The Eagle and the Flame
(The Wild West Series Book 1)
A vision foretold his tribe’s doom. Is the flame-haired beauty the trickster or his true love?
Lucinda Glenforest’s father, a general who’d fought in the Indian Wars, taught his flame-haired daughter to out-shoot even the best men the military could put up against her. When Luci’s sister is seduced and abandoned, it’s up to Luci to defend her honor in a duel. Although she wins, the humiliated captain and his powerful family vow vengeance. The sisters’ only hope is to flee and hide until their father returns from his overseas mission. Out of money, Luci hatches a plan to disguise herself as a boy and use her sharpshooting skills in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.
The chief of the Assiniboine tribe has a terrifying vision, that someone called the deceiver, or trickster, spells doom for the children of his tribe. He enlists Charles Wind Eagle to join Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, in hopes of appealing to the President of the United States for help, and to find and stop the deceiver. When Wind Eagle is paired with a girl whom he knows is disguised as a boy, he believes she might be the deceiver. Still, she stirs his heart in ways he must resist, for he has a secret that can never be told, nor ignored. And Luci can never forget that her father would destroy Wind Eagle if she were to fall in love with him.
Forced to work together, they can’t deny their growing attraction. Will Luci and Wind Eagle find a way through the lies to find true love? Or will they be consumed by the passion of deception and slander?
Warning: A sensuous romance that might cause a girl to join the rodeo in order to find true love.
Her voice was soft as she asked, “Didn’t you say you would kiss me?”
“I already did,” he answered.
“No, you didn’t,” she contradicted. “That was a mere peck on my cheek.”
“It was a kiss.”
“When I asked my invisible friend to kiss me, I meant on the lips. And, since you are and have become that invisible partner, will you do it?”
“Why not?” It was more than her tone of voice that had laced her question with disappointment.
He sighed. “Because,” he said, “you are my ally in the show, and there must be no hint of your womanhood allowed into our relationship. Besides, although you stand before me in all your womanly beauty now, I know that on the morrow when we have our next performance, I will behold a woman pretending to be a boy. I do not kiss such women.”
She sighed. “Then I guess I will remain nineteen, and ne’er be kissed.” There was a twinkle in her eyes as she looked up toward him.
He stated a warning, saying, “Do not tease me, and do not dare me to do it.”
“I am not. I am stating a truth. I have never been kissed. Not by anybody.”
He blew out his breath in a hiss. “What is wrong with the men of your acquaintance?”
She laughed a little. “I think, Mr. Eagle, that they are afraid of me. But I don’t believe that you are.” She smiled up at him.
He bent toward her, and, despite himself, he was well aware of his body’s readiness for her. But this was all wrong. And, in self-defense, he uttered, “I must go.”
“Will we have no more dances, then?”
“Not tonight.” He dropped his arms from around her. He needed to get away from her. In truth, he was in great need of a long, cold swim, followed by intense soul-searching.
And then she did it. Rising up to tiptoe, she brought her face up to his and urged her lips to his. It was nothing, really. Just her bare lips against his own; no lip pressure in the gesture.
Yet, it was as though a light flashed brightly within him. Indeed, the simple kiss provided him with such a perfect carnality, he felt himself ready to make love to her now, and to the devil with the consequences. But he mustn’t. All the same, he whispered, “You call that a kiss?”
“Well…yes, I believe that I do.”
“You are truly innocent, I fear.” And with nothing else said, he threw away all his reasonable arguments against her, and took control of the kiss, opening her mouth and tracing its inner recess with his tongue, kissing her as a lover might, discovering the taste of her, playing tag with her tongue. He felt her surrender to him, and, without thinking, he broke off the kiss on her lips to trail wet caresses over to her ear, down her neck. It was with the barest of grips on himself that he drew back and brought his head up to a level with hers, placing his forehead against hers. Then he whispered, “That, Miss Deceiving Woman, is a kiss.”
Iron Wolf’s Bride
(The Wild West Series Book 2)
I will return to you, my love…
Jane Glenforest’s father believed she was too young to marry, so he’d stolen her and her newborn son away from the handsome Assiniboine Indian she’d wed and taken her to Surrey, England. In spite of divorce papers and rumors he’s wed another, Jane’s never forgotten the man who’d stolen her heart and given her son legitimacy. When Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show comes to England—bringing her ex-husband with it—Jane’s curious to see her lost love, in spite of her new fiancé.
