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Tuesday Teaser 11/13/12: Wolf’s Prize

Here is a little snip from Book 5.  A man named Jeremy has been sent to Taye to tell him that his little cousin Ellie needs help. Enjoy!


        The Wolfe compound was large and well guarded by a solid stone wall eight feet high. It looked to Jeremy like Mrs. Overdahl hadn’t exaggerated her cousin’s wealth. Only a man of means could hold a place like this. Jeremy presented himself at the gate and waited for the small reinforced window in the gate to open to ask his business.
            The face in the small window was cold with suspicion. “Who are you and what do you want?”
            “I’m Jeremy Potter, here on business from Mrs. Overdahl, Mr. Wolfe’s cousin. I have an urgent message from her.”
            The gate was opened instantly and two very large dogs pressed against him, herding him into the compound. His horse came with him, snorting uneasily. A cluster of half-naked Native American men stood watching him. One of them looked him over.
            “Give me all your weapons.”
            Jeremy silently handed over his pistol and his knife, and waved a hand at the rifle in the saddle scabbard. “That’s all.”
            The guy nodded. “Snake, Blaze, take him in to see the Chief. Paint, look after his horse.”
            Two men flanked Jeremy like guards. When he got into a large room with a big fireplace he understood why he was being treated like a possible threat. Beside the fireplace sat a hugely pregnant woman with long brown hair. Standing protectively beside her on one side was a fiercely scowling man, and on the other side a three-year-old boy scowled just as fiercely. From the looks of their faces, they were obviously father and son. Several men lounged around the room, bodies appearing relaxed, but eyes keenly watchful. Their stares made Jeremy want to squirm. He turned his attention back to the man beside the woman.
        “Mr. Wolfe?”Jeremy asked.
        The man gave one sharp jerk of his head.
        “I’m Jeremy Potter. I work for the Ryan Thomas Trading Company.” There Jeremy stalled briefly. “Your cousin, Mrs. Overdahl, sent me with a message for you.”
        “Oh, thank goodness!” said the woman. “We haven’t heard from Ellie in ages. How is she?”
       When Jeremy hesitated, the weight of the eyes on him grew heavier. “She’s well,” he said carefully. “But she needs your help.”
        Taye Wolfe leaned forward, dark eyes hard under lowered brows. “What do you mean?”
        Jeremy swallowed. “Her husband has died, and she has been sold to the Trading Company to be taken to Ellsworth. The men there are having a Bride Fight in a week or so …”
        A snarl jerked Jeremy’s head around. He saw nothing but men with angry faces. No longer lounging in relaxed sprawls, they looked ready to spring. Most of the men were clearly Native American, but one of them had curly brown hair rather than straight black hair. He was on his feet, practically shaking. With rage? Jeremy was certain it was rage that clenched his fists and jaw. Jeremy hesitated before turning his back on the man.
        Taye Wolfe’s set, angry face wasn’t any less scary. A bead of sweat rolled down the back of Jeremy’s neck.
         “Where is my cousin?” Wolfe rasped.

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