Today, is the release of my lastest novel Born for This, book one in the Maizemerized series, a historical, time travel romance with a hint of the paranormal. Be sure to check out the excerpt.
Title: Born for This
Series: Maizemerized, Book 1
Author: Maggie Blackbird
Genre(s): Time Travel, Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance, First Nations, Cultural, Adult.
Heat Rating: Level 3
Publication Date: October 29, 2021
Publisher: eXtasy Books
She’s always been obsessed with her ancestors, and now he’s offering her a chance to live with them…forever.
Blurb: Second-year university student Edie Whitecrow gobbles up each course on Indigenous studies. If only she could experience the lives of her Anishinaabe ancestors instead of reading about them. On her way to a Halloween party decked out as a historical Ojibway maiden, she spies a corn maze in a spot known to be barren.
A scarecrow figure beckons Edie to enter with the enticing offer of making her biggest wish come true. She jumps at the chance and finds herself in the past, face to face with the man who haunts her dreams—the handsome brave Thunder Bear. He claims he’s spent twelve years waiting for Gitche Manidoo to send her to him.
Life in the eighteenth century isn’t what Edie romanticized about, though. When her conscience is tested, she must choose between the modern day or the world of her descendants—where the man she was created for resides.
Edie squeezed her eyes shut, thrust out her hands, and shuffled into the mirage of rippling flames. Nothing scorched her skin. Only warmth surrounded her. Something feather-like seemed to stroke every inch of her flesh.
She kept walking, arms out and palms facing whatever awaited on the other side. The scent of spruce was present, even buttercups, and the fresh taste of water. Her feet trampled grass and leaves. A bird chirped. Maybe a chickadee, by its sad song. The little black-capped critters usually sang this tune in the early morning or evening.
Maybe she’d walked out of the maze.
Very slowly, she peeled open her lids to nature—everywhere. Spruce towered high above her. Underbrush shot up from the earth. Wild flowers were aplenty. Why, she could’ve been in the northwest of Ontario. The sun shone bright, its rays beating down on her. The heaviness of the doeskin dress was a tad hot on her skin.
“It is as my vision spoke. She will walk through the flames to join me…”
A man’s voice whirled into Edie’s thoughts. No, not her thoughts. His rich tone lovelier than a song had penetrated her eardrums. Nor had he spoken English, but Ojibway, and not the Anishinaabemowin she studied in class. Koko called the language Great-Grandpa had interpreted for the courts the old language. Even stranger, she understood him.
“Ishkode-kwe,” he whispered.
Edie blinked. He’d called her Fire Woman. “I…I…”
Oh, heaven help her, standing beside the bush of green where buttercups sprung was the very man who’d haunted her dreams since childhood. His bronzed, long, strong fingers grasped the stems of flowers—the very same hands that had always reached across the mist to her.
Hair darker than a moonless sky was braided into two plaits and parted down the middle. His nose was long and sharp. Eyes that matched the hue of his hair were narrow in shape. Cheekbones capable of cutting diamonds sat high on his oblong face. Lips the shade of poppies, yet very slim, were pursed in a questioning pucker. Never had she drunk in such a gorgeous specimen of the male persuasion before. Machismo seemed to emanate from him.
No. Wait. Wrong word. He wasn’t some macho guy like the boys at university. Courage, strength, and bravery sprang from his athletic body. His masculinity originated from the confidence in his straight posture, hard abs, and forward stare.
Again, he held out his offering.
“I’m…I’m not supposed to be here…” Just as Edie smoothed her dress, she slapped her hand over her mouth. She’d spoken the old language. They could communicate. The scarecrow hadn’t been a joke or a mirage. This was real. Realer than…
She pinched the back of her hand and winced from the sharp prick.
“Yes, you are to be here.” He curiously peered at her hand, no doubt thinking she was insane for intentionally hurting herself. “The Thunderbirds willed this, for it stormed during my entire quest.”
“Wh-what?” she sputtered. He’d had a vision about her, just as she’d dreamed about him? “That wasn’t a scarecrow. It was Mandaamin.”
“You speak of our corn spirit?” He tilted his head.
“I’m…I was going to a Halloween party. There was a corn maze. A scarecrow. All kinds of…” She stopped. He’d have no clue what any of that was, and her interpretation from English to Ojibway had sounded weird, because she’d had to reference Halloween as the fun night of the dead—it was taboo to talk about in her culture of those who’d passed, much less have a party. Calling a scarecrow the man made from grass must have also stumped him.
“Fun night of the dead?” He peered. “Grass man? Lost in the corn?”
“I’m…I’m not from here.” She pointed behind her while swiveling to the vanished dancing flames.
“No, you are not. I know so.” He hedged in closer. His mouth moved into a slight curve. “Are you not going to accept my offering?”
“I…uh…um…” She reached out and clutched the bouquet. No man had ever gifted her with flowers before, much less upon meeting her. She couldn’t help herself and brought the buttercups up to her nose and sniffed. “Meegwetch.”
He nodded, his lips still curved in a welcoming smile. Then he tapped his chest. “I am Nimkii Makwa.”
Thunder Bear. No wonder there’d been a storm during his quest. She licked her lips. “I’m Edie.”
Slowly, he shook his head back and forth. “Ishkode-kwe.”
It was only appropriate he thought of her as Fire Woman, because she had appeared to him through the flames of the maze. Or maybe he saw her as Fire Woman in his vision. “Where are we?”
Edie shuddered. He’d named the southern part of Lake of the Woods, just as she’d studied in class, because her people had previously divided the massive lake into four parts. They were at the water of the sandhills. Summer was upon them. His band was probably camped somewhere close by, maybe an hour’s walk from the corn maze. As her studies had taught her, come fall, they’d split into individual family units to harvest the wild rice. Then they’d set off within the interior to escape the cold of winter.
“This is—this is…amazing.”