printed copy

Lady Gone Bad: Gone Bad #1

Sabine Starr

ISBN 9780758266002
Publish Date 8/28/2012
Format Trade Paperback
Categories Brava, Historical, Romance
Currently out of stock

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A Woman’s Secrets

The saloon singer known as Lady Gone Bad is the most drop-dead gorgeous outlaw the West has ever seen. Lady has never met a cowboy she couldn’t entice, or a lawman she couldn’t outrun. But when Lady tangles with a sexy U.S. Marshall, she’s tempted to stick around long enough to watch him lay down the law—in her bed.

A Man’s Desires

U. S. Marshall Rafe Morgan wants to lock up Lady Gone Bad for good—and he won’t let his attraction to her slow him down. But when his attempt to bring Lady to justice goes awry, Rafe is nearly hanged—and by dawn, his face is plastered next to hers on every “Wanted” poster in Texas.

A Passion Unleashed

Now on the run together, Rafe and Lady find themselves in very close quarters—and even more compromising positions. As Lady surrenders to Rafe’s touch, she slowly begins to reveal all her secrets—including her real name. Maybe Lady Gone Bad isn’t beyond redemption after all. Either way, Rafe is in for one wild ride…

“An exciting read!” —New York Times bestselling author Bobbi Smith

Chapter One

1883, Delaware Bend, Texas

“She’s a wild woman, a renegade, a lady gone bad.”

Deputy U.S. Marshal Rafe Morgan sat at a battered table, his glass of whiskey gathering dust, as he listened to the legendary singer billed simply as Lady. She was a stunner, a heartbreaker. And her name was at the top of his “Wanted” list.

Lady’s husky voice wove sultry fantasies, enticing, cajoling, promising fulfillment by the light of a silver moon. She stood, strumming a guitar as she mesmerized her audience. Smiling coquettishly, she set one foot on a rung of the stool beside her, revealing white lace petticoats and shapely legs in black lace stockings.

Rafe shook his head, determined to break free of her spell. He felt like all the other red-blooded men in the saloon. More sinner than saint.

A crimson gown set off her auburn hair and golden skin, and showcased her luscious body. She was rumored to be part Indian, maybe explaining why she’d never been caught. A man could drown in her big eyes. Lose his wits and everything he owned. Plenty of men would be willing to pay that price. He wasn’t one of them.

Rafe carried a warrant for Lady’s arrest. Judge Parker and Marshal Boles of the Circuit Court for the Western District of Arkansas with jurisdiction over Indian Territory wanted her brought in, dead or alive.

He had tracked her to the Bend, a tough town squatting on the Texas side of the Red River. Outlaws had turned the place into their own heaven on earth, gambling, drinking, and carousing. If a Texas Ranger dared to show up, outlaws could easily escape north across the Red River where Indian law applied strictly to Indians and deputy marshals were limited to federal law. Rafe and other deputies did their best, but still the desperados ran wild.

Rowdy with drink and desire, cowboys, gunslingers, and outlaws stamped their boots, hootin’ and hollerin’ and clamorin’ for more as they joined the refrain of “The Ballad of Lady Gone Bad.” They were out of tune, with no rhythm, but enthusiastic enough to shake the rafters.

Lady’s performance was so riveting that, while she sang, every man in the place ignored the Red River Saloon’s legendary bar. Quite a feat considering the cavorting naked women carved into the mahogany. Patrons couldn’t set a glass steady on top, but a lot of them spent time nursing a drink and stroking the handiwork of a down-on-his-luck Eastern tenderfoot who had traded art for whiskey. The shapeliest parts were worn smooth and shiny. Rafe appreciated the famous bar, but it could not compare to the living, breathing beauty on stage.

Lady pursed her lips, painted come-hither red, and glanced around the saloon as she crooned in a sultry voice.

They always curse to lose their horses.

They surely cry to hand over their gold.

But on Lady’s trail at the wide Red River,

They better make sure not to ride alone.

Rafe tossed back his whiskey, wishing it was cold as a river in winter. He regretted that the whiskey did nothing to ease his pepper-hot, iron-hard ache for Lady Gone Bad. She teased and tormented men, stoking their fires, but gave no relief. Nobody knew her real name or much about her, but how much trouble could one little lady be?

The Bend was hell on lawmen. Rafe was out of his jurisdiction. But he didn’t care. He wanted this arrest. And he had a plan. Wasn’t much of a plan, but he didn’t figure he needed much of one. He’d buy Lady a drink, lure her outside, and handcuff her. Once on horseback, he’d take her back into Indian Territory and head for Fort Smith.

