes,” the Earl said. “I have come to take you home.”
She looked up at the Earl then, catching his glance and gazing straight into his eyes.
“I am home,” she said.
“No, my girl,” the Earl said, still in English, “this is not your home.”
Mato Sapa stepped between the two of them. He glanced at Estrela, then at the Earl. His eyes narrowed. “You are upsetting her and I do not understand what you have said that would make her nervous. Speak in a language I understand,” he demanded, “so that I, too, can know what it is that distresses her.”
“You,” the Earl accused, speaking in Lakota, “have no right to speak to me like this.”
Mato Sapa raised his chin. “I am her husband.”
He nodded. “Soon.”
The Earl’s gaze flicked over the young man, down once, back up, inspecting Mato Sapa as though the old Englishman had never before seen an Indian. At length the Earl asked, “Soon?”
Mato Sapa folded his arms over his chest. “Today, I will give her parents my ponies and all that I own. Today, she will be mine. Tonight we will celebrate. You may join us in celebration.”
“Then you are not yet married?”
“Whether we are joined now or not is immaterial. We are as good as married. You will have to speak with me.”
The old Earl raised one eyebrow. He smiled. “We will see,” he said in English, making Mato Sapa frown. And before the young Indian could say another word, the Earl spun around, catching one of the Brulé band chiefs by the arm and speaking to him in Lakota. Both men disappeared into the chief’s tepee.
Mato Sapa turned to Estrela. “What did he say to you?”
Estrela didn’t answer at first, instead looking down. At last, though, she spoke, her voice barely over a whisper. “He said he is taking me home.”
“You are home.”
“Back over the sea.”
“Hiya! No! He cannot do this. I will not allow it.”
“Mato Sapa.” Estrela actually looked up at him, gazing directly into his eyes, unaware that her gaze held a plea. “I sense that you should offer for me now to my parents, before the Earl speaks with all the chiefs. Something is wrong. I fear it.”
Mato Sapa set his lips firmly closed. “I do not take orders from a woman,” he said and as Estrela sighed, he continued, “but I think I should listen beneath the tepee flap where our chief and your guardian speak. I agree with you. Something is wrong.” He smiled at her then. “Do not worry. Am I not already a great warrior? Have I not already taken many coups? Can I not defend your honor? I swear to you, you are mine. Let him try to take you from me. He will not be successful. And if he does succeed in taking you from me, I will follow. This”—he raised his chin—“I promise you.”
But in the end he could not keep her old guardian from taking her away. Mato Sapa did listen to the conversation between the Earl and the chief, but before the young Indian had the opportunity to gather his horses all together and confront Estrela’s parents, a counsel had already been held—the chiefs all in agreement. Estrela was to leave, was to return to her “home” across the great water. And no matter her protest, no matter the anger, the speeches, the demands of Mato Sapa, by evening Estrela was packed and sitting atop one of her Indian father’s prized ponies.
Her gaze sought out Mato Sapa, lingered there. She would not lower her eyes as was Indian custom; she would remember him, her love, now, forever; his solemn face, his long, dark hair rushing back against the wind, his chin jutting forward in anger. And using her hands in the age-old language of sign, she promised him, “I will return to you. Wait for me.” It was all she could say, all she could permit herself to communicate, for with one more gesture, one more sign, she knew she would break down, embarrassing not only herself, but all her friends and her parents.
And so she looked away, not seeing that Mato Sapa, Black Bear, brave warrior of the Teton Brulé Tribe, signed back, vowing to love her, to protect her, to honor her always; in word, in thought, in deed.
But she didn’t see, she didn’t hear his shouted words above the noise of the crowd. She turned away instead, just as a storm wind blew up behind her.
As she left, she almost swore that the wind spoke to her, and if she listened closely, she could hear it speak as though it were Black Bear, saying, “You are mine. It is so now. It will always be so. Do not forget it.”