Boots Under Her Bed

From four acclaimed authors come four all-new novellas featuring the rugged men of the West and the women who want them…

When runaway New York socialite Maeve Daugherty joins her father’s bodyguard Zeb Crow on his personal mission of revenge, what was a slightly scandalous new life as a bookkeeper for an infamous San Antonio brothel becomes downright dangerous. But that’s not stopping Maeve from having the time of her life.

 

“This excellent, action-packed anthology from some of the genre’s favorite writers should please fans and garner new ones.” — Library Journal

“Running away from her life in New York to work as a bookkeeper in a Texas bordello is tame compared to joining up with her father’s bodyguard, Zeb Crow, on his quest for vengeance, but Kent’s Maeve Daugherty is happy to become “The Hired Gun’s Heiress” and experience the most dangerous and romantic time of her life.” RT Book Reviews

“There’s company in the parlor, girls.”

Miss Porter’s words tumbled through the room down the hall from Maeve’s open door, and the piano notes of Charles K. Harris’s “After the Ball” followed. It was fairly early in the afternoon, but she had learned that men’s needs were not confined to the hours after dark. Or perhaps such was only the case here in the Wild, Wild West, where she recognized very little of the respectability she’d grown up with.

Whomever had arrived, the girls were certainly keen to gain his favor. The hushed chatter and twittering had been replaced by much boisterous laughter. She picked out Annie’s and Etta’s—if those were the girls’ names, any more than Mr. Reed and Mr. Jackson were who they claimed to be. Maeve had no right to presume. She’d been going by the name Mae Hill since the Day of the Disaster with Uncle Mick.

“I’m looking for a young woman,” said the company in the parlor, the deep voice a resonant bass that was easily heard above the din.

Maeve’s head came up; her hands stilled; her heart nearly stilled, too, before it began beating in her chest like the drums in the Sousa Band.

“I have several young women whose companionship I’m sure you would enjoy.”

“No, ma’am, I mean, I’m looking for a particular young woman. Her name is Maeve Daugherty. She stands close to your height and has bright green eyes. Her hair’s like that of a chestnut horse. Last I saw her, it was about to her waist. I was told someone of her description was in your employ.”

“And when did you last see her?”

“Several weeks ago. A month or more,” he was saying, and Maeve pictured him pulling off his hat, using his large hand to rake back his too-long hair. “I work for her father. She left New York with her uncle and hasn’t been heard from. Her family’s worried.”

Maeve closed her eyes, shook her head. Why would her parents not leave her to her life? She was twenty-two years old. She knew her own mind. And why in the world, if they’d had to send somebody to fetch her home, did it have to be Zebulon Crow?

“I don’t believe I know a Maeve Daugherty,” Miss Porter was saying, but her words were hesitant.

Maeve imagined her frowning and casting a glance toward the hallway that led to the rear of the first floor and to the office. Zeb would follow the direction of her gaze, because nothing slipped his notice, and almost as the thought entered her mind, heavy footsteps thudded closer, leaving her no time to hide.

She pushed back her chair and stood, smoothing her blouse and her skirt, doing the same to her coiffure. She’d had no idea Zeb had ever noticed the color of her hair, though of course she wasn’t seeing to her appearance for him. She only wanted him to realize she was in good health and good spirits and not homesick at all.

Yes, that was it. That was all the time she had. The door opened, and there he stood. Tall and broad shouldered, his dark hair hanging to his collar, his dark beard emphasizing the strength of his jaw, his blue eyes like sapphires shining from the bottom of a flute of champagne. The dusting of dark hair along the edges of his hands making her knees inexplicably weak.

“Hello, Miss Daugherty.” His voice was deep, almost rough, and nearly angry, as if he resented her actions causing him the inconvenience of this very long trip.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Crow.” The formalities. How absolutely ridiculous they were. How banal. “What are you doing here?”

“The night I found you in your father’s library drunk on his brandy you asked me a question.” He pushed the door almost all the way closed, though Miss Porter would certainly be able to hear her should she cry out, then he moved toward her. “I came to give you my answer.”