Mystic Creek Series
Harrigan Family Series
Coulter Family Series
Kendrick Family Series
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Valance Family Series
Coulter Family Series Historical
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COMANCHE MOON (reissue)
Dear readers, For many years now, I have received letters from you about my out-of-print historical romances. Where might you find them? Why do they cost so much? When will my publisher reprint them? I kept promising you that someday it would happen, but as time wore on, even I began to wonder if it ever would. Now it finally has! New American Library/ Signet recently purchased the rights to the first three of those out-of-print books, and Comanche Moon, originally published in 1991, is the first to be reissued. I am so excited! To all who have waited so patiently for this day to arrive, thank you. To those who are confirmed contemporary fans, please consider taking this journey with me into the past. A great love story transcends time, and I'm confident that Comanche Moon will touch your emotions and linger in your memory.
Comanche Moon was a true labor of love, a book that came straight from my heart. When it was first offered to publishers in the late '80s, editor after editor rejected it because the story broke so many established rules of the romance genre. I was asked to change the book if I wanted to sell it, but I refused.
In many ways, Comanche Moon is a tribute to a wonderful people, the Comanche nation, and after doing four years of research, I couldn't bring myself to betray them or their culture by altering the story to fit a mold. I believed that readers were more sophisticated than some editors thought, and I was confident they would love the book just as it was, if only they could get an opportunity to read it.
I was right! When Comanche Moon finally made it into print its honesty and uniqueness were eagerly embraced by readers, and I will always feel that this story set the tone for my entire writing career.
My readers came to expect books from me that didn't always follow the conventions, emotionally powerful stories that depict the miracle of true love in trying, real-life situations. I regret that this book has been so difficult to find for so long. The first print runs were small, and many readers kept their copies because the novel was so well liked, making it even harder for other readers to find.
Now, at long last, you will be able to purchase as many copies as you wish. I hope you enjoy reading Comanche Moon as much as I enjoyed writing it, and that it finds a prominent place on your keeper shelf as one of your all-time favorites.
All the very best,
FROM THE PLACE WHERE THE SUN RISES, there will come to the People a great warrior who will stand tall above his brothers and see far into the great beyond with eyes like the midnight sky. This Comanche shall carry the sign of the wolf upon his shield, yet none shall call him chief. To his people shall come much sadness, and the rivers will run red with the blood of his nation. Mountains of white bones will mark where the mighty buffalo once grazed. In the sky, black smoke will carry away the death cries of helpless women and children. He will make big talk against the White-Eyes and fierce war, but the battles shall stretch before him with no horizon.
When his hatred for the White-Eyes is hot like the summer sun and cold like the winter snow, there will come to him a gentle maiden from tosi tivo land. Though her voice will have been silenced by great sorrow, her eyes shall speak into his of a morning with new beginnings. She will be golden like the new day, with skin as white as the night moon, hair like rippling honey, and eyes like the summer sky. The People will call her the Little Wise One.
The Comanche will raise his blade to slay her, but honor will stay his hand. She will divide his Comanche heart, so his hate that burns hot like the sun will make war with his hate that is cold like the winter snow, and the hate shall melt and flow out of him to some faraway place he cannot find. Just as the dawn streaks the night sky, he will chase the shadows from her heart and return her voice to her.
When this is done, the warrior and his maiden shall walk together to a high place on the night of the Comanche moon. He will stand on the land of the Comanche, she on the land of the tosi tivo. Between them will be a great canyon that runs high with blood. The warrior will reach across the canyon to his maiden, and she will take his hand. Together they will travel a great distance into the west lands, where they will give birth to a new tomorrow and a new nation where the Comanche and the tosi tivo will live as one forever.
AS PALE AS FRESH CREAM, A FULL MOON shone against the midnight sky, casting a silver aura across the star-studded blackness. A killing moon, some called it, and tonight that seemed fitting. The screams of dying women and children rang no more, as if, like the wind, they had come to this place only briefly and now were gone.
In the distance a coyote howled, the sound rising in a mournful crescendo, then trailing off into a wail that made Hunter of the Wolf shiver. He knelt alone on the bluff, his indigo eyes fastened on the trampled ground below the promontory. Judging by the swath of hoof marks, the Blue Coats had fled southeast after their attack on his village earlier that day.
He clenched his hands into fists. His wife's name rang like a litany inside his head, calling out to him for vengeance. Willow by the Stream had been heavy with his child. He wished he could gather his war gear and set out immediately after her killers, but he and the other young men were needed here to tend the injured and bury the dead. Soon, though, he would make war as he never had before. He would hunt down the Blue Coats like the animals they were and return the pain they had wrought a hundredfold.
Hunter was no stranger to grief, but never had he experienced this terrible feeling of emptiness. Even as children he and Willow had been a pair, their laughter ringing across windswept grasslands. No other's hand had ever felt right in his. No other's smile had made a glad song within him. He had thought to have her always at his side. And now she was gone, leaving behind a canyon within him as vast as the plains that stretched forever into the horizon. Despite everything he had done to save her, she had lost their child and slowly bled to death in his arms. Her injuries, the result of vicious and repeated rape, had been inside of her where they couldn't be seen. Up to the last, he had kept hoping she would recover.
