Love Grows Where God Grafts the Tender Shoot.
Naomi desires to dance well enough to catch the eye of a wealthy landowner. Her father needs a substantial bride price due to the deaths of her brothers at the hands of the tribe of Benjamin. But when Benjamites raid the Ephraimite feast and capture young girls, Naomi is bound and carried from her home by Eliab, a troubled shepherd who needs a wife.
As Naomi awaits rescue, she finds Eliab has a strong faith in God and a just reason for abducting her. A reason that affects all the tribes of Israel. The future of the tribe of Benjamin hangs in the balance, but if Naomi follows her heart and stays with Eliab to rebuild his lineage, she must forfeit her family and become a traitor to her tribe.
Naomi hopped out of Ashbanel’s path. Her gaze met Cuzbi’s. Cuzbi turned away, chin high. Naomi struggled to breathe. How could Cuzbi align with the tribe of Benjamin? Against a friend she had known since birth?
"We must ride." Eliab’s hand was heavy upon her shoulder.
Would he touch her later? Make her his wife? Make it so she could never to return to her tribe or family?
Mules spidered into the cavernous hillside. Eliab did not seem in as much of a hurry as his tribesmen. Was he confident in his skill to elude the men of Shiloh?
As she and Eliab passed the small cave, stuttered cries, shrill and desperate, escaped from inside.
Words from the Law flooded her conscience. Moses had taught her people to do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight. How had a tribe of Israel become so perverse? And how had this night become so lawless?
"Naomi?" Eliab stared at her as if she were bewitched. He loosened his grip to help her mount. "Get on the mule."
She was not like Cuzbi. She could not accept the deception and thievery of the Benjamites. And she could not leave a dancer from Shiloh crying in a cave. She ripped free from Eliab and darted into the dark mouth of the mountain.
I cannot forget who I am.
review: (also on good reads)
Loved this one. It kept me reading far into the night, several nights running. With 3D characters you sometimes want to shout at, a 'bad guy' you're unable to hate (bit like the heroine actually) and the best bit - a heroine who can stand on her own two feet and protect her man when needed.