- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
She turned to face the intruders squarely. It would not do to show them any fear, she reasoned. Remembering her proud heritage, she wrapped her noble status around herself as though it were a cedar cloak and straightened her spine.
Surprised, she saw that one of the men had hair the color of dried summer grass. What manner of Indian is this? She wondered. As the unknown canoe came closer, Haina saw that the man had dark stubble of beard on is face. He's not clean-cheeked like a man should be, she marveled. Every man she knew plucked his beard hairs. How strange he looks, she thought.
But no sign of her thoughts showed on her beautiful, set face. She waited until the men in the war canoe pulled alongside her much smaller craft. Hands reached out and grasped the gunwales of her canoe and effectively locked the bouncing crafts together.
Haina felt anger rise at such brazen disregard of her status. These men had no right to touch her canoe!
Dressed in ordinary brown cedar kutsacks denoting their commoner status, all eight young men were staring at Haina. That they were commoners caused her fears to recede. Commoners would not dare harm a noblewoman, she thought.
"I presume you have a reason for daring to interfere with my fishing." she inquired frigidly of the stubble-cheeked man sitting in the bow.
Dark blond hair fell to his broad shoulders. A twisted cedar rope headband encircled his forehead. He had a wide, tanned chest. His curling blond chest hair was half-hidden by a bearskin robe tied at one shoulder.
Why, he's like a bear himself with all that blond fur on him, she thought. She stared at his hairy arms, too.
And his eyes! Eyes the color ofthe summer sea, were set in a handsome, ruggedly carved face. Those green eyes sent a shiver of warmth through Haina when she gazed into their crystalline depths. Haina stared. She had never seen eyes of such entrancing color.
Cool now, those eyes ranged assessingly over Haina's delicate features. Then, apparently liking what he saw, the stranger had the audacity to give her a lazy grin.
Haina, irritated at his slow perusal, and distracted by his strangeness, dragged her thought back to what she had said. When only silence was forthcoming, she said in a louder voice, "Take your hands off my dugout."
To her dismay, she heard soft chuckles form the men in the war canoe. The leader still wore that same infuriating smile. Haina could feel her notorious temper starting to ride again. Heart beating rapidly with fear and excitement, she picked up her pointed canoe paddle and looked down at the strong, brown knuckles still holder her boat captive. Blond hair sprouted on the back of his tanned hand. Even his hands were hairy!
The she remembered. Her parents had spoken of white men, mumutly, on the west coast. This man, then, must be one of the mumutly. But what was he doing with Indians?
"Leave my canoe alone," she managed. "I am a noblewoman. I will not be threatened by you commoners!"
The men chuckled at her words. Insolent, she thought. They are very insolent.
Before the grinning leader could anticipate her actions, she brought the paddle down sharply with a rap across those same knuckles. His grunt of pain both scared and gratified her. They would not find her an easy target for their commoner games! "Now, I will advise you once again," she stated evenly. "Take your hands off my canoe."
The mood of the men suddenly sobered. One of them, a rangy man with lean, corded muscles, and clenched fists, rose abruptly but the leader signaled him back down and muttered something in an undertone. The man obeyed reluctantly but shot Haina an ugly stare.
Surprised by his hostility, Haina quivered inside. Something was very wrong. These strangers were not behaving with the deference that was her natural due as a chief's daughter. She could see they were mere commoners. Why then, were they so upset when she struck the white man? Of course, she would never strike another noble. To do so was death.
She decided to defuse the situation. After all, there were eight of them, all strong young men. She had only Scareface for protection, and he was getting old. "Where are you commoners from?" They were not from her village, she knew. She didn't not recognize their faces. Besides, her people knew to behave properly around a noblewoman.
After another assessing look, the white man answered. "Kyuquot," he said in the soft drawl of that region. His deep voice sent shivers down Haina's spine. She swung her gaze to his, only to find his entrancing eyes regarding her intently in return.
"Oh," she managed. "Then you must have attended the feast my father gave last night." The stranger had the impertinence to continue staring at her, so Haina decided to put him in his place. "My father, Fighting Wolf, is known throughout our land as a great war chief," she said distinctly. "Perhaps you commoners have heard his name?"
Her sarcasm was ignored. The man merely nodded in response.
Haina did not care for the way conversation, what little there was of it, was going. "Well," she said brightly. "Thank you so much for attending my father's feast. I know he would wish you a safe return on your voyage homeward. It is a long journey back to Kyuquot and I am sure you are most anxious to begin."
Instead of politely releasing her canoe as she had hoped, the men kept their grip on it. She listened as they conferred in undertones. An uneasy feeling stole over her.
Suddenly the white man, who appeared to be the leader, reached over and removed the paddle from her grasp. Her jaw dropped at his audacity--a mere commoner daring to touch a noblewoman--and she let the paddle go without a fight.
When he reached for her and grabbed her upper arms, she froze in shock for an instant. What had happened to her determination to fight? she wondered. His hands felt warm on her bare arms, and small goosebumps rose on her skin. His grip was strong. She had no hope of overpowering him.
Posted May 15, 2000
This book is definately a winner!! The characters are so believeable! I laughed with them and cried with them. Haina and Chance have a magic about them. They fit together perfectly. This is one of the most believeable romance novels I have ever read!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.