New Release from E.E. Burke

Get Lost in a Steamy New Series

Welcome to Steam! Not steam as in punk, but real steam as in railroads. 

Steam! Romance and Rails is a new Western romance series set in an era when America expanded its boundaries as fast as men could lay track, a time when passions and ambition were destined to collide.

Today is release day for Her Bodyguard, the second book in the series. Check it out...
The most dangerous man may be the one she hires. 
For America “Amy” Langford, investing in the Border Tier Railroad isn’t about chasing riches. The savvy businesswoman is after bigger stakes: influence, respect, success her father didn’t live to see. Rioting settlers and underhanded competitors can’t stop her, but a killer might. When a ruggedly handsome drifter comes to her rescue, she trusts her instincts and hires him as her bodyguard.
Buck O'Connor has put his violent past behind him, but being a wanted man dictates a life of deceit. So what’s one more lie? He becomes Amy’s protector so he can secretly thwart her railroad’s progress to help his cousin avoid financial ruin. A great scheme—until he falls in love. 
While Buck hides his true purpose, Amy lies to herself about her growing feelings for her bodyguard. But the price for deceit is steep, and the secrets they both hide could destroy their future—if they survive. 

From now through Sunday, I’m hosting a special Steam! weekend, and blogging about a variety of topics related to the series. I'll also be giving away lots of freebies. So make sure you sign up for the drawing. 

First, let’s take a look at some little known facts about a railroad construction race through Kansas that sparked a settlers' wara true event that's central to the story in Her Bodyguard

The main characters from my book are here today, and they’ve agreed to let me interview them. So with no further delay, let me introduce Buck O’Connor and Amy Langford from Fort Scott, Kansas. 

Buck and Amy, why don’t you tell us how you came to be involved in this railroad race and the riots that ensued as a result.

Buck: Well, I was living in Texas at the time, and...uh...  Actually, it’s all about cows—

Amy:Cows? Oh good grief. You’re avoiding the question, Buck. (Turns to the host) He’s doing that because he doesn’t want to tell you his cousin brought him to Kansas as a hired gun to kill me—

Buck: “Hold on now. Don’t gallop off down that road. I wasn’t about to kill you. Things just got a little tense after the railroad stole the settlers’ land.”

Amy: “The railroad didn’t steal their land. Didn’t belong to them in the first place. Mr. Joy arranged to buy it from the government.”

Buck: “What little he paid for it, I’d call it stealing.”

Amy: “Well, let’s not debate the definition. Suffice to say, settlers were squatting on land the railroad owned and didn’t want to pay the asking price to purchase it.”

Buck: “Generally, folks don’t want to pay highway robbers either.”

Amy: (rolls her eyes): “We weren’t highway robbers.”

Buck:You weren’t. See, Amy here was on the railroad board, doing her best to promote the line and help them win that race against the Katy.”

Amy: “Things weren’t working out so well...”

Buck:: “Because that fool James Joy didn’t listen to you. If he’d bargained in good faith to begin with, he wouldn’t have all this trouble.”

Amy: “But then you wouldn’t have come back from Texas, and I couldn’t have hired you as my bodyguard.”

Host:Bodyguard? But I thought you said he was a hired gun?”

Amy: “He did both. Buck will tell you, he has many talents.”

Buck: Oh, so you want to talk about my talents?

Amy: We can discuss those later. Now that I think about it, you weren’t really a gunslinger. You were wanted for—

Buck (clears his throat): “We don’t need to go into all that. Tell them about the Land League.

Amy: “The settlers formed a vigilante group, dressed it up as a political organization. Started riots, destroyed railroad property, attacked representatives. They brought Buck in to slow down the railroad and force Mr. Joy to settle for cheap. Of course, I didn’t know all this at the time I hired him to be my bodyguard.”

E.E. : All right. I’m still a little confused, but obviously you two worked things out. Tell me how this relates to the race.”

Amy: “We couldn’t afford to let the settlers slow us down. The Border Tier was constructing track at the same time as the Katy. Both railroads wanted to be the first to reach the border of Indian Territory because only the winner would get the land grants.  And, more important, only one line can pass through Cherokee territory into Texas, tap into the cattle trade.”

Buck: (spreads his arms): “See? I told you. It’s all about cows.”

E.E. : “I think that about sums it up. Thank you both for agreeing to be interviewed. And it sounds like there’s an interesting story behind how you ended up together.

Amy: It's all there in the book. Why don't you give them an excerpt?

