Sickly. A whore. On her own.
That is how Della would describe herself, or did until she became a gem at The Red Petticoat Saloon. Still sickly, and still a whore, at least she wasn’t on her own any longer. She had become Citrine, one of Jewel’s gems, and she wore the name proudly.
It wasn’t until she became deathly ill that she realized just how much people truly cared about her. She had her friends at The Red Petticoat, and she soon had the care of the town doctor—Dr. Anson Norwood.
Dr. Norwood promises her that he will fix all that is wrong with his patient and treat her like the gem she truly is. But will the shadows of her past, as well as the ones of Anson Norwood, get in the way? Can she allow the good doctor to fully care for his Citrine?
About The Red Petticoat series:
The Red Petticoat Saloon series is a collection of books written by #1 and USA Today bestselling authors. Each book tells the unique story of a different woman, 'a gem', who comes to the saloon to find a safe haven and discovers they become part of a family. Recurring characters appear in each book to allow readers a continuity as they learn about the women who have learned to bend but have not broken under the harshness that life has to offer. It is a series where strong, loving men find not only entertainment at the saloon but the special women who reside under its roof.
“I’m not a dirty whore. I’m not,” she wailed. “I just have to do what I have to do to survive. I—”
“Shhh…” he soothed, “I know. I know, little one. I never said you were. You are a gem. Just a very sick one, but we’ll get you better soon.”
He allowed her to cry for a few moments, holding her firmly to his broad chest. Her bottom half was still exposed, and she didn’t care. All she focused on was the doctor’s strong embrace holding her close. His scent of earthy spice mixed with fresh linen assaulted her nose. His heart beat against her ear, and for the first time in her life, Della never wanted to leave the embrace of a man. She wanted to remain there for as long as he would hold her.
“Your tears are breaking my heart,” he whispered. “I didn’t mean to make you cry or hurt you in any way. I apologize for my bedside manner.”
“I’m sorry,” she sniffled. “I’m just so tired of being sick. So tired of the fight.”
He kissed her softly on top of her head which broke the wall—however weak it was—and the full sobs broke through. All she could do was cry louder and harder, clinging to his shirt for dear life.
“It’s all right,” he whispered as he tightened his grip even more. “You are going to be just fine. I’ll get you healthy again, so you don’t have to fight all the time. I’ll fix you up. I don’t tell people that if I don’t mean it. You will be healthy again, Della. I give you my word on that.”
Wiping at her eyes, she pulled back enough to look up into his eyes. “I’ve had this sickness since I was a little girl. Long before I spread my legs for any man. I promise you that there is no disease.”
The doctor nodded. “All right then. We don’t need to examine you down there if it upsets you so. My intent was never to make you cry. I apologize.”
“I don’t want to cause any problems. I swear I am not throwing a tantrum or anything. It’s just—”
“Shh… we will do it another time. There is no need to examine you there now. We don’t need to find out why you are so sick right now, but rather concentrate on getting you better. For now, I want you to simply rest.”
Pulling away, he adjusted her so she relaxed on the pillow. He pulled down her nightdress to cover her body and then pulled the quilt up to her chin. Della hated that she was no longer being held, and wondered if she could request being hugged by him just a little bit longer.
“I need to run up to the O’Leary’s farm and check on their wee one who came down with something. I’ll be back first thing tomorrow, but until then, you stay put. Do you understand?”
“Do you understand?” he asked much more firmly.
“Yes, sir. I will stay in bed until you return.”
He smiled, satisfied with her answer. “Good. I’ll tell Nettie to have your supper brought to you. Eat it all, and drink more water.” He gathered his bag and walked toward the door, stopping to look over his shoulder. “Goodnight, Della.”
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Alta Hensley is a USA TODAY bestselling erotic romance author who has had #1 top-selling books in BDSM, erotic science fiction, humor, and historical. She writes the naughty... and then the cure for it.
Being a multi-published author in the Domestic Discipline genre, Alta is known for her alpha heroes, sweet love stories, hot eroticism, and engaging tales of the constant struggle between dominance and submission.
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