Old West Train Robberies and Bittersweet
I’d like to thank Randi and the ladies of Wild & Wicked Cowboys for having me on their blog today to share an excerpt from my book, Bittersweet. But first, a bit of old west history.
With the advent of the transcontinental railroads came a new form of lawlessness—train robberies. The first known US train robbery took place in North Bend, Ohio in 1865. It was a huge success from the point of view of the robbers. They tore up the tracks to stop the train, robbed over a hundred passengers at gunpoint, and blew open the safe. One of the last old west style robberies occurred in Southern Oregon in 1923 in a bungled attempt that blew up the mail car and killed several people. Payloads, which had previously been carried by stagecoach, were now transferred by railroad. They became a favorite target of outlaws. Some of the most famous train robbers were Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch and Jesse James and the James Gang. Generally the robberies occurred in one of two ways. A gang derailed a train in order to board it, or they planted gang members on the train, who then seized control and stopped the train so the remaining bandits could come aboard. Rarely did outlaws ride alongside the moving train on horseback and jump aboard the way the movies portray it.
My opening scene in Bittersweet begins on a train that has just been boarded by a gang of robbers. Jack Craven and his men rob the passengers at gunpoint, including my hero, Daniel Moran, and his brother, Rory. When Rory makes the decision to be a hero, the outcome is tragic. And now for a blurb and a fun excerpt that takes place on a kitchen table… Enjoy!
Eight months after her husband is killed in a train robbery, Tess Moran knows she must pick up the pieces of her shattered life and build a future for herself and her infant daughter. Daniel Moran’s love for Tess is bittersweet. Acting on his feelings for his sister-in-law will betray his dead brother’s memory. Watching her search for love elsewhere may destroy him.
In 1880, life in rural Colorado is filled with hard work and simple pleasures, but trouble looms on the horizon. Together Tess and Daniel battle drought and the outlaw who killed the man they both loved, but the greatest challenge of all is finding solace for their battered hearts.
“We’ve never made love in the middle of the day.” His fingers went to work on the long row of buttons fastening her bodice.
Her pulse raced. “Daniel, we’re in the kitchen. Anyone could walk right up to the door and look in.”
“No one is going to come calling late on a Sunday afternoon.”
“Maybe we should go upstairs.”
He lifted her skirts and hoisted her up onto the table. “I want to stay right here.”
“We can’t, not on the table.”
“It’s sturdy enough. I should know since I built it.”
She ran her fingers through his hair and touched the lines feathering out from the corners of his eyes. “It’s decadent.”
“It’s exciting.” He finished with her buttons and peeled the dress away from her shoulders. He untied her chemise, and her breasts spilled free into his hands. His breath was warm against her skin as his mouth fastened onto one pink tip, igniting a fire deep in her belly.
She groaned and pulled him closer. “You’ve convinced me.”
His mouth moved to her other breast, and his hands crept up beneath her skirt. He pushed aside layers of petticoats and reached her pantalets.
“Lift your hips.” His breath came fast, and his eyes burned with desire.
“Daniel, how can we?”
“I’ll show you.”