Looking for a new sort of historical? Here's Lorelie Brown's book, Jazz Baby, set in the 1920s Prohibition USA.
In the world of illegal speakeasies, Kate Kirkland has her life running smoother than a Model T. Maybe moving the family bar into the basement wasn’t the best choice for her alcoholic brother, but Kate’s making them a living—until a local gangster tries to expand his territory. Right into her bar.
Luckily Micah Trent, her handsome and too-suave bootlegger, is ready and willing to offer her a helping hand. If Kate can bring herself to accept it. Since sharing one sensual dance to seal their deal, she can’t ignore the delectably wicked way he makes her feel.
Micah is keeping secrets of his own. He’s a Prohibition Agent, sworn to shut down the gin mills and distilleries that keep illegal booze flowing. Kate’s speakeasy is next on his list—right after he uses her as bait to catch the gangster hunting her.
But even if Micah and Kate can maneuver their way through the gangsters’ dangerous underworld, will their love survive the trial by fire?
Warning: This title contains steamy hot sex, big fancy guns that result in just a little bit of brains on the floor, and enough booze to float an armada.
Here's an excerpt:
Down, boy. Kate Kirkland was a means to an end, that was it. Nothing more, nothing less. Johnny Vittorelli was in the process of setting himself up to be bootlegger to all of lower Manhattan. Thanks to a luckily timed bust of Saul, Micah and Jake would be sitting pretty before Vittorelli even got his operation going.
He could hardly believe he was back here, in New York again. He’d grown up here, in the seedy Bowery, and left as soon as he was able, unwilling to watch criminals and the corrupt leadership of Tammany Hall politicians drag it down even further. Only to have life and work drag him full circle to take down a criminal enterprise.
When it was all over, the Prohibition Bureau would wipe through every club involved in the sting.
Not quite the way a man thanked a woman for a lovely romp in bed, and that wasn’t even touching on how he’d have to lie about himself every moment they were together. It’d be in his best interests to get his brain out of his pants. Pronto.
“It’s a deal, Miss Kirkland,” he finally replied.
“You got a bathroom in this joint?” Jake piped up for the first time since they’d sat down.
“Of course, Mr. Sterling. I’ll show you where it is.” She angled her body to get out of the booth, which left her facing him. “Mr. Trent, if you’d please let me out.”
For a split second, he was tempted to force her to push him out. She’d already put him to the test, so it would only be fair. But he slid out of the way rapidly. He needed to keep in her good graces, not piss her off enough to send her shopping for a new bootlegger.
Once again, Kate let them through the small club, this time to a shadowed hallway at the opposite corner. Micah stayed to the rear of the procession, the better to watch her hips sway. Her dress was open nearly to the small of her back, black silk framing creamy, porcelain skin. The soft sweep of her spine curved in exactly at the bottom of the opening, hinting at what was further below.
That whole keeping his mind out of his pants idea wasn’t going so well.
“There you go, Mr. Sterling. Second door on the right.”
Jake nodded briefly and moved toward the indicated door. Kate turned to Micah and propped a hand on her hip.
“Were you going with him? Maybe he needs help to shake?”
“You are a spitfire, aren’t you?” He leaned against the turquoise and silver wall.
“Most of us modern girls are.”
“To answer your question, no. Jake’s a big boy. He’s been toilet trained for a good three years now.”
“Then why did you feel obliged to follow?” Her tone was dry, but a smile quirked her cupid’s-bow mouth. “I’d think you’d be enjoying your drink with Saul. Our business is finished for now.”
“We didn’t seal the deal.” He’d followed to ensure Jake would have a private moment to snoop around, but it wouldn’t serve to say so. In his line of work, the truth was seldom the best choice. He and Jake specialized in undercover work. In quickly, get the information, or make the bust and slide out again. No muss, no fuss. Already this was shaping up to be one of the longest operations they’d orchestrated. He couldn’t afford to get side tracked by the sexy speakeasy owner.
“We agreed. That’s enough for me.”
“Not me.” He caught her hand in his, loosely holding her fingertips. Every cell in his body popped to life, the same as when they’d shaken hands before. “Dance with me.”
“Is dancing often a part of forming new business relations for you?”
“Then why make the exception for me?”
“It’s rare I get to do business with such a beautiful woman.” He tugged gently on her fingers, aiming her at the postage-stamped dance floor. She took a small step in that direction. Her mouth was saying all the right things, but she was weakening. “Dance with me.”
“I have work to do. This isn’t necessary.”
“Of course not. That’s why it’ll be fun. Come on, it’s a fast one. We’ll swing around the floor a time or two and I’ll let you get back to work.”
With a short nod, she acquiesced. He lost no time in hauling her out to the floor. The instant they set foot on the parquet, the piano player segued into a slow, smoky number. He couldn’t have planned it better if he’d slipped the man five bucks.
She considered backing out. He could see it in the rigidity of her shoulders and the brief frown that wrinkled her pale brow. Then she took a deep breath that lifted her small but perfectly formed breasts and raised her arms into waltz position. Micah scooped her into his arms and swept her out into the dance before she could have second thoughts.