From the Spur Award-winning author of Summer of PearlsWhen broken-hearted Honore Greenwood leaves New Orleans-and the woman he loves-to build a fort right in the heart of Comanche Country, he knows he has volunteered for a most dangerous project. With the Mexican War and the California Gold Rush bringing chaos across the plains, Honoree will have to work hard to earn the trust of the proud, powerful, and unpredictable Comanche people. But the vile whiskey trader Bill Snakehead Jackson is happy corrupting and breeding violence between the Comanches and their ancient enemies, the Apache. And when Honore's old love cries desperately for help, Honore will risk it all for the woman he loves. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
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February 01, 2003
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Excerpt from Moon Medicine by Mike Blakely
ONE ADOBE WALLS, TEXAS MARCH, 1927 The ghosts of Charles and William Bent spoke to me last night. The spirit of Kit Carson came to me in the same vision. This was not dream, but a vision. I know the difference. Kit said, “Come on, Plenty Man, I’ve marked the trail.” William said, “It’s alright, Kid.” Charles added, “Better hurry, Mr. Greenwood, before you do something stupid and take the low road.” As I woke, the echoes of their voices faded and became raindrops tapping the windowpane. The pale light of dawn illuminated my one-room sod house. I got up and went out in the weather in my nightshirt. I say, “Bah!” to anyone who suggests that a man of ninety-nine years should not be trudging around in the cold rain. The rain won’t hurt you. And if you breathe a smudge of fir needles, it will ward off attacks from the Thunderbird. The Comanche medicine man, Burnt Belly, taught me that decades ago, and I have never been struck by lightning. The smudge? Simple. Place the fir needles on a hot coal, and breathe the pungent smoke. You will need a forked stick of chokecherry to lift the coal from the fire. Chokecherry is dense and hard and resists burning. A live chokecherry tree will tell you all this and more if you listen hard enough. Anyway, this morning. I went out into the drizzle and walked through the orchard and up the gentle grade of the prairie, letting the raindrops fall on my bare head, and feeling the mud ooze between my toes. I stood over the vestiges of the last few sunbaked bricks—all that remain now of Fort Adobe. The casual observer would not even recognize these as adobe bricks. They now resemble a mere bump rising from the prairie. Grasses have taken root upon them. It looks as if someone dumped a wheelbarrow full of dirt here and left it. Yet, I know what lofty dreams and desperate struggles those few decaying adobes represent. “Ta’a ko’oitu,” I said in Comanche. We are dying. I was not really sad. I got over my sorrow long ago. I remembered things I had done here. The children I had ransomed out of captivity. The battles I had fought. The demons I had slain. Here I rode with trappers and traders legendary in their own time. Jim Bridger, John “Freckled Hand” Hatcher, Thomas “Broken Hand” Fitzpatrick. Old Gabe. And, of course, William Bent and Ceran St. Vrain. Here Kit Carson would become my friend. The Comanche chief, Shaved Head, would adopt me. The warrior, Kills Something, would become my brother. The shaman, Burnt Belly, would show me how to make medicine and listen to plants and animals talk. But now you think you are listening to the fanciful ramblings of a senile old fool, for I have tried to tell too much at once. Bear with me. Hear my tale. It is strange, and so am I. Yet, my story is like yours—or his—or hers—or theirs. I have lived and seen and done the strange, the unusual. Haven’t you? Think. Could you not amaze me with some memory of your own? Of course you could. Perhaps you shall. Let me share with you what I have experienced. My peculiar fate. My singular destiny. Give me time. I will try not to disappoint. Shall I make you laugh? I hope I will. I welcome your laughter. My ego can withstand even your ridicule. Will you make me laugh? You can. Think. You can make me laugh. And I will. I will laugh well. I have earned it. You need to know my laughter as much as I need to know yours. But that is only the beginning. After we have laughed together, with genuine mirth and tearful eyes, then we will have only started, each to know the other. As I tell you these things about my life that will test your utmost credulity, you must stop and think. I w