Excerpt from Forbidden Destiny

     Stalking the slender redhead, the young Indian brave crept along the bank of the James River with a fluid stealth. Clad in fringed buckskins and moccasins, his thick ebony hair tied at his nape, he looked as savage as any of his Seneca kin. His skin was a golden bronze, his eyes as black and bright as obsidian, his features gently handsome.
     Each time his pretty prey paused to look out at the river, he melted into the high marsh grass, a tawny shadow fading into the gently waving greens and golds. When she moved on, he followed, his footsteps silent on the mud. He pursued her until she crossed the invisible boundary onto his family's land.
     She was trespassing now, and well within his rights, his hands twitched with eagerness to take her captive. He waited one more step, two, three, then had to hastily withdraw as she again paused in her wanderings. The sweeping river's lazy roll to the sea hissed in his ears, urging him on.
     Seizing what could be his last opportunity before she turned back for home, he lunged with a terrifying speed, grabbed her around the waist, and lifted her clear off her feet. He clamped a hand over her mouth before she could scream for help, and carried her into the thick grass. It closed around them like a living door, welcoming them into its cool depths.
     The girl beat on his arms and kicked, but the brave was far too tough a young man to be bothered by her ineffectual blows. She tried to bite his hand, but he dug his fingers into her cheeks to force her mouth open. The grass ripped her cap from her head and tore at her billowing skirt as he pushed on; he did not stop until he burst through to the edge of the barren field where his cousin, Beau Barclay, stood waiting.
     Christian released his disheveled prisoner then, but grabbing for her hand, pulled her back against his side before she could get away. "I think I've won the bet, cousin. Her red hair proves she's one of Ian Scott's brats."
     Incensed by his manhandling, Liana Scott continued to try and break free, but Christian just caught her other hand and twisted them both behind her back. "Bastard!" she fumed. "I want no part in your games. You've won no bets with me."
     "Aye, you've won," Beau agreed reluctantly. "The question now is, what are you going to do with her?"
     Christian jerked Liana around to face him. Her green eyes were full of angry tears and her fair skin flushed with terror, but she was still undeniably a rare beauty. He stared at her for several seconds, letting the insolence of his gaze fill her mind with all manner of despicable torments before he replied. "I'm going to send her home with a message for our father. Will you deliver it for me, sister dear?"
     "I am no sister of yours, you heathen wretch!"
     "'Heathen wretch'?" Christian repeated with a rich, rolling laugh. His voice was deep, with the same dark edge as his manner. "I'm neither heathen nor wretched, dear little sister. Nor am I a bastard since your father was married to my mother."
     "Lying snake!" Liana screamed. "He was not!"
     Beau reached out to touch her arm. She was wearing a peach-colored muslin gown and in the struggle with Christian, the neckline had slipped off her shoulder, revealing a luscious expanse of creamy skin. He doubted she had ever noticed him, but he had been acutely aware of her for several years. Such an unlikely infatuation was a secret he had never shared with anyone, least of all Christian, who would have taunted him cruelly had he known.
     "He's telling the truth," Beau swore. "They were wed."
     Astonished by the audacity of the young men's claim, Liana spit on Beau's boots. "Dissembling swine!" she shouted. "All the Barclays are strangers to the truth!"
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