The Dance Hall Wife: Book Two of Brides of Little Creede




CAT . . .

Cat Purdue has come a long way from the days when her father used her as partial payment for a gambling debt to a ruthless man. Reacquiring the saloon Father had lost, and turning it into a successful restaurant, is only the beginning of her drive for success.


FRANK . . .

Unable to reconcile the new, sophisticated Catherine Purdue from the saloon girl he once dallied with and foolishly spurned, Frank Carter finds himself blocking his growing attraction with sharp words and sarcasm. But when the Carters’ old nemesis escapes prison and comes back to Little Creede for vengeance, Frank’s only thought is to protect Cat, as well as his family.



Determined to lead separate lives yet bound together by danger and their growing desire, Frank and Cat will leave their mark in the new state of Colorado.


Approaching the house, they’d taken the first two steps when high-pitched, raucous laughter poured from the half-open front door. Brows raised high, Frank shared a quizzical look with Harrison. By mutual consent, they gained the porch silently and hovered at the door, leaning in as far as possible without revealing their presence.

“. . . muscles, my God.” The soft, dreamy voice caused Frank a jerk of reaction. Cat. “I think Frank could lift me with one hand tied behind his back. Oh, his back—” A hiccup and then a giggle.

Someone uttered a muffled, “What about his back?”

Shit, who else is in there?

“Its perfection matches his front.” Fresh laughter accompanied Cat’s declaration. “Oh, you know what I mean,” she added. “If only he wasn’t such a damned jackass.”

Leaning against the doorframe, his brother snickered softly.

“I’m going in,” Frank mouthed, glaring at Harrison, who gestured widely as if to say be my guest.

Hand on the latch, Frank pushed through and stomped his way into the kitchen, stopping short at the scene before him. Five women, sprawled in various relaxed poses. Cups, some empty, and plates of what looked like the blueberry cake he’d thought to have for himself, scattered over the surface of the table, while Noodle industriously licked the floor in his search for crumbs.

At one end, Retta cuddled a sleeping Jenny against her shoulder, her face equally drowsy and amused as she listened to Cat and his—

“Mother?” His low roar got him the attention of the Carter women, and his sister swung toward him with a silly grin on her face and blurry eyes.

His sheltered little sister, looped? Anger crawled up the back of his neck. “Vivian, are you drunk?”

“Not at all.” She tried to set her cup on the table, missed, and it fell to the floor, thankfully intact as it rolled crookedly. “Whoops.” She stretched out a hand and nudged a squat, almost empty bottle. “Want some brandy?”

Frank’s mouth pressed into a grim line as he turned to the only woman in the room capable of leading his family astray.

“Cat, what the hell did you do?”


Cat’s mouth fell open, then she snapped it shut and glared at him. “Let me rephrazz my satement, ladiezzz,” she drawled, rising awkwardly to her feet as the brandy warmed her insides.

She took a moment to get her muddled mind together. “Huge.” Short pause. “Jack.” She wagged an accusing finger at the man who made her heart race with excitement, and her blood boil with fury. “Azzz.”

Retta soothed Jenny, who’d awoken with a wail at Frank’s outburst. “Actually, I was the one who brought out the brandy.” Amusement painted her voice.

Harrison didn’t bother holding back his mirth, and his snort of laughter filled the room. “You stepped into it now, Frank.”

Frank blanched, his expression turning wary, his gaze falling to his distressed niece. “Sorry,” he said to Retta. Then his gaze swung to his scowling mother. “You let Vivian get drunk?”

“I’m not drunk,” Vivian proclaimed, attempting to stand, but only falling back on her chair and bursting into giggles.

“Your sister is old enough to think for herself.” His mother tapped her temple. “At least she considers her words and their impact before she speaks. You should try it, son.”

Catherine formed a triumphant smile, really liking this woman. “Why, thank you, Luzinda.” She gave Frank a dismissing glance. “Now, I’ll just be on my way.” She turned toward the door where Harrison still stood, stumbling just the slightest bit before regaining her balance. She didn’t make it more than two steps before ‘Jackass’ blocked her way.

Her stomach flipped, and not in a good way.

“Hold on, Cat. You’re not going anywhere in your condition.” His scowl deepened. “What the hell were you thinking riding out here by yourself?”

Catherine straightened her shoulders and stared him down. “Not your concern, Mister Cart—hic.”

She slammed her hand over her mouth, holding her breath to stop the next hiccup she felt building in her chest.

Though she’d worked all those years at the saloon, she’d rarely partaken of the free-flowing liquor, and the little she’d swallowed today was hitting her hard. The room tilted, along with her stomach, and she dragged in a deep breath.

“Oh, dear,” Retta said at the same time Harrison mused, “She’s looking a mite green.”