This summer saw an exciting triple release for me in the form of The Wild Wild West novella series with Carina UK.
I had ideas for three stories about young women living in Deadwood in the late 1800s; three daughters of Deadwood. The women are linked by their hometown but the novellas can be enjoyed as standalones.
In #1 – Bound – a mail-order bride gets more than she bargained for when she runs away with the groom’s money, in #2 – Scandal – an ex-harlot hopes to make a fresh start but unexpectedly falls for a local man and in #3 – Menage – a widow takes on two new labourers but finds them irresistible as they start to heal her body, heart and mind.
Here’s the blurb for Bound, the first novella in the series.
Runaway mail-order bride Layla Powell is terrified when she is captured by two powerful cowboys purporting to work for her fiancé – the mysterious Mr Jackman. At first Layla fights tooth and nail for her freedom, but Charlie and his lover Etu have their own erotic methods to subdue their feisty captive…
In fact Charlie is really Layla’s fiancé, she was supposed to be his wife in name only, but he and Etu like what they see. They are sure that just one night of being pleasured by them both will be exciting enough to convince Layla to abandon her plans to run and keep her in their bed forever!
In case that got you raising your Stetson, here are two excerpts for you to enjoy:
“Don’t you move a muscle!”
Layla stiffened as a hand covered her mouth. She blinked hard and tried to peer through the gloom.
Panic seized her. Where was she? What was happening?
Her arms were pinned to her sides. There was a weight crushing her chest, restricting her movement and her breathing. She wriggled instinctively, her mind still foggy with sleep.
She was trapped!
“Now listen up, missy,” the deep voice continued. “Stop your struggling! I’m gonna remove your Stetson but you better keep still, ya hear?”
That was why she couldn’t see! She had pulled her father’s old hat over her eyes so that she could get some sleep. The afternoon sun had been hot, even through the trees. But now…someone had discovered her.
Would he hurt her?
She squinted as the cover was removed from her face. It didn’t make much difference. It was pitch black. She must have slept through the whole of the afternoon. Darn it! She’d only intended on taking a quick nap. She tried to focus on slowing her breathing but she was only able to catch little breaths.
The man straddling her chest pushed Layla’s hair back from her face with a callused hand and she frowned. As her eyes adjusted, she could just make out the outline of his head, a dark silhouette against the stars above. He moved and the hand covering her lips exerted more pressure. Her teeth dug painfully into her lips. Her heart thudded against her ribs and she felt sure that he must be able to feel it hammering beneath his muscular thigh. Fear surged through her and a red haze flooded her brain.
She had to get away. She had to escape.
She forced her mouth open then bit down on the flesh of his palm. It was instinctive, a physical reaction to a physical situation. She was consumed by terror. If he was going to hurt her then she’d inflict pain upon him first. However she could.
He growled and whipped his hand away but his weight remained in place. Crushing. Constricting. Impossible to displace.
“Now then, missy.” He pressed his mouth against her ear. She winced, expecting to smell unwashed man and to feel his stubble graze her cheek but instead she smelt potash soap on clean-shaven skin. Even with her sleep-addled brain, the scent reassured her as it brought with it images of civilisation and safety. Of a long-ago childhood. So he wasn’t a bandit. He hadn’t been out here for days or weeks. Perhaps he was even respectable. But that was probably too much to hope for. And as she knew all too well, even a man who appeared to be respectable could be hiding a darkness. A hidden side that would lead to pain, degradation and heartbreak for a woman who fell for his charms.
“I’m gonna remove my hand from over yer mouth. But you gotta promise not to scream.” He laughed. “Not that it would do you much good out here…but, well, to be honest with you…I can’t abide a woman screaming. You understand?” His voice reverberated through her chest, tickling beneath her armpits like a feather and making her nipples turn confusingly into hard little peaks. She had hoped to disguise herself as a young man by binding her ample bosoms tightly and donning trousers but it seemed she’d fooled no one.
Layla nodded. She was stuck in a bad box, no doubt about it. She realised now that screaming would get her nowhere. Might even conjure up a few other wastrels who’d be intent on having their way with a woman fool enough to wander out into the Black Hills alone.
What had she been thinking? But she’d been lost, alone, without a choice. She had acted upon the instinct to flee, too afraid to stay and meet her fate. The fate that she’d played a part in arranging.
The man removed his hand and she moistened her lips with her tongue. She could taste wood-smoke and soap. This man kept himself clean. He’d also recently made a fire. Her belly growled and she silently cursed her human frailty.
“You hungry, eh missy? We’ll have to see about getting you some victuals in a while then. But you gotta promise to behave.”
“Who…” Layla tried to take a deep breath but the man’s knees crushed her sides.
“Who am I?” He finished her question. “Well that’s for me to know…and for you to find out.”
Layla gasped. “I…I can’t…bre…”
“Oh!” He jumped to his feet. “Sorry…Didn’t realise I was squashing ya.”
