A proud and spirited woman whose life was stolen from her. . .A man of secrets accused of a terrible crime. . .In a place of new beginnings their destinies are joined-in a gloriously romantic new work from the incomparable storyteller.
The fiery and outspoken adopted daughter of one of England's most formidable a women, Shemaine O'Hearn has made powerful enemies. And now her adversaries have found a way to remove the hot-blooded beauty from her life of privilege: by falsely convicting Shemaine of thievery and sending her in shackles to America, where she is to be sold in indentured servitude to the highest bidder.
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April 01, 2003
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Excerpt from Petals on the River by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
Newportes Newes, Virqinia April 25, 1747
The London Pride chafed against the quay as the currents of a rising nor'easter slowly rocked the vessel on her cables. Close above her mastheads, errant clouds tumbled in darkening portent of an advancing storm. Gulls swooped in and out of the ship's rigging, lending their raucous cries to the rattle of chains as a double file of thin, ragged convicts stumbled up from the companionway and shuffled in unison across the weathered planking. The men, hobbled by leg irons and bound to each other by no more than a fathom's length of chain, were prodded into line for the bosun's inspection. The women were individually shackled and could move at their own pace toward the forward hatch where they had been told to wait.
Farther aft, a common swabber paused in his labors to observe the latter group. After casting a cautious glance toward the quarterdeck, he grew bold at the continued absence of Captain Fitch and his bovine wife and hastily stowed his mop and bucket before ambling across the deck. Strutting like a well-preened rooster around the shabby women, he provoked a near-solid bulwark of embittered glares with his leering grin and brash manner. The singular exception was a dark-eyed, raven-haired harlot who had been convicted of lifting the purses of the men she had bedded and of seriously wounding a goodly number in the process. She alone offered a promising smile to the tar.
"I ain't seen the bogtrotter 'round in nigh a week, Mr. Potts," the strumpet remarked coarsely, tossing a triumphant smirk toward her glowering companions. "Ye don't suppose the li'l beggar's gone an' caught her death in the cable tier, now do ye? 'Twould be a right fittin' comeuppance for biffin' me in the nose."