Although Iron Wolf’s purpose in working for Bill Cody’s Wild West show is to fulfill his father’s vision to find and stop a deceiver, he fell in love with and married Jane Glenforest. But, no sooner had Jane given birth than her father stole her away. Now, a few years later, Iron Wolf is arriving in England with the hope of rekindling the love he once shared with Jane. However, instead of love, he finds his wife loathes him, believing he has married another. And, when he discovers she is engaged to another man, he declares war on both her and the fiancé.
But when their son is kidnapped, Jane and Iron Wolf must work together to rescue him. And, as danger escalates, they discover trusting each other might be the only way to save their son. Will Jane and Iron Wolf learn to forgive one another, to reignite the embers of a passion that never died, or will the lies of a deceiver destroy their love forever?
Warning: Rediscovered love might cause sleepless nights spent in the arms of one’s true love.
Iron Wolf at last admitted that he had failed. There were so many train tracks intersecting each other. For two days he had followed several different tracks, only to realize that none of them was the one that the general had used to take away his bride.
It had been a long time coming, but he realized now that what he was doing wasn’t producing anything except frustration. But what could he do?
Asking that question caused him to look inward, giving him a possible answer: he had been so focused on his lack of experience with the white man’s iron horse, their tracks and the busy vibration waves of cities, that he had forgotten that a scout has many avenues of communication, and that speaking was only one of those. Taking the buckskin reins of his pony in hand, he led it to a patch of ground where lush grasses grew, and, letting the animal feast upon the treat, Iron Wolf sat down, cross-legged.
Closing his eyes, he let his focus expand outward in the way of the ancient scouts. He searched for her, silently seeking her in the spiritual realm.
“Is that you, Iron Wolf?” she asked in a form of communication without words.
“It is I. I look for you. Where are you?”
“New York Harbor. My father is taking me and our son to a ship which is to sail across the Atlantic Ocean.”
“Where is this harbor?”
He saw a picture of the place in her mind’s “eye.” He knew this harbor, for he had sailed into it only months ago, he being part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. But where was it from here?
She continued, using only thought, “It is on the Hudson River, where it empties into New York Bay. We leave in the morning.”
“I will come to you. Look for me. Keep me in your thoughts so I might more easily find you.”
That ended their unspoken communication. He would go there at once.
People rushed by him without looking at him, and the noise on the street confused him. Above him were wires crisscrossing the street, and, on the street where he trod, vendors sold their wares, their barking voices drowning out any other sound. These merchant wagons were everywhere, littering the street and causing jams, as a multitude of humanity rushed furiously around the obstacles. The speed in this town was dizzying to Iron Wolf, but each lackluster face he saw was even more troubling. These people noticed nothing, not even the wealth of the kinship of other living beings around them; they seemed unaware that we are all of one family. Áwicakeya, each person he looked at appeared to be enchanted, as though held by some evil force.
Buildings rose up on each side of the street, pushing in upon him, and, with the structures reaching up higher than the tallest tepee, Iron Wolf felt closed-in. Everywhere, and on every street corner, resided children of various ages; they were hungry, they looked tired and they acted as though they had no one in the world who loved them or cared for them.
He had seen faces like these on the streets in England, where children shivered in the cold and starved because of lack of food and the means to procure it. Unfortunately, the plight of these youngsters before him now looked all too similar to those in England. What was wrong with the white man’s cities that they pushed their youth out onto the streets to fight with each other over crumbs of bread?
And, while these infants were clearly weak from the abuse of hunger, there were numerous men and women who passed by the youngsters as though these juvenile, dirty faces didn’t exist. Worse, Iron Wolf had already seen these wealthy men and women parading their well-fed dogs and other pets through the streets of this city.
These men, he thought, might be rich in material goods, but they were vacant incompassion. Such cruelty to the young was unknown to Iron Wolf and his people. In an Assiniboine village, children were treated as though each child were the kin of all the people.
Looking at these youngsters in this city of New York, he lost his heart to them. But, though he wished to, he dared not stop to give them aid; not this morning. His mission was to rescue his bride and bring her home—to his lodge within the Wild West Show.
He glanced around. Where was New York Harbor from here? The noise and confusion was so great that he could not determine which way would lead him to the harbor and to her ship. She had said that they were to set sail this morning. Was he too late?
He attempted to ask one man for help, but that man rushed on by without speaking. Iron Wolf tried again. Surely someone would help point him in the right direction. But, it was not to be.
At last, he saw a boy who was perhaps seven years old; he was sitting alone upon a street corner. He didn’t appear to be in the good graces of the other boys who were either fighting amongst themselves or were shouting out words like…- “Extra. Extra. Read all about it. Get your paper here.”
