Spirit of Dawn
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by Samantha Byrnes
Category: Romance/Historical Fiction
Description: Ashkii's wife and infant son died of smallpox, leaving him bereft, yet he must carry out his duties as eldest male of his Navajo clan. Jack Conover has lost faith in love and has resigned himself to a life alone on the ranch. In Spirit of Dawn and Angel of Dawn, a mystical frontier woman comforts the grieving men. Who is she? Neither know, but she eases each man's heartache, allowing him to move forward with life.
eBook Publisher: Freya's Bower/Freya's Bower, 2006 2006
eBookwise Release Date: July 2009
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [41 KB]
Reading time: 23-32 min.
All Other formats: Printing DISABLED, Read-aloud DISABLED
The falcon soared in the cloudless blue sky, circling its prey. Ashkii watched it glide, envying its freedom. He glanced at the grove of trees by the stream over which the falcon flew. Signaling to his Navajo brothers to go on without him, he steered his horse towards the trees.
No breeze blew across the plains. Ashkii was a scout as well as a hunter and spent most of his time on his horse, away from the village. His wife and infant son were gone, stolen a year ago from him by a white man's disease, and he couldn't bear to be around the other families for long periods of time. He dealt with his bitterness alone. As eldest male in his clan, his responsibilities weighed heavily on his shoulders.
The village medicine man had performed a healing ceremony for Ashkii's lost spirit, hoping to guide him back to the clan and restore his spiritual imbalance. Ashkii did not trust in this ceremony. He did not believe Mother Earth would intervene on his behalf, but he participated out of respect.
His shoulder-length black hair flew behind him as he galloped towards the stream. Leaping off his horse, he studied the trees, trying to determine why this place disturbed him. Spinning in a slow circle, he surveyed the area. There. Something lying in the brush. Crouching low, he crept over to investigate, his eyes darting around, alert for signs of danger.
Instinct assured him he was alone. As he neared, Ashkii saw an arm lying behind the scrub bushes and undergrowth. Dark brown hair flowed over the arm, and the face and body were partially hidden by fallen leaves and the shadows within the trees. He eased a hand towards the face, pushing the hair back.
His eyes scanned the area again. Why would someone leave this woman behind? He brushed the leaves and debris from her body and sat back on his heels. Through the smears of dirt, Ashkii saw dusky skin, tanned from the sun, dark hair, strong features and cheekbones slashing high across her face. One long braid ran down her back, though most of her hair had come loose. She must belong to someone. In his tribe, the women were revered for their wisdom and knowledge, having been given life from Changing Woman, the Navajo's powerful god. A woman would not have been left out to fend for herself in this harsh land.