The Sharing Spoon

The Sharing Spoon

Kathleen Eagle

October 2013 $13.95
ISBN: 978-1-61194-366-5

Warm, generous, and totally unexpected. Holiday miracles can happen.

Our PriceUS$13.95
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Synopsis | Reviews | Excerpt

Back Cover Copy

A Christmas star shines brightly in the Western skies, bringing hope, love, and miracles in three unforgettable stories of romance trimmed with the holiday traditions of Native America.

The Sharing Spoon

Cynthia intends to show her inner-city classroom that Santa does not forget about children. For Kyle Bear Soldier, donating part of his fortune is not just about giving money away, but about offering the hope that helped him rise from a dirt-poor childhood on a reservation.

Can two people from different worlds make miracles happen if they share the same dream?

The Wolf and the Lamb

As Christmas 1879 approaches, Boston-bred Emily Lambert arrives in the wilds of the Dakota Territory to find that her mail-order husband has died and left two young daughters for her to raise.

While guarding his heart, gunslinger Wolf Morsette, himself an outcast, reluctantly takes the trio under-wing.

With only the promise of the season to bolster their spirits, a fragile group sets out on a heart-wrenching journey across the frigid prairie in search of a welcoming home where love, acceptance, and new beginnings prove there is always room at the inn.

The Twelfth Moon

Sergeant Luke Tracker is a confirmed career-army man, and he’s only dropping in for the holidays to make his sister, Frances, happy for a while. He’ll spend a few days with their family, enjoy a dose of traditional celebrations, play Santa at the school where Frances teaches—easy.

Hope Spencer has no idea that her friend Frances is about to play Mistletoe Matchmaker.

Until she lands on Luke Tracker’s knee.

Bestselling author Kathleen Eagle set aside a gratifying seventeen-year teaching career on a North Dakota Indian reservation to become a full-time novelist. The Lakota Sioux heritage of her husband—and thus of their three children—has inspired many of her stories. Among her other honors, she has received Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA Award.


"Kathleen Eagle crafts very special stories" - Jayne Ann Krentz, New York Times Bestselling  Author



IN HIS MIND, Kyle Bear Soldier turned the brown brick high rise complex into South Dakota buttes. He’d gone back home a thousand times in the twelve months since he’d moved to Minneapolis, but only one of those trips had been physical. In July, when he’d been desperate for South Dakota skies and Lakota Sioux renewal, he’d gone home for the Sun Dance. It was September now, almost time for school to start, and his daily run was a good time to take himself back mentally, over the tops of the tall buildings, beyond the trees and back home.

The city was a good place to find employment. There was plenty of excitement, all kinds of amusement and crowds of people—more people in a few square miles than could be found, living or dead, in the whole expanse of his home state. Most of the time he could live with that. There was a lot of asphalt, tons of concrete, but there were a good number of parks, as well, and ten miles outside the city, a guy could find peace beside a lake or a stretch of open field.

But there wasn’t a butte in sight, and there were too many shade trees to suit Kyle. Pine trees were fine, but those big leafy shade trees made it hard to see out, hard to breathe. And winter, which would be coming on soon, might not have been quite as mean as it was in South Dakota, but day after day, month after month, it was one hell of a lot of gray and white.

There was a community of his people here—a community within a community—and Kyle had come to the Twin Cities to be part of it. Not only were there Lakota people from North and South Dakota, but there were East River Sioux—the Dakota people—and there were Minnesota Chippewa, who preferred to be called by their own name, which was Ojibwa. In lesser numbers there were Native Americans from other parts of the country, all come to the city to find a new life. Sometimes, as in Kyle’s case, they actually found work. And, like Kyle, they all got homesick. They yearned for the land that had given their ancestors sustenance, places where few manmade structures rose above the ground floor. Their roots were on Indian reservations, places generally known as "God’s country.”

And God’s country it was—God’s and what was left of the creatures He’d designated to be the land’s native inhabitants. Jobs were scarce in God’s country. There was little money there, and the food on the hoof was, for the most part, claimed by somebody other than God these days.

"How’s it goin’, Kyle?”

He turned and slowed down to offer Tony Plentykill a handshake. "Good.”

