Ginnie McCall is a beautiful young woman who lives in the Virginia mountains. A midwife and healer, she meets a handsome young man who is the new doctor in the area. He resents her and mistrusts her immediately, but is drawn, despite himself, to her beautiful face and body. When fate throws them together one night, they discover a blazing passion for each other--one that will change both of their lives forever!
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Excerpt for General Audience:
As she drew up to the cabin, Ginny urged her horse over to the small barn to get him out of the downpour and was surprised to see another horse already occupying the middle space in between the little stalls. There was just enough room for her to slide off the back of her horse and get him settled down out of the icy rain. She pulled the hood of her cloak back up over her head, hurried across the little yard to the front door, and heard voices from within as she knocked lightly and opened the door.
She stepped into a hellish scene. Sally lay flat on her back on a table in the center of the room in the murky light of the cabin, her face splotchy red and sweaty. She looked scared and panicky. Her gown had been tossed up around her neck, and she was naked from there down, moaning and rolling her eyes. Her young husband, William, stood by her, scared looking and wincing as Sally moaned and thrashed her head. He tried to pour liquid from a bottle onto a small piece of cloth over her nose, managing to get more on the table and Sally’s neck than he got on the cloth. Sally’s mama, Mrs. Hawes, sat in a dim corner of the cabin, her eyes closed and her lips moving silently in prayer.
A stranger stood over Sally, his back to Ginny. He had a cloth wrapped around his waist, and a short, but lethal looking blade in his hand.
“What's goin’ on?” Ginny demanded, her eyes on Sally as she strode across the room and elbowed William out of the way.
Sally looked up at her and grabbed Ginny’s hand like a lifeline, crying loudly. “Oh, Ginny, I thought you weren’t comin’!”
“There now, Sally,” Ginny soothed. “Just try to be still.” She pulled Sally into in a sitting position by the arm and grabbed a wet cloth on the table to wipe off her hot face and neck.
The stranger spoke to Ginny in a loud and unfriendly voice. “Who in blazes are you? Just what do you think you’re doing?”
Over the strong smell of the ether, Ginny could smell the faint odor of whiskey as she whirled around to face him. She swept off her cloak, threw it on the chair beside her, and shook out her long, red hair. “Who am I?” she shot back at him. “I’m the healer. Just who the hell are you?”
He bristled visibly and looked a little bewildered. “The healer?” Understanding dawned on his face as he swung around to look at William. “This…” he asked incredulously, gesturing back at Ginny, and looking her up and down, “This is the granny woman?”
The rain felt like it was coming down sideways as they picked their way down the steepest part of the trail. Ginny wondered if leaving the warmth and security of the Muller cabin had been a serious mistake. She was in the lead, with the young doctor on his horse coming up behind her. Ginny’s hands were so cold, she could barely feel the reins, but she urged her horse along gently with her heels and clucked softly to him. The footing was treacherous with the unrelenting rain making little muddy rivulets down the hill, and she felt her horse’s hooves slipping a bit on the wet leaves covering the trail.
The lightning started up again, and thunder rolled across the hill with a deep, booming sound so loud it seemed to shake the ground beneath their feet. They were up around 5,000 feet, so they were up in the low hanging clouds so common in the Blue Ridge, where the clouds dipped down so low they looked like smoke. Storms always seemed worse this far up, with the night lit up almost constantly with an eerie light from the lightening in the clouds overhead. This particular part of the trail was extremely narrow and followed the sheer rock wall above the river gorge.
Ginny’s horse rolled his eyes and pricked his ears, dancing around nervously. She reached down to pat him on the neck to steady him when another bright flash lit up the sky just overhead, and the boom when it came at the same time sounded like big guns close by. The horse beneath her screamed and reared up into the air, his hooves thrashing wildly. He shook her off as easily as if she were a fly. She sailed into the air and landed hard enough to knock her breath clean away. Before she could gather her wits, the horse reared again, this time looming directly over her. She rolled to the side instinctively to get out of the way of those lethal hooves and promptly rolled right over the edge of a precipice.
