Gray Hawk’s Lady
GRAY HAWK’S LADY
GRAY HAWK’S LADY – Karen Kay
Blackfoot Warriors Series
Blackfoot Warriors, Book 1
Different worlds, one heart.
When Lady Genevieve Rohan joins her father in the farthest reaches of the American West, she expects to bring a bit of genteel English charm to his dry, academic existence. Instead, she finds her father desperately ill, and it’s up to her to finish his study of the Indian and publish his work—or face the wrath of his creditors.
Her troubles mount when the men hired to capture a member of the Blackfoot tribe don’t bring her a docile maid to study. They present her with a magnificent warrior—proud, outrageously handsome and simmering with fury at the loss of his freedom.
The white woman is beautiful beyond compare, but Gray Hawk can’t think past his plan to exact revenge against this meddling foreigner. It’s ridiculously easy to escape, then turn the tables and take her captive. When anger turns to passion, then to love, he embarks on a new quest. To claim the stubborn, red-headed vixen as his own.
Yet as their hearts strain toward each other, pride conspires to pull them apart…unless they can each find a way for their hearts to become one.
Excerpt of Gray Hawk’s Lady
It was a mistake. It had to be.
It was the only thought that came to mind and Genevieve gasped, drawing back closer to the steamship door.
This was no animal. This was…
A human growl sounded from the interior of the room.
Genevieve, her hand clutching her throat, jumped backwards.
“As you can see, Milady,” Robert’s voice sounded from behind her. “It is no Indian maiden here. I will return this man first thing in the morning.”
Genevieve paused, several minutes ticking by, as she struggled to find her voice. At last she said, “There is no time. It is the middle of the night and we both know the Yellow Stone sails in no less than a few hours. We…I–”
“What is it you require me to do, Milady?”
“I…I don’t know yet, Robert. Leave me now. I wish to speak to the–”
“Milady, I must protest!”
Lady Genevieve shook her hair until it fell downward towards her waist, the mane of it appearing more a cascade of spun copper than human hair.
“Leave me,” she said. “I wish to speak to the Indian alone. But Robert,” she threw a quick glance over her shoulder. “Stay by the door, please.”
“Yes Milady. I will remain here. You have only to call if your need me.”
“I know that, Robert. And thank you. Now, leave me be with the Indian. I guess he will have to do, don’t you suppose?”
“I don’t suppose anything,” Robert said, taking up a stand just outside the cabin door. “And if you want my opinion–”
“I shall ask for it,” Lady Genevieve said, though in truth, she spared her servant little more of her attention. How could she do otherwise? What lay before her compelled her to move forward, into the room, her whole being engulfed by the magnetism she witnessed inside.
She left the door open, if only for the security of knowing that Robert stood close-to-hand.
The Indian was tied, standing up, his hands held out to his side, his feet bound. The man couldn’t really hurt her. Still…
She took a step forward, halted, then another step, another and another.
She stared at the Indian in the darkness of the cabin, her gaze guided by only a small stream of moonlight shining in through the porthole. She tried to scan the man’s features, but it was impossible. He looked more phantom than real being at this moment, the silvery light from outside casting an unearthly glow all around him.
Was he the one? The thought kept recurring to her, as she stood in place, reluctant to move any closer. Was he the one from the fort, the one who had captured her attention?
It couldn’t be, and yet… Surely fate wouldn’t deal her such a wicked lot as to bring that same man into her presence now. Surely…
She didn’t want to thing about it. That Indian at the fort, that man she had seen there, had stirred to life something deep within her, something… She signed.
She couldn’t’ quite place it. She didn’t know what had happened back there at the fort, she only knew she did not wish to explore such matters now.
Was he the one?
She was almost certain it was so.
She began to pace toward him, slowly, one careful step after another, until at last she stood not more than a few feet away from him.
