Read A Heart-Shaped Hogan Online
Authors: Raelynn Blue
A Heart-Shaped Hogan
Copyright © 2012 by RaeLynn Blue
All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or shared in any form, including but not limited to: printing, photocopying, faxing, recording, electronic transmission, or by any information storage or retrieval system without prior written permission from the authors or holders of the copyright.
This book is a work of fiction. References may be made to locations and historical events; however, names, characters, places and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination and/or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons (living or dead), businesses, events or locales is either used fictitiously or coincidental. All trademarks, service marks, registered trademarks, and registered service marks are the property of their respective owners and are used herein for identification purposes only.
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Cover Art: Marteeka Karland,
Editor: Stephanie Parent
Proofreader: Novellette Whyte
Formatter: Jim & Zetta,
Jim & Zetta,
For New Mexico. Thank you for all the enchantments.
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This work of erotica contains adult language and sexually explicit scenes, which are smoking hot. This book is intended only for adults, as it is defined by the laws of the country in which the purchase is made. Keep this book out of the hands of under-aged readers.
The Navajo Nation (Dine) is the largest Native American tribe in the United States. Their reservation lands cover parts of New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. I spent six years living in New Mexico with Navajo people. This story uses the traditional Dine home, the Hogan. It is a place of sacred ceremonies and for some their permanent and ancestral home. To my knowledge, I do not know of any story where the Hogan has been used in the manner depicted in this story, thus I have taken liberties with it. I encourage you to read about the Navajo tribe from factual sources if you wish to learn more. —RaeLynn
Scarlet streaks flushed to pink and vibrant orange as the day bled from dawn to dusk. The colors painted the horizon along the burnt dust of the northern edge of the Navajo Nation’s reservation land. At over a mile high, this section of the high desert stretched out in all directions, racing toward its postcard edges. Picturesque, perfect, and patient, the land had witnessed death, destruction, and desperation. So why the H.E. double hockey sticks did Tank have her out here? The bright sunlight, crisp air, and fluffy white clouds belied the near twenty-three degree temperature. February became cold around these parts. The season didn’t care at all that today was Valentine’s Day.
Lee Stone frowned as the bite of another cold blast tore across the mesas and threatened to tear through her coat. Shuddering inside her parka, she could not fathom another Valentine’s Day mired in tragedy or random acts of chaos. Slivers of icy wind streaked through her ebony parka and her sweater, directly to her very bones. With her fingers growing numb inside her leather gloves, she yanked her hat farther down over her ears, and not for the first time, cursed the Valentine’s Day gods. It appeared that for the fourth year in a row, her sweetheart day would end in utter disaster. She looked around. What could possibly be out here?
Biting her lip, she cast a glance at Tank Begaye. One eyeful of him never satisfied her. It never quenched her constant craving for him. His cowboy hat was tugged low over his eyes, and his arrow-straight black hair tied in a ponytail that hugged the nape of his neck. After four years, most couples’ fires had cooled to a comfortable temperature. Not theirs. Her desire burned blue-hot for him, just like the first day they met. Feeling the familiar tug of hunger skirt across her clit, she squeezed her thighs together before taking the next step forward. Her gaze moved downward from his neck to his leather-clad back, wide and delicious.
Whatever plans he had, she knew that the calloused hand of Fate would knock them off, scattering them into oblivion and the Navajo desert. They crested a ridge that looked out over the valley below. Speckled with Western-style houses, Hogans, and mobile homes, the sheep and yuccas outnumbered the living structures.
“Tank…” She detested the whine threading her voice, but the suspense threatened to overtake her.
He gazed out toward the valley below and hummed. “It’s beautiful here.”
When she sighed, a stream of condensed air flew from her lips. They’d met at a freak party in Las Vegas and she’d lassoed his heart. He lived in Colorado and she resided in New Mexico. Each year they planned to meet on Valentine’s Day, and each year Fate fucked it up. The first year a blizzard tore through the Southwest and dumped a foot and a half of snow on the Four Corner region. The second year, a fire exploded in Tank’s ranch-style home the day before he’d planned to leave. Last year beat the mother of all tragedies. Tank’s ancient grandmother died two days before V-day. He was devastated. Maybe that was why he had them out here on the rez.
