New Series…. THE ALBURY AFFAIRS

ALBURY AFFAIRS

This is a new series that I’ve just began.

The first book, HER VENICE AFFAIR is about Riana Albury, The second, HIS BAHAMAS AFFAIR is about Reno Albury.

There might be a third book but I’m not so sure. We’ll see what the future holds.

It’s about two siblings Riana and Reno Albury who came to America with their mother Cora Davis who ran away from her New Providence home after she was confronted by her lover’s wife.

After their mother’s death and Reno’s deportation, Riana is left alone in NYU. Life seems to only gets worse when she finds her roommate and her boyfriend having sex in her bed. Distraught and tired of always been the good girl, she takes a billioniare up on his offer to go to Venice with him.

What could possibly go wrong?

More details will be made available for both books soon.

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Pic downloaded from CardFed

CONTEST!!!!

Has anyone been to Italy? If you have, tell me about the best place you visited and what you loved most about it.

I’ve never been (seriously campaigning for my mom to send me) and I’d like to use your favorite places, why you loved them and if it was a romantic trip what you felt. I love reading stuff that inspire emotion.

The best description will be featured in my book HER VENICE AFFAIR and the writer will have a special mention with their picture (if they have any available) in the place they described in the book.

leave your comments on the post and send me an email. Spread the word and get as many entries as possible.

There will be another contest for the second and third books in the ALBURY AFFAIRS series HIS BAHAMAS AFFAIR and HIS PARIS AFFAIR.

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My Books Covers

I love my book covers. Can’t wait to add more

Book 1 of the Candle Light dilogy…. Love Forever After

Love Forever After is about tragedy, life and love. It does not conform to the usual lovey dovey, chocolates and flowers tradition. The show of love is trust, sacrifice and life.

William loses his with Kristy in a car accident. Plagued with sorrow and pain, for a few months he believes that she is still alive. He is trapped between reality and fantasy and he is the only one who doesn’t realize it.

Kristy, a ghost, unable to watch her love suffer alone comes back to him. When he acts like she had never left, she doesn’t bother to tell him that she is a ghost.

But once William is forced to face that Kristy truly dead and is a ghost, he breaks down and goes on a destructive path.

Afraid that he might actually succeed in killing himself, Kristy’s solution to keep him sane and alive is…a child.

A piece of him and a piece of her, born on Valentine’s day…

Love Forever After

For richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, in death and in life

Chapter One
The church bells rang loudly, filling the cold quiet dead air. It was a suitable sound track for what was happening. The scenery also looked set, especially constructed with purple flowers scattered on the ground complimenting the green grass, just for this moment, this perfect heart wrenching, dream crushing, unbearable torturous moment. It was the first scene of my
new forever lonely empty life and the last scene before the credits rolled, of our perfect loving full life.
I’ve always wondered how it felt like to loose someone close to you- a friend, a family member or a loved one- but now I know, I know the pain so well sometimes it feels like an extra limb.
A limb attached to my heart, its sole purpose is to crush, shred and rip apart my heart over and over again like a wild animal devouring a poor helpless prey just at the thought of her, or when I felt her empty side of our matrimonial bed, or when I walked around our apartment expecting to hear her laugh echo and bounce off the walls making our home warm- a home that was now empty and hollow, yes because you aren’t here to fill it my love. Every essence of you made our home full and warm, but now it was cold and empty- like me.
Who would have figured it, me empty, cold and hollow after so many years of happiness?
Our happiness was in such abundance it should have lasted forever, right?
No, not really, never because I can’t feel it now, not even a little bit.
Maybe it’s because you aren’t here… definitely because you aren’t here, what other explanation could there be?
Well it should have, after you were taken from me, the least it could have done was leave me our happiness to go along with our memories. I should remember you and feel happy, not an aching sadness, I deserve that much.
Death
I’ve felt death, when my dad died I felt its impact, but I don’t remember it being like this, intense, malicious, tormenting, painful and amusing itself by making fun of me, at how vulnerable and impairing it could make me. Someone should give it a taste of its own medicine, see how it likes it.
I looked around at the crowd surrounding the beautiful mahogany coffin. Everyone she loved, everyone who loved her was here. They were all dressed in black crying as the priest said his prayers. They were sad, sadder than I have ever seen any one of them before. They were suffering a great loss. But she wouldn’t have wanted to see any of them cry over her death but celebrate her life.
She wasn’t going to like this one bit. When I suggested a party instead of a funeral they all thought I’d lost my mind. My mother Gloria was so horrified she called a psychiatrist to come fix me, I knew it wasn’t only for my benefit; her English pride needed her son to be sane in front of all the people who would come to the funeral.
Her brother Morris and sister Sandra however agreed with me. They knew her-not as well as I did, but well enough to know what she’d want and a depressing gloomy funeral wasn’t it.
Gloria wasn’t going to let us have a party, so she took it upon herself to organise everything.
It was a classy dignified funeral; she even gave out instructions on how our family was to dress. I chuckled, knowing how much of a fight my wife would have put up against my mother and the high class funeral she had organised.
Mother moved to stand next to me; she looped her hand on my pocketed arm. She looked up at me, her eyes red and wet, her cheeks stained with tears. She must have seen me laugh, wrong move, now she was going to be my constant unshakeable companion.
They brought a basket full of lilies to me, her favourite type flowers. I looked at the person holding it; his face was glum patiently waiting for me to take one. Mother nudged me, pulling my hand out of my pocket. I reached out and took one, then moved forward and laid it on top of the coffin. I lingered over it for a while, imaging how small it could have felt for her being inside it. She hated the dark and small spaces.
It was a good thing she wasn’t inside it.
I felt a hand on my shoulder, it was Morris, and he placed his purple lily. Sandra came next. She put a white one, then leaned over it and kissed the coffin before she moved back and stood next to me. Her eyes were red, but she wasn’t crying anymore she had a smile on her face. She moved between Morris and me, and then tip toed so she could reach our ears.
“Will, if your mother finds out she’s not inside there, she’ll kill us and cram all three of our bodies in it!”
“You know she would have haunted us if we put her in a box. I’d rather face an angry Gloria.” Morris said with a chuckle, but the sadness at the edge of it was very evident.
“She’s still going to haunt us for letting mother throw her an uptight funeral.” I whispered as someone came forward and placed a lily on her coffin.
My wife was a free spirit, she hated confinement and rules. She was an earth lover, an environment activist. That’s why we cremated her and spread her ashes in the sea. It was hard for me to see her reduced to ashes but there was no better way. She would keep being a free spirit; roam the world as she got carried by the wind.
She loved helping people; that’s why I donated all her organs; she would still help them even in her death. When she gave me the organ donor forms to fill out she said, “Why burry parts that could help a person in dire need of them. As much as we don’t like it, we are all spare parts to someone else’s body.”
Well, in a way, she is still alive; inside other people her body was still alive. If only it was possible for me to share my body with her, I would always live inside my head to be with her and forget the outside world.
She was the type to chain herself to a tree or break into a cosmetic lab and free all the animals. She went by the motto ‘do unto the environment, trees and animals as you would do unto yourself’. I became a vegetarian because of that, but I always stuffed myself with burgers when she was on one of her long protesting gigs. When we got engaged, I opened an account in her name for bail money that the bank was instructed to pay immediately she wound up arrested. I wanted her to be taken care of when I was abroad doing business or
visiting my mother in England. The thought of her spending a night in jail always gave me the chills. She thought it was the most romantic wedding present she could ever get- I scored some serious points there.
We had been married for six years before this happened, before someone decided to take her away from me out of sheer selfishness.
“Will you please step back, you’re hovering!” We jumped at Gloria’s scolding voice. She was really going to run this funeral by the script. We moved back a few feet, but still stood close to each other.
I watched as they lowered the coffin into the dark hole, and got a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was gladder now that she wasn’t in it. Sandra grabbed my hand and held it tight. I looked at her. She was staring at it, pain in her eyes. Her breaths sounded short, strained. Morris put a hand over her shoulder and held her tight against him. I could see he was trying to be strong for both of them, but the loss of his younger sister was taking a toll on
him too.
“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…” the priest went on with his prayers as the coffin hit the ground. Another man stepped forward with a shovel full of red dirt. He held it in front of me and waited. I took a pinch of it then he moved to Sandra, and then Morris. The two of them moved forward and poured the sand into the hole.
I stood there frozen. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I knew she wasn’t in there, but this felt too real, too final. She was dead and never coming back. My chest tightened, all the fears of never seeing or touching her again flooded back drowning me with all the moments we would never share again. Why did she have to die? Why not me? How could I be here and she wasn’t, this wasn’t how we planned to spend the rest of our lives.
“Will…” I turned to see Sandra look up at me, “its okay she isn’t in there,” she whispered.
I nodded, she was right my wife wasn’t in there so this shouldn’t be so difficult. I took a staggering step forward and faced the dark hole. I raised my hand over it; forcing my fingers open I let the red sand flow out of it.

