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Authors: Stephanie Grace Whitson

Tags: #Romance, #Historical, #Fiction

Walks the Fire (41 page)

BOOK: Walks the Fire
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The sounds of dinner intruded again. Clutching the sides of the mattress, she pulled herself halfway up, panting with the effort.
Why am I so tired all the time?
Lazy old woman
. But scold as she would, she knew she could not get up. Weariness settled on her, covered her, and swallowed the intent to go out to the kitchen. A dull pain filled her chest and flowed into one arm. Well, for today, anyway, she’d just stay in bed and rest. Settling under the quilt again, she sighed and turned her attention out the window.

The stormy black sky had faded to dark gray, and in the distance white, billowing clouds blew across the prairie. They began racing one another, tossed by the wind, and the sun shining on them made them appear a brilliant white against the evening sky.

Memories crowded about her: a French trader with laughing eyes; a long ride into Fort Kearney; and somewhere, far back, a little mound of stones receding into the wide plain as a wagon rumbled away. Then
came, a Lakota brave, one with his snow white pony. They bounded together across the sky, and with each leap Jesse’s heart fluttered. She stood on the prairie, her long red braids decorated with feathers, the part dusted with ochre. She raised a trembling hand in greeting, but he was gone.

Her hand fell back against the quilt, and Jesse saw the clouds again and realized it had only been a memory. She was an old woman, too tired to help with the supper, perhaps even too tired to be of use to LisBeth.

The clouds outside came closer, and the old heart fluttered at the memory of a man who rode on the wind long ago. Now it seemed that he rode again across the sky, into the room. He raised one hand in greeting.

“I will ask the Father,” he had said, “and I will come for you.”

Jesse sat up in bed, her face alive with a new light. Rides the Wind smiled and reached out to sweep her up behind him.

And the Father said,
“Come home.

The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.
Psalm 16:6

The Story Goes On…

Continue the adventure
Soaring Eagle
, Book 2 of the
Prairie Winds

The battlefield was quiet.
Only an occasional shot was still being fired somewhere in the woods about a mile down the valley. Here, an eerie silence prevailed, broken only by the occasional low chant of a victory song as the warriors collected souvenirs from the dead.

Soaring Eagle stood surveying the battlefield. At his feet lay the body of one of the soldiers. The stench of death filled the air. Soaring Eagle closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, reminding himself to remember this victory.

Taking up his knife he crouched down and grasped the soldier's thick black hair in one hand. The glint of gold stopped the knife in midair. Soaring Eagle tore the bit of gold from around the soldier's neck, examining it carefully. As he turned it over, it fell open, revealing the likeness of a young woman. Soaring Eagle caught his breath and stared in wonder, not at the young woman, but at the other one-the one whose gray eyes stared back at him from beside the younger woman's face.

She was older, but the mouth was set in a serious straight line. Soaring Eagle remembered. The hair was held back in the way of the whites, but waves and curls that could not be tamed still framed the face. Soaring Eagle remembered. Looking into the eyes, Soaring Eagle knew. Here, looking back at him, was Walks the Fire…his mother.

He had broken the chain pulling it from the white soldier's neck. Now he reached into the pouch at his side and drew out a buffalo sinew. Shutting the locket, he threaded it onto the sinew, tied a strong knot, and drew it over his head. As he pulled it down, his fingers traced the other bit of gold that had hung about his neck for many years…never taken off…cherished as the last remnant of his mother's existence.

A shout from one of the other warriors who scavenged the hillside interrupted his memories. Soaring Eagle stood up and replaced his knife in its scabbard, raising his hand to again feel the outline of the cross that hung at his neck. Then, touching the locket to be certain that it was secure, he leaped onto his pony and raced back to the village.

The battlefield was quiet. Distant shots were all that remained of the encounter. Long Hair and his men lay dead. It would take ten days for the news to reach Lincoln, Nebraska, where Walks the Fire would hear of it and fear for the life of her new son-in-law and wonder about the fate of her adopted son. It would be even longer before the truth was known.

