An exquisite beauty in desperate need... A condemned man with nothing left to lose... A magnificent tale of freedom and passionate destiny from the incomparable storyteller -- Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
Behind the foreboding walls of Newgate Prison, a pact is sealed in secret -- as a dashing and doomed criminal consents to wed a beautiful heiress... in return for one night of unparalleled pleasure.
In the fading echoes of hollow wedding vows, a promise is broken -- as a sensuous free-spirit flees to a lush Caribbean paradise, abandoning the handsome stranger she married to the gallows. But Ruark Beauchamp's destiny is now eternally intertwined with his exquisite, tempestuous Shanna's. And no iron ever forged can imprison his magnificent passion... and no hangman's noose will deny him the ecstasy that is rightfully his.
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1 . A Great Read
Posted August 20, 2009 by jkirbyw , New MexicoThis book has it all: action, adventure, romance...recommended
March 30, 2004
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Excerpt from Shanna by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
Sometimes it is coincidence that brings two people together, and some times that first meeting is brought about by the determination of one's character. The exquisitely beautiful and independent Shanna needs a temporary husband, and quickly. So, gathering all of her dignity and resolve, she makes a secret pact with a dark and dangerous man, never expecting that her bargain will garner her a love beyond comparison.
Shanna moved to stand close before him to lend weight to her words. Her eyes wide and appealing, she stared into his and spoke almost in a whisper.
"Ruark, I am in distress. I must be wed to a man of sterling name, and you must be aware of the importance in England of the Beauchamp fam ily. No one would know except myself, of course, that you are no kin. And since you have little future need of your narne, I could use it well."
Ruark' s confusion blunted his wits. He could not think of her motive. A lover A child Certainly not debts, for she was of money such as no debt could entangle. His puzzled frown met the blue-green eyes.
"Surely, madam, you jest. To propose marriage to a man about to hang Upon my word, I cannot see the logic in it."
" 'Tis a matter of some delicacy." Shanna presented her back to him as if embarrassed and paused before continuing. She spoke de murely over her shoulder. "My father, Orlan Trahern, gave me one year to find a husband, and failure shall find me betrothed to whom he wills. He sees me a spinster and wants heirs for his fortunes. The man must be of a family privy to King George. I have not yet found the one I would choose as my own, though the year is almost gone. You are my one last hope to avoid a marriage arranged by my father." Now came the hardest part. She had to plead with this filthy, ragged colonial. She kept her face averted to hide her distaste. "I have heard,' she said carefully, "that a man may marry a woman to take her debts to the gallows in re turn for an easing of his final days. I can give you much, Ruark--food, wines, suitable clothing and warm blankets. And surely my cause--"
At his continued silence, Shanna turned toward him and tried to see his features in the gloom, but he had carefully maneuvered their po sitions until she now was presented full to the light when she faced him. The wily beggar had moved so stealthily that she had not been aware of it.
Ruark's voice was somewhat strained as he finally said, "Milady, you test me sorely. A gentleman my mother tried to teach me to be, with good respect for womanhood." Shanna's breath caught as he stepped nearer. "But my father, a man of considerable wisdom, taught me early in my youth a rule I've long abided."