Today it’s about Tame My Wild Touch and I have to tell you that I cringed when I was told the title. I had titled it Prudence and the Gunslinger but I rarely got to keep the titles I chose. This story came about because of the many letters I received from readers asking for a heroine who wasn’t beautiful or shapely… in others words not quite perfect. After all, did all men want nothing but perfect woman? That basically was the premise for all romance books… beautiful heroine, drop-dead gorgeous hero. Of course they had flaws but not physical ones. I could understand that to a point since romances are fantasies meant to sweep you away. But—and there’s always a but—why not a heroine that’s not so perfect.
Prudence popped right into my head. A proper Bostonian miss who wasn’t slender though she was shapely. She also had a small hand deformity, which she kept hidden with gloves. She was attractive, though many thought her plain, and she was more independent than anyone realized and a tad stubborn.
And who better than to tame her wild touch (pun there since the title was meant for the hero) but an infamous gunslinger.
I love Prudence. She defied the manners and propriety of her time to go hunt for her mother she had thought dead and in the process found so much more.
Here’s an excerpt. Prudence has just gotten off the stagecoach and is speaking to the owner of a local saloon. She’s trying to find her mother but the saloon owner has misunderstood her and it presents a big problem for Prudence.
Prudence remained silent until the cider was placed in front of her. She was so thirsty. She reached for the tall glass and drank, finishing almost all the cider before putting it down. “I’m so glad you’ve agreed to help me.”
“Honey, I’ll help any girl.”
“New merchandise, Sadie?”
Prudence looked up at the man standing next to Sadie. He was a good five inches taller than herself and heavy, with a combination of fat and muscle, the muscle being in his arms and the fat being around his protruding belly. His clothes didn’t look dirty, but then they didn’t smell too clean, either.
“Like what you see, Ned?” Sadie asked. “You know the new ones are more money.”
“Got paid today,” Ned said pulling a roll of bills from his pocket.
“Well, darling, we just might be able to do business.”
Sadie patted his hand. “You just go back over to the bar and have a drink on me while I discuss some business with the little lady.”
“Okay, Sadie, but I’m first. Bill says he wants to be first, but remember I asked you first and I got more money.”
“You’ll be first, Ned. Don’t worry.”
Ned wasn’t worried, but Prudence was. She was foolish, so very foolish, not to have realized what the woman had been alluding to. She should have been more attentive. She should have questioned Sadie about her mother immediately. But she was so tired and thirsty that she hadn’t paid proper attention.
“I think there’s been a misunderstanding.”
Sadie grabbed her wrist. “Now, don’t go getting cold feet. One time and you’ll be fine. After Ned you’ll service Bill. This way you won’t have a chance to get sore. The more you do it, the easier it’ll get”
“I’m not here to service anybody,” Prudence insisted, and pulled her wrist free.
“You said you wanted help,” Sadie argued.
“I should have been more direct. It’s information I seek. I’m looking for someone who was a friend of yours several years ago.”
Sadie spied Ned and Bill getting anxious. She didn’t want to lose the money they were willing to spend. “Information will cost you.”
Prudence saw the way the woman’s eyes darted back and forth between the men and her. “How much?”
“I’m a reasonable woman,” Sadie said, leaning back against the wooden chair. “Let’s say you entertain those two men, and I’ll provide you with all the information you want.”
Prudence became irritated. How dare the woman assume she’d do such a thing. “That isn’t acceptable, Sadie.”
“It’s the only offer there is, honey.”
Sadie was no match for Boston tenacity. “No, Sadie, it isn’t. Whatever those men are willing to pay you for me, I’ll match it.” She could have doubled it, tripled it, but she was no fool. Prudence didn’t want anyone to know the large amount of money she carried with her. And she wouldn’t give Sadie one more penny than was necessary.
“Come on, Sadie,” Ned yelled. “I’m hurting waiting so long.”
“Yeah, he’s in a bad way,” Bill added with a laugh. “I ain’t gonna have to wait long for my turn. He’ll be done in a flash.”
The patrons in the saloon laughed.
Prudence didn’t find it funny.”The lady’s changed her mind, fellahs,” Sadie said, and in a lower tone added, “You better show me that money now, or you’ll find yourself upstairs right quick.”
