The Strongs of Shadowcrest

Mrs. Grant took a deep breath and then reached for her wine, down­ing the entire contents.

A lit­tle liq­uid courage,” she said.

You are the bravest woman I have ever met,” James told her. “Only a hand­ful of women could have tak­en on what you have and met with success.”

But even women who are skilled in busi­ness have needs, Captain.”

The atmos­phere in the room changed. He looked at her, won­der­ing if she meant what he thought she did.

I am sure you under­stand what I speak of,” she con­tin­ued. “You have spent long stretch­es of time at sea. When your ship comes into port and you go on shore leave, I am sure you have tak­en care of … those needs.”

I have,” he said care­ful­ly, won­der­ing where this con­ver­sa­tion was headed.

Women, too, have cer­tain needs,” she said. “As a wid­ow, I have … a bit more free­dom in see­ing that mine are … met.” Clear­ing her throat, she said, “I am ask­ing as del­i­cate­ly as pos­si­ble if you might wish to explore those with me, Cap­tain Jones. I do not expect any type of com­mit­ment from you. In fact, I do not want any­thing of the sort. You are here for a lim­it­ed time, and then you will be gone. I am lone­ly. I stay busy with my com­pa­ny for long hours, but I long for some … phys­i­cal companionship.”

She wet her lips ner­vous­ly and gazed at him beseech­ing­ly. “Would that be a possibility?”

I am flat­tered, Mrs. Grant,” James said, his thoughts swirling.

He had want­ed her for more than a brief encounter or two. He wanted—needed—a wife.

And he could think of no more suit­able woman than Mrs. Grant.

*Excerpt com­ing in 2024!

*Excerpt com­ing in 2024!

*Excerpt com­ing in 2024!

*Excerpt com­ing in 2024!

*Excerpt com­ing in 2024!

*Excerpt com­ing in 2024!