Sweet Savage Heart

Free Sweet Savage Heart by Janelle Taylor

Book: Sweet Savage Heart by Janelle Taylor Read Free Book Online
Authors: Janelle Taylor
black stain from his face, for all of the guilty ones no longer existed.
    Travis replied in a measured tone that concealed his anger, “No, Lone Wolf, she is not your sister. Nathan wishes to have returned to him what is his, what Soaring Hawk took from the Kiowas and the Kiowas took from my friend, Nathan Crandall, who saved my life and has been as a father to me for seven winters. There is no deceit in our hearts and words. His heart filled with joy when he looked upon her painted face. I have seen the face of his daughter, Marissa; it is as Wild Wind’s reflection on the surface of the water. I speak true; she is his granddaughter. He begged me to come to speak with my Lakota brothers for him. We come in peace, Lone Wolf. We have no quarrel with my Oglala brothers. We do not seek to trick or endanger Wild Wind or your people. She is the child of Nathan’s daughter who was slain by the Kiowas. His heart burns only with love and hunger for her.”
    When the warrior remained quiet, Travis continued, “The bluecoats do not know of our visit to the Oglalas. He has come prepared to reward the Oglalas for their kind treatment and acceptance of his granddaughter and for her rescue from the Kiowas. If you love Wild Wind as we have been told, you will desire only her happiness and safety. We have seen and heard of the increased hostilities between the white man and all Indians, and you have spoken of them. Wild Wind is white. She is notsafe here.” Travis then recounted the many perils that could befall Rana from the whites and the Indians. “You are chief and your people are at war. Who will protect your sister if you are slain? Would she be safe here or in the Cheyenne camp? No. Let her return to her home and family, Lone Wolf. We will protect her and love her.”
    “How can you know my sister is the female you seek?”
    Travis explained about the scar on Rana’s ankle and the birthmark on her left arm. He pointed out the girls’ matching histories, ages, and looks. “You know she is Rana Michaels,” Travis stated firmly. “Just as you knew she must leave your people and lands one day,” he added to test a suspicion of his. “That day has come.”
    Lone Wolf eyed the mixed-blooded male with renewed interest. The man’s eyes and statements were startingly direct and confident. There was an air about Travis that could cause other men to be consumed with fear or to feel challenged. Yet Lone Wolf was not a man of fear or rashness. Seemingly without trying, the white man had used a tone of voice that suggested he was capable of challenging and defeating almost any foe or peril. Lone Wolf’s mind filled with respect for the other man. Yes, he recalled this half-white warrior and his legendary prowess. He knew Travis was speaking the truth and was offering him a tempting path to help his people. Was this the path of destiny that had been calling to his sister for many years? Should he force her feet upon it? He glanced at Nathan Crandall and requested, “Lel usi yo.”
    Travis told Nathan, “He wants you to come over here. Don’t worry, Nate; he can be trusted. Nothing’s settled yet, but he’s willing to discuss a trade.” Travis quickly revealed the warrior’s identity, his rank, and the fact that Soaring Hawk was dead. Nathan stepped forward to join them. The two white men stood side by side eyeing the powerful chief.
    Lone Wolf slipped from his horse’s back. To convincehis warriors that there was no danger and to express his lack of fear to the white men, he rested his lance and shield on a nearby rock, then removed his bow and quiver to place them with his discarded weapons. He faced them and, as he did so, instantly decided that his sister favored the older man, especially in the coloring of the eyes. In fluent English, Lone Wolf inquired casually, “What will you do if I refuse to bargain with my sister’s freedom? Our peoples are at war.”
    “If you do not accept our offer in exchange for Rana, I will

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