A long line of people followed, pouring sand into the hole as they made their way back to their cars. This was their final goodbye before everything went back to normal in their lives, but for me it was the beginning of my slow long lonely death.
I looked down at the head stone and read the beautiful engraved marble. The phrase set in stone made more sense to me now. It felt like the words were not only curved in the rock but I could feel the pounding, chipping of my heart as the words were curved in it too.

Christina Lee James-Stanford
Loving daughter, sister, wife and humanitarian

Featured poem Candle Light

Books 2 of Candle Light dilogy is Love Rekindled.

Love Rekindled Poem….. I Need

                                                                            Hi guys! I just wanted to share a poem with you, it’s kind of like a sequel to CANDLE LIGHT, the poem featured in my soon to be published book (i’m working on it) LOVE FOREVER AFTER.

LOVE REKINDLED is about Sandra and Ronald. After Sandra suffers a tragedy that is quickly followed by a divorce, she feels like her whole world was crushing down on her. She never thought anything would hurt as much as losing her sister Kristy, God was she wrong. Completely deflated and defeated, comfort comes in a package she’d spent years avoiding, Ronald. would he be the one to save her from her pain, or would he add on to it by repeating what he’d done to her years ago…

The book is still in the process of writing but here is a poem to give you a hint of what’s coming!

I need…

They say true love comes to those who believe, I believed.

They say love is empty without trust, I trusted.

I believed, I trusted and yet… I hurt.

I need… I need…

I’m getting off this road, but I’m holding onto my true love.

My candle light in the dark…

I feel lighter, I feel happy… I feel love!

Finally! A truthful smile on my lips!

But suddenly, too suddenly… everything went dark.

I can’t see! Where’s my candle, where’s my light?

The pain! Oh God, it’s too much pain!

I trusted, I believed and yet… I hurt a hundred times more!

Please! I need… I need…!

I feel the warmth around me… the painful weight is lifting…

‘Hold on to me, believe in me, trust me… I’ll provide your need.’

                                                    

                                                              -Christina OW

Constructive and Bad Reviews

I’ve always shared the really great reviews on Star Bright because they always felt like a pat on the shoulder and a Brava that I wanted to share with my readers.

And now- foolish or not- I’m going to share the only two bad/critical reviews Star Bright has gotten. These two reviews are my motivators to do better, and they also remind me that I can’t please everyone.

Not everyone is going to love your story, some with genuine reason and others just because…

Authors should try and not take it personally because that’s how life is. You never know, some good may come out of these bad reviews. You just have to remember not to blow up at the readers.

Out of my bad review, another reader read it and she said she would read Star Bright because of the gracious way I responded to it and she liked the book.

So authors, before you respond to a bad review, take a deep breathe, count to ten, pull up a fake smile and write ‘thank you for taking the time to read and review my book. I’m sorry you did not enjoy it’ then you can curse the guy out, out loud!!

And readers you need to understand the difference between a critical helpful review and a spiteful hateful review. There is no need to bash an author because you think its fun. How would you like it if someone torn apart something you’ve worked so hard on with no constructive criticism?

So if you can’t write a constructive review, please don’t write anything!!

Constructive Critical Review

“I had decided to read this book after seeing it posted on one of the boards I frequent. I went to the

author’s website and read an excerpt first. From what I read, it sounded interesting and worth a read. However, after nine chapters, I just could not read it any longer. I was 100+ pages into the book but was not invested enough in the characters or the story to continue. There were several reasons why this book made it to my DNF (Did Not Finish) list. Here they are in no particular order:

1. It was evident that the book had not been professionally edited. There were instances where the wrong word was used, the grammar was incorrect, and there were many inconsistencies that I think an editor would’ve caught.

2. Advice that is often given to writers is to write what they know. It is evident that the author was writing about places she does not know, and she did not do her homework.

3. There are gaps and inconsistencies that made me feel confused. A few times I went back and reread passages just to make sure I didn’t miss anything. It was frustrating.

4. Finally, some things were just not believable. For instance, Michael is supposed to be four years old, but he is way too mature for his age.

While I appreciate that the author has a story to tell and I applaud her courage to put pen to paper, a good copy editor could’ve helped with many of these issues and the end result would have been a much more pleasurable read

Mean dude!

This book was very hard to get through, even though the plot concept was good. There were so many scenes that were just unbelievable for a book set in the present. For example, a woman, Maria, and her five year old son, are trying to get away from her abusive boyfriend. They move to New York City and meet a high profile lawyer, Dave. Maria meets Dave when he gets into an argument with his estranged wife in the restaurant where Maria works. Dave and his wife have such a heated exchange, that they leave their baby daughter ON the table in the restaurant and leave her there until Dave, who has custody, gets back to his office and realizes he doesn’t have the baby anymore. And this guy is a super lawyer and highly looked up to. Forgetting his child, doesn’t fit his character! Also, after Maria knows Dave for only two days, he goes to pick her son up from the day care without her permission, and the workers at the day care ask no questions and allow him to take the boy. The day care calls Maria only after the boy has already been taken from their care. This would never happen in New York City! There were other incidents that were equally as confusing. The wording of some of the sentences and the lack of editing of this book were very distracting too. And it kept going on and on! I don’t understand the 4 and 5 star ratings from the other reviewers.

If you have aything you would like to say about Star Bright, click on the link on the right Let’s talk!!

LOVE FOREVER AFTER

‘Love forever after’ is about tragedy, life and love. It does not conform to the usual lovey dovey, chocolates and flowers tradition. The show of love is trust, sacrifice and life.

 

For richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, in death and in life