Excerpt from Her Bodyguard, available today.
    His breath clouded the air. Come to think of it, this ramshackle barn was damn frigid. It offered shelter from the sleet, but did little to keep the cold out. “Here, let me pile up some hay. It’ll block the drafts and keep you warm.”
     “What about you? Are you warm enough?” She hugged the blanket, shivering.
“You want my coat?” His hands went to the buttons. Should’ve thought to offer it earlier.
Her eyes widened. “No, I wasn’t implying that. I just thought you might be cold. We can share the hay.”
For a moment, he was speechless. It'd been so long since anyone cared about his comfort, he hadn’t expected it and didn’t know how to respond. He shrugged to hide how much her concern touched him.
“Ah, don't worry about me. You hungry?” He rummaged through the saddlebag, finding the last piece of jerky. “It’s not much, but it’ll take the edge off.”
“Thank you.” She gifted him with a smile that snatched his breath.
He leaned back on one arm, trying his damnedest not to look like an infatuated schoolboy. Instead of sitting here mooning over her, he ought to find out what he could about the local situation. Whatever she knew might come in handy when he started searching for that railroad promoter.
“So, you live out here, Mrs., uh…”
“Langford,” she finished.
He tried the name in his head. Mrs. Langford. Nope, he preferred Venus.
She bit off a small piece of jerky with perfect white teeth, chewed slowly and swallowed before continuing. “Yes, I live…” Her voice trailed off and her lashes lowered.
He leaned forward, worried. “Something wrong?”
She shook her head. “I'm sorry, Mr. O'Connor. I wasn't honest before. I don't live around here. I was headed for a friend’s house before starting back to Fort Scott.”
That she'd fibbed about where she lived didn't surprise him. She'd done it so he'd think her husband was nearby. But where she was going astonished him. “Fort Scott? That's another two days’ ride.”
“By rail it’s only a couple hours. But the line hasn’t reached Girard yet, so we have to go a few miles north to meet the workers’ train.”
“I was traveling with an escort. He attended a meeting earlier today in Baxter Springs and didn’t make it back. We’d arranged to stay overnight at a friend’s farm, so I thought I’d meet him there.”
“Your husband abandoned you in Girard?”
Irritation flickered across her face. “He’s not my husband, and he didn’t abandon me.”
It was on the tip of Buck’s tongue to ask why she was traveling with a man who wasn’t her husband. But then, what did he care who she traveled with? He opted for a safer question. “Why were you there? From what I hear, it’s not exactly a safe place for a woman.”
She finished chewing the last bite before responding. “I had business in town.”
Her lips sealed. Apparently, she didn’t wish to elaborate.
Buck smoothed his mustache with his thumb and forefinger, mulling over her hesitation. Just what kind of business would a wealthy lady have with a bunch of rowdy settlers? When he’d come up on her, she’d been terrified, even after he told her he was trying to help. Had even offered him money. More money…
His scalp began to tingle, a sure sign something wasn’t right. He leaned forward, draping an arm over his knee to appear casual. “I didn't mean to frighten you when I rode up. You must've been expecting trouble.”
“Trouble is one way to put it….” She toyed with a curl at her cheek, not meeting his eyes. “You see, I thought you were going to kill me.”

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you ever been on a train? Do you have a favorite story you can share?

Those who comment can enter the drawing for a free copy of Her Bodyguard. I'm also giving away copies of Passion's Prize, the first book in the series, which I co-authored with Golden Heart sisters Jennifer Jakes and Jacqui Nelson. Passion's Prize features three interwoven novellas about a spy, a former madam and an railroad heiress who get caught up in a cutthroat competition between two lines racing for riches.

Also, this month I'm running a special drawing at my website to give away a two-day stay at the Victorian mansion featured in my book. You won't want to miss your chance to enter.


  1. Have I ever been on a train? I racked my brain and I can honestly say I've been on a 'retired train', but not an active one. The train I remember the most was in Alaska, right outside of Anchorage there's a rest stop with a train built for clearing snow of the tracks. It had this enormous circular metal contraption attached to the front. When I think of a train getting caught in the snow, it also reminds me of Agatha Christie Poirot, "Murder on the Orient Express".

    1. That sounds really cool! I'd love to ride a train through Alaska! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  2. When there were really still trains running, my older sister and I rode 70 miles to visit our aunt. We got off of the train on the 'wrong' side and didn't see her. My sister said she could find the house, so we walked a few blocks.. Auntie was frantic, we were 5 & 7.... Also have been on the Alaskan train back from Denali!

    1. Whoa! I'll bet your aunt was frantic! I used to take a train from Florida to Georgia every summer to visit relatives. I remember sitting by a woman who had a basket of fried chicken. She offered to share. I think the Alaskan train ride sounds awesome! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Yes, a few times when I was really young. Flying was way too expensive for our family then. I live on an island so we had to take a ferry over to catch the train. All part of a grand adventure for us kids.

    1. An island? Romantic. My favorite ferry ride was one over to Victoria Island in Canada. Fond memories. Thanks for sharing yours!

  4. Tim and I have always wanted to take the train. It's on his big Bucket list !
    He's ridden the commuter from Philly to NYC, but it's a sleeper car that he wants to experience.

    Best of luck with the new release E.E. !!

    1. Thanks, Angie! I think going cross country on the train, with sleeper car, would be so cool. You should do that! Appreciate you stopping by.

  5. Yes; no stories to share

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  6. I've been on several train trips. I rode the Chessie Special when it came around when I was a teen. My hubby and I have also taken two semi-romantic trips: one that included a weekend stop in a Michigan resort town and another on a vintage train.

    But the most memorable was when I took a train to pick up my (at the time) 5 year old nephew to bring him home with me for a visit. He loved trains and the tracks went right by his house. Something happened and the train lost power and after sitting on it in the heat for a few hours we were finally bussed to where we could get on another train that worked. LOL

    Marcy Shuler

    1. Yikes! That ride with your nephew doesn't sound too fun. But riding the Chessie Special would be cool. Recently, we took the family to Durango and rode the steam train to Silverton. Recommend highly! Thanks for stopping by!