Tag Archives: Warrior

The True Story Behind NA Para-Historical Romance Novel The Bearwalker’s Daughter


Historical romance novel, The Bearwalker’s Daughter, is a blend of carefully researched historical fiction interwoven with an intriguing paranormal thread and set among the clannish Scots in the mist-shrouded Alleghenies. The story is similar to others of mine with a western colonial frontier, Native American theme, and features a powerful warrior or two. My passion for the past and some of the accounts I uncovered while exploring my early American Scots-Irish ancestors and the Shawnee Indians is at the heart of my inspiration.

A particularly tragic account is the driving force behind the story, the ill-fated romance of  a young captive woman who fell in love with the son of a chief. As the result of a treaty, she was taken from her warrior husband and forced back to her white family where she gave birth to a girl. Then the young woman’s husband did the unthinkable and left the tribe to go live among the whites, but such was their hatred of Indians that before he reached his beloved her brothers killed him. Inconsolable and weak from the birth, she grieved herself to death.

Heart-wrenching, that tale haunts me to this day. And I wondered, was there some way those young lovers could have been spared such anguish, and what happened to their infant daughter when she grew up? I know she was raised by her white family–not what they told her about her mother and warrior father.

Not only did The Bearwalker’s Daughter spring from that sad account, but it also had a profound influence on my historical romance novel Red Bird’s Song.  Now that I’ve threaded it through two novels, perhaps I can let go…perhaps….

The history my novels draw from is raw and real, a passionate era where only the strong survive. Superstition ran high among both the Scots and Native Americans, and far more, a vision that transcends what is, to reach what can be. We think we’ve gained much in our modern era, and so we have.  But we’ve also lost. In my writing, I try to recapture what should not be forgotten.  Read and judge for yourself. And hearken back.  Remember those who’ve gone before you.

As to bearwalking, this belief/practice predates modern Native Americans to the more ancient people. In essence,  a warrior transforms himself into a bear and goes where he wills in that form, a kind of shapeshifting.

 Blurb: A Handsome Frontiersman, Mysterious Scots-Irish Woman, Shapeshifting Warrior, Dark Secret, Pulsing Romance…The Bearwalker’s Daughter~

beautiful dark haired woman

Karin McNeal hasn’t grasped who she really is or her fierce birthright. A tragic secret from the past haunts the young Scots-Irish woman who longs to learn more of her mother’s death and the mysterious father no one will name. The elusive voices she hears in the wind hint at the dramatic changes soon to unfold in the mist-shrouded Alleghenies in Autumn, 1784.

Jack McCray, the wounded stranger who staggers through the door on the eve of her twentieth birthday and anniversary of her mother’s death, holds the key to unlock the past. Will Karin let this handsome frontiersman lead her to the truth and into his arms, or seek the shelter of her fiercely possessive kinsmen? Is it only her imagination or does someone, or something, wait beyond the brooding ridges–for her?~

family musket and powder horn image by my momThe Bearwalker’s Daughter is available at: Amazon Kindle.

*Cover by my daughter Elise Trissel

*Image of old family musket, powder horn, and shot pouch by my mom Pat Churchman

***The Bearwalker’s Daughter is a revised version of romance novel Daughter of the Wind Publisher’s Weekly BHB Reader’s Choice Best Books of 2009 

“Ms. Trissel’s alluring style of writing invites the reader into a world of fantasy and makes it so believable it is spellbinding.” –Long and Short Reviews

Got Time For A Short Story?–Beth Trissel


“The Lady and The Warrior is a very short story that is a pleasure to read. Beth Trissel transports us into a special world with her descriptions, well-rounded characters and delightful writing.” ~Amazon Reviewer Reader Forever

ExcerptMay, 1783, the Virginia Frontier, the Allegheny Mountains

That terrified cry came from the stream.  Zane didn’t have much time to reach her.  And he was so close!

