Winds

OF FORTUNE

What Reviewers Say About Radcly ffe’s Books A Matter of Trust is a “. ..sexy, powerful love story fi lled with angst, discovery and passion that captures the uncertainty of fi rst love and its discovery.” – Just About Write

Shield of Justice is a “…well-plotted…lovely romance…I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough!” – Ann Bannon, author of The Beebo Brinker Chronicles

“The author’s brisk mix of political intrigue, fast-paced action, and frequent interludes of lesbian sex and love…in Honor Reclaimed…sure does make for great escapist reading.” – Q Syndicate Change of Pace is “. ..contemporary, yet timeless, not only about sex, but also about love, longing, lust, surprises, chance meetings, planned meetings, fulfi lling wild fantasies, and trust.” – Midwest Book Review

“Radcly f fe has once again pulled together all the ingredients of a genuine page-turner, this time adding some new spices into the mix.

shadowland is sure to please—in part because Radcly f fe never loses sight of the fact that she is telling a love story, and a compelling one at that.” – Cameron Abbott, author of To The Edge and An Inexpressible State of Grace

Lammy winner “. .. Stolen Moments is a collection of steamy stories about women who just couldn’t wait. It’s sex when desire overrides reason, and it’s incredibly hot!” – On Our Backs

“With ample angst, realistic and exciting medical emergencies, winsome secondary characters, and a sprinkling of humor, Fated Love turns out to be a terrifi c romance. It’s one of the best I have read in the last three years.” – Midwest Book Review

“Innocent Hearts. ..illustrates that our struggles for acceptance of women loving women is as old as time—only the setting changes.

The romance is sweet, sensual, and touching.” – Just About Write Lammy winner “. .. Distant Shores, Silent Thunder weaves an intricate tapestry about passion and commitment between lovers. The story explores the fragile nature of trust and the sanctuary provided by loving relationships.” – Sapphic Reader

In When Dreams Tremble the “…focus on character development is meticulous and comprehensive, fi lled with angst, regret, and longing, building to the ultimate climax.” – Just About Write Visit us at www.boldstrokesbooks.com

Winds

OF FORTUNE

by

RADCLY f FE

2007

WINDS OF FORTUNE

© 2007 BY RADCLYFFE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

ISBN10: 1-933110-93-7

ISBN13: 978-1-933110-93-6

THIS TRADE PAPERBACK IS PUBLISHED BY

BOLD STROKES BOOKS, INC.

NEW YORK, USA

FIRST EDITION, OCTOBER 2007

THIS IS A WORK OF FICTION. NAMES, CHARACTERS, PLACES, AND

INCIDENTS ARE THE PRODUCT OF THE AUTHOR’S IMAGINATION OR

ARE USED FICTITIOUSLY. ANY RESEMBLANCE TO ACTUAL PERSONS, LIVING OR DEAD, BUSINESS ESTABLISHMENTS, EVENTS, OR LOCALES

IS ENTIRELY COINCIDENTAL.

THIS BOOK, OR PARTS THEREOF, MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED IN ANY

FORM WITHOUT PERMISSION.

CREDITS

EDITORS: RUTH STERNGLANTZ AND J. B. GREYSTONE

PRODUCTION DESIGN: J. B. GREYSTONE

COVER GRAPHIC: SHERI (graphicartist2020@hotmail.com) By the Author

Romances

Innocent Hearts

shadowland

Love’s Melody Lost

Fated Love

Love’s Tender Warriors

Turn Back Time

Tomorrow’s Promise

Promising Hearts

Passion’s Bright Fury

When Dreams Tremble

Love’s Masquerade

The Provincetown Tales

Safe Harbor

Beyond the Breakwater

Distant Shores, Silent Thunder

Storms of Change

Winds of Fortune

Honor Series

Justice Series

Above All, Honor

A Matter of Trust (prequel)

Honor Bound

Shield of Justice

Love & Honor

In Pursuit of Justice

Honor Guards

Justice in the Shadows

Honor Reclaimed

Justice Served

Honor Under Siege

Erotic Interludes: Change Of Pace

(A Short Story Collection)

Erotic Interludes 2: Stolen Moments

Stacia Seaman and Radclyffe, eds.

Erotic Interludes 3: Lessons in Love

Stacia Seaman and Radclyffe, eds.

Erotic Interludes 4: Extreme Passions

Stacia Seaman and Radclyffe, eds.

Erotic Interludes 5: Road Games

Stacia Seaman and Radclyffe, eds.

