Ten years since the tragic loss of his young wife and infant son, Dawson Randolph is convinced love and marriage is a fool’s game and resents being pardon to his brother’s hidden engagement. Damned by his instant attraction and his own growing desire, Dawson vows to befriend her against his better judgment. Determined to bring her happiness in a time of fear and uncertainty, Dawson puts aside his animosity to become her confidant, only to realize Catherine holds the key to his heart. When tragedy strikes at sea, Catherine’s guilt pushes Dawson to the fringes of her life as madness consumes her.
Can his love save her before she drowns in her own grief? Or is he doomed to love her from a distance, always in the shadow of her love for his dead brother?
Dawson couldn’t sleep. Silence hung thick over the large plantation, but a storm raged within him.
He hadn’t meant to snap at Catherine or even tell her what he thought of marriage at all.
In her eyes, he saw the earnest plea when she asked about Nathaniel, so open and raw with emotion and need. It made him flinch. He forgot how a woman deep in love looked, how innocent and hopeful and desperate.
He would explain his actions to Captain Barrett upon their next encounter, for he had no excuse for his behavior. To run off without thanks for the fine dinner and company had been bad form on his part.
Dawson’s life had been solitary for so long, though he hated to admit it. Empty most the time, the plantation haunted him with its excruciating stillness, other than the few servants who tended to the upkeep of the house, the laundry and his meals.