He slid the musket strap from his shoulder.  Grasping the long firearm, he raced over the misty path.  Like a buck taking flight, he dodged stones and sprang over fallen limbs.  He skirted an enormous downed trunk capped with toadstools.  Shouldering the musket again, he pushed through the underbrush.

Branches snagged his brown hunting shirt.  Briars snatched at his leather breeches and wool leggings.  He tore free.  A tangle of vines lay between him and the woman.  Taking the tomahawk slung at his side, he chopped his way through.  Chest pounding, he arrived at the engorged stream.

With eyes honed to detect the barest hint of man or beast, he scanned the swift current.  Woodland debris bobbed in the brown flood.  No woman.  She must be farther downstream.

He sprinted along the edge of the bank.  Whoever this unfortunate female was, she was about to drown.  Even without knowing her, it goaded him.  And the urge to save her swelled inside like the muddy water overflowing its banks.

There!  Zane spotted the young woman clinging to a branch as the torrent did its damnedest to rip her away.

“Hold on!  I’m coming!”

Her head swiveled toward him, face white with fear and fatigue.

“Hold on!”

She managed the barest nod.

He laid his musket on the ground.   Wedging his moccasins against the stones and roots, he sidestepped down the slick earth.  Then reached out and grasped the branch she held to—testing its strength.  The wood was firm beneath his hand.

So far, so good.

He leaned over the swirling water.  Careful.  One misstep and they’d both be swept away to a watery grave.

Desperate eyes met his, the hue of summer leaves and marbled with brown like the forest.   Her fingers slipped.

Quick!   He snagged her shoulder, digging in his fingers so her cloak wouldn’t come away in his hand.  “I’ve got you!”

She clutched at him.

“Don’t!  You’ll pull us both in!”

A look of misgiving flitted through her panicked gaze.

“Trust me.  I’ll not you let go.”

The Lady and the Warrior is .99 at Amazon. This short historical with a The Last of the Mohican’s flavor gives a taste of my long historicals.  If you like it, chances are you will enjoy them too. Also available at Barnes & Noble as a NookBook.

***Images of stream and old family musket, powder horn, and hunting pouch by my mom, Pat Churchman. Cover by daughter Elise.

The Moving Story Behind Historical Romance The Bearwalker’s Daughter


THE BEARWALKER'S DAUGHTER

Award-winning Historical Romance Novel

At one time, The Allegheny Mountains of Virginia (included West VA then), parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, The Ohio Territory, Kentucky (Kaintuckee), even the Shenandoah Valley where I live, comprised a huge chunk of the western frontier. Untold drama, adventure, triumph, tragedy, and bloody battles took place in the forging of America in those early days. The only movie I can think of that does a super job of depicting this era is the 1992 film with Daniel Day-Lewis, The Last of the Mohicans. Although I differ with the film when Hawkeye tells Cora the only land available to poor people was in the wilds of New York State. True, colonial Williamsburg and populated Virginia were out, but hardy folk could settle back in the mountains and risk their lives there, too, during the Indian Wars. And did, to their peril.

THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS, Daniel Day-Lewis, 1992, TM & Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.

This primal, essential time period has always had a huge draw on me and is the setting for many of my books. Historical romance novel The Bearwalker’s Daughter is a blend of carefully researched historical fiction interwoven with an intriguing paranormal thread and set among the clannish Scots in the mist-shrouded Alleghenies. The story is similar to others of mine with a western colonial frontier, Native American theme, and features a powerful warrior or two. My passion for the past and some of the accounts I uncovered while exploring my early American Scots-Irish ancestors and the Shawnee Indians is at the heart of the inspiration behind this novel. I was also given assistance in my research for this and other novels by the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band in Ohio, though that was years ago. They have an interesting and informative website you might like to visit. A number of historians, anthropologists, archaeologists, and reenactors have also been invaluable. But back to The Bearwalker’s Daughter.