If Lady didn’t give him any trouble, he’d take time on the journey to inquire about his sister Crystabelle. She’d been kidnapped off a Katy train by outlaws. He didn’t know if she was still alive, but he couldn’t give up hope. He had good informants and better trackers, but so far nothing had led to Crystabelle. She was a delicate lady. He worried about her every day.

As he waited, he studied the patrons. A big man with a long mane of silver hair under a black hat sat at a table with his back to the wall. Two smaller men, one with a blond beard and the other with straight black hair, sat on either side of him. They looked like the kind of trouble that kept lawmen busy.

When he turned back to look at Lady, she was setting aside her guitar. She stepped into the crowd, giving her audience a notion of what it’d be like to get close to her. She patted a bald pate, stroked a bushy beard, and blew a soft kiss as she slowly prowled the room. A low growl, more animal than human, followed in her wake.

She sidled up close to Rafe and leaned down, the dйcolletage of her gown revealing the upper slopes of her breasts. “Buy a lady a drink?”

He nodded, determinedly staring at her eyes instead of the tantalizing view below. She had unusual, tricolored eyes, a brown center with a band of sage green and an outer ring of forest green. Reminded him of agates. She likely mesmerized men with her cat eyes. But not him. He was made of stronger stuff.

Rafe picked up the whiskey bottle on his table and filled the extra shot glass. He pushed out the chair next to him with a boot. He dropped his right hand down near the Colt .45 Peacemaker he wore on his hip, ready for trouble.

“New in town?” She smiled, ruby lips curving slightly upward. She ignored the drink and the chair.

“Passing through.”

She leaned in closer and teasingly walked the tips of her nails up his chest. Breath caught in his throat. Wasn’t easy, but he remained stoic. She smelled sweet and tart, like honeysuckle and lemon. He wanted nothing more than to bury his face in that lush bosom. She had a beauty mark just below the right corner of her mouth. He wanted to kiss that dark spot, lick and nibble to her mouth. Mark her all over.

But he was here on business.

“I like to give newcomers a special welcome.” She flattened both hands against his chest and stroked upward over his leather vest to his shoulders. “Something they’ll never forget.”

Suddenly she flipped open the left side of his vest where he’d pinned his deputy badge out of sight. Damn. He should have left it in his saddlebags. But it didn’t matter. She was going with him come hell or high water.

She pouted her crimson lips, sighing. “Figured you for a lawman the first moment I saw you. Hoped I was wrong.” She jerked the handcuffs out of his vest pocket.

Surprised again, he reached for the handcuffs, but she dodged quick as a cat and stepped back out of reach.

Lady turned to the crowd. “Gentlemen! We’ve got a lawman with us tonight.”

Stamping their boots, the crowd jeered, hissed, and cursed.

Rafe figured he was well and truly shut in the outhouse and tumbling downhill. But he’d been in worse situations and come out alive. He just needed a plan that didn’t aggravate the situation.

She held the handcuffs above her head and clicked them together in rhythm. She pointed at her audience, and the saloon filled with deep, raw voices.

She’s a wild woman, a renegade, a lady gone bad.

Lady threw back her head and laughed, twirling in a circle as she continued to click the handcuffs.

Rafe wanted to grab her, shake her, and take her to bed. But he couldn’t let her get the best of him. “Darlin’,” he drawled. “You want me to show you how to use those cuffs?”

She turned to face him. Excitement brightened her agate eyes as she raised one arched eyebrow. “Lawman, you want to play?”

Audacious as only a lady gone bad could be. She was burrowing into his mind, putting down roots like a squatter. He jerked free. She was one little lady whose good luck had turned bad. “Got an iron bed back at the hotel.”

“Really?” She stepped closer, handcuffs held against the swell of her deep bosom. “Tell me more.”

“Give those back and let’s go test how well they work on my bed’s railings.”

“Got a real high opinion of yourself, don’t you?” She glanced back at the room, shaking the handcuffs. “Gentle men! What do we do with lawmen in the Bend?”

An angry roar filled the saloon.

Rafe forced his mind back to business, but his body didn’t want to follow. He checked the outlaws packing the tables and didn’t like what he saw. His situation was turning ugly fast. He had to end the game. He stood up, keeping an eye on the men around him.

She quickly snapped one cuff on his left wrist.

He reached for her, but she slithered aside and snapped the other cuff on a rung of his chair.

As she stepped back in triumph, laughter filled the room.

