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Authors: Beth Trissel

Red Bird's Song

BOOK: Red Bird's Song
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The Wild Rose Press
www.thewildrosepress.com

Copyright ©M. Elizabeth Trissel

First published in 2010

NOTICE: This work is copyrighted. It is licensed only for use by the original purchaser. Making copies of this work or distributing it to any unauthorized person by any means, including without limit email, floppy disk, file transfer, paper print out, or any other method constitutes a violation of International copyright law and subjects the violator to severe fines or imprisonment.

 

CONTENTS

Praise for Beth Trissel

Dedication

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Author's Note

A few words from the author...

Thank you for purchasing

* * * *

 

Charity swiped angrily at a tear. She'd run away, if she had anyone to run to.

It wasn't right they were all dead.

On impulse, she jumped to the ground. “I'll go anyway,” she muttered. “Eat nuts and berries and live in the woods."

"Will you go alone?” a low voice asked.

Sucking in her breath, she whirled around. Less than twenty feet away, grasping his musket, stood a tall young brave. Stripes of red and black paint blurred his striking features. His dark brown eyes riveted her in place. This warrior was like no other and the most savagely handsome man she'd ever seen.

God help her. She should flee now, but could only stare, open-mouthed. She swept her disbelieving gaze over the loose black hair brushing an open buckskin vest that revealed his bronzed chest and shoulders molded into contours of muscle. An elkskin breechclout left a great deal of his hard thighs exposed. Despite the dread hammering in her chest, a fiery blush burned her cheeks. But it was the sheathed knife hanging on his left side and the lethal tomahawk slung on his right that snapped Charity from her near-trance.

In a rush of memories, she recalled the stories of her father's death under the scalping knife and neighbors who'd suffered the same violent fate. No Indians had been spotted in their settlement since the Shawnee grew hostile and war had erupted nine years ago, but the warfare had ended. Hadn't it?

Clenching ice-cold fingers, she dug her nails into her palms. “What in God's name are you doing here?” she forced past the dry lump in her throat.

"Watching you."

 

Praise for Beth Trissel

"I love historical romances. They are one of my favorites and anymore when I think of an historical I think of Beth Trissel. She is an author who has proved herself over time...a beautiful storyteller."

~Bella Wolfe, Reviewer for You Gotta Read

"Ms. Trissel's alluring style of writing invites the reader into a world of fantasy and makes it so believable it is spellbinding."

~Camellia, The Long and Short Of It Reviews

"With characters so perfectly created, like intricate works of art, you feel each and every emotion that they possess."

~Angela Simmons, Reviewer for Book-Views.com

"Ms. Trissel has captured the time period wonderfully. As I read I am transported back to the mid-1700's on the American frontier...I felt I was there through Ms. Trissel's descriptions and settings. I look forward to reading more of Beth Trissel."

~Shelia, Reviewer for Two Lips

"In addition to creating memorable characters, Ms. Trissel makes wonderful use of descriptive language."

~J. Thomas, The Long and Short Of It Reviews

[Back to Table of Contents]

 

Red Bird's Song

by

Beth Trissel

[Back to Table of Contents]

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

Red Bird's Song

COPYRIGHT (C) 2010 by M. Elizabeth Trissel

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Contact Information: [email protected]

Cover Art by
Rae Monet

The Wild Rose Press

PO Box 708

Adams Basin, NY 14410-0706

Visit us at www.thewildrosepress.com

Publishing History

First American Rose Edition, 2010

Print ISBN 1-60154-812-5

Published in the United States of America

[Back to Table of Contents]

 

Dedication

To my dearest sister Catherine

whose unwavering support has encouraged me in

my writing over these many years.

Back in the 1990's, she cautioned me that getting
Red Bird's Song
published

might take more than a few months.

But she stayed the course and so did I.

[Back to Table of Contents]

 

Chapter One

Autumn 1764, Middle River in

the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

With the wariness of a hunted fox, Wicomechee crept along the hazy river to scout out any danger from Long Knives in the Scots’ settlement. Damp leaves muffled his soft tread. Farther behind him, the war party stole through the early morning mist. Smokey-white hills rose on either side of the swift water and beyond these spread the veiled Alleghenies.

The day before, he'd looked out over this fair valley from a lofty mountain ridge. All that his eyes beheld had been Indian hunting ground time out of mind until British settlers came and claimed it in the name of the Crown. For nearly as long as he remembered, his people had fought against the scorn of English policies. Like lightning, war parties struck all along the frontier. Bitter defeat seemed their lot. Today these intruders would receive a scorching reminder that the Shawnee hadn't forgotten whose land this once was.

And yet, beneath Wicomechee's anger a sense of anticipation tugged at the corners of his mind. Hadn't his grandfather predicted he would find a priceless treasure in the valley? ‘Seek for your treasure by the river. Once you have found it, do not let go,’ the farsighted man had said.

