Black Feather's Bride
Book One in the Flying T Ranch series

What is more passionate than forbidden love?

Penny Thompson’s impending marriage to a prissy easterner she’s never met signifies the end of her idyllic freedom. A tomboy at heart, she’d rather work her family’s cattle ranch from the back of a horse than bake and sew. The thought of marrying a man she doesn’t know is bad enough, but when she meets a half-breed Indian who ignites her desire, the idea of a wedding night with a stranger she doesn’t love turns abhorrent. John Black Feather’s touch causes a storm of passion Penny fears she cannot live without.

The son of a Navajo chief and a white captive, John Black Feather has always walked between two worlds. Conceived and educated specifically to help the tribe’s relations with the spreading white world, his dalliance with Penny Thompson could ruin his father’s decades-old plan. But Penny enflames him and drives him to take foolish risks for their love…even though he knows a future with her is impossible.

 

"I loved it! I love the romance, the true love, the self sacrifice and ultimately the realization of 'I can’t live my another day life without this person!' This is a romance in the purest sense.”
4 Cherries - Canterbury Bell Whipped Cream Erotic Romance Reviews

"I lost myself in their world of how love can flourish no matter what, during an unexpected trick or maybe just love at first sight."
4 Tea Cups - Lynn Marie Happily Ever After Reviews

"This short story totally surprised me."
4 Hoots! Karia Nocturne Reads

Read an Excerpt:

Penny, her sister Abigail, and Abigail’s daughters Elizabeth and Carrie were weeding the vegetable garden behind the ranch house when the Indian from the arroyo rode up. Beside him rode an elderly Indian man dressed in a chieftain’s headdress. They both sat regally upon beautiful mustangs making Penny stare with longing; the Indian chief sat on a snow-white horse with one blue eye and one brown, Black Feather on a magnificent Appaloosa. He led the pinto stallion she’d caught in the arroyo on a rope.

“Go get Will,” Abigail whispered to Elizabeth. Penny’s niece dropped her hoe and raced off. Her sisters were afraid of all Indians and unfortunately, because of stories of Apache attacks against white ranchers, their children took after them. Until three days ago, Penny had shared Will’s feelings: live and let live. But after the incident with the man now piercing her with an imperial stare, she wasn’t so sure.

He looked majestic upon the Appaloosa, a mixture of ease and grace, his back proud and straight. He was shirtless, in buckskin pants and moccasins. Sunlight played shadows and highlights over his broad chest.

One hand held the reins of a native bridle, the other the rope leading the stallion. He extended his arm as the stallion shook its head, showing the magnificent cut of muscle and tendon.

She remembered being held down by that powerful chest, that strong arm pinning her own above her head. The crush of his manhood against her thigh.

He fixed his eyes on her and she stared back, mesmerized. It was as if those jade green eyes cast a spell on her. Her pulse thrummed and that strange, warm rush started swirling inside her all over again.

Seated beside the elderly Chieftain, she noted how much lighter Black Feather’s skin was. His hair was different too. Unbound, it floated on the breeze as if weightless.

“Chief White Horse,” Will said, snapping her from her sinful reverie. “Black Feather. Welcome.”

Finally the Indian’s expression relaxed.

“We bring gifts. We are much grateful for your speak with the Indian council,” the old man said. His voice was like a winter wind, strong, but rough with age. He held a small basket decorated with turquoise beads. “Thanks to you our burial grounds will not be disturbed.”

Penny’s gaze returned to Black Feather. He was the epitome of masculinity, and she ached to run her fingers over the ridges and valleys of his chest.

“My son told me you admire the mustang stallion,” the Chief said, turning his wise gaze on her. Eyes having seen almost a century seemed to stare knowingly into her soul.

She blushed.

“Penny?” Will’s voice sounded far away, calling her out of a misty fog.

She glanced at Will and her mind grasped the Chieftain’s words. Good heavens, was he offering her the pinto stallion?

She swallowed. “I couldn’t. The horse is his.”

She glanced at her sisters, then to Benjamin and Reginald standing beside Will on the porch. Everyone watched her expectantly, probably waiting for her to make a mess of things, as usual. Black Feather lifted his arm, offering the rope.

“He’ll be offended if you don’t,” Will warned, confirming her suspicions.

“Girl who dress like boy take horse,” Black Feather said, and Will covered his mouth to stifle a snicker.

The Indian held the rope out to her.

Penny stepped forward and took it. The rope felt strange in her hands. She didn’t deserve this. She wouldn’t have done the same, in his place. “It is the most generous gift I have ever received.” She placed her hand on the horse’s wide cheek. The stallion turned his head and nuzzled her. He remembered her.

She looked up and Black Feather’s eyes locked with hers. It almost felt as if a suction formed between them, holding her captive.

She dragged her gaze to the Indian chief. “Black Feather has great skill with horses, and he has earned the stallion’s trust. Perhaps if we share the horse, Black Feather can teach me, and I will earn its trust too.”

Her gaze flicked back to Black Feather’s. Something in his eyes changed, and Penny suspected he understood what she’d said.

The Indian chief smiled and nodded. “I believe my son will like that.”

“It’s settled then,” Will said, and Penny felt the collective sigh as everyone around her relaxed. “We were about to eat. Join us for supper.”

The chief nodded. “Thank you, William Thompson.”

