Release date: September 26, 2016
It’s 1896, and Tamar Freeman is a respectable citizen of Kansas City, maintaining her family legacy, running the local newspaper, and caring for her sisters. The last thing she expects is to fall for an outlaw. But the lonely hearts ads that Deadwood Dick takes out in The Advocate stir something unexpected deep within.
Lawman Amos Tanner went deep undercover for the Pinkertons months ago to bust a burglary ring on the lam, wreaking havoc across the Western states. The coded ads he’s been placing with his Pinkerton boss in local newspapers have laid the trap expertly for the gang’s capture, and soon he’ll pull off his last heist as Deadwood Dick and be free to return home to Oklahoma. But a wildfire of an attraction has roared to life between him and Tamar. Walking away from her will be the hardest thing he’s ever done.
When the final heist doesn’t quite go off as planned, a shocking turn of events threatens to split Amos and Tamar forever. Will she find the strength to give up her safe world and risk a chance at the life she’s long desired?
by Apollonia Lord
Sensuality Level: Sensual
Apollonia Lord has devoured historical romance novels since she was a toddler. (Seriously. She nibbled on the edges of her mother’s paperbacks as a baby. Now she is a bit more conventional in her reading experiences.) Based in Texas, she is a teacher by day and a writer at night.
An excerpt from Seduced by the Outlaw:
Kansas City, Missouri
“I have come to place a lonely hearts ad.”
Tamar Freeman jumped at the booming voice that cut through the silence of The Advocate’s office. A lady journalist such as herself shouldn’t jump out of her composure and skin at the slightest sound. But I am not an ordinary journalist, she thought, attempting to reign in her nerves and exhaustion. The Advocate was the only newspaper in the area for the colored citizens—black, brown, and tan-hued men and women—who made Kansas City their home. She didn’t write about home and hearth, recipes and religion. She was a crusader for truth and justice. As the lone colored woman publishing a newspaper in the state, she made some friends and many angry enemies who were upset with her editorials. Threats were commonplace. She just hoped that this week she could live in peace.
The bronze colored gentleman cleared his throat and primed the bell on the counter. The chime echoed through the office. She glanced around at the storefront’s three cramped rooms and grimaced. It could hardly be called an office with all the things she had crammed in here.
Again, he spoke. “Ma’am, I have come to place a lonely hearts ad,” he said, clutching his hat in a death grip. His eyes looked over every bit of the room as if he was making sure no one could surprise him from any angle.
Tamar’s youngest sister Delilah placed the form on the counter. “Sir, complete this. Have you written one before?”
The man harrumphed, his loud exhale rumbled through the space and possibly the barbershop next door. “Too many to count. Love is a vain and cruel mistress.”
Delilah clucked like a mother hen, her soft face beaming with joy and happiness. “But you cannot give up hope. Love is superb and worth it.”
“My dear, you are young and naïve. Heartbreak has a way of grinding you down to where the hurt and pain isn’t worth it. It’s never worth it.”
“Delilah!” Tamar called her to the back of the room. “Take care of these for me,” she said, handing the scissors and twine to her sister. Tamar had learned the lessons of love the difficult way and at forty knew what the man was talking about. Delilah was twenty years younger than she was and was filled with fanciful hope and cheer. No old codger was going to convince her that love and adventure were impossible to have without trouble and melancholy. “These have to get ready for distribution before we run the next edition.” The paper had moved to a twice a week publication schedule. A big reason for the success of the paper was the lonely hearts ads. The hard and lonely life on the farms and towns drove people to sell love any way they could. Luckily, they came to The Advocate to find love, and wrote to the Agony Aunt column to keep it. Her sister’s suggestions for fun and diversions in the newspaper had made her a tidy profit but she hoped that people read the news and politics pieces too. She had a sinking suspicion that no one cared about progress and civil rights as much as she did.
The amount of work and manpower needed to make the operation grow was staggering. She could afford the help, but did she need the headache? For ten years, she’d struggled to make this paper a success, borrowing and scraping what she could to make her dream a reality. Now they had it—but with a steep price.
As if in answer to her thoughts, a rock crashed through the plate glass window. The man jumped in surprise, but the two Freeman women continued to work. The man started for the door, his hand on the doorknob and his feet ready to chase before Tamar stuck two fingers in her mouth, and whistled. “Sir, I’d advise you to not pursue.”
“Someone demolished your property.”
“The someone is the Klan,” Delilah piped up from the back.
Tamar sighed. Her sister gave little thought about discretion and believed all of the skin folk were fans of the radical leaning paper. “It’s not the Klan,” she said loud enough for her sister to hear. It was a lie.