She lost everything and in her search for a new life found the love of a man who might have killed the woman he loved.
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Following the Civil War, Photographer Allison Caine fled Bloody Missouri after losing everyone she loved, and headed west toward Santa Fe. Before she reached Westport where she was to join a wagon train, she drove her what's it wagon up on a man lying across the trail.
Jake has roamed the country trying to find the woman pictures in the carte de visite he carries, signed Love, Lenore. After being wounded in the war he was sent to the notorious Andersonville prison in George where he recovered physically, but has no memory of his former life or name. He often blacks out and awakens not knowing where he is or why.
After a rocky start, the two decide to travel together for the good of both. Unknown to both, Allison's ex-fiance has turned into a bounty hunter and searches for a man who might be Jake.
Adventures along the trail and in Santa Fe tear the lovers apart and bring them back together, while Jake dreams of killing a beautiful woman, the images growing stronger and stronger. He can no longer trust himself with Allison, yet the two cannot remain separated. Who is Lorena? For that matter, who is Jake?
"Lorena?" he whispered and reached for her. "Where have you been so long?"
When he put her hand to his warm, moist lips, Allie shivered and dropped to her knees in front of him.
"Oh, Jake, what's wrong with you? Who are you and where have you come from? I can't do this, and yet I can't not do it. Damn you, damn you to hell for needing me so."
She leaned into the circle of his warmth, pulled his head to her shoulder and held on, trying not to think of Papa and willing away the ghost of the man who had once loved her and deserted her when she needed him the most.
Jake wrapped his arms around her until she could scarcely breathe, whispering Lorena's name, panting raggedly against her neck. The stubble on his cheek scraped across her tender skin, and he turned ever so slightly, found her lips with his. The kiss was tender, his mouth a silken trap trembling with desire.
For a moment she responded with all the passion she had ever possessed. He had taken her by surprise, as had her unexpected desire. In that instant she needed him as much as he needed her.
Even as she spiraled into his world she fought against the idea. He would devour her just as Eli had. Devour her and abandon her, leaving a dark, hollow cavern in her soul when he deserted her. Just like Eli... just like Papa.
With both hands she shoved hard against his chest. Obviously as shocked as she, he let go and gazed at her with surprise.
Lips agleam with her kiss, he said, "I didn't.. I don't… please forgive me. I didn't mean to do that. My God, what's wrong with me? I'm sorry, Allie. Truly sorry." He licked her taste away.
She touched her mouth with the back of one hand, shook her head vehemently. "No, it's okay. It was my fault, too. My fault. I… " The rest of the words washed away in the enormity of her emotions. He had reached deep within her heart, torn at it with such an intensity that she felt ripped free from reality.