Widowed and alone on the frontier, Elspeth Stewart will do whatever it takes to protect herself and her unborn child from the dangers of the wilderness and of men. Though her youthful beauty doesn’t show it, she is broken and scarred from the way men have treated her. So when a stranger wanders onto Bethie’s land, wounded and needing her aid, she takes no risks, tying him to the bed and hiding his weapons before ministering to his injuries.
But Bethie’s defenses cannot keep Nicholas Kenleigh from breaking down her emotional walls. The scars on his body speak of a violent past, but his gentleness, warmth, and piercing eyes arouse longings in her that she never imagined she had. As Nicholas and Bethie reveal to each other both their hidden desires and their tortured secrets, they discover that riding the flames of their passion might be the key to burning away the nightmares of their pasts.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Sold by:||Penguin Group|
|File size:||2 MB|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Ride the Fire
By Pamela Clare
Copyright © 2005
All right reserved.
Nicholas awoke with a jerk, caught between the nightmare and
wakefulness, his heart pounding, his body covered with sweat.
He struggled to open his eyes, found himself lying on his
stomach in someone's bed, his head on a pillow. His right leg
throbbed, burned. His head ached. His throat was parched as
sand, and a strange aftertaste lingered in his mouth.
From nearby came the swish of skirts, the sound of a log
settling in a fire, the scent of something cooking.
Where was he?
Through a fog he tried to remember. He'd been attacked. The
Frenchmen from the fort. He'd lost a lot of blood, had ridden
in search of help. The cabin. The woman.
Bethie was her name. Elspeth Stewart.
She'd helped him, cleaned his wound, cauterized it - not
Nicholas lifted his head, started to roll onto his side to
take in his surroundings, found he could not.
His wrists and ankles were bound to the bedposts.
Blood rushed to his head, a dark surge of rage, of dread.
"You're awake." Her voice came from behind him. "You must be
"You little bitch!" He pulled on the ropes, his fury and dread
rising when they held fast. "Release me! Now!"
"I-I cannae do that - no' yet. I've made broth. It will help
"Damn your broth, woman! Untie me!" He jerked on theropes
again, outraged and alarmed to find himself rendered
powerless. Sharp pain cut through his right thigh.
"Stop your strugglin'! You'll split your wound open and make
it bleed again."
Infuriated, Nicholas growled, a sound more animal than human,
even to his own ears. He jerked violently on the ropes, but it
was futile. He was still weak from blood loss, and the effort
left him breathless, made his pulse hammer in his ears.
He closed his eyes, fought to subdue the slick current of
panic that slid up from his belly, caught in his throat.
She was not Lyda. This was not the Wyandot village.
His heartbeat slowed. The panic subsided, left white-hot rage
in its wake.
"Why did you do this? I told you I meant you no harm!" He
craned his neck, saw that she stood before the fire, ladling
liquid into a tin cup, a brown knitted shawl around her
"Is that no' what the wolf always says to the lamb?" She
carried the cup to the bed, sat. "Drink. It will help to
replenish your blood. Careful. 'Tis hot."
Tantalized by the smell of the broth and suddenly aching with
thirst, Nicholas bit back the curse that sat on his tongue,
Bethie held the cup to his lips, watched as he swallowed the
broth, her heart still racing. For one terrible moment, she'd
feared the ropes would break or come loose. She'd known he
would be angry with her, but she hadn't expected him to try to
rip the bed apart.
Truth be told, she feared him despite the ropes. Although he'd
given up for the moment, she could feel the fury coiled inside
him. She could see it in the rippling tension of his body, in
his clenched fists, in the unforgiving glare in his eyes. He
made her think of a caged cougar - spitting angry and untamed.
He was not used to being bested.
The arrogant brute! Did he imagine she would grant him warm
hospitality after the way he'd treated her? It served him
right to be bound and helpless!
As if a man of his strength were ever truly helpless.
Her gaze traveled the length of him as it had done many times
while he'd slept, and she found her eyes focused of their own
will on the rounded muscles of his buttocks where the
butter-soft leather clung so tightly.
Mortified, she jerked her gaze away, felt heat rise in her
cheeks. Her stepfather had always said she was possessed of a
"More." His boorish command interrupted her thoughts. He
glowered at her through eyes of slate.
"Aye." She stood, hurried to the fireplace, ladled more broth
into the cup, uncomfortably aware that he was watching her.
"How long do you intend to keep me a prisoner?" His voice was
rough, full of repressed rage.
She walked back to the bed, sat, feigned a calm she did not
feel. "'Tis your own fault you lie bound. You cannae be
expectin' to be treated as a guest when you behaved like a
He pulled his head away, his gaze hard upon her, held up the
ropes that bound his wrists. "This isn't necessary."
"You threatened me, held your pistol to my head, forced me to
do your will and admitted to killin' two men. Do you truly
expect me to trust you?"
He frowned, his dark brows pensive. "I didn't mean to frighten
"As I recollect, you seemed quite bent on frightenin' me."
