Betrayed and abandoned by her adulterous husband, actress Jess Sullivan has only one goal: to return home to the happy, comfortable “good girl” life she foolishly forfeited in the name of love. Before she can do that she’s determined to save enough money to pay back what she and her husband stole from her brother. Riddled with guilt, Jess has no use for men or romance, especially a man like Leland Montgomery, an ultra-charming aristocrat turned footloose gambler.
Lee however, is enchanted by Jess’s breathtaking beauty, and quick, sharp wit. Assuming she follows the casual immorality of her profession, and hoping for a brief, torrid affair, Lee resolves to seduce her. Jess though, is hardly the shallow, loose woman he expects. As his feelings for her deepen, it becomes apparent that any relationship with her must be respectable. But men of his background do not marry actresses, especially ones that are already married. Then her stage manager is murdered, and when it’s discovered that the man gambled away Jess’s savings, she and Lee are blamed for the crime. After narrowly escaping the clutches of corrupt lawmen, they set out across the Colorado prairie, one step ahead of a posse and shadowed by a passion that will no longer be denied. . . .
The Wild One has gotten some very nice reviews, and tied for first place for best Historial 2010 in the Write Touch Readers’ Award.
Finally Jess headed downstairs. As expected, the dining room table was empty except for a beautiful blond haired girl, no more than three, scribbling happily in a book. When she saw Jess, her dark brown eyes—Melinda’s eyes—widened in dismay and her rosebud mouth formed an O. Then, before Jess could say anything, tears formed in them and she threw her pencil. “I’m not a bad girl! I’m not!”
Biting her lip to keep from laughing, Jess moved forward shaking her head. “Oh no, you’re not! Not at all!”
“I didn’t want to write in the book. It made me! I hate that book!”
“Well, of course you do!”
“It’s a very bad book!” she said, the tears drying up.
“Bad! Bad! Bad!”
Jess sank into a chair next to her. “Certainly! I say we burn it!”
“Burn it?” she asked, her eyes growing impossibly huge. “Papa would be angry!”
“Would he, do you think? Here, let me see the book. Ah, Plato’s Republic. You know, honey, I think he’d secretly like us to burn it.”
“Oh yes. It’s a very bad book. I’ve attempted to read it myself and believe me, it’s very dull. No one with any sense would want to read it.”
Lee, dressed in dark denim pants with a pale gray shirt, stepped from the library, to the left of the parlor. Humor tinged his voice as he crossed the room. His eyebrows furled in puzzlement.
The little girl leaned toward Jess and whispered, “I don’t like him. He’s mean.”
Trying not to laugh, she asked out of the corner of her mouth. “Is he? Why?”
“He just looks mean.”
Jess eyed him as he approached. His hair was neatly combed and washed. He’d shaved, his green eyes sparkled, and the smile on his face came complete with dimple. She could find nothing at all ‘mean’ about him, but she wasn’t a three year old girl. She was considerably older, and considerably more affected by handsome, 29-year-old men.
Turning back to the little girl, she whispered conspiratorially, “I know him. I think we can trust him.”
“Are you sure?”
“He hates Plato, too.”
“The man who wrote the book,” she said tapping it with her fingernail.
“Oh! He’s bad.”
“Very,” she agreed.
The full excerpt, along with one that is actually in the book can be found on my website, along with buy links.