One Good Woman
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by Susan Kelley
Category: Romance/Science Fiction
Description: Cara of Solonian buries her fears and nightmares in her work. Her hard warrior attitude keeps men at bay. She likes being alone and the last thing she wants is a man in her life. Captain Brady Gellot of the Realm has tried to pierce Cara's defenses but her cold responses finally turn him away. Everything changes for both of them when an accident strands them alone in unexplored territory. Brady's charm and endless optimism wear away at Cara's defenses as they struggle to survive in the wilderness. Cara's courageous soul yearns for Brady's love but her head warns her against giving her heart to any man. Before they find their way home or resolve their relationship, an old enemy appears. But are the native inhabitants the same as the vicious brutes they'd battled in Solonia? Cara and Brady must look inside their hearts and trust their instincts to defeat their clever foes. The battle for their lives will test their fragile trust in each other and the warrior codes they've honored all their adult lives. Sometimes a warrior fights not to slay his enemy but to bring peace to his world. Great victories require the taking of great risks of not only one's life but one's heart. Cara must search for the strength to put away her sword and to risk her heart with the man determined to heal her broken life and complete his own. Rating: Sensual. Genre: Futuristic Romance.
eBook Publisher: New Concepts Publishing, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: June 2010
16 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [332 KB]
Reading time: 223-313 min.
"It's coming. Push, you lazy tart."
Sweat matted Bab's short hair, but she found the strength to grunt and push. The birth was going quickly and her friend was only trying to help her with her stern orders.
"It's a little one." Rena knelt between her legs and waited to catch the baby.
Bab could not find any breath to comment. Another contraction ripped through her. She strained and bore down with another grunt. The baby slid from her body with sudden ease even though it was her first and should have been more difficult.
Rena turned away with her burden and placed it in the waiting hide. She used another strip of soft doeskin and swiped at the child's mouth. A thin protest rose from the tiny thing and allowed Bab to relax.
She pushed again and expelled the afterbirth. Earlier she'd set a bowl of water and more cleaning hides by her side in preparation. She soaked them now to clean herself as best as she could and then moved to her sleeping pallet.
Rena made small sounds of comfort to the infant as she cleaned it. The two of them shared this little house and had been best friends since their own births many seasons ago. In another turn of the moon, Rena would birth her own first child and Bab would help her.
Rena bundled the little one and carried it to her with a strange look on her face.
"Is something wrong?" Bab already loved her baby though she'd loathed the making of it. And for the first few months after this birth, she wouldn't have to suffer Jak's and Hop's vicious mounting.
"You have a girl," Rena said with a hesitation to match her expression. "You have an angel."
Bab smiled at her friend's whimsy. They often shared their dreams and imaginations about the angels drawn in the picture books. Their single book was their most prized possession. The beautiful beings in them looked so real, it was easy to believe they might really exist in some heavenly world. Bab never told Rena, but she often sent a special, silent plea to the angels. She wished for something better for her children than a life of hardship and suffering.
Her daughter was so tiny and light in her arms. Even her nearly hairless head looked too small. Was the child sick? Her heart plunged and she gently pulled aside the soft, brown hide to look on her dear face. She saw a dream.
"Angel." The little face peered up at her with an intelligence of someone much older. Her little face was red and round, but still Bab could see her child would not have the broad, thick brow of her mother and father. How could the baby breathe through such a tiny nose? Her fingers, so thin and long, batted at the air. Where was her body hair? Except for the white fluff on top of her head, Angel's little pink body was bare. No, she did have fine white eyebrows and a hint of lashes.
"Bab, how did you do it?" Rena squatted beside her. She poked at Angel's smooth skin. "How did you birth an angel?"
"Get the book."
Rena retrieved it from its special place on the shelf they'd decorated with shells and shiny stones. With due caution for its fragile sheets, she flipped the pages to their favorite picture. Though faded by time and handling, they could see the lovely blonde woman holding a baby. The picture could have been of Angel.
Bab touched the woman's face lightly with one finger. She never tired of looking at the stranger's fine facial features, thin body and perfectly placed hair. The man standing beside the woman looked weak and puny compared to Jak and Hop, but he was handsome beyond imagination. Except now maybe they should imagine him to be real. Dark hair curled around his ears but none covered his chin or upper lip. Even in the flat, lifeless picture, he looked graceful. Angelic. Kind.
"How did I get an angel?"
Rena wrapped her arms around them both. "Because you're the kindest, gentlest soul in the world."
They fussed over the baby and wondered over her perfect, fragile body. Again and again they compared her features to the picture.
Shouts and growls from outside their door distracted them.