Proud and courageous, cast adrift by the War Between the States, Shannon Conner has carved out a life for herself in the mountains. But now that she's become a target of the vile, predatory Culpepper brothers, she must turn to a stranger for help -- Rafael "Whip" Moran, an enigmatic wanderer tied to no place or promise.
Intrigued by this intoxicating "widow" with a walk like honey and a tight grip on her shotgun, Whip is resolved to defend Shannon's honor and her life.
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May 27, 2003
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Excerpt from Only Love by Elizabeth Lowell
Echo Basin, Colorado Territory
She's frightened frightened.
She has a walk like honey.
The two impressions came simultaneously to the man called Rafael 'Whip' Moran. Whip didn't know which drew him to the girl more immediately, the fear or the honey.
He hoped it was the fear.
The heat in Whip's blood told him otherwise. Underneath the girl's threadbare mans wool jacket and trousers there was a very female body. And beneath her straight spine, high chin, and determination, there was very real fear.
Whip didn't know what caused the girl's fear or why it should matter so urgently to him. He did know that he was going to find out.
For a moment longer Whip stood in the cold mud in front of Holler Creek's only general store. The chill of the, high-country wind cut through his thick wool jacket. The girl must have felt the chill too. She shivered as she hurried through the grubby door of the mercantile.
With the easy motions of a man who was both fit and thoroughly at home in his own body, Whip followed the girl inside. The wind blew the door shut behind him with a loud bang. He barely noticed, He had attention only for the girl with the sweet, softly swinging walk.
She stopped in a shaft of light from the one window that hadn't been broken and boarded over. For a few moments her eyes ran hungrily over the scattered piles of dry goods, tools, and clothing. The fingers of one slender hand were clenched around something she held in her palm.
As though sensing Whip's intense interest, the girl turned toward him suddenly. He had a vivid impression of eyes the color of a wild autumn sky, a blue so clear and so deep that a man could look forever and never find an end to the beauty. What he could see of her hair beneath the hat was the color of autumn itself- glossy chestnut with red and gold running through it like leashed fire.
I've seen her before, he realized. But where
With the next breath, realization went through Whip like lightning through a storm.
My dream. She's the girl in the cabin door, waiting, always waiting...