86018-handsomenativeamericanwarrior

A particularly tragic account is the driving force behind the story, the ill-fated romance of  a young captive woman who fell in love with the son of a chief. As the result of a treaty, she was taken from her warrior husband and forced back to her white family where she gave birth to a girl. Then the young woman’s husband did the unthinkable and left the tribe to go live among the whites, but such was their hatred of Indians that before he reached his beloved her brothers killed him. Inconsolable and weak from the birth, she grieved herself to death. 

veiled mountains

Heart-wrenching, that tale haunts me to this day. And I wondered, was there some way those young lovers could have been spared such anguish, and what happened to their infant daughter when she grew up? I know she was raised by her white family–not what they told her about her mother and warrior father.

Not only did The Bearwalker’s Daughter spring from that sad account, but it also had a profound influence on my historical romance novel Red Bird’s Song.  Now that I’ve threaded it through two novels, perhaps I can let go…perhaps….

The history my novels draw from is raw and real, a passionate era where only the strong survive.  Superstition ran high among both the Scots and Native Americans, and far more, a vision that transcends what is, to reach what can be.  We think we’ve gained much in our modern era, and so we have.  But we’ve also lost.  In my writing, I try to recapture what should not be forgotten.  Read and judge for yourself. And hearken back.  Remember those who’ve gone before you.
Grizzley Bear
As to bearwalking, this belief/practice predates modern Native Americans to the more ancient people. In essence,  a warrior transforms himself into a bear and goes where he wills in that form, a kind of shapeshifting.
                                                         
Story Blurb:
A Handsome Frontiersman, Mysterious Scots-Irish Woman, Shapeshifting Warrior, Dark Secret, Pulsing Romance…The Bearwalker’s Daughter~
jack
Karin McNeal hasn’t grasped who she really is or her fierce birthright. A tragic secret from the past haunts the young Scots-Irish woman who longs to learn more of her mother’s death and the mysterious father no one will name. The elusive voices she hears in the wind hint at the dramatic changes soon to unfold in the mist-shrouded Alleghenies in Autumn, 1784.
Jack McCray, the wounded stranger who staggers through the door on the eve of her twentieth birthday and anniversary of her mother’s death, holds the key to unlock the past. Will Karin let this handsome frontiersman lead her to the truth and into his arms, or seek the shelter of her fiercely possessive kinsmen? Is it only her imagination or does someone, or something, wait beyond the brooding ridges–for her?~
 pipetomahawk
 musket and powder horn***The Bearwalker’s Daughter is available at: Amazon in kindle and print.
*Cover by my daughter Elise Trissel
*Image of old family musket, powder horn, and shot pouch by my mom Pat Churchman
***The Bearwalker’s Daughter is a revised version of romance novel Daughter of the Wind Publisher’s Weekly BHB Reader’s Choice Best Books of 2009 
“Ms. Trissel’s alluring style of writing invites the reader into a world of fantasy and makes it so believable it is spellbinding.” –Long and Short Reviews

Got Time for A Short Story? Historical Romance The Lady and the Warrior–Beth Trissel


“The Lady and The Warrior is a very short story that is a pleasure to read. Beth Trissel transports us into a special world with her descriptions, well-rounded characters and delightful writing.” ~Amazon Reviewer Reader Forever

ExcerptMay, 1783, the Virginia Frontier, the Allegheny Mountains

That terrified cry came from the stream.  Zane didn’t have much time to reach her.  And he was so close!

He slid the musket strap from his shoulder.  Grasping the long firearm, he raced over the misty path.  Like a buck taking flight, he dodged stones and sprang over fallen limbs.  He skirted an enormous downed trunk capped with toadstools.  Shouldering the musket again, he pushed through the underbrush.

Branches snagged his brown hunting shirt.  Briars snatched at his leather breeches and wool leggings.  He tore free.  A tangle of vines lay between him and the woman.  Taking the tomahawk slung at his side, he chopped his way through.  Chest pounding, he arrived at the engorged stream.

With eyes honed to detect the barest hint of man or beast, he scanned the swift current.  Woodland debris bobbed in the brown flood.  No woman.  She must be farther downstream.

