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About the author:
Nevertheless, after thirteen years, I am now able to do what I’ve always loved by taking advantage of the self-publishing revolution. And I still have dreams. Currently, for example, I dream of growing a lavish vegetable garden on our bluff. Unfortunately, dreaming about it doesn’t make my thumb any greener. In the meantime, I take great satisfaction in the fact that the survival of my protagonists is dependent only on my imagination rather than my ability to avoid over-watering them.
What inspired you to write your book?
I stumbled upon an ad on Yahoo for the Dumas Museum in Butte, Montana. The Dumas was the longest running brothel in the U.S. After reading the article about the colorful red light district in Butte, I began looking up other articles and stories. It was a fascinating story that began when the miners moved into Butte and the working women followed. Nearly everyone was seeking fortune, and many of them found it. During my research, I also discovered that the FBI was formerly the Bureau of Investigations (BOI) and one of their primary tasks was to investigate corrupt madams who were entrapping and trafficking young women (forcing them to prostitute themselves). After a couple of hours of reading, I began taking notes and developing the story of Cat Ainsley, the innocent daughter of a prominent madam and her romance with a BOI agent on a mission to find the local brothel owner guilty of human trafficking. And as her story began to come to life for me, I began toying with the idea of telling three stories in Butte, one of a madam’s daughter, one of a high-class prostitute, and one of a progressive young woman fighting against the corruption and sins in her city.
Here is a short sample from the book:
Nobody who knew him would have dared call Kane Malone a romantic; and yet nobody was more surprised than he to realize that after a mere twenty-four hours, he was in love with a woman whose name he didn’t know, whose voice he’d never heard, and who—much to his regret and exhilaration—was a prostitute.
He told himself it was only lust. Lust and curiosity. Probably only lust and curiosity.
He had arrived in Butte, Montana earlier that morning and first spotted her through the storefront window while he fingered a bolt of expensive silk. She moved confidently down Mercury Street, her eyes straight ahead and her chin lifted proudly. Her copper-colored hair chased after her, an indication of her brisk pace that somehow added to her air of assuredness.
The bell over the door of Hum Yow’s Chinese Goods and Silks had Kane reaching for his holstered weapon before he could stop himself. His hand halted only inches from the handle of his pistol as he froze and guiltily watched the young woman stroll into the store. She moved purposefully toward the cash register. She must have spoken, as the Chinese man behind the counter looked up and smiled at her, but from across the store, Kane couldn’t hear anything that either person said. She carried a basket on her arm and placed it delicately on the counter in front of her.
Even as he studied the curve of her hip and wondered if her breasts were equally full, he tried to remind himself that he was not here in Butte to enjoy himself with some attractive woman. He glanced back toward the window to briefly assure himself that all was well on Mercury Street. No evil villainess lurked in the doorways of the large and ornate Victorian buildings across the street. No women or children raced down the street, fleeing a horror worse than death. All appeared fairly normal, even in the midst of the high-end red light district of a town reputedly overwhelmed with powerful mining tycoons and equally powerful parlor house madams.
Having convinced himself that his services were not needed on Mercury Street at that particular moment, he turned his attention back to the mysterious copper-haired woman at the cash register. The Chinese man was accepting the basket from her and passing a bolt of fabric to her in an apparent exchange. He could see her side profile and the curve of her lips, which were full and red. But unlike some of the women on Mercury Street, hers were naturally red rather than painted. The woman was an artistic embodiment of curves, from her hips to her lips and even her well-shaped eyebrows.
She shifted from one foot to the other, and he watched the hem of her steel-colored dress brush the wooden floors of the shop, swaying lightly for a brief moment before coming to a stop. She had him absolutely captivated.
And when she turned to leave, her eyes fell upon him and caught him openly admiring her. The corner of her mouth twitched in amusement even as her brows lowered over her flame blue eyes in imitation of disapproval. Seeing her face, he could admit that while attractive, her forehead was a little too high and her cheekbones a bit too broad. Nevertheless, the curve of her full lips and the arch of her russet eyebrow were too enticing for him to look away.
In the end, he did look away, but only when his hand fell heavily to the table of silks, knocking one bolt to the ground. Embarrassed, he knelt to pick up the fabric and started again when the bell above the door rang in warning. Too late, he realized that she had slipped away.