In a spellbinding novel of depth and sensitivity, award-winning author Kathleen Eagle masterfully weaves the richness of Native American folklore into a contemporary story of hope, courage, and the power of love to lift the human spirit.
Angela Prescott has pulled up stakes and moved halfway across the country, seeking refuge from a man who has made her life a nightmare. Starting over in an unfamiliar city, she's wary and keeps to herself, until she meets twelve-year-old Tommy T.
Street-smart Tommy T knows how to keep secrets. He's told no one of the mysterious recluse living in an underground hideaway, whose face he's never seen. A gifted comic book artist with no place to live, Tommy T needs someone to believe in, and in this phantom stranger he finds the comic book superhero of his dreams.
Jesse Brown Wolf's past has driven him underground in many ways. By day, he is a handsome repairman who fixes the plumbing in Angela's rooms. By night he lives in the shadows, acting with reckless bravery to make the streets safer for kids. . .and whispering into Angela's sleeping ear promises of comfort, security, and heart's ease.
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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
Pain drifted over him quietly, like a veil of madness. Or maybe it was madness that claimed him, like all-over pain. It didn't matter anymore. Pain and madness were one and the same. He closed his eyes, settled back a against the cool earthen wall of his underground refuge, and let the cruel clowns take him. Iktome, the spider. Old Man Coyote. His kindred spirits, foolish and unkind.Like them, he accepted the pain, thrived on it, understood it better than any other sensation that had ever tried to mess with him. Pain was a sure thing. It came and went, and that was that.
Strange night, he thought. The air aboveground was stagnant, heavy with steam from sidewalks baked earlier by the August sun. Belowground it was heavy with earth's dampness and her own piquant scent, but it was cooler.
Restless night, he thought. The kind that trudged across the sky on slow, cumbrous feet.
Hot, heavy, sensuous night. Like a lover's kiss.
In your dreams, he thought. He could hardly remember the last time he'd kissed or been kissed. Except, of course, by Mistress Pain, smacking her nettling lips on the backs of his eyeballs.
He hung on, anticipating the critical signal, the one that always blasted him over the threshold, beyond even his cruel mistress's reach. A single gunshot, the one he dreaded, the one he was doomed to hear over and over again. Like the crash of cymbals, it reverberated beyond the crescendo of his pain. Beyond reason, beyond light and dark, beyond memory. Beyond the gunshot lay facelessness, namelessness, blessed oblivion.
The voice hovered somewhere above the chink in rocks that was the entrance tohis subterranean asylumhis private haven or his hellhole, depending on what was going on in his head. He recognized the voice. He knew the kid it belonged to, the one who had followed him one night after he had scared the bejesus out of a couple of smart-asses who'd picked the wrong time to cross him. He couldn't remember how long ago it had happened, how he'd let his guard down on his way back to his refuge, how much the boy had seen. Couldn't remember much of anything right now. Didn't care to try.
"It's me, Tommy T. Sorry to bother you again, but you're the only one I can trust. Are you down there?"
Small voice, raised just a notch above its own fear. Respectful. Never came any closer. Never invaded the secret hole in the rocky river bluff. Smart kid.
"I haven't told nobody. I swear. Nobody knows about this place but me. And I wouldn't bother you now except..." Leaves rustled. Rubber soles scraped the camouflaged beam that framed the small entrance to the underground chamber. "Except you've gotta come."
He didn't have to do anything. "Not now."
"You've gotta come now. Somebody's gonna get killed." The voice was too soft, too tender, and too damned desperate. Just the kind of sound he could not long endure. "Call a cop."
"Yeah, right." The cynical chuckle gave way to a boyish whine. "C'mon, man. My brother Stoner's hangin' out because of the dogs. He just wants to see the dogs fight. But there's this one dude, I think he's packin'. I know he is. He's been tellin' around that he's got a piece and that his dog don't lose, you know what I'm sayin'? AH you gotta do is show up and they'll all be "
"Not now, not now," the boy mimicked impatiently. "Somebody's gonna get dead now. Now, man, right now. You gotta "
The blast tore through his head and shattered him to the marrow. It was 0 he could do to contain the sound of it inside the raw pipe that was his throat, echoing within the cavern he carried in his head. It took him a moment to collect the pieces of himself and reassemble them into something that walked and talked. The shock waves were still bouncing within him, making his skin tingle as he applied white clay to the lower half of his face. The mud soothed him. His tongue flicked over his lower lip, tasting his own sweat mixed with the salt of the earth.
"Please. You've really gotta come now."
He rose wearily. The desperate voice flushed him out of his hole. They'd been through this before.' He knew the kid couldn't leave him be. The couldn't be child would never give the used-to-be man any peace until he emerged and followed and scared off the threat, one beast to another.
Anything for a little peace.
He wore a low hat and a high collar. The boy had never been permitted to see his face. No one had. He'd learned the art of camouflage long ago, in another life. He hid everything but his eyes. He knew the power of his eyes. Glittering, startling, mesmerizing power. It was power derived from detachment, power that fed on pain, but it was power nonetheless.
He followed the boy, who scrambled over the rocks, occasionally claiming a handhold as he navigated the rugged embankment on short, quick legs. At his age, the boy's agility was his best defense on the city streets. That and his wit, which seemed plentiful. It wouldn't be long before he'd start looking for something else, some deadly edge, but for now the boy believed in an ally. And for now the ally obliged, just so that the boy would give him some peace. This boy and all the others who haunted him. A little peace wasn't too much to ask...
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Was'nt what i expected but very good....
I haven't read any of her other books, but I LOVED this story. There's a mystical quality about the hero and I enjoyed the Native American angle. The story is fast-paced, heart-warming and exciting. Definitely a beauty and the beast quality to the storyline (the hero resides in a cave!) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!