Well, it’s finally here!! You can officially purchase my new short, “Ingenue,” from Ellora’s Cave! It’s a sexy little historical romance that takes place near the end of the Roaring 20s. It’s the era just before “talkies,” when Vaudeville was king. Variety show circuits dominated the entertainment industry, bringing song and dance, bawdy comedy acts and striptease to the masses. Though our story takes place in the 20s, burlesque dates back much farther. Theaters in Victorian London staged popular parodies of grand opera and Shakespearean plays that had comedic musical numbers and raunchy humor. Of course, it didn’t take long for the art form to cross the pond into America where, like everything else, it was made bigger, raunchier and rowdier. Striptease was added to the mix and the shows became more of a variety-style format with comedians, magicians, singers and short versions of the English style that might parody a popular play or some political issue of the time. Striptease, for obvious reasons, became a major draw for the shows. However, rules became more and more stringent and the performers found creative ways to get past obscenity laws. Pasties and props kept the essentials covered and the routines were more about the tease and less about the strip. The “hoofers” were not only sexy, but talented singers, dancers and comediennes. Stars such as Gypsy Rose Lee, Sally Rand and Blaze Starr emerged as classy sex symbols of their time.
“Ingenue” is a story about this Golden Age of Burlesque. The heroine, Rose D’Vine, is a burlesque dancer, desperate to escape the seedy New York theater scene and break into movies. She’s so desperate that she’s willing to sell her love to the highest bidder– a horrible meal ticket named Charlie Potter. He’s abusive and selfish, but he’s got connections in high places and he’s promised to make her a star. What Rose really needs is a hero. Enter Stefan, the soft-spoken stagehand. He’s loved Rose for years and wants to take her away from Charlie. He wants to make all of her dreams come true, but what does a poor immigrant have to offer. Only his love.
Stay tuned for an excerpt, but in the meantime….
Never fall in love with a hoofer. That’s the advice given to Stefan—advice he immediately ignores when he falls head-over-heels in love with burlesque dancer Rose, the shimmying, corseted star of the Footlight Theatre. But wicked, wounded Rose is far out of the humble stagehand’s reach.
Rose has stars in her eyes—and bruises on her face. As she suffers abuse at the hands of a cruel patron, she dreams of the day when she’ll find her way out of her nightmare and into the arms of the passionate, protective Stefan.
Inside scoop: This book contains scenes of domestic violence before the heroine fights back and finds her true hero.