He sprinted along the edge of the bank.  Whoever this unfortunate female was, she was about to drown.  Even without knowing her, it goaded him.  And the urge to save her swelled inside like the muddy water overflowing its banks.

There!  Zane spotted the young woman clinging to a branch as the torrent did its damnedest to rip her away.

“Hold on!  I’m coming!”

Her head swiveled toward him, face white with fear and fatigue.

“Hold on!”

She managed the barest nod.

He laid his musket on the ground.   Wedging his moccasins against the stones and roots, he sidestepped down the slick earth.  Then reached out and grasped the branch she held to—testing its strength.  The wood was firm beneath his hand.

So far, so good.

He leaned over the swirling water.  Careful.  One misstep and they’d both be swept away to a watery grave.

Desperate eyes met his, the hue of summer leaves and marbled with brown like the forest.   Her fingers slipped.

Quick!   He snagged her shoulder, digging in his fingers so her cloak wouldn’t come away in his hand.  “I’ve got you!”

She clutched at him.

“Don’t!  You’ll pull us both in!”

A look of misgiving flitted through her panicked gaze.

“Trust me.  I’ll not you let go.”

The Lady and the Warrior is .99 at Amazon. This short historical with a The Last of the Mohican’s flavor gives a taste of my long historicals.  If you like it, chances are you will enjoy them too.

***Images of stream and old family musket, powder horn, and hunting pouch by my mom, Pat Churchman. Cover by daughter Elise.

Eyes of the Wolf–Beth Trissel


Years ago, while researching and writing my first novel, historical romance Red Bird’s Song,  I had a dream–the entire story was inspired by a dream–but this was particularly significant.  Dire, even.

An older warrior appeared before me, darkness all around but I saw him clearly, long gray hair, wrapped in a blanket of the same hue touched with silver. He never spoke a word. His message came to me telepathically, and was one of warning. If I continued down the path I’d embarked on, the way was filled with hardship. He also wanted me to be fair to his people. I was in the early stages of research and had not yet gained the empathy for Native Americans that I’ve come to since then. His profound request compelled me to deeper insight with a focus on Eastern Woodland tribes and the Shawnee–one of the main tribes my ancestors encountered.

As for turning back from the path I’d chosen, I couldn’t. I realized I was alone on a boat in a black sea drifting away from where he stood on an icy shore. I don’t know how to sail, and I didn’t have oars. Nor did I know where I was going, or might find a safe harbor. Forbidding, yes.

And he was right. Completing this novel, many times over as I honed the craft, plus all the subsequent stories, and navigating the baffling world of publishing is like being adrift in an uncharted sea. At night. To persevere has taken unbelievable tenacity. And the adventure continues. This warrior, whom I have thought of many times, took the form of Wicomechee’s grandfather in Red Bird’s Song. The English version of his name, Eyes of the Wolf.

I always knew that was his name.

For more on Red Bird’s Song, visit this post. And search this blog.

Three Amazon Bestsellers in Native American Romance!


Triple woot!  Happy dancing.  My short story, The Lady and the Warrior, and both novels, The Bearwalker’s Daughter and Red Bird’s Song (as of this moment) are in the top 24 in the Amazon bestsellers list for Native American RomanceAlso, Red Bird’s Song is in the top 12 in Native American fiction and literature.

What I don’t get is why my award-winning NA historical romance novel Through the Fire isn’t on the list.  Come on readers, it’s super swell, if I do say so myself.  Others have said the same, though not in those particular words. 🙂  How about riveting and powerful?
Or:

“Ms. Trissel has captured the time period wonderfully…. I felt I was there through her descriptions and settings. An excellent story where there is so much happening.”  ~Two Lips Review by Shelia

“The storyline of Through the Fire is well-written and uncommonly descriptive. Ms. Trissel took great time and effort to research Indian beliefs and their way of life. Anyone who buys this book will take great pleasure in it.” ~You Gotta Read by Laura

“Through the Fire is full of interesting characters, beautifully described scenery, and vivid action sequences. It is a must read for any fan of historical romance.” ~Long and Short Reviews by Poinsettia

