Ann Rossiter is no man’s idea of the perfect wife, yet she has a chance—a single chance—to insure her future. To protect her unborn child, Ann agrees to marry a common riverboat pilot. In exchange, he’ll gain command of her stepfather’s magnificent new steamer—the Andromeda. But as they ply the western rivers together, Ann is drawn to her new husband, to his quiet strength and smoldering magnetism. Still, she dares not yield her heart for fear he will discover her most terrifying secret.
As the Andromeda steams toward the wilds of the Montana Territory, Chase Hardesty finds himself falling in love with his new bride. But when Ann’s past comes back with a vengeance, will their marriage of convenience end in tragedy—or in love forever?
Set in Mississippi during the turbulent mid-19th century, this compelling romance from Grayson (Color of the Wind, etc.) offers a charismatic hero who will easily beguile readers. A for-hire riverboat pilot of humble origins, Chase Hardesty has long dreamt of owning his own boat, so when his boss, James Rossiter, offers him a deal-the Star Line's new stern-wheeler if he marries Rossiter's pregnant stepdaughter Ann, whom Chase has never seen-Chase finds that he can't refuse. For her part, Ann only wants to be free of her brutal stepfather and stepbrother. Assuming Ann will stay with Rossiter while Chase makes a riverboat run up to the wilds of Fort Benton, he is startled to find that his willful bride has stowed away on the boat and locked herself in his cabin. Circumstances enable Ann to gradually trust and admire Chase and even develop a rapport with his crew, but Ann carries a secret that may destroy their fledgling marriage. Grayson's absorbing plot races nimbly along a fast current. The sandbars and snags are as realistic as the people who confront them, and her details about river running would make Mark Twain proud. When the dramatic denouement finally occurs, readers will feel as if Ann and Chase are personal friends. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.