In a few terrifying moments, her life was changed forever.
Linnet plunged into the Kentucky wilderness, leaving behind the remnants of her life in London. But a savage Indian attack on the wagon train wiped out her fellow travelers, and left her alone in a harsh land...at the mercy of a fierce Shawnee tribe.
When a handsome young brave claimed her, in perfect English, as his own, Linnet knew she was safe. Until the jealousy of his powerful chief forced them to flee on a hazardous journey, fraught with peril and treachery...a journey that threatened both their lives, and their very special love!
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December 31, 1982
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Excerpt from Sweetbriar by Jude Deveraux
Kentucky Wilderness -- October,1784
The forest closed around the motley array of wagons, horses and people. Four wagons, in good repair, stood to one side, oxen grazing nearby, while two carriages, once pretty things, were barely standing on their high wheels. Tired women went about the chore of preparing supper while the men looked after the animals. A group of children was playing within sight of the adults.
"I can't tell you how glad I am to be rid of some of this heat. It's the sea I miss." Mrs. Watson stood, putting a hand on the small of her back to ease her stomach and the child that would soon be born. "Where's Linnet, Miranda?" she asked the woman across the fire from her.
"She's playing with the children again." The smaller woman's voice had a clear, English accent, so different from her companion's slurred words.
"Oh, I see her now." Mrs. Watson shielded her eyes from the glare of the setting sun. "If a body didn't know better, you wouldn't be able to tell which was the children and which was Linnet." She watched the girl, holding hands in a circle, no taller than the half-grown children for all her twenty years, a loose dress covering the young curves of her body, the same curves that had sent Mrs. Watson's oldest boy to the Tyler wagon so many times. "You know, Miranda, you and Amos ought to talk to Linnet. It's high time she had some young'uns of her own, 'stead of takin' on everybody else's."
Miranda Tyler smiled. "You're welcome to try, but Linnet has her own mind. Besides, to be honest, I'm not so sure young men are ready to take on the responsibility of my daughter."
Mrs. Watson looked away and gave an embarrassed little laugh. "I'm afraid you're right. Not that there's anything wrong with Linnet, she's certainly pretty enough, but it's just the way she looks at a man, something about the way she stares at him and the way she always seems to be able to take care of herself. Mind if I sit a spell? My back hurts more every minute."
"Certainly, Ellen. Amos set a stool out for me."
The heavy woman sat, knees apart, as she tried to balance her huge stomach. "Now where was I?" She either didn't see or pretended not to see Miranda's frown. "Oh yes, I was talking about Linnet, the way she unnerves men. I did try to talk to her once, tried to explain how men like to feel they're somethin' special. Now look over yonder to Prudie James."