Chapter One
The church bells rang loudly, filling the cold quiet dead air. It was a suitable sound track for what was happening. The scenery also looked set, especially constructed with purple flowers scattered on the ground complimenting the green grass, just for this moment, this perfect heart wrenching, dream crushing, unbearable torturous moment. It was the first scene of my
new forever lonely empty life and the last scene before the credits rolled, of our perfect loving full life.
I’ve always wondered how it felt like to loose someone close to you- a friend, a family member or a loved one- but now I know, I know the pain so well sometimes it feels like an extra limb.
A limb attached to my heart, its sole purpose is to crush, shred and rip apart my heart over and over again like a wild animal devouring a poor helpless prey just at the thought of her, or when I felt her empty side of our matrimonial bed, or when I walked around our apartment expecting to hear her laugh echo and bounce off the walls making our home warm- a home that was now empty and hollow, yes because you aren’t here to fill it my love. Every essence of you made our home full and warm, but now it was cold and empty- like me.
Who would have figured it, me empty, cold and hollow after so many years of happiness?
Our happiness was in such abundance it should have lasted forever, right?
No, not really, never because I can’t feel it now, not even a little bit.
Maybe it’s because you aren’t here… definitely because you aren’t here, what other explanation could there be?
Well it should have, after you were taken from me, the least it could have done was leave me our happiness to go along with our memories. I should remember you and feel happy, not an aching sadness, I deserve that much.
Death
I’ve felt death, when my dad died I felt its impact, but I don’t remember it being like this, intense, malicious, tormenting, painful and amusing itself by making fun of me, at how vulnerable and impairing it could make me. Someone should give it a taste of its own medicine, see how it likes it.
I looked around at the crowd surrounding the beautiful mahogany coffin. Everyone she loved, everyone who loved her was here. They were all dressed in black crying as the priest said his prayers. They were sad, sadder than I have ever seen any one of them before. They were suffering a great loss. But she wouldn’t have wanted to see any of them cry over her death but celebrate her life.
She wasn’t going to like this one bit. When I suggested a party instead of a funeral they all thought I’d lost my mind. My mother Gloria was so horrified she called a psychiatrist to come fix me, I knew it wasn’t only for my benefit; her English pride needed her son to be sane in front of all the people who would come to the funeral.
Her brother Morris and sister Sandra however agreed with me. They knew her-not as well as I did, but well enough to know what she’d want and a depressing gloomy funeral wasn’t it.
Gloria wasn’t going to let us have a party, so she took it upon herself to organise everything.
It was a classy dignified funeral; she even gave out instructions on how our family was to dress. I chuckled, knowing how much of a fight my wife would have put up against my mother and the high class funeral she had organised.
Mother moved to stand next to me; she looped her hand on my pocketed arm. She looked up at me, her eyes red and wet, her cheeks stained with tears. She must have seen me laugh, wrong move, now she was going to be my constant unshakeable companion.
They brought a basket full of lilies to me, her favourite type flowers. I looked at the person holding it; his face was glum patiently waiting for me to take one. Mother nudged me, pulling my hand out of my pocket. I reached out and took one, then moved forward and laid it on top of the coffin. I lingered over it for a while, imaging how small it could have felt for her being inside it. She hated the dark and small spaces.
It was a good thing she wasn’t inside it.
I felt a hand on my shoulder, it was Morris, and he placed his purple lily. Sandra came next. She put a white one, then leaned over it and kissed the coffin before she moved back and stood next to me. Her eyes were red, but she wasn’t crying anymore she had a smile on her face. She moved between Morris and me, and then tip toed so she could reach our ears.
“Will, if your mother finds out she’s not inside there, she’ll kill us and cram all three of our bodies in it!”
“You know she would have haunted us if we put her in a box. I’d rather face an angry Gloria.” Morris said with a chuckle, but the sadness at the edge of it was very evident.
“She’s still going to haunt us for letting mother throw her an uptight funeral.” I whispered as someone came forward and placed a lily on her coffin.
My wife was a free spirit, she hated confinement and rules. She was an earth lover, an environment activist. That’s why we cremated her and spread her ashes in the sea. It was hard for me to see her reduced to ashes but there was no better way. She would keep being a free spirit; roam the world as she got carried by the wind.
She loved helping people; that’s why I donated all her organs; she would still help them even in her death. When she gave me the organ donor forms to fill out she said, “Why burry parts that could help a person in dire need of them. As much as we don’t like it, we are all spare parts to someone else’s body.”
Well, in a way, she is still alive; inside other people her body was still alive. If only it was possible for me to share my body with her, I would always live inside my head to be with her and forget the outside world.
She was the type to chain herself to a tree or break into a cosmetic lab and free all the animals. She went by the motto ‘do unto the environment, trees and animals as you would do unto yourself’. I became a vegetarian because of that, but I always stuffed myself with burgers when she was on one of her long protesting gigs. When we got engaged, I opened an account in her name for bail money that the bank was instructed to pay immediately she wound up arrested. I wanted her to be taken care of when I was abroad doing business or
visiting my mother in England. The thought of her spending a night in jail always gave me the chills. She thought it was the most romantic wedding present she could ever get- I scored some serious points there.
We had been married for six years before this happened, before someone decided to take her away from me out of sheer selfishness.
“Will you please step back, you’re hovering!” We jumped at Gloria’s scolding voice. She was really going to run this funeral by the script. We moved back a few feet, but still stood close to each other.
I watched as they lowered the coffin into the dark hole, and got a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was gladder now that she wasn’t in it. Sandra grabbed my hand and held it tight. I looked at her. She was staring at it, pain in her eyes. Her breaths sounded short, strained. Morris put a hand over her shoulder and held her tight against him. I could see he was trying to be strong for both of them, but the loss of his younger sister was taking a toll on
him too.
“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…” the priest went on with his prayers as the coffin hit the ground. Another man stepped forward with a shovel full of red dirt. He held it in front of me and waited. I took a pinch of it then he moved to Sandra, and then Morris. The two of them moved forward and poured the sand into the hole.
I stood there frozen. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I knew she wasn’t in there, but this felt too real, too final. She was dead and never coming back. My chest tightened, all the fears of never seeing or touching her again flooded back drowning me with all the moments we would never share again. Why did she have to die? Why not me? How could I be here and she wasn’t, this wasn’t how we planned to spend the rest of our lives.
“Will…” I turned to see Sandra look up at me, “its okay she isn’t in there,” she whispered.
I nodded, she was right my wife wasn’t in there so this shouldn’t be so difficult. I took a staggering step forward and faced the dark hole. I raised my hand over it; forcing my fingers open I let the red sand flow out of it.

A long line of people followed, pouring sand into the hole as they made their way back to their cars. This was their final goodbye before everything went back to normal in their lives, but for me it was the beginning of my slow long lonely death.
I looked down at the head stone and read the beautiful engraved marble. The phrase set in stone made more sense to me now. It felt like the words were not only curved in the rock but I could feel the pounding, chipping of my heart as the words were curved in it too.
Christina Lee Stanford
Loving daughter, sister, wife and humanitarian

Book 1 of the Fate Series…. FATE REBORN

I’ve always spoken about this series in my interview and I’m very proud of it. I’ve got the first two already written and I’m working on finishing the third. Fate Reborn is the first book I’ve ever written in my life!

Blurb-

Ashat a three hundred and twenty five year old werewolf who’s lived three centuries in sorrow and torment after his family was killed by an enemy-Baku. The only way he is able to bear his long life is drinking himself into a drunken stupor, women and hunting down Baku. His world suddenly changes when he meets Merilee and he is finally able to love and be happy again.

Merilee is an eighteen year old girl who lost her family in a fire when she was five. However she isn’t too sure about that, her nightmares show her something very different to what her shrink has been telling her for thirteen years. She was raised by her two adoptive sisters Ann and Maria in an orphanage. She has a fear of letting people in and losing them. This fear makes her put up with an
obnoxious boyfriend Steve until she’s finally gets the courage to get rid of him.
She finally meets a man who she instantly has a crush on and ultimately falls in love with after their first night together.

But Merilee and Ashat have met before in the worst of situations.

Every story has a beggining… this is it….

The Beginning

I

The sun was at its highest again. It was picturesque as it stood on its lonesome in the cloudless beautiful blue sky. It rested above the water, shining hard its rays of light bouncing off the water.

If it had an ego, one would say it was showing off its power, its beauty, and its capability to make the world look so beautiful.

If Angakut, the spiritualist, heard anyone say that, he would have a fit!

Angakut was old and frail but very powerful and everyone was afraid of him. He had connections with the big guys; it would be dangerous to mess with him, and his appearance was also very intimidating.

He had long white hair that was held up with a long stick and red, white and black markings on his shriveled brown skin that symbolized his power and the favor the spirits had on him. His eyes were sunken and black, his ears pulled down with tiny black chunks of wood stuck in them.

“The sun is a heavenly being, the guardian of the day. It gives its best to its children when they deserve it. Do not mock his powers!”  His harsh coarse voice filled Ashat’s head.

Then we must have done something right today, Ashat thought to himself.