Leading his pony by his buckskin reins and ignoring the other boys, Iron Wolf approached the small lad, and, squatting down beside the child, asked, “Can you tell me how I might find New York Harbor?”
The young boy looked up; his eyes widened, as though in fear. Iron Wolf understood, for he was dressed in his Indian garb, complete with quiver, bow and arrows.
Iron Wolf said, “I mean you no harm. I am trying to find New York Harbor.”
“Gee, mister, are you a real Indian?”
“I am. Will you help me? Do you know the way to New York Harbor?”
“Sure, mister. Can you read street signs?”
“Okay. Go up that way…,” He pointed, “…About two blocks. Golly, do you know what a block is?”
“Good. Turn left and go straight about 10 or more blocks. Once you get to the water, turn right. You’ll see it then. Lots of ships there.”
“I thank you.” Reaching up behind him, Iron Wolf removed one of the eagle feathers that he wore in his hair. He handed it to the youngster, saying, “This is the feather of an eagle. The eagle is sacred to my people, the Assiniboine, for it is told to us that the eagle saved our world long ago. This feather…it is now yours.”
The boy stretched out a hand to accept the gift. He smiled. “Thank you, mister. What tribe did you say you were from?”
“Gee, I wonder if anyone will believe that I talked to a real Indian?”
Iron Wolf grinned back at the boy, then said, “The eagle feather might cause others to think you speak the truth. May the Creator watch over you and help you.”
Rising up to his full stature, Iron Wolf took his leave and trod in the direction the boy had pointed out. It was good, because, following those simple directions, it wasn’t long before he spotted the ships. Still leading his pony, he broke into a trot, expanding his awareness outwardly to find her. Which ship was hers?
“Where are you?” he asked without words.
“I am here, in the harbor.”
He saw in his mind’s eye her location.
“But hurry, Iron Wolf,” she entreated. “Our ship is starting to pull out of port.”
Running forward, his progress was hampered by the longshoremen who worked at the port. Wood, boards, and machines stood in his way, causing him to side-step them, his pony following his lead.
Iron Wolf beheld the one ship that was only now starting to draw away from its dock. He quickened his pace, racing forward. Could he jump the short distance to the vessel and pull himself up to its deck? Yes, he could and he would.
Looking outward, he saw that many boards were piled up next to the ship’s dock and that they formed a slight rise. Enough to give him speed and leverage. Iron Wolf raced toward that place, pausing only to ask one of those strange and burly longshoremen to hold his pony.
“Iron Wolf!” He heard Jane’s shouted words over the noise around him. “Hurry, Iron Wolf! Please! We are leaving!”
He looked up and beheld his bride with their baby in her arms. He saw her give their son to her father to hold, for the general was standing at her side. She leaned over the railing and shouted, “Hurry!”
That was all the incentive he needed to spur him on, and, speeding toward the tall pile of boards, Iron Wolf ran up it and took a flying leap toward the ship, his arms stretched outward, his legs moving as though they would help him to fly. For a moment, he felt as though he were a bird.
He was going to make it!
He reached out toward the ship’s railing. He was there. His fingers touched the railing’s wooden frame. His fingernails scratched it.
But, there was little to no grip for him to hold onto. With arms and feet outstretched and shuffling about to give him momentum, he bent forward, seeking a place to grab hold of.
But it was not to be. The ship moved away slightly, and, as it did so, Iron Wolf slipped down, the railing now out of his grasp.
He fell down with a loud splash into the water, and, within only a few minutes, a small boat approached him, several men there reaching out to pull him up into the boat. A blanket was produced by one of those men, who set it around Iron Wolf’s shoulders.
“That was quite a leap, young man,” observed an older gentleman, one of the longshoremen. “Never seen anything like it. Wish you had made it.”
Tears stung Iron Wolf’s eyes. He had been so close to rescuing her. And now she was gone. He couldn’t even see her anymore, although he did believe he heard her wails over the sound of the waves.
As he watched the ship gradually fade into the distance, his voice was shaky as he answered the older man, saying, “I wish, also, that I had ‘made it.’”
The man patted him on the shoulder. “She’ll never forget ‘ya. Your attempt today will remain within her heart forever. Now, come on, young fella, let’s get to shore, and, if’n you’ll let me, I’ll buy ‘ya a cup of coffee.”
Iron Wolf nodded. It was all he could do, for words failed him.
She was gone.