Road weary and exhausted from hiking through the high hills and low valleys of the reservation, Lee put her freezing hands into her pockets and fondled the thin, gift-wrapped box. She’d bought Tank a necklace, one with turquoise and silver crafted by a Zuni silversmith. As a Navajo, Tank had access to Native American crafts, but she’d had this piece crafted just for him. One of her students in Gallup was Zuni and her father a silversmith. Despite the cold outside burning her nose and making her ears sting, the gift warmed her.
“Where are we going?” she asked, calling above the sharp whistle of the wind.
He turned to her in that slow, seductive manner of his. “It’s a surprise.”
She bit back the retort she had in her throat. His sable-brown eyes peered out from beneath the shadow of his cowboy hat. Heat washed over her as if he’d touched her. Feeling better, Lee smiled and found her hope reassured. He did that all the time, sometimes with his voice over the cell phone, and other times with his eyes via Skype. The long distance between them had made maintaining their love a challenge, but when they were together, like this, it was all worth it—every mile, every minute, and every bit of money to keep and nurture what they had. She huddled deeper into her coat. Still, this hiking thing was not how she’d intended to spend her Valentine’s Day.
“This had better be good,” she mumbled.
He nodded and took her hand into his big one. His much larger hand engulfed hers.
“How much farther?”
“Just down this side path.” He inclined his head to the west.
Through the sparse grouping of trees, she saw the small, single-story structure. The door faced east, and puffs of fluffy smoke huffed out of a black circular chimney. Tank stepped in front of her, and led her down the narrow pathway that wound through the desert’s untamed brush. Lee had taught in New Mexico for the last fifteen years, so she recognized the Navajo Hogan when she saw it. A five-sided structure sat alone on the flattest section of the land. Packed adobe covered some of the walls, but harsh New Mexico winters had worn some of it down. The gusty winds whipped it down over the decades.
Lee had no idea what to expect and her feet failed to move. Tank must have felt her hand fall away, and he turned to her, concern on his face.
“What’s going on?” She couldn’t shake her rearing. There were places black folks just didn’t go. Besides, sacred places like Hogans and cemeteries were not normal destinations for Valentine’s Day.
Tank sighed. “It’s Valentine’s Day…”
“Not a sacred Navajo day…” she interjected.
He grinned at that. “No, no it isn’t.”
“So follow me and I’ll give you a surprise.”
With that said, Tank continued down the path to the Hogan.
Lee stood stuck to the spot, her hands on her hips. He didn’t give her any hint about what he had planned.
Tank reached the door. “You could stay out here, but the temperature will continue to drop. The coyotes are usually very hungry in the winter—their food sources are slim. They may enjoy frozen chocolate Lee.”
“Oh hell no,” Lee said. Her feet didn’t like the idea of being food for coyotes either, and she hurried down the path and into Tank’s waiting embrace.
“Watch your step,” Tank said as Lee bent down to come into the Hogan.
“I hoped you would,” she retorted.
He rewarded her sassy mouth with a slap on her ass.
The moment he stepped through the door, Tank felt at peace. Something about his grandmother’s first Hogan steadied him, anchoring him, in a way that kept him from being swept away by the world’s stormy madness. He held Lee in his arms and she trembled. Whether from the frigid weather or from her misgivings, he didn’t know.
“Happy Valentine’s Day,” he said.
“Tank…” she said, her voice soft with awe. She fingered her favorite gold chain with the butterfly charm and with wide eyes shook her head. “Unbelievable.”
Thick ivory candles flickered every few feet along the dirt floor. The pellet stove pumped out heat, and the pellets burned a reddish-orange through the stove’s grate. Shadows danced merrily on the walls, and music with a heavy flute lead played from his iPod and into the speakers he’d connected it to. Amongst the music, Navajo women sang of love and culture, of family and connectedness. Of course, Lee wouldn’t understand the words, but she knew and believed in those things too.
“Oh my goodness, Tank,” she said, walking around the Hogan clockwise and thus honoring the tradition. “You did all of this? When? How? I mean, you have a bed in here! Flowers? You didn’t…”
His heart warmed as he watched her inhale the scent of the dozen roses he’d strewn about their air mattress. A thick blanket kept the roses’ thorns from tearing into the air bed. The candles and the roses scented the small space. Coupled with the pellets and earth, the Hogan had been transformed to another place, a clashing of Westernized ideas and Navajo culture—just like him. Anglo and Navajo, Tank knew the beauty of combining these two traditions.
Lee made her way back to him and flung herself into his arms. “I love you! This is beautiful!”