After two years away, Leanna Cahill returns home a fallen woman with an illegitimate child. But Leanna doesn’t come home alone; she’s brought a bevy of women who want to make a new start and enough money to open a gentlemen’s club. Leanna has an ulterior motive: to open a “home for harlots,” where abused women can find shelter.
Cleve Holden knows that the child Leanna claims as her own is really his sister’s son and he intends to see the boy raised as a Holden. But from the instant he meets Leanna he’s smitten. She’s no hard-bitten saloon girl, but soft and tender, beautiful inside and out, so he offers to work for her as a gambler and protector. As her work with the soiled doves clashes with powerful townsfolk, pieces of the puzzle of her parents’ murder fall into place. But more dangerous is falling in love with Cleve, the one person who can destroy or rebuild her newfound life. (HARLEQUIN, Jan., 300 pp., $6.25)