Book 2, The Clan of the Wolf Series
He saved her life, then stole her heart….
To escape an arranged marriage, Mia Carlson, daughter of a U.S. senator,
instead elopes with the man she loves. As they are escaping from her Virginia
home, heading west, their wagon train is brutally attacked, leaving Mia alone and
in grave danger. Rescue comes from a most unlikely source, a passing Lakota
scouting party, led by the darkly handsome Indian, Brave Wolf.
Although Brave Wolf has consented to guide Mia to the nearest trading post,
he holds himself apart from her, for his commitments lie elsewhere. But long days
on the trail lead to a deep connection with the red-haired beauty. Yet, he can’t stop
wondering why death and danger stalk this beautiful woman, forcing him to rescue
her time and again. Who is doing this, and why?
One thing is clear, however: Amid the flurry of dodging assassin bullets,
Brave Wolf and Mia come into possession of a powerful love. But is it all for
naught? Will Brave Wolf’s obligations and Mia’s secret enemy from the past
finally succeed in the sinister plot to destroy their love forever?
Warning: Sensuous romance and cameo appearances of Tahiska and Kristina from
the book, Lakota Surrender, might cause a happily-ever-after to warm your heart.
He astonished her. Before they set out upon their journey this day, he produced a pouch full of water, and handing her a sprig of grass that smelled like mint, he showed her how to use the plant to clean her teeth. Next, he set out a small piece of buckskin on the ground, and made the signs for wetting it and washing the face.
“Yes, thank you,” she told him. “I understand. These are for me to wash and prepare myself for the day.”
“Hau, hau,” he said.
“But where did you find the water?”
“A buffalo wallow? What is that?”
“Place where…buffalo bulls fight…”
“A place where buffalo bulls fight? You mean those muddy holes I’ve seen across the prairie – where the bulls lock horns and go round and round? This water must be dirty.”
“Water…clean enough to…wash face.”
“Yes, well, that might be a matter of opinion, but it doesn’t matter. I am not in the comfort of my home, and I am certainly in no position to be picky. I thank you.”
He surprised her again when he produced a brush. It was crudely cut, a wooden stick carved so as to mimic a comb, but in case she didn’t realize its use, he used it in the pretense of combing his hair. When finished, he laid the “brush” out for her use.
“I…this is very kind of you, Mr. Lakota.”
He nodded, and leaving these things in her possession, he rose up to his full height and trod away from her. She starred at his departing figure, noticing idly that his masculine gait blew his breechcloth back and forth in the wind. At once she was contrite for the observation, and she felt more than a little disrespectful to Jeffrey’s memory.
Still, she hadn’t thought to bring such items. When they had first set out upon the trail, her attention had been so introspective that to even consider what toiletries she might need had been beyond her ability. But he had thought to pack them…for her? Perhaps.
Whether for her, or for some other reason, she was thankful that he’d had the foresight to remember them. Slowly, with some apprehension, she picked up the “comb” and began the long process of chasing the knots from her hair.
Awhile later, Mr. Lakota returned to her, and squatting in front of her, he produced a kit from another one of those numerous bags he carried. Opening it, he pulled out some “paint,” and placed a red dot on the crease between her eyes.
When she looked at him questioningly, he explained, “Hot sun…protect against…”
She nodded, and gazing a little ways up at him, she again compared him to a walking arsenal. A rather handsome and human one, true, but he looked prepared for battle. He wore many of their bags around his shoulders as well as his bow and quiver full of arrows. Resting on his thighs were two rifles, and there were rounds of ammunition strapped around his waist.
He uttered, “We…go now.”
“Yes,” she murmured, her tone of voice guttural, which caused her to introspect. What was wrong with her?
He was still squatting in front of her when he replaced the red paint in a pouch, and produced similar pots of white and black paint. With a firm hand, he dabbed the colors on his own face, making a pattern that reminded her of how he had appeared the first time she had seen him.
She shivered. She would rather have not recalled that memory.
“Why do you use that paint on your face?” she asked quietly, perhaps with the hope that talking might distract her from her own thoughts.
“Stop sun…from burning…and…look…fierce…if meet…enemy.”
She gasped. “Do you think we’ll be coming into contact with an enemy?”
He shrugged. “Perhaps. Come,” he said as he came up onto his feet. “We leave…now. Long…walk.” And with this short and to-the-point explanation, he turned away from her, his gait swift.
“Wait!” she called as she jumped to her feet and followed him. “May I carry one of those bags?”
He turned back toward her, a frown marring his countenance. Quickly his gaze scanned her from the top of her head to the tips of her toes.
“We…walk far. Bag could…be…heavy for…one not used to…travel…by foot…one who…grieving…”
“Yes, it could,” she replied. “And if it does become so, I will let you know so that you might help me.”
He nodded, although he did give her a strange, searching stare. Nevertheless, he released one of the pouches from around his shoulders, took a step toward her and placed it gently over her head. However, he appeared to take much too much care to avoid touching her hair or her shoulders, or any part of her at all. For her comfort? For his? All in all, she supposed she appreciated his care.
For the pulse of a swift moment, he stood back looking at her with an appreciative glance. Was he admiring his handiwork, she wondered, or was he approving of her?
Briefly, she smiled, and was surprised to see that his gaze lingered over her lips. But the look was quickly gone, and as he turned away, she asked herself again whether that glint of admiration was for her.
No. Probably, she thought, the sun had got into his eye…