by Karen Kay
Lakota Series, Book 3
Lakota Series, 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.
Excerpt of Lakota Princess
He reined in the gelding to stop beneath an enormous maple tree, and once there, jumped off the animal from the rear. He didn’t look at Estrela. He didn’t even speak. He began to pace, back and forth, Estrela still atop the horse.
Several moments passed. The horse grazed, Black Bear tread up and down, scattering golden leaves here and there and Estrela sat quietly.
At length, Black Bear approached her. “Where is your husband?” he asked, his words sounding sour, even to his own ears.
Estrela didn’t answer.
She merely looked at him, and her gaze, as she stared at him, irritated him all out of proportion.
“Why am I the one to save you?” he interrogated. “Is your husband a coward? Does he even now hide at danger?”
Estrela did nothing more than look at him in that way of hers that set his blood to boiling, and Black Bear found himself in need of a tremendous amount of patience, for he felt like shaking her.
At length, she opened her mouth to speak, hesitated, closed her lips; and watching her look away, he could see tears cloud her eyes. Damn! He adopted the white man’s passion for cursing.
But his response was not one of sympathy. No, it was more one of raging anger. And it was all he could do at this moment not to howl at her.
And so he resorted to a grunt and a groan, turning away from her to resume his pacing, up and down, back and forth.
“I intend to leave here before another new moon is upon us,” he said to her, sulkily. “But I must leave you in the care of your husband, who should be here, even now, to protect you. Where is he?” Estrela gazed back, again that sad look in her eyes. She started to speak but at the last instant, looking down, she closed her mouth. And Black Bear could barely contain himself. “What sort of man would leave you unprotected?” he raved at her. “How could a man leave his own wife to the guardianship of another? Has he no pride?”
“Black Bear,” Estrela voiced to him at last, softly. ‘I must speak to you about my husband. There are things you don’t know, about him, about me; things I need to tell you–”
“I will hear nothing of this coward you call husband,” he interrupted. “I only seek the knowledge of where he is so that I can return you to him — no more.”
“But I can’t tell you that. I–”
“Cannot? or will not?”
Estrela sighed. “Black Bear,” she said as she gave him an odd look. “I feel a little funny.”
That set him to gazing at her. His glance scanned over her, from the top of her head to the high, black boots she wore.
“You are fine,” he said. “I see no wounds.”
Estrela nodded, but repeated again, “I still feel a bit odd.”
He strode toward the horse then. “Here,” he said, reaching up toward her. “I will help you from this horse.” But it was too late. All he heard was a muted sigh before she slid off the horse, not because of his command, but rather because…Black Bear looked down at her. She had fainted.
He took a deep breath, unaware that in his glance, all his emotions toward her; his love, his admiration, his devotion, his anger shone readily there for anyone to witness.
They made an odd picture, the Indian and his woman; one, tall, bronzed warrior standing practically naked, holding the petite, blond Englishwoman in his arms. They were bound, these two and he clasped her to him amidst the backdrop of golden, falling leaves and the dark bark of trees. Her long, blond curls fanned back against him in the slight breeze, entwining with his own darker hair until one noticed that the blond and black strands blended together, forming a new color that shone as naturally and as grandly as the golden surrounds of trees, leaves and grasses.
Had anyone observed them at that moment, he would have witnessed a powerful and compelling vision; for the two young people, together, united, became a part of and yet were more than the grandiose and expansive beauty exploding all around them; that was Green Park, that was England.
And Black Bear, holding her, gazing down at her, rammed straight into a sudden realization that caused him to shake, even as he held her: he would not run away from her; he could not. Not now. Not ever.
He loved her that much.
It was a startling and sobering awareness for him.
And Black Bear, completely honest with himself, despaired.