The River Queen by A.M. Van Dorn


Wilde's Women Series Book 1

Six children…Five races…One man’s epic tale of triumph & tragedy

In a saga ranging far and wide from the lush Hudson River Valley to the shadowy recesses of the Antebellum South, as well as the distant shores of an uncharted and hostile desert isle off the coast of China and just about anywhere in between, all roads for the resourceful, adventurous and heroic William Henry “Whip” Wilde will ultimately lead to one place…the mighty Cedar Ledge Ranch and the formation of Arizona’s most unique and formidable family…The Wildes of the West!

This is his story.

Enter Kelly Wilde, Whip’s vivacious and sexy first wife, the woman he was supposed to love for all time. Snatching Cassandra and Dutch’s future mother literally from the brink of doom, so begins a relationship that will be defined by death and danger, all centering around Kelly’s mastery of an old riverboat ferrying an explosive secret worth killing for.

When a deadly plot is hatched against the steamboat, Whip and his river queen find themselves fighting to survive, squaring off against the lethal forces of a band of treasure hunting criminals and if the Wildes fail to win the day, a fiery death will claim every last life aboard the S.S. Hudson Belle!

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Excerpt from The River Queen © Copyright 2023 A.M. Van Dorn


Moonlight filtered through the windowpanes as a large full moon hung in the air over the pines that rose on the opposite bank of the great river. Kelly was thankful to be back in the room at last. She and Whip had spent the last few hours explaining everything that had happened to the sheriff, who had returned to town with his posse empty-handed. They had stunned the man as they had told him they had solved the robbery he was investigating and had put an end to the Getaway Gang. They promised the lawman they would meet again in the morning the write-up of an official statement as well as check on the status of Amos Strickland, who was under the care of the town doctor as he lay handcuffed in a jail cell. Perhaps he would be more forthcoming when blood was not leaking out of him like a sieve.

Shaking her wrist, Kelly put out the match she had used to light the final of the three candles the hotel provided for each room. It was true she could have lit the kerosene lamps, but she liked the candlelight; it would be perfect for what was to come. So many emotions churned within her as desire and guilt each fought their way to the top of all others seeking the crown of dominance.

Not all that long ago, she had shot a man between his eyes to save her life and then all the gunplay this afternoon. Yet, standing here before the handsome naval officer, in a strange way, she felt more nervous now than she had during those other harrowing events. Earlier, he had turned his back on her when passion seemed like it was about to overtake them. Yet, the kiss they had shared told her he would be staying put this time, and the longing she felt for him was almost leaving a weakness in her knees as well as a tingling that was beginning to throb through her womanhood.

But then there was the guilt. Still in her pocket was the little box with a diamond engagement ring protruding from the velvet lining. Warren had been unable to keep away despite her requests. He was a man of means, and he put it to use to track her down. The man had approached her just before she was to board the riverboat to take her north. On bended knee, he had begged forgiveness and extended the little box. Warren had asked for her hand in marriage, saying they could make a fresh start of things and put all the ugliness of the night Angus had broken into his home behind them. The proposal had come with promises to be more flexible and amenable to things that were important to Kelly.

Frustrated and moved at the same time, she had told him there was no way that she could give him an answer. Kelly remembered her own words as clear as day. How can I decide if there should be an engagement if I am not even certain there is an ‘us' anymore? As far as she was concerned, they were broken up. She had gritted herself, preparing to counter any arguments he might try on her, but Warren had surprised her. To prove he had changed, he said he would not pressure her, but insisted she take the ring on her journey and think about what he had said and what the ring would represent … a chance for a good life together. With that, he had stepped back into his carriage and ridden away from the docks joining the throng of other New Yorkers making their way through the city streets.

Now here she was about to make love to another man. It would not be unfaithfulness, she knew as they had separated, but right now, Warren was back in New York waiting on pins and needles for her answer while she was about to climb into bed with a man she had not even known existed this time the night before. But this man, this William Henry Wilde, he was unlike any man she had ever known. He was robust, daring and courageous, a true gentleman. She found him attractive in every way, from his reasoned intelligence to dashing good looks crowning a fit and muscular body. She hated herself for thinking this, but he was … he was everything that Warren Winthrop was not, and she wanted him so badly she could taste it.

A thrill rippled through her as he lifted one hand and stroked her cheek, “I just want you to know earlier … I burned to be with you then and there, but … I had concerns that it might spoil things somehow … and I didn't want to risk that for a simple reason. You attract me, Kelly Cassandra David, like no other woman ever has. I really can't even explain it, not even to myself, but here we are. And I want you. Do you understand that? I want you,” he said, his voice dropping to a near whisper as his thumb brushed back a lock of her goldenrod hair. Kelly's heart felt like it was leaping out of her body as her lips parted and she lost herself in those bright blue eyes.