Tony, a man half a head shorter than Kyle, was wearing a new shirt. He’d forgotten to take the little round inspector’s sticker off the pocket, so Kyle did it for him. "Where you headed?”

"Feed.” Tony jerked his chin to indicate the direction. "Over to the church. Then there’s a doings over at the school gym. Two drums,” he said, wielding an imaginary drumbeater in one hand. "Better get something to eat so you can really sing one.” He cupped the other hand behind his ear and grimaced, as though he were getting into a song.

"I’ll be there. The kids have been bugging me to put on the bear face again. That’s what I’m supposed to look like when I dance.”

Tony gave a little yelp, punched Kyle’s arm, and tapped one tennis shoe against the pavement. For a minute Kyle thought the man was going to start grass dancing right there on the street.

He laughed and returned Tony’s punch. "I can feel that drumbeat already. I’ll be there.”



Chapter One

CYNTHIA BOYER had learned her civic and social responsibilities at her mother’s knee. Those who were privileged had their obligations. Of late, Cynthia hadn’t felt very privileged, but she thrived on responsibility, and it was about all that made sense anymore.

As a new teacher at All Nations Elementary School in Minneapolis, she had decided to focus her attention on the needs of her students’ neighborhood, to serve as she’d always served, twice a month, with her hands as well as her checkbook. It was the "hands” part that always drove her mother’s eyebrow into an arch of displeasure, but it was Cynthia’s way of going Mother one better.

Her mother didn’t understand why she’d taken a teaching position, either, but then, Mother hadn’t been childless, had never experienced a frigidly civilized, no-fault divorce, and had undoubtedly never felt hollow inside. Cynthia didn’t need a salary, but she desperately needed meaningful work. When school-board member Karen Grasso had mentioned the vacancy at All Nations, Cynthia knew she had found that work. Karen had been her friend forever, and she knew Cynthia better than anyone did.

She hadn’t met her students yet. She’d been interviewed by the school principal, two parents, and someone from the central administration. They’d all asked her how she felt about working in the neighborhood. The Phillips neighborhood was a part of Minneapolis she had only driven through, and not often, but now she would be driving to it every day. Did that scare her? she’d been asked. Not at all, she’d answered. They’d smiled and nodded and offered her the job.

And so, on the evening before her first staff meeting of her first day as a teacher at All Nations, Cynthia had come to St. Jude’s church basement as one of the volunteers who would help serve a free meal to the needy as part of the Loaves and Fishes program.

Linda Kopp ran the kitchen. The church paid her to see that all the serving spoons found their way back into the right drawers, that the health-department codes were followed, and that the teams of volunteers who came from all over the Twin Cities were able to put a meal together on schedule.

"Guests come through the line, but they don’t pick up the trays,” Linda instructed. The kitchen crew had already done most of their work, but they popped their heads through the serving window to lend an ear while the serving team gathered around the long spread of steaming pans and stacks of trays.

"Trays are handed to the guests after we fill them. If there’s enough left for seconds, we have to use clean trays. They can’t bring dirty trays back up for refills. Plastic gloves are required for volunteers.” She pointed toward the dispenser box, and there was at least one disgruntled groan. "These are all health-department regulations, you know.”

"Of course,” the woman standing next to Cynthia mumbled, and she took it upon herself to pull out several of the disposable gloves and distribute them. She had introduced herself rather brusquely as Marge Gross. "Aprons are, too. Do you have aprons?”

The aprons, too, were disposable. Cynthia felt as though she were preparing to operate on the green beans. She’d done a lot of volunteer work, but this was her first Loaves and Fishes experience, and she got the feeling everyone around her was gearing up for a race. She wondered who had the starter’s gun and where the starting block was. At the very least, she wanted to be in the right place.

"Here they come,” someone called from the back of the huge parish basement.

"You can do peaches,” Marge said as she edged Cynthia away from the beans. Peaches were fine, she thought absently as she watched the crowd pour in. They came in all shapes, sizes, genders, and colors, but there was a preponderance of Native Americans, and many of them were children. Undoubtedly some of them were those she would spend the next nine months teaching about the visual arts.