"I didn't have time for social graces. My need was dire."
"So is mine!" She stood in a surge of temper, met his gaze. "I
cannae risk you regainin' your strength and then, when you no
longer need my help, hurtin' me or my baby or takin' what is
ours and leavin' us in the cold to starve! I dinnae even know
For a moment he said nothing. "Kenleigh. Nicholas Kenleigh."
She repeated his name aloud.
"Now that we've exchanged pleasantries, Mistress Stewart, you
will release me."
"Nay, Master Kenleigh. I willna - no' just yet." She lifted
her chin. "You'll stay as you are till I'm certain you pose no
threat to me and my baby."
He gave a snort. "And how will you determine that?"
"Drink." She held the cup once more to his lips. "Perhaps I
shall have you swear an oath, a bindin' oath."
He drained the cup, looked up at her. "And if I am a murdering
liar, a man with no honor, the sort of man who would harm a
woman ripe with child, how would this oath prevent me from
doing whatever I want the moment you cut me free?"
Bethie stood, walked back to the fireplace to refill the cup
once more, the truth in his words dashing her sense of safety
to pieces. "Are you sayin' I should never set you free, Master
"No, Mistress Stewart. I'm saying that unless you plan to keep
me a prisoner forever and care for me as if I were a babe
untrained in the use of a chamber pot, sooner or later you
have no choice but to trust me."
She walked back to the bed, felt her step falter. In truth,
she hadn't thought about how or when she would release him
when she'd bound him to the bed. Nor had she considered what
keeping him bound would mean. She'd been thinking only of a
way to restrain him and deprive him of his weapons, and she
had accomplished that.
A babe untrained in the use of a chamber pot? Good heavens
She reached the bed, sat, held the cup once more to his lips.
"Very well. I shall cut you free. But you shall first swear to
me by all you hold sacred that you willna do anythin' to harm
me or my baby or to deprive us of our hearth and home."
He swallowed, licked broth from his lips. Then a queer look
came over his face. He stared at the tin cup, then gaped at
her. "You drugged me!"
How did he know? "I-I gave you medicine to ease your pain - and
make you sleep."
He laughed, a harsh sound. "You drugged me so that you could
bind me and take my weapons."
He stated it so plainly that Bethie could find no words to
soften the truth of what she'd done. She rested a hand
protectively on her belly, felt her baby shift within her.
"Y-you left me no choice."
Nicholas saw the defiant tilt of her chin, noticed the pink
that crept into her cheeks. He noticed, too, the way her hand
softly caressed the swollen curve of her abdomen as if to calm
the small life inside her.
What would he have done in her place?
He dismissed the question - and the irritating impulse to
defend his previous actions toward her. There was only one
rule in the wild - survival. He'd only done what he'd felt he
had to do to stay alive.
And so had she.
Excerpted from Ride the Fire
by Pamela Clare
Copyright © 2005 by Pamela Clare.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
What People are Saying About This
"One of the best historical romances I've read!"—Fresh Fiction
“A sensuous, gripping, and powerful love story that will stay with you long after you finished it; a new classic!”—A Romance Review
“Once again Pamela Clare has taken my breath away.”—Blithely Bookish
“A brilliant masterpiece to be savored like a fine wine.”—Fresh Fiction
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Pamela Clare is a good writer, that is all there is to it. All of her books are great. All are based on real situations or history. All are gripping action tales. All have violence, but not unrealistic....just thought provoking. All have hot romantic heroes. I say read them all.
In 1757 Ohio Wilderness, the Wynadot Indians fighting for the French capture Nicholas Kenleigh who is an important member of General Washington¿s officer corps and two teenage soldiers. The tribe members torture the three men, but Nicholas refuses to give in to the pain. Squaw Lyda wants Nicholas to impregnate her as she realizes how strong he is. Since she gets what she wants from her father the chief, Nicholas has a chance to finally escape captivity, which he does.--- By 1763 the war is winding down. An injured Nicholas reaches a homestead owned by pregnant widow Elspeth ¿Bertie¿ Stewart, who distrusts all males after physical abuse from her stepfather and stepbrother. She helps the fevered Nicholas but not before she ties him to her bedposts. As he heals, she sees a softer side to her prisoner who vowed never again when previously held; soon the fall in love, but can each one overcome their traumas to forge a future together?--- Colonial America romance readers will take great delight in RIDE THE FIRE, a strong tale starring two liable walking wounded souls. The story line provides an intriguing look at life in the frontier as well as the impact of the Seven Year War known in the colonies as the French and Indian War. Nicholas is a heroic individual whether he tries to offer solace to the two teem military prisoners or help Bertie. She is a courageous person striking out on her own to liberate herself from two nasty step-relatives. Fans will appreciate this fine tale of love in the colonial wilderness.--- Harriet Klausner
While the hero and heroine were well drawn, I found the plot to follow almost exactly - in basic structure - the first Pamela Clare book I had read, Surrender. Frontier savvy hero rescues abandoned heroine who is unable or unwilling to return to civilization due to evil relatives and a painful past, hero takes heroine to some Soldier Fort, heroine is attacked and nearly raped, hero must negotiate with local native Americans for incompetent, xenophobic military leaders while heroine make herself useful nursing wounded soldiers, hero and heroine confront evil relatives who hero easily defeats, happy ever after ensues. I didn't even bother to read the last couple of chapters because I had a definite case of been-there done-that.I want to read other Clare books, but I think I need a bit of a break if they all follow this same mold.
