Excerpt: Steam! Romance and Rails by E.E. Burke
Passion and ambition collide in this collection of four steamy, suspenseful historical romances from award-winning author E.E. Burke.
HER BODYGUARD: A woman embroiled in intrigue employs a bodyguard to protect her from a killer, unaware that he’s an outlaw hired by her enemies to put a stop to her plans.
KATE'S OUTLAW: After a railroad heiress is abducted, one of her Indian captors becomes her protector. On the run from danger, with enemies on both sides, they discover a love as powerful as it is forbidden.
A DANGEROUS PASSION: An inquisitive author sets out to expose a corrupt railroad baron and becomes ensnared in a deadly mystery and a dangerous passion.
FUGITIVE HEARTS: When a newly made widow tries to cover up the truth behind her husband’s violent death, her plan backfires, sending her fleeing from a hardened lawman determined to bring her to justice.
If you’re a fan of passionate romance woven with rich historical detail and a dash of suspense, this series is for you.
"Sit back and read about history in the making, with great characters and multi-layered storylines that are sure to become your all time favorite romance reads."
ENJOY AN EXCERPT
from Her Bodyguard
In HER BODYGUARD, the two main characters, Buck and Amy, are at a dinner party and the hostess announces they will be playing the popular Victorian game, Marriage. Participants pick names of literary or famous characters from a hat, and in those roles the men “woo” the women with the goal of being matched with a suitable mate. The losers pay forfeits, in this case, a kiss.
Amy, a wealthy investor, has just become betrothed to Fletcher, who fits her image of the kind of polished gentleman she should marry. But she’s fighting a fierce attraction to her rough-around-the-edges bodyguard, Buck. Although Buck is in love with Amy, he knows she will hate him as soon as she figures out his true identity. That doesn’t stop him from wanting to prove to her that she’s engaged to the wrong man. Watch what happens when he ends up as her partner in the game.
With a sly smile, Buck took her hand. He brushed the back of her gloveless fingers with his lips. Desire crackled through her, as if he were lightening and she the rod. Still holding her hand, he raised his eyes. Within the silvery depths flickered wry amusement.
Damn him. He was enjoying her discomfiture.
“Casanova, the world’s greatest lover, seeks the hand of Venus, goddess of love.” His gravelly drawl caressed the name.
Heat suffused Amy's face. The cad. She was not a love deity and he was no Casanova, however he might fancy himself to be. By jingo, she would strip away that civilized veneer he’d put on with those clothes and reveal him as a fraud. “What can a mere mortal offer?” she replied in her most arrogant goddess voice.
Buck’s amused smile didn’t waver, but surprise flared in his eyes. What had he thought? That she would turn tail and run?
“Pleasure,” he murmured. He swept his thumb across the backs of her fingers, triggering another sizzling bolt.
She yanked her hand away. If she were to defeat him, she couldn’t let him touch her. The uncontrollable reactions were too distracting. “I already have pleasures aplenty.”
He arched a sandy eyebrow. “Not the sort you’ll find with me. I’ve spent a lifetime cultivating knowledge of a sensual nature, learning all there is to know about pleasing a woman. With me every day will bring new delights you can open, like a present.”
Gasps went up from the ladies, along with the low chuckles of men.
She blushed to her toes. Where had Buck learned about Casanova? For that matter, where had he picked up that educated elocution? He’d surprised her—again.
Against her will, her gaze moved from his broad shoulders and chest, down to narrow hips and long legs, taking a return trip north to linger on his lips. Temptation whispered sordid suggestions in her ear. What would it be like to throw propriety to the wind and lay with a man like this? To explore things she’d thought of in the dark, but wouldn’t admit to in the light. Shivering, she shook off the sensual reverie. She had no desire to do that with Buck.
With a shaky breath, she put a hand to her stomach to still the fluttering army of insects that had taken up residence inside. “Perhaps you’ve learned a few pleasures I might find interesting, but you see, I’m already married. I can’t have two husbands.”
Buck crossed his arms over his chest, holding her gaze prisoner. “You gods don’t live by the same rules as we mere mortals. At least, the legends reveal you’re not too particular. But if you prefer, we can have a marriage of the heart without all those messy vows of faithfulness.”
Amy’s head jerked around at a loud guffaw. Lizzie smacked her husband’s arm. This conversation wasn’t going in the right direction. If Buck won, he earned a kiss. If he lost, he had to pay a forfeit. And she dearly wanted to see him pay.
“I have an eternal lover, Mars, God of war. He can satisfy my needs more than a feeble man like you.”
Buck’s lips twitched. “I may be feeble compared to your war god, but I would treat you more tenderly than that nasty-tempered fellow.”
He dropped to one knee. This brought him even with her chest. At the smoldering heat in his eyes, she feared her breasts had tumbled out of the low-cut gown.
