Title: Message of the Wind
Genre: Historical Romance
Date published: April 9, 2015
Would you follow your heart, if it meant leaving behind everything and everyone you've ever known? Board a train with Ellen Price and travel to a new life. Even as she begins a new life, she'll change the lives of all she meets.
"We'll all go, then." Jean extended her hand to Daniel to get down. He kept her hand as they walked into the store, a gesture not lost on Ellie. Married five years and he still holds her hand, she thought wistfully.
Ellie chose a few items and went to purchase them. The little man behind the counter began eyeing her in a way that made her very uncomfortable. She wanted to pay him and get out of the store as quickly as possible, but there was a young woman waiting to pay for a blanket ahead of her. She was dressed in a tunic and pants made of soft skins. Her black hair was braided in two long sleek plaits down her back. The clerk pointedly ignored her, however, and continued to stare at Ellie.
"No, thank you," Ellie said politely. "I'll wait my turn." The man sneered at the other girl and turned back to Ellie.
"She can wait,” he said with dripping distaste, as if he had just eaten something rotten.
"No," Ellie stated firmly, "you will wait on her first." After a heavy sigh smelling of whiskey and tobacco, he looked at the other girl.
"Five dollars, then." Ellie could not believe it. The blanket was clearly marked one dollar but he was now trying to cheat the girl. Perhaps she couldn’t read, to know this for herself, or she was simply too embarrassed to correct a man who so clearly did not want to wait on her.
"It says one dollar", Ellie remarked, trying to sound casual. "I'm sure you've just made a mistake."
"No mistake, Miss, and no business of yours. They can to come in here and buy from me but I can charge what I want." And, pocket the difference, Ellie thought. At this, the other woman placed the blanket on the counter.
"I do not have five dollars," she said quietly and walked away slowly. Ellie picked up the blanket and added it to her purchases. She tried not to look the clerk in the eye as she conducted her transaction. Grabbing her items, she ran out of the store and caught up with the young woman as she walked slowly down the street.
"Excuse me," Ellie said, holding out the blanket. "Here is the blanket you wanted." The other woman was much taller than Ellie and her black eyes seemed to be quite curious about the young woman in front of her. She suddenly looked wary, however, her eyes narrowing.
"You do not need to buy it for me," she said and turned away.
"He shouldn't have treated you that way," Ellie continued. "I just wanted to help..." The other woman suddenly looked carefully at Ellie's face. The wariness in her eyes softened and she smiled a little.
"I will give you one dollar," she said and held out the money. Ellie smiled back and nodded.
"Very well," she agreed and handed over the blanket. As she did so, however, she tucked the money inside.
"Thank you." The woman nodded and walked away. Realizing Daniel and Jean would be looking for her, Ellie turned quickly to run back to the wagon. She abruptly ran into the front of a man and almost fell down, dropping her purchases all over the ground. Looking up, she realized that he must be the tallest man she had ever seen. Daniel Cooper was tall but this man was huge! He had very tanned skin and black eyes that were blazing at her. His very long, black hair was pulled back and tied in a way that was long out of fashion. His hands were on his hips and he was clearly incensed about something.
"Excuse me," Ellie said, surprised by the obvious anger on his face and wondering why it was directed at her. "I didn't see you. I just need to get back to my friends..." As she tried to reach for her packages, the giant stepped in her way, his eyes narrowing.
"What happened to Little Flower?" he demanded.
"Little Flower?" Ellie asked, confused for a moment by the unusual name. "Oh, you mean the woman? The clerk in the store gave her a difficult time about buying a blanket. First, he blatantly refused to wait on her and then he tried to charge her five dollars! She left without it so, I bought the blanket for her." She paused in her explanation, suddenly, tilted her head and stared up at him. This was quite difficult given the differences in their heights. "Why do you want to know, so rudely I might add?"
The stranger looked Ellie up and down rather deliberately, his black eyes returning to stare into hers once more. Having found herself in similar situations before, Ellie simply endured his frank appraisal. He seemed surprised she challenged him, her hands now on her hips defiantly, but then bullies usually were surprised when anyone stood up to them. This one seemed no exception. His expression relaxed only a little.
"I am usually the one protecting The People around here."
"The People? I'm not familiar...with…?" Ellie asked, noticing he was still staring at her. She continued to stare right back at him and tried not to notice just how handsome he was.
"Indians." The man's eyes narrowed further as he said this, as if expecting some reaction from her.
"Oh, well," Ellie stammered, suddenly embarrassed at her own behavior. "I didn't realize that you meant... or that she was... well, it doesn't really matter that she is one of the People, does it? What a lovely way of putting that, much better than Indian. Anyway, he shouldn't have treated her that way. I only saw someone being taken advantage of. I do tend to stick my nose in when I see that. A terrible habit of mine but there you have it." Thinking the incident resolved, Ellie again moved to retrieve her things from the ground. "Now, if you will excuse me, sir, I really must find my friends..." The man moved to block her yet again, apparently not quite finished with her yet.
"Have we met?”