Instantly the savage allure of him, a uniqueness that was part American Indian, part male, set her sense to spinning and Genevieve, unused to such intense sensation, took a deep breath. At once, the musky scent in the air engulfed her, making her feel as though she stood in a silken cocoon, and she recognized the pleasant aroma of buckskin and sage… and something else… some other scent not quite…
A candle lay on the table next to her and she picked it up, lighting the wick of it quickly.
She held up the small flame toward him. She looked toward him, he down at her. All at once, Genevieve sucked in her breath.
He was the one.
Their gazes met, held. Something elusive passed between them, an emotion that Genevieve could hardly explain.
Excitement? Was that it? Excitement combined with what? Fascination?
He blew out the candle.
Genevieve released her breath and closed her eyes, feeling as though she might swoon at any moment. What was happening to her? Why did she suddenly feel so giddy, so lightheaded?
She would have to re-light the candle; for her own sanity as well as for the more practical reasons. She would have to talk with this Indian. And that required light, since she would have to communicate to him via the Indian sign language she had been learning ever since she had started this trip.
She moved her hand toward the table when–
“If white woman had only let me know what she wished, she could have obtained what she required from me without abduction. I might have been willing… then–”
“You speak English?”
“Have I not proven just now that I do?”
“But how is that possible?”
The Indian didn’t reply, only looked away and Genevieve was immediately presented with his profile, strong, foreign, handsome. She drew in her breath as a shiver raced over her skin and she wondered, was she frightened or…
Her breasts swelled against the chiffon material of the gown that she wore beneath her robe, and Genevieve was reminded that she was hardly dressed to receive a man–even though that man be American Indian.
She gazed up at him and at once, a tremor swept over her, bringing with it an unusual sensation all over her body, especially down there in the junction between her legs.
Genevieve shifted her weight uncomfortable. What was happening to her? Why did she feel this way? What was it about this man that brought on this excitement, this feeling of… craving?
Briefly she pondered such questions. None of this made any sense.
This man was hardly what she would call a man, someone she could physically crave. He was an American Indian–a savage, a person reported by the best authorities to be more animal than human. Such “people” were beneath her. Weren’t they?
Hadn’t the whole of her education so far taught her this? It was true, wasn’t it?
Or was it?
Her body didn’t seem to think so. Her body responded to the Indian as any other twenty year old woman might when in the presence of a handsome, half-naked and virile man. Genevieve felt her stomach twist. She whispered, “You are not hurt, are you?”
The Indian swung his gaze back toward her slowly. “Hurt?” he repeated, his stare at her, or rather his leer never leaving her. “And where would I feel this hurt? In my heart which weeps to learn that the white woman has no honor? Or in my spirit which promises the white woman revenge? Or do you mean my flesh?” He paused. “It is nothing.”
“You are hurt,” she said. “I will attend to your wounds at once.”
The Indian lifted his chin, and though he stared at her as though she was a small rabbit he stalked, he said nothing.
“If you are hurt,” she said, “I will attend to your wounds at once.”
“You will not.” The Indian’s chin raised another notch. “I will not have your touch upon me. The white woman’s medicine is tainted. I will have a medicine man, if I require anyone at all.” He paused, then barely over a whisper, he demanded, “Now.”
Lady Genevieve ignored the order. “There is no one else.” Her voice, too, seemed to be strangely quiet, although authoritative.
He raised his wrists, the rope around them halting the movement half-way up. He stared down into her eyes. “Release me and I will find medicine man.”
“I can’t do that,” she murmured. “Where are you hurt?”
The Indian looked away from her as though he could spare no further conversation, while she took a dangerous step forward.
“I could help,” she said, her motion bringing her ever closer. “Please believe me. I intend you no harm. Truly.” She gained yet another step in his direction.
He didn’t say a word. He didn’t move. He might have been as unmovable as stone.
She paced forward once more, again, each step as treacherous as if she crossed a swift, rushing stream.
She gazed up at him, studying him while his attention was diverted. So close was she, she could smell the combination of sweat and blood mixed wit the musk-sweet scent of sage. She could see the sweat upon his brow; she lowered her inspection of him to his chest, noting the moisture that covered him there, the blood all over his side. Blood?
