Two love stories, separated by years, intertwined by blood and history.
Zane Lone Bull is tired of fighting for lost causes. From the front lines in Vietnam to the home front in defense of his Lakota people, Zane has seen his share of bloodshed. He’s determined to build his horse business, take care of his family, and steer clear of trouble. But the murder of the brother who’d taken up where Zane left off leads him to Michelle Benedict.
Michelle has inherited her favorite aunt’s house, which stands across the road from the cemetery where patients from a nearly forgotten insane asylum are buried. Michelle’s uncle by marriage, Dr. Hubble, was the doctor in charge of the asylum. Through the medical records stored in the house, Zane and Michelle are able to piece together the dark history of the facility and the people who were committed there—many for reasons other than insanity.
Initially Zane is only concerned in finding out why his brother was interested in the place and who killed him, but meeting Michelle leads him to one discovery after another, including the woman he’ll spend his life with.
Bestselling author Kathleen Eagle set aside a gratifying seventeen-year teaching career on a North Dakota Indian reservation to become a full-time novelist. The Lakota Sioux heritage of her husbandand thus of their three children—has inspired many of her stories. Among her other honors, she has received Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA Award.
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About the Author
Kathleen Eagle published her first book, a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award winner, in 1984. Since then she has published more than forty books, including historical and contemporary, series and single title, earning her nearly every award in the industry. Her books have appeared on the USA Today bestseller list and the New York Times extended bestseller list. Kathleen is a winner of the RITA® award, and has also won the career achievement award twice from Romantic Times. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, who is Lakota Sioux. The Eagles have three children and three grandchildren.
Read an Excerpt
Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation, South Dakota Spring 1973
Zane Lone Bull woke up scared.
It took him a moment to catch his breath, get his bearings, and realize that the eerie moaning coming from the back room was just Uncle Martin having another one of his dream fits. Zane rolled to his side and sat up on the tattered sofa, planting his bare feet on the hard-packed dirt floor of the two-room cabin he shared with his uncle. The pre-dawn moaning was enough to give a person a bad case of the quivers. The old man sounded like some tortured soul calling out from the grave.
The dog barked outside the door. Zane dropped his chin to his bare chest and raked his hair back with splayed fingers. He had enough nightmares of his own to contend with, but he figured poor old Uncle Martin's monster had to be a real beaut. That thought merged with the predawn chill, blanketing his body with invigorating goosebumps. Countless miserable, sweaty nights had given rise to his appreciation of nip-in-the-air goose bumps. He snapped his jeans and reached past the cold wood stove for the shirt he'd left hanging on the back of a kitchen chair. It was still dark, but he knew where everything in the cabin was. There wasn't much to keep track of. He fished a cigarette and matches out of his shirt pocket, lit up, and headed for the back room.
"Uncle, wake up." Zane dropped into a squat beside the bed. He couldn't see a damn thing, but his hand homed in on the warmth of the old man's shoulder. "You're okay, now. Nobody's gonna hurt you."
Martin made a pitiful sound that might have come from a small child. In a way, Zane realized, itdid.
"Yeah, I know. I know how it is." But when the old man reached for him, Zane instinctively ducked away. He'd do the comforting on his own terms, and ending up in one of Uncle Martin's desperate headlocks was not among them. "I don't know who it is or what it is, but I know how it is. Whatcha gotta do is put that ol' gigi on the run."
Parking his cigarette in the comer of his mouth, Zane flipped the switch on the big flashlight he'd put beside Martin's bed and beamed the light into the shadowy corners of the tiny room, one by one. "Is he gone already? Must be one chickenshit gigi if he took off that quick. Maybe we better try smokin' him out."
But the offer of a drag on Zane's cigarette was lost on the old man, whose eyes were still wide with fear.
"Yeah, you're right." Zane studied the lengthening ash. "This ain't good for you. I never used to smoke much before I went to 'Nam. Now I can't quit. Not that I've tried all that hard."
Still wide-eyed, Martin watched Zane savor the lungful of smoke he'd been offered. Almost as good as a cup of coffee, and equally necessary. But Martin never indulged himself in either of Zane's morning rituals. He only watched.
"What are you thinkin' about, old man? What's goin' on inside that head of yours?"
Martin sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed. Summer or winter, the old man slept in long johns and socks. Always kept his boots close to the bed at night. Wouldn't go to sleep unless he knew they were there.
"I envy you sometimes, you know? You don't ask no questions, nobody tells you no lies. Just keep to your self." Zane's knees cracked as he rose from the floor. "I'm learnin' from you, Uncle. Always did learn the hard way, but at least it's some kinda way, huh?"
Martin leaned down to put his boots on, his gray braids dangling over his knees.
"Just keep to yourself," Zane repeated absently, watching his uncle go through his predictable motions. He headed for the front door in his droopy underwear, snatching his frayed straw hat off a nail on the way out. Zane had to chuckle. Martin wouldn't even make a trip to the outhouse without that hat.
Pale daylight had begun to define shapes in the front room-the bronc saddle in the far comer, the water cooler on the little kitchen table, a 1971 calendar on the clay-chinked wall. Zane didn't mind doing that year over again. This time he wasn't spending it behind bars.
Martin's nasal whine, an innocently warped version of a Lakota a cappella, soon rose beyond the door. He was singing up the sun. Wordless, toneless, it was still a reassuring sound. It reminded Zane that he was home, finally. Nothing fancy, but he didn't need fancy. He needed freedom, safety, and some peace of mind. With those requirements satisfied, he could make do.
"Let's go over the hill and get us some breakfast," Zane suggested when Martin came back inside. He didn't know how much the old man understood, but he knew his uncle would follow him whenever he got ready to go. Nevertheless it pleased him to carry on this onesided conversation, to have someone of his own to talk to first thing in the morning.
"You think they're up yet over there?" Zane stuffed his pickup keys into his front pocket and grabbed his shirt off the chair. "I'll be takin' a run down to Rapid today. Takin' that hot-blooded Arab back to the owner. I put a nice handle on him now, gave him the full thirtyday Lone Bull training program. How long do you think it'll take that Hausauer to ruin him?"
Martin was choosing a threadbare plaid shirt from a plastic basket full of folded laundry. He rubbed the...