Skinned knees, balky Holsteins, freshly mown alfalfa, galloping horses, and hot bread right out of the oven. That’s my childhood, and even though I’ve lived all my adult life in the city, I’m a country girl at heart. I grew up in Owyhee County, Idaho, and that’s where I set my western historical romance series, Hearts of Owyhee.
When people think of the wild west, they immediately think of Texas, Tombstone, or maybe Wyoming. Truth is, the wild west was all over the west and that includes Idaho. Shootouts, wars between cattlemen and sheepmen, disputes between soldiers and miners, battles with Indians, stagecoach robberies, mail order brides, cattle rustlers, feared gunmen—we had it all. Early immigrants had it tough because Idaho isn’t exactly on the beaten path. Actually, the Oregon Trail went through southern Idaho, but the key word there is “through.” Not a whole lot of settlers stopped.
It’s an ideal setting for western historical romances, for sure. One day, I was looking at a map of Owyhee County, Idaho, to see where my next book should be set. Dickshooter caught my eye. Dickshooter! Owyhee County is fairly large, about the size of New Jersey without all the people in it, so even though I grew up there, I’m unfamiliar with parts of it. I’d never heard of Dickshooter before, but is that a perfect town for a brothel or what? Had to do it. Hence, Much Ado About Madams, Hearts of Owyhee #2, was born.
Here’s a little about it:
To build a new life as an independent and respectable woman, suffragist Lucinda Sharpe accepts a position as schoolteacher in Dickshooter, Idaho Territory and spends her last nickel to get there. But on arrival, it’s all too apparent that her supervisor is a madam and her students are ladies in their twenties…the schoolhouse is a brothel!
Reese McAdams wants nothing more than to build his ranch. He certainly doesn’t want the brothel he inherited, but neither can he turn out the ladies, most of them washed-up and who would meet with certain disaster outside of the Comfort Palace. He sure doesn’t need a self-righteous suffragist schoolteacher from Miss Hattie’s School for the Refinement of Young Ladies to stir up unrest. Or a bunch of ladies of the evening playing matchmaker.
When arch-enemy Hannibal Hank Terrell sets out to bring down the Comfort Palace and frame Reese for cattle-rustling, will Reese and the ladies escape the sights of Hank’s rifle? And can Reese evade the Lucinda’s lasso—the suffragist who threatens to rope his heart?
And an excerpt: Reese is the hero, Gus is the handyman, Fannie is the madam of the Comfort Palace, and Lucinda is the heroine.
Much Ado About Madams
By Jacquie Rogers
Dickshooter, Idaho Territory—1882
Reese lifted one end of the long board for the carpenter. “So what other supplies do you need?”
“Some hinges and a couple latches, too.” Gus spat. “Don’t know why you can’t sleep in your daddy’s room and tell Fannie to move.”
“First thing I learned when I found out my dear daddy’s hotel was a whorehouse was that you don’t tell Fannie much of anything.”
“That’s ‘cause she ain’t scared so much. All the ladies are looking a lot better these days—dressed nicer, and you even see a smile now and again.”
Reese scuffed the dirt with the heel of his dirt. “You know very well I don’t want this whorehouse or anything to do with it. I just wish there was someplace safe for the ladies to go, but there isn’t. Wanna buy it?”
Gus snorted. “That’s all I need—buy myself a whole houseful of trouble. Got enough as it is.” He nodded at Reese to help him pick up another board. “Speaking of trouble, what you think of that pretty little thing that came in on the stagecoach?”
“She’s easy on the eyes even with those prudish clothes, but she won’t be here long. Seems like she got off here by mistake, and I expect she’ll be on the next stage outta here. This is sure as hell no place for a woman like her.”
“Fanny said she threw you outta bed.”
“Pitched a hissy, more like it.” He regretted scaring the poor woman half to death, when all he wanted was a little shut-eye. “Finally got Fannie to tell me her name—Miss Lucinda Sharpe. Perfect name for a schoolmarm.”
“Might make a good wife.”
“If she came to Idaho Territory looking for a husband, I’m sure she’ll find one in a hurry.” A man would be lucky to get a fiery, pretty woman like that to sleep with every night. Too bad he was born unlucky.
And a review:
Rogers’ talent shines as she creates a stunning portrait of what it was like to live in the old west. Her characters leap off the page and she handles humor with as much skill as she does the deeper emotions. MUCH ADO ABOUT MADAMS was a fabulous read. I am anxiously awaiting the next book in the Hearts of Owyhee series. ~ Gerri Russell, author of Seducing the Knight
Like cowboys? Who’s your favorite? (can be a character from a novel, television, or movies—or in real life!)
I’ll give a Kindle copy of Much Ado About Madams to a lucky commenter (this article). Be sure to include your email address!
Hearts of Owyhee Buy Links
Much Ado About Marshals: http://amzn.com/B0058ON1LS
Much Ado About Madams: http://amzn.com/B007HRTQ0O
Much Ado About Mavericks: http://amzn.com/B008EDN9T4
Like Traditional Westerns? Try my short story, Muleskinners: Judge Not, in the Wolf Creek 6: Hell on the Prairie anthology.
Thanks again to Zrinka for hosting me today, and please visit her post on my blog (goes live July 25) to learn more about her latest release.
Jacquie’s Contact Links
Romancing The West: http://romancingthewest.blogspot.com
Author blog: http://jacquierogers.blogspot.com