He grabbed her hands and pulled her upright.
“Now remember what I said…” He kept hold of her wrists.
“I remember,” Layla nodded. Black spots swam before her eyes and she staggered. The stranger caught her beneath her armpits with his large hands then scooped her up. She leant her head against his chest, momentarily too weak and dizzy to protest.
“Now I’m gonna take you back to where I’ve set up camp then we’re gonna have us a little chat. Understand?”
“Yes,” Layla whimpered. She cleared her throat. Better not to sound afraid. “I mean…yes, I understand.”
What on earth did he want? What if there were more men there and he intended on sharing her with them? She glanced around but the trees were thick and the moon was a sliver in the sky. She’d likely break her neck if she tried to run off and she felt too weak to even attempt it. Better to wait and see what he wanted to talk about and maybe get something to eat. Build her strength a little so she could think. Clear her head. Then plan.
Charlie had to stop himself from taking a few steps forward and grabbing hold of Layla. The sheer beauty of her naked form was playing havoc with his body and mind. Sure, he’d seen a woman’s body before, seen a few in fact, but none of them had been this perfect, this beautiful, this desirable.
He dragged his eyes away from her creamy flesh.
“Etu?” He nudged his lover’s shoulder but Etu didn’t move. He stood in front of Layla like a statue, his eyes glued to her body. He watched as Etu hovered his hands over her form, tracing her curves without actually making contact. Etu had fallen hard.
Charlie knew that he would have to take charge.
He grabbed the rope that Layla had escaped from and ran it through his hands. If he wasn’t so confused by the feelings running through him, he’d have found the situation funny. Here they were, the three of them, in the woods at night, naked. Charlie, his lover and their mail-order bride.
Who’d have thought that an advert in a paper would come to this?
He had to tie Layla up. He just had to. He couldn’t risk her escaping again. Especially now that she’d seen him with Etu.
“Put your hands behind your back, Layla.” He used the voice he reserved for calming a startled horse. Low, deep, commanding.
Layla opened her eyes and stared at him. She cleared her throat as if to speak. Her bottom lip quivered. He felt his gaze drawn to her breasts again then lower. Lower. To the auburn curls at the apex of her thighs. He knew that if he parted her legs he would see the shiny pink folds of her sex. Glistening. Inviting. Encouraging him to penetrate her feminine flesh.
Dammit! He had to stay strong here.
Etu turned to him. “Charlie…is this really necessary? She won’t try to run off now. Look at her.” Etu gestured at Layla and Charlie swallowed hard. He couldn’t stop looking at her. It was driving him crazy the way that her beautiful auburn hair fell over her shoulders and her green eyes shone. If he hadn’t known better, he’d have thought that she even looked aroused.
But that would be ridiculous, right?
He moved towards her and she stiffened. He pulled her hands behind her and looped the rope around them. This close, he could smell her sweet musky scent. It made him want to pull her against his chest. His whole body was responding to her proximity, her femininity. It was so different from Etu’s. It made him want to run his tongue over every inch of her flesh in order to taste her sweetness.
His erection brushed the backs of her thighs as he tightened the rope. She gasped. He bit hard on his lip and breathed deeply. He had to regain his control. But it would be so easy to press his cock between the soft flesh of her buttocks until he found a way inside.
“Now kneel.” His voice was husky. He ached with the strain of denying his desires.
He helped her to lower to the ground. Etu knelt also. Watching. Hardly blinking.
Charlie knew that Etu was overwhelmed too. It was as if something had sparked between the three of them and it wouldn’t take much to set the three of them on fire. But the ensuing blaze could make charcoal of them all.
He put his hands on Layla’s shoulders and pushed gently, to make her lie on her side. Her skin was warm and smooth beneath his fingers. It reminded him of velvet. He began to wind the ropes around her, tying her like a hog, all the while repeating to himself that she was a swindler. She was not the sweet, innocent young woman that her letters had suggested. She did not need his protection and a place in his life. She would not be good for him and Etu. It would not be wise to open her rounded thighs and to nuzzle her wet pink flesh, to suckle her bud until she shattered against his tongue. Time after time until his mouth filled with her heady juices and he found the ultimate fulfilment that he could now admit that he craved.
But as he moved his hands deftly around her flesh, accidentally grazing her as he did so, he realised that he was not fully convinced.
The softness of her skin. The fullness of her breasts. The soft auburn curls that covered her mound. Her sweet vulnerability that seemed to reach out to his protective instinct. Her scent, such a contrast to Etu’s yet just as good. Just as intoxicating.
All these things about Layla invited him to believe that she was who she had said she was. What he wanted her to be. All these things made him want to believe that she could be the woman to complete what he had with Etu. And all these things aroused him in a way he had never expected to be aroused around a woman.
There was something special about Layla Powell. No doubt about it.