Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Buy the book...

Love between a white woman and a Cherokee warrior is forbidden in Virginia in the 1820s. After killing her brother in self-defense, Lyrissa Murphy escapes to the shelter of Crazy Woman Cave. When Gray Horse Redhand tracks her there, he realizes their survival depends on joining forces and traveling to the west. Before they have the chance to leave, their encounter with a dangerous enemy leads to the discovery of an ancient burial and a beautiful spear.

Fleeing deadly pursuit from her unbalanced father, Lyrissa and Gray enter a new, unknown world. There they face threatening encounters with vicious warriors and strange animals, discover a magical future, and fall deeply in love. Their shared desire sustains and encourages them as the mysterious, enchanted spear points the way to the Dragon Fort of the Tuatha where they finally accept their new, unexpected home in the heart of Cabhán Geal.


Tracking down a white woman who murdered her brother was a fool’s errand. A warrior of the people had no business meddling in the whites’ affairs. Yet, here he was, crouched beneath a narrow, rocky shelf jutting from an ancient, granite cliff, patiently waiting out the storm’s fury. Gray Horse Redhand shook his head as he stared out at the deluge.

Wind whistled through the fall woods, snagging dying leaves and hurling them to the forest floor as rain poured from the dark, roiling clouds. Thunder rolled across the hills, punctuated by lightning zigzagging from the black sky to dance on the mountaintops. Crazy Woman Cave, a well-hidden shelter on the trails that crisscrossed the backside of the Smoky Mountains, wasn’t very far away. He calculated he could walk to the cave well before sunset if the rain stopped.

His own people, the ones the whites called Cherokee, usually shied away from using the cave. There were slyly whispered tales of encounters with the Nunnehi, the spirit people, and the Yunwi Tsundi, little people, who lived near the cave. Gray wasn’t worried about meeting the Nunnehi or the little people. If he should meet them there, he would ask for their help in finding Lyrissa.

Those who used the cave made sure they replenished the supply of dry firewood before they moved on. He decided he would stay overnight at the cave and continue his search for the missing preacher’s daughter from the settlement at Twin Brooks in the morning, though he was afraid he wouldn’t find her in time.

The men who stopped at his village looking for her had blurted out a wild tale of murder and insanity. Gray rejected the story, positive in his heart it was a pack of lies, but he kept his mouth shut. Once they were gone, he’d exchanged a long, silent look with his uncle before slipping off to the cramped willow hut he shared with his father. There he put together a small hunting pack, gathered his weapons, and set off to find the missing woman.

As he squatted on his heels with his back against the shallow shelter and watched the storm lash the trees, he wondered what circumstances would drive a woman out into the wild. Already frost was heavy on the ground in the morning. It was a foolish time of year to flee hearth and home. Only something extremely threatening would send her on the run.

Slow burning anger twisted in his belly when he recalled the last time he’d seen her. He was a young man then, filled with arrogance and pride and she—well, she was a fragile, beautiful, young girl poised on the brink of womanhood. Among his people she would already be considered ready for marriage, but the white men had a different measure of time.

Lyrissa Murphy. He remembered the day long ago—a steamy afternoon filled with summer sunshine and the first hot claws of desire. Their encounter was innocent enough. He smiled, recalling how he lurked in the cattails watching her, wondering what it would be like to lay with the girl gathering mint from the banks of a shallow stream that bordered the cleared land near her home. As she bent to break off another stem, the sharp scent filled the air. Her pert, young breasts pressed and shifted beneath the soft, faded fabric of her dress.

Then, without lifting her head or otherwise signaling her awareness, she asked, “What is your name, boy?”

Boy. His fists had curled at the insult.

“I am not a boy,”he sneered from his hiding place. “I am a man.”

“Oh. How old are you?” she inquired as she moved farther away from his hiding place.

“I have eighteen winters,” he declared proudly. “How old are you?”

“I’m fourteen.”She sighed softly. “If I’m seen talking to you, my father will lock me in my room again. He doesn’t allow me to talk to men.” She tucked her skirt beneath her backside and squatted on the bank. “Actually, he doesn’t allow me to talk to anyone.”

He slithered closer to the stream. He was ready to ask her why her father treated her so when a shout from the house startled her. She scrambled up, grasping the mint stems in trembling fingers as a young man raced across the small clearing. When he was close enough, he grabbed her shoulders and shook her. “What do you think you are doing out here, Lyrissa? You know you’re not allowed out of the house unless I’m with you.”

Gray silently urged her to protest when the other man touched her, but he wasn’t surprised when she ducked her head submissively and remained silent. He’d observed more than one white woman suffering far worse treatment.
“Who were you talking to?” the young man demanded.

“There is no one here, Neal.”

“I heard your voice.” Angry accusation was thick in Neal’s voice.

“I was talking to myself,” she replied quietly. “I do that when I am alone.”

Though Gray burned to burst from his hiding place and knock Neal away, he lay still, barely breathing, listening to Neal berate her as he dragged her back to the house. Why would anyone treat her like a dog? When the door slammed shut, he slithered from his hiding place into the dark woods, returning to his village, angry and shamed as he recalled the rough treatment of the gentle Lyrissa. And yet, he knew his interference would have made things worse. Reality was harsh. She was white. He was Cherokee.


anny cook said...

Thank you for pimping my book! I appreciate it! Besides all that, it's a good story!