Girls and Guns
The Virgin Madam
by Shiloh Saddler
After a vicious outlaw murders her father, Laura Rutherford sees no future beyond running the family brothel and kowtowing to the local gang. Not even marriage offers escape. No man can compete with the beautiful women who dance the can-can for her each night…at least not until a gentle stranger sweeps in and opens her eyes to desires too long denied.
Joe Bascum stumbles into Bitterroot Flats looking for a place to hide from a gunman out for blood. When the innocent Madame from the local brothel offers a bed and bath, Joe accepts hoping to show the buttoned-up beauty just how right forbidden desire can feel.
When danger escalates, can Laura help Joe defeat the famous Fletcher gang, or is she destined to live a lonely life as the virgin madam?
The Virgin Madam
Girls and Guns
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Enjoy the following excerpt for THE VIRGIN MADAM:
Time for the can-can show. My heart palpitated in anticipation. Shamelessly I watched the four women file on stage in their long matching red skirts and black stockings. A red feather in their hair.
Mr. Woodson finished the intro music. I gave him a small smile and nod before returning my attention to the women. I let out a quiet sigh. They were all beauties. When I was younger I cried myself to sleep wishing I had their figure; now full grown, I had given up on that dream. I wasn’t tall and leggy like Lulu. I wasn’t as curvy as Rose. I didn’t have Amanda’s fiery red hair or Delilah’s flawless complexion. I was just average.
The black silk chokers around their necks helped draw attention to their faces and lower to their breasts. The ladies grabbed their skirts and walked to the edge of the stage, swishing their skirts suggestively and showing off their white bloomers. Many men let out cheers or said lewd comments. Ash rushed in and grabbed a seat. He leaned back in his chair put two fingers to his lips and let out a shrill whistle. Like me, he caught as many performances as he could. The bastard had become a regular fixture in Bitterroot Flats, easily partaking in the entitlements. Including murder. He must have had a past with Fletcher. Done jobs together, maybe even served time together.
I had to put up with him. But I didn’t have to pretend to like him. I seared his back with a fiery stare, hoping he could feel my anger.
I wish I never had to see Ash again. I wish I had the power to ban him from the Honey Ranch. The power to keep him from Amanda would be some satisfaction, but the Fletcher Gang owned the town. Ash could do whatever he damn pleased and I was powerless to stop him.
Ash wasn’t going to spoil the show for me. I focused on the women, their every seductive move. The dancers turned around in place before prancing around the stage in a small circle, flashing the gentlemen big smiles. Their faces, heavily painted with rouge and lip paint, glowed under the stage’s lighting. A thrill zipped through me when they formed a line again and started their high kicks. Some of the men clapped, keeping time with the music. Others tapped their empty beer glasses on the tables. The rowdy atmosphere didn’t bother me anymore. The scent of beer and whiskey wafted through the air, mixing with the smell of sweat, horses, and the honeysuckle perfume the ladies wore. I easily tuned out the men, my attention narrowing to the women working the stage as if their lives depended on it. How they managed to dance so well in those high-heeled black boots I’d never know. They helped show off their legs, though. And I could drool over all those legs. Heat and desire burning in my belly, I hoped no one could read my dirty thoughts.
Painted Ladies of the West
Many people do not realize there were two kinds of “bad girls” in the Old West. There were saloon and dance hall women who danced with men and offered music and conversation while they drank, but did not engage in prostitution. In the shabbiest saloons – the brothels – the women also took customers up to their rooms.
Before writing The Virgin Madam I did a lot of research into both types of painted ladies. The saloon and dance hall women were considered respectable company by the men who enjoyed their company and were treated like ladies. These ladies looked down upon the working women and would not want to be in the company of a prostitute. So even among painted ladies there was a social order.
The Puritan women in the East considered both types of women as “fallen” not differentiating between the two. To them a painted lady was a lady of sin. Girls did not work in saloons in the East. Of course, women were plentiful in the East. The desire for female company in the West made being a saloon girl a profitable job. Many widows and farm girls were lured to the West and entered this profession looking for easy work and high wages.
The Virgin Madam is set in 1879 a time of cattle drives and rowdy cowboys. Bitterroot Flats, California has its fair share of rowdy cowboys. The desert town, run by the Fletcher Gang, was far respectable town. The Gang was very happy when Laura’s Papa moved to their town and set up a brothel. It is every man’s dream, right? The Honey Ranch took in plenty of business and Laura grew up cooking for the girls, doing the laundry, and sweeping the floors.
After her papa is murdered Laura inherits his brothel. While technically the madam she is a businesswoman not a painted lady. She keeps the Honey Ranch going in order to survive; dreaming of the day she can get out of the terrible town. In the meantime, she takes in the one pleasure of her job—fantasying about the beauties who danced for her. Is she going to live the rest of her life alone as the virgin madam, or will she find another woman who shares her forbidden desires?
When I read the blurb for this book, I figured that it would be a sweet little sexy number about a woman finding love and maybe a little sex mixed in. I got that and more from Ms. Saddler. The blurb is a bit misleading but understand that once you start reading you can’t put the book down.
I was intrigued about Laura from the get go. She’s stronger than she thinks but she was sheltered by her dad in some respects. She is also going through a period of realizing her sexual urges and wondering if they are wrong. Being surrounded by beautiful women and not so nice men will do that to a girl. If I had one thing to say about Laura, I didn’t like the insta love thing she had for Joe. But I understand the “why” she said it in the first place.
Joe was such an awesome character. Not caring what other people said and getting vengeance for the wrong that happened to Laura is all that matter. I wish I could say more about Joe but you just have to read the book and find out for yourself. 🙂 The introduction of the Marshall was a great touch and put Joe’s whole character into perspective for me as a reader. Loved him and they way he treated Joe. Great job.
If you looking for a sweet and historically accurate portrayal of the old west, pick this book up. It doesn’t disappoint in the least.
About the Author:
Shiloh Saddler likes to do research for her steamy romances first hand. She has invented a time machine and travels back to the 19th century on a regular basis. There are experimental settings on her time machine which could propel her into the future and even other worlds. She believes love and a good book makes anything possible.