The Wild Rose Press
Held captive by a decadent-looking savage, Francesca DuVall spends every waking moment planning an escape for her brother, Marsh. She never counted on falling in love with the man whose smoldering sapphire eyes cause her to tremble with unbridled passion.
Ethan Gray, the man, is a curator at a famous museum . . . most of the time, that is. At other times, he’s Meko, a savage warrior hurtled into the past to help his beloved people, the Cheyenne.
Though their worlds are decades apart, Meko, can’t resist the dark-haired, green-eyed beauty he kidnaps during a raid. A brutal, savage leader of the Dog Soldiers, he has many battles to fight to save his people, but none he wants to win more than the one that will capture Cesca’s heart forever. From the windswept plains of Colorado and the harsh life of a Dog Soldier to the placid life of a curator, their love was fueled passion and kindled by destiny.
Here, Cesca is under the "sun torture" for helping her brother escape from the Indian village.
The crowd had gathered again to see how the white captive held up under a pitiless sun. Choking Wolf stood above her, his face awash with evil. Brown Wing came and went from her side, her whispered words and low chants bringing comfort. She knew the old woman never ventured far from her body, but stood guard like a rabid hound, daring anyone to toss a taunt or pelt her body with dirt. Once or twice Strikes First’s tall, lean frame knelt beside her, his eyes filled with pity. He’d rise and face Choking Wolf, the sympathy turning to hatred.
Where is Meko?
She knew deep in the dark tunnels of her soul, Meko came from somewhere far away. The stars? The mystical place above the clouds Strikes First spoke of? Why he had appeared in her life, she couldn’t fathom, but some numinous presence had placed him in her path. She laughed, the strangled sobs of a woman possessed. Rising up from her belly, it choked her. Oh, the perverse irony of it! It wasn’t possible their paths had crossed for a timeless moment, only to have her die beneath a blazing sun. There had to be more. She couldn’t die now. Her destiny lay with him and it couldn’t be over already. She wouldn’t allow it to happen. She wanted to see him, touch him, one more time.
Psalms Forty rode the crest of her tortured mind. Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it. Let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil.
By early evening, the searing heat pressed down on her. A white-hot fire. Her arms and legs ached as she pulled against the restraints. Choking Wolf had shown no quarter when he bound her to the stakes, so tightly she thought her limbs had been stretched to the outer limits of the village. Her jaw ached, as did every bone in her body. She had to will her taut muscles to relax, concentrate on taking slow, deliberate breaths. Liquid flames of heat seared her skin, her scalp and hair drenched in sweat, not to mention the rivulets running down her arms and legs soaking her dress.
She hadn’t uttered a word, not one. Unless unconscious, she wouldn’t. The sun dipped low on the western horizon. Her courage dipped with it. Strange lucidity gripped her for brief moments, followed by a coldness of the skin. False and fleeting. She turned her head. Raised blisters appeared on her arms, tiny domes of milky puss. Water. Oh blessed water. She pushed the thought from her mind, wondered how she’d ever survive two more days of this agony. In two hours, the sun would set. Surely she could stand it until then. She’d worry about tomorrow, tomorrow. She couldn’t bear to think about it now. Her back cried out in misery and every tiny movement, even the blinking of her eyes, sent a riptide of pain coursing through her. She lived the nightmare. Her muscles twitched involuntarily and warm urine ran down her legs.
Like everything on Mother Earth this time of year, she lay withered and listless beneath the harsh rays.