A love between two very different men is put to the test.
John Strobaw, a young mixed-blood, grows up in the relative security of a family farm after the Civil War. His mother raises her family as Americans, but his foster brother, Matthew Brandt feels his red blood more keenly and leaves to ride with Crazy Horse. John doesn’t understand the longing he feels for his absent companion until he has his first sexual experience with a man and he only thinks of Matthew.
After the murder of Crazy Horse, Matthew makes his way back home. John fights hard against a growing lust for Matthew, but when he ultimately succumbs, he is lost to this handsome, dusky warrior.
Just when the future looks bright, another suitor appears -- a handsome Cheyenne army scout, and trouble looms on the horizon.
I put the book away and wandered down to the Yanube. A little pool downriver we used as a swimming hole started to look good, so I shucked my clothes and dived in. Swimming’s fun, but it’s better when you’ve got company for horseplay. Today, the water tickling my privates wasn’t doing the job for me. So I settled for taking a bath, even though I hadn’t brought any soap.
Standing bare-assed in the water washing away the day’s dirt and sweat, I caught a glimpse of someone out of the corner of my eye. Before I had a chance to react, a naked form leapt from the riverbank and caught me about the shoulders, taking us both over into the water. I shrugged him off and came up fighting.
Matthew, laughing like a ten-year-old, splashed water in my face. “Hah, you would be a dead man if I was doh-kah.”
My fear turned to delight. I rubbed the water out of my eyes and shook my head. “You’re not a hostile. You’re just a skinny tepee Indian living in the past.”
“Tell that to the ah-kee-chee-dah at Greasy Grass.”
“What do the soldiers at Little Big Horn know about you?”
His naked chest swelled. “I was there.”
“You were at Little Big Horn? At the Custer battle?”
Excitement burned in his dark eyes. “I was there.”
“That’s a big one.”
“If you’re talking about my pipe, you’re right, but I was there fighting blue coats.”
“You’re full of it. How many did you kill?”
He sobered. “One. Maybe two.”
“Seems like a warrior would know exactly how many of the enemy he killed.”
His chin went up. “There speaks a man who’s never seen the elephant or fired a shot in anger. Things get all mixed up in battle. You never know what’s going on. Not even ...” His voice dried up. “Not even exactly what you’re doing.”
Bear wasn’t pulling my dink. He was serious. I didn’t know what to say, so I asked him when he got back.
“Rode in not half an hour back. After I got through saying hello, Ma told me to go put on some decent clothes.”
Ma didn’t permit breechclouts at the Mead. She considered them uncivilized.
“Rachel Ann told me you’d walked down the river, so I came here instead of putting on pants.”
“You back for good?”
He shrugged. His shoulders had filled out, but the part about being skinny was true. He’d lost weight, but he carried it well. He was leaner but harder. He probably looked more like a man than I did. Was that because of the year he had on me or what he’d been through while he was gone?
“Might stay a while,” he answered. “But who knows when I’ll have a hankering again and move on.”