prequel to DEVIL IN TEXAS (Velvet Lies, Book 4)
Fiery singing sensation, Sadie Michelson, thinks falling in love is bad for business—until William “Cass” Cassidy, a hotheaded gunslinger, sets his sights on wooing her. But when a Texas Ranger arrives in Dodge City to extradite Cass for a crime of passion, Sadie must use all her wits and wiles to lure the law from her man’s trail. And that means risking everything—including Cass’s love.
SHADY LADY, a Novella
By Adrienne deWolfe
from the Anthology
PISTOLS AND PETTICOATS
“Cass, I’m busy. Can’t you see I’m writing a song?”
He recalled that Sadie turned into a fire-breathing dragon if someone dared to interrupt her creative frenzies. He cocked his head, plotting his strategy to whisk her off to the river.
His ornery lover was sitting with her spine propped up by pillows against the headboard of her unmade bed. Her glorious red-gold curls tumbled in every conceivable direction over the sagging, ebony lace of her night wrapper. A sea of yellowed papers surrounded her exquisitely long legs, bared up to the thighs. Those papers had lots of black lines, little bitty symbols, and tea-cup stains.
In fact, the whole room smelled like mint and rosehips, Sadie’s favorite brew. The teapot – and a pair of greasy, sunny-side-up eggs – sat forgotten where she’d left them: on a chipped china platter atop the traveling trunk at the foot of her bed.
“The sun is shining!” he cajoled.
“Yes, well, it’s daylight, isn’t it?” she retorted absently, her bare toes wiggling to some inner rhythm as she scribbled a few more symbols on the paper in her lap.
She’d barely glanced his way. He steeled himself against a flare of temper. He was Coyote Cass, after all. He could charm the rattle off of rattlers.
Strolling to the side of the bed, he was careful to keep his expression enthusiastic rather than provocative. There would be plenty of time for romping in the daisies and buttercups, where he planned to spread a blanket, pop a bottle of champagne, and practice all the creative ways that Sadie had taught him how to use whipped cream and berries. Maybe even honey.
“What’s that chubby, black dot with the flagpole rising out of it?” he asked, knowing full well that it was a musical symbol.
“What kind of music?” he persisted, undaunted by her growl.
She blew a curl off her forehead. “The usual kind.”
“A love ballad?”
Her stylus paused as those tawny Tiger eyes glared up at him. He just loved when Sadie glared. He didn’t mind arguing with the hellcat one bit. Not when her make-up sex was so divine.
“When have you ever heard me sing about love?” she snapped.
“Maybe it’s time.”
She muttered something under her breath that sounded like, “Dreamer.”
Smirking, he thought fast. The only person in the world who thrived on competition more than he did was Sadie. Calling upon a credible baritone – one that she had once described as “lyrical” – he belted out an improvised rhyme:
“With looks that drive the gals insane,
He rides them like a hurricane . . .”
His musical lampoon succeeded. Her lips twitched. Her stylus actually lowered.
“Not bad,” she conceded grudgingly. “Where did you hear that? From Wilma’s piano player?”
“Hell, no. I made it up.”
“You did not.”
“I did too!”
She hiked a challenging eyebrow. “Right here? On the spot?”
“Damn straight! Wanna hear another?”
Hooking his thumbs over his gun belt, he swaggered around the room, acting adorable.
“He rides like greased lightning atop his black steed,
The handsome young Ranger, renowned for good deeds,
To rescue the damsel, alone in her bed
From cold eggs and boredom and songs in her head.
Away to the river, he carries the lass
To woo her and feed her and kiss her bare . . . ”
“Cass!” she shrieked, her laughter ringing through the room in merry peals.
He chuckled, enjoying her earthy humor. “I reckon Cass rhymes, too.”
“You are a pest. And pests should be spanked.”
“Never argue with a lady. That’s my motto.”
“Is it, now?” She tossed aside her stylus and swung her naked feet to the floor. “Since when?”
“Since I was… uh… ” He gulped. “Sun-up?”
He’d lost the use of his brain the moment she’d started shrugging off that scanty black waterfall of lace. Nothing but freckles adorned her alabaster flesh now.
“Maybe you’ve confused me with someone else, lover,” she drawled.
She was prowling closer, all sizzle and sin. By the time she halted before him, his loins were hot, and his mouth was watering. Those wicked, feline eyes laughed up at him.
“Do I look like a damsel in distress to you?”
“Uh… ” Trick question, some lucid part of his brain warned. “You look like my heaven,” he rallied gamely.
