Series: The Branded Trilogy #3
Published by Imajin Books on 07/31/2016
Genres: historical romance, western, Paranormal
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Tsura is a Chuvani, and with that comes great power…
Desperate to escape the memories that haunt her, Tsura Harris returns to Jamestown, the very place her mother forbade her to go. A gifted Chuvani, Tsura has sworn off all magick, thus making her vulnerable to the Renoldi clan, who wish to kill her and take the pendant that is the key to her power.
Red Wolf is hell-bent on living his life on the sea, until he runs into Tsura on the docks. His pride wounded from her rejection years before, he hoped to never see her again. But when the evil Corsair, Romulus Black, demands to know where she is, Red Wolf must protect her, as is his duty.
But is duty and honor his only reason, or does Red Wolf still carry a flame of love in his heart? And will Tsura finally discover her destiny?
CHAPTER ONE SACRED LEGACY
Jamestown, Virginia, July 1740
Tsura Harris lifted the hem of her green skirt and stepped up onto the wooden plank. She clutched her reticule in her right hand and reached for the rope with her left. The planked bridge swayed as the boat rocked against the seas. She stared at the water below. White-capped waves crashed along the ship’s hull, rocking the boat. She inhaled, forced her chin up, and took another step. She walked the short distance to the boardwalk, releasing the breath she’d held when her boot touched land. She planted both feet upon the wooden dock and set her shoulders, but the reminder of why she was here intensified the weight upon her chest. Despair was her shadow, and it was with her today.
Her brother’s deep, masculine shout came from above.
She shaded her eyes from the hot afternoon sun and peered up at him. His stature always shocked her. Micah Walker was six foot with broad shoulders and strong arms, a spitting image of their father, Kade. His white shirt gaped open to show the tanned skin beneath, a sign of too many days out on the water. Long blond hair waved in the breeze. Her handsome brother had his pick of the ladies, but still hadn’t settled down. It was a shame. She knew he wanted children and a wife of his own, but his heart belonged to the sea and time would lend him those favors only when he was ready.
“You must wait,” he called and raced past his men carrying crates of goods onto the wharf.
She placed her bag onto the wooden walk and clasped her gloved hands together.
He reached her, his cheeks glowing and dark eyes lit with mischief. Before she could discourage him, he picked her up and swung her around. Her boots kicked the bag, knocking it over, as his strong arms held her tight.
Micah had always been affectionate. He never shied away from holding her hand, kissing her cheek, or teasing her like a brother would. He’d come to her side when she needed him the most. When her life had fallen apart, and she couldn’t see past her own misery to pick herself up. He had carried her, and she loved him for it.
“You cannot go off without wishing me well.” He smiled down at her.
“If you would simply release me, I’d be able to make it so,” she retorted. He was the only one, aside from her mother and father, who she allowed to touch her.
“Very well, nit.” He set her in front of him. The nickname he used for her was one of endearment and came from her pestering him as a child.
“Thank you.” She smoothed her skirt before bringing her eyes to meet his.
“You do not need to do this.”
She glanced away unable to stare at him any longer.
“Come sail with me.”
She shook her head. The urge to leave caused her legs to shake. She couldn’t be around him any longer. His cheerful disposition haunted her and made her think of things she’d rather forget.
“I know you don’t want to speak of this, but—”
“Tsura, you need to forgive—”
“Forgiveness is not within my heart.”
“It surely is.”
She shook her head, careful not to release the many pins holding her thick corkscrew curls in a loose chignon.
“It is in all of us.”
She glared at her brother.
“Do not speak to me of forgiveness, brother. My heart is cold to it.”
His dark eyes watered, and she knew her words had hurt him, but she didn’t care. It was better this way—it was easier.
“Will you not reconsider?”
“Please stay. I will protect you.”
Protection was not what she needed. She could care less if she died. It’d be a relief from the constant pain she felt each day.
“I should’ve taken you to mother and father.”
“Do not speak to them of my presence here.”
“They will understand.”
“Not one word.”
Micah sighed. “As you wish.”
“I must go.” Anger pressed on her spine, and she straightened.
His shoulders dropped.
“Be safe. Trust no one.”
“I port back in Jamestown one month to this day. You will be here.”
It was not a question, and she didn’t know if a month would be enough. Would the time between then and now ever fade from her soul? Would she be ready to return? She didn’t know if she could go back and so she didn’t answer.
“Hiram knows of you coming?”
“Very well.” He straightened and smiled. “Know that I love you.”
She fought the tears. If Micah saw one ounce of sadness within her, he’d throw her back aboard the Jade and take her with him.
“As I you.” She refused to say the words.
He picked up her bag and handed it to her.
“Thank you. Now go. You have work to do and whores to see.” She smirked.
“Ah, that I do.” He pulled her into a final embrace. “You will find your way. I am sure of it.” He held her away from him, and his eyes searched hers. “Remember who you are.”
She pressed on his chest and stepped out of his embrace. She couldn’t help the furrow of her brow or the set of her chin. The reminders of the life she led were never to be forgotten, and because of that she’d be forever lost.
Micah sensed the change in her and left it alone. He bowed, and with a final kiss to her forehead he walked away.
She turned, unable to watch him go, raised to believe it was a sign of weakness, of regret to watch one leave your life. This was meant to be. The world around her had tilted, and even though she wanted nothing more than to go back in time to the lavish house on the hill where she’d felt content, where laughter was but an expression upon her lips, she could not. What had been was no more, and she’d do right to remember it. One year had passed, but the ache inside her soul still remained
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