Here's the first half of Chapter Two. This is all I'm posting. If you want to read more, ask someone to publish it for me. :-)
White Eagle released a long slow hiss as his gaze swept over the woman’s face, then down his arm where her yellow hair wrapped around his dark skin and silver armband—a stark contrast.
Despite the fear evident in the ice-blue depths of her eyes, he felt as if she could see inside of him, as if her gut knew she saw a man, not a savage.
From her nose to her chin, her face burned bright red from the sun, and her lips were cracked and dry. This woman needed water.
Her gaze darted to her carpetbag. "Please," she whispered.
He glanced down at the bag. Did it have weapons? He jerked it from the ground. To her obvious dismay, he tore it open. He found a book, The Last of the Mohicans, and photographs. Then nothing of significance, just fake jewelry and other feminine articles. But one item practically burned like fire in his hand—a Bible. He hadn’t seen the white man’s book since he left Denver six years ago. The one his father had. He shoved it back in. No weapons. He stuffed everything else in and handed it to her.
Relief reflected in her eyes as she hugged the bag.
White Eagle ambled to his horse.
Distant cries of women and children carried up from the wagons as the other braves rummaged through their belongings. If only that man hadn’t raised his rifle, no one would have been killed. But had their roles been reversed, White Eagle might have done the same.
He grabbed his water skin and removed the stopper. He walked back to the woman and held it out to her.
She gaped at it.
He shook the water.
Her eyes met his, then went back to the skin. She lunged forward and dropped her bag. After a moment’s hesitation, she snatched the water skin. Water spilled down her chin and over her front. She choked.
"Slow down," he said in Cheyenne. "I mean, slow down," he said again, only this time in French. He shook his head and went back to his horse. "I can’t talk," he mumbled in English.
Running Cloud rode up to him on his horse. White Eagle boldly met his gaze. He’d almost forgotten about tossing his friend on the ground. He’d never before laid a hand on Running Cloud who was more like a brother than a friend.
"We’re taking the woman," Running Cloud said in Cheyenne, motioning towards Walks Alone.
"No." White Eagle turned to his horse and straightened out the blanket. "I don’t want her."
"You’re refusing my gift?" Running Cloud’s voice rose. "You knock me down for her, and now you don’t want her?" He turned to Walks Alone, eyes blazing. "Then I’ll take her."
Running Cloud moved toward the woman, but White Eagle grabbed the reins. "No. I’ll take her."
"No." Running Cloud glared at him. "She’s mine," he said slowly, laying emphasis on each word, "until you make her yours."
The significance of his words poured over White Eagle like a cold waterfall. A wife? He didn’t need a wife. He was ready to tear into Running Cloud for that, but he kept his hands to himself. There’d been enough fighting between friends with Black Bear on the rampage. But how could Running Cloud force him to take this woman as his wife? He clenched his jaw, trying to contain his fury.
"Then you take the wife of the man you killed," White Eagle said, wanting revenge.
"Or you’ll do what?" He raised a mocking brow.
White Eagle marched to Walks Alone, seething with anger. Running Cloud knew White Eagle wouldn’t force him to take the woman.
Spotted Owl galloped up to them, letting them know the other braves were ready to go. Running Cloud took off toward the wagons.
Now Walks Alone not only hugged her carpetbag but also his water skin. He took the water skin, grabbed the woman’s elbow and led her to his horse.
She gasped as they neared the painted beast, and it wasn’t until then that he realized just how large his horse must appear to a woman her size. "Get on the horse," White Eagle said in Cheyenne. He shook his head in frustration. English. He needed to speak English.
Realizing she wouldn’t be able to mount without help, he lifted the stiff and proper young lady from the ground. Terrified eyes looked down on his face. The position reminded him of his father when he’d pick him up and playfully toss him in the water. And just as his father had done, White Eagle lifted her above his head. She weighed no more than a child, and despite his anger, a chuckle rumbled in his chest as the woman, stiff as a board, hugged the bag as if it might keep her from falling. Forcing the grin from his face, he set her on his horse. He then pried the carpetbag from her fingers, and as she protested, he tossed it to Spotted Owl who looked none too happy about having to carry the lady’s belongings—he already had a bag of sugar, and some of the white crystals stuck to the corners of his mouth.
"I’m not carrying this." Spotted Owl made ready to toss the bag on the ground.
White Eagle turned on him. "You will." He had a feeling that bag was all the woman owned, and he hated the thought of leaving her photographs to the elements. What he wouldn’t give to have pictures of his own parents.
Another scream carried from the wagons, but White Eagle pushed it out of his mind, unwilling to investigate. They should leave.
He mounted behind Walks Alone, and she straightened. Her feet dangled over one side of the horse, and he sensed that she might jump off, so he wrapped his arm around her waist and clicked the reins. The horse galloped away from the settlers. Spotted Owl, Standing Elk and the other four warriors joined him. To his surprise, Running Cloud galloped ahead with the dead man’s wife in his saddle. White Eagle clenched his jaw at his careless words earlier. Now he had two kidnappings on his head rather than one.
Walks Alone grasped the horse’s mane, then his arm, but quickly released him as if he might bite. Then she grabbed the mane again.
"Be still. I won’t let you fall," he said, finally in English, his accent strange and thick. How long had it been since he’d used this language? It was one thing to teach his friends how to speak English, but to think on his feet was more difficult.
The other braves rode beside them, and she leaned into him, but immediately pulled away.
White Eagle sighed. The settlers were headed for Denver City, but now these two women were headed west.