The family curse prevented Tiernan McKenna from finding love, but it can’t stop him from rescuing Ella Thunder. Having seen her shaman father burned to death when evil stalked his clan, Ella is fearful of using the power her Lakota father taught her, even as evil begins to spread again. Tiernan insists on helping Ella despite his attraction to her. Acting upon what he feels seems so incredibly right, but will the curse claim her?
June 22, 1919
Ye might have found happiness with another woman, but yer progeny will pay for this betrayal of me. I call on my faerie blood and my powers as a witch to give yers only sorrow in love, for should they act on their feelings, they will put their loved ones in mortal danger.
So be it,
For all his curiosity, Tiernan hadn’t expected to find anything, so when he spotted the dark green SUV sheltered under a boxelder amidst the pines, he stiffened, his surprise touching Red Crow, who danced sideways. Not making a sound, Tiernan held the gelding in check and focused all six senses. What came to him strongest was a blinding pain. He let go and the pain subsided and his vision cleared.
Dismounting, he looped the horse’s reins in a low branch of a pine and moved through a scattering of trees, toward a clearing overlooking the meadow valley. That’s when he saw her—an attractive lass in jeans and a long-sleeved cotton shirt, dark hair flowing down her back in a thick ponytail. She was sitting on the ground, trying to get to her feet but not quite managing.
Tiernan rushed to her side to help, but what he got for his trouble was a fist square in his chest.
She scrabbled back, staring at him with wide-open brown eyes. “Get away from me, or I’ll… I’ll…”
“You’ll what?” he asked in the soft, melodic voice he used when working with horses, a voice meant to calm and seduce. “I’ll not be hurting you.”
“You knocked me out!”
“’Tis someone else you need to be accusing. I just rode up a few seconds ago.” He indicated Red Crow, now standing quietly in the pines, his head lowered as if he were napping.
“If it wasn’t you…” Again, she looked around.
He concentrated, tested the atmosphere, then shook his head. “If anyone else was around, I would sense it. ’Tis my fey Irish blood.”
She tried to stand once more. And once more he moved closer, this time hesitating before touching her. “May I offer my help?”
She thought about it for a second, then gave him her hand. Though she wasn’t a small woman—only a few inches shorter than he and nicely curved—he easily pulled her up to her feet. She stood there, her gaze taking him in, while he did the same. Pale skin, wide-spaced round eyes, high cheekbones, strong chin, full lips—a mix of the people in this state. She was the most fascinating-looking lass he’d ever met.
“Thank you,” she said. “Ella Thunder.”
He grinned. “Powerful name. Tiernan McKenna. A cousin to Rose Farrell. The family owns the MKF—stands for McKenna-Farrell. Are you from this area?”
“I used to be,” she said. “I was on my way to visit the grandparents on the rez.”
He could see it in her—she was definitely part, though not all, Native American. “You stopped for some reason.”
“To look around. It’s been a long time,” she admitted. “I was here maybe five minutes.”
“If the culprit did something to scare off the herd and then didn’t want you to see his face… What was he up to?”
“I don’t know. We could look around to see.”
“You could have a concussion. Let me get a better look at your eyes.”
He lifted her chin. The contact was potent and he froze like that, not daring so much as to breathe. It took all his concentration to suck in some air and do what he meant to do. He checked her pupils—both equal in size and therefore normal—and gazed right through them, searching, searching.
A quick flash of light accompanied sharp pain and disorientation and finally the sensation of falling.