What’s a Girl To Do?
Well, not much, if you were a woman in the late 19th century. Women didn’t have a whole lot of career prospects. The overwhelming majority were fairly dependent on men—their fathers, brothers and husbands.
There were a few who denied the status quo and became legendary figures. There’s always a rebel somewhere, right? Most of us have heard of Calamity Jane and Annie Oakley, or the outlaws Pearl Hart and Belle Star. But women that brassy, or as desperate for money as Pearl Hart, who turned to luring men to her room to knock them out and rob them, were few and far between.
That’s not to say the women of the 1800s didn’t have ‘grit.’ No, the 19th century was chock-full of intrepid women, adventurous, stubborn and determined. You needed those qualities to survive, especially out west, where there was little in the way of luxury and daily life was a struggle most of us in the modern era could never truly understand.
A pioneer woman was a homemaker in a time when just procuring clean water took a great deal of energy. They raised the children, cooked, cleaned and took care of their husbands. It was considered a pretty good deal, too, considering the lack of options for women in a society totally ruled by men.
So what could a woman do? Well, there’s always prostitution. The most common occupations were seamstresses and laundresses, teachers and boardinghouse matrons. Women could work in factories, they could sing or pick a male pen name and become writers, or they could be nurses. However, women who worked in the medical field were primarily pushed into obstetrics or home care, and with the expansion of medical schools and hospitals, they were overwhelmingly left out of even that profession.
And, of course, most of their career options were completely taken away after marriage.
Out west, a woman had a little more freedom—they even had the right to vote in the Rocky Mountain territories—but less to choose from. Most pretty much had two options, be a prostitute or be a wife.
In Outrageous Offer, Hyacinth Woodley traveled west as a mail-order bride, only to be rejected by her would-be groom. Like most women back then, she has a choice, but her options no longer include marriage. She can either work in a saloon or become Offer O’Neal’s unpaid mistress, in addition to taking over the ‘women’s work’ on his run-down ranch, the Double O.
Alone, desperate and in unfamiliar territory, what’s a girl to do?
Offer stood up and held out his hand. A wicked gleam entered his eye. “Then I believe I deserve a reward for arranging things to everyone’s satisfaction.”
Hyacinth’s lower belly quivered in agreement. Warmth rushed through her from her head to her feet and prodded her into jumping up to take Offer’s hand. The more the man touched her—pleasured her—the more she needed. She couldn’t wait to retire every night, slipping into Offer’s bed with him and waiting for him to slip into her.
He led her the few steps to the bed and turned back the covers. Then he let go of her hand and whipped off his shirt. Hyacinth made an appreciative noise as she took in the sight of his hard chest, the strength that was so apparent in every ripple and flex of his muscles as he unbuttoned and shucked off his pants. When he straightened, his cock jutted out proudly, flushed with need and tempting her to reach for it.
Offer backed up. “Uh-uh, darlin’, not just yet.”
Hyacinth’s hand dropped to clutch her skirts as Offer climbed up onto his rickety bed and laid back, arms folded beneath his head. He did nothing more than watch her as she fidgeted, waiting for him to give her some clue as to what he wanted.
“Well?” His eyebrows lifted.
She cleared her throat and tried to still the excited tremor in her vocal cords. “Well, what?”
“Take your clothes off, Hyacinth. Real slow.”
Biting her lip, she did as she was told. Her lungs worked faster while her shaking fingers struggled to release the tiny row of buttons fastening her bodice. The thrill of Offer’s gaze upon her as she peeled the fabric down to her waist was something she still hadn’t gotten used to, though she enjoyed it, craved it, and wished he would do it more often. Most nights they were both too tired to draw out the kind of teasing that Hyacinth liked so much.
She shimmied her hips and pushed her skirts down farther. They fell to the floor with a quiet swoosh that still managed to echo loudly in the tension-filled room. Tingling awareness raced over her, pulling her nipples tight as she reached for the ties to her chemise.
“That’s right, darlin’, show me your pretty titties.” Offer levered his weight up onto one elbow and stared at her with eyes gone dark with hunger. “I love your tits. They fill my hands and my mouth, topped by those pale pink nipples I could suck for hours.”
With Offer’s words swirling around her, the slide of the fabric over her chest was excruciating. The material caught on Hyacinth’s peaked nipples for a brief moment before falling free, and she caught her breath at the sensation as she shrugged her chemise straps off her arms. Like her skirts, she pushed the thin fabric over her hips, then stepped out of the pile of material at her feet.
Offer lay back again. “I’m a tired man, been working hard all day. I just don’t think I have the energy to fuck you.”
Hyacinth went still. “Excuse me?”
Offer flashed a grin at the ceiling. “Guess that means you have to fuck me tonight. Come over here, Hyacinth.”