Steam! Special Edition: Fugitive Hearts from bestselling author E.E. Burke

Book 4, Steam! Romance and Rails

A lawman is determined to discover the simple truth. Justice--and love--are far more complicated.

Everyone in Parsons, Kansas, considers hotel owner Claire Daines a respectable, decent woman. Until she shocks the entire town when she rushes into a saloon in her nightclothes to confess to an inebriated lawman. “Sheriff, I shot my husband.” 

Is it an accident, as she claims? Or murder? 

As Sheriff Frank Garrity unravels the evasive widow’s subterfuge, the truth will challenge his notions about justice. The tough, uncompromising sheriff must choose between his desire to protect Claire and his duty to uphold the law.

This evocative Western romance takes readers back to Kansas in the 1870s on a wild chase for two fugitives, who inspire one man's hope for a second chance.

Buy Fugitive Hearts

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 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.

Your stories are part of a series titled “Steam!” Does that mean they are “steamy” with lots of sex?

Let me start by saying that I write sex scenes if they fit with the storyline. I don’t do it just to titillate or fit some formula. I knew from the start that the books in this series would have sex scenes because the relationships that develop between the main characters are visceral and physical, as well as emotional. But I try to write it so that the scene is passionate not just sexual. The scene in Fugitive Hearts between Claire, who has been neglected and abused and has never experienced true physical passion, and Frank, who has withheld physical gratification from himself for so long as a kind of penance, is one of the best sex scenes I’ve ever written because it delves into the needs and vulnerabilities of these characters, as well as their strong attraction to each other. These two lonely souls, who carry around a lot of guilt over past failures, find themselves in opposition to each other, and at the same time, find solace with one another. Their struggle to heal and find peace with each other and with themselves is, I believe, one of tenderest stories I’ve written.

What is the historical setting for this book?

Fugitive Hearts takes place in 1873, during a period of transition, when the country fell into an economic depression and the Katy Railroad experienced numerous business failures, mostly due to the greedy, unethical people in charge. This book shifts its focus to the Henry’s sister Claire and the sheriff in Parsons, both of whom appeared in A Dangerous Passion. Another character who played a small role in that book, an outlaw named Jasper Byrnes, becomes more important in this book for reasons I can’t tell you without spoilers. Historically, this is the period when train robberies started in earnest—spurred on by a combination of the toxic effects of post-war violence and economic pressures. But’s it’s not only the outlaws who are crooked! 

After this, will you write more books in the series?

I’m currently working on book five, Lawless Hearts. It basically picks up where Fugitive Hearts leaves off. Right now, I envision six books in this series altogether. If readers want more, I’ll probably write more!

Steam! Romance and Rails New Edition. More adventure. More suspense. More romance. In a series you don’t want to miss. www.eeburke.com

A theme running through Fugitive Hearts is second chances. For the main characters, Claire and Frank, the orphan Billy, even the outlaw Jasper. Can you think of any books or movies you’ve seen lately that address this theme well? Do you enjoy "second chance" stories? Why?  

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