From the corner of her eye, Penny noticed Abigail stiffen all over again. Her own nerves were dancing. The horse she had spent nearly two weeks tracking was now hers! She glanced at Black Feather, knowing part of her tingling was caused by the handsome Indian.

“I’ll take your horses to the barn,” she offered.

Chief White Horse dismounted with the agility of a man half his age, but Black Feather was off his horse first, keeping close enough to aid his father if needed. When the chief stood steadily on his own two feet, Black Feather took the reins from him and turned to her. He was going to follow. She swallowed down a hot mouthful of unease. It was irrational to think he would attack her again, now that a friendship had been established, but Penny couldn’t stop the nervousness jumping in her belly.

The wide doors to the barn stood open. Black Feather followed her into the cavernous center. “You can use those stalls, there,” she said, pointing.

Penny turned around to see if he understood. Her heart did a funny little leap. Sunlight from the open doors gilded him in gold, but his features were masked by the shadows of the barn. Dust motes swirled around him on smoky streams of light, further casting him in mystery. She couldn’t see his features, but she knew his gaze was intense. She could feel it vividly, like roving hands in the dark.

He turned and led the two horses to the stalls.

Penny brought the stallion to the east-facing side where he would have a stall opening into a paddock, far from the mares.

“This is your new home, beauty.” She led the horse into the stall and closed the gate behind him. He nosed around in the clean straw. She fixed a bucket of oats and poured it into the manger. The stallion dipped his nose, eager for the sweet treat. “Hmm. Beauty doesn’t sound like a very appropriate name. I’ll have to think of something to call you.”

Tiny hairs bristled all over her body. She turned around and found Black Feather looming close.

He was even taller than she’d thought, imposing and powerful, but in a quiet, controlled way. He leaned over her, one hand propped on the wood above her, and reached toward her. She took a step back and collided with the solid frame of the stall’s door.

Penny caught her breath. Don’t show fear.

Was it fear she felt? Strangely, no. Something else she couldn’t put a name to, or even fully understand, but it was powerful and exciting. She held her back straight, her heart kicking a thundering staccato against her breastbone. He picked up a lock of her hair.

“It is like fire.” He whispered each word carefully, as though tasting English on his tongue for the first time. He stared at the lock of her hair, sliding it between his fingers, before meeting her eyes. Penny felt as though she’d been dipped into a hot bath.

His mystifying green eyes slipped to her mouth. He leaned closer. She could smell him, feel him touching her already as if he were giving off sparks.

At once, she knew what he intended. She closed her eyes the instant his lips brushed hers. He kissed her gently and tenderly, not at all like she’d expected. Her entire body ignited with a giant whoosh.

He placed his hand solidly on her shoulder and there she felt the force and possessiveness she’d anticipated in his kiss. She tasted the maleness of him, salty and musky and purely wild.

His lips moved on hers with the sensual caress of a seasoned lover. Her mind flashed over all the passages about kissing in the forbidden novels she kept hidden in her room.

They were nothing like the real thing. The rest of the world disappeared, leaving only the magical press of his lips on hers and the heady taste of him filling her senses.

Penny pulled away and dragged in a breath. She couldn’t let him touch her this way. It was wrong. Though she never behaved as a lady in the way her sisters wanted her to, she would in this way.

But it had felt so wonderful, and her entire body thrummed with vibrations of pleasure.

She turned back and sought his mouth, not quite ready to end this magical lesson. Who would have thought an Indian could kiss so wonderfully?

This time it was she who prompted their kiss, and he responded eagerly. His mouth came against hers greedily, though instinctively she knew it was not a savage kiss, but one born of pure male need.

His lips parted, pushing hers open. His tongue slipped over her teeth and sought hers in a wild caress, making stars dance behind her eyes. Somehow she knew this was how lovers kissed. She’d read about the mating of tongues in The Utopia of Love. His tongue was like black velvet, and tasted like sex. His kiss intensified, reacting to her boldness.

His hand slid up her shoulder and cupped the back of her neck. She felt as if she were easing into warm water, and could easily let herself sink all the way.

She touched his arm and a zing of sensation raced through her palm. His skin was incredibly soft, a deceptive barrier over rock-solid muscle. She thought back to the day in the arroyo, when he’d pushed his erection into her thigh. It had felt like tempered steel. Would the rest of him prove to be the same?

She felt a tugging at her shirt. Black Feather popped one button, and then a second. Penny kept her eyes closed as his hand slipped inside and found the mound of her breast. Billows of heat unfurled in her belly and rolled outward. She wore a lightly boned corset--her breasts had been too heavy to go without one since she was fourteen. Black Feather left his hand there, as if he knew exactly what lay beneath and was content to imagine.

A voice tore her out of a foggy dream. Outside, Timmy shouted her name, calling her to supper. Any second he would come through the barn doors.

She pulled back and found Black Feather’s eyes heavy as though he, too, had been spellbound by the kiss.

His hand slipped back to her shoulder. His grip tightened as she tried to pull away.

“No.”

Penny froze.

“Girl not feel like boy.”

Then he slipped into the shadows behind her.

Penny pinned her shirt closed with trembling fingers just as Timmy burst through the barn doors. “Penny! Will says leave that horse be and wash up.”

Penny tried to respond, but found she couldn’t speak. She merely nodded. When she glanced over her shoulder, she discovered Black Feather had vanished.

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