Today, we welcome guest author E.E. Burke, who writes sexy, suspenseful historical romance set in the American West. Her writing has earned accolades in regional and national contests, including RWA’s Golden Heart. She recently released Her Bodyguard, the latest book in the series Steam! Romance and Rails.
Steam! Romancing the railroads…
Something about railroads calls to my romantic nature. Maybe it’s the passion and excitement of a long-ago era when America expanded its boundaries as fast as men could lay track. I wanted to give readers a glimpse into that exciting time period, and that’s how the idea came about for the series Steam! Romance and Rails.
Both books in this series are set against an actual construction race between two railroads with long names that were dubbed “The Katy” and “The Border Tier.” Passion’s Prize focuses on The Katy’s story. Her Bodyguard follows the troubled Border Tier and a woman embroiled in a bitter war between the railroad and rioting settlers.
I’ve often found that historical fact is better than anything I could’ve made up, and in this case, I wasn’t disappointed. The story of the Border Tier has all the makings of an epic: crooked politics, underhanded landlords, angry mobs, liars, cheats, and mysterious killers. It wasn’t difficult to craft a suspenseful tale around colorful historical events and characters. My challenge was developing primary characters as compelling as the supporting cast.
For inspiration, I dove into the history books. The fiercely independent Kansas women who championed suffrage and equal rights served as models for my heroine, Amy, and the tough-as-nails but troubled survivors of Missouri’s guerrilla war gave me inspiration for my hero, Buck.
When I put these two together at cross purposes in the midst of a cutthroat railroad competition, with settlers’ rioting against the owners and a mysterious character stalking the heroine, the story just came together beautifully.
Buck and Amy are so wrong for each other on the surface, but so right for each other when in comes to what counts: the heart. But first they have to overcome deceit and betrayal—and redemption is really what is at the heart of this story.
Here’s a small excerpt:
“Your husband abandoned you in Girard?”
Irritation flickered across her face. “He’s not my husband, and he didn’t abandon me.”
It was on the tip of Buck’s tongue to ask why she was traveling with a man who wasn’t her
husband. But then, what did he care who she traveled with? He opted for a safer question. “Why were you there? From what I hear, it’s not exactly a safe place for a woman.”
She finished chewing the last bite before responding. “I had business in town.”
Her lips sealed. Apparently, she didn’t wish to elaborate.
Buck smoothed his mustache with his thumb and forefinger, mulling over her hesitation. Just what kind of business would a wealthy lady have with a bunch of rowdy settlers? When he’d come up on her, she’d been terrified, even after he told her he was trying to help. Had even offered him money. More money…
His scalp began to tingle, a sure sign something wasn’t right. He leaned forward, draping an arm over his knee to appear casual. “I didn't mean to frighten you when I rode up. You must've been expecting trouble.”
“Trouble is one way to put it….” She toyed with a curl at her cheek, not meeting his eyes. “You see, I thought you were going to kill me.”
The most dangerous man may be the one she hires…
For America “Amy” Langford, investing in the Border Tier Railroad isn’t about chasing riches. The savvy businesswoman is after bigger stakes: influence, respect, success her father didn’t live to see. Rioting settlers and underhanded competitors can’t stop her, but a killer might. When a stranger comes to her rescue, she trusts her instincts and hires him as her bodyguard. Buck O'Connor has put his violent past behind him, but being a wanted man dictates a life of deceit. So what’s one more lie? He becomes Amy’s protector so he can secretly thwart her railroad’s progress to help his cousin avoid financial ruin. A great scheme—until he falls in love. While Buck hides his true purpose, Amy lies to herself about her growing feelings for her bodyguard. But the price for deceit is steep, and secrets from the past could destroy their future...if they survive.
Her Bodyguard is available on Amazon (http://amzn.to/15nfO3m) and B&N (http://bit.ly/1hFvYrk). It can also be purchased in paperback (http://amzn.to/19j3HE4)
Other books in the series
Passion’s Prize by E.E. Burke, Jennifer Jakes and Jacqui Nelson
Three interlinked novellas tell the stories of three women caught up in a cutthroat competition between two powerful railroads. In a race for riches, anything can happen.
Today, I’m giving away a free eBook copy of Her Bodyguard. To be entered in the drawing, just leave a comment and don’t forget to provide your email.
I’m also running a special promotion to give away a free weekend at the romantic Victorian-era Bed & Breakfast that inspired me to set a story in historic Fort Scott.
If you want to enter this drawing, just visit my website. https://www.eeburke.com/
I have quite a few favorite Western books and shows. But my current favorite is the AMC television series Hell On Wheels, which follows the building of the transcontinental railroad through the lives of characters who inhabit the moving town they’ve dubbed “Hell On Wheels.”
Have you got a favorite Western book or movie or television show? What is it, and why is it your favorite?
Thank you so much, E E Burke for visiting
the PP today!