Rafe hadn’t given her enough credit despite the stories of her exploits. And he’d let her cloud his mind. He could quickly break the chair over a table and get loose, but she’d pricked his pride. He sat down and casually leaned against the chair, appearing completely relaxed despite his fast pulse.

She looked surprised, cocking her head to one side.

He patted his leg with his free hand. “Sit here and let’s talk about finding my handcuff key.”

She shook her head, a smile teasing the corners of her mouth. “You look like a lawman that needs to be taught a lesson.”

“Think you’re the woman to do it?” He touched his vest pocket, ready to take action if any man made a move toward them.

She sighed dramatically. “I do believe the task has fallen to me.”

He patted his leg again. “Sure could use some help finding that key.”

“You just don’t know when to fold.” She turned toward the crowd, her crimson skirt swirling around her. “Gentlemen, he’s all yours.”

Rafe watched her pretty backside sashay away. Turned out, she’d held all the aces. He couldn’t go after her, not with a room full of men ready to jump him. He stood, then slipped the key from his pocket and into the cuffs with smooth familiarity.

A big brute with a beard down to his belt rose in drunken bravado. Somebody shattered a whiskey bottle on the side of a table. The outlaw trio he’d noticed earlier stood up and started toward him.

If they wanted a show, they’d get it. But he’d give as good as he got. He freed his hand with a satisfying click and reached for his Peacemaker.

About Sabine Starr:

Sabine Starr rides the trails of her ancestors by horseback, four-wheeler, and jeep when she explores Wild West myths, legends, and mysteries to locate authentic excitement for her novels. She lives near the Old Shawnee Trail in Texas and in the Kiamichi Mountains of Oklahoma where she writes about lawmen, outlaws, Indians, and honky-tonk gals with a penchant for fast guns, hot guys, and daring adventures. Check out Sabine’s website ( for updates on her adventures and upcoming titles.

What attracts you to write historical romance?

Romance cuts to the heart of history. How did men and women fall in love? How did they build families and communities? How did they achieve goals? Nothing motivates people like relationships. Emotions empower us. Passion drives us. Humor uplifts us. And spirituality sustains us.

History fascinates me. We're influenced every day by what went before us, from our lifestyles to our relationships. Courage, strength, and determination brought folks from distant shores to America where they were challenged to embrace a land of rich resources and people of ancient cultures. Each person who lived, loved, and died throughout the following generations left a significant legacy.

I'm a descendent of American Revolutionary soldiers, Republic of Texas pioneers, and Native Americans. I also come from a family of storytellers. I was nurtured on tall-tales and larger-than-life heroes and heroines. I still love a good story. Now I enjoy them across a wide range of mediums, from books and television to films and more. All of this combines to fuel my own passion for writing historical romance.

. Why do you write about the American West?

I've lived in the West all of my life, including Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, and California. I love the land, the people, and the heritage, so I like to share this slice of Americana with readers.

For my Gone Bad series, I use the rich historical setting of North Texas and Indian Territory (Oklahoma). In the mid-1880s, this area was still the Wild West with a toe-hold on civilization and a boot-full of independent outlaws, cowboys, Indians, farmers, ranchers, and small town folks. Deputy U.S. Marshals, Indian Lighthorsemen, and Texas Rangers fought a valiant, often losing, battle to keep the peace.

How did you get the idea for your Gone Bad Series?

"G.T.T." was once widely known to mean "Gone to Texas." Those letters were frequently found scrawled on doors in the South, Midwest, and East. The inscription was common enough that most folks knew when they saw "G.T.T." that their friend, enemy, or loved one had disappeared into the wilds of Texas. People who left that inscription sometimes got out one step ahead of the law or creditors. Some couldn't stand the confines of civilization any longer. Others wanted to build a new life. For whatever reason, these folks were simply gone and many of them gone bad. That interesting concept led to the title for my Gone Bad Series.

What sort of research goes into writing your novels?

First, I have a library filled with wonderful research books I rely on for accuracy. Second, I use the resources of the Internet, especially for photographs of locales, maps, clothes, buildings, etc. Third, I interview people, recording history, myths, and memories. Fourth, I use the stories and legends handed down in my family.

As an example, I went to Spiro Mounds in the northeast corner of Oklahoma on December 21, 2012 to experience the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. Ancestors of the Caddo Confederacies would have celebrated in the plaza with ceremonies, dances, and feasts to welcome the astronomically correct turning of the Medicine Wheel to longer days. Spiro was once a huge, important city of traders, farmers, craftspeople, nobility, and priests with burial mounds that are still with us today. For descriptive scenes in Bride Gone Bad, I took notes and photographs on the guided tour.