He could almost feel her spirit leaving him, see her running gracefully across the stepping-stones made of stars into the land of the dead. His gut tightened as he contemplated the path she might take. She had never been good at finding her way, depending always upon him to guide her. He prayed the Great Ones held her hand to show her which direction to go. If she was all alone, she would surely get lost. The thought made unwanted tears well in his eyes.
The night wind had dried her blood on his hands and buckskin breeches. Hunching his broad shoulders, he emitted a keening cry of sorrow that echoed in the air around him. Drawing his knife, he hacked off his mahogany hair close to the scalp. Then he lifted his razor-sharp blade and slashed himself from the outside tip of his right eyebrow to his chin, his sign to all the People that Willow by the Stream would live forever within his heart. His blood stained the blade crimson. He wished it were the blood of a tabeboh, any tabeboh.
A movement to his left caught his attention, and he turned to see his mother approaching, her moccasins touching softly upon the ground as if she trod upon his grief. He made a quick swipe at his cheek, ashamed for her to see his tears.
An apologetic look crossed her face. " My tua, I know I should not approach you now," whispered Woman with Many Robes, " but I must talk with you."
She came to kneel with him. A tight, suffocating ache centered itself in his throat. Her smell was familiar and dear, reminiscent of his childhood when her gentle hands had soothed all his hurts. He yearned to bury his face in her ample breasts, to cry as only a child could. "She trusted me to protect her," he whispered raggedly. "It was my promise to her in the song we sang together. I should never have left her."
Woman with Many Robes clucked her tongue, much as she had done years ago when he had come to her as a boy spouting foolish stories. "You wish to walk backward, tua, and it cannot be. I know it is hard to accept, but your wife has been taken because the song you sang with her was meant to be sung with another."
‘”The blood of my woman is still warm on my leggings, yet you mention the prophecy? You have sung the words to me all my life, and I have listened like a dutiful son. I won't tonight."
She stared into the distance. A cloud drifted across the moon, shadowing her face. “In a few hours, you will ride out. I must tell you something first, that you are the Comanche of the prophecy. You came to me from the place where the sun rises— from the loins of a Blue Coat twenty-six winters ago."
The air gushed from his chest as if she had struck him. "No! I have asked my father many times. Always he said I was his son! You will not speak such a lie."
He made as if to rise, but she grabbed his arm. "It is no lie. You have indigo eyes, not black, and you stand a head taller than your brothers." With her other hand, she caught hold of his medallion, turning the stone so he could see the image carved there. "You bear the sign of the wolf, yet none call you chief."
For a moment he could only stare at her in frozen silence. "You, the mother that I love, and a Blue Coat?"
“I did nothing wrong. It happened during an attack, much like the one today. The men were gone hunting. I tried to run, and the Blue Coat saw me." Her voice went reed thin. "He raped me and left me for dead. When I found I was with child, your ap claimed the babe was his and sang with me at the central fire."
"Why are you telling me this? So I won't avenge my wife?" His voice grew thick with rage, and he jerked his medallion from her grasp. "I will reclaim her honor. I must."
"Find her killers, yes, but don't take part in the bloodbath I've heard the others planning." Her tear-filled eyes implored him. "Your life is not your own. The fate of your people rests on your shoulders. You must find the honey-haired woman with no voice, bring her to us, and honor her as you never will another."
"I'll honor her with a quick death."
"Do not speak such a thing, for then it must be."
She sighed and pushed to her feet. Placing her hands on her hips, she made much of the horizon for a long while. Then she touched his bowed head. "I will not ask you to strike the hate from your heart, for that too is foretold in the prophecy. As for love, it wells up like a spring from a hidden place, and you cannot command that of anyone. But, tua, for the sake of your people, you must find the honey-haired woman and bring her to us."
His answer was taut silence.
"I know it is a hard thing. That is why you were chosen, because you are strong. The People will go the way of the wind one day soon. The Great Ones have chosen you to sing our song and keep our ways alive."
He threw her an incredulous glance. "Do I look weak like a woman? I am a warrior, not a storyteller."
Her smile was filled with sadness. "There are many ways to fight the great fight. The bravest warrior of all is the one with no shield. Your people need you to fight the last fight, the most bitter battle of all. And you must do it alone. When the time comes, you will see the path the Great Ones have chosen for you and walk it with courage."
"The Comanche of the prophecy must leave the People. I would never do that, especially not with a white woman. I'm afraid you underestimate my hatred, pia."
"Remember one thing. I have cause to hate the tosi tivo, too. The dreams about the Blue Coat will haunt me always. But I took a tosi tivo into my buffalo robes. I held him to my breast and called him son. And my love for him burns like the brightest star in the heavens. You are that tosi tivo. Strike it from your heart, deny it as you will, there is a place within you that is not Comanche."
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