Historical Romance, 381 pages
Cover art by Trisha FitzGerald
Blub: By no fault of her own Ashton Perry is caught in a circle of venomous jealousy and revenge between two men. She can't believe that she escaped one of them only to end up in the arms of the other, Captain Jason Brandt. He inspired her dreams for love, but he isn't at all what she imagined.
From a small bay side village in England, to the streets of New York, The Stowaway Bride weaves an adventure of dangerous lies while two hearts voyage to become one.
Since Ashton Perry had come to live at her uncle’s Wharf Side Inn, the five years had seemed more like ten. To keep the peace, she always rose before dawn to begin a list of chores that had grown considerably over the years. By the light of a single candle she went about her routine. Starting in the commons area, she gathered dishes and put them to soak; washed crude tables which were worn smooth with age; and she swept crumbs from the stone floor. In spite of these tasks, she had learned to enjoy the tranquility of the hour, while all others slept.
Today as the gray light of dawn summoned the morning, Ashton paused at the window to gaze at the fast approaching storm. In a matter of minutes, lightning flashed, thunder rumbled and rain began to pelt the vacant street. The raindrops on the window pane struck like pebbles. Weather like this made her ponder the circumstances of what had brought her and her young brother Dane to live in this dreary place. Once they had been carefree and happy. However, the loss of their parents had changed their lives forever.
“Those days are gone,” Ashton murmured and breathed a heavy sigh. She pushed memories aside. With the intention of resuming her work, she started to turn when a stranger appeared in the street on horseback. Ashton couldn’t help wondering why a man would travel on such a dreary morning. She eyed his tall figure as he brought the animal to a halt directly in front of the inn. The magnificent black stallion tossed its head high in protest as it reared.
Fascinated, Ashton’s senses sharpened as the stranger established immediate control. He dismounted with an air of nobility.
In the rain, he circled the horse, inspecting the animal’s legs. He picked up a stick and cleaned the muddied pebbles from the stallion’s hooves with care. When finished he straightened. He must have experienced the feeling of being watched because without warning he pivoted and looked directly at Ashton. Their eyes locked and she drew in a sharp breath as crimson flooded her features. Embarrassment filled her, since she’d been caught watching him. He gave her a smile that seemed to stop time.
The narrow pink scar above his jaw made Ashton wonder if he had taken part in the Trafalgar battle two months earlier. Many battle weary, seafaring men had drifted through this fishing village since the war.
With more surprise than Ashton had ever experienced, she realized the handsome man had started toward the entrance of the inn. Her chin dropped. Had he mistaken her for someone else or did he wish to meet her? Ashton couldn’t fathom his reason. Yet she continued to watch him.
Then a passer-by attracted his attention, causing him to pause and look the other way. As if he’d forgotten all about coming into the inn, he turned and crossed the road to greet the other gentlemen.
Ashton laid her hand across her heart in relief. She took a deep breath and recognized the internal warning of caution. But she had never before experienced the thrill of attraction from such a handsome man. She dared to study his striking figure for a moment longer.