The first book is Roxy Harte’s Painted Lady.
Traveling west on the Oregon Trail, slave Lucy Bowman dreams of a life of freedom in California, but when her owner dies an untimely death, she is left at the mercy of the wagon master. As fate would have it, an outlaw known as Dangerous Dan comes to her rescue, but his idea of freedom and hers idea clash mightily.
Lucy doesn’t want an owner, she doesn’t want a husband, and she most certainly doesn’t want to be a poor cowboy’s bed-warmer. Parting ways with Dan, she is determined to write her own destiny. With scheming, wiles, and a little unlawful behavior, she manages to buy a brothel and attract the attention of the recently appointed sheriff, Raging Thunder.
Dangerous Dan and Raging Thunder collide as both men compete to save the woman they both see as more ingénue than prostitute. The lawless mining camp of Jimtown might not be big enough for the two men bidding for the attention of the painted lady known as Madam Lucille.
Next is Given by Lisa G. Riley and me.
As a member of Eshu, those who can shift into any animal at will, Jacob Adams is used to knowing and getting what he wants. And when he meets Mary Katherine Day as they work together on the Underground Railroad, he not only knows that she’s going to be his wife, but he expects her to accept her fate willingly. A businesswoman of independent means, Mary Katherine has no interest in marrying, which to her mind is bondage only slightly less vile than the slavery she works so hard to help others escape.
Jacob embarks on a campaign to lure her into his bed by awakening her virginal body to the delights to be found there. Though she struggles against her sensual nature, Mary Katherine eventually succumbs to the irresistible lure. Initially she’s convinced that they can maintain their sexual relationship without marriage, but their passion is too intense to hide in such a small town.
But marriage is just the first hurdle; then there’s the enemies and the secrets that threaten to destroy their lives.
Then is Amber Green’s Prohibition Era story, Steal Away
Having lost everything, Twilight Amery sets her sights on Harlem, where a girl with a voice–even a white man’s bastard from Alabama–can be somebody. Hopping a freight train, she joins up with the beautiful and bitter Mr. Stone, along with the compellingly magnetic Hector, two Harlem men trying to get home. Faced with club-wielding Pinkerton agents, an inconvenient dead body, and a shortage of money, the three work their way east and north.
Twilight and Stone forge an alliance of reliance, then trust, and then affection. Both try to deal with their feelings for one another while pursuing their individual mating dances with the man they both love. An old enemy of Stone’s finds them in an Atlanta bordello, and issues a challenge Twilight makes the mistake of accepting.
They steal away north. Unfortunately, the three of them leave a trail that someone is finding all too easy to follow.
And for those of you who’ve been waiting as long as I have finally there’s Sharon Cullars’ long-awaited Gold Mountain
In 1865 Sacramento, the hope for gold has spurred many to seek their fortunes in California, the place the Chinese call Gum San or “Gold Mountain.” Amidst this backdrop, Quiang, a new Chinese immigrant, works the dangerous rails hoping to save enough money to send home to his parents. In town, Leah and Clara, two enterprising women from New York, have plans of their own to grow a restaurant and laundry business. However, both plans go awry when Quiang and Leah meet one fateful day and what starts as a budding attraction soon grows into tumultuous desire despite the cultural and language barriers between them. Initially resistant, Leah succumbs to passion following a tragic loss that leaves her vulnerable and alone. With hopes for a future that now includes Leah, Quiang embarks on a perilous path as he leaves the railroad behind for a more profitable position as a courier for The Tong, henchmen for the dangerous Triad. Quiang soon finds that navigating the secretive life of a courier brings more danger than he has ever faced on the railroad, dangers that not only threaten to tear him and Leah apart, but may cost them their lives as well.