2008 Golden Heart® Finalist

Blurb for Through the Fire:
At the height of the French and Indian War, a young English widow ventures into the colonial frontier in search of a fresh start. She never expects to find it in the arms of the half-Shawnee, half-French warrior who makes her his prisoner in the raging battle to possess a continent––or to be aided by a mysterious white wolf and a holy man.~

Blurb for Red Bird’s Song:

Taken captive by a Shawnee war party wasn’t how Charity Edmondson hoped to escape an unwanted marriage. Nor did Shawnee warrior Wicomechee expect to find the treasure promised by his grandfather’s vision in the unpredictable red-headed girl.

George III’s English Red-Coats, unprincipled colonial militia, prejudice and jealousy are not the only enemies Charity and Wicomechee will face before they can hope for a peaceful life. The greatest obstacle to happiness is in their own hearts.

As they struggle through bleak mountains and cold weather, facing wild nature and wilder men, Wicomechee and Charity must learn to trust each other. ~

2012 EPIC Ebook Award Finalist
This is a beautifully written story filled with adventure and suspense…This book touched my soul even as it provided a thrilling fictional escape into a period of history I have always found fascinating. —Night Owl Book Review by Laurie-J

I loved the descriptions…I felt I was there…Many mystical episodes are intermingled with the events…The ending is a real surprise, but I will let you have the pleasure of reading it for yourself.  —Seriously Reviewed

With Red Bird’s Song, Beth Trissel has painted an unforgettable portrait of a daring and defiant love brought to life in the wild and vivid era of Colonial America. Highly recommended for lovers of American history and romance lovers alike!~Virginia CampbellI liked this book so much. The author has done a magnificent job of creating both characters and setting. The descriptions of the area are wonderful and put the reader right in there with the characters…I will most certainly read other books by this author.” Overall rating 5 out of 5 hearts Reviewer: Jaye Leyel for The Romance Studio
Blurb for The Bearwalker’s Daughter:

Timid by nature—or so she thinks—Karin McNeal hasn’t grasped who she really is or her fierce birthright. A tragic secret from the past haunts the young Scots-Irish woman longing to learn more of her mother’s death and the mysterious father no one will name. The elusive voices she hears in the wind hint at the dramatic changes soon to unfold in the mist-shrouded Alleghenies in Autumn, 1784.

Jack McCray, the wounded stranger who staggers through the door on the eve of her twentieth birthday and anniversary of her mother’s death, holds the key to unlock the past. Will Karin let this handsome frontiersman lead her to the truth and into his arms, or seek the shelter of her fiercely possessive kinsmen? Is it only her imagination or does someone, or something, wait beyond the brooding ridges—for her?

(A revised version of Daughter of the Wind)

“Ms. Trissel’s alluring style of writing invites the reader into a world of fantasy and makes it so believable it is spellbinding.” -Long and Short Reviews

“I loved the plot of this story, oh, and the setting was wonderful.”
-Mistress Bella Reviews

“I found this book fascinating.” -Bitten By Books

Publisher’s Weekly BHB Reader’s Choice Best Books of 2009 

Blurb for The Lady and the Warrior:

An abused young wife stranded in the Alleghenies in 1783 is rescued from drowning by a rugged frontiersman who shows her kindness and passion. But is he more than he seems? And can they ever be together?

About The Lady and the Warrior:  A short historical romance story with a The Last of the Mohican’s flavor to give readers a taste of my full-length American historical romance novels.  If you like The Lady and the Warrior, chances are you will enjoy Red Bird’s Song and Through the Fire.  Both have a strong Native American theme interwoven with the plot.

Several of these titles are also available in Nookbook.  With more there soon.

Free at Amazon–The Bearwalker’s Daughter (Historical Fantasy Romance)


A  historical romance novel interwoven with an intriguing paranormal thread, set among the clannish Scots in the mist-shrouded Alleghenies.  The story is similar to others of mine with a colonial frontier flavor and also features Native American characters.