She surveyed his chest as best as she could, while standing here in the dim, silvery light. Vaguely she noted the strong chest and upper arm muscles, the slim, tapering stomach, and the gash to his side… gash? She started at it. She reached out a hand toward it. “How did you get this?”
She touched his skin above the wound, her fingertips seeking out the warmth of his skin. All at once he shivered, and she had no more than registered that fact when a heated charge tore up her arm.
She pulled her hand back as though to escape, but it was too late. The damage had been done” She was more than aware of him, of his physical, male appeal, and the air fairly crackled with the knowledge.
He swung his attention back toward her, eyeing her as if she was the stalked quarry rather than a woman of flesh and blood. And though Genevieve knew she should move away from him as far as she could, she couldn’t make her body respond to the command to do so.
Slowly, feeling caught in a trap, she positioned her body in closer to his.
“How is it,” he asked, his voice oddly soft, “that white woman with no honor does not know how I came to be hurt? Was not she the one who commanded this? Was not she the one who wished me in this state? She who wanted to see me again, she who had me stripped, she who plans to use me for her own ends?”
“White man lies easily. So do his women. Look at me when you deny this so that I might see the truth or lies of your words.”
She sighed, though dutifully she brought her gaze up to meet his. “Truly,” she said, after a moment, “I did not know something like this might happen. I only meant to take someone from your tribe for a short while. I would treat them well and return them in a year’s time. No injury, no stripping, no degradation. None of that was commanded by me. I’m so very sorry.”
He stared down at her, and Genevieve wondered at how it seemed his head had come so much closer to her own. She looked away.
“Then set me free, white woman of no honor–”
“Do not call me that.” She twisted her gaze back to him. “And I cannot let you go. For all that I regret doing this to you, I need you. But I promise you that if you let me attend to you now, there will be no further harm come to you.” She was more than aware, as she glanced back up at him, that his head had come closer to her own during her speech, his face no more than a few inches from hers.
She should back away. She tried to make herself do it; but she couldn’t. His head gradually descended toward her. And she? She leaned in closer.
Then it happened. His head came fully down to hers. She didn’t even get in one coherent thought when all at once his lips crushed down on hers, and in that moment Genevieve thought her world might surely end.
It was a savage kiss… and yet it wasn’t.
Her stomach twisted in response to him, her limbs refused to move and she couldn’t remember to question why this Indian would be kissing her.
In truth, there were a thousand things she should have done, a hundred things she should have uttered. She said nor did any of them. Instead, she stepped in closer toward the Indian and if anything, he leaned further down.
The kiss deepened, going from savage to sensual, and Genevieve became unable to think of anything else but those lips on her own, their feel, their warmth, their… arousal. She responded in an odd way, too, as though she had known this man all her life, as though this man were some titled English gent, as though this man belonged to her and she had every right to–
He broke off the kiss and Lady Genevieve stood still for a moment, not able to move; unable to produce one, coherent thought.
She noted that somehow her hands had found their way onto his chest, that somehow she had drawn in even closer to him, that–
“You see,” the Indian broke into her thoughts, “I was right. This white woman is a woman with no honor.”
She could only stare at him for several moments. And it was a long time before she could speak, and then only uttering, “Oh!”
She backed up then, but her gaze never left him, and she wondered what she should do. She felt suddenly as though she should injure him back with cutting words of her own or failing that at least shove him away. But she did neither.
Glancing down, Lady Genevieve picked up the front of her dressing gown, and taking one step back, then another and another, she pivoted away, fleeing the Indian’s cabin in a fluidity of motion that would have rivaled a swift, flowing steam; the swish of her dressing gown the only echo to her distress.
But one thought kept coming back to haunt her as she fled down the steamship’s corridor: She had never been more excited in her life.
Not is all her twenty years so far on this earth had she ever felt more exhilarated, more alive. And she was terribly afraid it all had something to do with the Indian. In truth, she was certain of it.