Susan Y. Tanner
Held five years in captivity by the Comanche, Katherine Bellamy and the child she brings home are shunned by polite Texas society. Her brother Ford wasn’t a man to settle down—he’d gone away, seeking a life of adventure, trying to forget the girl who waits at home.
When Kate sets out to find Ford and bring him home, she encounters Slade, a mercenary soldier and Texas Ranger who rides the plains, seeking revenge for the deaths of his wife and infant son. Sparks fly whenever the two are together, but Katherine fears that Slade will discover her greatest secret.
As their attraction becomes impossible to deny, Kate wonders—can they build some semblance of a normal life together? Will either of them want to try?
A step back in time, showing the good and yet the bad of the times.
Katherine had been a captive of the Comanche an although she was not the wife of the warrior Wolf Killer, her friend ** was. Since ** had been ill since the birth of her daughter, Katherine became a second mother to the girl. Then the Soldiers came and her life changes dramatically.
She’s been home a while now, and her brother has taken off to parts unknown. Then Slade a Texas Ranger shows up with information, and not what anyone wants to hear, her brother, thinking he’s wanted for murder has taken up with outlaws selling weapons to the Comanche. Hinting that he want’s a family member to help with his search, he leaves without a doubt knowing Katherine will follow.
This is a favorite scene.
Quietly and slowly, Katherine shed her somber homespun gown and put it neatly away. When Katherine was younger Dee had loved to clothe her in brightly dyed materials, but since her return from the Comanche Katherine had preferred quieter hues. The dark shirt and breeches she drew from the clothes chest she had appropriated when Ford had outgrown them. The hat was her own, as was the rifle she removed from pegs over the door.
She took a leather pouch full of shot from a smaller chest which held, also, mementos of her mother and her father. Her hand strayed toward a small portrait before she removed it abruptly.
Her powder horn was full; she had no further excuse for lingering.
Fighting tears and an insidious weakness, she kissed Shea’s silky, cool cheek. It was hard not to take the baby up in her arms once more as she studied the small features. Black lashes lay gently against her soft cheeks, and her lips were parted with quiet, even breathing.
Katherine found it hard, very hard, to force herself to leave her daughter there.
The upper floor, with its three small, cozy rooms, was given access by only one flight of stairs, which led to the kitchen. Dee turned to speak as Katherine descended those stairs, but her words died, forgotten. She stood motionless, staring in sudden, knowing apprehension.
“No, Katherine,” she said when she finally found her voice. “I’ll not have it!”
“And I’ll not leave Ford to the mercies of a man such as Slade. And there is no one else to do it.”
“Doyle,” Dee began determinedly, but Katherine cut her short.
“It won’t do, Aunt Dee. You must see that. Please … please, just listen. Ford would never be with the Comanche to stir them with whiskey to murdering his own kind—nor would he be providing them with the means to do so. And I don’t believe he would ally himself with men who would, unless he had another reason for it. He surely agreed to ride with this Rusk as a way to get to the Comanche. I think Ford must have known that Wolf Killer is a member of Broken Arrow’s band. Ford had to be looking for Wolf Killer.”
Dee’s face was a picture of dismay. “But why? Why, Kate?” Her niece met her gaze inflexibly, and she sighed. “Ah, Katherine, well I know how unhappy you’ve been, but why would Ford believe you would countenance such a thing?” Dread came with realization. “Sweet Lord, no! Kate, you could not mean to take the child back there?”
“Shea is Wolf Killer’s child, Aunt Dee, and I didn’t leave him willingly. You know that.”
“So, you asked Ford …”
“No! No, Aunt Dee, I didn’t. But Ford knows well enough how I feel. That I would never have left Wolf Killer unless forced to it. That I feel outcast by this town—and Shea along with me!”
Dee sank back into a chair, and Katherine was washed with pity, until Dee spoke again.
“And have you forgotten, then, that the Comanche took you by force? That you would never willingly have left us? At least you poor children were allowed to live, not murdered like poor Dave and Anne. How many times I have regretted the day I allowed you to visit the Pearsons and placed you in such horrible danger. The things you suffered because of that … Have you forgotten that day?”
“No!” Katherine cried. “I’ve forgotten none of it. And I’ve not forgotten that it was soldiers who killed little Davey Pearson! Good, decent, white-skinned men of Christianity! Damn them!”
