By Paisley Kirkpatrick
August 21, 2012, is a date I will hold in my memory as the day my life-long dream came true. It’s the day my first book is published. After 22 years of never giving up on being published, Night Angel, the first of five stories in the Paradise Pines Series, will be released by Desert Breeze Publishing.
In this story set in the 1849 Gold Rush Era, a poker-playing saloon singer tangles with the mysterious Night Angel. She steals his heart the night he robs her the first time.
Sassy Amalie Renard, a poker-playing saloon singer, shakes up Paradise Pines, a former gold-rush mountain community by turning the saloon’s bar into her stage. Her amazing voice stirs the passions of the hotel owner, a man who anonymously travels tunnels at night providing help to the downtrodden as the mysterious Night Angel. Declan Grainger agrees to subsidize the building of a music hall to fulfill Amalie’s dream, but a bounty for her arrest could spoil his plans. Distrust and jealousy stir flames of malice and revenge threatening to destroy their town. Drawing from past experiences, Declan and Amalie turn to each other to find a way to save the community.
Different colored bottles of whiskey and beer reflected in the mirrors along the wall behind the long wooden bar. Perfect. That’s where she’d start her evening.
She slipped off her cape and handed it to Declan. His appreciative gasp brought a smile to her lips. Having men ogle her appearance was hardly new. She’d learned early to use her looks to her advantage. The way Declan’s eyes heated with appreciation when he cast a glance at the deep cut of her décolletage reminded her how good it felt to be a woman.
“Now you’ll see who I really am.”
Declan grabbed her arm. “Don’t let them forget you’re a lady, Amalie.”
She cast him a wicked smile. “The name’s Lily Fox. Believe me, honey, Lily’s no lady.”
She approached a couple of gamblers and leaned over slightly to give them full effect of her daring dress. “Would you mind helping me, gents? I have need of your table for a moment.”
The men jumped to their feet in unison, their cards forgotten. Amalie took the nearest man’s outstretched palm, stepped onto a chair, over their cards, and up onto the long wooden plank bar.”Good evening, boys.” She strutted along the length of wood, avoiding whiskey glasses and kicking away eager hands.
The saloon girl stopped caterwauling. The room went still. She had everyone’s attention, just the way Lily liked it.
“Get down, young woman. This ain’t no place for you to prance about,” the barkeep snarled in outrage.
Ignoring the scowling face with the handlebar mustache, she kicked up her heels. Adding a dance step, she pranced back and forth the length of the makeshift stage. Lily reveled in the whistles and disregarded the uncouth remarks. She was in her element. “My name is Lily Fox, and I’m here to entertain you tonight.”
With the flick of her hand, she caught the attention of the stunned piano player. “Play something quick and lively, will you, honey?” She glanced around the room of excited faces and turned on her brightest smile.