She struggled to breathe.
He captured her hand once again. “Only a man who is expert at making love—not war—can truly appreciate your gifts and the essence of who you are.”
“Heavens, he would have had me at Casanova,” Lizzie quipped. “I think you’ve met your perfect mate, Venus.”
Shaken, Amy stepped back, taking her hand with her. She shook her head. None of this had the slightest basis in truth, no matter the seductive promise in his eyes. Buck was toying with her. Playing his part to the hilt.
“You’re a rogue, a lover of women who can’t be satisfied with just one. I’m a jealous goddess and I won’t abide your unfaithfulness, even if I’m not held to the same standard.”
He remained on one knee, but held out his hands like a supplicant. “That might’ve been true in the past, that I couldn’t be satisfied with just one woman, but you are not one woman. You are the epitome of every man’s fantasy, all women rolled into one. You would satisfy even the largest appetite.”
His tongue swept his lips, and she nearly came out of her skin. “Accept my proposal. Take me, for as long as you like. Then cast me aside if you tire of me later.”
Her legs trembled. Dear Lord, if she didn’t do something quick, everyone would realize the effect he was having on her. She had to end this game. Now. “I’m not just looking for pleasure. I want love. You’ve not said you love me.”
Casanova’s lips twisted in a sneer. “Any man who’s quick to proclaim words of love is a liar and a fool.”
A thrill shot through her. For some reason, Casanova didn’t want to tell Venus he loved her. This was it. Her ace. “But without words, my dear Casanova, the pleasure of love is diminished. Every woman, especially one who represents all women, must be assured by words, heartfelt and true. That is the only way you will win me.”
He narrowed his eyes. Amy struggled to control her excitement. She had him on the run.
“It’s not words that should assure you, it’s what a man does that shows his true feelings.” The urgency in his voice didn’t match his mocking smile, and his eyes blazed with an intensity that made it seem as though his world tilted on her axis, his existence determined by her whim.
Her breath lodged somewhere between her chest and her throat. This wasn’t real. Buck was acting. Even if he was putting on the best show she’d ever seen.
“Give me the words, Casanova,” she whispered, caught up in the fantasy. “For even a goddess longs to hear them.”
Her request hung in the air. Breathing was suspended. The tick of a clock on the mantel was the only sound disturbing the silence…that, and the pounding of her heart.
His smile fell away. “Venus,” he started, his voice dropping to a harsh whisper. “Don’t you know you own my heart?”
Cheers erupted. Amy’s head swam. Voices faded as the room grew small and hot.
Buck’s concerned expression wavered in and out of focus.
Almighty. This blasted corset was too tight. Amy blinked furiously to erase the black spots clouding her vision, but they wouldn’t retreat, and her lungs wouldn’t expand. Her knees wobbled…right before the curtain dropped.
"I have yet to find a book by E. E. Burke that I haven't enjoyed, once again she has done an amazing job!"
Inspiration for the Steam! Romance and Rails Series
Historical events and bigger-than-life characters, similar to those that inspired the hit television series “Hell On Wheels,” inspired Steam!. In the second half of the nineteenth century, the United States entered a time of explosive growth and expansion that has been unmatched since. The country had just emerged from a devastating war and its people needed to have faith in something. That something turned out to be what railroads represented: opportunity and hope for the future.
The hotly contested construction race between the Missouri, Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad Company (nicknamed The Border Tier) and the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway (more commonly known as The Katy) encapsulates the spirit of these times and the challenges. This race turned out to be the perfect setting for an action-packed, suspenseful historical romance series.
Her Bodyguard follows the history of the Border Tier and tells the story of an unlikely romance that develops between a wanted man and a wealthy widow caught up in the cutthroat railroad race and a violent settlers’ revolt.
Kate’s Outlaw is inspired by the Cherokee people’s response to the railroad’s encroachment on territory that was promised to them “forever” after they were forced from their Eastern homelands.
The exploits of a indomitable Katy Railroad executive and the legend of a family of serial killers provides fodder for A Dangerous Passion. Ride the rails with the sheriff in Fugitive Hearts from the Katy Railroad’s headquarters in Parsons, Kansas, down through the Indian Territory in search of a fugitive who also happens to be the woman he loves.
The rich history of the railroads has inspired new ideas for more books. You haven’t seen the last of this series.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Weave together passion, warmth and wit and you have books by bestselling author E.E. Burke. Her chosen settings are the American West, and her latest historical romance series, The Bride Train, features a cast of unusual characters thrown together through a misguided bride lottery.
E.E., also known as Elisabeth, has earned accolades in regional and national contests, including the RWA's prestigious Golden Heart®. Over the years, she’s been a disc jockey, a journalist and an advertising executive, before finally getting around to living the dream—writing stories readers can get lost in.