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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“Think you’re the woman to do it?” He touched his
vest pocket, ready to take action if any man made a move
She sighed dramatically. “I do believe the task has fallen
He patted his leg again. “Sure could use some help finding
“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.