The first of a sweeping trilogy, the award-winning author’s frontier love story is “extraordinary . . . [Her] characters spring to life” (Publishers Weekly).
Raised in the Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee in the 1820s, sixteen-year-old Emma Simms dreams of the day she’ll escape her life of poverty to start over in the big city of Knoxville. But when her mother dies, she’s left with no one but her drunk, abusive stepfather, Luke Simms, and her dream abruptly becomes a nightmare. Luke plans to literally sell Emma down the river—to a notorious brothel in Knoxville.
River Joe, the mysterious Cherokee-raised frontiersman, knew from the first time he set eyes on the beautiful Emma that he had to have her as his own. And one glimpse of the handsome, buckskin-clad stranger they call the “white Indian” ignites the flame of dangerous desire in Emma’s heart.
Their passion could consume them both, but their love may be the one thing that can save Emma from a fate worse than death.