Night Falls Like Silk

Night Falls Like Silk
Kathleen Eagle

August 2012 $13.95

ISBN: 978-1-61194-161-6

"Edge-of-the-seat suspense...Her scene setting is convincing and her pacing flawless...Eagle enriches the romance genre." -- Publisher's Weekly

His gift is a rare talent; his art celebrates an important American legacy. But it's born from a torment that might make him as dangerous as he is irresistible.

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Synopsis | Reviews | Excerpt


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Wealthy, beautiful and sophisticated, Cassandra Westbrook collects exquisite art objects with a connoisseur’s fine taste and a rich woman’s whims. She always dominates an art auction—until a mysterious artist named Thomas Warrior bids against her for a set of Native American ledger drawings.

Though he’s outbid, Thomas feels a strong connection to the historic artwork that embodies his Native American heritage and symbolizes the survival of its courageous spirit. He’s a survivor too, growing up on the mean streets to become more famous than he’d ever imagined possible. So he’s not a man to give up easily--neither on the drawings nor on the stunning woman who now possesses them.

Thomas and Cassandra are not only destined to cross paths again, but when he agrees to mentor her talented but troubled nephew, fate collides with the fierce attraction they share.

Thomas’s artistic gift haunts him as his creations seem to take on a life of their own. When Cassandra’s nephew and the extraordinary ledger drawings disappear at the same time, not even Thomas is certain who he really is or what dangers threaten those he loves.

NIGHT FALLS LIKE SILK was a USA Today Bestseller.

Bestselling author Kathleen Eagle retired from a seventeen-year teaching career on a North Dakota Indian reservation to become a full-time novelist.The Lakota Sioux heritage of her husband and their three children has inspired many of her stories. Among her honors, she has received a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times, the Midwest Fiction Writer of the Year Award, and Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA Award. Kathleen takes great pleasure in reading letters from readers who tell her that her books have tugged at their heartstrings, entertained, inspired, and even enlightened them. Visit her at


Coming soon!



Victory has a hard heart. Hard-to-get by nature, she never plays games.

Hard edge notwithstanding, she had slim, sleek ankles and a great rack. Her creator was especially fond of drawing her ankles, but his own heart never failed to soften over the mouth-watering underpinnings that gave shape to her silk blouse. He went soft where she was soft, hard where she was hard, slim, and sleek.

He made her more by feel than by sight, sculpting rather than sketching her form on paper. It was the only way he could do her right.

If he allowed himself to eyeball her, she would come to him in perfect proportion—aristocratic head centered over four fine quadrants, each bearing a sturdy limb—but she would be lifeless. She would refuse to speak to him, which was her way of letting him know that he had screwed up.

Thomas Warrior depended on his creations to talk back to him. He worked in the solitude of his loft in the four-story warehouse he had saved from demolition and remodeled to suit his needs. A charter school program leased the first floor of the building for the cost of their utilities.

The program’s success rate with "at risk” students—a label Thomas Warrior had sported with a swagger in his days as Tommy T—was about to force him to keep a promise he almost wished he hadn’t made, which involved the second floor. He enjoyed having a nice, fat cushion between his world and theirs. His world was perfect. Theirs was flawed.

If they wanted a perfect world, they would have to make themselves one.

Making a perfect, self-contained world peopled with characters who could be trusted to do what they were supposed to do was, God knew, not an easy job. Thomas had found what worked for him, and he didn’t want anybody messing with his creative process. As long as he kept it to himself, within the walls of his home, it was a living thing. He went out, but no one came in. No cynics, no critics, no nonbelievers infected his world or affected his illustrated adventures. His capers and those of his creations were safe in the making. As was their discourse.

"How valuable is this thing you want rescued?” Victory asked him as she twisted the stiffness out of the neck he’d just given her.

"It’s priceless to us. I’m sure its so-called owner has it insured for a price that means something to him.”

"Will he collect?”

"If the insurance company is satisfied that it was stolen.”

"And will they be?”

"No, of course not.” Thomas had modeled the story’s smug collector of Indian artifacts after his bug-eyed, thin-lipped high school geometry teacher. He’d learned a lot from Mr. Lester, felt bad when he found out about the medical problem that caused the bulging eyes, but, damn, the man had a great cartoon face. "There will be no evidence to prove that the story robe ever resided there. No photographs, no receipts, nothing but his word. Can you manage that?”