The sound of voices rolled over the serving table. Apparently the people were hungry, for the line moved quickly, with each person’s eyes following the progress of a tray from hand to hand on the servers’ side of the table. Hungry people, Cynthia thought as she strained the juice from a spoonful of canned peaches and plopped them into a corner compartment of a tray. But they didn’t look particularly miserable or downtrodden. Mothers were trying to keep their kids in line; friends were chatting, and youngsters were jostling for position. They looked like people attending a potluck supper.

But this wasn’t potluck. This was charity, and these were poor people, and Cynthia was performing a service.

The man who faced her across the table looked the part. His bulbous red nose and puffy eyes branded him as readily as his tattered trench coat, which struck Cynthia as odd apparel for such a warm evening. He scanned the table. "Spaghetti, huh?”

"I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure it’s tasty,” Cynthia said as she dished up more peaches.

"If it isn’t, I know how to really heat things up.”

The remark almost slid past Cynthia, but she stiffened when he slipped his hand inside his coat. It happened so quickly that she didn’t have time to get her vocal cords working and warn people to hit the deck.

Louisiana hot sauce. A sly twinkle nearly displaced the weariness in the man’s face when he showed it to her.

"Yes, I...” Cynthia managed a wan smile as the tension eased from her shoulders. "I guess that would do it.”

"Don’t hold up the line,” Marge warned.

The hot sauce disappeared as the man eyed Cynthia, placing a grubby finger to his lips as a signal that he’d shared a secret with her.

Linda Kopp slid behind Cynthia and touched her shoulder. "We need another beverage-cart handler. George can handle this end of the table,” she said, gesturing to the man who was handling trays and utensils.

Cynthia was reassigned to a heavy-duty kitchen cart containing insulated carafes, pitchers, milk cartons, cups, and condiments. She poured as fast as she could, but the requests came faster. Her hands sweated inside the plastic gloves, and hair stuck to her forehead. Two coffees. Five lemonades. Three milks. Four of each. She didn’t have enough hands.

"Kyle wants more lemonade.”

Cynthia glanced down at a bright-eyed girl who’d just lost her two front teeth. Her pigtails were banded in bows of red yarn, and she offered up a cup and the smile of one who’d been specially chosen for an errand. Cynthia refilled the cup and watched the child carry it toward the end of the table. She expected the child to deliver the glass to the small boy whose chin was barely table level but, instead, she handed it to one of the men.

He thanked the girl, then flashed Cynthia a winning smile before turning back to his conversation with two older men and a teenage boy. The dark-eyed smile stunned her just as effectively as the man in line had, but the shock waves went much deeper. Kyle whoever-he-was was, in a word, a knockout.

The word could not have been her own, Cynthia told herself. It must have been something she’d read recently. There was a blob of sweat in the middle of his blue T-shirt, and he wore a brow band. He’d obviously been running. He was ajock, for heaven’s sake. Not her type at all.

And able-bodied as all get-out. Why did he expect to be waited on, and why wasn’t he out working to pay for his supper?

With a mental "harrumph,” Cynthia pulled her thoughts away from the man and continued to fill beverage requests without risking another glance toward the end of his table. But soon the little girl was back.

"Kyle wants coffee.”

"The coffee’s very hot,” Cynthia cautioned as she handed a cup of milk to another small customer. "I don’t want you to burn yourself.”

"I can carry it. I always get coffee.”

"Not for yourself, I hope.”

"If I want some, I do.” The child waited a few seconds before patiently repeating herself. "Kyle wants coffee.”

Cynthia filled the cup and looked his way again. He was studying her, waiting. She smiled pointedly for the helpful child. Not for the man. Did he think he was patronizing a restaurant here? The little girl carried the cup away carefully, and Cynthia went back to her work.

"I forgot. Kyle wants sugar.”

Cynthia glanced up from the stream of milk she was pouring for another child. It was the same obliging little girl, same large chocolate-drop eyes. Handsome is as handsome does, Cynthia thought, and Kyle’s behavior surely let him out.

"Have you eaten?”

"My mom’s in line for us.” The little girl cocked her head to one side. "You new?”

"No, I didn’t know, but I’m—”

"I mean new.A new volunteer. I haven’t seen you here.”

"Oh. Yes.” Cynthia smiled, rejecting the inclination to ask whether she came often. "Where do you go to school?”

"All Nations,” the girl said, standing steadfast when an older girl tried to edge her away from the beverage cart. "The almost new school.”

