Authors: Rebecca Sinclair
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© 1991, 2011 by Rebecca Sinclair
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Matthew—For his superb guidance,
Courtney—For making me proud beyond words,
Adam—For never ceasing to amaze me with his wisdom, timing and humor,
& Crystal—For all his help and his grace under pressure.
"My children, my children. In days behind I called you to travel the hunting trail or to follow the war trail. Now those trails are choked with sand; they are covered with grass, the young men cannot find them. Today I call upon you to travel a new trail, the only trail now open—the White Man's Road."
~ Wovoka, Paiute Chief
Montana Territory, 1878
Amanda Lennox sucked in a deep, steadying breath, gnashed her teeth, and glared at the infuriating little brat who sat on the riverbank.
The cuffs of the boy's too-large pant legs were rolled in sloppy bunches to his knees. The wet, pale expanse of his calves and ankles disappeared beneath the river's surface. He made splashing circles with his bare feet, circles that, all too often, rained water over Amanda's already-wet face and hair. With another child she might have thought her periodic dousing accidental. But not with this boy. Oh, no, with
she knew the splashes were intentional—in the same way she knew
knew there wasn't a thing she could do to stop him.
Her gaze lifted, sharpened. Lemony sunlight peeked through a ceiling of rustling leaves. The golden rays sifted over the boy, making the blond hair that clung damply to his scalp resemble a shimmering halo. Tight curls framed his brow, emphasizing the hint of baby-roundness still evident in his ten-year-old cheeks. Though his gaze was down, fixed on the pile of rocks stacked beside his hip, Amanda knew when he looked up she would see eyes bluer than a summer sky, wide and round, ringed with ridiculously long, ridiculously thick lashes.
It wasn't the boy's golden curls so much as his big blue eyes that gave him a cherubic appearance. Unfortunately for her, in his case appearance was only skin deep. Amanda knew better than anyone the sly, pampered little brat lurking beneath that sweet exterior. Plain and simple, the boy was a holy terror.