Joan Johnston sweeps readers back to the untamed American West in a tale of powerful emotions and breathtaking action.
1865: The Civil War was over, but new dangers lay in wait across the open frontier. Disguised as a boy in buckskins, pretty Rebecca Hunter wasn't afraid of any enemy who might cross her path in the Rocky Mountains. She vowed never to belong to any man...until she met city-bred Christopher Kincaid, the stranger she rescued from a fierce band of Sioux. All too quickly she learned how powerful an attraction can be between a man and a woman.
No Indian ambush could scar Kincaid as deeply as the tragic loss and broken heart he suffered in the war. Now, being nursed back to health by Reb in an isolated mountain cabin, he found himself coming alive with a powerful desire for her. But how could he know that his mission for the government would jeopardize his chances of winning Reb's heart, bring down the wrath of a renegade Sioux chief, and test the lengths he'd be willing to go to convince this passionate woman to stay beside him for all time?
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February 14, 2005
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Excerpt from No Longer a Stranger by Joan Johnston
Kincaid woke to the throbbing pain in his massive shoulders and arms, which were stretched out taut away from either side of his body. The effort to flex his benumbed hands resulted in agony as tightening thongs bit into raw wrists. His head hung forward, so that when he blinked open his eyes to the early-morning light he saw only the muddy ground, strewn with pine needles, below him.
A slight turn of his pounding head in either direction revealed his black-booted feet, spread far apart and secured by rawhide at the ankles. His eyes followed the rawhide on one side to where it wrapped around a thick spruce.
Kincaid closed his eyes and struggled mentally to orient himself.
A pulsing ache in the muscles of his right thigh took him back to a scene from the past. The scream of the shrapnel that had left him with a slight but permanent limp resounded in his ears. He jerked unconsciously at the memory of that first awful impact of metal on muscle. It was a nightmare he relived time and again, but always with the same painful ending. He remembered anxiously watching the slender woman, her long blond hair windblown around a terrified, heart-shaped face, racing toward where he had been pitched from the saddle by the blast. He'd warned her to get down, but was unheard amidst the chaos of defeated soldiers fleeing on horseback and on foot.
Suddenly, a blossom of red unfolded on the front of her high-necked gray wool dress. A tentative hand reached up to admire the deadly corsage, and she sought Kincaid's steel gray eyes with her own silvery blue ones, a poignant sadness replacing the fear for him on her face. Stumbling unsteadily, she took one more step. Then he watched helplessly as his wife crumpled, like a flower trodden to the ground.