“I want you, too, Whip, but there is something you must know … and I can only hope that you still want me after I tell you.” It was her voice now that was barely a whisper. His smile encouraged her to go on, so she drew a deep breath pulling out the box and handed it to him. He opened it, frowned, but then looked more puzzled than anything.

“There is a man who has asked me to marry him.”

For ten long minutes, she told him everything about her life of being courted by Warren. A great unburdening seemed to come over her as she admitted her boredom, their lack of passion and his seeming cowardness, abandoning her to rush off to find the night's watch. Through it all, Whip said nothing until finally, she finished speaking and silence remained, punctuated only by a ship's bell sending out a joyful greeting as it chugged past Garret's Landing, bound for Albany.

Her eyes could no longer meet his and as she looked down, she breathed, “So, as you now understand, the woman that you are about to take to bed is one that possibly in just a few short days may be spoken for, and if I'm not being mistaken after what you just said … I sense that you might be thinking the same thing … that there could be possibilities for us … for you and I.” Silence again filled the room until she felt his thumb raising her chin and she saw that he had a warm smile on his face.

“I will be honest. I would love to explore what might lie beyond this crazy, insane day free from someone trying to fight or kill us every five minutes.” Kelly dropped her forehead against his chest as they both laughed, and then she looked up at him again.

“But if I am starting to care for you in the way that I think I do … it wouldn't be right for me to stand in your way if your destiny is with that gentleman, but Kelly, do you love this Warren Winthrop?”

“That … that is something that I have to find out for myself when I return.”

“Then maybe all we will ever have is this one night,” he said, handing the ring box back to her. “But we'll make it count, Kelly, oh how we will make it count.”

With that, he scooped her up in his arms, the ring box slipping from her fingers, bouncing once before disappearing under the bed that he laid her down upon. She found him gentle and passionate, as his warm breath settled over her face as he leaned over and planted a kiss on her lips. Kelly let go of all the doubt and guilt within her and reached for his shoulders, pulling his bulky chest towards her heaving breasts.

What a chest it was, as solid as it was broad and feeling sleek underneath his partly unbuttoned shirt. She took her time to slide a palm through the opening of his buttons, and slowly, she ran her fingers over the chiseled surface of his ribs and chest, letting her mind ripple with the effects of having his skin accessible to her prying hands. Whip groaned hungrily into her mouth, holding on to her waist with one hand and caressing the length of her thighs with his other hand.

Kelly moaned eagerly into his mouth too, nibbling on his lower lip as he concentrated on her full upper lip. When his tongue lashed in to taste hers, she felt a tingling sensation wrap over her breasts, tightening her stomach and making its way to her groin. It settled there for long, getting her node to throb with need while her moistening walls jolted, seeking pleasures of their own.

“Whip,” she whispered, hoping that his name on her tongue was enough to express the desires for him that grew enormously inside of her.

“What…?” he asked, pausing above her to look into her emerald eyes.

She stared longingly back into his, sensing the impatience in them, as well as the animal hunger he was trying desperately to control. The man would surely not be stopping this time.

His hand had made its way to her upper thigh earlier, and in response to his question, she held his wrist and slowly pulled it up to the middle of her thighs. The undergarment she wore underneath her dress might pose a problem, but she trusted a man with his whim and machismo to know his way around a woman's underdress. He proved to be capable a second later as he slowly rubbed his finger over the slit of her groin, not minding the material that tried to bar his way.

A soft gasp escaped her lips, and she closed her eyes, hoping it was going to stop the energy that surged through her all the way to her toes. Whip wasn't done with her. He probed more of the warmth between her legs with his finger, slowly tracing the length of her opening and finally pausing to draw circles around her throbbing clitoris.

She gripped his shoulders, trying to control the impulse of ripping his shirt open and shoving her hand into his shorts. His groin had a considerable swell already – she could feel it bulging against her knee. Kelly did, however, strip the vest he was wearing off as a warm up of what was to come with the rest of his close while he took his time to explore her body…to search for a part of her that tickled so that he could tease and caress her to absolute, tingling perfection.

“Are you ready, Kelly Cassandra David?” she heard him whisper out of the blue.

She tried to breathe, or at least that was what she had been trying to do ever since he laid her on the bed. Opening her eyes and yet oblivious of what he meant by the question, she nodded and watched as he inched back a little and began to loosen the rest of his buttons.