Ashat stood still to take in the beauty of the earth, its sight and its scent. The summer had come with a lot of blessings; beautiful tall trees, green grass and cloudless blue skies. The lake seemed to sparkle as the sun rays touched its surface.

He dug his toes into the ground and rubbed the cold soft soil in between his toes.

The beauty mother earth had created was unspeakable, no creature, man or animal could disagree as they all benefit from her kindness.

But there was far more beauty than anything the world had ever seen calling out for him, Rosa. Ashat couldn’t help but smile, every part of him was more awake now than it was ten seconds ago.

“Ashat, will you stop daydreaming and hurry up! Your little brother’s blessing ceremony is about to begin!”

Rosa’s voice carried him to heights that could arouse the dead. Ashat became more aware of her body, as she stood there impatiently waiting for him to catch up. Her long black hair, still wet, complimented her light brown skin tone, hanging loosely around her face perfectly. Unlike most women in the tribe, she was slender and stood five feet eight inches tall. Her short brown dress was more like a second skin, as it clung to her, amplifying every curve and bump of her curvatious body. Her slit hazel eyes were hypnotizing and seemed more like gem stones that made her face even more alluring. Her soft rosy lips that curved to shape a perfect smile had always been ammunition no man could resist and every woman envied. That, and the fact that she was the chief’s only child.

“Okay, okay, hold your horses, I’m coming!” Ashat shouted back, as he followed her through the scattered trees and back to the village.

Ashat was in no hurry to go back home, he wanted to spend more time with Rosa. They had gone swimming in the far end of the Willow Lake, where it was covered with mass vegetation. It wasn’t too far from the village but far enough. They wanted some time alone, and they also didn’t want to be seen by anyone who may report them to the chief, if so, her movements would be restricted. She was not married yet and had to stay untouched until so, if her husband was to rule and live long. It was the ways and beliefs of their people and they had to obey it.

Chief Roa was the fiercest leader the Lakota tribe has ever had. The fact that by birth right he still would have been chief, played little part in the respect and fear people had for him. His act of courage and humility has been a bed time story for all children for the past forty decades. Many men had and still are trying to match up, some succeed, some die trying, others face the embarrassment and dishonor of failing miserably.

Wrestling a five hundred pound, seven foot bear, and praying for its spirit’s safe journey to its ancestors was harder than it sounded in the heroic stories. Ashat had the scares to prove it, and to think Chief Roa wrestled two.

Ashat, being the son of the great hunter, Kiyo, left little to no chance of failure. His father always prided himself in his sons’ courage, strength and oddly their looks too, seeing that they all took after him. Towering over six feet three, muscled body, with broad shoulders, chiseled chin, paralyzing smile- so his mother Tepeu always told them- and a stance that made men shake in fear.  Dishonoring him would be like stabbing him in the back, a coward’s way of combat.

Come back without the beast’s skin riding on your shoulders with pride and you’ll fight me to the death!

Ashat’s mother always shivered at that phrase; one would expect it would get easier after hearing it with five of her sons already. Her wealth and respect came from the six strong sons she bore for Kiyo. If one of them was to fail they would be putting Tepeu in greater shame than their father.

So all she did all day, apart from cook, clean and tend to her sons was to pray that the Great Spirit would guide her sons and also spare her from the shame of failure and dishonor. Today she was at ease and full of pride, now that her sixth and last son, Akin, only nineteen, had evaded her husband’s clutches and done the family proud. He came back victorious and now a respected man, the blessing ceremony was in his honor.

The whole village had already assembled around the spiritual fire, in the middle of the compound. The tee-pees were spread out all facing the chief’s tall and bigger tee-pee that stood a few meters away from the spiritual fire.

Some of the tee-pees stood close to the trees opposite the forest- those were the hunters’ homes. Some were situated close to the lake shore which belonged to the fisher men and the rest were spread in the middle and around the village, those huts belonged to the warriors. But all the tee-pees were strategically positioned to form a small circle, leaving a huge space in the middle where all the festivities were carried out.

Ashat chose to build his tee-pee close to the lake. He loved the water; he spent every free hour he had in it. He has always been attached to it, that’s why his mother named him after it, Wakpa. She said he was as soothing as it was when it was calm and as ferocious as it was during a storm.

Customary every male child was named after an animal that symbolized their inner animal spirit but Tepeu had insisted on also naming her sons after nature. It was her way of honoring the great mother earth.

Akin stood between Angakut and their father. He stood at par with Kiyo, his chest pushed out, his head held high, and his face tight and somber. It seemed Ash was the only one who could see the pain he was trying to hide; Akin’s brown teary eyes told it all. Kiyo seemed too proud to notice, Tepeu’s pale, pain stricken face mirrored his pain on his behalf. She was standing a foot behind on Kiyo’s right and had a perfect view of his wounds; she could clearly see the bear’s claws on Akin’s back and thigh.

They had treated his wounds the best they could, but left them open for everyone to see. They were proof that he had waged battle and won, his marks of honor, along with the bear skin that was now draped on Kiyo’s shoulders.

Ashat was happy his brother was back alive. He moved to stand next to his other brothers’, behind their father. They had all assumed the stance Kiyo had, serious, intimidating and yet full of pride. They had all made it. A small chuckle escaped Ash’s lips. Like all of his brothers who went before him, Akin must be happy he didn’t have to fight Kiyo.

Better the bear than the beast.

Ashat looked around at the crowd that had gathered. Everyone was paying attention to what the spiritual leader was saying. Rosa stood behind Chief Roa, next to her mother.

She had taken after her mother, Saura, who still looked very attractive at her age. Rosa was so striking, even with the sickening look on her face. Ashat shut his mouth tight to stifle a laugh. He was astound at how a woman could look so beautiful and disgusted at the same time.

Ashat wasn’t the only one ogling at Rosa. Anger rose inside him and he could taste the bile in his mouth. His body tightened and his knuckles turned white as his hands were now in tight fists. The amusement disappeared immediately he saw Baku look at her possessively. Then Baku turned and looked at Ashat, his mouth curved into a wicked smile, with the look of a winner pasted on his face.

‘‘You haven’t won yet, asshole!’’Ashat mumbled to himself, apparently too loud as his brother gave him a questioning look before he turned back to the ceremony.

Rosa was the key player when it came to who held the power to rule the tribe once her father died. Her husband would be the next chief therefore her suitors were carefully selected. Angakut had to make sure that her husband would be better if not at equivalent to Chief Roa.

Ancestry, wealth, strength-spiritual and physical- and courage were all taken into account. After months of deliberation and analysis of a third of the people in the village, Baku and Ashat were now the final two in the race. Ashat wanted her because he loved her, Baku on the other hand wanted power, marrying the most beautiful woman in the village would just be an added bonus. Ashat’s body tightened even more at the thought of Rosa in that brute’s arms.

Baku was the first born son of the chief’s adviser, Wangwe. He was six feet two inches tall, had a wide body and a beautiful face. He had put himself on a pedestal higher than the rest of the men in the tribe. He hadn’t done anything that would permit him to carry an air of importance that the rest of the men hadn’t done. His family name, prestige and his father’s position were the only things that made him stand out. He treated many like dirt, not worthy of his attention. His own siblings’ feared him. They avoided him as much as they could just like most of the villagers. Some out of hate for what he done to his own brother, others didn’t want to be his source of amusement for the day, nor his next victim. He had hurt a lot of people, but the worst was when he disowned his own brother.

Eri could not defeat the bear, so he opted to save his life and run.  Baku descended ferociously on his brother enraged at his weakness. He wanted Eri ostracized for the shame he had brought on his family. But the village elders wouldn’t allow it. They gave him another chance to redeem himself, which did not sit well with Baku and only enraged him further. But the damage had been done. That same night, Eri left the village; he could not stand his brother’s resentment and constant taunts towards him.

It has been four years since he left and no one knew of his whereabouts.