***Available for FREE September Sept. 9th–Sept. 11th 2012 in Amazon Kindle. (Always free in Prime.)

Blurb: Timid by nature—or so she thinks—Karin McNeal hasn’t grasped who she really is or her fierce birthright.

A tragic secret from the past haunts the young Scots-Irish woman longing to learn more of her mother’s death and the mysterious father no one will name. The elusive voices she hears in the wind hint at the dramatic changes soon to unfold in the mist-shrouded Alleghenies in Autumn, 1784.

Jack McCray, the wounded stranger who staggers through the door on the eve of her twentieth birthday and anniversary of her mother’s death, holds the key to unlock the past.  Will Karin let this handsome frontiersman lead her to the truth and into his arms, or seek the shelter of her fiercely possessive kinsmen? Is it only her imagination or does someone, or something, wait beyond the brooding ridges—for her?~

Sweet Saturday Sample from The Bearwalker’s Daughter


An expectant nicker welcomed Karin from the first stall. She brushed chilled fingers over the mare’s soft black muzzle and fed her searching mouth the apple she’d brought. Velvet lips crunched the juicy fruit and nudged her for more.

“That’s all.” Her voice was lost in the rattling wind.

She walked past the remaining stalls and nuzzling lips. McNeal bloodlines were heralded in these parts and painstaking attention given to their horses. More brood mares and foals were out in the pasture and Joseph waited in the lean-to they’d built for foaling.

As for Jack, Karin spotted his shadowy figure inside the farthest stall. He’d bridled his mount and looped its reins around one of the stout poles joined to the wide beams overhead. His back to her, he curried a magnificent strawberry roan stallion, its chestnut coat heavily mixed with gray. The horse snatched hay from the manger and stood quietly, seemingly good-natured and well-trained.

How on earth did he come by such a superb mount? Karin had no more opportunity to wonder, and it wasn’t the stallion she kept close watch on as she approached the two, unsure what Jack might say or do.

“Mister McCray!”  She was careful not to take him by surprise as she’d done last night, ready to turn and race back outside in an instant if need be.

Jack turned his head, eyes narrowed beneath his hat. Tension ran the length of his jaw. She faltered at the anger in his face. He must still be vexed with her grandfather; possibly with her too. Uncertain, she said, “Jack?”

A smile turned up the corners of his drawn mouth, making him appear even more youthful and less like a hardened frontiersman. “So, you’ve come. I figured John McNeal would hold you prisoner before ever letting you go off with me.”

Maybe he should have. Karin stepped nearer to Jack, the hay cushioning her shoes. “Grandpa can be prevailed upon by your bonnie mother.”

He paused, the brush in his hand. “And you?”

Karin shifted from one damp sole to the other and ran her tongue over her lips. “Perhaps.”

His smile widened. “Come and meet Peki.” He opened the short stall door.

She hesitated outside the narrow space.

“You’re not afraid, are you?”

“Not of the horse.”

Jack chuckled. “I’ll be on my best behavior.”

“For a warrior or a soldier?”

“Myself.”

Keeping her eyes on his broad back, she said, “I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.”

“Come discover.”

She slipped inside the pen bedded with clean straw and turned almost in awe at the horse towering above her. She patted his sleek neck. “He’s beautiful. You could start a new line with him.”

“Yes. He’s the finest I’ve ever known. But God help me, Karin, so are you.”

A current charged through her at his words and the emotion behind them. She swiveled, lifting her eyes to the intensity in his. “Why do you need the Lord’s help?”

“You have no idea,” he said huskily.~

The Bearwalker’s Daughter is a historical romance novel interwoven with an intriguing paranormal thread, set among the clannish Scots in the mist-shrouded Alleghenies. The story is similar to others of mine with a colonial frontier flavor (Red Bird’s Song, Through the Fire, The Lady and the Warrior) and also features Native American characters. My passion for the past, and some of the accounts I’ve come across while researching my early American ancestors and the Shawnee Indians, is at the heart of the inspiration behind this novel, available at Amazon kindle for the sweet price of .99.

