A Den for Thieves
by E.E. Burke
Robber’s Cave State Park near Wilburton Oklahoma has the dubious honor of being a favorite hideout for outlaws like Jesse James. This remote place and its rich history made it the perfect setting for my last Steam! Series novel, which features an outlaw, a Pinkerton agent, a deadly mystery, and some fascinating history.
After the Civil War, the U.S. entered a period of severe economic downturn. The sparsely populated, mountainous terrain along the border between Arkansas and Indian Territory became a sanctuary for criminals fleeing justice, who took advantage of confusing legal systems and lax federal oversight. Add to that, a corrupt judicial system operating out of Fort Smith, Arkansas, and you have a recipe for trouble…and an exciting historical romance.
As legend has it, some of the more famous bad guys who hid out in this remote area included Jesse and Frank James, the Youngers, and the Daltons.
Today, the area is a lovely state park with great views, beautiful waterfalls, streams and lakes, and lots of caves to explore. These aren’t your typical underground caves. Many of them are inside of massive stone structures that look as if Nature created shelters for the purpose they ultimately served—to shield fugitives and thwart those who might come to search for them.
A short drive west will take you across what used to be the old Katy Railroad line. Go south and you’ll soon be in Texas. The town of Denison became a cattle hub in the mid-1870s and the railroad was transporting beef in newly invented refrigerated railcars.
What do cold rail cars have to do with outlaws hiding in caves and a missing Pinkerton agent? You’ll have to read my book to find out.
Jasper Byrne, an accused train robber, is about to face frontier justice when he is stolen away from a lynch mob. His female savior, who claims to be a reporter, offers him a chance at redemption if he will help her solve a mystery.
He will do one better. Make certain she returns from her quest alive.
Undercover detective Brigit Stevens isn’t certain she can trust Jasper to keep his word, but she needs an outlaw to guide her through a wilderness known only to thieves and murderers. She doesn’t expect the rogue to become her protector. No more than she anticipates losing her heart to him.
Can an outlaw and a Pinkerton agent form more than a temporary partnership? Does love have the power to rewrite the future and create second chances?
What are some of the places you’ve been that have outlaw legends attached to them?
Do you have a favorite? Where and why?
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E.E. Burke is a bestselling author of historical fiction and romances that combine her unique blend of wit and warmth. Her books have been finalists for numerous national and regional awards, including the Chanticleer International Book Awards, Readers’ Choice and Kindle Best Book. She was also a finalist in the RWA’s prestigious Golden Heart® contest. Over the years, she’s been a disc jockey, a journalist and an advertising executive, before finally getting around to living the dream–writing stories readers can get lost in.