Any man that would treat his brother with such contempt, and betray the bond of blood and birth says a lot of what he would do to the rest of the tribe if he was given the power to do so. Chieftainship is such power that he did not deserve. Some supported him, but most didn’t pay much attention to him.

Baku had proven himself to be cold, disloyal, egotistic and self-centered. No one should be force to endure his personality, and Ashat, as sure as hell didn’t want Rosa anywhere near him.  

“Ashat, what’s wrong?” Rosa stood next to him concern written all over her face. Ashat smiled as he turned to face her.

Ashat had drifted away from the village and was standing at the river bank, watching the guardian of the day go to sleep. He had drowned out all the noise that seemed to come alive now that Rosa had broken his line of thought.

The celebration was still going on. A huge feast had been laid out. Akin was enjoying the limelight, which he deservingly should. He was seated amongst the elders. The women folk laid down platter after platter of delicious dishes in front of him. He ate and drank as he watched the singing and dancing around the bon fire. It seemed he wasn’t in pain any more, or he could have been too drunk to notice.

Ashat didn’t want to admit it, but Baku’s attitude had unsettled him. Ashat thought marrying Rosa was a sure thing, but now he wasn’t so confident. All he could do was question the whole situation. What if the chief and Angakut thought Baku was a better match for Rosa? Will her father at least let her have some input in who she marries? Does love count so little in this decision?

Ashat leaned his head back and let out a cry of frustration. Startled, Rosa moved closer to him, with concern and panic written all over her face, “You didn’t answer me. What’s wrong?”

“Sorry I didn’t mean to frighten you, I was just thinking about us.”

“What about us?”

He didn’t want to tell her the turmoil he was in, but there was no one else he could confide in, “the harvest day is almost here, the day our fate will be decided…”

Alarm rose inside Ashat as he choked on his words. He would gladly face any danger, but he couldn’t face the fact that in a few days he might lose the love of his life.

Rosa walked up to him and placed her hand on his cheek. Ashat pressed his cheek into her palm taking in its soft warmth.

“Silly, who else do you think I would marry?” Ashat looked down at Rosa, clinging with hope to her every word. “Father will allow me my say, and I’ll pick….Baku!”  Then she ran off laughing.

“That wasn’t in the least bit funny!” Ashat called out to her gnashing his teeth. The thought was tormenting enough, having her say it out loud made it worse.

“No, but the look on your face is!” She placed her hand over her belly and laughed louder.

Ashat stared at her, his temper eased away as quickly as it had come. The sound of her laughter was infectious, making all his worries disappeared. Laughing, Ashat ran after her.

But that little joy was cut short. They met Baku on the path; he was carrying something wrapped in banana leaves. He walked up to Rosa with an annoying smile on his face.

“Hallo Rosa, you are looking ever so exceptionally beautiful today. Here I got this for you.” He handed her the wrapped parcel.

“Thanks.” She said quickly taking the parcel from him. She stared up at Ashat trying to assess exactly how mad he had gotten over the last few seconds Baku was with them.

Ashat was very uncomfortable, shifting from one leg to the other trying hard to keep his anger at bay. He just wanted Baku gone, but the guy didn’t seem to be in any hurry to move on.

“I’m so lucky.” Baku added with a dreamy look.

“Why is that?” Ashat asked with a raised eye brow. He was getting impatient and very irritated by Baku’s cool collected manner.

“Well, I’m going to be basking in her beauty from sun rise to sun set. I can only imagine how you look naked…” He paused as he undressed Rosa with his eyes. “I won’t have to wait long to find out.”

That statement sent Ashat over the edge. He launched himself at Baku with all the fury that was boiling inside him. They were rolling on the ground both trying to get on top of the other, punching scratching and slapping; inflicting as much pain as they possibly could.

Rosa was screaming for them to stop but her efforts fell on deaf ears. She began calling the men around her to help stop the two men from killing each other. Most of the men just stood there watching amused by the fight and others were too scared to get involved.

Finally Ashat was on top. Before Baku could see it coming- he was busy blinking the dirt out of his eyes- Ashat put all his weight into it and punched him in the face, sending his head digging into the ground. Ashat lifted his fist to deliver another one but someone caught his hand and pulled him off.

Baku’s face was bleeding and it looked like it had been smashed in. The back of his head was also bleeding. He tried to stand up but he sunk back to the ground. He was dizzy and looked more like a drunken man.

Ashat was struggling to get out of the arm lock Nalu, his brother had him in. He wasn’t done with Baku, all the blood on his face and on the ground from the injuries he had already caused didn’t seem to deter his thirst to kill Baku. Two village men helped Baku up and took him to the healer.

Ashat was still seeing red. His fist was bleeding but he didn’t notice until a drop landed on his foot.

Nalu let him go and as he walked away, “Brother, pace your anger for mother’s sake. It would kill her if you were branded a murderer!”

Ashat nodded, taking in large deep breathes to calm himself.

Rosa quietly took his arm and led him to the lake. She wanted to try and calm him down. Ashat knew she had never seen him so angry and violent and it must have scared her.

“Would you please calm down? Why did you lose it like that?” Rosa scolded him.

Ashat pulled his hand out of hers and looked at her in disbelief. “Are you kidding me! Did you not hear what he said or do you consider that fluttery!”

Rosa stood at akimbo not amused by his snippy remark. She walked up to Ashat, pulled his bleeding hand, deliberately pressing the cuts on his fists and led him to the lake shore.

“Ouch! You don’t have to be rough!” Ashat complained as the pain in his hand stung.

Rosa said nothing. She pulled him down close to the water and kept her attention on nursing his knuckles.

Feeling embarrassed and guilty, Ashat put his free hand under her chin and gently turned her head to face him, “I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine, just don’t do that again.”

“Do what?”

“Lose your temper like that. I… I’ve never seen that side of you before….and I never want to see it again. I watched what you did to Baku…. Just don’t okay?”

She looked at Ashat differently now, he couldn’t tell if it was fear or shock or something else, he just didn’t like it. He dropped his hand from her chin and lowered his head.

Ashat felt crushed and even more embarrassed, “I promise.”

“Thanks. And anyway, something good came out of it.”

Ashat looked up to meet her smiling face, and the look he loved so much was back- gentle loving dreamy look.

“What would that be?”

“I have a feeling Baku’s learnt how to be respectful to women, the hard way. The dent in his face will be a constant reminder!” They laughed, Rosa always found a silver lining in the worst of situations.

II

“The Mohawk tribe has decided they want to take our land by force. They no longer want to live with us peacefully as neighbors. We have fought alongside them against many enemies for many years. They were once our brothers, now they are our enemies, so we shall treat them as such!” A war cry pierced the cool air in response to the chief’s words.

This new occurrence had unsettled the planning and organization for the Harvest day celebrations, and also the blessing ceremony of the chief’s daughter and her future husband. No one knew if everything would be postponed or if it would happen sooner than scheduled. What they knew for sure was in a week’s time, they would battle their former allies until one of them submitted. The wait wouldn’t be long, everything would be revealed that night at the ceremony.

The warriors’ gathering was dismissed; most of the men went to spend time with their families others preferred to prepare their weapons. All spending as much time preparing for the unknown outcome of the battle, making the most of the time they had before that fateful day.

Ashat preferred to spend it with Rosa, but there was no chance of that. She had been taken by the women; they were preparing her for the blessing ceremony. Ashat’s belly did cartwheel; he was so nervous, anxious and going out of his mind. He needed to relax, so he opted to go swimming. The water was his second love and had always soothed him, no matter what was happening in his life, it had always been there for him. Ashat dived in and swam fast and hard, he would go as far as his body would allow it.

It had been three hours, and almost dusk when Ashat made his way out of the water. He walked into the village towards his tee-pee, he needed to prepare. Ashat couldn’t help but be amused by the stares and girly giggles that followed him as he walked. The girls had stopped what they were doing and watched him as he made his way down the path dripping wet. Ashat examined himself to see what had warranted the lustful looks and whispers.