Elspeth (Bethie) is a recently widowed and hugely pregnant young woman left alone in the wilderness of the Ohio valley when her older husband dies. She knows she cannot go back to civilization until after her baby is born. Nicholas has been living in the wild for six years after his torture at the hands of the Wyandot Indians. He severely injures himself and finds Bethie's homestead in the woods. He demands she help him and then passes out at her doorstep. Bethie stitches him up and nurses him back to health. Nicholas repays her while he heals by protecting her, helping with the homestead, and delivering her baby. The love that develops between them is sweetly erotic with lots of sexual tension.Bethie is haunted by her abuse at the hands of her step-brother and step-father. Nicholas is haunted by his abuse and torture at the hands of the Wyandots. Both of them must overcome their fears and learn to trust the other. Bethie is a strong, wonderful heroine. But Nicholas is a hero to die for. When he thinks that her dead husband had abused her, he wanted to dig up his bones and kick them around. Right there he completely won my heart. There is lots of action based on true events which I found fascinating since I'm a bit of a history buff. But the action takes second place to this wonderful story of healing love. Nicholas' final speech to Bethie is heart stopping and will make you sigh in contentment. (Grade: A)
Torture beyond the human imagination....Nicholas Kenleigh endured it. Strength beyond human capabilities....Nicholas Kenleigh possesses it. A deep sense of what is right and wrong....Nicholas Kenleigh is endowed with it.Nicholas is on a mission....a mission of self-destruction. Torn by grief and self-hatred, he is a man who no longer feels, the essence of his spirit torn from him by war and torture. He seeks his death on the wild frontier, perhaps at the jaws of a wild cougar, perhaps at the hands of thieving frontiersmen. He doesn't care...either way, he believes death will give him the relief and quiet he seeks from the raging nightmares and voices that haunt him. But on a fateful day, having been gravely wounded on his trails by would-be thieves, Nicholas is searching for shelter and aid. As he approaches a cabin on horseback, he comes upon a beautiful young woman, Bethie Stewart, a pregnant widow, alone on the dangerous frontier. Nicholas needs Bethie to nurse him back to health, something she does with the greatest of trepidation, for Bethie too has a sordid past. She has never trusted a man, for all they have brought her is pain and fear. Little does Bethie know that this strapping, hulk of a man, this fearsome, long-haired man named Nicholas will be the only man she will ever trust.I absolutely loved this book! It had me experiencing a gauntlet of emotions. I couldn't help but be appalled at the torture endured by Alex which was described in detail, a description needed in order to understand our hero's emotions and actions. I couldn't help but weep for Bethie as she finally revealed to Nicholas her tale of pain. I couldn't help but fall in love with Nicholas Kenleigh and his beauty, strength and dedication to those he loves. And finally, I couldn't help but cry at the reunion between Nicholas and his loving family: " Nicholas stared at them in disbelief, found he could not speak. A part of him cried out that he was not ready for this, that he needed more time. But then his father stood, strode toward him, embraced him in a crushing bear hug, and Nicholas knew he had waited far, far too long. "Nicholas!" His father's voice was rough with emotion. "My God, Nicholas!" Nicholas dropped his packages, answered his father's embrace with his own fierce hug, held the man he'd never thought he'd see again, the man he'd thought had surely disowned him by now. There were no words, no room for anything but feelings."This third book in Pamela Clare's historical trilogy is a magnificent story of two people whose souls are deeply scarred. Travel with them as they cross the Ohio River and ride over frontier land, pushing onward to Fort Pitt, all the while facing death, destruction and their own past as they journey to a place of personal freedom, a freedom gained only when each puts their trust and love in the other. I cannot say enough about this great historical tale. I believe it will leave you as overwhelmed as I.
Full of action from start to finish. A perfect romance/action story. I am sure I will be reading this book again.
I really say I'm not sure how I feel about this book because half of me likes it while the other half thought it was sort of flat. Positives: I really do like the chemistry between the two characters and the development of their feelings for each other. Also the "adult" scenes were well written and very hot. Negatives: a lot of the time I didn't care for the plot of the story because I feel like the author is better writing about the erotic parts of the book rathe than the plot. Now with that said there were parts in the plot that did pop out and were interesting to read, but I'm not a huge fan of the writing style and a good portion of reading this was sorta boring. If you're a die hard fan of Pamela Clare or historical romances, you'll probably like this, but on the whole it's not my first recommendation.
absolutely loved this book. loved the characters, only wish there were more books in the series.
I loved this book!! Great story!