"1870's San Francisco holds danger and romance"
Reviewed by Clare O'Beara
Posted May 27, 2013
Contemporary Novella / Short Story | Romance Historical
A young woman arrives from Boston, unescorted, in teeming
San Francisco of 1870. She has reason to believe that her
sister is in trouble. But Edith is soon to discover that
trouble awaits anyone visiting the city. Surrounded by
businessmen, Chinese, rogues, thieves and charlatans, she
finds it difficult to get her bearings. A businessman
called Dutch, who has a lively past, helps her at the
station but he's more concerned with the activities of
ONE MOMENT'S PLEASURE shows us a busy city with wheeler-
dealers getting up to all kinds of mischief and inadequate
or corrupt law. Edith takes a room in a house of ill repute
hoping to find her sister, but is drugged and Dutch
inadvertently places the winning bid for her at auction.
Realising that she's a lady, he has no intention of taking
it further, but removes her for own protection and
demonstrates to her what peep-shows and bordellos are
about, hoping to make her see sense. The stubborn girl
can't give up her quest however....
Rue Allyn is swift to place contrasting characters in an
interesting situation and the pace keeps up, with plenty of
period detail to anchor the story. Opium dens, stray dogs,
photography and child abuse all populate the streets, and
Edith really does come across as an innocent abroad. Lucky
for her she has friends in Dutch, kittens, a priest and a
Chinese girl servant.
ONE MOMENT'S PLEASURE will interest romance readers with
curiosity for historical tales and unusual settings.
One Moment's Pleasure will become a lifetime's passion when
spinster, Edith Alden, embarks on a search for her missing
sister. Pretending to be a rich bored woman looking for an
interlude with an anonymous male Edith enters the San
Francisco bordello where her sister was last seen. She
escapes the bordello almost too easily, but she can't
escape the passion ignited by a stranger's kiss.
Born and raised in the brothels of the California gold
rush, Dutch Trahern worked for years to erase a childhood
spent committing petty crimes and worse in order to
survive. That past comes back to haunt him in the form of a
woman he rescues from prostitution. Now his hard won
respectability is threatened by an irresistible desire for
a woman he shouldn't want.
He saw it coming, and if he'd believed she'd follow
through, he might have stopped her.
""How dare you question my virginity! You don't even
know me. I, sir, am no whore!""
He put his hand to his stinging cheek and checked to
make certain he could still move his jaw.
The slap re–lit his simmering temper, and he
advanced on her, retribution his primary goal. She cradled
the hand she used to hit him against her waist, using the
other to fight a losing battle with her décolletage as step
for step she backed away.
The raw panic on her face cooled his ire a bit.
The sinking dress dragged the floor. She caught a
heel in the hem, pulling the dress half off her body.
He put out his hands to keep her from falling.
""No!"" She raised her arms as if to protect her face
from his fists, giving up all hold on the recalcitrant
He let his hands drop and closed his eyes to get a
mental grip. Finally he got it. He understood what the
woman had been saying all along. She wasn't a whore. No
whore behaved like this woman–well except for
dropping her clothes. Whores did that all the time but not
when running away from a client. Whores ran toward clients
not away, and drugged up or not they didn't act in ways
guaranteed to make a client angry.
He opened his eyes.
""I'm not gonna hurt . . ."" His jaw opened and shut.
He couldn't pull his eyes from her naked form. ""For
petesakes put your clothes back on.""
He bent, tugging at the cloth around her feet.
""No. Don't do that."" She batted at his arms and
twisted downward, trying to rescue the dress.
""Stop fighting me,"" he growled. ""You'll tear it.""
She succeeded in getting a grip on the dress but
cracked her head against his. She staggered into him.
""Ow."" He jerked upward, the dress still in his
""Noo!"" Already off balance, her tangled feet slid
out from under her along with the cloth. Then her head hit
For the third time in almost as many days, Dutch had
a female at his feet. He stared at the woman sprawled
before him. She was beautiful. Naked and beautiful and not
moving. How had he gotten into this situation, and who
would believe it if he told them? ""Get up. Virgin or not,
I'm not fool enough to get down there with you.""
She didn't twitch.
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