WHEN ASH REMAINS
by Dena Garson
A warrior with a mission
There isn’t a buffalo or deer that Kajika cannot take down. So when his cousin is slaughtered he relishes the chance to track down the killer. The trail leads him to a woman with gifts he has trouble believing in. Despite their differences he cannot fight his instinct to protect her from all threats – even those he cannot see. That drive even rivals his desire to explore every inch of her body.
A woman with a destiny
Knowing the spirits will protect her, Ahyoka allows the handsome warrior to take her to be questioned by his chief about the unexplained deaths in their village. He may not believe in her abilities but he is one of the few who doesn’t treat her like something to be feared or shunned. He awakens feelings that make her yearn for things she thought she’d never have. Her biggest fear is that once he learns the full extent of her gifts he will reject her like most of her tribe did.
A killer twisted by hurt and anger
Kajika and Ahyoka must work together to find the one responsible for the string of deaths in and around their villages. Faith, trust, and even a little bit of love will be needed to defeat the killer and right the wrongs committed in the pursuit of power and revenge.
Awake Spirit Talker.
He watches. A man.
Ahyoka listened to the sounds of the spirits around her. Even without their warning, she would have sensed the presence in the shadows.
She rolled to her side and looked to where she knew he crouched. The darkness hid his features from her eyes, but his spirit radiated from the fire that burned within him. Never before had she met someone with such a potent life force.
Even her brother’s wasn’t as intense as this man’s, and her family descended from a line of powerful shamans.
Did he mean her harm? Or was he just passing through?
Without taking her eyes off the place where he hid, she groped behind her for the knife she had been using before she dozed off. The apples she ate sat heavy in her belly as she contemplated whether she should run or just face whoever it was.
The crunch of leaves from her left drew her attention. No sooner had her vision shifted than a blur from the place the man had hid raced toward her. She rolled as her father had taught her to do in order to minimize the impact of the assault. At the same time, she pulled her knife and tried to put it between her and her attacker. The man grabbed her wrist and pinned it to the ground, rendering her weapon useless.
Her heart pounded in her chest and a roar sounded in her ears. Who was this man? She fought to free herself from his hold but found he outmatched her in size, speed, and strength. In an alarmingly short span of time, she found herself pinned beneath one of the most handsome men she had ever seen. She pushed aside her shock and renewed her efforts. “Get off of me!” Even the attractiveness of his face didn’t deter her from ramming her head into his nose.
He loosened his grip on her and covered his face as he mumbled some expletive.
She used this distraction to her advantage and bucked him to one side so she could wiggle free. Before she could get to her feet and scamper away, he grabbed her by the ankle.
“Let go!” She kicked at his hand with her other foot, trying to break his hold.
As she struggled with the warrior, two more men appeared from out of the surrounding trees. “Do you need help, Kajika?” the taller of the two men asked. The laughter in his tone suggested their struggle amused him.
Ahyoka renewed her efforts to break free of the first man’s grip. “Who are you and what do you want?”
The warrior kept his hold of her even as he climbed to his feet. “Who are you and what were you doing in our village?”
Ahyoka stopped struggling. “In your village? What village?”
“Don’t play dumb with me. We tracked you here.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She pointed to the bank just behind them. “I’ve been following the river all day. I stopped to rest when I realized how far I’d come. Where is your village?”
Now that he had released her, she could see the rest of the man who had interrupted her peace and quiet. Her eyes traveled up the length of his legs. She skimmed over the short deer skin he wore about his waist and tried not to speculate about what might be hidden beneath. His bow hung across his broad chest, making her wonder how he managed to squeeze into such a narrow span. Every line of his chest and belly could be seen clearly. If she wanted, she could count each one even from where she sat.
Something stirred within her and made her heart skip a beat. That same something counteracted her impulse to escape.
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AN INTERVIEW WITH DENA
-What inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always been a strong reader. And I have an over-active imagination. One day a friend and I were talking about the latest book we had read and she turned to me and said “One of us should be writing this stuff.” I decided to take up the challenge! I joined Romance Writers of America and a local romance writer group and learned everything I could about the publishing business and the art of writing romance. I also had the privilege of working one-on-one with one of the senior members of that local writing group, Ms. Peggy. She gave me the courage to submit my work for publication and reassured me that I was “a good little writer.”
-What draws you to romance?
I love the romance genre so that’s what I write. I think it’s the limitless supply of hope you find in the genre. The world might be coming to an end, but there’s always hope as long as the hero and heroine find love.
-Give us a fun or interesting fact you learned researching this book.
The most interesting thing I learned was how close the family units were. Adult children didn’t always “move out” when they got married. Often the spouse moved in with their partner AND the partner’s parents.
-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?
My heroine, Ahyoka. She has the ability to hear what the land, animals, and ancestors have to say – I bet she would have some interesting insight!
-For aspiring writers, any tips?
Write, write, write. And learn how to take constructive feedback. You only get better by doing and striving to do better each time.
-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?
I hate to say never but… I’ve been invited to write YA a couple times but could never get into the head of a person in that age group. And honestly, it’s a sub-genre that doesn’t really interest me. I’ve read many good YA books, just don’t feel I’d enjoy writing one.
Dena Garson is an award winning author of contemporary, paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi romance. She holds a BBA and a MBA in Business and works in the wacky world of quality and process improvement. Making up her own reality on paper is what keeps her sane.
She is the mother of two rowdy boys, two rambunctious cats (AKA the fuzzy jerks), and a loving Labrador. When she isn\’t writing you can find her at her at the sewing machine or stringing beads. She is also a devoted Whovian and Dallas Cowboys fan.
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