Excerpt 3--Rated R adults only:
She awoke in the hours before dawn cold and terrified. She couldn’t recall exactly the nightmare that woke her, but it was all mixed up with babies, and blood, and falling helplessly into space. She must have made a little sound of fright and pain, because Collin came awake beside her and sat up.
“What is it?” he whispered loudly, scanning the space all around him. “What’s the matter?”
“I’m sorry.” She sniffed loudly. “I had a bad dream.”
A large warm hand ran down her bare arm. “No wonder—you’re frozen,” he exclaimed and lay back down, wrapping his arms around her, rolling her to face him. He moved his leg over her as well and began to rub his hands up and down her body to create some friction. Suddenly he seemed to realize what he was doing and hesitated, gazing down at her with his eyes wide and startled.
Ginny smiled back up at him, unable to help herself. He looked so guilty, like a little boy caught with his hand in a cookie jar. On impulse, she put her hand around the back of his neck and pulled him down to kiss her.
She had been aware of a growing attraction for him since she first saw him. Not only was he very good looking, with his thick, shiny hair, deep blue eyes, and a face that on a woman would be called downright pretty, but there was a strength and grace to his body she had rarely seen in such a big man. He had a strong will to match, true enough, at times unpleasant, arrogant, and downright insulting. Still, he had shown her kindness and concern. Something about him made her stomach do little flips when he looked at her, and though she knew it was awfully bold, she couldn't help herself. Here in this little space, they seemed almost outside of time. The differences between them−and they were vast−seemed not to matter quite so much.
His lips were startlingly warm and soft, but for a moment, he stiffened, pulling back a bit, staring down into her eyes. She pulled her hand back, looked away, a little embarrassed, but he seemed to make up his mind about something and lowered his head to kiss her deeply, taking her lips with a rough pleasure that seemed out of character. His tongue teased hers gently as he deepened the kiss, and his hand moved down to cup her breast through the sheet. She was breathless when he pulled his head back, but he allowed her no time to think. His hand threw off the sheet around her. The cover fell back on the ground, revealing her body, dressed only in a thin shift in the soft light.
Collin considered her and smiled as if affirming something he already suspected. Untying the ribbon at the neck of her shift, he helped pull it over her head. When she was completely undressed, she should have been embarrassed, but she wasn't. She wanted him to look at her and wanted to see him as well. Together they pulled at his clothes until his long limbed, bare body shone too in the yellow light cast by the glowing embers.
He covered her mouth with his own again and moved his body over hers. Ginny had never been with a man that way before, but she instinctively knew what to do. Her legs fell open to him as if of their own accord, and she pulled him to her. He moved into her, hard and urgent, breaching her virginity. Ginny gasped aloud, and he stopped, his eyes wide with surprise.
"Ginny?" he questioned hoarsely. "Ginny, I thought−I don't know if I can stop−if you want me to..."
"No," she moaned softly, pulling him back to her. "Don't stop!" She offered her mouth up to his and kissed him deeply as he thrust at her again and again. The sweet, remorseless pain subsided after only a few minutes and then...then she couldn't get close enough to him. She wrapped her legs around his and tried to pull him even closer. He groaned and whispered sweet words in her ear until she thought she would go mad with wanting him. Just when she thought she couldn't stand it any longer, she went rigid until wave after wave of almost painful pleasure engulfed her, shaking her body. She gasped and held on tight, unable to control the sensations, as he convulsed in her arms as well with one long hard final thrust.
They both collapsed, still woven together in each other's arms. She felt that she never wanted him to move away from her. He lay on top of her, breathing hard into her ear. Eventually, though, he moved over to lie beside her, pulling her close and wrapping her up in his arms. She felt herself sinking, but she managed to pull the sheet over them both before they fell away into dreamless sleep.