Author Maddie Taylor joins a long list of other USA Today and international bestselling authors to breath danger, suspense, intrigue, romance and a healthy dose of steam to bring this unique series to life.
Each stand-alone book tells the compelling story of a different woman, 'a gem', who comes to the saloon to find a safe haven and discovers they have become part of a family. Recurring characters appear in each book to allow readers continuity as they meet 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.
Balking at pre-arranged marriage number four to a man older than her father, Carissa Fulwiler leaves New York City humiliated and alone, but determined to take her future into her own hands. She travels to California to begin a quiet life on the western frontier as a mail-order-bride to a young man of her own choosing. But fate has never been kind to her and she arrives in Culpepper Cove to find her would-be husband dead from a freak accident, leaving her with little money, no job, and no place to live. With few options, Carissa ends up as Coral, the newest Gem at the Red Petticoat Saloon.
Bo Magnusson left his troubled past behind long ago and traveled west. Now that he’s established as the town’s blacksmith and owner of the busy livery stable, he's ready to settle down and begin a family. One day, a down on her luck lovely redhead arriving by stage catches his eye. She is obviously a lady and needs a man to protect her, especially when her dire straits force her to take a job dancing with lonely prospectors at the local saloon. This doesn't sit well with him and he pursues her only to be politely, but flatly, rejected. But Bo is stubborn, and he won’t give up trying until his ring is on her finger and she bears his name, even if the convincing means that she’s sporting a bright red bottom while he rekindles her heart and keeps her safe.
Having at last won the stubborn young widow's hand, Bo and Coral settle into their new life together, but their pasts come calling one day when her father's man comes to town ready to drag Coral back to New York by whatever means possible. Tempers rise and secrets are revealed, but when the dust settles, will Bo and Coral still be together, or will the treachery and vindictiveness of those dead set against their love tear them apart?
The evenings were spent at home, usually going to bed early and getting to know each other in very intimate ways.
Once, after supper, while he was helping her with the dishes, Bo washing while she dried due to the still healing burn on her hand, he accidently splashed the front of her blouse. She wiped at it with her towel, which had only made it worse, soaking her through to the skin. The light weight summer fabric clung to her, as did the camisole she wore underneath, having long since discarded her corsets in light of the summer heat like all the other women in these parts.
Fighting a losing battle, she gave up, expecting the thin material would air dry quickly. Holding out her hand for another dish, she glanced up when he didn’t pass her one. His hands had stilled on the plate he’d been scrubbing, but his attention wasn’t on the dish. Instead, his gaze was riveted on her breasts, the nipples taut and blatantly revealed by the clingy wet fabric. An electric charge seemed to snap between them. After a long moment, his eyes lifted and fixed on her own. The dish cloth dropped with a splash into the sink as he moved toward her, a hungry passion burning bright in his eyes.
She took a step back, then another, not out of fear, on instinct, like anyone would if facing a huge Viking who was descending upon them.
“Bo,” she whispered when the cupboards at her back cut off her retreat.
“Open your blouse, Coral. I need to taste your nipples.”
She hesitated, a jolt of intense desire making her ache between her thighs. He growled with impatience as he took another step. “Blus. Uv. Nu.”
Her hands fluttered up to her collar in front, unable to decide if his words were heavily accented English, or Swedish.
“If you value the garment, take it off now.”
Without delaying further, she quickly undid the many buttons in front and stripped the blouse off her shoulders. She did so without looking away from his eyes and the turbulent passion she could practically see whirling within him. He was like a marauding Norseman of old, ready to ravish the woman he’d found while pillaging. Being ravished by Bo didn’t sound bad at all, come to think of it.
“The camisole goes too,” he whispered hoarsely, when the blouse hit the floor. She didn’t hesitate to pull it up and over her head. Her hair, that she’d unpinned when they got home, fell about her shoulders and over her breasts. His hand reached out and brushed it back behind her. Then his fingers trailed down over the points of her taut, swollen nipples. The rough pads of his fingertips scraped over them, which was delicious and she arched into his touch, silently asking for more. Both hands were at her breasts, his thumbs flicking over the hard tips as he weighed the fullness in his hands.
“So damn beautiful, my Coral.”
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