Ashat’s long hair had gathered behind and was pasted on his back. The loin cloth was very wet and clung to his thick hard thighs. The water on his body had formed tinny streams on his abs, biceps and legs and more ran down his chest and belly. He was well built and six feet and four inches tall.

A smile ran across Ashat’s face exposing his teeth. He could swear he heard someone shriek in delight, which only made him laugh. Ashat wasn’t obsessed with himself, but today the attention boosted his self-esteem.

“Brother, it’s not good to tease the young girls. I don’t think their mothers’ will appreciate it.” Ashat’s eldest brother, Cano called out as he got nearer to his tee-pee. He was standing outside his hut holding his son in one arm and his wife in the other.

“Well they’ll have to take it up with our parents, they bore us this way. And anyway, isn’t that how you nabbed my sister-in-law?” Ashat teased back.

The question had made her turn pink with embarrassment; she was smiling and hiding her face. She took their son and left Ashat and Cano to talk.

Cano’s face was now somber and worried; the amusement had faded away fast. Ashat assumed the new mood was about the looming battle.

“Don’t worry brother, you will be back with your family once the battle is over, I’ll make sure of it.”

“It’s not that,” he answered coolly.

“Then what is it?” Ashat was a little worried.

“You are the third son of Kiyo the great hunter, next to marry. The thing is, will you marry the love of your life and be the next chief, or will you have to settle for one mother will choose for you?”

That thought made Ashat’s body shiver. All the anxiety slammed back into his chest. He could feel his legs give way beneath him. Before Ashat could sag any lower, Cano pulled him up and supported him, bewildered by his reaction.

“If I knew this would unnerve you so, I wouldn’t have tormented you with the thought.”

“I’ll die if I don’t have her.” The words slipped out of Ashat’s lips.

He wasn’t thinking about it, but he knew he wouldn’t be able to handle it if things didn’t go his way. The words seemed to shock Cano more than him. Cano leaned his head towards Ashat and whispered.

“I don’t see you lasting till tonight. You would have gone crazy by then, so I’ll put you out of your misery. Don’t say anything to anyone yet, not until tonight so act clueless.”

Ashat didn’t understand what he was saying; he was clueless and wasn’t even paying much attention to Cano anymore. Ashat waited for Cano to finish as he contemplated drowning himself in liquor to try and calm himself.

“I will always love you, protect you and respect you. I want you to know that I will always have your back, through thick and thin. You are my brother……and my chief….” He let the last three words hang as he held his breath, waiting for it to sink in.

His words hit Ashat like a ton of bricks. Ashat starred at him, wondering what he meant by that. Then it slowly sank in. He wasn’t sure what expression he had on his face but he knew it was a good one because his brother had a large smile pasted on his. Ashat wondered if he was playing one of his tricks on him again. But Cano wouldn’t dare, he knew how important this was to him.

Before Ashat could break out in a victory dance, Cano held his shoulders down and faced him.

“Father told me, he made me promise not to say a word to you. But the words you uttered frightened me. As your elder, I’m ordering you not to say a word, or act in any way that would suggest you know the councils’ decision before it is formally announced. Do you understand me or have you sunk too deep in bliss to understand what I’m saying?”

Ashat nodded his head in agreement. He couldn’t speak; the excitement was caught in his throat. Whether or not he knew this, Cano had made Ashat the happiest man on earth and had also saved his life.

Ashat couldn’t wait for night to come, when it would be official. Relief was flowing through him but he needed to be sure, unequivocally without a shadow of a doubt sure.

Ashat stood outside his tee-pee dressed and prepared. He and Baku had been painted with the symbols of the spirits and those of their animal brothers; the bear and the wolf. It was tradition and a requirement; it had to be shown that they had won the approval of the spirits. The final symbol, the chief’s symbol, the hawk’s image will be painted on the chosen one.

Ashat looked up at the beautiful moon, its light was shining bright and its stunning reflection danced in the water. He took that as a sign, the moon spirit would show him favor. Tonight his dreams would finally become a reality. He couldn’t help but imaging Rosa as his wife, happy with children of their own.

Ashat was a bit worried about not being capable of being the next chief, but he had no doubt that he would be a wonderful husband.

I’ll try my best. With the strength of the spirits and the support of my wife, I will be a good leader to my people. Ashat thought firmly to himself.

But, at the same time doubt crept into his mind, making him even more nervous. There was a possibility that what Kiyo heard was wrong.

Ashat clenched his fist hard on his forehead, Will this day end already!

“Brother, its time. Father and mother have already left. We decided to walk with you.”

Ashat turned to see all his brothers standing behind him. They had war paint all over their bodies, in the different colors of the earth. Ashat felt at ease, having the support of his brothers held him strong. He was ready, for any outcome.

“Let’s go.”

The entire village was assembled around the fire in the middle of the compound. The warriors stood to the left of the chief and the council elders’ stood at his right. The children and women sat directly in front of him on the other side of the fire. Angakut was kneeling between the chief and the fire, chanting and singing. The chief advisor Wangwe, the head warrior and Kiyo stood closer to the chief than the rest of the warriors.

Ashat arrived with his brothers the same time Baku arrived with his entourage from the opposite side. The paint had covered the bruise he had sustained from Ashat’s beating but the cut on his eye brow and the swelling on his left temple were still very visible.

It had been a week since his beating; he had been on bed rest since, the blow had him in and out of consciousness for two days. His father wanted Ashat punished for what he did. Kiyo was more than proud of the beating his son had delivered, more so because he came out of it with just a scratch. That made him defend his son heatedly, going as far as challenging Wangwe to a fight to settle the dispute, Wangwe didn’t take.

His sons weren’t the only ones afraid to take on Kiyo in a fight. The elders dismissed it as peers partaking in normal manly rivalry. Wangwe wasn’t too happy about it, but he didn’t say another word on the matter. Kiyo on the other hand went home and happily congratulated his son on wiping the floor with Baku.

Angakut stood on his feet and called Ashat and Baku to stand before the fire. The two moved slowly and austerely. Baku however was a bit twitchy nervous as he stood next to Ashat. It seemed the beating was still fresh in his mind. But the cut look his father gave him immediately had him standing still with his chest out.

“We have come for the blessing ceremony of our warriors. After the next six moons, they will battle the Mohawk to defend our tribe. But before we do that, they need to know between the two, who they are to protect, who they are fighting for, who they will follow, who will be their future chief.” He paused as his gaze moved from Ash to Baku.

“We are here to find out, who will marry Rosa, the only child of Chief Roa Clearwater.”

Ashat was already feeling agitated and tense. Baku however was relaxed and his lips were lifted in a smile which he quickly wiped away.

“The next chief of the Lakota….” Angakut paused and looked at Ashat and then at Baku keenly. The suspense was slowly eating Ashat up, but Baku remained calm, “will be known after the battle. The battle to come is the spirit’s final test, who ever will come back alive with honor and victory, will be our next leader!”

This new development unsettled the elders and the chief. Ashat looked up, his face expressionless. He couldn’t believe it, he knew it was too soon to celebrate. He felt like a rag had been pulled from under him.

Baku looked to his father for an answer, he was confused, and everything seemed to have gone off script. Wangwe looked more annoyed than perplexed by this. He stomped towards Angakut with such ferocity, steam coming out of his ears.

“What is this? This is not what we discussed Angakut!”

“You will not question the spirits decision! You will do as they say! Do you dare challenge them and me?!” Angakut shouted with such finality, his eyes had bulged out and were red with anger.

The whole village went silent and stared at him. This was the first time he had raised his voice with such anger. It had such an impact that Wangwe stopped dead in his tracks, that and the staff that Angakut was holding two inches from his head.

Angakut turned to the two in front of him and asked them to join their fellow warriors. He then turned towards them and started chanting, as if he wasn’t about to knock Wangwe’s head off a few seconds ago.