“They didn’t know Davey was a white boy!”
“And that makes it right?” Tears glittered in Katherine’s eyes. “It was right that they slaughtered a sleeping village of women and children and men too old to defend themselves? Comanche or white, Davey was still only eleven years old. Would it really have been right if his skin had been brown? And the babies … Oh God, the beautiful babies. Like Shea. If Shea hadn’t been in my arms …” Her throat ached from holding back sobs.
Dee flinched, grieved at hearing put into words things she had only suspected when Katherine had been returned to her, wounded and suffering in heart and soul. But she didn’t interrupt. In God’s truth, she didn’t know what to say. How hard it must have been for Katherine to keep all of this buried within herself all these months.
“The commanding officer at the fort told me that they were supposed to drive the tribe back; the settlers needed more room. It didn’t matter to him that the land belonged to the Indian. It didn’t matter to him when I told him his men had murdered the helpless and the innocent. They were following orders, he said. I told him about Davey, clubbed from behind. It was regrettable, he said. Regrettable!” She was near hysteria and she knew it. But it had all been held back for too long, released only in terrifying nightmares.
Katherine stopped abruptly, then continued more quietly. “Do you know the soldier who chased me down was going to sling Shea into the creek? I lied to save her. I said she was all white, and he let her live. He let my baby live.” She caught her breath on a sob. “Is it any wonder I ran away from the fort and the soldiers, tried to run back to the band—what was left of it?”
Dee rose stiffly. Katherine’s words might have been physical blows by their effect on her. Methodically, she began to take staples from the open shelves and place them on the table.
Without comment, Katherine stowed them in the saddlebags that hung near the door.
Dee included a skillet and a coffeepot. “Do you have money?”
Katherine nodded. “Enough.”
At the door, they embraced. Reluctantly, Katherine broached one last painful subject.
“Aunt Dee, you know Wolf Killer has never known where to find me. And I never found him after the soldiers took me away. If he comes, with me or alone, it will be because I have sent him—for Shea.” Her look hardened at her aunt’s expression of horror. “She is his child, Aunt Dee, and mine. As much Comanche as white, and at least she will belong to the tribe. She will be accepted.”
“You are going to stay among them, then? Raise your child among savages?”
“I don’t know. I never asked to be taken from the band, but I don’t know if Wolf Killer will want me after so long a time. Or if I will want him. But if it is to be so, you must give Shea up, Aunt Dee. You must.”
“Very well, Katherine.” The words were cold. Reaching up, she slipped a thin chain of gold from her neck. A tiny cross swung gently upon the golden strand. “She is your daughter, but I will not give her up to anyone who cannot show me this.”
Katherine’s face was a mask of pain. “Love her for me, until I come back or …”
“I always have, Kate, and I always will. Just as I have loved you and Ford.”
Tanner, Susan Yawn. Winds Across Texas (The Bellamys of Texas Book 1) (pp. 25-30). Secret Staircase Books, an imprint of Columbine Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
There are many trials and tribulations on the road, and Katherine makes some difficult choices, more than once.
Slade has his own demons and finding Katherine’s brother really doesn’t have much to do with them.
Fast-paced, intriguing, action packed, romantic and so much more will have you turning the pages to see what happens next.
I can’t wait the next book in this family saga.
5 Contented Purrs for Susan!
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Susan Yawn Tanner continues to blend her passion for horses with her passion for writing.
In Trouble in Summer Valley, she introduced readers to the rescue horses of Summer Valley Ranch where they prove their worth in the world of therapeutic riding. In Turning for Trouble, her own rodeo experience brings that rough and tumble world to life. Her third romantic mystery, Trouble in Action, showcases the risky world of stunt riding while giving a glimpse into historical reenactments. Published as Susan Y. Tanner and released by KaliOka Press, these books are part of the Familiar Legacy series written in concert with some very talented authors.
Two of her historical romances, Fire Across Texas and Winds Across Texas, have been rereleased by Secret Staircase Books, an imprint of Columbine Publishing. Soon to follow will be A Warm Southern Christmas, Highland Captive, Captive To A Dream, and Exiled Heart. All were previously published by Leisure Books. Her historical romances will all be rereleased as Susan Yawn Tanner.