“Aw. Isn’t that sweet?” A dimple flirted with her cherry-red lips. “Who taught you how to lie so prettily? That Injun half-breed?”
“Lynx doesn’t like to be called -—”
“I’m more interested in what I like,” she purred. “And what I like is naked cowboys . . . “
The Rebel Rutter Rides Again
in SHADY LADY
By Adrienne deWolfe
They call him Coyote Cass, the Rebel Rutter, and sometimes, Lucifire (because he’s a devil with a gun.
Some heroes capture an author’s heart. They refuse to go away quietly after “The End” is typed in a novel.
Billy “Cass” Cassidy was one of those troublemakers. He started out as the villain of SEDUCED BY AN ANGEL (Book 3, Velvet Lies Series).
But Cass wasn’t happy as the villain.
“Aw, c’mon,” he whispered in my ear. “Give me a break! Sure I shot a man in the back, but he bashed in the head of my 18-year-old cousin! And sure I kissed my best friend’s girl. But I also saved his neck from a lynching rope after I got plugged and was half dead from blood loss!”
Cass – or rather, “Coyote Cass,” as the rascal is aptly named – can be extremely persuasive. The next thing I knew, I was doing something crazy: rewriting the plots of SEDUCED BY AN ANGEL and HIS WICKED DREAM to redeem Cass.
However, redemption wasn’t good enough for Cass. Never mind that Dodge City bawds dubbed him the Rebel Rutter. He kept whining in my ear, “But I need a book – and a woman — of my own!”
I sternly replied, “Cass, you’ve had TOO MANY women. Remember that time in Cheyenne, when you set a record for eight bawds in one bed? Romance heroes can’t do that!”
The scapegrace batted his baby-blues, flashed his Coyote Grin, and crooned in my ear:
“Lucifire they called him,
His draw was next to none;
His smile was like an angel’s;
The devil ruled his gun.
“The purdy gals in Texas
Would sigh for him and swoon,
When Lucifire went sparking —
Sneaked thru windows to go sparking —
Broke fair hearts when he went sparking -–
Each night beneath the moon.”
Needless to say, once Cass started serenading me with his theme song, I was a goner.
Creating the perfect lover for Cass proved a lot easier than I thought it would be. She had to be a strong woman who didn’t need a man 24/7 (Cass was an outlaw, and therefore, on the run.)
She had to be a woman who had bigger aspirations than catching a man. (Cass was notorious for loving and leaving “wedding-bell chasers.”)
She also had to be immune to his charm. So I decided to rattle the Rebel Rutter’s confidence by giving his woman so MANY men, that she didn’t believe in love and was jaded by sex.
In the novella, SHADY LADY, we first meet the torch singer / bawd, Sadie Michelson, in all fiery-haired glory. Three years Cass’s senior, Sadie is the woman who taught the Rebel Rutter how to kiss. (She also taught him how to use whipped cream in profoundly shocking ways.)
Cass has adored her since the age of 12. In describing their adolescent love affair, Cass reminisces, he “worshipped her in the only way a penniless boy could: He gave his body wholly to her pleasure.”
In SHADY LADY, Sadie and Cass reunite after an eight-year separation in the Wickedest Little City in America – better known as Dodge City. Since the novella is set in 1879, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and Luke Short are among the historical figures who play pivotal roles in the plot.
SHADY LADY is one of three novellas that you’ll find in the new Historical Western Romance anthology, PISTOLS AND PETTICOATS. My publisher invited two other best-selling authors to write for the anthology. In ETHAN’S BRIDE, Barbara Ankrum tells the story of a mail-order bride. In THE BAREBACK BRIDE, Sharon Ihle writes about a heroine who runs away from home to join Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show.
The great thing about PISTOLS AND PETTICOATS is that each novella features a beloved character (or two) from our previously published novels. That means you get to catch up with “old friends” after their Happily Ever After. (Or in Cass’s case, BEFORE his Happily Ever After, since he and Sadie are star-crossed lovers until the end of DEVIL IN TEXAS.)
Adrienne deWolfe is a #1 best-selling author and the recipient of 48 writing accolades, including the Best Historical Romance of the Year Award. She enjoys mentoring aspiring authors and offers professional story critiques and book coaching services through her website, http://WritingNovelsThatSell.com. Learn more about Adrienne’s books and read excerpts at http://ebookdiscovery.com.p8.hostingprod.com/AdrienneDeWolfe.html