In A Time When Being Different Is A Deadly Sin.
“You there,” she cried to the man who towered a head above the savages. Heaving for breath, she raised her hands to show the bonds. “Tell them to set me free.”
“And why should I do that?” The trapper, garbed as the savages in fringed buckskins, though devoid of feathers, parted a path through those clustered around the girl. She was a sight to behold—chin held high, arms uplifted, a woman-child who faced the Indians with bold impudence rather than trembling and cowering before them.
Her beauty stole his breath and for a time he stood and stared, recalling the long space of time since he had seen or held a woman of his own kind. Aware he might have this one if he so chose, he allowed his senses to play out what he might do with so lovely a female. A stab of regret pained him, a pointed reminder that he was not totally uncivilized, decidedly not enough to bend an unwilling woman to his will.
The trace of a smile on his lips mocked the adjustment of his thoughts. The girl bore his lengthy perusal with surprising patience or else needed time to consider a reply to his crusty remark. Still uncertain of what was best done with her, he made no haste to pull his eyes away. She was worthy of a long look.
Ebony hair as dark as any savage’s hung to her waist in loose, luxuriant braids. The cords that had held the ends secure had been lost. Here and there a strand had worked free and lay in a damp abandon of curls against her neck and shoulders. As he observed the twists and turns of black silk he had the urge to free the whole of it and see how the dark masses would shine in the afternoon light.
Her skin was as tempting. She was no milk white English maid who looked as if she had grown without the benefit of the sun. Some Spaniard had cut a notch in the family tree and the subtle proof of it glowed in the honey and cream color of the girl’s skin. A steady glance at the fine-boned face revealed what it was about her that had the village mesmerized. Black-lashed eyes of an oddly crystalline blue sparkled as if they emitted a mystic light of their own. He had the strange feeling, as he suspected the Indians did, that if he looked into them long enough he might be set afire.
Glory’s patience gave way as she waited for the man to come to his senses. She found her tongue. “Because you are English and because you ought to,” she snapped, angry to find the Englishman as impossible to deal with as the Indians. She had not been mistreated other than being hauled to the village and put on public view. She’d concluded she was not to be scalped or tortured and that the Indians were as alarmed at having her among them as she was to be there, but not a single one could or would speak to her in words she could understand. For an hour they had stood and stared at each other. She’d had enough of it.
Quade laughed at this second display of spunk, though he detected in the tremble felt when he caught hold of her bound hands that it might soon run out. Still chuckling, he pulled a broad-bladed knife from a leather scabbard strapped to his side. The steel blade gleamed a threat as he tested the tip with his fingers.
“I am not so English as you think and I do little I ought to.” His dark eyes met the angry heat of hers for a moment, then he turned aside to speak to Tomanick and those on his council. Receiving a nod of approval he wheeled back to the girl. “What’s in it for me if I cut you free?” he taunted.
“Cut me loose and find out,” she returned, shooting a challenging glance at the trapper.
Wild Glory is available at: