A Little Whimsy

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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.”

Available Now @ Ellora’s Cave  /  Kindle  /  ARe  /  Nook 

For author news, contests, industry updates and more historical whimsy, check out the September edition of my Dreamcatcher eZine. 


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Leave a comment and go in a drawing for a copy of Pinch of Naughty

Thanks for stopping by,



About Gem

Author of contemporary women's fiction, paranormal urban fantasy, and historical western romance. Hermit by choice.
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29 Responses to A Little Whimsy

  1. What a great excerpt- the book is fantastic so far. Poor sexless Elie, I would not mind her job at all, Cyrus sounds like a lot of fun and great sex. Definite TBB & TBR ASAP.

  2. Gem Sivad says:

    Good morning Suzanne. Cyrus and Eleanor definitely spark off each other. 😉 Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Clare O'Beara says:

    Today that would qualify as sexual harassment. I can see that you are leading up to a romantic situation, but it’s a pity that women had so few rights in those days.

    • Gem Sivad says:

      Good morning, Clare. You’re right. Poor Eleanor could have Cyrus locked up today. It’s tricky getting the right balance between historical accuracy and romance. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Randi Alexander says:

    What fun research – condoms in the old West. And a great plot for an erotic romance. I need to read this one!

    • Gem Sivad says:

      Good morning Randi. Thanks for stopping in. The trouble with research is that I love reading this stuff and get lost for hours trolling through fascinating trivia. Better than the condom research–the history of vibrators. *nods*

  5. Hi Gem ,
    So nice to meet you! 🙂
    I so can’t wait to get started on Pinch of Naughty.
    Sounds like my kinda book! ❤
    I Agree with Randi, I bet this was a fun research. lol
    I knew about the sponge women used, but not condoms in the old west.lol
    When will "Wolf's Tender" and Grady Hawks , Be coming out?
    Thanks ~Teresa~

    • Gem Sivad says:

      Hi Teresa. Ellora’s Cave has 4 Eclipse Heat books lined up to release in late 2012, 2013. Wolf’s Tender (Charlie Wolf McCallister) will release in December. After that, Breed True(Grady Hawks) early 2013, Trouble in Disguise (Deacon McCallister) May (I think) and Whispering Grace (Dan Hawks, Grady’s cousin) mid summer. As always, my publication dates are tentative and may change.
      Love your interest in my Eclipse series and thanks for stopping by today.

  6. Lb.Shire says:

    Hi Gem,
    Pinch of Naughty sounds great, will definitely add to my tbr stack!

  7. Kirsten Lynn says:

    Hi Gem,
    I absolutely love trolling through old newspapers. They reported on everything and everyone back then, and story ideas abound in the pages.

    I loved Cyrus and Eleanor, but then again I love all of your characters and books!!


    • Gem Sivad says:

      Hey, Kirsten. You are so on time. Thanks for dropping in. I’m at a tough spot in a story, feeling totally inept, and *beaming* here you are. {{hugs}} Thanks for the great support.


  8. Wow I love the excerpt. I love history and it always repeats itsself. It is interesting to see how people continue to debate and deal with the same issues during different time periods. I would love to read this book and I will check out your site. Thanks, Jackie rings@wwt.net

    • Gem Sivad says:

      Jackie– Had to do some trolling to find this. Thank God for Google. @_@*ahem* Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (November 24, 1808 – September 29, 1890)= “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” English translation of this French proverb: “The more things change the more they stay the same.”

      Thanks so much for stopping by,


    • Gem Sivad says:

      Hi again, Jackie. The randomizer selected YOU. I’m emailing you right now. Let me know what format to send for your copy of Pinch of Naughty.

  9. myreadingobsession says:

    Gem I love reading the little bits of history you find. The excerpt is wonderful, I think I know whats on the top of my TBD list :0) Carin

    • Gem Sivad says:

      Hi. Love your name, “my reading obsession” . I think that kind of fits me, too. I have to knock off writing every once in a while while I appease my inner librarian’s demand for cuddle-up and read time. O_0. Love a good book. Cherish the great ones.

      Thanks for stopping by,


  10. Hi Gem, great to see you blogging here. Congrats on A PINCH OF NAUGHTY. Your books are western-fabulous. And I always love the history angle. Plus, the eye candy above, of course. ~grinz~

    • Gem Sivad says:

      Hi, Savanna. Cowboys, horses, and savvy women in the Old West. Yeah, I’m pretty addicted to the time and place. Thanks for being a constant source of support and encouragement.


  11. Tracie says:

    I think Mrs Lacey is going to Mr Burke a run for his money or something much more valuable. Great excerpt, looking forward to reading Pinch of Naughty.

    Good luck and happy writing!

    • Gem Sivad says:

      Hi Tracie. Eleanor has Cyrus in a heart-lock from day one. Love it when women use their brains to out-wile the wily devils. Hope you have time to read Pinch of Naughty and enjoy.
      Thanks for stopping by.


  12. Joanne B says:

    Cyrus sounds like a lot of fun. At least Eleanor has an idea of what she’s getting it to, if no experience with it. I’m sure Cyrus would be glad to show her.
    This book sounds fantastic. Can’t wait to read it.

    • Gem Sivad says:

      Hi Joanne. It’s true, Eleanor has done her duty in the past and she expects to do it again. After all, it’s only for six weeks, that’s less than ten minutes of time to be spent on intimacy. Of course she can do it. *cheesy grin*.

      Thanks for stopping by,


  13. TIFFANY M says:


  14. Tiss says:

    Loved the excerpt. Also like that you found a nice picture of a cowboy and his horse. For what is a cowboy without his horse? Walking..and how many cowboys like to walk? Not many. LOL.

  15. Gem Sivad says:

    Just a note to all you lovelies who stopped by today. I’m going to let the comments keep rolling until midnight. Then I’ll let the randomizer choose my winner and I will post the name tomorrow.

    Thanks all of you for making this such a fun day!!


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