Why did you decide to add paranormal elements in your historical romances?

My research revealed interest in the paranormal, such as séances, was very much a part of society at that time. Native American mysticism was still practiced in tribal life and culture, and folks venturing out into a wild land counted on luck. Any type of gift, even if not completely understandable, that helped folks cope with life was valuable.

In Lady Gone Bad, Sharlot hears danger warnings in her head. In Angel Gone Bad, Crystabelle is a card reader. In Bride Gone Bad, Tempest speaks with ghosts. All these gifts help the heroines, and their heroes, survive in dangerous situations and achieve their goals.

Average Customer Review

Based on 5 reviews

Customer Review

Lady Gone Bad by Sabine Starr (Monday, December 3, 2012)
Reviewer: Melanie Adkins

Lady Gone Bad is wanted. US Marshall Rafe Morgan is the one who will bring her to justice. He didn't count on Lady being so wily. She puts his neck in a noose the first day he arrives at The Bend. Feeling guilty though, Lady also saves him from the would-be- hangin group. They arrive at a place where it's safe for Morgan to go on alone but he decides he must help

Another great story (Wednesday, October 24, 2012)
Reviewer: Jennifer

U.S. Marshall Rafe Morgan is on the trail of an outlaw named Lady Gone Bad. When he begins his journey of catching Lady, he has no idea that he has everything wrong about her. Lady almost gets Rafe killed by a gang of outlaws hell bent on being out of jail. Lady isn’t all bad because she saves him before he can hang. They end up outlaws together and Rafe realizes he has been wrong all along about Lady. She isn’t an outlaw by choice. They go through some scary journeys with each other, and eventually fall in love but can they clear their names before the hangman finds them? This was a great story and I really enjoyed the characters. I cant wait to read more from Sabine Starr.

Great Western (Friday, September 7, 2012)
Reviewer: Jennifer

U.S. Marshall Rafe Morgan is on the trail of an outlaw named Lady Gone Bad. When he begins his journey of catching Lady, he has no idea that he has everything wrong about her. Lady almost gets Rafe killed by a gang of outlaws hell bent on being out of jail. Lady isn’t all bad because she saves him before he can hang. They end up outlaws together and Rafe realizes he has been wrong all along about Lady. She isn’t an outlaw by choice. They go through some scary journeys with each other, and eventually fall in love but can they clear their names before the hangman finds them? This was a great story and I really enjoyed the characters. I cant wait to read more from Sabine Starr.

Is she really a Lady Gone Bad? (Friday, July 27, 2012)
Reviewer: LG

Lady Gone Bad is a woman on a mission. Using her singing talents and feminine wiles to get what she wants, she is determined to right a wrong and recover what belongs to her.

U.S. Deputy Marshal Rafe Morgan has an arrest warrant for Lady Gone Bad. He plans to arrest her and take her to Judge Parker to stand trial for her misdeeds. At the same time, he is searching for his kidnapped sister.

When Rafe Morgan, catches up to Lady Gone Bad, he gets more than he bargained for. She is clever and crafty and can distract even the most determined man. He is there to arrest her, but she gets the drop on him and gets away. Before the night is over though, they have teamed up and are running for their lives.

They each are on a mission, though the missions are different, both seek to achieve justice. Traveling over Northeast Texas into Indian Territory, Lady tries to convince Rafe there is more to right and wrong than the law allows. Life is not always black and white, but varying degrees of gray mixed in. Their sexual chemistry is obvious from the beginning; a mutual attraction that they try to deny. The degree of trust that Rafe and Lady have for each other changes from nonexistent, to trusting, then wondering if that trust is deserved as the story goes on.

This tale takes us through the Indian Territory, over the Red River more than once, through brush and bramble, downpouring rain, hardships, and blazing sun. It gives the reader a real feel for life on the run in the old west. There is a mystical element weaved in to the story that gives a spiritual feel to the story, as if there is a divine hand in what happens.

I enjoyed reading this novel. The chemistry between Lady and Rafe was there from the beginning and the emotional ups and downs of two people trying to trust one another felt very real to me. Great story of good guys winning out over bad guys, even when they weren’t easily recognized. And I loved the spiritual aspect to it, someone watching over them and aiding in their journey.

Four star novel, not a one star (Friday, July 27, 2012)
Reviewer: LG

I published a review of this novel however overlooked the star system. I give this book 4 stars!!

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