Ashes in the Wind
Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
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A woman burdened by war...A doctor torn between passion and duty...A sweeping tale of love in the face of dishonor from the incomparable storyteller--Kathleen Woodiwiss.
Alaina MacGaren is forced to flee the devastation of her homeland in the guise of a young boy, only to find sanctuary in the arms of an enemy. Cole Latimer is a dashing Yankee surgeon who has served the Union faithfully, and his tender heart compels him to help a ragged, innocent "lad" in need--never suspecting the rags conceal a bewitching belle suspected of being a rebel spy.
But Alaina's masquerade does not fool Cole for long. And the strength, courage, and breathtaking sensuality of this woman whom it would be treasonous to love sets duty and desire at war within him. Yet Destiny has joined them for good or ill--and they both must follow where their hearts would lead them, if they are to build a glorious new life together out of the ashes of the old.
Cole stared at the smirking man and laid back on the litter. “Perhaps not, Major, but I can arrange a pair who will.” He reached back to the roll he used as a pillow and withdrew the Remington .44. “Al?” The one called turned. “You still have your pistol?” “Right chere, Cap’n.” She patted the heavy pouch slung over her shoulder. “Loaded?” “Yessuh,” she replied with a firm nod of the head. “Saul, you know how to use one of these?” “Well, Cap’n,” the big man said, grinning. “Ah ain’t so fast
not well?” “Nothing out of the ordinary, sir,” she murmured. “I thought you might still be lamenting the loss of your gown.” “I have put it behind me, sir, as you suggested.” “If you would like a replacement for it, it will be an easy matter to accomplish. I’m sure the dressmaker in St. Cloud can find the same cloth and lace—” “I can manage without it. I have other gowns, perhaps not as nice, but they’ll suffice.” Cole searched for some path to break this polite but restrained stalemate.
moment of respite. Pushing open the study door, Alaina slipped within, glancing hopefully about for Cole. The room was empty, and only the firelight from the hearth illuminated the shadows. With an exhausted sigh, she sank gratefully into the large wing chair and lifted her daintily slippered feet to the low stool that sat before it. There was much to be said about being a hostess; one just had to be endlessly gracious and stouthearted enough to endure the trampled toes and the heavily whiskeyed
blue eyes that bore into him mercilessly. “Be careful that you never raise your hand to my wife again.” Cole ground out the warning. “And if you were anything besides the besotted fool you are, I’d have it out with you here and now. You have abused the privileges of a guest, which you may deem a fair turnabout, but I decry the fact, for the one abused in your house was not the one who claimed it. In my befogged stupor, I allowed you to commit an act of which all of us have been acutely rueful. I
wouldn’t put it past the Yankee to do just that. “Al!” The captain’s patience was wearing thin. “All right! All right!” Alaina moaned in the petulant tones of a yielding teenager. She went to the fireplace and tested the steaming kettle with her finger. Then suddenly a glow of mischief brightened her eyes. Pouring cold water into the hot, she slipped her hand into the water. Just about right! After she was through with him, that Yankee would never ask this of her again. She dipped a bucket into