Acknowledgments

As I complete the fi nal edits of this work, I am fortunate to be staying in the seaside village that is as much a character in these stories as the people who populate the novels. The harbor at sunrise, the sounds of the ocean, and the spirit of those adventurers and artists who have come before never fail to inspire me. I’m sure I have not yet captured more than a glimpse of the beauty, grace, and history that is Provincetown, but it continues to be my very great pleasure to try.

My thanks go to my fi rst readers Diane, Eva, Jane, Paula, and RB, as well as to my editors, Ruth Sternglantz and J.B.

Greystone, and the generous proofreaders at Bold Strokes Books for making this a better book. All the credit goes to these dedicated individuals and the responsibility for any shortcomings to me.

Thanks also to Sheri for yet another standout cover.

To Lee, for sharing the adventure. Amo te.

DEDICATION

For Lee

For weathering every storm

Winds of Fortune

CHAPTER ONE

Dr. Victoria King dropped a chart on top of the eight inch stack on her desk and checked her watch. Ten minutes to two. God, she was going to be late for her own daughter’s fi rst birthday party.

“Why don’t you get out of here,” a voice said from behind her.

Spinning around, Tory smiled at the trim African-American woman in a white lab coat who stood in her offi ce doorway. Like Tory, her new associate, Dr. Nita Burgoyne, was dressed casually, but in contrast to Tory’s pressed jeans and boatneck navy cotton tee, Nita’s stylish emerald green blouse, sand colored slacks, and tan sling-back, low-heeled shoes hinted at designer labels. She hadn’t quite made the transition from big city ER doctor to small town doc just yet.

“You’ve been here, what—fi ve weeks,” Tory said, “and already you’re reading my mind?”

“Didn’t take telepathy.” When Nita shook her head, the gold clasp she used to restrain her shoulder-length, wavy black hair at her nape glinted in the overhead lights, echoing the amusement that shimmered in her deep brown eyes. “I could hear your thoughts out in the hallway.”

“Well, I’m glad I didn’t fi nish what I was thinking, then.” Tory grimaced. “How many more do we have?”

“Not enough for you to worry about.” Nita lifted a shoulder in the direction of the hallway behind her. “Now go while the coast is relatively clear.”

Tory hesitated, torn between wanting to be with her family and knowing she was needed at the clinic. During tourist season, the East End Health Clinic was open seven days a week, and patient hours often stretched well beyond the scheduled times. Here emergencies were the norm, rather than the exception. Minor accidents, fender benders, forgotten medication, common colds, and more serious events ranging from heart attacks to strokes were daily fare. It might be quiet right this minute, but chances were it wouldn’t be for long—not on Sunday

• 13 •

RADCLY fFE

afternoon of Fourth of July weekend in Provincetown—and Nita hadn’t worked a holiday alone yet.

“I’m not some green intern,” Nita chided good-naturedly, obviously continuing to read Tory’s mind despite her earlier denial. “Sally is the best nurse I’ve ever worked with and better than a lot of the doctors I’ve known. We’ll be fi ne.”

Tory considered arguing, but she could tell by the set of Nita’s slender shoulders that her mind was made up. She had learned very quickly that in Nita’s case, looks were very defi nitely deceiving.

Although Nita’s dark almond eyes, sculpted features, and smooth coffee-and-cream complexion gave her a look of exotic, nearly delicate beauty, she was neither delicate nor insubstantial in any way. Ten years Tory’s junior, she was a self-assured, highly capable professional, and wonderful with the patients. Even though she was personally reserved and rarely talked about her private life, her genuine warmth and compassion were obvious, and Tory liked her.

“You’ll call me if things get busy?” Tory asked.

Nita folded her arms beneath her breasts and pursed her lips.

“Okay. Okay.” Tory held up both hands in surrender. “Will you at least stop by the party later? We’ll have plenty of food and the adults will out-number the kids, I promise.”

When Nita looked uncertain, Tory felt a surge of guilt. As far as she knew, Nita had yet to really meet anyone in the community outside of patients and the offi ce staff. Part of that was Tory’s fault. She should have had a welcoming reception for her when she joined the practice, and what she’d greeted her with instead was a crisis. Nita had only been with her a few days before Reese had been reported missing in action in Iraq. With her lover probably wounded or possibly dead, Tory had barely managed to keep her sanity and had foisted all but the major responsibilities of the clinic onto Nita. Everything else had fallen by the wayside. Even now, though she tried not to let it show, Tory still felt as if her life was on shaky ground.

“It’ll just be some good friends and family,” Tory urged.

Finally, Nita nodded, hiding her reluctance behind a smile. A child’s birthday would be harmless, and she only needed to make a brief appearance. “Thank you. That would be nice.”

“Good. Then I’ll just fi ...

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