The older girl’s request for lemonade registered with Cynthia, and she set about filling a cup. "I’m going to be a teacher there this year.”

"You?” The little girl watched the lemonade change hands. "What grade?”

"Art,” Cynthia said.

"Oh, yeah. The last guy quit after somebody sort of doctored up the coffee in his thermos bottle. Can I have the sugar?”

"How about some lemonade? Then I’ll just move over that way.” She shook a cup loose from the stack as she pushed the cart between the row of chairs. It was time she put an end to this go-fetch routine.

"What can I...” She thought better of saying "do for you?” and said, instead, ". . . offer you gentlemen? Someone needed sugar?”

"Kyle did,” the little girl insisted. "C’mon, Kyle. My mom’s up to the front. I’ll let you cut in line.”

The man turned and offered the child a smile. "No, that’s okay.”

He was a guest, Cynthia reminded herself when he lifted his dark eyes to meet hers. She couldn’t quite remember why she’d taken up the cool pitcher in one hand and a paper cup in the other. "You should get something to eat,” she said to the girl.

"Sugar would be good.” He snatched at the tip of one perky pigtail. "Then we’ll see if Lee Ann leaves me anything.” The little girl giggled and whipped her pigtails with a quick shake of her head. "Go on up there and help your mother, Lee Ann. Hurry up, now.”

A tall, gangly young man shoved his empty cup Cynthia’s way. "Coffee,” he ordered, and when she took the cup, he scowled at her hand. His glasses were held together with adhesive tape at both temples, and he seemed to need to squint to focus. "Do you have a hole in your gloves?”

Cynthia examined her left palm, then turned her hand over, searching as she might for a run in her stocking. "I don’t think so.”

The tall man peered into her eyes, sober as a judge. "How’d you get your hands in them, then?”

The man named Kyle was laughing along with the rest of the annoying men at his table. Lee Ann had skipped off to join her mother, and Cynthia smiled tightly. She had fallen headfirst for that one. Bristling a little, she moved her beverage cart along and continued to do her job. She knew Kyle was watching her, and so she deliberately ignored him. She had enough to do.

The room was hot, and the crowd kept her pouring in more ways than one. The only way to keep the sweat from dripping off her brow and into the lemonade was to wipe it with her sleeve. Her hands felt so clammy she wished she did have holes in her gloves.

A toddler appeared at her elbow with two chocolate cookies. "Milk would be good with those,” Cynthia said.

The child put one of the cookies on the corner of her cart, then tipped his head back and waited for a sign of acceptance. Cynthia thanked him, and he shoved the second cookie into his mouth and disappeared under the table.

"Aren’t you going to eat your cookie?” Kyle asked as he approached the cart, cup in hand. "The kids are up there clamoring for the last of them, and that little guy gave you one to eat. That’s his gift.”

Cynthia glanced at Kyle, then at the cookie. No one was clamoring for anything to drink at the moment. She had the feeling this was some sort of test, just like the glove joke. She picked up the cookie with plastic-covered fingers and opened her mouth to take a bite.

"’Course,I didn’t get any.”

She glanced up. "No dinner at all?”

"They ran out.”

The hall was clearing out now, and he was right. Cookies were the item most in demand at the serving table. The rest was being cleared away. Spontaneously she offered him the bit of food she held. He put his hand around hers, steadied the cookie and took a bite. "Thanks.”

"That’s all right. I had supper before I came.”

"Figures.” He took a swallow of coffee, then shrugged dejectedly. "Guess I’ll have to go looking somewhere else.”

"There must be something left,” she said quickly. "I think there’s milk. Green beans, I’m sure.”

"I’m like the kids. I hate green beans just naked like that.”

He gave her a boyish smile, and she thought, Picky, but said, "Naked?”

"I like them better in something. Like soup, or a hot dish.”

Maybe "picky” wasn’t the right word. "But one cookie isn’t enough.”

"Next time I’ll get in line right away.” He backed away smiling. "Thanks for sharing a bite with me. Better than nothing, right?”

"I could—”

"Make supper for me?” He obviously enjoyed the look of shock that registered on her face. "Just kidding. See you around.” And he left without giving her a backward glance.

Around where?

He looked awfully good in those running shorts.

Make supper for him?

Around where?

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