Ready? She wasn't prepared for the full view of his mountain of a body as his shirt frayed from his body. His shoulders and large arms flexed with chiseled muscles as he moved. Right in front of her, he unbuckled his belt, pulling his trousers and undergarments down to his ankle in one swift, and she suspected well-practiced move given how attractive the man was. As he stepped clear of his pooled garments, his fully hard cock bobbed in the air. She liked it very much that she excited him. She watched as the huge shaft jerked awake, pointing towards her as if it wanted nothing than to consume every piece of her needy thighs.

So, was she ready? Kelly bit her lips nervously and unconsciously began to run her fingers over the cleavage of her breasts. Whips eyes trailed the movement of her eyes, and quietly, he inched towards her back, held her hand, and drew each of her fingers into his mouth.

“Oh, Whip….”

He pleasured her more than any other man – more than Warren had ever had. Once he was done twirling his tongue around her last finger, he leaned down and buried his head in between voluminous breasts. It was as if he was carrying out a ritual – one that enabled him to touch her everywhere, even without getting rid of any of her clothing…yet.

Eventually, he replaced his head in between her breasts with his left hand, pulling out her right breast with it. She felt like hiding her face in embarrassment, wondering what he would think of her full, balloon-shaped breasts, but when she noticed the broad smile on his face, she stared at him interestedly and gasped with pleasure as he hurriedly pulled out her other breast and clasped his lips over its perky nipple.

She had had enough; she thought as a shockwave of pleasure swept through her, instantly weakening her into jelly. She gripped his sandy, blonde hair to steady herself and at the same time, reached for his cock. It was warm, sweaty, and rock-hard in her hand, and with a little jerk, it jolted harder, becoming rather large for her small hand.


Whip had moved on to slowly whirl his tongue around her right nipple, but with a firm grip on his cock, he nibbled hard on the tender button, getting his lust to take absolute control.

It was what Kelly wanted anyway. She laid comfortably beneath him, still holding on to his rod as he slipped his lips off her breasts and began to help her out of her dress and underwear. And then moved to slide a finger into her, getting her body to lunge off the bed in ecstasy.

“So ready,” he whispered. “So, my River Queen is so ready.”

She wasn't done relishing the pleasure that she felt from his finger slipping inside her when he gently shoved her thighs widely apart and placed himself in between her legs. With a sleek movement, and with her hand guiding the tip of his cock in between her dripping wet tunnel, he slid inside her with a satisfied groan, feeding her lust with more and more ecstasy, leaving her squirming.

“Oh, Whip!”

She felt tears welling inside her eyes, much because the satisfaction that she felt were too unbearable for her. Electrified jolts like lightning coursed through her spine as Whip pulled out of her and then rammed back in, deeper and faster than before. The anchor pendant around her neck whipped madly from side to side as her body quaked under his thrusts.

His name rolled off her tongue quicker than she could hold them back. And as if her endless moans drove his lust, Whip held on to her thighs and filled every inch of her with his cock until he was groaning with ecstasy himself.

“I want you on me, Kelly,” he groaned. “I want to look at that beautiful face and magnificent body.”

He rolled onto the bed, pulling her with him and Kelly did as he told her. She sat above him, guiding his cock back inside below her tangle of golden rod hair, sighing with relief as her drenched walls tightened around him. She arched her back and began to thrust her hips, riding him with every strength left within her until she felt her orgasm close to the peak.

“Whip!” she moaned.

“Kelly!” Whip moaned too, meeting her thrusts with his as their bodies collided and collapsed with ripples of orgasm.

Whip bucked his hips skyward, lifting her as he splashed everything he had inside her, and she smiled gratifyingly, leaning over him to kiss him sensually on the lips. It was everything she had ever wanted, and he hadn't hesitated to help her with an unforgettable experience.

Drawing back from him, her blazing green eyes met his brilliant blue as they just looked at each other with the happiness and pleasure they had just shared displayed on their faces. Kelly straightened up and she saw the pleasure the bob of her breasts brought to him. It pleased her that they pleased him, just as she was pleased with how spine-tingling it felt to have all eight inches of his thick rod still embedded within her.

For a moment, she ran her fingers through the mess that was her hair, further mussing it up before bending down for a quick kiss before reluctantly swinging one of her legs to the side, releasing her prize as the long shaft slipped out of her. A charge ran through her seeing it was still rock hard as if he were ready to go again. Kelly had to fight to restrain herself and quickly pulled the blanket over them as she dropped her head to his chest. As he played with her hair, she made a purring sound; this all felt so wonderful. How hard was it going to be to go back to the real world…and to Warren?

“I think I'd almost forgotten how good that could be…with a real man that knows what he's doing…and knows what a woman likes.” She said, the words tumbling out between her purrs before she realized she was saying them out loud.

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