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   Chapter:   1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Dance In My Heart

By Marjorie Jones

Dance In My Heart


~* * *~


“Anii aninishina, ozawahn weenessisee.” He liked the way her breath caught in her chest when she smiled at him.

“Hello,” she replied, more than likely not even realizing he’d said basically the same thing to her. She cleared her throat before speaking again. He made her nervous, he could tell.

“I’m Candice Lincoln, from National Pulse Magazine,” she began. “I’m doing a piece on hoop dancing. I was actually hoping to meet you. I hope you don’t mind that I took some pictures of you.”

Time to have a little fun. He schooled his features into a frown and shook his head. “I’m sorry. I came over to take your film. I’m afraid I can’t allow you to take my photograph.”

He stifled a smile as she blanched. Her eyes widened as she gasped. “Oh, I’m sorry. It’s a religious thing, isn’t it? You think your soul has been captured.”

He couldn’t do it. The look on her face stole his breath and tormenting her further would certainly damn his soul, anyway. He chuckled. “No. I’m just playing with you. Take all the photos you like. He offered his hand as he continued, “I’m called Hawk. Nice to meet you, Candice Lincoln.”

Her warm fingers slipped into his and he felt her slight tremor. “So, why were you hoping to meet me?”

“I wanted to ask you some questions, if it’s okay. I’m not real familiar with Indian culture,” she replied.

“Native American culture isn’t something you can understand in a day, Miss Lincoln. It takes dedication, and living the culture, to even begin to learn it. I’ve been studying my whole life, and I still learn things from the dadibaajimoowinini every time I speak with one.”

“Dadibaa...,” she laughed self-consciously. “I’m sorry. What does that mean?”

He liked her laugh. The sound came from inside her, with nothing even remotely like a giggle. Even with the timid lilt in her voice, he knew she possessed a confidence only few women were lucky enough to find.

“Loosely translated, it means ‘storyteller’. Every chance I get, I’ll sit down with one of the elders and learn a little more of our history.”

“I see.”

“So where do you want to start?”

“Start what?”

He laughed aloud. “Your interview?” he reminded her.

“Oh, right,” she answered, rolling her eyes. “I have no idea.”

“How about a tour of the park? If you think of any questions, just yell.”

“Sounds good to me.”

He offered his arm and she took it. Her soft touch on his forearm sent a fire to his loins he hadn’t expected. As they strolled through the crowd, he’d never been so thankful for the breech cloth portion of his regalia in his life.

“Okay, here’s a question. Those women over there,” she pointed toward three women selling hand-beaded jewelry from a card table covered in black velvet. “They are called squaws, right?”

He chuckled. “Well, the one in the middle, in the blue dress? She’s actually called Martha. And if you call her ‘squaw’ you’d better do it running, because she’ll probably kick your ass.”

“Why on earth would she do that?” she declared boldly, a smirk hidden beneath her mock outrage.

“Because the word ‘squaw’ is akin to ‘whore’. What would you do?”

Heat suffused her cheeks and she looked down briefly, before meeting his eyes again. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”

“It’s okay. Most gichi-mookomaanag have no idea,” he offered. “And before you ask, that means, white men, or Americans.”

Candice felt like a fool. She’d made more verbal blunders since she’d introduced herself to Hawk than she was comfortable with. She would have to be careful not to offend him in the future. At least she could try not to. It became increasingly difficult to concentrate as she held to the firm muscles of his arm. He escorted her though the camp, as if he were some nobleman, and she a great lady. Lynette’s words came back to haunt her.

...sex with a way buff brave...

“So what about you?” She stepped around a paper plate someone had abandoned on the ground.

He stooped and picked it up, crumbled it and tossed it in the trash receptacle a few feet away. “Two points. And the crowd goes wild.” He turned his attention back to her. “What about me?”

“Are you called a brave?” Her heart raced. She felt like she could pool into a puddle of goo if he would just say the word.

“You watch too many westerns, lady.” He tilted his head to look down at her, his impressive height making her head spin.

She sighed and offered a wan smile. “I suppose you’re right. But you have to know, I’m a city girl. Through and through. Westerns are the closest I’ve ever come to anything like this.”

“Well, then, you haven’t seen anything, yet. In answer to your question, some men are called Warriors, but they’ve earned it. By serving in the military, or though some act of courage.”

“And do you rank among them?”

A child with a handful of bright yellow helium balloons dashed across their path. Candice stumbled and would have fallen if Hawk hadn’t used his free hand on her opposite elbow to steady her. She regained her balance and stared up at him. Instead of releasing her, he slid his right hand up her left arm as he stroked her gently with the pad of his thumb.

“No. I’m just a man. Isn’t that enough?”

The insinuation in his dark eyes shook her to the soles of her borrowed boots. Enough? Hell, yes, it was enough.

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©2006 Romance at Heart Magazine.

Book ©2003 by Margorie Jones.

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