In my upcoming historical romance, Lawless Hearts, a female Pinkerton detective and an Irish-Cherokee outlaw work together to find a missing agent and become entangled in a net of corruption, crime and murder. It’s a tale of daring deception, pulse-pounding suspense and sizzling romance, in a Western setting that is as authentic as it is wild.
The entire series is rooted in historical events that follow the expansion of the railroad across the American West, and it features numerous secondary characters from the pages of history. For my heroine, I took inspiration from the history of the Pinkerton Agency and the country’s first female detective.
A woman who made history
In 1856, a young 20-something woman named Kate Warne answered an advertisement for detectives posted by Allan Pinkerton to fill his fledgling agency. According to Pinkerton’s records, she convinced its progressive founder that women could be “most useful in worming out secrets in many places which would be impossible for a male detective.” Her arguments and determination impressed Pinkerton and he hired her over the objection of his brother Robert, who was also a partner in the business. Thus Warne became the first female private detective in the United States.
Warne was an excellent private investigator and acted undercover, infiltrating social gatherings and events. During the Civil War, she was instrumental in saving Lincoln from the first assassination attempt. She wore disguises and changed her accent at will and became a huge asset for the agency. Later, Pinkerton hired other females and appointed Warne as Supervisor of Female Detectives. She mentored and trained other young women who sought to break out of the Cult of True Womanhood that persisted throughout the 19th and into the 20th century.
Two opposites who defy historical norms
In Lawless Hearts, Brigit Stevens is modeled after the young female detectives mentored by Kate Warne. These were women who sought to break out of the Cult of True Womanhood. They defied cultural norms and broke down societal structures. In that sense, they were truly “lawless” in their pursuit of justice.
Jasper Byrne isn’t just an outlaw whose heart is reawakened. His conscience is under intense reconstruction, as well. After spending most of his life attempting to be someone he isn’t—a bad guy—he takes Brigit up on her offer to join her on the right side of the law. Although he doesn’t perceive himself as a hero. In fact, he’s confused when Brigit treats him like one. But her determination to reform him inspires Jasper to resist the flow of culture and history and end up like so many others in his situation—at the end of a rope.
Unfortunately, there are some who have the law on their side and are using it for nefarious purposes, and they have Brigit and Jasper in the crosshairs.
Here’s a blurb:
Book 5 in the series Steam! Romance and Rails
The deal she offers him could be a path to freedom or a detour straight to hell.
Jasper Byrne has been an outlaw more than half his life. He’d do things differently, if he had the chance, but it is too late to change—or so he thinks. In chains, on his way to court where he expects to be convicted, he is hijacked from under the nose of a U.S. Marshal by a woman who pretends to be a reporter.
Brigit Stevens has worked as an undercover Pinkerton agent for ten years, guarding her heart while putting high-ranking rascals behind bars. But when a fellow detective goes missing during a railroad investigation, she has to turn to a train robber for help. She offers him a deal if he’ll guide her to an outlaw hideout where even lawmen don’t dare to go.
Jasper admires the beautiful detective’s pluck and her clever disguises, but she doesn’t seem to understand he’s a scoundrel. As for Brigit, she is more even more surprised when the dangerously sexy outlaw steals her heart before she can find the lock.
Can an outlaw and a Pinkerton form more than a temporary partnership? Does love have the power to rewrite the future and create second chances?
A high-powered Western romance that transports readers back to the wild American frontier where lawless hearts reigned. Don’t miss the last, most exciting, episode in the series Steam! Romance and Rails.
Lawless Hearts will be released this summer, but it’s available as a preorder now. In the meantime, if you haven’t read the series, you can get started with Her Bodyguard for free if you sign up now for my newsletter.
As a special offer, I’ll also give away a copy of Fugitive Hearts, which sets the stage for Lawless Hearts.
What would be a woman’s strengths in working for the Pinkerton’s that a man wouldn’t have? I can think of several.
E.E. Burke is a bestselling author of historical romances that combine her unique blend of wit and warmth. Her books have been nominated for numerous national and regional awards, including Booksellers’ Best, National 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.
Find out more about her and her books at her website: http://www.eeburke.com