***For more authors participating in Sweet Saturday Samples Click HERE.

The Bearwalker’s Daughter-Historical/Paranormal Romance Novel


My talented daughter Elise did the striking cover.  Look for the bear.

I’ve spent days living and breathing this story, adding a new scene, embellishing others, and deepening the weave of this historical romance with an intriguing paranormal thread. Formerly Daughter of the Wind, the novel is now The Bearwalker’s Daughter.

What’s a bearwalker, you may ask? For that you will need to read the book.  Available in Amazon kindle now for the sweet price of .99.

Blurb: Timid by nature—or so she thinks—Karin McNeal hasn’t grasped who she really is or her fierce birthright.

A tragic secret from the past haunts the young Scots-Irish woman longing to learn more of her mother’s death and the mysterious father no one will name. The elusive voices she hears in the wind hint at the dramatic changes soon to unfold in the mist-shrouded Alleghenies in Autumn, 1784.

Jack McCray, the wounded stranger who staggers through the door on the eve of her twentieth birthday and anniversary of her mother’s death, holds the key to unlock the past.  Will Karin let this handsome frontiersman lead her to the truth and into his arms, or seek the shelter of her fiercely possessive kinsmen? Is it only her imagination or does someone, or something, wait beyond the brooding ridges—for her?~

Short Historical Romance The Lady and the Warrior–Beth Trissel


“The Lady and The Warrior is a very short story that is a pleasure to read. Beth Trissel transports us into a special world with her descriptions, well-rounded characters and delightful writing.” ~by Amazon Reviewer Reader Forever

ExcerptMay, 1783, the Virginia Frontier, the Allegheny Mountains

That terrified cry came from the stream.  Zane didn’t have much time to reach her.  And he was so close!

He slid the musket strap from his shoulder.  Grasping the long firearm, he raced over the misty path.  Like a buck taking flight, he dodged stones and sprang over fallen limbs.  He skirted an enormous downed trunk capped with toadstools.  Shouldering the musket again, he pushed through the underbrush.

Branches snagged his brown hunting shirt.  Briars snatched at his leather breeches and wool leggings.  He tore free.  A tangle of vines lay between him and the woman.  Taking the tomahawk slung at his side, he chopped his way through.  Chest pounding, he arrived at the engorged stream.

With eyes honed to detect the barest hint of man or beast, he scanned the swift current.  Woodland debris bobbed in the brown flood.  No woman.  She must be farther downstream.

He sprinted along the edge of the bank.  Whoever this unfortunate female was, she was about to drown.  Even without knowing her, it goaded him.  And the urge to save her swelled inside like the muddy water overflowing its banks.

There!  Zane spotted the young woman clinging to a branch as the torrent did its damnedest to rip her away.

“Hold on!  I’m coming!”

Her head swiveled toward him, face white with fear and fatigue.

“Hold on!”

She managed the barest nod.

He laid his musket on the ground.   Wedging his moccasins against the stones and roots, he sidestepped down the slick earth.  Then reached out and grasped the branch she held to—testing its strength.  The wood was firm beneath his hand.

So far, so good.

He leaned over the swirling water.  Careful.  One misstep and they’d both be swept away to a watery grave.

Desperate eyes met his, the hue of summer leaves and marbled with brown like the forest.   Her fingers slipped.

Quick!   He snagged her shoulder, digging in his fingers so her cloak wouldn’t come away in his hand.  “I’ve got you!”

She clutched at him.

“Don’t!  You’ll pull us both in!”

A look of misgiving flitted through her panicked gaze.

“Trust me.  I’ll not you let go.”

***

The Lady and the Warrior, is .99 at Amazon. This short historical with a The Last of the Mohican’s flavor gives a taste of my long historicals.  If you like it, chances are you will enjoy them too.

***Images of stream and old family musket, powder horn, and hunting pouch by my mom, Pat Churchman. Cover by daughter Elise.