The above pic by Adam Poulson is a perfect composite of two things I love–a handsome cowboy and his horse. Throw in red dust, blue Texas sky and a resourceful heroine and you’ve got the ingredients for one of my erotic tales set in the Old West.
Writing historicals often means trolling through archived 19th century newspaper articles looking for plot bunnies. Divorce, bank fraud and condoms in the Old West? These three “finds” helped me write my latest western romance from Ellora’s Cave, Pinch of Naughty.
- Comstock Laws: The availability and use of condoms and other sexual devices in late 19th century Texas.
- The Long Depression–the banking crises of 1873-1889
- Divorce among the privileged and elite in the 1880’s.
Furious, frustrated and ruined, Eleanor Lacey is either divorced, or widowed before the final decree. Regardless of the label, her husband is as dead as their sexless marriage.
Leaving scandal and her marital status to be sorted out by Connecticut lawyers, Eleanor flees to Texas posing as a grieving widow. When her bored pastry baking leads to a business opportunity, she needs money fast. What better way to earn her grubstake, than by cooking meals for the richest rancher in the state?
Cyrus Burke works hard for every penny he makes and prides himself on knowing where to cut costs. He doesn’t want a wife cluttering up his life. His housekeepers are good enough—round the clock employees tending his sexual appetite, too. When Mrs. Lacey applies for the position, she looks like a promising candidate. Delicious in fact, as smooth and creamy as a tasty tart.
Recipe for hot love: Mix together one wickedly willful widow and one arrogantly masterful man, throw in a dash of decadent desire, stir in a pinch of sizzling naughty and turn up the fire.
“Mrs. Lacey, is this the first time you’ve applied for a job?” Irritated at her stubborn persistence, Cyrus stepped closer.
“Yes, but I am still qualified.” Her chin lifted a notch and a blush tinged her cheeks.
“Just for future reference, first impressions mean a lot. And I’m not impressed with an argumentative female.” He watched her swallow. She looked nervous. Good.
“Mr. Burke, with all due respect, you are being shortsighted. You posted a notice advertising your need for a housekeeper. I am seeking domestic employment. An agreement between us would seem mutually beneficial.”
“Mrs. Lacey, you might be able to cook. It’s doubtful you can dish it up for fifteen hands morning and night, but I’ll allow for the possibility. As for the cleaning, if you say you can dust and polish, I’ll take your word for it. In addition to those jobs, there are other duties I employ female help to perform. Trust me, you don’t qualify.”
He was tired and dirty, he’d been stringing wire since before daybreak, and he had another section to finish before he could clean up and eat. Widow Lacey didn’t look as though she could handle even warmed-up beans and cold bread. Frowning tiredly, Cyrus waved her away as if she were a gnat bothering him. But the woman wouldn’t quit.
“Given the penchant for gossip in this county, I’m aware of the additional housekeeping tasks you require. I’m prepared to take on that chore also.”
Cyrus knew he’d made the right decision when she reduced coupling to drudgework, calling bed sports chores. Deliberately he merged his shadow with hers, stepping closer until his stature dwarfed her size, expecting her to retreat. She held her ground, tilting her head just the necessary degree to meet his eyes.
He shook his head regretfully, his cock stirring as he caught her scent—some kind of flower mixed with woman. That combined with her husky tones had him contemplating a hell of a lot more than suppertime. “Mrs. Lacey, you’re the kind of woman a man marries to get free labor and a pack of young’uns. I don’t need either. I pay a fair wage for a full day’s work and my housekeepers have night duty too.” Cyrus moved away from her to the door.
“I’ll take it,” she said, pulling an apron from her satchel before scurrying toward him. “I’m ready to get started.” Though he blocked the entrance with his big frame, she ducked under his arm, brushing by him as she tied on the scrap of cloth.
“You won’t suit. You’ll get started, last a day, and quit.” Cyrus spoke to her retreating back, startled at how she’d gotten by him so fast.
“No, I won’t,” she disagreed, sniffing the air and heading straight for the right door. “I assume if I follow the smell of dirty dishes and rancid butter I’ll find the kitchen.”
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