Today I’m going to introduce you to Book One in the Prairie Hills Women Trilogy…
It’s a tale of sexual discovery and love. Mary, a widow, is prim and proper and feeling unfulfilled sexually. She fights to discover herself and to embrace her own sexy nature, even if it means finding it with the best, badass gunman in the Dakota Territory.
You got a look at the best, badass gunman this past Hero Tuesday in July. Now you can see how Mary and Clint first meet.
Mary lingered a bit. She still couldn’t believe she was here, hundreds of miles away from home and still not feeling a bit homesick. Of course that could be because she knew her father and Justinia would be leaving any day now on their trip abroad and wouldn’t be returning for seven or eight months. He would have the Duke of Rochester with him on his return, and she had no doubt her father hoped that she would marry the man.
Who knew? Perhaps in the end she would do as her father wished. Or perhaps she would find a new and satisfying life here.
“How you doing, pretty lady?”
With a quick turn of her head Mary’s eyes popped wide. There was a giant of a man approaching the wagon. He was well over six feet and so wide that Mary could easily hide behind him and not be seen. And Mary was no petite woman.
He was dressed in faded Wranglers, a red shirt so worn that it looked almost pink and a gray wool shirt underneath. Dust and grime covered him from head to foot. He wasn’t a bad looking man and would probably be halfway decent if he bathed and washed his long brown hair that matched his thick moustache.
“I’m Jake,” he said with a nod. “And you’re?”
Mary wasn’t accustomed to a man walking up to her and introducing himself. It just wasn’t done, but then she wasn’t in New York anymore. Being unfamiliar with the etiquette of the West and so as not to be rude, she answered him. “Mary.”
“You’re a right pretty lady. Will you marry me?”
Mary had been startled so witless lately that his preposterous proposal didn’t rattle her. She actually thought it quite amusing, but answered with a somber tone. “I’m a widow in mourning.”
He scratched his head. “You’re not wearing widow weeds.”
“They weren’t conducive to travel.”
He looked perplexed, as if he didn’t understand her. “How long before your mourning is over?”
“I couple of months,” Mary said, though in fact it was less than three weeks, but she hoped to discourage him.
“I’ll wait,” Jake said seriously, nodded and walked away.
Mary shook her head and decided it was best she didn’t wait in the wagon alone. She climbed down with caution having almost tumbled down several times. She turned and rounded the wagon and stepped up on the boardwalk to enter the mercantile, when she was once again stopped by another man.
“You available,” he demanded.
He was a weasel-looking character with small protruding eyes and tight pursed lips and his face was pox marked and the worst part was that he smelled as if he never bathed.
“No, I’m not,” Mary said and attempted to walk past him.
He swung his hand out to lean against a post and block her path. “You ain’t wearing a ring.”
Mary never had to defend herself. She had had her father and husband to do that and besides she had lived in a civilized city and had felt safe whenever she had gone out. But then there had always been someone with her. Justinia had repeatedly warned her about the dangers of the lawless frontier.
Not knowing quite how to handle the situation, but thinking how Lenora’s strong personality worked so well for her, she decided to emulate her.
“Get out of my way,” Mary demanded courageously.
“You got grit,” the man laughed and Mary’s stomach rolled from the stench of his breath.
“I most certainly do.”
“I want a wife and you ain’t got a ring, so I’m claiming you.”
He reached out before Mary could move out of his grasp and grabbed hold of her wrist.
“Let go of me,” she yelled hoping to draw her aunt’s attention inside the mercantile. She grew frightened when he started tugging her along. He was stronger than his skinny frame looked and she grew more frightened that she would not be able to stop him from having his way.
“Let her go, Wendell!”
Mary turned to see the gunman. His right hand pushed his duster back further away from his holstered gun, as if he warned the man he was ready to draw.
Wendell stopped short and great garbs of sweat instantly broke out on his face. “I didn’t know she belonged to you, Clint. Honest I didn’t.”
Mary stopped herself from declaring that she certainly did not belong to this gunman, but thought better of it.
“She belongs to you, Clint?” Jake asked appearing out of nowhere. “I didn’t know that either or I would have never asked to get hitched to her.”
“We’ll let everyone know she’s yours,” Wendell said, releasing her hand so quickly you would think he held a hot coal.
“Wait a minute, fellas,” Clint said with that same smug grin he had sent her before. “Let the lady tell you herself, so that they’ll be no mistake about it.”
Mary turned icy eyes on him. He was forcing her to lie to protect herself from continuing harassment from these two men. She turned and gave a quick look into the mercantile and just as she caught Lenora’s back, Clint stepped in front of her.
“Well, sweetheart,” he said leaning in close to her. “What have you got to say?”
Mary tried to step around him and get to Lenora, but Clint’s arm shot out and wrapped around her waist.
“Come on, darlin’, don’t be shy,” he teased.
His breath whispered across her face and it was decidedly pleasant and he smelled like earth and pine and fresh morning air rolled into one. Mary silently cursed the tingle that started once again and with great rapidity sparked and spread like wildfire, racing up her flesh and hardening her nipples.
Unfortunately, the heat continued to her cheeks turning them a molten red.
“She belongs to him all right,” Jake said with a stupid grin and a bobbing nod. “Her cheeks are burning. Lucky you, Clint.”
“Am I lucky, sweetheart?” he asked, forcing a response from her.
“You’ll pay for his,” Mary whispered.
Clint leaned closer almost as if he intended to kiss her, but instead said, “Count on it.”
“You his woman?” Wendell asked with glee, enjoying her blush that didn’t seem to end.
“Tell him,” Clint urged with a whisper, “or I walk away and leave you to them.”
“You are no gentlemen,” Mary murmured.
Clint grinned. “You got that right, honey.”
I have no release date for the Prairie Hills Women trilogy yet, but stay tuned I’ll keep you updated.