Caught between the world of red and white, how will Grace Cummings choose?
A normal morning turns to disaster when a small war party attacks Grace Cummings’ family and slaughters everyone but her. She returns to the Lakota camp filled with hatred, anger and fear, but through the help of another white woman in camp, learns the Lakota way. When white soldiers invade the camp and presume to rescue Grace, she must decide where her heart lies.
After Little Elk left, the two women walked to a sparse stand of ash trees next to the river. The once lush green blades had already faded to brown, and a patchwork of fall colors covered the ground. A light breeze fluttered the few leaves remaining on the overhead branches. Neither woman spoke, but stared at the slow moving current that sparkled in the sunlight. An occasional fish leapt into the air and fell back into the water, leaving a ripple in an otherwise satiny surface.
“How did you come to live with the Sioux?” Grace broke the silence. “You promised to tell me.”
How could she make Grace understand that she’d willingly given up her white family? Green Eyes thought for a moment. “My story is hard to explain, but I chose to come here with Lone Eagle when my first husband, Walt, went to get winter supplies and failed to return. I did not plan on falling in love with Lone Eagle; and I was surprised I did so easily.”
“You mean you came here freely… never tried to escape?”
“I was never a prisoner here. Lone Eagle allowed me to make my own choice. When I discovered Walt was still alive, I tried going back, but he and my parents could not accept that I had been with the Lakota. Besides, I missed Lone Eagle and Little Cloud far more than you can imagine. My decision to return here was the hardest choice I ever had to make, but the best.”
Grace lips thinned as she listened. She turned a steely gaze on Green Eyes. “I don’t understand how you could walk away from a man you married… and your parents, the very people who brought you into this world. To live with savages? How could you? Especially if you had a choice.”
The bitterness in her voice stung.
She touched Grace’s arm. “I know this is hard for you to understand. It took going home for me to discover that I truly belong here. My place will always be with Lone Eagle.”
Grace jerked away from her. Her sky blue eyes turned icy cold. “I’ll never love a savage. I’ll try to escape till the day I die,” she contended. “I hate Black Crow and Little Elk for what they did to my family. They destroyed everyone who loved me, and took away my home.”
Tears spilled down her freckled cheeks.
Green Eyes put her arm around Grace’s shoulder and pulled her close. “Go ahead and cry. It will help you heal.”