Separated from her twin during the Orphan Train selection, schoolmarm Serena Sullivan searched for her brother Bill over fifteen years. Just as she gets a lead on his whereabouts, she is railroaded by a crooked sheriff and set to hang for the murder of the sheriff’s best friend.
English playwright Daman Rutledge has come to the American West on business for his brother when he witnesses a woman about to be executed. On impulse he rescues the beautiful stranger and goes on the run with her across the Kansas prairie. Along the way Daman finds the muse he’s been missing and loses his heart to the raven-haired beauty with haunting amber eyes.
As they try to escape the long arm of the law, Daman seeks to prove Serena’s innocence before it’s too late. They find love—and the truth—on a journey that changes their lives.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I had read an article about the children sent out to the West on the Orphan Trains. I wondered what it would be like to have a brother and sister separated at one of the selection spots–and then search for each other over the years. That became the premise for OUTLAW MUSE.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Many teachers in that era traveled around quite a bit. I thought that would be the perfect occupation for Serena as she searched for her brother.
In Daman’s case, I wanted him to be a fish out of water–an Englishman of noble birth who’s transported to the American West–and see what would happen to him.
Panic seared Serena, knowing Sheriff Parker would pass at any moment. He would see her, and it would all be over. She fought to push Daman away, but he clasped her wrists tightly and pushed them back against the wall, his body leaning into hers, forcing her to stay in place.
She tried to protest, but his mouth was insistent on hers, hard and demanding. His tongue pushed into her mouth, keeping her from speaking, then even breathing. And then the magic began.
Serena’s stomach began to dance, as if she were riding in a buggy gone out of control. It bounced up and down and every which way. The tingling started, going from her scalp down her neck, to where her breasts rubbed against Daman’s muscled chest. It went lower, past her stomach, weaving perilously downward, causing a sensation of feelings that exploded within her.
Not knowing she did so, Serena answered his kiss, an urgency pushing her on, her tongue mating with his. Sweet sensations coupled with dizziness overwhelmed her.
Daman pulled his mouth a bare inch from hers. “Lock your hands about my neck,” he commanded. “And lift a leg up.”
Blindly, Serena obeyed him, her own free will shattered by his kiss. He released her wrists. She wrapped her arms about his neck, fastening her fingers together. He helped her raise her leg slightly. He stepped even closer to her than she thought possible.
“Wrap your leg around me,” he whispered just before he began feasting on her mouth again. Serena felt him slide his hand along her waist and down her hip, gripping her thigh and stroking it sensuously.
It was madness. They were practically on a public street, locked in an intimate embrace.
But it felt so right.
Daman’s lips covered hers again, his tongue gliding along, outlining them. Serena opened to him, and he began to kiss her again, long, drugging kisses. An aching throb began steadily pounding as he cupped her breast with his free hand.
“Guess whores do it anywhere,” a familiar voice said.
Serena froze. Parker must be at the entrance to the alley. Then she realized what Daman had been doing all along. Her mind had turned off to the danger with the beginning of his kiss, but now she understood what he wanted Parker to think. She knew he blocked the sheriff’s view with the way he stood over her. He was protecting her.
A small wave of disappointment filled her. She must be insane. Here Daman Rutledge was rescuing her for the second time today. All she could think about was his kiss had been a false one, though for very good reasons.
Serena threw herself into her performance nonetheless. Let Parker think her a back-street whore in a busy cow-town. She ran her fingers into Daman’s hair, playing with the curling ends at the nape of his neck. She rubbed her leg suggestively up and down his thigh, feeling his hand tighten on her. She pressed her breasts against him, and his palm flattened, kneading one as a nursing kitten did its mother.
Serena kissed Daman Rutledge with every inch of her being as the pulsating tingles grew to a fever pitch within her.
And then he lifted his mouth, resting his forehead against hers as he breathed heavily, gasping in spurts. He turned his head slightly to look out at the street and then back again.
“He’s gone,” he whispered, his head resting against hers again. She could feel his racing heart beating within his chest, as if they’d melted into one person.
Daman slowly moved his head and gently lowered her leg to the ground. He stepped back, shaking his head.
“Maybe you should go on the stage, Miss Sullivan. A command performance. Bravo.” He wiped his sleeve against his forehead and swallowed hard.
Lauren Linwood became a teacher who wrote on the side to maintain her sanity in a sea of teenage hormones. Her romances use history as a backdrop to place her characters in extraordinary circumstances, where their intense desire and yearning for one another grow into the deep, tender, treasured gift of love.
Lauren, a native Texan, lives in a Dallas suburb with her family. An avid reader, moviegoer, and sports fan, she manages stress by alternating yoga with five mile walks. She is thinking about starting a support group for Pinterest and House Hunters addicts.
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