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She heard the deep pounding of drums a short distance away. Black Bear planned strategies in the Council House the entire day and she wondered if he were at the square now attending the dance. She ran a brush through her hair and allowed it to drape over her shoulders in thick waves of silk. Her heart thumped lightly taking her breath away as she pushed aside the curtain of her room to brave the coming evening.
Storyteller sat near the fire sewing diligently on another garment. She gazed up and stopped. “You are a vision, my dear.”
“Thanks to you and your fine talents,” she said, turning to give Storyteller a view from every angle, “I feel beautiful. I’m grateful.”
“That’s because you are beautiful.”
“Will you join the celebration tonight? Accompany me to the Town Square.”
“I will attend shortly. You go ahead without me. Have a pleasant time and try to keep open to our ways. Our event is quite joyous, but you must be kind in your judgment. Remember, this is not the colonies, nor England.”
Bryanna stepped out into the cool night.
The Town Square rested in front of the Council House at the bottom of the mound. The pulsation of the drums grew louder as she came nearer. A rhythm of flutes fluidly intertwined with the drums creating an enticing temptation for the body to move and sway.
The Square came into view as she rounded the mound. Rattles joined in with the instruments while the center of the Square remained filled with people moving in a circle to the rhythmic melody of the music.
With their backs slightly bent forward, they stomped their feet, turning first to the left, then to the right. They whirled around repeating the movements over and over as they continued in a large moving circle. She had never seen such dance.
The permeating music floated seductively over the dance, igniting a warm flame within her. Along with the music, the movement of the dance emerged just as wildly passionate in its stirring rhythm as she swayed her shoulders in and out.
They all knew precisely what to do, flawlessly keeping in unison with each other. The dance came forth untamed, and the music portrayed a tremendous strength in who these people were. Now she understood what Black Bear meant when he said exhilarating.
Colorful feathers fastened in their hair and on their clothing bounced and swayed with every twist and turn they made. The feathers transformed into brief flashes of color melding together as they danced without any signs of fatigue.
Warriors wearing animal skins on their heads jumped into the circle imitating the kill and skinning of an animal.
This was a far cry from the gentle dance in England. She remembered tender flowing music, one person facing the other in minuet with hands gently touching. As these people danced before her, its strangeness loomed within her, leaving an overshadowing loneliness for what she once knew and loved.
The music changed, and they stomped and swayed to a new dance. Simply standing there, with a babe’s new innocence of their customs, she became gravely aware of her awkwardness.
She perused the Square, searching for the one familiar face whose tolerance would help fortify her fading nerve. Sitting among a group of men at the edge of the Square were a pair of familiar eyes that locked onto hers the moment her gaze came upon him. A smile adorned his face as he stood and approached her.
Bryanna’s breath caught in her throat as Black Bear strode toward her. His smile remained affixed on his face and she labored to keep her gaze upon it although the temptation to gawk at his body overwhelmed her. His breechcloth barely covered his extremities revealing long muscular limbs, honey-browned from life under the sun.
The currents of shivers returned moving throughout her body as she fought not to reveal her feelings. Still, she noticed no shirt on his back. The smoothness of his chest only accentuated his massive size and strength. A string of white wampum shells lay comfortably around his neck and dipped downward across the swollen hills of his sun-kissed chest. He’d tied back his black straight hair leaving high protruding cheekbones and glistening white teeth.
Concentrating solely upon his face did not comfort her. The strange quivering in her veins had a mind of its own traveling the full length of her limbs to the tips of her sensitive breasts. Her bosom heaved with each difficult breath as he halted before her.
“I find your extraordinary beauty quite imposing upon my manners as a gentleman. Those manners are quite difficult to sustain.” His chest maneuvered in and out as his hungry copper eyes consumed a path into the pit of her core.
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Beloved Woman, a Historical Romance takes place in 1705 in the Allegheny Mountains, South Carolina. Bryanna, a strong, privileged young English woman loses the love of her life, her father, to a brutal and bloody campsite attack by Iroquois renegades. Injured, and so full of grief, she grows determined to learn the ways of the Cherokee and become a respected war woman called Beloved Woman in the Cherokee town of Toxaway. This is the only way to find her father’s killer and have peace within herself once again.
Black Bear, the Red Chief is enamored by Bryanna’s courage and beautiful charm, so much that he desires to help her in every way he can. She rejects him blaming all Indians for her father’s murder. Still, his strength and determination bring them together as they face amazing obstacles to find the Iroquois renegades who were spreading havoc and murder across the great mountains. Can Bryanna learn the ways of these amazing people in this untamed land, and find her peace, and maybe love, once again?
Publication Date: January 2020
I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher, and this is my journey down its pages, straight from the heart. STRICTLY HONEST and UNBIASED.
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