Saturday, January 18, 2014

Preview of New Project: Daughter of the Demimonde

The Demimonde Trilogy is going to take me back to the historical romance genre, and I'm thrilled.  My roots have always been firmly planted in Geek-dom, and I can't deny that I am passionate about historical research.  When my 8th grade history teacher told us that history was one long soap opera, it definitely sparked an interest.  But it wasn't until I started envisioning characters and story lines in these historical settings that my passion really came to life.

Daughter of the Demimonde will be the first of three books set in the Red Light District of Butte, Montana in 1910.  The first book will follow Cat Ainsley, the daughter of a high-end parlor house madam.  She has grown up in the face of disdain and disapproval of the respectable citizens in her town.  And when federal agent, Kane Malone, shows up to investigate allegations of human trafficking in the Demimonde, Cat joins forces with him to prove her own mother's innocence.

I'm including the prologue as an early teaser.  (I don't expect to have Daughter of the Demimonde released until this Spring.)

August 1910
     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 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 building 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 assured himself that all was well on Mercury Street, 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.  And that 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.