Woman with a Past

Woman with a Past
(c)2008 Josh Lockwood

A woman with a past looking for a future, a son she doesn’t know, and a man she has no reason to trust thrown together in the devil-may-care heyday of the Erie Canal.

That’s where Molly Ryan finds herself when she comes out of prison after serving time for a crime she didn’t commit and takes a job as cook on an Irish line boat, hoping to regain her son.

The very last thing she expected was to fall in love with big-shouldered Captain Danny Brennan along the way.

Will love, honesty, and honor be enough to regain her long lost son? Enough to start being a family again? Or will she be swept away by the old country charm of the captain?


When he turned back to Molly, his eyes were crisp with anger.

“Lady, I’ve had Mike for six years now and he’s never had so much as a sunburn. You show up and, within four days, he’s being threatened with guns and knives. I want to know who you are, and I want to know now.”

She couldn’t meet his eyes. All the tenderness and that enticing iridescence had gone out of them. Instead, they flared at her like burning coals. She lowered her own eyes to the tabletop, feeling her heart shrivel and die within her.

She should have told him the truth, she thought. She should have been honest with him from the beginning instead of playing out her stupid little role in her stupid little fantasy world. She realized, with a sudden emptiness in the pit of her stomach, that she had probably lost her one real chance for happiness.

“I’m Mike’s mother.”

Michael’s head snapped up in amazement at her words and there was nothing she could do to cushion the shock for the boy.

She was still in shock herself.

“You’re what?”

“I’m Mike’s mother,” she said again.

“Mike’s mother is in jail,” Danny rasped from across the table.

Molly saw little Michael’s eyes lift, squinting doubtfully at the man he considered his father. She felt the eyes of the canalmen shift to her then, saw the suspicion in them, and knew she had to face the truth of it sooner or later.

She also knew that time had come.

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