Prudence produced a roll of bills that made Sadie’s eyes widen in appreciation.
“She has other plans, fellahs. Sorry,” Sadie announced.
“Have a drink on me to ease the pain, and I’ll give you Betty at a cheaper rate later this evening.”
Ned pounded his whiskey glass down on the bar, splashing the contents. “I’m tired of Betty. I want someone different. This new one ain’t bad to look at and under that garment she looks to be full-bodied, and I like them that way.”
“Yeah,” Bill said with a laugh. “Old Ned here loves to grab onto a woman’s ass while he’s plowing her.”
The men laughed. Prudence didn’t find their talk funny. She found it repulsive.
“At least they know what they’re getting,” Ned joked. “I give them a good one for their money.”
“Well, this little lady don’t want your good one,” Bill teased. “Maybe you should persuade her.”
Prudence recalled Zac’s warning. He had been right about the untamed nature of the West. She had to get out of here and fast. She moved to stand.
“Stay put,” Sadie said sharply. “He’ll just follow you.”
Ned walked over to the table.
“She’s not interested, Ned,” Sadie said, attempting to chase the man with a wave of her hand.
“She don’t know what she’s missing.”
“Yeah,” Bill agreed, leaning over Ned’s shoulder. “Show her what she’s missing.”
Bill was taller than Ned and definitely dirtier.
“It doesn’t matter. I’m not interested,” Prudence said firmly.
“Ain’t that pretty, the way she talks,” Ned said.
“Makes you want her even more, don’t it?” asked Bill.
Ned jiggled his butt. “I’m hot and ready for her.”
“Ain’t gonna take you long,” Bill joked. “She’ll be wanting a slow one like me after quick draw gets done.”
Sadie even laughed this time.
Prudence didn’t. The men’s remarks were too rude and repugnant. “I’m not interested,” she repeated, trying to sound stern but hearing a slight quiver to her own tone.
“I can make you interested, sweetie,” Ned said, moving closer. “Come on, touch me. See what you’re missing.”
Prudence felt trapped, cornered like an animal with nowhere to run. She quickly stood, pushing her chair back. “I don’t intend to tell you again I’m not interested.”
“Leave her be, fellahs,” Sadie said more sternly.
“Aw, come on, Sadie. I got a hankering for her,” Ned pleaded.
“Well, she ain’t got a hankering for you,” Bill said, laughing so hard he sounded like a snorting bull.
“Come on, sweetie, just feel how much I want you,” Ned begged, “One feel, just one feel.
“No!” Prudence shouted, and reached for her satchel.
Ned grabbed her arm. “I’m gonna change your mind.”
“Take your hand off me,” Prudence demanded.
“Let her go, Ned,” Sadie said. “A woman ain’t fun if she ain’t willing.”
“And I’m definitely not willing,” Prudence assured him.
“But I want you, sweetie. Bad, real bad. You smell pretty and talk pretty, and I got money. I’ll pay whatever you want.”
“It isn’t enough.”
The voice was so deep, harsh, and threatening that all the patrons turned their heads in quick succession to see who had spoken.
Ned released Prudence and turned around himself.
Prudence stepped away from him, rubbing her wrist as her eyes searched the room. The glare of the sun partially hid the man. He wore a dark hat low on his forehead, shading his face from full view. Even his dark outfit spoke of menace. He wore a black shirt and black trousers. A gun belt, holding two silver six-shooters, hugged his hips tightly and outlined his strength. There was no doubt he was a gunslinger. And from the startled gasps that circled the room, a dangerous one. But why was he interfering?
“Why ain’t it enough?” Ned asked, attempting to sound brave.
The dark figure walked out of the glare and toward Ned. His stride was slow, sure, and steady. No doubt or fear was present in his approach.
“Because she belongs to me and she isn’t for sale.”
Prudence was shocked not only by his statement but also by his voice. She recognized it. She stared at him as he raised his head and glared at her. His look told her that he would not be denied. The thought vexed her and excited her all at once.
Zac Stewart held out his hand to her. “Come here, Prudence. Now!”