He saved her from slavery and she rescued him from the nightmares that tortured him.
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Winter Dawn was five years old when she walked the Trail of Tears with her Grandmother, Bone Woman. She has always had the power to be a Dream Walker, and when she is 18 she is sold by her brother. Dreaming of following the white blood of her father, she escapes and is helped to remain free by Daniel Wolfe, a veteran of the Mexican War who is haunted by nightmares of that time.
Taking her father's name, Rachel Keye hides out on a wagon train bound for the gold fields of California and when she is discovered Daniel once again helps her, by vouching for her on the train. After she walks in his nghtmares and frees him from the spirits that haunt him, they fall in love.
Pursued by her brother and the man who once owned her, the couple are in constant danger as they cross the Rocky Mountains along the new route that will become known as The Cherokee Trail.
Can the lovers survive the hardships and overcome the differences in their two cultures?
That night the old dreams came at him with renewed ferocity, and they began with Rachel at the mercy of her brother, as she had been when he'd ridden up on them. The sight terrified him in the dream as it had in reality, for he was sure that Eagle would plunge the knife into her throat.
Jerked awake, he forced himself to lie quietly; he listened to the soft rustlings as she moved about in her sleep and was calmed. When he finally dozed off, it was to return to the village in Mexico and a dead child in his arms.
All around him fire raged, the ravening flames lighting the sky, illuminating the delicate dead face, the long silken hair, the blood on his hands, his arms, and down the front of his uniform.
"I didn't mean to kill her. God forgive me," he cried and fell to his knees. "I will die myself. Die. God strike me dead."
The shouted words awoke Rachel and she wrapped her naked body in a blanket to creep out of the wagon. Daniel crouched on his knees beside the glowing campfire, the huge Bowie he usually carried at his waist clutched in both hands, blade pointed at his chest.
Frantic to stop him, she let go of the quilt and threw herself against his shadowy form, knocking the weapon aside. It went flying and she ended up lying across him, both of them flat on the ground.
He was bare to the waist, gasping and fighting back when his hands closed around her nude hips.
"Daniel, please. What is it? It's me, Rachel."
"Get away, get away…" He hushed abruptly, stopped thrashing around, and gazed at her.
Then he grabbed her frantically and cradled her in his arms, rocking back and forth. "Don't die, please don't die."
He kissed her naked breasts, buried his face in her hair, and held her close, his hot tears splashing on her skin.
"Oh, Daniel, hush. Please don't suffer so."
Softly she crooned a song Bone Woman had taught her. She wound her arms around his neck and lay her head on his bare chest. She forgot that he was a white man crying for a death he had caused. Crying perhaps for the killing of Indian children like her brothers. She only knew that he was suffering terribly and it wrenched at her heart for he had been kind to her.
Slowly she began to rub the back of his neck, to thread her fingers up into his hair, to cradle his head against her own breast. Her mouth searched hungrily along his jawline, found his moist lips, and tasted of them
He moaned and returned the gentle kiss.
From down deep inside herself there arose such a longing that she too cried out. She wanted to flee somewhere with this man, take him to a peaceful place where the spirits could heal his wounds, make him whole once again.
As his tongue trailed down her throat past the hollow and into the valley between her breasts, she imagined that lovely place where deer and lion walked together, where the spirit of all those who had passed into Ghost country gathered to ease the pain of those left to survive on this sometimes harsh mother earth.