Monday, July 2, 2012

White Flame

White Flame by Susan Edwards

Nebraska Territory, 1856

After waiting years for her estranged father to come home, Emma O'Brien decides to brave the wilderness to fetch him herself. But the journey takes a detour when her party is attacked by Arikara warriors, and Emma is taken captive. Rescue comes in the form of Sioux chief Striking Thunder, but to Emma's shock, instead of releasing her, he claims her as his slave. Emma is not sure what is more infuriating: the arrogant brave, or the way he awakens her passions...

Striking Thunder seeks revenge on the men he holds responsible for his wife's death, and the feisty redhead is the perfect bait. He cannot believe the spirits have destined her to be his bride, nor can he deny she stirs something within him that no other woman ever has. Though his duty to his people is clear, it is not long before Striking Thunder's heart is enslaved by his own captive...

--White Flame
by Susan Edwards
Copyright © 2012 by Susan Edwards
Published by Carina Press ebooks

My Review

After the death of her mother, Emma’s father, driven by grief, leaves his daughters in the care of his sister and returns to the Army.  Years later, after the death of her aunt,  Emma and her younger sister, Renny sail down the Missouri river to Fort Pierre to try and convince her father to come home with them.  When the boat runs aground, she accepts an offer from Captain Derek Sanders for the two of them to look at the countryside while the ship’s men work to free the boat. 

When their excursion is met by Yellow Dog and his band, Derek promises to protect Emma and Renny, but secretly, he is in league with this particular group of natives.  He’s trying to stir up trouble between the Sioux and the Army, hoping to clear everyone out of the area so he can harvest the gold he knows is in the land.  But when they attack them instead, most of his men are killed and Emma and Renny are taken captive, then separated.  Emma fears she will never see her little sister again, but at the same time, is determined to make an escape and find her.

Striking Thunder wants his revenge against those who attacked his people and killed his wife, Yellow Dog and his renegade band of warriors and the Army Colonel who ordered the attack, Grady O’Brien.  He tracks down Yellow Dog and destroys him and his group.  When he finds the white woman they had been holding captive, he promises to bring her to the nearest fort.  However, when he learns she’s O’Brien’s daughter, his plans change.  Emma will now be his instrument of revenge and takes her back to his people as his captive for the winter while he and his men make plans.

What he didn’t plan on was the intense desire he would feel for this flame-haired white woman.  Nor did she plan on falling in love with the Indian chief.  Striking Thunder refuses to believe his sister’s prophesy that Emma is his destiny and he presses on with his plans while Emma waits anxiously for the spring and the promised return to her old life.  But destiny has a mind of its own and when the time comes, each will have to make a choice for the future.

I didn’t much enjoy book six of this series, and this one makes up for it.  Returning to the People and the land, Edwards reaches deep into her knowledge and creates a story of longing, both between the main characters and the secondary characters as they work to resolve their feelings over the losses and what the future holds for everyone. 

Emma wants to be reunited with her sister and father and return to her life in St. Louis, but as Striking Thunder points out, was she really happy in that life?  His people may be poor by her standards, but they have everything they need and they are happy in their lives.  Slowly, she comes to see that and against her will, begins to adapt to their ways.  And when that moment comes, when she is reunited with her sister and father, can she convince Striking Thunder that what he believes is untrue?  And can she make the right decision for all their futures?

This story was first published in 2004, the remaining stories in the series following naturally.  They’re being re-released by Carina Press and the first eight books are available on their web site.  Click here to order from Carina Press or the below link to order this book from (and find links to the others available in this series).

I received an Advance Uncorrected Proof from NetGalley.

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