When Ashton Wingate's enchanting bride Lierin was swallowed by a roaring river, he thought she was lost forever. Until he crashes into a woman with no memory, who looks exactly like his loving bride. When dark and dangerous Malcolm Sinclair comes to claim the woman as his wife Ashton will risk any peril to preserve their newfound passion.
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December 01, 2003
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Excerpt from Come Love a Stranger by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
THE quiet peace of the moonlit river was broken by the hushed murmur of voices and the steady pulsing of pistons in a powerful engine. The rushing burble of water beneath a stout hull softly harmonized with the long sighs of these monster steam pistons and the chugging splash of water under the paddle wheel as the huge floating palace came around the bend and left in its wake a luminescent path beneath the chasing moon. Lanterns shone from every deck, seeming to set the stern-wheeler ablaze with lights, but inside the pilothouse, which commanded a position well forward and high on the uppermost deck, only a binnacle lamp was lighted, giving off a dim glow as the helmsman grasped the wheel and scanned the oil-black surface of the river far ahead. The captain stood close beside the helmsman and, in a low voice, warned of approaching landmarks or shoals. Under his direction, the steamer slid with firm, square-shouldered ease around a sandbar and, further up the river, a floating tangle that had attached itself to a small uprooted tree.
A tall, broad-shouldered man leaned against a window jamb at the rear of the pilothouse and smiled to himself as he felt the sure, unfaltering pulse of the ship vibrate through the deck beneath his feet. In the curve of his arm he held a young woman, and she nestled close against his lean, muscular frame, savoring the relaxed pride of her husband as his River Witch made her virgin voyage up the river.
Removing the pipe from his mouth, the captain turned his head aside slightly and spoke over his shoulder: "She handles well for a new one, sir." There was also a gruff pride in his voice. "A wee bit tight, but as light on her feet as a frightened doe."
"That she is, Captain." Absently the tall man stroked his thumb across the back of his wife's arm. "That she is."