Ashat walked away from the gathering. The blessings had been said and the celebrations had started. There was no other reason for him to stick around.

Cano rushed to his brother’s side, apologetic for the false hopes he had given him. “Brother, I’m sorry, I thought it was a sure thing. No one, not even father knew that would happen!”

“I guessed as much, Wangwe’s reaction told it all.” He turned and faced Cano, “But why is it Baku looked like he was the one who had been robbed? Wangwe wouldn’t have been so furious if I was the chosen one, he would have broken into song and dance at my misfortune…. Cano what the hell is going on?!” He wasn’t disappointed nor brooding any more, he was furious.

“Well this is a good thing, that is if Baku was the robbed one. Angakut wants the next chief to prove himself to the spirits, to all of us. You should take this as a challenge.”

“You are starting to sound like father. And any way, anyone can survive a battle, exactly how am I supposed to prove myself?”

“I can’t help you with that, but try brother, try. Do your best, your brothers will be there to help you. And another thing, those were father’s words, and I agree with him.”

Ashat gave his brother a weak smile, “I thought as much. What else did he say?”

“Hey, I can be insightful too. He said that this is also a challenge for him as a father and us as your brothers. He intends on doing his part, so are we. It’s up to you if we succeed, what do you say brother?”

Ashat was feeling better, reprieved, positive and confident. It meant a lot to have his family’s support. He would draw all the strength he needed from them, he would earn it, he would earn her, and his family will help him make sure of it.

“I always thought Baku hated me because Rosa was in love with me. Now I see that’s not the only reason, the loyalty and love the family of Kiyo has for each other is something he doesn’t and never will have. I’m in. we’ll win this battle, and Rosa.”

“That’s the spirit! Now we feast and make merry!” Cano had a wide grin on his face. He playfully pushed Ashat forward as they strutted back to the celebration.

III

The sky was filled with dark clouds, blocking out the sun completely. There was a cold chill in the air, and combined with fear and gloom, it hang heavily echoing the whole village’s emotions. D day was here and nature itself knew it.

The warriors gathered outside the village. It was time to leave; they all marched towards their fates, the unknown, death or a second chance in life. For Ashat he was matching towards Rosa, or death.

Ashat’s married brothers had an emotional goodbye with their families, and then they said their goodbyes to their parents. Tepeu tried her best not to cry, but in the end, the flood gates opened. It could be the last time she ever saw all her sons again, and it pained her. Kiyo too, surprisingly was emotional. He hugged all of them and told his sons how proud he was and that they were to make sure they all came back alive. Kiyo held Tepeu in his arms, supporting her and comforting her as their sons walked away.

Ashat couldn’t bring himself to say goodbye to Rosa. The danger and loss had become too real for him. He didn’t want tears, fear and worry to be their last moment together. He replayed the last night they had together over and over in his head.

“I can’t ask you not to go, but I’ll ask you to come back to me. Whether or not you prove yourself to the spirits doesn’t matter to me. If we have to, we’ll run away together, just make sure you come back to me, please!” She begged.

“We will do no such thing! I will do what the spirits expect of me, and I will come back to you and you won’t be able to get rid of me, ever.”

Ashat and Rosa spent the night in each others arms, not caring about anyone or anything else. It may have been the last time they would be together and they wanted to maximize on it. When dawn came, Ashat carried her back to her family tee-pee. Her mother was waiting for them. She didn’t say a word, tears danced in her eyes as she watched him lay Rosa on her straw bed. As Ashat turned to leave, Saura grabbed his arm and stopped him and uttered words that tightened his chest.

“Be safe, if you die, she will die with you. She is all I have, so make sure you come back alive and victorious. You must!” They were choked words but still urgent.

They both turned when Rosa made a distressed sound tossing her head, as tears streamed out her closed eyes and already stained cheeks. Saura ran to her daughter’s side and gathered her into her arms. She sang to Rosa as she rocked her. Ashat couldn’t watch them in anguish anymore; he ran out into the streams of sunlight.

The whole village was out now, they watched as the warriors walked towards death. Ashat turned to take a last look of his home. His breath caught when he saw her.

Rosa stood at the forefront, with a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. Her mother moved to her and wrapped her arms around her and held her tight, that made Rosa bust into tears. She struggled to get loose, moving an inch forward with each effort, but her mother wasn’t letting go.

Ashat was tempted to run to her, but that would only make things worse, he turned and kept walking forward.

All these emotions began to stir inside Ashat, longing, hope, despair, anxiety, fear, courage, he could feel his skin crawl and his insides turn, he felt claustrophobic in his own skin, he felt like he was going to blow.

Ashat’s brothers moved back and walked with him. He walked between his elder brothers, the rest walked behind him. If he didn’t have them, he would be a heap of mess on the ground by now.

The warriors were divided into four groups, all positioned in different corners of the field. The group armed with arrows took the top of the hill, another group was hidden in the trees, the other two were on the ground, North and South, and they hoped their strategy would give them an advantage.

Cano had his younger brothers’ fight from a safe distance. Akin, who was still healing was up on the hill, Aru, the second last born, was up in the trees, Nalu, Cano and Ashat were on the ground. They would be the first to make contact. They were armed with spears, knives and machetes.

Baku was on the ground too. He had been glaring at Ashat ever since he saw Rosa’s reaction when they left the village. But he knew this wasn’t the time for their rivalry, they had to work together, watch each others’ backs, for the sake of their people. They would pick up where they left off when this was over, if they both survive.

A loud cry came from the hill, the Mohawk were coming and they were coming straight for them.

“This is it, may the spirits be with you, and may they have mercy on you, because they won’t.” The head warrior said right before he gave the cry to attack.

The second the Mohawk were in the field, arrows flew with direction and purpose, some with precision taking out as many of them as possible. Once they were done, those on the ground move in, attacking those left standing. The Lakota fought with everything they had, stabbing and decapitating as they moved forward. Cano and Nalu were in their element their eyes wide with a certain spark in them, tag teaming on some, watching each others backs as they moved. Sometimes Ashat thought they relished fighting.

Once the formation was broken Ashat and his brothers moved in a triangle, their backs to each other. They were pulled from it a couple of times, but they made sure they had one another in their eye view. It was helpful having their younger brothers watching over them from higher ground and the trees. The fight was bloody, hard and strenuous but they kept going.

Ashat was getting the hang of it, he understood his elder brothers and the elation they had, it wasn’t the relish of a fight, it was the adrenaline that ran through the body that they relished.

Close to four hours had past and it seemed they were winning, as the Mohawk were now withdrawing, they were out numbered and couldn’t take any more beating. As they were finishing off the remaining persistent ones, the groups from the trees and the hill came down to join those on the ground. Ashat was glad his younger brothers did not actively participate.

Ashat looked around the field, the ground was full of blood and the bodies of many courageous men. He was glad to see not many were one of them.

Akin and Aru were with Nalu and Cano admiring their wounds, sulking that they didn’t get a piece of the action. Relief and joy flowed through Ashat as he watched his brothers. He was glad they had all survived it, their mother would be ecstatic seeing them all, she might even pass out.

Aru’s suddenly looked pale, all the color had drained from his face. He was staring at Ashat, more like through him. Ashat couldn’t understand it; the battle was over, so why did he look so mortified? He crushed through his brothers and began running towards Ashat.

Ashat stopped and looked at him confused.

“Ashat look out!” Aru yelled running even faster.

Then his other brothers came running behind him.

“Turn around!” It was Akin this time.

Then it hit Ashat. He didn’t have time to think, he turned around to face what was coming. It was Baku, he was running towards him with a spear in his hand, ready to launch it.

Everything seemed to be in slow motion, Ashat waited for him to throw it before he could move to dodge it. Baku finally released it, and it went flying at Ashat, fast.

Ashat flipped, and move to his left to avert it.

