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Authors: Jade Lee

White Tigress

BOOK: White Tigress
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White Tigress

The Way of The Tigress

Book One

 

by

 

Jade Lee

USA Today Bestselling Author

 

 

 

 

 

Published by
ePublishing Works!

www.epublishingworks.com

 

ISBN: 978-1-61417-206-2

 

 

By payment of required fees, you have been granted the
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Please Note

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

The reverse engineering, uploading, and/or distributing of this eBook via the internet or via any other means without the permission of the copyright owner is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author's rights is appreciated.

 

Copyright © 2005, 2012 by Katherine Grill. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions.

 

Cover by Kim Killion
www.hotdamndesigns.com

 

eBook design by eBook Prep
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Thank You.

 

 

 

Dedication

 

To Chris Keeslar, editor extraordinaire, who said, "What about China?" And to Pattie Steele-Perkins, agent extraordinaire, who said repeatedly, "Go explore your heritage." Was this what you meant?

 

 

 

If God lets Shanghai endure,

He owes an apology to Sodom and Gomorrah.

—Shanghai missionary

~

Chapter 1

 

Shanghai, China—1897

 

"Aaaah-ho. Aaaah-ho." The low, dirgelike chorus drifted across the Wangpu River, settling into Lydia Smith's ears until she shivered in excitement. She had heard stories about the sound. It was the mournful beat of the poor Chinese laborers—the coolies—as they built houses in ever-expanding Shanghai. And now, at last, she was hearing it for real.

"Aaaah-ho. Aaaah-ho." It was a slow sound, monotonous and dull, like the low beat of the city's heart, and Lydia strained to hear every pulse. Just as she struggled to hold the smoky air inside her lungs and see the white bungalow houses behind the brick walls of this new and flourishing city.

She couldn't, of course. The forest of masts obscured all but the boats that clogged the port, and yet Lydia still stood, grasping the rail with her smudged white gloves as she tried to absorb it all.

"It's so beautiful," she whispered, though it wasn't. The sky was overcast, and the air caught thick and moist in her throat. And it tasted faintly of ginger. Still, she repeated over and over, like a litany, "Beautiful Shanghai. My new home."

"Yer sure no one's meeting yuh at the docks, Miss Smith? Not even yer fiancé's servant?"

She jumped as the captain's broad shadow darkened the railing. She turned, wariness mixing with the excitement in her blood. She hadn't liked the looks of him from the beginning, but the temptation of a discounted passage from England to China helped her overcome her scruples. Especially as that meant she was now arriving a full two weeks early.

She couldn't wait to see Max's face when she surprised him.

Meanwhile, the captain was shuffling his feet, apparently concerned for her welfare. "It ain't safe in Shanghai. Not fer a lady alone."

Lydia smiled as she clutched her fiancé's last letter to her heart. "I have his directions and Chinese coins. I shall manage just fine."

"But you don't speak the language, miss. Not a word," the captain pressed, and Lydia felt herself relax at his concern. The man had grumbled about her presence nearly the entire trip, but now that they had arrived, he was obviously worried about her. In truth, he reminded her a bit of her father—gruff on the exterior, but with a heart of gold inside.

"Oh, I know a great deal more than a word." She wasn't fluent, but she was getting the hang of Chinese. "The crew has been teaching me some, and I had an instructor before that. A missionary who'd lived here for years."

He grimaced and began to walk away. "Shanghai's a dangerous place," he grumbled. But if he said any more, she didn't hear it; her attention had turned back to the docks.

Normally, the business of docking at a port would interest her. She'd learned quite a bit about sailing during the journey, had even made some friends among the crew, so she would have liked to be interested in their work right now—these last few moments among her own countrymen. But, of course, nothing could compete with the slowly clearing view of Shanghai. She saw now that it was a cramped city—not unlike London in that regard. The rich and the poor moved side by side, neither noticing the other except to grumble. The rich looked just like they did in London, including the latest fashions and equipages. Even the poor coolies seemed familiar, appearing like sailors to her, with their shortened pants and no shirts they squatted on the muddy banks. Behind them, the tenement houses rose inside bamboo scaffolding, imposing and ugly, in the way of all such buildings.

BOOK: White Tigress
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