Kristina Edwards has the rare opportunity to remake herself after a traumatic event. She has a new job in a new state. Why not a new name as well? “Tina” settles into a rural North Carolina community, helped by her neighbor Chip and the elderly but beautiful new neighbor Eleanor, who has reasons of her own for moving to Poplar Gap.
Unbeknownst to Tina, Chip is also observing her, reporting back to his boss, an odd, reclusive man who lives on the mountain. Bill Cameron thinks he is dying and is obsessed with the idea of finding a suitable match for his beloved grandson Ian, half-white, half-Cherokee, if he can just bring the right woman to the mountain.
When Tina finds herself stranded on the mountain alone with Ian in the middle of the storm of the century, will she overcome her past and let love back in? Will Eleanor reunite with her true love from so many years ago? And what is Chip’s true identity?
Publisher’s Note: This sweet romance contains mystery, second chances, and a theme of light power exchange.
Seconds later, Ian shouted above the wind just a few feet behind her, “Stop!” In one motion, he picked her up, fireman style, and threw her over his shoulder, carrying her back across the little clearing. Tina pounded on his back and tried to thrash about, but he ignored her attempts to free herself as his long legs strode purposefully to the cabin.
Inside, Ian pulled a key from his pocket and locked the cabin door from the inside.
Great, Tina thought. Now I’m really a prisoner.
Without a word, he carried her to the other door at the end of the cabin and yanked it open with fury. He put her down roughly and pulled off her coat. Pushing her down on the bed, he took off his own coat and threw it onto the floor.
Tina’s eyes darted around the room in search of a weapon, a candlestick, a book, anything she could grab and throw at this madman. In horror, she bolted upright at what she saw instead. Ian unbuckled his belt and pulled it from the waistband of his jeans. He’s going to rape me. She had no knowledge of the rape at college, but every fiber of her being was on alert now. Instead of unzipping his jeans, however, she watched him loop the leather strap until he had a weapon of his own.
He sat down on the bed, roughly dragging her body down across his lap. “When I say stop, you stop!” Ian reared back his hand and brought the belt down on Tina’s bottom. Even through her jeans, the blow smarted.
Tina couldn’t believe what was happening, as she writhed with all her might to get away. “You’re spanking me? Are you kidding? Ow! You’re hurting me! Ow!”
Smack! Smack! Smack! On and on, it went, until tears were streaming down Tina’s face. It was humiliating. And frightening. What kind of man was this?
Breathing heavily, Ian stopped striking her. Tina held her breath and made her body go limp, hoping the ordeal was over. She made a slight move.
“Oh, no, you don’t,” Ian said, holding her down more firmly. “I’m not through with you yet. You have no idea how serious this is. In fact—” With his left hand still pinning her to his knees, Ian laid his belt on the bed and reached around to unbutton Tina’s jeans. He pulled them back, exposing the soft white flesh of her buttocks. There were faint red stripes where the belt had irritated her skin.