Aru was now next to Ashat, he was standing in the spears path. There was no time to push him out of the way, it was coming too fast.

Ashat pushed himself, jumped in front of Aru and pushed him back a few feet, he didn’t want to chance Aru getting stabbed. Aru landed on the ground with a thud, in his brothers’ way. They stopped and stared at Ashat, with horror on their faces.

Ashat hadn’t felt the pain at first, but he felt it go through him. The spear head went in his back, under his right shoulder and out under his left rib cage. Ashat watched as the blood trickled down his abdomen.

Ashat raised his hand and held the part of the six inch spear that was sticking out of his torso. He sunk to his knees, in shock as the pain hit him like a ton of bricks. He could taste the blood in his mouth. He raised his hand and wiped it from his lips.

Ashat looked up at Aru; he was still on the ground, pale and in shock. Everything was swimming around Ashat, his vision became blurred. This was it, he was dying.

Ashat fell forward to the ground on his hands, struggling to breathe. All he could hear was Nalu’s angry voice. Through half closed eyes, he watched as Nalu rained hellish fists on Baku. In such a short time, Baku was red and bleeding all over. Aru pulled Ashat up and held him upright while Cano cut up the spear, shortening both ends.

Ashat was fading away fast, he tried to stay awake but he couldn’t. He was feeling cold, very cold. Ashat closed his eyes and all he saw was Rosa, her face, her smile, her beautiful eyes, her hair and body wet after a swim, her a sleep in his arms.

The yelling, shouts around Ashat started to sound more like whispers, a buzz in his ears. Rosa’s last words replayed in his head over and over again…

Just make sure you come back to me, please!

Please make sure you come back to me!

You have to come back to me!

This was the first promise Ashat would break, he couldn’t do anything about it. Death had come calling, and he couldn’t resist no matter how hard he tried. Ashat could see his mother crying, cursing Baku’s very existence. Rosa would be broken, inconsolable, angry, hating Ashat for not keeping his promise.

Ashat was crying, not because he was afraid of dying, but because he was going to miss a life with Rosa.

Their children, their life, their love.

The thought hurt him more than the spear stub inside him.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry…” It came out as a whisper. Ashat fell on his side and waited, waited for the inevitable.

Akin pulled Nalu off Baku and spoke to him harsh and fast. They then ran towards Ashat. He could feel himself get lifted up high.

“Hold on brother, you’ll be fine, just hold on!” Those were the last words Ashat heard before he passed out.

Coming Soon…. Also, Something Free

Hi guys, thought i would share something new with you guys. Nothing has been inked but, Fatal Jealousy is my new book and it will be out probably late this year. Make sure to stay intouch for more details. Until then, here is a description

Twins Ellsa and Ellie are completely different in character, personality, taste and interests. Apart from the striking resemblance to each other, they share the one thing siblings shouldn’t…. the same taste in men.

They keep falling for the same man, creating a quiet rivalry between them. Determined not to let a man come between them ever again, Ellie and Ellsa agree to stay away from each others relationships. But when they meet Dale Carson, an FBI agent and a bachelor, their love lives are turned upside down.

But they aren’t the only ones taken by the rogue. His partner and long time lover, Gwen Johansson, also called dibs.

Carson is interested in only one of them. He is pulled by Ellie’s passion for love and art, and most importantly, him. What starts as a sexual chase, ends with his permanent retirement from bachelorhood.

But their love story is not a smooth one.

Carson’s day job comes knocking on his front door and before he knows it, his whole world is ripped apart.

Out of all the possible suspects, Ellie has the most evidence stacked up against her. She is implicated in the brutal murders of her ex-boyfriends, and Carson is faced with the horror of arresting the love of his life. With two suspects of his own, he is convinced she is being set up, but he has no way of proving it.

Case Title: Woman Scorned

Also…

i don’t know how and why or for how long, but STAR BRIGHT is FREE worldwide. get a copy of you haven’t already http://www.amazon.com/Star-Bright-ebook/dp/B007N67S3G

Also…

My sister’s book Shades of Spring 1964: Letters to My Daughter is up for review on GoodReads under the group Basically Books. Sign up and get a FREE copy! She is also giving a few free copies on www.mokauthor.wordpress.com so stop by.

Encouraging Reviews for STAR BRIGHT

I have two reviews from two Goodreads readers that I have to share with everyone!!

From Elsa

“Oh My Gosh!!!! Loved it, Loved it!!!

Good story about domestic abuse and how it can make a person realize they are stronger than they think and how a mother sacrifices her happiness for her family. It’s not all negative; it has more happy moments than sad and a very good ending!!! I recommend this read and am giving it five starts, if I could give more than this story deserves them all. This is a page turner and something is always happening it will blow your mind.

Maria is a battered female that lives with her abusive husband Ricky, her mother and her 4 yr old son. She has lived with the abuse for so long that it has progressively gotten worse over the years. So Maria either has to leave or let Ricky kill her and her child. You will not believe all the hell Maria goes threw with this crazy man. She is always looking behind her and then she is looking over her shoulder constantly afraid of her own shadow. Until she meets Dave and he promises her something huge!!!! Dave comes into the picture with his crazy wife Amy another pair made in hell!!! Amy and Ricky are made for each other and should have married instead of the other two unfortunate soles they ended up with. Beautiful Izzy is an angel and Michel is a strong smart four year old boy who is very protective of those he loves and brave when he stands up to his father.

You fall in love with Dave and his kindness and his being rich does not hurt either, can I keep him? Beautiful story, I could not put it down, a keeper on my shelves.”

From Susan

“Wow, this was an intense read! I couldn’t stop turning the pages and got so wrapped up in Maria’s story right from the first page! Then we meet Dave and I was totally into his story too! These two people went through so much garbage and you just had to wonder if they were ever going to find peace and happiness.

I would recommend this book to everyone and can’t wait to read more by this author! She knows how to grab your attention and she does not let go. Great job Christina and good luck!”

Good reviews are like a pat on the authors back that encourages more dedication towards the readers. But ‘bad reviews’ which I call teaching reviews encourages authors, authors who choose to learn from it, to do better.

So I would like to thank everyone who’s taken their time to read and review Star Bright.

I’m not sure for how long, but Star Bright is still free on Smashwords

All You Can Read Club

Hi guys! I hope you are having a great week so far. I have a few new links i’d like to share with you from the reading club All You Can Read Club. There are authors, interviews, free books, sample chapters of member authors, cool stuff at the gift shop and prizes you can read!
So don’t be shy come check us out
HOME PAGE
http://www.allyoucanreadclub.com/
AUTHOR PAGES
http://www.allyoucanreadclub.com/erikamszabo.htm
http://www.allyoucanreadclub.com/janetmorris.htm
http://www.allyoucanreadclub.com/valeriebyron.htm
http://www.allyoucanreadclub.com/bryanwdull.htm
http://www.allyoucanreadclub.com/gladysquintal.htm
http://www.allyoucanreadclub.com/stevennedelton.htm
http://www.allyoucanreadclub.com/christinaow.htm
http://www.allyoucanreadclub.com/mlguida.htm
ARTIST, PUBLISHER
http://www.allyoucanreadclub.com/esztercsakiartist.htm
http://www.allyoucanreadclub.com/5princepublishing.htm
INTERVIEWS
http://www.allyoucanreadclub.com/interviewswithauthors.htm
VIDEOS
http://www.allyoucanreadclub.com/apps/videos/
BLOGS
http://www.allyoucanreadclub.com/apps/blog/
GIFT SHOP
http://www.allyoucanreadclub.com/apps/cafepress_shop/
YOU CAN BE A WINNER
http://www.allyoucanreadclub.com/youcanbeawinner.htm
READ FREE
http://www.allyoucanreadclub.com/apps/documents/
BOOKSTORE
http://www.allyoucanreadclub.com/booksandgifts.htm
READER’S FAVORITE
http://www.allyoucanreadclub.com/readersfavorites.htm