A Fistful of DreamsFevered Hearts #4

When the spirit fever struck a town, a village or an outpost, it left few if any survivors. The white man blamed the Indian saying they used their mojo on them.  The Indians blamed the white man for angering the spirits.  The survivors knew it didn’t matter.  The Fevered were forever changed.

Rebuilding Dorado is only the first challenge…

Surviving a vicious attack by their enemies and an outbreak of the Fever has left Dorado in ruins and the Flying K under siege, now all their resources are devoted to rebuilding their town and protecting the newborn Fevered in their midst.  Buck Morning Star and his siblings divide their time between training their new family members and avoiding the threat of detection the arrival of soldiers constructing a new fort pose, but the spirit walker’s dreams are haunted by Delilah. But when Jason Kane threatens to come between them, Buck’s obsession may drive him to madness.

Her secrets could destroy them all…

Rescued from a whore house in Fort Courage, Delilah Rinaldi never expected to find a sanctuary populated by Fevered and their allies. Silent since her arrival at the ranch, she longs to believe in Buck and the passionate dreams they share. But she keeps dangerous knowledge of the enemy hunting them all close to her heart—information Jason may reveal and cost her the only home and man she loves.

Primitive, primal and provocative, their struggle is intensely personal…

Close contact arouses a soul-stirring passion and love. But it may not be enough to sustain a relationship forbidden by their power and the tempest it can unleash.

His dream. Her words. Their destiny.

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Winter, 1851

This was the last time, Buck promised himself. The last time he would invade her dreams. The rocky landscape greened over the last several months. The barren wasteland she wandered through night after night transforming to rolling grasses as though the prairie swept through the desert to reclaim Delilah’s hope.

At least, he believed it to be the message in this dream. Two weeks since the last time he brushed across her dreamscape, two weeks since he allowed himself the simple pleasure of hearing her sing. The secret he nestled in his heart and guarded deep in his soul—Delilah possessed the most magnificent voice. A voice she never used in the waking day, no matter how much they tried to persuade her.

Oddly, instead of sunshine, the night sky stretched out across the horizon. Stars glittered against the velvety midnight black. He walked along the bank of a stream. The water twisted through the landscape, plunging down into the grass and appearing again near a rocky outcropping, only to splash down into a deeper pool.

Young trees struggled against the grass, stretching juvenile branches skyward. Oaks, cypress, and two others he couldn’t identify. They were as alien to her dreamscape as they were to the Texas hills the Flying K called home. Jogging lightly, he picked up his speed. He knew to follow the river. He circled the outcropping until he looked down into the pool of water.

Delilah sat alongside the bank, bare feet dipped into the water. Palms flat against the earth, she stared at the moon’s gleaming reflection on the watery surface. Despite the ripples from the water tripping over the rocks, it was as though some great hand scooped out the stars and filled in the bowl of the earth.

Her long black hair fell, unbound, to her waist. She wore a light chemise and an even thinner underskirt. Pristine white, the cotton glowed against her darker, richer skin as though she dressed in gathered moonlight.

A rock skittered away from his boot and she looked up. Her expression transformed from thoughtful reverie to one of warm greeting. The smile blooming on her lips tapped heels to the slow trot of his heart. 

“Hello.” He murmured the words and slid down the rest of the path toward the pool’s edge. As in their daytime encounters, she didn’t speak.  She gazed at him with liquid black eyes, dark as the night sky above. Fearless, but calm, she waited until he sat down a few feet away to drop her gaze back to the water.

“Sorry I haven’t been around.” He kept his voice to a low murmur,  the quiet swish of the breeze through the grass and the water tripping over the rocks the only noise—not even night birds serenaded them.  “We’ve had a lot of work to do. I’ve been pretty exhausted.”

It was a lame excuse. He was never so tired he couldn’t walk in her dreams, but he forced himself to stay away.  She sought him out whenever he was home, closer to central life on the ranch, particularly after the events of the last summer.

The construction of a new Dorado and the arrival of the first Army detachment kept the ranch in an uproar. The Fevered worked hard to keep the ranch patrolled and the new Fevered children contained while they learned. Their secrets, hidden tightly beneath a lid, threatened to spill over with every new arrival. During the initial visit, Buck, Kid and Jimmy took a party of eight children up into the hills to camp amongst the rocks. Their dangerously unstable gifts took finesse to control, finesse they didn’t possess. Hopefully the pending arrival of the next wave would be shorter.

Yet. They will. We have to be patient. Surprisingly, of all who worked with them—or maybe not so much given his gift with emotions—Kid stabilized the worst of the children, balancing out their fears and their grief, so they could focus on the lessons.

But it took a toll on the youngest Kane and backslid him into old habits–using sex to distract himself from the pain he took away from others. Twice in as many months, Jimmy and Cody turned away irate husbands from distant ranches hunting the younger Kane. The number of women in the area was few and Kid refused to go to the mountain.  Not yet, he repeated over and over like a mantra. Not until the ranch was safe.

The landscape around Buck shimmered, and twisted. He jerked out of his reverie and forced his mind to calm. He could hold a dreamscape stable, but this wasn’t a dangerous shift. 

Delilah no longer sat on the edge of the pool, but in a curved back, mahogany chair before a great mirror. Although he never stepped foot inside her rooms at the main house, he knew the construction around him.

Riding out the shift, Buck perched on the end of a trunk tucked up against the foot of her bed. Delilah hummed to herself and her low melody wrapped around Buck’s soul and soothed the ache of lonely exhaustion. She ran a brush through her hair, gazing distantly in the mirror as though she continued to look farther away. 

The soft music and the swish-crackle of the brush sliding through her hair lulled him. He clasped his hands together and enjoyed being with her. The light knock on the door intruded on their serenity. He expected Delilah to walk over and answer it, but the door opened as if by its own accord. Delilah’s dark gaze tracked up, focusing on the mirror and she smiled, a heart wrenching, dazzling grin of pure joy.

Buck jerked his head around and stared at the intruder. Anger fisted in his gut and he rose, blade appearing in his hand as though summoned by a thought. 

Jason Kane held his hand out, as though unaware of Buck’s presence, and Delilah rose, walking over to take it. 


Lunging forward, Buck raised the blade, but it never struck. A hard hand locked around his wrist and jerked him backwards. Delilah, Jason, and her room evaporated for the mountain, soaring pines and the smell of snow. He landed in the dirt next to a far more familiar stream and Quanto loomed overhead, staring at him. 

“What are you doing?” His father demanded. 

The rage inside of him didn’t quiet. He met the wisdom and disappointment in the elder’s eyes and flinched. “I—”

What the hell had he been doing? Attacking Jason for knocking on her door? 

Or because Delilah looked so happy to see him?

Why the hell is she dreaming about Jason Kane?