The son-in-law, MacKenzie Baird, lay dead on the Little Big Horn, while the adopted son, a Lakota brave, rode away with a locket in place of a scalp.



Acknowledgments in the 1995 edition:
My acknowledgments must begin with praise to the Lord. “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen”
(Eph. 3:20-21)

This passage describes my life. God has constantly poured out exceeding abundantly above all that I have asked or thought. I pray that in some minute way, the use of his eternal Word in this book will bring honor and glory to him.

In a more earthly vein, I would like to say…

Thank you,
, for teaching me to love books.

Thank you,
, for modeling
Titus 1:6-9
1 Timothy 3

Thank you,
, for hugs and love and willingness to help.

Thank you,
Pastor Gil
, for teaching me to cherish and believe the all-sufficient Word of God.

Thank you,
Janet B.
, for doing more than your share in our partnership.

Thank you,
, for listening to the first few chapters and crying and telling me I had to finish it

Thank you,
, for your expert advice.

Thank you,
, for making the “offer I couldn’t refuse.”

Added to the 2013 edition:
Thank you,
Greenbrier Book Company
, for bringing these cherished stories back to life and taking them to new readers in the digital universe.

About the Author

Stephanie Grace Whitson
is a native of southern Illinois who has lived in Nebraska since 1975. She’s loved to write virtually all of her life, but began writing fiction (what she calls “playing with imaginary friends”) when, as a result of teaching her four homeschooled children Nebraska history, she was personally encouraged and challenged by the lives of pioneer women in the West. Since her first book,
Walks the Fire,
was published in 1995, Stephanie’s fiction titles have often appeared on bestseller lists and been finalists for the Christy Award, the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and
magazine’s Book of the Year. Her 2012 release,
The Shadow on the Quilt,
Romantic Times
magazine’s Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Inspirational Romance.

She also writes nonfiction books. Her first nonfiction work,
How to Help a Grieving Friend,
is available from Greenbrier Books.

In addition to serving in her local church and keeping up with five grown children, their spouses, and their perfect children (i.e., Stephanie's grandchildren), Stephanie enjoys motorcycle trips with her husband Dan and her church friends. (Yes! She does own and ride a Honda Magna cruiser.)

Her passionate interests in pioneer women's history, antique quilts, and French, Italian, and Hawaiian language and culture generate endless story-telling possibilities.

Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in French from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and a Master of Arts degree in history from Nebraska Wesleyan University. She is a frequent guest lecturer and speaker for civic organizations, quilt guilds, and church groups.

Stephanie offers several historical and writing-related programs to civic and church organizations, libraries, and quilt guilds. For more information, contact her via email.

Visit Stephanie’s web page:

Her email address is:

[email protected]

Also by the Author

The Quilt Chronicles Series

The Message on the Quilt

The Shadow on the Quilt

The Key on the Quilt

Pine Ridge Portraits Series

Secrets on the Wind

Watchers on the Hill

Footprints on the Horizon

Dakota Moons Series

Valley of the Shadow

Edge of the Wilderness

Heart of the Sandhills

Historical Fiction

A Captain for Laura Rose

Unbridled Dreams

A Claim of Her Own

Sixteen Brides

A Most Unsuitable Match

Contemporary Fiction

Jacob's List

A Garden in Paris

A Hilltop in Tuscany



Walks the Fire

Copyright © 1995, 2013 by Stephanie Grace Whitson. All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Unless otherwise noted, scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, KING JAMES VERSION.

Greenbrier Book Company

P.O. Box 12721

New Bern, NC 28561

Visit our Web site at

First eBook Edition: November 2013

Kindle eBook eISBN: 978-1-938684-57-9

ePub eBook eISBN: 978-1-938684-58-6


BOOK: Walks the Fire
8.67Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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