"Can Victor manage that?”

Ah, Victor. Thomas began the transformation.

Victor plays games. He is Victory’s masculine side, her reckless, less prudent part. As Victor she will do what she must do to achieve her fleeting essence. In Victory, the man, Victor, finds the fulfillment he must seek again and again.

You never knew about Victor. Sometimes he painted his face before he went out at night, using charcoal from Victory’s hearth for the left side, red clay for the right side. He was both black and red, and he liked to think he was earth and fire. But you never knew about Victor.

Thomas smiled as his beloved double-sided character came to life with the stroke of his pen. "We’ll see.”

Chapter 1

Cassandra Westbrook languidly lifted her paddle for the man with the silky voice. The ornate fireplace poker was an unusual selection for her, but it was listed in the catalog as mid-eighteenth century, a gift from the ambassador of Sweden to railroad baron J. P. Hill. One could always use another poker.

It was a good thing the item she sought this trip was finally coming to the auction floor. She had started bidding on other items out of boredom, which could lead to mistakes. Cassandra seldom made a bad art or antique purchase unless she was bored.

It was the set of century-old Native American ledger drawings that had caught her eye in the Sotheby’s of Chicago catalog. Primitives fascinated her. She loved knowing that the piece had been part of an ordinary person’s everyday life in a world that to her would be, if she could drop in on it somehow, anything but every day. Ledger drawings were particularly interesting. They were made during a transition period for Native Americans. The buffalo hides they had used to record their pictographic histories had become so scarce that they were forced to use ledger paper, often given them by their agency supervisors or their army jailors. No matter how bad conditions were, there were memories to be recorded, stories that had to be told.

A man named White Bull had made the drawings. Cassandra had no idea who he was, but his figures were especially strong in character and color, and the pages had been beautifully preserved. She expected to pay a high price. The initial barrage of bids soon became a four-way volley.

When it came down to two, she permitted herself a glance in the direction of the auctioneer’s polished gesture. A handsome black man accepted the challenge with a nod. He was simply dressed—black dress shirt, black slacks—and neatly groomed, but that was all she could tell about him. No jewelry, no flash, no sense of urgency or desire. Cool simplicity underscored his masculine beauty. She couldn’t guess how old he was or where he came from, what language he spoke, or why he would want the drawings she now thought of as hers.

It was Cassandra’s turn to bid. She nodded. This time when she glanced askance, she caught him looking at her. He didn’t seem to mind being caught or being contested. His dark eyes did not hint at how far he would go, betrayed neither competitive passion nor resentment. She couldn’t guess what his impressions were of her, or whether he cared what she thought of him, or what his next move might be.

"To you, sir.”

He appeared not to hear the auctioneer.


Cassandra lifted one eyebrow. Will you?

He prolonged the wait a moment longer, somehow fixing Cassandra so that she couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move until he did.

Finally, he turned from her. With a slight shake of his head he put an end to it.

The ledger art was hers.

She wanted to speak to him, but not there in that airless, windowless room with crystal sconces and opulent chandeliers. When he left, she followed his lead, but not his path. She told herself that she would not chase him down. Her pace was leisurely; she stopped in the office to drop off her check, giving the man time to take his leave completely if that was his intention.

But he stood near a huge bronze cougar, which was perched on a pedestal for display in the huger foyer. He was watching her. She greeted one of the auctioneers, who congratulated her on her latest acquisition and asked about her plans for it. She gave a vague answer, as much for her unsuccessful competitor’s benefit as for the auctioneer’s. If he waited for her, planning to make her an offer, he would soon find out that he had nothing she wanted more than those drawings. Oh, she would take a congratulatory handshake, and, yes, she wanted his name.

But the drawings would still be hers.

His stare seemed to heat up, as though he’d just read her thoughts and didn’t much like them. It occurred to her that perhaps she should turn and walk the other way, go back to the auction even though she’d already settled her account. Handsome as he was, he had an unsettling way about him. But she decided to be the courteous winner.

