“I’m glad we did the thrift stores first,” Sage Eagle said as they pulled into the parking lot of the big store near the Interstate. They parked out a little bit, though Phoenix wasn’t sure why. “Are you okay with the walk?” he asked.
“I think I’m doing okay, but I might take an ibuprofen to be safe. I should have taken one earlier.”
“It’s in the glove box,” he reminded her.
Phoenix opened it and rummaged until she found the bottle. She took one with a swig of water, then put back the bottle noticing a box of condoms. It wasn’t her business whose those were – probably some of the men hoping to get lucky when they went to various places. She dreamt briefly of Sage Eagle wanting to get closer to her. She’d let him, she knew… especially now. She wondered what his kisses would be like and whether she’d like his flavor.
“We have about two hours before we need to meet our contact,” Sage Eagle said. “Should be more than enough time to get everything we need inside.”
Phoenix smiled and went with him, more excited than she should be about going into the familiar blue-trimmed store. She never liked this store in Portland, but this time, she was looking for fun things – with the man she loved, even if he didn’t know it.
His hand guiding the small of her back, she pushed the cart towards the canning area, instinctively knowing the layout of the store – it wasn’t much different than the one she used to go to when she had to… before. She liked feeling his hand on her, though it fueled other thoughts as well. She didn’t want this day to end.
In the correct aisle, Phoenix chose the canning jars and other supplies Dancing Bear had asked for.
“Woxi is going to teach me how to preserve the fish – and can.”
“I’m glad,” Sage Eagle replied. “More young women should learn these skills – before they’re forgotten again. I think my sister has learned some of them.”
Phoenix was pleased to know that he approved.
“Is there anything else you need for your house?” he asked.
“Probably a lot of things!” Phoenix replied. “But I haven’t made any sort of list.”
He smiled. “Is there a theme that you like? I know sometimes women like that sort of thing.”
“I’ve always liked ducks and geese.”
“What about swans?”
She smiled, realizing what he was suggesting. “Yes… Swans would be very nice!”
“You’ve grown into a swan, you know… beautiful and confident.”
She blushed. “Does Ba’a O’ng really mean Swan Valley?”
“Yes… Well Valley of Swans. O’ng sort of sounds like some swans as they fly over. When my ancestors found our valley, the lake was full of them.”
“I can easily imagine. Do we get them now?”
“Sometimes, though not in the numbers that occurred then.”
They looked at some of the household items. Phoenix found several things she wanted, though not so many swans. She looked at some cast iron pans, but they weren’t as nice as the one she’d just seasoned – or the ones she found at one of the thrift stores. She still wanted a griddle pan, but didn’t like the texture of the ones on display.
Several times, she thought she saw a glimpse of Frank, but scolded herself for her paranoia. What would Sage Eagle think if he knew how scared she was now? Her heart thumped as she caught another glimpse.
She was no longer able to enjoy shopping. “Let’s get going,” she suggested, feeling overwhelmed.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“I think so.”
“If you’re sure. Anyway, I think we’ve done enough damage to the budget for one day. I can bring you back down here – or to Casper – to look for more things another day.”
“I’d like that,” she agreed, eager to spend another day with him – soon.
“Hold onto me if it helps,” he instructed as he took the cart and steered them towards the check out lines.
Again, Phoenix saw the man who looked familiar – too familiar. She felt faint and hoped he wouldn’t notice her.
Her anxiety must have been obvious because Sage Eagle looked at her curiously. “Are you sure you’re okay?” he asked.
She shook her head towards the man at the ice display. “I think that’s my ex!”
“Are you sure?”
“I can’t let him see me!”
“He’s not likely to watch this,” Sage Eagle said a moment before his lips covered Tanya’s. Surprised, she nearly pulled away, but then melted against his body, her arms around him almost instantly, her hands feeling his soft hair. As she reached his customary bun, she remembered that she shouldn’t touch his hair without permission, but his next kiss made her forget. Her mouth opened at the slightest touch from his tongue. She wanted him so much, tasting him for the first time, she knew she was already addicted to him.
“Where did he go?” Tanya asked when he released her lips.
“Outside,” he replied, then gave her another kiss, much more innocent this time. “You taste sweet – just as I’d imagined.”
“What?” she asked. Had he dreamed of this moment before?
“I’d better not do it again though.”
“Why not?” she asked just as quickly.
“Don’t want to get kicked out of here,” he said, pressing closer to her, his hard arousal pushing against her hip.
She loved knowing that he wanted her that way – at least, he wanted her body. She knew she was strong enough to deny him either. Suddenly, she understood why Nighthawk had so many children. If he’d looked anything like Sage Eagle when he was at his prime, she couldn’t imagine denying him – even if it made her a single mother again!
They completed the purchase and took it out to the van, hoping that Frank wasn’t around anywhere, but knowing that Sage Eagle was more than able to protect her. She’d seen him after a hunt, proud of his kill and she knew that he’d already slugged Jade Wolf to defend her. Still, she didn’t want Frank to know which van to follow into the basin. The Swan Valley license plate was already a giveaway.
Back to the prologue
Available to purchase at Books2Read. Print version will be available soon.
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Previous Swan Valley Stories:
- Native Concession either in ebook form or [print]( . (June 2014, approximately 9 months before Phoenix.)
Swan Valley is a fictitious American Indian reservation located in the Great Divide Basin of Wyoming, USA. The Neme'o'ng (Swan People) are based on the idea of blending the Shoshoni and Arapaho peoples - as might have happened if they were stranded in a desolate area as a small band of misfits. I have developed their language from the same ideas.
Please read my note on romance, teenage intimate relationships and underage sex. I apologize if my understanding conflicts with your sense of morality, but I'm only looking at things realistically, not ideologically. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing!
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