All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
* * *
I dedicate this book with love to those who have been so supportive of me all these years; my loving husband, Dennis, and my beautiful children, Jamie and Christopher. They always gave me the time to write, and never complained when I was clicking the keyboard or using my noisy printer at the wee late or early hours. Thank you so much. I love you for believing in me.
September, 1855 - Mountains of the Bear's Paw
Nebraska Territory (now Montana)
Three days Leota had fasted. Three nights she had waited, alone. Her stomach rumbled, crying out for want of food and water. A wave of nausea, followed by a spell of light-headedness washed over her. She returned to sit on her bed of pine branches, catching a whiff of sweet sage and ground cedar she had sprinkled about for purification.
A soft breeze brushed across her face, inviting, comforting. She soaked in the early morning sunrays, lifting her face upward, to the east, in the direction of the Creator who began each day.