What could these people possess of such value...ample goods, yes, but wealth? He was baffled, as was his adopted brother, although the wanted Englishman had his own reason for accompanying him on this raid—a woman.

Stopping in his tracks, Wicomechee sniffed the tang of wood smoke from a settler's hearth. The homestead they sought lay just ahead, as his English brother had said. Ears attuned to the snap of every twig, eyes scouring the hazy foliage, he glided forward. At the first sign of trouble, he'd sound the warning cry of a jay. If they were fortunate, no one would see them coming.

"I'm turning twenty on my next birthday, not thirty.” Gripping the edge of the trestle table, Charity Edmondson breathed in the pungent herbs hanging from the blackened rafters overhead and braced for a response. It came in the twitch of a cat's tail.

"Humph.” Aunt Mary turned from the crackling hearth and wiped her hands on a striped apron as if readying for battle. Her plump face, still fair for her years, creased beneath the fiery-red tendrils that strayed from her linen cap. “I was a bride at sixteen. Emma wed by your age."

Charity flung up her hands in a vain attempt to ward off her tenacious aunt. “That doesn't make me an old maid."

"Near enough,” the disgruntled woman said.

Charity glanced at her cousin, Emma, seated on the bench along one side of the oak table. Surely Emma, of all people, wouldn't have her marry where she had no desire to. Wasn't it enough that this domineering matron had bullied one of them into a loveless union? But Charity couldn't quite see the young woman's expression. Emma bent near her trencher of corn mush, dark lashes swept over delicate pink cheeks.

Aunt Mary gave a sniff. “Enough dilly dallying, lass. I'll see you wed afore snow flies. Your uncle's given his blessing to Rob Buchanan and there's an end to it."

"We're childhood friends,” Charity argued. “That's all."

"Oh, aye? You know right well Rob's keen on the match."

"Mightn't I be allowed to choose whom I'll wed?"

"If only you would,” her aunt snorted. “As you seem bent on remaining a maid, we must do the choosing or have yer keeping ‘til the end of our days. And then what, lass?"

Charity faced an indomitable force, one she'd not overcome, today, at least. “May we speak of this later? I'm off nut-gathering now."

Emma laid down her spoon. “I'll come with you."

Like a busy wren checking her brood, Aunt Mary darted sharp eyes at her daughter. “You mustn't tire yourself, my girl. Your time's drawing near.” She flicked a glance at Charity. “See yer back by mid-day. Rob's calling."

Heaven preserve her. She was as good as betrothed—and trapped. Charity fled out the door of the log house to the stoop and snatched up a woven basket. Hickory smoke from the massive stone chimney tinged the foggy air. The thunk of an ax rang out, likely Emma's husband, Edward, splitting wood. He was a hardworking man, yet Emma bore him scant affection. Another had a claim on her heart but he'd mysteriously vanished—as Charity should do before Aunt Mary had her way.

Wild geese called from the river, mingling their high-pitched cries with the rushing water in a primal summons.
There
! Charity made for the tapestry of red-gold trees.

She skidded down the dewy hill, scattering black-faced sheep. Her burgundy cloak was wet to the knees by the time she'd reached the split-rail fence that enclosed the meadow. She unlatched the slatted gate, darted through and swung it shut, then raced into the brilliant oaks. A branch snagged her cap, freeing her riotous spill of auburn hair.

That's better, more like she used to be before Aunt Mary's dictates. She'd fetch the cap later. Catching up her green skirts, she scrambled down the rocky bank. Startled geese flapped up from the water at her arrival. Rapid wings circled above her, disappearing into the whiteness, and the honks faded. How glorious it would be to fly up into the sky far away from the demands of her relations.

As flying wasn't a possibility, Charity climbed onto the wide flat stone at the water's edge. Her troubled thoughts tumbled with the current. Surely one accustomed to running free as she'd once been under her indulgent father and then her older brother's care shouldn't be so restrained—forever.

Charity swiped angrily at a tear. She'd run away if she had anyone to run to. It wasn't right they were all dead.

On impulse, she jumped to the ground. “I'll go anyway,” she muttered. “Eat nuts and berries and live in the woods."

"Will you go alone?” a low voice asked.

Sucking in her breath, she whirled around. Less than twenty feet away, grasping his musket, stood a tall young brave. Stripes of red and black paint blurred his striking features. His dark brown eyes riveted her in place. This warrior was like no other and the most savagely handsome man she'd ever seen.

God help her. She should flee now, but could only stare, open-mouthed. She swept her disbelieving gaze over the loose black hair brushing an open buckskin vest that revealed his bronzed chest and shoulders molded into contours of muscle. An elkskin breechclout left a great deal of his hard thighs exposed. Despite the dread hammering in her chest, a fiery blush burned her cheeks. But it was the sheathed knife hanging on his left side and the lethal tomahawk slung on his right that snapped Charity from her near-trance.

BOOK: Red Bird's Song
7.19Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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