stories of women being captured as they traveled west, but somehow she never envisioned it happening to her.
Amanda wondered what had happened to the others. Were they all dead? If they had taken her, had they also taken her sister?
“Would you have chosen me?” Feeling weak in the knees from his closeness, Gabriella answered, “I don’t know. I wasn’t planning to dance at all.”
“It would not have mattered, Stubborn-One, for I had already chosen you. And, you have looked at me!”
That got her dander up, and she arched her back and would have left the circle, but he commanded her, “No!” and she knew she could not embarrass them both by leaving before the dance was finished. Even the sound of his voice did things to her. She felt it vibrate throughout her body. She finally admitted to herself that she really had wanted to dance with him.
Heaven, help her!
After the dance finished, Cougar left the circle abruptly, leaving Gabriella standing there with her mouth open. She had thought, at the least, he would say something more to her. She stamped her foot in frustration and felt her hands making fists at her side.
Oh, the man was incorrigible! He left her feeling so frustrated—angry one minute, and wanting the next. What was she going to do about this strong attraction? She knew she’d have to stay in the camp a little longer to find out. She could not go on to California without knowing what drew her to Cougar with such powerful emotions.
Was this what love felt like?
Apache Promise excerpt continued . . .
Apache Lover excerpt continued . . .
Amanda hated to admit that she did not ride well. She’d lived in the city all her life. Actually, she’d gone sailing on her father’s ship more often than she’d gone riding, but that wouldn’t mean anything to this Apache. However, in order not to have to ride in his hated embrace any longer, she determined she would get on that horse if it killed her.
Raising her chin a notch, she answered, “I’ve ridden some.”
Kayto led over to the second Indian pony, a strawberry roan, and lifted her up on it. When she attempted to sit sidesaddle, he looked at her as if she were crazy. Turning her forward, he pushed her leg over the other side so that she straddled the horse. Her first rush of indignation gave way one she realized how much her balance improved. It was more comfortable too, but her modesty protested as her stockings and petticoats became exposed.
She hastily pulled her skit down to cover her legs, feeling herself blush as he watched her actions. She noted, however, that he seemed oblivious to her embarrassment. It was as if the sight of a woman’s leg meant nothing to him. Or was it, maybe, because it was her leg and she was a white woman? Feeling annoyed by his indifference, and not knowing why it mattered, Amanda wondered what was happening to the good common sense she’d always prided herself for having.
Kayto noted the flash of skin between the end of her stockings and the beginning of her pantalets. He steeled himself against looking longer or further at her shapely calf and small ankle. It was doing things to him he didn’t like. He also felt her embarrassment as he handed her the horse’s reins and tied a lead rope to her mount. Jumping on his own paint, he led her off in a southwesterly direction.
Kayto rode in contemplative silence, not glancing back at her at all. He’d instructed Angry-Knife to take the spoils back with him and to tell Cochise that he would explain everything in detail when he arrived back at the stronghold with his captive. Kayto knew this was not going to sit well with Cochise. He was going to be very angry over the unnecessary killing for the chief was still trying to maintain a semblance of peace with the Americans invading his land. Kayto would have a lot to answer for when he faced his leader in person. In spite of the guns and horses taken, Kayto was not looking forward to the confrontation.
Kayto chastised himself. Taking the woman had been a foolish whim. How could he justify it to Cochise without his demanding the worse punishment possible for he and his men? These thoughts weighted heavily on his mind as they rode. He could have pushed the white woman to keep up with him and his braves as they headed home. He would have been there with his men when they faced Cochise. But he’d wanted more time to study this female. He wanted to work with her on the language barrier so it would go easier with her among his people.
Why he should care how she made out in the stronghold still eluded him. He was aware her head was still hurting and that she was keeping a tight rein on her emotions. She had yet to cry or become hysterical as most Mexican female captives did. He felt if she didn’t give vent to her feelings soon, she might just go off in her head somewhere. A release had to come eventually. It was just a matter of time. He would watch for the signs and then deal with it when it happened. Meanwhile he would continue their journey keeping up the language lessons as they traveled.
And, he would guard against the allure this white woman presented. It was too great to be toyed with. He must not become weak where she was concerned.
Apache Warrior excerpt continued . . .
Apache Winter excerpt continued . . .
All this thinking and these new feelings were giving Cougar a headache. He didn’t know what to do with this white girl.
As he stood up with the buckets, he looked at Gabriella, and saw her quick intake of breath. He realized that she was just as affected by him as he was by her, and she didn’t like it either. Her eyes kept running up and down his long torso. He felt scorched everywhere her eyes touched his body and he felt his manhood spring to life.
“What are you staring at, White-Eyes?” he asked her.
Gabriella’s hand flew to her mouth. She had been staring at him, unabashedly. All her finishing school training had not been able to keep her gawking like some silly schoolgirl.
She’d never seen such perfection in a man’s physique before. Not that she’d ever seen any man’s body before, but she knew his tall, darkly tanned body could be something off a sculptor’s table. Broad shoulders tapered down to long, solidly muscled legs, made so by years of running over rugged terrain. He wore his hair long in the Apache style that somehow didn’t look as feminine or as odd on him as she would have thought. His face was full of character and he seemed older than his seventeen or so years, for she didn’t know his exact age, but he didn’t seem all that much older than her. And, yet, she knew in experience, he was years ahead of her. The face that watched her was a younger version of his father’s, squared-jawed, high-cheeked, with slanted eyes that looked like they’d seen a lot. She found herself holding her breath just looking at him. She watched mesmerized as he put down the buckets and took a step toward her.
She backed up.
“Don’t you dare touch me,” she told him.
“Why? Your eyes are inviting me to,” he answered her, but he did stop.
“Of all the conceited oafs,” she exclaimed. “What would make you think I would want you to touch me, you barbarian?”
“Because we have looked at each other,” not realizing she did not understand the Apache idiom meaning a recognition of love or a strong attraction between two people.
“What do you mean ‘looked’ at each other? Of course, we’ve looked at each other. I have also looked at many people. I’ve looked at Tom and Pedro and Amanda, and hundreds of others.”
His expression darkened at the mention of Pedro’s name.
“But you have not looked at them in the same way,” he countered.
“Whatever are you talking about?”
“When I took your hand at the big white house in Wash-ing-ton and we looked into each other’s eyes, our souls touched, your spirit met mine and we recognized each other.”
“Oh, you are daft to believe such a thing. You were rude to grab my hand and shake it. You do not take a lady’s hand unless she offers it.”
“I do not understand these words of oaf, barbarian, and daft. You will explain them to me, then I will know if I am them, and can respond accordingly.”