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Marilyn A. Gardiner
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Floating down the Ohio River in 1778 with George Rogers Clark and his small army, Verity survives capture by Indians, the rigors of flatboat transportation, the unwanted attentions of an overbearing, crude and cruel fellow traveler, and all the dangers of wilderness travel.
To her unwelcome surprise, she finds herself responding to the combined patience and rough competence of the expedition’s scout, Trey Owens. She’s never known gentleness from a man, nor loyalty or honesty. Love is most definitely not in her plans. Can she—dare she—trust her heart to a man who prizes his freedom above all things?
The water was swift and clear and cool, and only about knee-deep. Suddenly her whole aching body longed to be submerged. She could almost feel the satiny coolness of the water caressing her skin, making her slippery and sleek, carrying away the loneliness, the fear and the aching muscles of the night.
Yet she hesitated. What if an Indian, or wild animal--a bear, God forbid--should happen upon her? Her eyes made a quick circuit of the surrounding forest. Nothing threatening that she could see. She listened. No sound except that of birds high above and the scurrying of squirrels or small critters in the underbrush. Still… But oh, the bliss of being clean again. Clean all over at one time. To wash in water not thick with silt and river debris. The temptation was too much. She stood to slide off her pants and shirt and shift, and stepped into the pebble-bottomed stream.
In a near trance of ecstasy she scrubbed her skin and massaged her legs and flexed her shoulders as the current flowed around her. She couldn’t remember anything, ever, feeling as good. Her aching muscles relaxed. Her nerve endings came to life slowly, tingling and expanding in the icy water. Lowering herself into the stream she felt its hurrying, bubbling force, the chill of smooth rocks shifting beneath her, the tug and pull of the tiny current. In the freshness of the breeze, a hint of night lingered, bringing a rush of goose bumps to rise on her bare skin. Her deep sigh of pure pleasure echoed in the clarity of the early morning.
Verity pulled her hat forward to shut out the light and rested her head against the bank. The mossy smell of decaying leaves wafted up from the earth. A blue jay screamed from the sky. A sun, yellow as butter, cleared the trees and shone full in her face. From the woods the jay screamed again and Verity’s eyes snapped open. The small hair on the back of her neck prickled beneath the crown of her hat. Something had startled the bird. Something unfamiliar. The jay called again, a raucous cry of warning and, swooping low over the creek, fell from view behind a stand of juniper. Slowly Verity stretched out her right arm until her hand closed on the stock of her gun.
The sound of the rushing stream covered her movements as she gathered her legs under her and stood. Water streamed down her arms, her stomach, her legs. Her breath caught in the back of her throat. To her waiting ears, the crack of a twig sounded like canon fire and she swung the gun to her shoulder. She sighted down the barrel, and her finger tightened on the trigger even as she turned into the danger.
Trey stood there his eyes incredulous with surprise. His hands, holding the rifle ready, fell limply to his sides. He looked like a steer that had been poleaxed, one who was dead and didn’t yet know it. "My God," he said, the words coming out in a thick rush of disbelief.
He blinked once and then again. She was still there, looking as fresh and pink as Eve in the Garden, and not a fig leaf in sight. "My God," he said again. He was incapable of coherent thought, let alone speech. It was like seeing lightning dance on a lily leaf. His mind refused to accept what his eyes saw.
A hat. That’s all she had on. A hat. Stupidly, his mind kept repeating the phrase. And a gun.
He had to try twice before his voice worked. "Would you mind pointing that thing the other way?" he asked, striving for an even tone. "I’m partial to being in one piece."
Without taking her eyes from his, she lowered the gun and let it dangle from one hand. Her face suddenly drained of color, leaving her eyes too big, too dark, in the small planes of her face. And then suddenly the color flooded back, burnishing her entire body with bronze. For a moment her eyes glittered dangerously and then she bent to gather her clothes and with a back as straight as a rifle barrel, she stepped behind a clump of sprawling mountain laurel.
Trey’s eyes remained fastened on the place where she’d been. Ha
My byline has appeared on everything from children’s literature to senior citizen fiction; from news writing to poetry, fiction and non-fiction. I have taught a successful creative writing course and been involved in a program teaching adults to read. Credits include Wings ePress, Inc. as well as a multitude of newspapers and magazines. I have placed in the top three in national contests and treasure a Writing Excellence Award from my college.
I have a loving and supportive husband and two grown daughters, who have given me a total of eight perfect, handsome and intelligent grandchildren--so says this prejudiced grandmother.
Since my first memory, music and books have been my passion. Music continues to feed my soul. I have sung in choral groups all across the eastern half of the U.S., done solo and ensemble work and am currently a member of a large chorale.
Today I have books in every room in my house, and never go out the door without reading material under my arm. With equal passion, I avoid cooking and cleaning house.
Marilyn Gardiner has done well in capturing the essence of the times, and the courage of people to find a new place to start new lives. As depicted by the title, the plot, suspense and romance, flow, not always steadily, but sometimes with a fierceness that dares readers to leave the story. Like A River, My Love, the tale's depth will hold you fast until you reach the end of the journey. -- Brenda, The Rite Lifestyle
There are good writers and there are great writers. Wings author Marilyn Gardiner definitely leads the pack in the second category. I've just finished WHEN THE WIND BLOWS and was "blown away" by this author's talent! You won't find tired clichés and hackneyed metaphors in this suspenseful, child-in-jeopardy tale about a frantic mother's heart-stopping search for her young son.
The romance is subtle and the focus is on Molly's internal struggle to unravel what is and what only seems to be, all the while trying not to fall in love with her fellow sleuth. The scenes are vivid and visual, and this reader found herself racing toward the end along with the heroine. That search being done, the next one will be for Marilyn Gardiner's next book. WHEN THE WIND BLOWS is a fabulous work! A must read for all romantic suspense fans. -- Highly recommended, Anne Carter, Beacon Street Books
Dancing Ladies: “Marilyn Gardiner has written a spellbinding story, guaranteed to keep you turning pages to see what happens next. Prepare to stay up late with this one. And don’t read it during an intense rainstorm or in a house that creaks at night.” -- J D Webb, Author of Shepherd’s Pie
"Dancing ladies is a great tale that grabs hold of the reader. I couldn't stop (reading) until the ending which left me with spine-tingling sensations. The romantic suspense in this story is stunning. Gardiner weaves a great paranormal with just the right touch of mystery. Her style of writing really kept me spellbound." - Linda L., The Romance Studio, 5 hearts.
Banjo Eyes by Marilyn Gardiner is a suspenseful tale of true love, betrayal, rejection and deception. When Lily goes back home to settle her late father’s affairs, weird things begin happening, and she doesn’t know who she can trust. This is a real page turner, right up to the shocking conclusion. -- JoEllen Conger, Conger Books Reviews
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 416
Paper Weight (lb): 17.4
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