"That was quite a bidding war we had going,” she said. "Thank you for not running it up any higher. I was prepared to pay much more.”

"I could see that. That’s when I came to my senses.”

She offered a pleasant smile. "And allowed the more foolish bidder to win?”

"I wouldn’t say that. It’s a nice set of drawings. Some people would say you got more than your money’s worth.” His smile chilled her. "But I doubt if those people would be anybody you’d know.”

"I know a lot of people.”

"Now, that’s something I don’t doubt.” He shoved his hands into his pockets. No name. No handshake.

"I came down for this auction just for the ledger drawings. I wasn’t about to let anyone else get them.”

"Came down from where? Cloud or perch?”

"What would you call Minneapolis?”

"Home,” he said.

"Ah, well,” she enthused, refusing to let him get away without warming up to her, at least a little. "Maybe we’re neighbors, in which case you’re welcome to come over and visit the drawings.”

"I just might do that. Did you buy them for display in your home?”

"I haven’t decided. I bought them because they spoke to me.”

"That’s interesting,” he allowed. "They speak to me, too. They speak of those people I mentioned and of their ancestors.”

"The Lakota, yes. Such a fascinating people. Maybe it’s no coincidence, we two Minnesotans bumping into each other in Chicago.”

"Not if we’re hearing the same voices. Do they tell you they want to go home?”

"The drawings?” She glanced away, wishing she hadn’t tossed out that silly cliché. Now she was forced to go shallow with the next answer, too. "Yes, they do. They want to go home with me.” Would another smile help? "I’m not going to apologize for outbidding you, but I’m sorry for your disappointment.”

He shrugged. "You win some, you lose some.”

She handed him her business card. "I own a gallery in Minneapolis. I hope you’ll stop in sometime.”

"I’ll do that. You take good care of those drawings.”

"They’re safe with me.”

He gave a farewell gesture with her card before tucking it in his pocket.

Safe was a relative term. Stroking the cool bronze back of the cougar, he watched the woman hurry off to collect her plunder, clearly certain that she had bought and paid for the last word. Those old drawings would not reside quietly on her walls. He had given the bidding game a fair shot, but he wasn’t really disappointed by the outcome.

If he knew his Victory, she would not be denied.


He was like a cat, gliding around through narrow spaces as though darkness didn’t faze him. He was like a squirrel, storing the day’s pickings in a safe place. He was like a dog, eager to please the only

person in the world who mattered to him, and that person was not himself.

But he looked and felt and lived like no other creature. He looked like someone who had never been nourished. He felt like a dirty, desiccated and scaly beast. He lived like a mole. He was less beautiful than any of the beings he identified with, but if beauty existed in the eye of the beholder, his appearance didn’t matter, for no one that mattered would ever again behold him.

He called himself Victor. He lived for Victory, but he could never walk in her company, never touch her, never know her except as her contrary. His single saving grace was the belief that without him, she could not exist in the real world, or in any other. Victory was not human, but Victor was. If there were spoils, he would answer for them.

This time the spoils were the legacy of a nation. They were beautiful old things that had been bought with money and power and added to a collection. As soon as Victor had received Thomas’s message, he had gone in search of the items in Thomas’s book. The first step was to locate them and determine the best way to remove them from captivity.

Tonight the first one had been found and reclaimed.

He had located a wooden crate, which he hoped would be a proper container for the robe. He had read up on the preservation of artifacts and did his best to do right by them in his dark sanctuary. Before laying the story robe in the paper nest he’d prepared within the box, he draped it around his shoulders, tanned side out as the old ones had worn it. It made him feel fine, almost regal. Hearing the drums inside his head, he practiced the traditional dance steps he had learned in another place and time, and for a few moments he drifted, suspended above himself, occupying a skin other than his own.

Too soon the drummers set their padded beaters aside. They took up skull-cracking war clubs and started in on the reconstruction of the interior of his head. He began to sweat.

"Damn this hide,” he whispered, and he threw it off. Loath to touch the shoulders of Victory’s contrary, the beautiful robe had scorched his body. He stuffed it into the box and closed the lid.

"Damn my hide.”

Burning and aching all over, he crawled down the steps and out the door, plying the back streets of the city in search of medicine.

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